It’s sunrise in Greece. I throw open the curtains and peer out at the pink sky, excited to start my weekend in Athens. I grab my camera, snap a few photos, and head out to explore the city.

Weekend in Athens

Weekend in Athens

I’m technically here to speak about social media at a conference, so I have to get my sightseeing in early. This is my third trip to Athens in two years, and I saw the main sights on my first trip and covered more ground on my second. It takes the pressure off and allows me to focus this trip on getting to know the less obvious parts of the city.

Sunrise in Athens

Plaka and the Environs

I still start my weekend in Athens in Plaka, though. This area beneath the Acropolis is firmly on the beaten path, but it’s one of my favorite places here.

Plaka, Athens

The tangle of narrow streets and stairways always surprises me with a new discovery or view, and as I wander I find doors, facades, and glimpses of the Acropolis.

Plaka, Athens

And that’s to say nothing of cats. This being Greece, there are lots of friendly cats around.

Cat in Athens

From Plaka I wander out to the National Garden to soak up the purple and yellow flowers. As I meander, the sweet scent of orange blossoms mingles with the sound of birdsong, making me feel like I’m immersed in nature.

National Garden in Athens

It’s deceptive, though, as the streets around me are buzzing with excitement for the Greek Independence Day parade.

Guard in Athens

People have lined up all around Syntagma Square to watch the military and others march in commemoration of Greece winning its freedom from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.

Greek Independence Day Parade

Next to the garden I find the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Panathenaic Stadium. The former is an ancient Greek ruin with tall columns that dominate the field around it.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The latter is an ancient stadium that was refurbished for the first modern Olympics in 1896 and used again in the 2004 Olympics. Built of white marble, it’s impressive to see up close.

Panathenaic Stadium

Pangrati

After visiting, I head up the road and wander through the side streets in Pangrati.

Wisteria in Athens

Colorful cafes like Petite Fleur lend the area a cheerful tone, and there’s lots of wisteria cascading over walls and down facades.

Petite Fleur Athens

I round corners to find myself face-to-face with tile-roofed Orthodox churches and walk down streets lined with orange and lemon trees heavy with fruit. Everywhere there are purple blossoms brightening up the neighborhood.

View of Athens

Museums in Athens

Not far from Pangrati, I come across the Byzantine and Christian Museum. The gates are open so I pop in and stroll through the garden.

Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens

I have the place to myself, and a sense of peace filters through the lavender and Cypress trees. It’s a great spot to stop and rest my legs, not to mention soak up the sun.

Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens

Further afield, I get a chance to visit the Vorres Museum in Paiania. This gem is part contemporary art museum, part folk museum, and all gorgeous. The modern spaces are filled with everything from paintings to monumental sculptures. The traditional ones are straight out of a 19th-century Greek home, offering a balance of old and new.

Vorres Museum

Venues in Athens

My weekend in Athens also takes me to some great restaurants and venues. A highlight is Ble Pavilion, where I spend an evening during my trip. Right on one of the best beaches in the city, this event space has panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. It’s popular with those who like to take advantage of the outdoor terrace and admire the surroundings.

House in Plaka, Athens

As evening melts into morning, my trip comes full-circle. Another sunrise heralds my departure and it’s time to travel back to London. It’s been a great two days, and I’m glad I’ve had a chance to discover some new-to-me parts of Athens. I like this city more with each visit, and given life keeps bringing me back, I look forward to what my next trip reveals.

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Weekend in Athens

4 Comments on Lady’s Guide to a Lovely Weekend in Athens

  1. I discovered your blog a few days ago and really like your content! I’m going to Athens (and other parts of Greece) in April. I have been in Athens once, but there is so much I haven’t seen yet. Pangrati looks great!

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