For this episode of Rick Steves Over Brunch, Chris Mitchell (travelingmitch) and I chat about the 2008 Rick Steve’s Europe episode “Athens and Side-Trips.” We see Rick Steves’ Athens – one of perfect gyros, exquisite views, and friendly strangers who let you commandeer their rooftop views. We also see some of the best stunt work from Rick so far – do you think you could beat him in a race?
Listen to the Podcast Episode “Athens and Side-Trips”
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Stephanie’s Athen Travel Tips
Don’t Skip It!
Too many people who come to Greece skip Athens and head straight to the Greek islands. However, this is a shame, as Athens is one of my favorite cities in the world! It’s got amazing street art, fantastic history, and a delicious food scene. If you’re a history lover, check out my episodes on Greek history: the Acropolis, Mycenae, and Delphi.
Focus on Plaka, Monastiraki, and Omonia, but don’t skip Exarchia!
Athens is a city of great neighborhoods, each with their own distinct look and feel. Naturally, culture travelers will be drawn to Plaka and Monastiraki, but Omonia has a big-city charm that I love. Guidebooks might tell you to steer clear of Exarchia, the anarchist neighborhood, but that’s a mistake! It’s a uniquely Greek neighborhood full of street art and cool bars that should be on everyone’s itinerary.
Athens Deserves at Least Four Days
Don’t just give yourself a day for the historic stuff and then bounce. Athens is a truly Balkan city that, like a fine wine, needs to breathe a little for you to grow to love it. If you just do a day or two, won’t get it!
Head to Mount Lycabetta
For great sunset views (or anytime really), hike or take the funicular up the top of Mount Lycabetta. It’s the highest point in the city, and you can see nearly every ancient monument from the top, plus you have views all the way out to the sea! It’s crowned with a little gorgeous Orthodox church, which is also worth the visit!