Undoubtedly, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Athens, you think of the Acropolis. It's understandable, it's what we were taught and told about growing up. For many, Athens is simply an airport stop on the way to one of the many breathtaking islands. From our month in Athens I can tell you it's much MUCH more.
Plaka will be the second most ventured area in Athens other than the Parthenon. With good reason. It's charming, with tons of shops to fill your suitcase with all the essential souvenirs. You can roam the streets and stop for a glass of wine, a sip of ouzo or a traditional snack all along the way.
Behind Plaka and up toward the Parthenon you will find my favorite area... Anafiotika. We almost missed it but I assure you it's not to be missed! Built originally by inhabitants of the Cycladic islands, it was constructed to feel like home for them. If you're unable to make it to the islands, visiting here will give you that historical Greek island feel. Complete with stray cats running everywhere!
Let's face it, city beaches are never the best. However, 20 minutes down the coastline will take you to that breathtaking turquoise you seek. Vouliagmeni was our favorite. With infinite beaches to choose from (both public and private) and even a gorgeous lake with little fish to give you a pedicure. There are wonderful seaside restaurants here with every traditional food you could want.
Back in the city itself there are numerous street markets, bars, restaurants and shops to explore. From traditional to H&M. If you go anywhere though it has to be to the Poet Sandal Maker of Anthens.... he and his assistant will make you bespoke sandals as you sit and wait. It's a experience all in itself.
Whether on your way to an island or a destination all itself, Athens is a place you will want to spend some time. As always, be smart with travelling safety but it's an incredible place filled with incredible people. I will definitely be back!