airbnb, panoramic views and cats in athens and hydra island (2016)

 

The capital city of Greece, Athens, was named after the Greek Goddess of wisdom Athena.

I really enjoyed my visit to Athens in January 2016. I spent the turn of the new year on a British Airways plane, and it was such a unique experience to see the fireworks around Europe from above the skies. They were like small sparkles glittering the skies. There was of course, an announcement from British Airways, where extra alcohol was given out!

As I studied Philosophy, I was looking forward to experiencing the place lived by prominent philosophers, theologians and mathematicians. Athens really surprised me. It is a beautiful city that is full of history and aged buildings. There is graffiti on most buildings, even on some main train stations. Comparing with other capitals in Europe, I found Athens very affordable. It doesn't feel like a capital city of industry and business. It is one where families and couples walk the streets accompanied by architecture and parks.

The underground tube network is very easy and straightforward to use. Stations and carriages are modern and clean. Like most tube networks in Europe apart from London, don't forget to validate your ticket!

1. Airbnb

I love Airbnb. Athens was the first place that I used Airbnb. You find an apartment you like, contact the owner, and either meet them at the property where they will hand you the keys, or they will leave the keys somewhere for you. I have since used Airbnb six times, but Athens was one of my favourite apartments rented through Airbnb. The apartment I was in had stunning views of the city, the space was big and had character, and the price was affordable. If you haven't tried Airbnb already, I highly recommend it next time you travel!

2. Panoramic views

One of the biggest assets in Athens is the scenery. The graffiti on the streets leave a permanent reminder of the youths of the city, and the buildings and pavements have been worn and used, making me wonder how many people have walked these streets over time. 

It is a unique European city in that the main point of reference is the Acropolis. It can be seen from almost every angle and vantage point of the city. This is great for two reasons 1. every angle of the city has a beautiful view of the Acropolis and 2. you will know where you are in relation to the Acropolis, so getting lost is not a concern!

For the best view, head to A for Athens cocktail bar. A for Athens is a hotel, but you do not have to stay in the hotel to drink in the cocktail bar. Head inside the hotel and take the lift to the top to get to the bar. It has great views of one of the main squares of Athens, Monastiraki Square.

3. Hydra Island

In the modern youth of today, Greece is known as a party destination for students and pre-university teens at one of Greece's islands. For a more relaxing stay, visit Hydra island.

It is a small island and can be reached from the port Piraeus in Athens. Wake up early to board the boat. You can buy tickets at the port in Piraeus. Hydra is known for its no cars and motorbikes policy. There are only horses and donkeys on the island as a mode of transport, and it is full of cats!

There is not a lot to do in Hydra apart from soaking in the wonderful scenery. The bars and restaurants are at the port of Hydra. Walking away from the port is simply a steep hill that leads to residential buildings and small convenience stores for the locals.

Hydra is incredibly quiet. It was the quietest place I've visited, as locals are either away from the Island or simply at home living their daily lives.

4. Brettos bar

This article cannot be complete without giving a recommendation of a place to eat or drink! Brettos is a bar that is located on Kidathineon street.

It's famous for offering liqueurs with large selection of flavours including apple, watermelon and cherry with a piquant flavour. They also have the traditional Greek alcohol Ouzo (a strong tasteless spirit like vodka). 

It's a small colourful bar. It can get busy and feel cramped with the amount of people visiting this bar. There are a constant array of budding photographers taking pictures of the bar inside. I am sure my face unknowingly appears in many travel photos across the internet of this bar.

Brettos Liquors Store, 41, Kidathineon Street, 105 58 Athens, Greece

http://www.brettosplaka.com/