The sixth city on my 2018 Euro Trip was Athens, Greece! Now if you remember, this is the destination that started this whole Euro Trip thought process about a year ago so needless to say, I was extra excited about this stop. Not only was I getting to visit my great aunt, great uncles and cousin that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, but I was also getting to reunite with my mom.
Since the city was a bit far from Munich, this is where my train travels ended and flights began. You’d think that by taking a flight, I’d avoid some of the travel fiascos but you thought wrong! For some reason, the flight I was on flew from the center of Europe in Munich to the northeast corner in Riga, Latvia for a layover then went all the way back down south to Athens. So strike one. Strike two, my flight departing from Munich was extremely late so when I landed in Latvia and got off the plane, a woman told me to run to catch my flight to Athens. So that’s exactly what I did – sprinted through the Riga airport at 11pm with a giant backpack and purse flopping around. Spoiler alert, I did not make my flight. However, I did have a millennial moment and take a video of myself sprinting through the airport (ignore the heavy breathing – clearly hadn’t run in a couple of weeks) and I will forever giggle at that.
Long story short, I had to stay the night in Riga and make my way to Vienna then on to Athens in the morning. I did not sleep but I got to see a beautiful sunset & the Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral then see Vienna from the plane so that was fun.
Upon arriving in Athens, I simply felt at home and a sense of relaxation washed over me. I planned this part of the trip to be after the first couple of weeks of being alone because I knew I’d need some family time and I was correct! While we did have a day of being tourists and visited the Athenian Acropolis (home of the Parthenon temple), the National Gardens and the Panathenaic Stadium, most of our time was spent relaxing, eating amazing food and visiting my great uncle’s favorite swim spots. My cousin also took us for a hike (Δάσος Καισαριανής Βύρωνα) and although we didn’t make it quite to the top, we still got to see some incredible views of the city.
If you are looking to be a tourist the entire time you’re in the city, make sure you have a long week – Athens covers 1,131 square miles while Chicago is only 234 square miles and New York City is 302. Needless to say, it is HUGE and unless you’re there for a significant amount of time, you probably won’t get a chance to see it all. And if you want to see the islands, choose wisely – there are over 6,000 of them. Of course there are the most popular ones including Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu but if you ever get the chance to visit Lefkada, take it because I remember it being pretty beautiful (I am also biased because my family is from there and my memory might not be the best since I was 4 the last time I was there).
However, if you’re looking to spend some time as a local, there are a ton of beach spots you absolutely must hit up. My personal favorite was right by the General Hospital of Voula. We spent the afternoon swimming, soaking up some sun and inhaling the most delicious gyro I’ve ever had in my life.
After drying off, we set off further south to one of my uncle’s favorite swim spots. I’m not sure exactly where it is (sorry, can’t read Greek) but I included the map screenshot from my phone in case you want to check it out.
However, be warned, driving in Greece is a little scary. Nearly all of the cars are manual and there are a lot of twists and turns. If you’re a passenger, sit back and enjoy the view. And maybe take some Dramamine so you don’t get car sick 😉
Another favorite thing of mine was wandering around Stavros Niarchos Park. It was absolutely beautiful with fresh herbs everywhere and provided an amazing view of the ocean up at the Cultural Center.
Food & Drinks
Sights to See
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Prague, Czech Republic