Immersed in the City: Exploring Athens like a Local

Note: The blog was originally published on my old blog.

Athens, a city with a rich history, has a lot to offer. The city is packed with iconic landmarks from the Acropolis to the Parthenon. I have seen all of them already. What should I do next? Experience Athens like a local! With a bit of help from my Greek friends, I could discover a whole new side of the city.

Step 1: Find a Local Friend

Social media makes it easy to find friends in any part of the world. Take it from me; I met my Greek friends nine years ago while playing a Facebook game. We stopped playing the game but stayed good friends. They guided me to the city’s hidden gems, best food, and exciting activities.

Spyros with a happy tourist  
Katerina, Stella and a happy tourist

Step 2: Learn Some Greek

Knowing some basic Greek phrases is useful when exploring Athens. I always try to learn how to say “Thank you” (Efcharisto), “Please” (Parakalo), “Good morning” (Kalimera), “Good evening” (Kalispera), “Cheers” (geia mas), and “Enjoy your meal” (Kali orexi). Trust me; it’s not only practical, but it’s also fun! My favourite phrase was “Geia mas” :).

Step 3: Eat Greek Food

Famous Spyros’s Burger

When it comes to Greek food, you won’t be disappointed. My friend Spyros is known for his legendary burgers, made with only the best quality ingredients. Unfortunately, his restaurant is hidden; you’ll need the invitation to try it. But don’t worry; there are plenty of other places to try Greek food.

Best souvlaki

Souvlaki is one of Athens’s most popular street foods and a must-try when in Greece. It consists of grilled meat (usually pork, chicken, or lamb) skewered on a stick, served with pita bread, onions, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce. The meat is marinated in a blend of Greek herbs and spices, giving it a unique flavour that’s hard to resist.
The best souvlaki places in Athens are often small, family-run businesses that have been passed down from generation to generation. These places take pride in using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, ensuring that every bite is delicious. Overall, souvlaki is a must-try when you’re in Athens. It’s easy to find, affordable, and delicious.

The best souvlaki I had was in a tiny place outside of Athens. According to my friends, this was the best place to eat traditional Greek souvlaki.

And more food

I like most of the food I have tried. Basically, my whole trip was mainly about food :).

don’t forget to try other Greek delicacies while you’re there, such as moussaka, spanakopita, and baklava. You won’t regret it!

Step 4: Try Windsurfing

Windsurfing is one of Greece’s most popular water sports, and Athens has many places to try it. If you want to learn from the best, head to Tony Frey’s Windsurfing Club. Tony Frey, an Olympic athlete, gives lessons at his club, and it’s an experience you won’t forget. Unfortunately, when I went there, the wind was too strong for a beginner like me.

Some other popular spots for windsurfing around Athens:

  • Varkiza Beach is located about 30 minutes away from Athens. Several windsurfing schools in the area offer lessons for beginners and rental equipment for more experienced windsurfers.
  • Loutsa Beach, also known as “Glyfada Beach”, is located in the southern suburbs of Athens. It’s a long sandy beach with clear waters and consistent wind conditions, perfect for windsurfing. 
  • Marathon Bay, about 40 kilometres northeast of Athens, is known for its strong winds and challenging waves, making it a popular spot for experienced windsurfers.
  • Schinias Beach, a long sandy beach located about 45 kilometres northeast of Athens, is a popular spot for windsurfing due to its strong winds and shallow waters.
  • Cape Sounion, a scenic spot located about 70 kilometres southeast of Athens, is known for its stunning sunsets and ideal wind conditions for windsurfing. 

Step 5: Enjoy Coffee with a View

Greeks love their coffee, and there’s no shortage of cafes in Athens. But why not enjoy your coffee with a spectacular view? Head over to Zafiro Caffe and enjoy the incredible view of Athens while sipping your coffee. It’s an experience you won’t forget.

View from Zafiro Caffe
View from Zafiro Caffe

Warning: Smoking is Allowed in Restaurants

Be warned that Greeks love to smoke, which is still allowed in restaurants. If you’re not a fan of smoking, try sitting outside. Don’t let that discourage you from exploring the city’s culinary delights.

In conclusion, Athens has a lot to offer, and with some help from your local friends, you can have an unforgettable experience. Try Greek food, learn Greek phrases, and explore the city’s hidden gems. Have fun like a local!

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