Monday, October 28, 2019

{travel guide} Ancient Sites, Ancient Greek Sandals and Tasty Treats in Athens

Our last stop on the honeymoon was Athens! We were pretty worn out by this point but we still made it to all the essential spots, and even spotted a celebrity along the way.  Our main checklist included the Acropolis, National Gardens, the Ancient Greek Sandals flagship store and getting the delicious chocolate lava cake I had in 2015. I also found out about a cute restaurant a couple days before we left called Little Kook that I wanted to check out because they change the restaurant with fun themes. After that it was just whatever else we could fit in!

All in all, we walked 100 MILES over the course of our 2 week trip. How insane is that?! And pretty much every day was spent in my black 'Alethea' Ancient Greek Sandals. I wore my Athena's on the first day and for some reason I got a weird blister so I was afraid to wear them again (they've never done that before but I wanted to be safe.)

Note: If you don't want to take public transportation to your hotel or airbnb, download Beat, it's like Uber for Athens.  There should be a flat fee to take you to the city center, we paid about $43 which in my opinion was totally worth not having to lug our bags on and off subway trains. It is also a way to avoid having to pay cash for a taxi because you can use a credit card with the app. For our way back to the airport we had our host pre-book a car for us so we paid €45, a little more than if we had used the Beat app.

What to Do

Temple of Zeus

Our cab driver from the airport gave us a great tip. He said if we were going to get the combo ticket for ancient sites (€30 for the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Theatres of Dionysus & Attikus, Temple of Zeus, Hadrians library, and Kerameikos) to start at the Temple of Zeus rather than the Acropolis because the lines won't be as long and you can just walk straight to the entrance at the Acropolis instead of waiting in the ticket line there.  We were there on a free weekend but we wanted to go to the Acropolis on Friday so we bought the extra pass so we could see most sights on Friday and whatever was left on Saturday.

The Acropolis

This was our main reason for stopping in Athens. Christian is a nut for Ancient Greek mythology so he was really excited to finally see the Parthenon and other sites of the Acropolis in person. We got up early in the morning, but not too early, so we could beat a lot of the crowds but it was still pretty crazy! The sun is BLARING during the day and we were already getting overheated at 9/9:30am so make sure to bring water with you and hide in the shade when you can!

Panathenaic Stadium

We did a quick walk-by of the Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896! So cool! We had a lot we wanted to see on this particular day so we opted not to pay to enter and viewed from the outside only.

The Ancient Agora

The Ancient Agora is home to many ruins and buildings, including the Temple of Hephaestus (last photo) and Stoa of Attalos - which includes a small museum of artifacts. When we first got there in the morning there were areas blocked off because The Good Place was filming an episode. Luckily they left not long after we arrived so we were able to see the blocked off area, which included the Odeon of Agrippa.

We also spotted Kristen Bell walking in the Stoa of Attalos (first photo.) See a screenshot from a stealthy video I took while looking in the total opposite direction pretending I didn't know she was there, haha! They weren't filming at that point.

Hadrian's Library

Hadrian's Library was pretty cool to walk through and we were joined by some tortoises while doing so. Funny how we only saw them when we were at the ancient ruins, never in other parts of the city. The walls and columns are just so cool to look at. Imagine what these must have looked like back when they were all in one piece.

The National Gardens

Another must-see spot was the National Gardens. We spent a couple hours walking around and taking in the views. Since it was the end of Summer we sadly didn't get to see many flowers but it was still a nice reprieve from the loudness and business of the city.  Definitely make a walk through on your trip to Athens if only to escape the crowds.

Ancient Greek Sandals Flagship Store

One of my highlights of Athens was visiting the newly opened (May 2019) flagship store for Ancient Greek Sandals - my favorite sandal brand (my first post gushing over them in 2013!)  I had already bought a new pair while we were in Santorini but couldn't resist getting a pair in the ACTUAL store.  I tried on a few pairs and in the end went with a simple pair called the Apteros in purple suede that were different from any other pair I have because they were slip-ons. Normally I like to buy sandals with backs so I can wear them walking everywhere without worry. I wore these to the grocery store and found they were quite comfortable for walking, but I'm not sure they'd survive one of my Disney days so I'll keep them for normal wear.

After I checked out I had Christian take a picture of me with my purchase (which came in an amazing tote bag with a lookbook!) and I felt I needed to explain my giddiness to the woman at the store. I told her they were my favorite brand and this was my EIGTH pair. She was very excited to hear that.

Unfortunately I missed a special collection for Mary Katrantzou's Spring 2020 show - more pretty pictures here. They created beautiful sandals for the show held at the Temple of Poseidon on October 3rd (only a few days after we left, ahh!) In celebration they also sold some limited edition sandals at the store and changed their displays. Oh well, you can't have everything!

Where to Eat

Dionysos Zonar's

We ate here on our first night in Athens. It was another accident as the place I had wanted us to eat was all booked up (even though it was only 5:30...I bet they just don't like Americans) so we had to keep walking to find somewhere else and happened upon Zonar's with a lovely view of the Acropolis. We ate out on the patio which has a different menu from inside. This was my favorite meal in Athens apart from the last place on this list. I had the free-range chicken with broccoli, black rice and mustard sauce and Christian tried the Moussaka to see if it was better than what he had in Santorini (it wasn't.)

Funny note - this was the only restaurant on our whole trip that served water with their ice, which I really appreciated. I do love cold water!


Our last meal of the trip was a small outdoor cafe near the Acropolis Museum. It was close to our apartment and we were so tired that we wanted something quick and easy! Christian had a Gyro and I had Meatballs with rice. Not the best meal (mine,) but it did the trick!

Piazza Duomo

This restaurant is where I had one of my favorite desserts back in 2015. I went back again super excited to share the deliciousness with Christian and was sadly let down. We ordered the chocolate souffle and when it came we dug in hoping to find a lovely gooey center. What we got was a ball of hard ganache that had not melted all the way through and a rubbery cake on the outside.   I had this TWICE in 2015 and both times it was amazing so maybe this was a fluke. I'm wondering if they got lazy with their desserts and started to buy frozen in bulk, or this one just wasn't cooked enough.  Either way I was very dissapointed.

We did have lunch before the dessert which was good. Once again Christian tried the mousakka to see if it would be the best of the 3, he said it was better than Zonar's but not as good as the one in Santorini. I had chicken with quinoa salad - suuuper tasty! So at least the lunch was good.

Patisserie Artemis

On our last night we wanted some baklava for dessert and this Patisserie was on the way back to our apartment from dinner so we stopped in. Plus, we liked the name, who doesn't want to eat something made my a Goddess, right? We got some regular baklava and tried a chocolate variety as well, so tasty!

Little Kook

I saved the best for last! As I mentioned above, I found out about Little Kook only a few days before we left for our trip and knew we had to try it! They change their theme every few months and totally makeover the restaurant and menu, when I googled they were doing a Mary Poppins theme and when we arrived it was all decked out in pumpkins and ghouls for Halloween! I even got to sit on a pumpkin throne, the best seat in the house!

If you ask Christian this would probably be his favorite part of the whole trip. He loved the decor, the music and of course the desserts! We didn't realize how big they would be so we got 2 separate ones. I got the Dragon's Hot Breath (chocolate cake with chocolate praline layers and covered in meringue flambe) and Chrisitan had a Dark Witch Brownie (brownie with ice cream.) They were so huge, we definitely could have shared one and still been stuffed.  My cake was AMAZINGGG, the meringue on the outside was the perfect compliment to all the chocolate inside.

Needless to say this was our lunch. Luckily we went here before lunch (it was close to where we were and we were hungry) otherwise I doubt we would have had any room to eat them!


  1. So envious of all your travels! You got so much in on your trip and I can't believe you walked 100 miles! All your food is looking so yummy, it's definitely making me crave greek food!

  2. It's amazing you walked so much! And how exciting you spied Kristen bell! :) The sights are so beautiful and you fit a lot in - love the photo of you in the shop with your new shoes, so cute! :)

    It's a shame the dessert didn't live up to your expectations but you did get a lot of other yummy food over your time there! :)

    Hope that you had a great weekend and your week is off to a good start :)

    Away From Blue