Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ten things to do in Athens with children that don't involve old rocks

Traveling with children should be a fun experience, but all too often parents forget that kids don’t always like the same things we like, or that they don’t always move at the same pace as the grown-ups move. There’s alot of archeology in Greece, and you have traveled far to see it. But to your kids, (and to some adults) after awhile all those ruins look the same. A common trip to Greece includes a quick stop in Athens to admire the Parthenon, followed by a whirl through Plaka and then a race to the port for the ferry to Mykonos and Santorini (neither of which are what I would call child friendly islands).
Athens may be a big city, but if you slow down just a bit, and you base yourself on the correct, family friendly side of downtown, you’re sure to fall in love. There’s much to explore in this at once modern and ancient metropolis, and much to entertain the children while you still get to explore the ancient sites.
So, slow down, plant yourself in Athens for 4 or 5 days, and plan to include at least half of these top ten Athens travel ideas that will please and entertain both you and your children:
1. Haridimos Shadow Puppet Museum and Workshop, perfect for the child WITHIN all of us.
2. Hellenic Cosmos Virtual Reality Exhibits, highly recommended before you drag them though the Ancient Agora or off to Ancient Olympia.
3. Visit the Caretta Caretta Turtle Rescue Center in Glyfada – you can combine this with your Tram trip (see #4 below).
4. Take the slow train to the coast, find a beach, and PLAY. There’s a kids’ “moonwalk land”, an old Navy boat that’s been transformed into a museum as well as a human sized chess game almost always in play on the boardwalk not far from the Flisovos Marina (Tram stop anywhere, but Trocadero is a good place to find lots to do), and during October 2010 you can pickup free bicycles to ride up and down the coast just by showing your tram ticket (limited to set hours, see the Tram website for more details).  If you feel compelled to “do” something “educational” on the way back, see number 6 below).
5. Visit the wonderful playground in the National Gardens near the Zappeio.
6. The Eugenides Planetarium in Palio Faliro.
7. Take a hydrofoil to Hydra.
8. Go to an outdoor movie, or if you’re visiting outside of the summer cinema season, consider the Village Theater in Pangrati on Ymittou. Before the movie you can take the kids for a tumble in the lower level indoor child’s playland, or upstairs to the fantastic children’s store, the Imaginarium, and after the movie you can head down the street to Ladokolla – see #9.
9. Let them eat with their hands at Archaion Gefseis (Ancient Flavors) – if they are picky eaters and don’t want to eat, that’s ok too, because the seats all allow diners to experience dinner as the Ancients did, while reclining – so, if the kids are tired, let them sleep! Yes, the place is a bit kitchy, but where else can the kids eat with their hands without you having to tell them to mind their manners? If kitsch is too much for you, go local and take them to Ladokolla, the waxpaper place, where sheets of butcher paper are your plates and eating with your hands from the pile of finger linking  good grilled chops in the center of the table is the rule.  The funny cartoons on the walls are captioned in Greek – but no matter, one of your friendly, energetic young servers will surely translate the captions.
10.  Ride the metro. Kids not only love trains, but the metro is an amazing archeological dig that puts things into much greater perspective than alot of the sites you’ll be dragging them to. Forget about the cases with urns, just check out the ancient graves, the aquaduct, an old kiln and more. And really impress your kids when you point out that the skeleton in the grave in the Syntagma station has two left femurs!
And finally, if you MUST visit a museum – consider the original Benaki Museum on Vas. Sophias avenue – if you are traveling with young girls, they’ll love the collection of costumes, you’ll get to see plenty of ancient relics as well, while the airplane lovers in your group will enjoy a peek at the outdoor aircraft on display behind the War Museum just up the street, and afterwards you’ll be able to make a quick exit to the playground across the street in the National Gardens.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The best cafe in the world is in Athens!

The "mind the cup" at Peristeri now boasts that it is the list of Buzzfeed with "25 coffee shops to see before you die." The list includes cafes from New York, to Australia that have managed to stand out due to the aromatic coffee, the design and drawings on mugs with latte.

And the number one cafe is

Mind the cup, at Peristeri (Athens).

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It's a warm and welcoming place, which urges you to explore it. A shop that could have been taken out from a film. The designs you will see in your cup with milk will impress.

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Send us an email at and once you come in Athens we will help you see the city as a local.
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Summer in Athens. Beach, Coffee, Food, Pool!

Today the weather was wonderful and as summer is already here we felt like seeing the sea. There was no traffic and we reached the sea in just 20 minutes by car.

First we had coffee by the sea. Some people were in the sunbeds and were swimming.

When the children got bored they played at the indian tent.

Then we had a juice at the garden.

The pool was fantastic in the end. Especially the sunset was awesome.

The way back was also good. No traffic, in 20-25 minutes we were back

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Things to do in Athens, very close to our apartment

Things to do in the city centre of Athens
sPeople look at the full moon rising behind the Parthenon, on the Acropolis Hill, in Athens, Greece

  • The Acropolis Hill and Museum
  • Acropolis Museum Restaurant
  • The Ancient Agora
  • Plaka-Monastiraki-Thision
  • Anafiotika in Plaka
  • Thiseion Cinema
  • Monastiraki Flea Market
  • Byzantino Museum
  • Benaki Museum, Pireos Street Annex
  • Gazi for entertainment (drink, coffee, food)
  • Mount Lycabettus
All the above can be visited by metro whithin 4-6 stops from our apartment.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our Bedroom

Very comfortable bed!

Posted by swap apartment in Athens, Greece, Home Exchange in Athens, Greece

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Some places of entertainment for young or whoever feels young in Athens

Panormou street.


Close to the university campus you will usually meet students in all day bars and cafes.


For coffee or a drink and some nice restaurants. For coffee we usually go to Podilato but for food we go to Salero.


Thissio. You can have a drink opposite the Acropolis but if you want to try something different you should try Rakomelo in one of the cafes-bars of Iraklidon Str. Not the ones close to the Acropolis. Walk further down and you will find small cafes serving this typical greek drink. Don't miss cine thision, which has been voted as the best cinema in the world. It's one of the oldest open air cinemas in Greece. You can enjoy your drink as you see a film under the Athenian sky and the Acropolis.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wine bars. The new fashion in Athens! Article from The Guardian

Athens' new-school wine bars

Greece is not known for its wines, but a new crop of wine bars in Athens offers locals and tourists the chance to sample some excellent homegrown varieties

• This blogpost first appeared on the Culinary Backstreets blog
Heteroclito, Athens
At Heteroclito wine bar in Athens, all of the wines served by the glass are Greek
The economic crisis that has plagued Greece for the past five years has led to changes on the Athenian culinary scene, including the opening of three new types of venues that seem to be reflective of the times. The first two – cupcake places and frozen yogurt shops – are imports from abroad, perhaps indicative of a population in need of something sweet, comforting and affordable. On the other hand, the third trend, wine bars, digs deep into Greece's roots, representing a fascinating phenomenon in a country that is one of the world's oldest wine-producing regions.

In antiquity, Greek wine was exported across the Mediterranean, and the winemaking tradition has remained strong through the millennia. Yet although there are numerous wineries around the country, in the modern era Greek wine has never achieved the place it deserves on the international market. Production levels are low and vintners have long been unsure of how to market abroad. Outside Greece, one might at best find retsina, a sweet wine infused with pine resin that's reminiscent of the wine used at Communion, or mavrodafni, a red varietal with an almost industrial flavour. But with Greeks themselves increasingly consuming wine, these days a new crop of wine bars has opened in Athens that give both locals and visitors the chance to taste some great domestic varieties.

Oinoscent (which we previously mentioned in our Athens Best Bites of 2012) was the first wine bar downtown when it opened a few years ago and is still very popular with young professionals. The atmosphere – which, unlike most bars in Athens, is strictly nonsmoking – is smart yet casual, with aluminium chairs and warm decor. (Don't forget to check out the über-sleek wine cellar downstairs.) Oinoscent's owners, two lovely brothers in their late twenties, are happy to offer informed advice in English about what to choose from the wine list. The snacks are also excellent: in addition to the barley rusks (think big, fat rustic croutons soaking in olive oil) and olives and the truly fantastic cheese platter, there is an excellent mozzarella di bufala with baby tomatoes.

The short, carefully selected wine list at Oinoscent is balanced between domestic and foreign wines, but the real adventure lies on the list's Greek side. We particularly like the Mikri Kivotos, a blend of agiorgitiko grapes from the Nemea region of the Peloponnese and xinomavro grapes from Amyntaio in northern Greece. Often characterised as Greece's merlot, xinomavro is one of the most promising Greek varieties, at once dark (mavro means black), dry and rich in flavor. If you are aiming for white, another interesting option is Magiko Vouno ("Magic Mountain"), made by Lazaridi Winery in Drama in Northern Greece. This is a popular sauvignon blanc in Greece and is an elegant, exuberant wine with fruity notes.

Oinoscent wine bar, Athens

Oinoscent wine bar. Photograph: Manteau Stam

Located just off Ermou, Athens' biggest commercial street, Heteroclito (which means "heterogenous") opened its doors in late summer 2012. The place is our favourite in terms of decor: the downstairs area is like a nonsmoking French bistro, while the smoking area upstairs is an ode to 60s and 70s Athens, with mosaic floors and Danish furniture. The emphasis here is on Greek wine and Greek grape varieties, something that the owners, Madeleine and Chrysoula, are always keen to point out. Indeed, all of the wines served by the glass are Greek.
We loved the malagousia – one of Greece's best-known aromatic varieties, grown in both the Peloponnese and northern Greece – from Arvanitidis Winery outside Thessaloniki. This delicate, aromatic white grape had become virtually extinct by the 1980s, when Gerovassiliou Winery resuscitated it and turned it into a leading Greek wine, especially in the foreign market. Greece's dessert wine tradition is also worthy of note. Some of the country's best dessert wines are produced by a co-operative on the island of Samos. The award-winning Samos Nectar, which has a rich, sweet taste with an almost raisin-like aftertaste, is considered one of the best in its category – and, at €4 per glass, it's also a great deal.
There are two even newer entries to the roster of downtown Athens wine bars. By the Glass took over one of the Syntagma area's most beautiful arcades, opposite the city's Russian Orthodox church, to open a clean (no smoking allowed) bar with an interesting twist. Customers can pick and choose what they want to try and in what quantity, with glasses offered in 25ml, 75ml and 150ml. There are about 90 labels available, of which 19 are offered by the glass, making the venue a great place to taste different varieties. By the Glass attracts a somewhat older and more mature clientele.
Also brand-new, Harvest is located at one of our favourite street corners, where the pedestrianised Aiolou meets Evripidou, a traditional downtown trade street famous for its spices and pastirma shops. Run by the young and enthusiastic Evangelia Kontopoulou, Harvest is a place we have grown to love. The decor – funky ceramic tiles on the walls, large communal tables – is gorgeous. Thanks to both the menu and the wine list, Harvest attracts a mixed crowd, from young couples and singles to folks in their sixties. The food selection is reason enough to come here, though the tapas are on the pricy side. In our opinion, the best value-for-money items are the tostas, open grilled sandwiches served with salad on the side, of which our favourite is the one with jamón (Spanish ham) and tomato. We're also fond of the (very Spanish) fabada, a delicious mixture of white baby beans and chorizo in red sauce.
We imagine that in a few years from now, Athens will most likely have far fewer cupcake bakeries and frozen yogurt stands. This new crop of wine bars, on the other hand, seems like it's here to stay. We'll drink to that.
Note: Opening and closing times are to be taken with a grain of salt, as Athens bars close when people go home.

• Oinoscent: Voulis 45-47, Syntagma, +30 210 322 9374, Mon-Thurs noon-1am, Fri-Sat noon-2am, closed Sunday
• Heteroclito: Fokionos 2, Syntagma, +30 210 323 9406,, Mon-Thurs noon-midnight, Fri-Sat 12.30pm-1.30am, Sun 5pm-11pm
• By the Glass: Georgiou Souri 3, Syntagma, +30 210 323 2560, Mon-Thurs 8pm-late, Sat 10pm-late, Sun 11pm-late (closing time depends on business)
• Harvest: Aiolou 64, downtown, +30 213 025 2284, 7pm-2am
This is an article from our Guardian Travel Network. To find out more about it, click here
Personally we have been to WINE POINT which is close to the Acropolis Museum and we had a great time.   
The decoration is very cosy and its list contains a variety of very good greek wines in very good prices. The wine we chose was one with my favourite variety called Malagouzia. When we went there was also a very good guitarist who played and sang 80s greek rock music. We would definitely recommend it!
A.Diakou & Porinou 2, Athens, GR.
21 0922 7050

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