Forget one night in Bangkok, one day in Athens is where it’s at!
We tried and failed to add Athens onto our fast-paced Eurotrip until I spotted some cheap flights from Berlin to Amsterdam. The budget flight gods had aligned – we could fly into Athens in the morning and fly back to Berlin in the evening. Flying into another country for one day is something that you just can’t do in New Zealand, everything is so far away (and expensive to get to!), so we jumped at the chance.
That’s how we found ourselves waking up at 2 am to get the first train of the day out to Schönefeld Airport.
By 10 am we were on the metro to Athens city centre. The first thing we noticed? Sun! Warmth! We’d ditched our kiwi summer for Europe’s winter, so Athens’ balmy 20 degrees was a welcome break from the cold. The people of Athens didn’t get the memo though, they were in heavy coats and scarves – madness!
The first thing we did was get our combination tickets for the historical sites in Athens, for 12 euros you can hit the Acropolis and 7 other historical sites. We had an 8 pm flight to catch so we were on a mission to see as many things as possible. With some help from google maps and the all-in-greek signs, we checked out some ruins en route to the Acropolis.
New Zealand doesn’t have anything anywhere near this old, so we were awe in of everything.
We even saw wild poppies – pretty special considering we wear fake poppies every year for Anzac Day.
After a bit of a climb, we made it to the Acropolis. It was completely surreal. Being at the bottom of the world in New Zealand, I never thought I’d get to Europe, let alone an ancient landmark like the Acropolis.
My thoughts right now: I’m at the Acropolis..I’m at the Acropolis..
We checked out a few other places like Hadrian’s Library before having a Greek platter for lunch. I have no idea what I ate but it was amazing – I’m officially a fan of Greek food.
With a few hours left, we squeezed in the climb up Mount Lycabettus. We got the metro to the base of the hill where my friend was chased around the metro square by a gypsy, who insisted on giving her a flower for “free”. Like a good friend, I stood by and watched, crying with laughter.
After ditching the gypsy, we began climbing. The stairs were never ending and passed through some interesting-looking neighbourhoods, if we didn’t have our flight to catch we’d have done a lot more exploring. The view at the top though, wow.
You can even sit right on the edge and dangle your feet over the city below.
There’s a cable car up to the top but climbing honestly isn’t that hard and makes for more of an adventure.
The only thing left to do was run down the hill and through Athens to get the metro back to the airport.
We made our flight with a little time to spare and landed back in Berlin at 10.30 pm, tired but in the best way possible.
We flew with Ryanair into Athens and Easyjet back to Berlin. Unburdened by luggage, we breezed through the airports. We walked everywhere in Athens and only took the metro to/from the Airport and from the Acropolis area to Mt Lycabettus. It was a lot of walking but we were up for it. The metro from the airport is about an hour, so make sure to factor that in if you’re visiting for one day like us! You can buy a return ticket at the airport from the machines or at the counter.
Getting around was easy, signs are in the Latin alphabet as well as the Greek alphabet. Google Maps easily guided us around the city with no major hiccups.
Allow an hour or two for climbing Mt Lycabettus as well.