DSC09619You’re coming to Greece. You’ve booked your flights, and now you’re surfing the internet trying to plan your journey. Santorini … Mykonos … an overnight stop in Paros. Ten days. Perhaps two weeks in glorious Greece. You’ve got your plan. You’ll land in Athens, find a hotel in Plaka, while your body still wonders what time it is, you’ll check out the Acropolis and the Parthenon, snap the requisite photos and head off for the port or back to the airport in the morning to head to the islands. But it’s ok, you’ll overnight in Athens one more time before your return trip home.

“What can I do for two days in Athens?” “Is one night in Athens enough?” “They spent a week in Athens, what did they do?” As an expat in Athens I get these questions all the time. A friend of a friend is visiting Greece, so they’ve passed along my phone number or my email. “One night in Athens?” I ask rhetorically, “Spend it figuring out how to cut your time elsewhere and return when you can give this magnificent metropolis your undivided, unjetlagged, attention.”

So for those planning on visiting my adopted city with a well rested mind, I offer an ongoing collection of my favorites in my Athena. From where to dine outside of the tourist center yet still downtown, to where to visit a real shadow puppeter, to where to find freshly braided garlic and homemade wine. Sure, you’ll find tips about exploring the historical center here as well, because the Parthenon is certainly a grand part of Athens’ history. But I’ll also encourage you to steal a few hours from your day to share a park bench with a group of Athenian men playing tavli, or let your kids kick around a soccer ball in the square with some Athenian children, or wander beyond Syntagma Square to one of the outdoor farmers markets.

I’ll even challenge you with this website to open your eyes to the beauty of “modern” Athens, the architecture of the past century, from Neo-Classical to Art Nouveau to Art Deco and into the new millennium with steel and glass.

So, keep planning your travel to Greece. Just remember, give Athens the respect she deserves.