Weekend get-away: Athens

Greece is a dream holiday destination — the beautiful islands, the history, the coffee and the food. Athens is the the main hub and starting point for most trips to Greece, so why not spend a couple of days discovering this historic city, before hitting the beach?

Pepi, an Athens native, was gracious enough to give us some tips and ideas on what to do in Athens with children. She grew up in the city of Patras before coming to Athens many years ago. During her studies she spent a year in Scotland before settling in Athens.  She now lives with her husband Chris and their little daughter Alice in this city full of history. Pepi is now a full time mom and spends her time with her daughter discovering and playing. Here are her insider tips:

SEE:

1) Visit Stntagma Square (Metro stop Syntagma station). On the side of the square you can see the Parliament Building with the monument of the “Unknown Soldier”. Kids always love to watch the changing of the guards, as well as feed the pigeons that live on the square. Guards (“tsoliades”) wear traditional Greek costumes. Do not miss the famous “koulouri” pastries sold on the benches on the square.??

2) You can always take a small train called the Athens Sunshine Express, that gives you a little tour. I am sure kids would love it. The tour takes you around the city’s most popular areas such as Plaka, Monastiraki, Thissio and of course the Acropolis. A train departs every hour and the tour lasts approximately 40 minutes

3) Numismatic Museum is one of the oldest museums in Athens designed by the German Architect Tsiller. We recently discovered it while searching for a nice place to sit one afternoon. One cannot actually see it from the avenue but it is really nice to visit, to read newspaper or a book while the kids can walk around.

4) Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre: The Hellenic Cosmos can easily be reached from the centre of Athens (Metro station Kerameikos and then a short walk or a short taxi route). It is one of the best museums in Athens and a very fascinating place for kids and adults. You will find interactive exhibitions, educational programs, and virtual reality tours, which combine historic information with Hi-Tech, and will introduce adults and kids to Hellenic history and culture. The museum is divided into two parts: the “Tholos” that resembles a planetarium and hosts a virtual reality tour about life in ancient Athens. The second part “Theatron” is a venue that hosts plays, music concerts, dance performances, conferences, exhibitions and other. It’s a wonderful place to have an outdoor or indoor coffee while the kids can run through the wonderful educational games on the laptops provided. You can find the summer schedule on the Hellenic Cosmos website.

Play:

1) Starting from Syntagma square you can take a very nice walk to the National Gardens: a green park full of big trees, various animals such as turtles, different kind of birds, ducks, goats and loads more. There is a very well organized play ground with swings, climbing structures, sand box and a pony-ride. Next to the National Gardens, at Zappeion, you can go for a cup of coffee or for a light lunch at the Aegli restaurant.

2) The Adventure Park Malakasa is aimed at children above three years old. You will find challenging games within this wonderful leisure park situated in Malakasa (exit Markopoulo towards Lamia). It is ideal for those seeking to embrace nature while playing. Children and adults get to play on flying foxes and climbing walls. The is also a great refreshment area where you can have coffee and refreshments under the trees. This place is great for a Sunday morning.

3) BALUX Café in Glyfada offers a unique home away from home. In the lounge you can find board games for kids and adults, and of course there is a wonderful playground area suitable for all ages where your kids can entertain themselves while you are drinking coffee, or enjoying yourself by the sea.

4) YABANAKI BEACH in Varkiza (unfortunately the web site is under construction, so for some more info please see below). You will find clear shallow water pools ideal for kids. Parasols are free and there are beach showers and changing facilities and of course a large bar area full of tables in the shade. Older kids can enjoy themselves at the water sport center. Great for all family members! Address: Varkiza Beach, Varkiza. Opening hours: 08:00-20:00. Tel: 210 8972414

Eat:

1) Aegli is a very chic and modern restaurant – I definitely prefer it in summer time where you can enjoy your coffee while children can play around the Gardens of Zappeion. Alternatively there is a new playground next to it with new and very safe equipment.

2) Al Milanese (49 Ksenokratous str, Kolonaki) is a very nice restaurant to enjoy some spaghetti and the original recipes by Italians who permanently live in Athens. There is a great garden, on the pedestrian part of Ksenokratous road with a very friendly atmosphere especially on Sundays.

Shop:

1) Go to Gaitanaki (18 Akadimias str, Kolonaki) for a great variety of “little treasures”. The shop looks like it is from a fairy tale. It is a cave filled with creative toys and inspirational gifts for kids. There are some wonderful deco articles for kids’ bedrooms. Although it is sometimes a little bit expensive, I really believe you should visit it.

2) Trikiklo is one of my favorite kids’ concept store in Athens where you can find a wide selection of furniture, baby carriers, toys and clothes.

6 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Marta | August 7, 2010 | Reply

Thanks for these tips! I would love to go to Athens with my family. My son loves musaka and olives :)

2. ChicLittleBaby | August 8, 2010 | Reply

Great tips! Haven’t been to Athens since I was a teenager. Would be a hellava lot different going back with my little one…x

3. NVT | August 8, 2010 | Reply

Great tips. Am planning a trip to Greece in September. Was planning to just go to the beach on one of the isalnds but now reconsidering. Your post has made me think that Athens definitely deserves a look-in.

4. Anna | August 9, 2010 | Reply

Wonderful post and great tips. As a Greek Canadian living in Europe its so nice to share our wonderful heritage and culture with everyone!

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[…] the lovely Pepi Nikolopoulou from the Greek online boutique and blog Alice on Board. Pepi wrote a Weekend Getaway about her beautiful city, Athens, a few years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch ever […]

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