08 September 2016

TRAVEL | Athens - Greek History + a One Day Cruise

I remember first listening to Greek myths and legends in primary school and being blown away. Since then, Athens had been on my travel bucket list for quite some time. Athens is the heart of Ancient Greece, and I had the opportunity to delve into the rich history of the city on my recent trip with my family. 

(So this holiday was in July, and I'm only blogging about it in September. A tad bit late, I'm aware, but this holiday was too good to not write about and share photos of!)

Following a relaxing weekend in Mykonos, we flew to Athens for a quick three day stay. I'm glad it was three days - the shorter the stay, the more active we are when it comes to holidays abroad. Also, it was scorching - I'm talking up to 40 degrees everyday. 

We did so much; we explored the Acropolis and many ancient ruins, absorbing the history; we explored the modern Athens city itself; and we did a one day cruise!

Read on for more...

After arriving in Athens at our hotel, Fresh, we spent a while walking around Athens. We came across a Flormar pop up shop (I bought a few things - I couldn't resist), many trinket and souvenir shops, as well a Fish Spa.

Yes, a Fish Spa, you read correctly! My sister and I nervously dipped our feet into tanks of mini fish, who nibbled at our toes and dry skin, all for the hopes of soft, pampered feet after. At Doctor Fish, we spent ten minutes squealing at the ticklish feelings on our feet, while Dad kindly filmed us for my Athens Travel Diary (have a watch - it's at the top of this post).

I loved the architecture style of Athens, and its photogenic streets. Every corner I turned, I was almost bound to see some kind of historic site or ruin. In the first few hours of our stay, I had already established a liking for the city. We soon turned back to the hotel as it was so warm, and I made my way up to the pool on the beautiful rooftop for a cool down before we headed out for dinner.

Meals out in Athens were all lovely - it's easy to find quality restaurants, even by walking around, as it's such a huge city. My favourite meal was the one on the rooftop of our hotel - there was a stunning sunset, and you could gaze at the beautiful Acropolis propped on its hill as well as the millions of bright city lights when the sky darkened.




On our second day, we went on a cruise with One Day Cruise. It was a super early start - on the bus to the port at 7.30 am - and our first stop would be Hydra, one of the three Saronic islands we would be visiting. 

The journey was about two hours. The boat was huge, with loads of tourists, and there wasn't much to do other than to sit around. So, I was stuck into my book series Mad in Wonderland by Cameron Jace (I finished the first book and started the second on my Kindle!) for the day on each boat journey. This first two hour journey was the longest, as Hydra was the furthest from the Athens port. 

Hydra is probably one of the most picturesque places I've ever been to. When I first spotted the island from the boat, my eyes widened. Pastel houses with red roofs off the side of a large hill, yachts travelling in and out, people jumping off a small cliff into the clear blue water; I was excitedly snapping away on my camera from the moment the island was in view to the moment we left.

On the island, there were no cars, only donkeys, and the town was so cute with its small streets, locals at every turn. Emily and I found steps up to a higher view up of island, and I of course posed for a few pictures. I'm a blogger after all!

Next stop, following a satisfying lunch on the boat, was Poros. We were on this island for a short while, something like half an hour, so we just decided to relax, eat ice cream and enjoy the view from the cafe we were sitting at. Once again, my camera and I were at work, and I was happy to capture the real beauty of the sparkling blue water of the sea.

For our next destination, Ageina, we had a choice of three tours - one historical tour, one city tour and a 'swimming' tour (a trip to a tiny island off Ageina for some time relaxing time at the beach). We chose the 'swimming' tour; we got off the cruise ship to find ourselves on another boat, a little speedboat to be specific, minutes later. We arrived at this exotic, tropical-like cove, with a small crowd, sunbathing and swimming (surprise surprise) at the island's shore. It was so hot, so scenic and so beautiful, and I adored floating around in the sea with my family.

We returned to Athens, and after a long day on a cruise boat we went to our hotel to rest before dinner.

Dad booked a guided historic tour of Athens for our last day. We were in an air-conditioned van, driving around with a lovely man as our tour guide (we can't remember his name unfortunately). It was another early start, and the first site we visited was the Acropolis - where many ancient Greek ruins still stand, including the first theatre in the world, the Theatre of Dionysus. I did my Grade 10 Speech and Drama exam this summer, and learnt all about ancient Greek theatre, so I was psyched to visit that particular monument.

Before we headed up the hill to the Acropolis, our guide gave us some interesting information about the history of the Acropolis, as well as the architecture styles of the buildings there. As a lover of history, I was fascinated by the beautiful ruins, and was amazed at how well preserved they are. It was almost surreal seeing the Theatre of Dionysus, which was built in the 6th century (there's not so much of left, let me tell you)!

After the Acropolis, our guide drove us up a hill to view the city from up above (my sister and I attempted to 'hold' the Acropolis in the distance). As well as that, we saw the Panathenaic stadium, the Temple of Zeus, and we went to see the 'changing of the guards'. Those soldiers were pretty serious; we technically weren't allowed to smile, but I couldn't help but grin away, considering what I was doing was quite bizarre.

Back in the car, we went on a reasonably long car journey to Corinth. We stood on the bridge of the deep, deep, deep Corinth Canal, which connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea (bit of a Geography lesson for you there). We also visited the ruins of Ancient Corinth, and almost got to see Acrocorinth, the acropolis of Corinth, but we found out it was closed before we could climb up the steps.

The finale of our long day exploring Athens, and its surrounding places of interests, included that beautiful sunset dinner on the rooftop of our hotel, that I had mentioned before. We were to go to the airport the next morning, so my long awaited visit to Athens city was coming to a close. It was the perfect ending to a spectacular trip.

I'd love to return to Athens one day, but maybe in a colder season!

In other news, I really really really (x10000) hope I get back into the mojo of blogging in the coming weeks! With Irish college at the end of summer, preparing for school and actually going to school (today marks the one week and four day anniversary of fifth year!!), I have been ridiculously busy. All will settle down soon, so don't fret; more fun, quirky content is coming your way (hints: outfits, magazines launches and fashion festivals)!

Stay tuned. xox


  1. Gorgeous photos! I really want to go to Greece as well. I'm going to watch your travel diary now xx

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