48 Hours in Sophisticated Athens

By Catriona Cherrie

Offering travellers the luxuries of modern Europe alongside the stark beauty of the ancient world, Greece is as undemanding as it is captivating, boasting such celebrated ancient wonders as the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Athens is her prime port destination and one that is certainly not to be missed. In this lively, sophisticated Mediterranean city, ancient and modern coexist, happily moulded together by history and architecture.

Athens bursts at the seams with incredible history and adventure at every street corner; looking up, you can see the ancient acropolis and Ancient Greek ruins, whilst looking around the streets you will see contemporary cafes and art galleries. Luckily, the attractions of Athens, old and new, are within a compact area and easy to see on a short visit.

Flisvos Marina, only 6 km from the centre of Athens, in Paleo Faliro, is Greece’s first and only marina honoured with “5 Gold Anchors Platinum” distinction and simultaneously the second mega-yacht marina in Europe to receive this accreditation, offering large-scale mooring capacity to mega-yacht owners from Greece and abroad.

Upon anchoring your superyacht in this award-winning marina and exploring the array of shops the marina offers on the quayside, make your way through the winding streets of the old town to one of a selection of luxurious five-star hotels dotted around the ancient city.

The oldest European city, this bustling metropolis is currently undergoing a radical urban renewal and is rife with excitement and adventure. After settling into the hotel and enjoying a delicious traditional lunch on the terrace of God's Restaurant, just across from the Acropolis Museum, head out and explore.

First on the list is the incredible Acropolis and Parthenon, which sit atop Acropolis Hill. Discover the incredible buried streets of Ancient Greece underneath the huge glass floor of the Acropolis Museum, and marvel at the views across Athens from the top of the hill as the columns of one of the seven wonders of the world tower above you. 

As the afternoon blends into the evening and the famous Greek sunset begins to colour the sky coral and orange, head to Plaka, the old quarter of the town. Here is a tempting taste of the Greece of old, boldly boasting bustling markets and antiquated tavernas which are hidden down winding alleys. Here is the perfect place to find a quiet spot for dinner and to wind down after a day exploring ancient history.

The next day is when modern Greece is ready to be uncovered. The city’s cosmopolitan shape shines brightest in the chic Kolonaki, home to designer boutiques, elegant eateries and gorgeous hotels. The perfect late lunch or pre-dinner cocktail can be found in Kolonaki, the district of choice for the Athenian elite. 

There are some great rooftop bars where the views of the city at night are splendid. Drinks at the GB Roof Garden Bar, on the 8th floor of the swish Hotel Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square, cannot be recommended enough. For those who have become inspired by the indulgent cocktails and beautiful views of the Parthenon lit up in the distance, continue the night by heading to Gazi, Athens's hip new arts and nightlife district. 

Dance the night away with live music at Gazarte or for a more relaxed atmosphere go for a dinner surrounded by the best view in Athens instead. Orizontes Lycabettus is at the top of the rocky outcrop called Lycabettus Hill and is only accessible by funicular cable car. The menu is a beautiful blend of modernity and ancient Greek tradition, compromising predominantly of fusion seafood.

Both destinations have the perfect vibe for ending your short but sweet stay in Athens, an ancient cradle of life where the traditions of the old world meld seamlessly with modern sophistication in a unique cultural patchwork.

By Catriona Cherrie