While the city of Athens can't quite compare to the natural beauty of Crete or Santorini, somehow it remains unexpectedly charming in all of its dilapidated glory. Between the ruins of the Acropolis and the unkempt hipster neighborhoods of Psiri and Monastiraki, the derelict gems of Athens exude character and personality. Sure, it wasn't one of the most pristine or aesthetically pleasing cities I've ever been to, but it has life.
It's abounding with bustling cafés serving iced freddo espressos, trendy froyo shops nestled between boutiques, all-organic restaurants, and vintage bars like Osterman - a Gatsby-esque wine bar recently converted from a run-down Victorian fabric shop. Locals amble down the streets yelling to one another in Greek and convening on outdoor terraces, joyfully sipping their frappés and taking refuge in the shade. The chipped paint, colorful graffiti and boarded up windows contribute an unlikely charm to the surrounding urban jungle.
From exploring the awe-inspiring Parthenon to sipping freddos inside hip cafés with crumbling exteriors, the disrepair and hidden beauty of Athens is to be celebrated.
My Athens Picks:
Best Coffee: Lukumades
Best Views: Atop Mount Lycabettus
Best Place to Wander: Anafiotika
Favorite Bar: Osterman