Travel with kids – Family Trip : Athens with kids (Greece) 

Lancelot (4), Ysé (9), Balthazar (12)

and their parents in Athens

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Athens with kids often turns to a quick stop before heading to the islands, visiting one or two must-sees. It’s a pity: Athens worth it! From cultural heritage to alternative street art, between chaos and charming spots, take your family on and off the beaten path,for a journey through 30 centuries of history… Athens with kids, family trip: kids in front of Greek Parliament, on Syntagma Square

Such a lively town, you may end up falling in love with!

  What we loved to do in Athens with kids

  Our favorite places in Athens with kids

 Athens’ best hotels for families

  Eating with kids in Athens 

  What we liked less

  Tips

  Don’t forget to bring

Capture d’écran 2014-11-14 à 13.39.39 What we loved to do in Athens with kids

 

To discover the Acropolis as a family: the emblematic gem of the Greek capital, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, a visit you cannot miss! On its promontory, the sacred site overlooks the city and is a landmark from almost everywhere in the city. The site is very large. With the children, in 2 hours on the site, we privileged the Parthenon, of course, and the magnificent temple of the Erechtheion, with its famous caryatids. And when you turn back, you also enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Athens! Price: 20 € per adult, Free for children. Schedules here. Access by subway: Akropolis station (of course!), or Monastiraki going up the pretty alleys of the Plaka.

  • Tips for visiting the Acropolis with children:

It is a busy place: to avoid the crowds, go there in the morning, at the opening (before the groups’ arrival around 10 am), or in late in the afternoon. You’ll also avoid the heat.

The site is not practicable with a stroller. It is better to carry small children and let the bigger ones walk.

Have some real shoes (sneakers, no flip-flops) to walk on irregular paths and slippery stones.

Wear a cap and carry water for the whole family

If you want to take a guided visit, Discover Greek Culture provides kid-friendly featured tours. 

To visit the Acropolis Museum: the entire collection is coming from the Acropolis site, so it’s an ideal complement to the visit. The children enjoyed this recent and bright museum. Don’t forget to ask the Information Desk for a booklet specially designed for children to raise their interest while visiting the Museum. You can also receive the ‘Family backpacks‘, providing an educational leaflet about “The Parthenon Sculptures”, a kids’ map of the Parthenon Gallery, colored pouches and a puzzle of the Parthenon!

The entrance’s glass floor allows watching archaeological excavation areas, just below the museum. It’s impressive and will trigger vocations to become archaeologist! The objects coming from the sanctuaries around the Acropolis are showed while you go to the 1t floor. The third floor is really interesting (if you’re planning a short visit, go straight there), with the Parthenon’s friezes and pediments, set as they were originally. And behind the bay windows, a magnificent view of the original!  Café on the ground floor and restaurant on the second floor. The Acropolis Museum, 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou – Subway station : Akropolis

To watch the (free!) ‘show’ of the “evzones” changing at Syntagma square, in front of the Hellenic Parliament. The changing of the Guard takes place every hour (so be there at minus ten, minus five). It’s a strange choreography, with very slow developed legs and heel slaps. The guards are in traditional costume, wearing a skirt, wool tights and pompon shoes (not very adapted to local temperatures, we suffered for them!). The whole thing (lasting 15 min app.) is very serious and regulated by strict instructions: don’t cross the line and wait for permission to take a picture with the guard. Something between weird and fun that kids liked!

To have a break in the National Gardens, a few meters from the Syntagma square. It’s a large park of 15 hectares, perfect to run, play and relax after visiting… There are a playground (with toilets), attractions, ponds and some animals in enclosures. A very welcome rest while visiting Athens with kids! Free admission.

To contemplate ancient’s masterpieces at the Archaeological Museum. No crowds, still some wonders: Agamemnon’s golden mask, a lot of ancient statues of course … Among the finest collections in the world! We also saw a temporary exhibit on the remains found during underwater excavations which was of great interest to the children (with videos of the divers, etc.).Very nice garden-café in the heart of the museum. Archeological Museum, 44 Patission. Subway : Victoria (district Omonia) Free for children.

To take a funicular ride to the top of the Mount Lycabettus (Likavittos) to admire the most beautiful view of Athens! Climbing the stairs to the underground funicular (called “teleferik” in Greek!) worth it. The 3 minutes ride lift you to the top, where the magnificent 360 ° panoramic view is amazing: the entire city stretching in front of you, with the Acropolis in the foreground, Piraeus city and the Aegean sea in the background … It’s even more beautiful in the late afternoon when the sun goes down! Once you have enjoyed the view, you can go down by foot, for a nice easy walk … Kolonaki district, Evangelismos metro, entrance to the funicular at the intersection of Ploutarchou and Aristippou streets.

To travel back in time at the Hadrian Library, in the heart of Monastiraki district. It is a small archaeological site, which can be visited in half an hour. There is not so much to see (though the statues in the small museum are very beautiful), but we especially liked the amazing contrast between these Roman ruins and the lively neighborhood all around … A quite poetic shift!

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Athens with kids : visiting the Acropolis

 

 

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Athens with kids : the guards in Syntagma Square

 

 

Athens with kids Syntagma square evzones

 

 

Athens with kids view from Lycabettus Mount

 

 

Athens with kids : Hadrian Library in Monastiraki

Capture d’écran 2014-11-14 à 13.39.39 Our favorite places in Athens with kids

 

The district of Monastiraki where stands the lively “Flea Market”, with its succession of small shops, like an oriental bazaar. It is not a ‘real’ flea market, but mostly T-shirts, shoes, sunglasses … I am not a big fan but kids like to stroll around, finding some souvenirs to bring back (not Greek at all!). Near from there, the Greek sandals “star”: “Melissinos the poet”, a small shop full of people and sandals where the whole family can find its happiness. Sofia Loren, Jackie Onassis and even the Beatles might have been customers! Good quality and nice prices. Melissinons, Agias Theklas 2, Psirri (metro Monastiraki, but Psirri side)

The district of Keiramikos: our crush in Athens! A bit run down, but full of charm. No sites to visit (happy children!), but a lot of street art to enjoy with teenagers! Along the quiet streets, we had a pleasant stroll away from tourist areas: nice cafes, old neo-classical houses, often crumbling, and a profusion of murals … Keiramikos (“ceramics”) is the former district of potters. You can also visit the small museum and the cemetery (included in the ticket for the Acropolis).

The small area of ​​Anafiotika, to feel like in the Cycladic Islands and to see many many cats! Located right under the Acropolis (let’s called that “High Plaka”), this district was created in the 19th century by the workers who came to restore Athens, after the independence war against the Turks. They built it in the style of their island. A charming postcard decor, with its stairs, its little white houses, and full of cats! Completely exotic! No cars of course, but a lot of steps …

Not easy to find, but I will try to guide you: opposite to the Acropolis Museum, take the steep Thrasylou street which runs alongside the site, which then becomes Stratonos. When you reach a fork, take the street on the left. On your left, you will see stairs and alleys: climb the steps, it’s there! Otherwise, from Plaka, take Adrianou street not far from the Roman agora, climb the stairs of the Mnisikleous street up to the top. Turn left onto Prytaniou Street, then right onto Stratonos Street. This time, the Anafiotika stairs are on your right.

  • In the surrounding area :

Cape Sounio (or Sounion), located 70km from Athens, where stands a magnificent ancient temple. The location, facing the sea, is awesome, and the temple of Poseidon very well preserved. Tell the children that it was from there that Aegeus would have thrown himself into the sea, when he saw the black sail of his son Theseus’ boat. An even more beautiful place at sunset … A small coffee on the beach below, where the kids can play in the sand. Some sites sell the tour, otherwise you can arrange it by yourself with a taxi or check with your hotel. (About 2 hours round trip, and 1 to 2 hours on site, if you want to have a drink on the beach!).

You can also spend a day on Aegina island, reachable by ferry from the port of Piraeus (30 minutes by speedboat), to enjoy a day at the beach with the children!

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Athens with kids street art in Keiramikos

Athens with kids kitten in Afiotika

Athens with kids Cape Sounio

 Athens’s best hotels for families star

 

  • Hotels with Swimming pool (so valuable in summer!):

Novotel: Unbeatable value for money! The hotel offers pleasant family rooms for 2 adults and 2 children (a double bed + a sofa bed), less than 100 €. In the lobby, the Wii in free access is very successful. And the big plus is the lovely rooftop pool with a great view of the Acropolis! You can also snack or have a drink in the evening. (If you have a rental car, free indoor parking). Omonia district.

Fresh Hotel: a very modern, sleek design hotel that offers connecting double rooms, which can be very comfortable for a family with older children. There too, nice pool on the roof! Monastiraki district.

  • Hotels with family rooms (without pool):

InnAthens Hotel: This newly-built hotel offers family suites (one double bed + 1 sofa bed) in a beautiful setting, tastefully decorated. The rooms overlook a nice patio, a true haven of peace right in the city center! Very well located in Syntagma, next to the National Gardens. A very convenient base to explore Athens with the children from the subway station Syntagma.

Adonis Hotel: A small, basic hotel in the Plaka district, so very central, right down the Acropolis, family rooms for 4 at low prices.

  • More luxurious hotels with connecting rooms:

Sweet Home Hotel: Offers 2 connecting double rooms (2 bathrooms, 4 real beds). In Plaka, 10 minutes walk from the Acropolis.

New Hotel (Syntagma), a beautiful designed new hotel that offers 2 connecting rooms. More luxurious, so price related.

Coco-Mat Hotel: in the exclusive Kolonaki district. Delicious breakfasts, refined details (great organic toiletries!), excellent bedding

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the famous Greek salad

VVVVVVAthens with kids Novotel Hotel rooftop pool

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Athens with kids : Innathens Hotel family suite

Capture d’écran 2014-11-14 à 13.39.39  Eating with kids in Athens

 

Let’s say it straight away: we enjoyed a lot greek food! Some of our favorites: Greek salad (horiatiki = peasant), saganaki (feta fried), keftedes (meatballs) + patatès (french fries), tzatziki (yoghurt with cucumber, too much garlic for some kids), spanakopita and tiropita (delicious slippers with spinach or feta), souvlaki (skewers) and gyros-pita, a thin bread stuffed with pork or chicken, ideal to eat on the go…  Cheap and simple, perfect with kids!

  • Close to the Acropolis:

Gyros Pou Gyrevis: small eaterie to eat a good gyros on the go! Some tables on the terrace. Subway: Akropolis, 5, Athanasiou Diakou

  • Monastiraki area:

Savvas: an institution since 1922! Large menu with Greek specialties (souvlaki, gyros pita) and some Middle Eastern ones: hummus, tabbouleh, falafels … It’s big, a bit noisy, but fast service perfect for lunch! Portions are generous, so you can also share with the kids. A pleasant terrace on the 2nd floor overlooking the Acropolis – Ermou, 91

Lots of restaurants and cafes along the Adrianou pedestrian street (along the Agora) … No recommendations, look where the Greeks are and follow your instincts!

Avissinia Café: For a drink at sunset or a light dinner, climb onto the beautiful terrace on the top floor, overlooking the Parthenon. A very friendly place. (Ie: it can be a bit crowded and the tables are too close together to slide a stroller) – Kinetou 7, Place Abyssinia (behind the street Ermou)

For a treat: Lukumades (Psirri district, subway Monastiraki) A pretty modern shop to enjoy traditional desserts: the loukoumades, of course (small donuts with honey and cinnamon), but also good ice creams and milkshakes … – Aiolou 21

  • Syntagma area:

O Kostas Souvlaki: behind the Mitropoleos street, a small shop (with people often waiting in front) for a tasty souvlaki / gyros. For lunch only. – Pentelis, 5

In the same area, and also for gyros, Neoklassiko is not bad too – Karagiorgi Servias, 20

Tzitzikas kai Mermigas: we like the nice little terrace of this modern style ‘taverna’. But it’s nice inside too: spacious, modern with a vintage mix. Good traditional cuisine at reasonable prices. There is often a lot of people (mostly Greeks)! So eventually, book: 00 30 210 324 7607 – Mitropoleos, 12-14 (closed on Sundays)

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Athens with kids: Greek menu

Athens with kids: the famous Greek salad

 

Athens with kids: restaurant in Syntagma

Capture d’écran 2014-11-14 à 13.39.39 What we liked less

 

To discover Athens with kids for the first in the middle of August! It was really really hot. The town seemed stifling, polluted, and each visit so tiring … When we went back in the spring, at Easter, it was completely different and so much nicer!

The Plaka: yes, but … The Plaka area is the ancient district of Athens. It is really nice, but we were harassed by the tavern’s waiters, the menu is in 12 languages, everywhere souvenir shops … it’s too much!

Running out of time (and kids a bit overwhelmed with ancient’s sites visits), we haven’t visited the ancient Agora and the theater of Dyonisos (one of the sites of the Acropolis). Something to do next time in Athens!

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Athens with kids: Acropolis Dionysos Theater

Capture d’écran 2014-11-14 à 13.39.39 Tips

 

The ideal season to discover Athens: in half seasons, autumn and especially spring. Avoid July and August (if not, I insist, do not stay on a mixed impression and come back in the spring to enjoy Athens with your family!)

Getting there: From the airport, the metro is very convenient, and the bus line X96 takes you right in the center, Syntagma square. Otherwise, you can pay 40 € for a taxi.

You will see everywhere in the city the “periptero“, these kiosks where you can refuel in chips, water and cold drinks until late at night … very convenient!

About safety. Some districts of Athens are somewhat dilapidated, especially at night: drug selling, soliciting, poverty increased by the economic crisis … This is the case of the Omonia district. There is very little risk that something happens to you, but the atmosphere is not necessarily very pleasant. As in all major cities, pay attention to pickpockets and stay discreet with what may be envy.

You will find perfectly stocked pharmacies, so there’s no need to bring a lot of stuff. But, the notice is written in Greek, not translated! Do not hesitate to have the pharmacist explain the dosage on the spot.

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Athens with kids Family Guide

Capture d’écran 2014-11-14 à 13.39.39 Don’t forget to bring 

  • Comfy shoes or sneakers
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Swimsuit and sunscreen from May to September
  • A baby carrier on top of the stroller
  • Electrical adapter for US and GB supplies

Enjoy your stay in Athens with kids!

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Family Guide to explore Athens with kids : our favorite visits and areas, best hotels and restaurants, practical tips...

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