Guest post by thadeus_d3
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Athens
- Hadrian’s Arch
- Ancient Agora of Athens
- Temple of Hephaestus
- Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- Theatre of Dionysus
- Temple of Athena Nike
We purchased a pass that allowed us to visit all of the archaeological sites in Athens for 30 Euros per adult (peak season- it’s cheaper off peak). One thing to note is that it did not include admission to the Acropolis Museum, but covered pretty much everything else.
The Temple of Hephaestus and the Acropolis were our favorites.
Day 2: Athens
- Flea Market
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Syntagma Square
We started our day at the Athens Flea Market for some souvenir shopping. Next, we headed to Plaka, a very cool neighborhood with great shopping and restaurants. We walked around and stumbled upon the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This was the highlight of our day. It was relatively empty and it was beautiful. After spending some time here, we headed to Syntagma Square. We happened to arrive right before the changing of the guard ceremony at the Presidential Mansion. After the changing of the guard, we went back to Syntagma Square to sit on the steps, relax and people watch. By this time (~6pm) it was packed and it was like a giant party. There was music, food and dancing. On our way back to our hotel, we decided to go to Pnyka hill to hang out and admire the stunning views.
After visiting Athens for a few days, we decided to visit the Pelion region of Greece. We wanted to visit the islands, but decided it wasn’t a great idea since it was a short family trip. The Pelion region consists of small, mountainous towns along a beautiful coastline with pristine beaches. It was about a 4.5 hour car ride from Athens and our first stop was Portaria.
Day 3: Portaria
We stopped at Portaria because it offered beautiful views and gave us a chance to take a break from driving. The drive was very hilly, with winding roads and very few guardrails. All along the drive, we saw over 50 miniature chapels alongside the road, indicating where there had been a traffic accident. Inside the mini chapels, we’d often find lit candles. Both of my sons were getting carsick, so we all needed a break.
Portaria is a very small town that has great views, an awesome little church (Εκκλησία Αγία Μαρίνα) and a cool main square. Aside from that, there’s not much else going on. After stretching out a bit, we continued to our BNB in Mouresi (Tampakeika Family Apartments).
Day 4: Mylopotamos Beach
This beach was breathtaking and offered crystal blue water and beautiful rock formations. We rented a few beach chairs and umbrellas (around $7 per set) and stayed the rest of the day.
Day 5: Damouchari and Papa Nero Beaches
The following morning, we visited Damouchari beach. This beach is known for being the location for the film Mammia Mia. Unfortunately, it had rained and was a bit overcast. Still, the water was calm and clear and it was easy to see why it was selected as a film location. After heading to our BNB for a bit, we continued to Papa Nero beach.
We spent the rest of the day at Papa Nero. Papa Nero was the largest and most crowded of all the beaches. This was also the first beach that had public facilities and restaurants. We ended up eating some overpriced, mediocre food before deciding to walk the beach to the North. Off in the distance, we saw another beach with an amazing boardwalk and decided to visit Ag. Ioannis the next day.
Day 6: Agios Ioannis
Wow, how’d we manage to miss this place the previous day? The boardwalk was huge and had a ton of markets, shops and a wide range of restaurants. This place had it all! The beach was great and you could rent chairs and umbrellas for only $3 per set. We spent the entire day here. The next morning, we made our way back towards Athens since we were flying from there and we had a long drive ahead of us.
Day 7: Livanates
I booked an apartment in Livanates, Greece. We stayed at Villa Mounako, which is about 90 minutes away from the airport. We had the entire place to ourselves and it felt like a private resort. The owner was extremely friendly and made it a wonderful experience. The grounds were immaculate and it had amazing views of the neighboring islands. It the perfect way to end our trip before heading to Athens International Airport the following morning.
Overall, I’m glad we decided to visit this unique region in Greece instead of the islands. It wasn’t overly touristy, as it’s touted as “the place Greeks go for vacation.” This couldn’t seem more true, as we didn’t meet a single American during our time there. However, I would love to visit the Greek islands and plan to do so in the near future.
Traveled in August 2016. August is considered peak season, and while there were a lot of tourists, it didn’t feel overly crowded.