A city built on myth and legend, where goddesses courted man: around every corner you discover remnants of a history that blurs fairytale with fact. In the iconic metropolis of Athens, romance is built into the very stone of the place. From the sensational sunsets to magnificent temples perched high on a summit, providing breathtaking views of the settlement below, there are plenty of opportunities for courtship in this mythical city.
It’s a fascinating place with an extensive range of attractions that will interest any culture vulture, but it’s the natural beauty of these sights that transform Athens from a historical destination to a romantic getaway. To experience the best of both, check out my top locations for love below.
My Favourite Amorous Activities
This iconic temple complex, which has become emblematic of the city, is a must-see when visiting this ancient destination. The Parthenon is an example of classical Greek architecture and will fascinate amateur historians with its tumultuous past, from its use as a Christian site to a Turkish fortress. Dedicated to the goddess Athena, a trip to this sacred ground is not only filled with opportunity to discover the richness of Greek culture, but the natural surroundings of this rocky mount only highlight the timeless beauty of the site.
Possibly one of my favourite attractions, this pretty hill that leads all the way down to the sea and the islands beyond is the highest point in the Greek capital. Its renown, as a result, lies in the fact that it offers the best views in the entire city. Enjoy the ascending views with a ride on the funicular railway from Aristippou Street or, ff you’re feeling energetic, follow the steep steps to the top and take a romantic walk under the shade of the pine trees.
At the top, not only will you be rewarded with a panorama of the world below, but you’ll discover the tiny nineteenth-century church of Saint George, which is a popular wedding spot. Once you’ve seen it at sunrise or sunset, you’ll see why!
If you want to get out of the city for a day, I would recommend an excursion to Sounion. Located on the south coast of Attica, Sounion is home to a tourist favourite: the Temple of Poseidon. The remains stand proudly on the rocky hill, overlooking the Aegean Sea with an air of prowess, and it’s here that visitors are treated to the best sea views and fascinating history. But the temple, built in the Doric style, is not the only attraction. As you explore the slope, you’ll find the Temple of Athena and a hidden gem: Thoriko, one of the oldest theatres dating back to the sixth century BC.
Diomidous Botanical Garden
For a classically romantic afternoon, a stroll through the Botanical Gardens is perfect. Situated in the Haidari neighbourhood this expansive natural site boasts more than 3,500 different species of plants from all over the world. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature (and your partner) as you immerse yourself in the relaxing surroundings of flowers, foliage and trees.
It’s also a great way to experience the ancient culture of Greece, as in the garden you’ll find a number of plants well-known for centuries for their medicinal properties: thyme, passiflora and lavender are just a few. For those who know their Greek mythology, you’ll notice a number of plants mentioned in the time-old tales, such as Aphrodite’s sacred myrtle, acanthus which inspired the Corinthian style columns, and the classic olive tree that is the symbol of Athens.
Monastiraki Flea Market
To get a taste of current Greek culture, bond over some retail therapy at the famous Monastiraki Flea Market. Spread out over Monastiraki Square, this daily market is a wonderful treasure trove of books, old stamps, coins, furniture, memorabilia and plenty more! Whether you’re looking for a memento of your romantic retreat or just fancy a browse, it’s a wonderful way to while away a couple of hours.
Top tip: On Sundays there are even more shops to explore, as open-air improvised stalls set up to sell their wares.
Where to Stay
Electra Metropolis – This modern hotel is situated in the heart of the city and comes complete with a rooftop pool and tranquil sun terrace, ideal for enjoying your complimentary coffee. Its location provides spectacular views of the skyline, which can be enjoyed over gourmet dishes and fruity cocktails at the top-floor restaurant and bar.
The spacious rooms feature a marble-tiled bathroom with robes, slippers and toiletries, plus a 40” Smart TV and free Wi-Fi access. If you need anything, the 24-hour front desk and room service is at your beck and call, while bars, shops and the pretty Plaka area are easy to reach in a brief 10-minute walk.
Kubic Athens Smart Hotel – The Kubic is housed in an old industrial building with fabulous design features of steel and glass. The hotel combines modern technology with traditional comforts, offering stylish rooms that come complete with a tablet and Wi-Fi access.
In your room you’ll find a large Smart TV, USB ports, soundproofed windows and a bathroom with a refreshing rain shower. The on-site bar offers guests delicious organic food, fresh coffee and drinks, with grab-and-go snacks available.
How to Get There
Flights from the UK to Athens are numerous and you can find some excellent deals during the off-season between October and March. British Airways are a popular option, but there are many other options that offer short 3-hour, 35-minute flights.
Once you’ve landed, finding your accommodation is easy with a pre-booked airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. Their friendly drivers have extensive knowledge of the area, meaning that they can get you from the airport to your destination in just under 45 minutes.
About Shuttle Direct
At Shuttle Direct, we pride ourselves in top-quality customer service, a practice which has made us one of the leading providers of airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa. Our experienced drivers ensure that customers not only get to where they need to be safely and comfortably but with a smile, making us a firm favourite amongst travellers.