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About ME

Hi there, I'm Donna! A restless wanderer,

a perpetual dreamer. I may be in my 40's now but that doesn't stop me from living the life that i love, the life of travel.

Hidden Gems in Athens


Ineffable - that's Athens in one word. A city vibrating with history, civilization and philosophy among other things. Monuments and landmarks that has stood the test of time are testament to the glory that was (and still is) Greece, dominates the city. If you however, had your fill of all the popular historical spots and now ready for your second phase of journey which is 'off the beaten tracks', here are some hidden gems that might interest you.


Agios Nikolaos

Address: Vouliagmeni 16671

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 48’ 0.93” N

Longitude: 23° 46’ 23.586” E

Hours: 24 Hours

Fee: Free

Agios Nikolaos is an abandoned chapel in Vouliagmeni. Literally a 'hidden gem', as it is situated in an obscured location and concealed from an obvious vantage point, thus passerby can just easily pass this place unknowingly. Placement of the church is based on the fact that Agios Nikolaos is the patron saint of the sailors, hence this chapel is built facing the ocean.


Not only is this church so quaint and picturesque, but the view of the sea and the city of Vouliagmeni from the chapel is spectacular as well. Incorporate a day at the beach with your visit so might as well pack in a swimsuit.

Direction:

Here is the direction to the chapel from Four Seasons Astir. Take note of the stairs/pathway pictured below that you have to descend and soon you will be rewarded by the spectacular sea view and charming chapel of Agios Nikolaos.



Byzantine Monastery of Daphni

Address: Haidari 12461

Coordinates: Latitude: 38° 0’ 46.284” N

Longitude: 23° 38’ 8.502” E

Hours: Wednesday - Sunday

8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Fee: Free Admission

I have taken a poll in my instagram asking if they know of any other Unesco World Heritage Site in Athens apart from the Acropolis. Oddly enough, 67% answered 'NO', so I guess I can categorize Daphni as a hidden gem.

At 11km. northwest of Athens, it is a bit distant from the city centre of Athens, but it is definitely worth a visit... be fascinated by the frescoes, amazed by the architecture and mesmerized by the mosaics from the Byzantine era. On the upside, it's slightly remote location will reward you with a quiet and uncrowded visit. You can combine your visit with Diomidous botanical garden.


Direction:

You can get here from Agia Marina Metro Stations using these bus options 811 (from Chaidari), 866 (from Psychiatreio) and 845, 866, 876 (from Byzantiou).


Hadrian’s Reservoir

Address: Pl. Dexamenis, Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 58’ 43.656” N

Longitude: 23° 44’ 30.192” E

Hours: 24 Hours

Entrance Fee: Free Admission

Last year, I resided for four months in the neighbourhood of Kolonaki, a district known for shopping, dining, galleries and trendy bars. Much to my delight, I have discovered that it is more than what it is currently reputed for. It is an area stamped with rich history that is typical of Athens. I have stumbled upon some ancient gems, of which the most prominent is the Hadrian's Reservoir that is often overlooked by tourist and locals. I do have to label it a 'hidden gem' as 85% who have participated in my IG poll stated they do not know this place.

Hadrian's reservoir is a hydrological wonder which was completed in 140 CE. It is a 2000 year old Roman cistern that have provided the water needs of Athenians for more than a thousand years.

It is currently situated beneath an open air summer cinema, Cine Dexameni. It is not physically accessible but viewable through three large window portals. So, I have to warn you, that if you are there for an instagram photo inside prepare to be disappointed . But if you travel for more than a photo op , then be impressed by the significance of this site. This reservoir after all is by far the most significant engineering achievement under the reign of Emperor Hadrian who has left a legacy in Athens with all the monuments that he has built.

I’d still suggest you give it a visit if you are on your way to the more popular tourist spot, Mt. Lycabettus. In addition, there is a great view of the Acropolis from the area. There is also a park with the statue of the highly commended Greek poet Odysseas Elytis, who was a recipient of Nobel Price for literature.


Transportation:

Closest metro is Evangelismos Station. You can reach it by foot for approximately 12 minutes from here. You can also reach it via bus 060.


Anafiotika

Address: Anafiotika, Plaka Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37°58′20″N

Longitude: 23°43′40″E

Hours: 24 Hours

Fee: Free Admission

Situated just northeast of the Acropolis. Wander around this place, and you'd think you got transported in one of the Greek Isle. Narrow alleyways, whitewashed structures, bougainvilleas adorning the tiny houses which are all descriptive of a cyclade village is what you will also see in Anafiotika. Seemingly tucked away in seclusion in the midst of bustling Plaka, you get a vibe so different here in comparison to the other parts of the city


Directions:

From the acropolis here is the direction to this little piece of cyclades in the city!


Graffiti Art

Location: Around Athens

Ok, so if you've walked around Athens, you probably notice the disturbing amount vandalism. While vandalism is not necessarily pleasing, there are graffiti around that are certainly works of art.


The Owl

Address: Corner of Constantinou Paleologou & Samos St. Metaxourgio

Latitude: 37° 59’ 19.998” N

Longitude: 23° 43’ 15.6” E

Created by artist WD or Wild Drawing, he calls this "Knowledge Speaks-Wisdom Listens". He is known for creating 3D wall art. For more information about WD and his other works in Athens check here.


So Many Books So Little Time

Address: Megalou Alexandrou 13, Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 59’ 6.066” N

Longitude: 23° 43’ 16.746” E

Mural by Simple G for Petit de Paris d' Athens 2019. Located across the entrance of Wyndham Grand Athens.


Expiration Date

Address: Theodore Diligiannis 42, Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 59’ 22.098” N

Longitude: 23° 43’ 13.002” E

Another mural by Simple G for Petit Paris d' Athenes 2017.


Snowblind

Address: Peiraios 32, Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 59’ 5.61” N

Longitude: 23° 43’ 24.258” E

Artwork by artist INO created in 2016


HE, is Praying for Us

Address; Menadrou 30, Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 58’ 58.674” N

Longitude: 23° 43’ 30.528” E


This larger than life mural is created by Pavlos Tsakonas and Manolis Anastasakos


Packaging4All Lady

Address: Miaouli 10, Athens

A graffiti on the store Packaging for all. I just love how colorful and vibrant this one is.


Dromeas (The Runner)

Address: Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 61

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 58’ 36.174” N

Longitude: 23° 44’ 58.524” E

Hours: 24 Hours

Fee: Free Admission

Probably a regular sighting to Athenians as they go about their daily grind especially those residing in the area. However, if you are visiting and on a moving transportation glued to your phone, you might have unwittingly missed this incredible sculpture. Located on a traffic island across the Hilton Hotel, but accessible to pedestrians.


Incredible work by Costas Varotsos, of glasses stacked on top of the other to give the impression of a running man. If your a marathoner, this sculpture is surely going to be extra special for you.


Jacaranda Trees

Address: Leof. Vasilissis Olgas, Athens

Coordinates: Latitude: 37° 58’ 15.918” N

Longitude: 23° 44’ 11.13” E

Hours: 24 Hours

Fee: Free

Ok, this one is seasonal but if you are in Athens in Spring around May to early June then you are extra lucky because Jacaranda trees would start to bloom. Jacaranda is a frequent sighting during this time around Athens but my favorite is this one in Zappeion.


*Greece is currently in a partial lockdown. Archeological Sites are closed but outdoor workout which includes walking within your district is allowed. Please be guided accordingly by safety protocols and government rules.



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