Greece wasn’t initially at the top of my travel wish list, but as we started planning our Fall 2023 adventure, a series of events nudged us in that direction. It felt like the universe was telling us to go to Greece, and I wasn’t about to argue with fate.
We hopped on a direct flight from Toronto, headed straight for Athens with a toddler in tow. Our plan was to spend a few days there, allowing us to acclimate before setting off to explore the islands. People had warned us that Athens might not be the most thrilling destination, but I must admit, it pleasantly surprised me. While I agree that you might not need more than 2-3 days to get the feel of the city, I’m genuinely happy we did.
Since it was our first international trip with our three-year-old, we decided to rent an apartment in Strefi Hill (here!). It allowed us to have all the comforts of home while adjusting to our new surroundings. We absolutely loved the area and highly recommend it for anyone considering a similar trip. Everything was within walking distance, and we were surrounded by mouthwatering restaurants and charming cafes. Plus, being slightly removed from the bustling city center made it feel a lot more peaceful and far less touristy. It turned out to be a fantastic way to experience Athens with a toddler.
Despite the hustle and bustle, typical of big cities, I found that Athens exuded warmth, hospitality, and an unexpected sense of tranquility during our visit. There’s just something inherently welcoming about Greek culture. Everyone we encountered was kind and instantly smitten with our daughter, and the feeling was mutual. Elderly locals beamed and showered her with kisses, and most others couldn’t help but break into wide smiles as we strolled by – it was really lovely.
Having a full kitchen in our apartment allowed us to do some cooking and grocery shopping, which is one of my favourite travel activities. Exploring a foreign potato chip aisle in particular is always an adventure in itself – grocery shopping helped us immerse ourselves right from the get-go.
I usually like to hit the ground running when I travel, making sure not to miss a single thing. However, this time, we took it slow for the sake of our three-year-old, and it was a refreshingly different pace. I thoroughly enjoyed the change of mindset, embracing an abundance mentality – savoring every moment, no matter how small, rather than falling into the scarcity trap of rushing through the day.
Our first morning we woke up to a vibrant market right outside our door, which was a delightful surprise. Vendors offered a tantalizing array of Greek delights, olives, cheeses, and fresh produce from local farms. It was a truly immersive way to kick off our trip.
Of course, we couldn’t resist visiting the Acropolis on one of the afternoons, and though hot and of course busy, it was definitely a worthwhile experience. We also took a funicular up to the top of Lycabettus Hill to explore and see the church. This turned out to be a particularly big hit with our three-year-old, and she wasn’t wrong – the views alone were just beautiful.
Apart from those outings, we really took it easy as we adjusted from jetlag. Frequent snack breaks, leisurely meals, some shopping, and a bit of playtime at the local playground all made for a wonderful way to experience the city and ease into our trip.
I’d love to share some highlights from our Athens adventure, including one of the most unique (and delicious) dining experiences. It’s a place I’d return to again in a heartbeat. Here’s how we did Athens with our toddler.
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