When our son was 9 months old, my wife and I traveled to Athens, Greece. The idea of a transatlantic flight and a three week stay in a foreign country with an 8 month old was daunting. But we embraced the challenge and after an 8 hour flight to Zurich, 2 hours layover and a 2 hour flight, we were in Athens. During the trip our little guy was more than happy to snuggle and be playful at our feet. We flew coach but requested bulkhead seats for the extra seats and Swissair was very accommodating, even providing a bassinet to lay at our feet and some toys to play with.
Athens is an amazing city for families to visit. We took in as many sites as we could, including the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, Plaka and Monastiraki. Some other notable places we visited were the Olympic Stadium, Lykabettos (the hill opposite the Acropolis) the Acropolis Museum, and the gardens behind Parliament. All of these places are easy to get to by public transportation, which despite Athens’ street network, is super easy to use. The Metro especially is incredibly easy to ride and can take you pretty much anywhere. If you leave the city center, things can get a little more challenging using a stroller but a well planned excursion can save you the hassle. It’s doable.
The nightlife is also very family friendly in Athens. In fact, I recommend staying out late with your child. People watching is a past time in Greece and kids love it. You’ll see plenty of Greeks and their children out and about as late as 12 am and beyond, enjoying breezy warm evenings and nights in the company of friends in local squares and dining outdoors at taverns. The music is also fantastic and really puts you in the mood.
While doable, Athens can be hard to get around with an infant if you’re not prepared. Fortunately, we had planned this out. I had been to Athens before and knew what to expect of the city. We knew outside the touristy areas Athens is a cramped city with uneven sidewalk surfaces (sometimes even non-existent) and we like to move around a lot when traveling. A stroller is a must but it has to be maneuverable and light. We used the Peg-Perego Pliko stroller, which has good handling in tight spaces and easy under carriage storage. But importantly, it’s compact, lightweight and easy to fold in a moment’s notice to load onto a bus or a Metro car. You need that in a crowded city like Athens. We also traveled with our Peg-Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Car Seat and rented a Fiat Pinto to drive around outside of Athens (btw we gate checked both Peg-Peregos).
Food in Greece is amazing and, in our experience, is also very infant friendly. If you know what to order or make, it’s very light on a baby’s stomach. Avgolemono soup is a standard in many taverns, as is authentic Greek yogurt. If you prefer “baby food”, check out stores like Jumbo, Marinopoulos and Carrefour. Local grocers will also have the kind of baby care products you’re accustomed to at home (diapers, food, clothes etc.).
Greece is full of history and seeing the sites is a must, but they can be challenging. There are few accessible routes. The more popular destinations like the Acropolis have wheelchair platforms and ramps (strollers use these). Others, however, do not. And strollers can sometimes only go so far. Have a plan B ready for that situation (carriers etc.).
All in all, Athens is simply unforgettable culture, unforgettable people and lots of fun.
That’s it for now. I’ll post some more about our experience in Athens later. If you have any questions, leave us a comment. I’ll be happy to answer. Until next time!
Also check out wandermustfamily.com. A great blog that features family travel diaries and an occasional post from this blog!