RONAN SUMMERS: MY SECRET ATHENS26.09.14
For us, autumn may be well under way, but for Ronan Summers of The Wild Swans, it was over to Greece to catch the somewhat balmier Athenian weather. Discover where the menswear blogger and enthusiast dines, drinks and meanders in the Grecian capital in My Secret Athens city guide.
"Geia sou" - that's Greek for hello. That’s how I'd like to begin the tale of my big fat Greek adventure that took me all the way to the Peloponnesus region, made me walk the streets where the likes of Socrates and Zeus were born (the latter only in mythology), discover the ancient ruins where civilisation first began and taste the wonderful local cuisine.
The best way to start the day in Athens was to wake up with a strong cup of coffee and to savour a healthy breakfast of feta cheese, spinach tart and Greek yoghurt (topped with honey and raisins) at the Royal Olympic hotel. The view of the Acropolis - so majestic - is comforting and gives you a real feel of Greece.
From there, walk down the streets of the Acropolis district and lose yourself towards the Plaka - that's where all the busy markets, thousands of coffee shops and restaurants are. You can go up, down and round - there's always something to discover in Athens.
During the day Athens can get extremely hot, but you can always find shade to cool yourself down through plenty of small streets and back alleys you see along the way.
Typically in the afternoon I had the chance to discover the tranquil National Gardens and explore the National Archaeological Museum for some historical lessons on the Parthenon and the city itself. On some days I even took time out to visit a quiet island just on the south side of the vast Aegean Sea.
Soak yourself in pure Athenian life, enjoy the music and the city vibe, take a stroll to the plaza and sit by the Church of Panagia, or perhaps, take a bottle of champagne then head to the highest point of Lycabettus hill. From way up there enjoy the breathtaking view of the night sky and stars.
Known as the high-city, this is a must-do if you come to Athens. Discover the ancient ruins of the Parthenon, the Herodes theatre, the delicacy of the Erachteion, and savour the beautiful view of the city surrounding you. From the top, you can see the Aegean sea on one side, the beautiful mountains on the other and the rest of the city just below you.
I've visited the area just before sunset, and the light and view were something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
National New Acropolis Museum
To get a better understanding and feel of the ancient city, head to the museum to discover how Athens was founded, all the myths of the Greek gods and the story behind the hundreds of ruins of the time.
One of the best things about Athens is that you can easily fuse walking and adventure with relaxing. 5 days in the city gave me the opportunity to discover the most gorgeous island, Agistri. Only 45 minutes away from Piraeus port, take a day trip and enjoy a beach with crystal clear water. For swimming, head to Dragonera beach; it’s an absolute Paradise on earth.