Best places to visit in Athens Greece
Got some extra time in Athens? Seen the Acropolis? Walked through the Plaka
RafinaOne of my favorite places is Rafina on the other side of Mount Pendeli and Himitos. It's like driving to an island. Every year I visit Athens, whether it is summer or winter, I make a point to spend one afternoon in Rafina. If I can't get my family or friends to come I go alone. But it's almost like a pilgrimage for me. There are numerous restaurants that specialize in fried squid (kalamarakia), small fried fish(mareedes), shark with garlic sauce (galeos me skordaya) and other things from the sea. The most popular one is Agoni Grammi, the last one on the dock or the first one you come to when you get off the ferry. If you love fried fish, beer, ouzo, wine and afternoons where you can drink and relax and not worry about tonight or tomorrow, spend an afternoon in Rafina.
There are ferries going to the Cyclades and Evia, going in and out of the harbor and lots of fishing boats. It's just like being on an island. There is a long beach there that is usually only crowded on Sunday. The town itself has a few too many apartment buildings for my taste but the waterfront is nice. There is nothing like spending the day with some close friends, some fried fish and several bottles of ouzo.
If you are going to the Cyclades islands the boat trip is two hours shorter from Rafina and boats leave later in the day though if you are coming from Athens you will lose most of the time you save. In the summer it's a very busy port with ships going in and out and the restaurants full of people. In the winter it is much quieter and much more enjoyable. The plan is that now that nearby Venizelos Airport has been completed, many people going to the islands will be leaving from here and the port of Lavrion further south, where they have done extensive expansion of the harbor. There is also a catamaran that makes it to Mykonos in less then 2 hours. The town has a fishing fleet and there are several fish markets with the freshest of fish and the biggest crayfish I have ever seen.
There are a couple ways to get there. The easy way would be to call my taxi driving friend and invite him to be your host. If you split the cost between three or four people it will be quite inexpensive and you will have George there for translations and advice, not to mention entertainment. (Get him to stop at the Sanctuary of Artemis on the way back) For more info on George see his bus . Take the metro to Victoria Square and walk up Heiden Street at the top of the square. The first large street you will come to should be 28th of October Street. If it's not you are walking in the wrong direction. Keep going up Heiden until you come to Areos Park and can't go any further. Find the bus that says Rafina and get on the one that has passengers on it. It's a forty minute drive depending on traffic. They usually leave every half hour. Another option instead of the metro is a yellow trolley from Venizelou (or Panapistimiou street) Take the number 18, 13, 11, 5, or 3 and get off at Alexandras Ave, just beyond the Archeology museum. You will see the park and the buses one block up. In Rafina the bus will let you off in the harbor. Traffic can be heavy at certain times. Going there on weekends can be hell. Go during the week and leave Athens early on days when the stores close at 2.