The best reason to travel by yourself is the freedom that comes with it—you can do whatever you want, whenever you want to. Apprehensive about exploring by yourself? I’d suggest taking a guided tour of a few downtown neighbourhoods—Psirri or Koukaki would be great places to start—just to familiarise yourself with the different flavours of Athens. You can make friends with other tour goers, or just enjoy the experience on your own.
Cafés are perfect for an inconspicuous solo meal with a side of people-watching. Ohh Boy in Pangrati has excellent yogurt parfaits, croque madames, and a huge selection of vegan cakes and snacks. If you’re a bruncher, you might also try Rabbit Punch in Pangrati—they’re known for their coffee, but they also serve up massive scrambles on toast for not a lot of money. If you’re staying in Koukaki, pull up a stool at Morning Bar, a light-filled coffee shop that specialises in cakes and pastries that change daily. Expect pretty, raspberry-swirled pastries and red velvet cakes (and get at least one of chef Ianthi Michalaki’s amazing chocolate chip cookies).
If you’re in the city on a Sunday, don’t miss Monastiraki. The flea market is a lively source of souvenirs, sandals, and vintage clothes throughout the week. But on Sundays, antique dealers bring everything from furniture to jewellery to sell on the street. If you have a discerning eye, you might find a treasure or two.