If the weather holds up, then Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday)—the start of Lent among Orthodox Christians—is the day Greeks fly kites (symbolic of the Resurrection) and picnic outdoors, for the holiday is also the unofficial star of Spring. This year, it starts tomorrow, March 18th.

It’s a great day to walk around the city, especially toward the few patches of green—the city’s parks.

Tradition has it that Athenians go to Filopapou Hill to fly kites. The hill, near the Acropolis, is crowded with kids and their families, mostly attempting to fly a kite despite the crowds. The atmosphere is fun and festive, despite the sobriety of Lent.

Strongly recommended for that day:

*            Strolling the city, especially Filoppapou or nearby Lycabettus Hill.

*            Picking up a picnic lunch of typical Clean Monday treats (the markets are open until noonish). Pickled vegetables, especially cauliflower, carrots and peppers; seafood such as pickled octopus; lagana, a flatbread, Tahini, halva, and Taramosalata (fish roe spread) are among the things you’re likely to find readily. Otherwise, all shops are closed.

  • For those wanting a sit-down lunch, I recommend a stroll through one of several areas.


The whole area, especially around the pedestrian path—Dionysiou Aeropagitou—is teeming with cafes, where you can also get a bite to eat.


A must-see. Athens oldest neighborhood is a virtual village, carved into the foothills of the Acropolis. There are dozens of tavernas all over the area, all serving up fairly classic Greek cuisine. A few stand out:

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