Athens is always one of my summer highlights. I think it’s one of the most overlooked European capitals. With great food, stunning architecture, and fantastic people, I don’t understand why it doesn’t make more lists. For the last several summers, we’ve spent time in Athens before heading out to a few Greek islands.

This year, we decided to check out the new cultural draw in Athens…the beautiful (and massive) Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. We explored the grounds before attending an al fresco screening of Ratatouille. Lily was thrilled.

I definitely have my favorites in Athens. Elvis is legendary for souvlaki sticks. I’m partial to the pork variety, but they’re all so good. I also love the beaches just outside of Athens, which are surprisingly clean and beautiful to be so close to an urban center. If you’re not afraid to splurge, a day at Astir Beach Club is the ultimate indulgence.

We tried Spondi, a pricey but delicious restaurant that happens to be in our go-to neighborhood. The food and wine was excellent, and the atmosphere would have been beyond romantic if Lily hadn’t been with us. I can still taste my fish dish.

One of my favorite things to do in Athens is catch up with our friends. This time, we met up with friends we’d met in Crete two years before. We enjoyed a perfect summer night, full of great food and conversation. Catching up under the gorgeous Athenian moon was the perfect way to reconnect. I say this every time I leave, but I can’t wait to visit Athens again…hopefully soon.