Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stelios Spinoulas: Crown prince of Athens tours

By Jane Feehan

One of the highlights of a recent trip to the Mediterranean was our tour of Athens. Our guide, Stelios Spinoulas, made the day a memorable one.

Corfu native Spinoulas spent more than 20 years in the shipping business. His career brought him and his family to Slidell, in the New Orleans area for 14 of them. He returned to Greece in 2003, before Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast.  

Since then, Spinoulas has taken another path, one that gives visitors to his country a glance of the ruins of an ancient past that still defines it today. He operates a top-notch sightseeing service that is gaining in popularity.

It is easy to understand why. His enthusiasm for Athens is contagious; his knowledge of the city’s history
impressive. We spent a whirlwind eight hours with him and saw the highlights of Athens: the Parthenon, Acropolis, an ancient Roman market with its first or second century weather “station,” the site where democracy was born, the president’s palace, Plaka (Old Town), the port town of Piraeus and much more. Best of all, he instilled in us—as I’m sure he does others—a desire to return to Athens … a good thing for Greece’s tourism industry.

We lunched at Taverna Fagopoteio (56 Patriarhou Loakeim Street, Kolonaki), a wonderful restaurant in
an upper end Athens neighborhood. The best time to come for lunch is 12:30 p.m., Stelios told us, when food is fresh out of the oven and newly prepared salads and desserts make their debut of the day. Steaming hot chicken and lamb, generously stuffed cabbage rolls, rice-stuffed green peppers, creamy-topped moussaka and an immense bowl of colorful, crisp Greek salad greeted us. We enjoyed the meal, accompanied by wine and topped off with melt-in-your-mouth baklava. The place was immaculate; they didn’t mind us visiting the kitchen.

Of course, we picked up the tab for Stelios. The cost of this big spread for three: 40 Euros and a tip. That’s
about $50 … a bargain.

It was tough saying goodbye to Stelios Spinoulas, Athens’ unofficial ambassador of good will and fun. May we meet up with you again, may you continue to share the best your country offers, which includes you.

To contact Stelios Spinoulas for sightseeing in Athens or tours to Delphi and Peloponnese,  email: (
Telephone: +30210 4632152; Cell: +30 6976 518 378

Stelios communicates several times before the tour, confirming details. He owns a new, comfortable Mercedes for excursions.  He was recommended to us by people in Florida, not a cruise ship.

Tags: Athens tour guide, Athens sightseeing, best Athens tour guide, Stelios Spinoulas, Athens taxi service, Delphi and Peloponnese tours, Celebrity Mediterranean cruises 

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