The city of memorable contrasts. A city of light, history, and urban bustle gathered in the exact same place.
With its unparalleled history, incredible monuments and thrilling environment, Athens is definitely a highly interesting place to explore.
Some of you might be wondering ‘What to do in Athens’. Trust us, there are a lot of different things to see and do. From urban neighborhoods and spectacular museums to amazing food and remarkable churches, Athens offers something for everyone. Keep reading and find out what to do in Athens during your holidays. Let’s start!
Athens is filled with numerous archaeological sites that have stood the test of time and offer us a clear view of how life was in the past. Some of the most famous Athens monuments and points of interest are:
The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most world-renowned monuments. It was built in the fifth century B.C. and the most notable feature on it is the Parthenon, which overlooks the whole city of Athens. The Athens monuments have a huge historical significance and their gorgeous marble under the glimmering sun creates a gorgeous scenery. The Acropolis of Athens is impressive as it is a complete fortified city (polis=city) built on top of the homonymous hill, right in the center of Ancient Athens. It is a reflection of the splendor, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Pericles.
Our experienced team will provide you with useful insights that will help you dive deeper into the Greek culture and assist you in finding the best tours that suit your needs.
The temple of Olympian Zeus is a former temple at the center of Athens. It was dedicated to Olympian Zeus and was built back in the 6th century B.C. just a breath away from the Acropolis. The temple of Olympian Zeus is also quite close to other Athens monuments like Hadrian’s arch, Zappeion and the Kallimarmaro stadium. Arch of Hadrian is a captivating Athens monument made of Pentelic marble, used in other important monuments like the Parthenon. The Arch of Hadrian was constructed without the use of cement and its design is fully symmetrical.
The roman Agora is an interesting archaeological site that is situated on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens. The roman Agora was the place where people would gather everyday to hear statements regarding the king or the council. Aside from that, the roman Agora also served as a marketplace where merchants had stalls and sold their products on a daily basis. Just some minutes away, you can spot the tower of the winds, another fascinating Athens monument, situated on the east part of the Roman Agora. If you love history, the tower will enchant you along with the surroundings made of marble that create gorgeous setting.
In order to avoid the extreme crowds, make sure you visit the Acropolis of Athens early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Athens, apart from the Acropolis and the several other monuments scattered around in the city, boasts a great number of churches. The churches in Athens offer a delightful opportunity for religious travelers to enhance their faith and at the same time admire their architecture.
One of the most important churches in Athens is Panagia Pantanassa. The church of Panagia Pantanassa is located in Monastiraki square and dates from the 17th century. The church of Panagia Pantanassa was a catholicon for a women’s monastery in the bygone times. This church is located at one of the most vibrant spots in Athens, Monastiraki square. You can’t miss it. If you’re wondering what a church in Athens looks like, then the church of Panagia Pantanassa will help you understand the religious spirit of Greece better.
Our team can assist you in finding which churches to visit so you don’t miss the best ones around the city.
At the top of Lycabettus hill, lies one of the most notable churches in Athens, the church of St. Georgios. The gorgeous whitewashed church, built in 1870 offers jaw dropping views of the city of Athens and is definitely a must-do thing. The church of St. Georgios is built where the temple of Zeus Extreme was, back in the ancient times.
Among the most famous churches in Athens is that of St. Dimitrios Loubardiaris. The name Loumbardiaris comes from a turkish commander who wanted to attack the Christians on St. Demetrius day using a cannon (loumbarda). Out of nowhere, a lightning hit and killed the turkish commander on the spot, and for that reason the faithful Christians decided to honor the saint of the church.
St Dimitrios is located in one of the most beautiful surroundings, in the Philopappou hill, and can be combined with an enjoyable walk of the Dionysius Areopagitou pedestrian way that connects the Ancient monuments of Athens.
Athens is undoubtedly a lively city with many things to see and do. When you think of Athens, you probably picture the Acropolis situated at the top of a hill overlooking the whole city. In reality, Athens has so much more to offer. If you decide to pay a visit, make sure you check out the hip neighborhoods in Athens that will surprise you with their hidden treasures and vibrant environment.
Plaka is among the most touristy neighborhoods in Athens because of its characteristic location beneath the Acropolis. If you wander around its marble alleys you’ll manage to perceive the beauty and glory of one of the oldest neighborhoods of Athens that is home to many museums and especially the incomparable Acropolis museum. Just underneath the ‘Sacred rock’ of the Acropolis, come access one of the most unique neighborhoods in Athens, the scenic Anafiotika. Built by masons from the Cyclades, Anafiotika is reminiscent of a Cycladic island. More specifically, it is full of white-washed houses with flat roofs, and their narrow balconies filled with flowers provide an incomparable scenery that will give you peace of mind.
Koukaki is among the most lively neighborhoods in Athens and has become quite popular thanks to the great number of pubs and restaurants that define the nightlife scene of the whole area. Roaming around its street, you’ll get to discover unique shops, cool cafes and a number of museums that will spice up your whole experience. Koukaki, might not be as picture-perfect as the other neighborhoods of Athens, but it’s definitely the perfect spot to delve into the urban culture of Athens and maybe experience a live show at an underground music bar with the latest hip hop and rap grounds of Athens.
Kolonaki is one of the most cosmopolitan and posh neighborhoods in Athens for a number of reasons. All the huge designer shops are located in the area as well as a great number of 5-star restaurants. If you want to buy the designer outfit of your dreams or just relax at one of the hundreds of coffee shops on the sidewalks. Find a cool restaurant and indulge in some wonderful delights that will pamper your taste buds and boost your energy.
If you want to party and have the time of your life, Kerameikos is the ideal place. Ask us and we’ll suggest the best places to go according to your personal taste.
Petralona is undoubtedly among neighborhoods in Athens ideal for young people. Ask any young Athenian where they like to hang out and chances are the answer will be Petralona. At first glance, Petralona seems like any other residential area of the city, but for any visitor hoping to escape the tourist bubble, it is a must-visit destination. Petralona is a favorite among artists, writers, musicians and young professionals thanks to its vibrant environment that exudes creativity and hope. Hidden in side streets and flanking the squares are unique, quirky and creative little bars and cafes, all serving their own versions of traditional Greek appetizers and refreshments.
Athens is undoubtedly a beautiful city with a diverse landscape. If you want to perceive the beauty of the whole city, you should start looking for the best views of Athens. From mount. Lycabettus to the Acropolis hill, Athens is filled with many different viewpoints to get inspired and capture spectacular photos at any time of the day or night.
Acropolis is one of the most world-renowned places in the world and undoubtedly the best spot to perceive the stunning panorama of Athens. If you want to catch the best views of Athens, a visit to the Acropolis is a must. It is believed that birds don’t fly directly above the Acropolis, and for that reason it is called ‘Aornos Petra’. While visiting the Acropolis, see the Parthenon and have a seat closeby to admire the impeccable views of Athens while relaxing with the Athenian breeze blowing your face. Will you spot a bird flying above? You’ll have to find out.
Lycabettus provides one of the best views of Athens. Get on top of the hill and admire the Acropolis, the temple of Olympian Zeus and many other Athens monuments. Another hill that you should include in your itinerary is Philopappos because it offers one of the most magical views of Athens. It is situated on the south side of the Acropolis and boasts a number of interesting viewpoints. Once you get there, make sure you explore the whole area and find the viewpoint that best suits your needs.
Avoid the funicular and climb the hill on foot as the whole route is ideal for self exploration and perfect for photos.
Stavros Niarchos cultural center is a great location with various exhibitions and events that take place on a daily basis. Once you explore the whole park, get to the top floor and admire the perfect views of Athens. The spectacular view over the sea will blow you away and stay in your heart forever. If you want to enrich your life with more culture, a visit to the Stavros Niarchos won’t disappoint you as many artists host exhibitions and many concerts and musical programs take place there throughout the year.
If you visit Athens and want to discover nearby locations, Sounion won’t disappoint you as it has beautiful beaches, picture perfect landscapes and the magical sunset that draws many travellers throughout the year.
What’s better than enjoying some time for fitness during your visit to a different country? You don’t have to stop your running routine because of some time abroad. When you visit Athens, running will get a whole new meaning. The whole landscape with the Athens monuments as well as the vibrant streets of the city make running in Athens an unforgettable experience.
On the rim of the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens is a 500 meter racetrack that holds some of the best views of Athens. In order to access the racetrack, locate the gate on Archimidous street and get set for the most invigorating run ever. Make sure you visit the area early in the morning as it can get quite crowded and experience running in Athens with the incomparable views of the Acropolis, Lycabettus hill and the gorgeous stadium itself.
The national gardens are located in the center of Athens and offer a great opportunity for some running in Athens. The whole area boasts a beautiful natural setting, with plants, trees and some animals and of course some important Athens monuments like the Zappeion, the botanical garden, the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Exploring the national gardens is a great idea if you want to experience how people live their everyday lives and acquire a better understanding of the Athenian spirit.
If you get tired, sit on a bench and admire your surroundings while listening to the running water from the fountains or feed the ducks.
Running in Athens can be a memorable experience, especially if you know the right places. One of those places is Philopappos Hill, on the south of the Acropolis. The whole area along with the hills of Pnyx and Nymph, are among the best spots for walking and running in Athens. Philoppapos hill was named after the Athens monument with the same name that represents a benefactor of Athens who lived in the 1st and 3nd centuries AD.
Athens is a very diverse location when it comes to nightlife. From bars and theaters to clubs and music venues, Athens can offer a wide variety of options that suit everyone’s needs. Let’s check out the different ways to experience the Athens nightlife.
Bouzoukia is usually a venue where people go to see their favorite artists live on stage. A classic night at Bouzoukia lasts for at least 6 hours and people get to enjoy themselves in a warm and vibrant environment. If you want to perceive the true Greek feeling, bouzoukia is the best place for the best Athens nightlife experience. Another great option is experiencing a Rebetiko night. Rebetiko is a Greek style of music with a more traditional vibe to it and is ideal for people who want to experience a more relaxing Athens nightlife, with a bit of wine and good company.
Book a table in advance as going to Bouzoukia is a common activity of the Greeks and most venues usually sell out quite early.
If you’re looking to go clubbing, Lohan is one of the best nightclubs you can visit in Athens. Inside you’ll find confetti cannons, light shows and robot dancers – and perhaps even the owner herself AKA Lindsay Lohan. Lohan is among the most famous nightclubs in Athens and many tourists go there from everywhere in the world to witness the Athens nightlife, with a spectacular club like Lohan.
Opposite the Acropolis is a rock called Areopagus Hill, a historical site in its own right which offers great views of the Acropolis. At night ‘the rock’ transforms into a bit of a hippy hang-out, with plenty of guitars and beer drinking. Do as the Greeks do and buy some drinks from a kiosk, head up to the top and enjoy the intimate view.
The most famous areas around the city that are famous for their nightlife scene are Psyrri, Kerameikos and Kolonaki. Visit a nightclub that suits your taste and dance the night away till early in the morning
Shopping in Athens is a great experience, especially for tourists. Some of the best places to find just about anything are the flea markets in Athens. After all, someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure.
The Monastiraki flea market is among the most famous flea markets in Athens. It boasts a great variety of shops that sell many different kinds of products like souvenirs and organic products like olive oil, soap, accessories and leather goodies. Most of the shops sell pretty conventional items, stuff someone can find in most tourist shops in Greece. Make sure you spend some time exploring the flea markets in Athens as the biggest treasures are hidden from plain sight.
If you want to perceive the urban spirit of Athens, visiting a local flea market will definitely excite you.
Exarchia is an alternative area with several restaurants, cafes and pubs. The whole area is also popular for its vintage shops, bookshops, vinyl stores, art stores and it’s very usually among the youth. If you want to explore Athens like a local, delve into the urban spirit of Athens and discover old-pre owned items and memorabilia, Exarchia is one of the best flea markets in Athens for that.
Are you into vintage shops? If yes, Avissynias square is undoubtedly among the most interesting flea markets in Athens. Located just a couple of meters away from Monastiraki Metro station, the market will surprise people who are looking for a piece of history, hidden in one of the numerous shops in the area.
Most flea markets in Athens are open on the weekends. Make sure you do your research and visit them when they’re open to freely spend time on your shopping
Greece and especially Athens, offer the best delicacies that will satisfy everyone’s needs. It is a known fact that the Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world thanks to the variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood that is used on every dish. The food in Athens will definitely surprise you, so make sure you pay a visit to one of the numerous restaurants in the city.
A pie is definitely the best food in Athens. There are many different kinds of pies, cheese pies (tiropita), spinach pies (spanakotiropita) bougatsa (pastry filled with custard cream) as among the most popular street foods wherever you go.
If you want to dive deeper into the Greek culture, a visit to a traditional tavern is a must. Greek people love eating out with family and friends whenever they can. Taverns provide a friendly environment for discussion and offer incomparable delicacies from the Greek cuisine. Make sure you visit a tavern and try the best food in Athens with your loved ones
We suggest you try some Greek salad, tzatziki sauce, saganaki (fried cheese) and dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves).
You cannot complete your day without a delicious dessert. Greek cuisine is famous for its desserts and Athens offers numerous options that will pamper your palate and transport you into a world of flavors and aromas. Some of the most famous Greek desserts and best food in Athens are Baklava, halva and Galaktoboureko (Custard in filo).
You can find Greek patisseries almost everywhere, from central hotspots to more quiet neighborhoods. Buy some sweets for your kids to enjoy at home when you get back.
Greece is the cradle of western civilization and definitely the place where myths and legends are taking place. From grandiose fortresses on the hills of Corinth to icons above the Athenian skyline, let’s take a look at the most important ancient sites in Greece.
Delphi is one of the most important ancient sites in Greece. In the ancient time, Delphi was considered the center of the world and there’s also a grandiose temple there dedicated to the God Apollo which would get visited by many people with hopes of communicating with the gods. The whole archaeological site includes an ancient theater and a stadium which create a beautiful scenery all together and offer a great opportunity for exploration. Go to Delphi for a chance to ask the ancient Oracle and see what your future holds.
Mycenae was home to one of the most important Greek civilizations which occupied a large area of Greece. The walls of the city were huge and a part of them has survived despite the years that have passed. Apart from the museum in the area, visit the impressive Tholos tombs and especially the tomb of King Agamemnon of Troy, a reason why Mycenae is among the most interesting ancient sites in Greece.
If you want to see more, Nafplio is the perfect opportunity to experience a more seaside location with a medieval vibe along with an impressive architecture that showcase the history of Greece.
Corinth used to be one of the most powerful and culturally important ancient sites in Greece, thriving both in the military and artistic field. You can imagine there are several interesting things to see from that time, most notably the temple of Apollo from the 6th century, and the ancient Agora. Ancient Corinth is also an attraction today because St. Paul lived and preached there for quite a while, but also because on your way there you will pass by the famous Corinth Canal.
If you want to live a more complete experience, contact us and we’ll arrange guided tours for you with a sense of luxury and comfort, at the most notable ancient sites in Greece.
Athens is full of sightseeings and monuments, but its attractions travel further than that. If you want to live a more local experience and dig into the Greek culture in the best way, then finding some island day trips from Athens is a perfect idea.
One of the most popular island day trips from Athens is Hydra. Take a morning boat from Piraeus and find yourselves at beautiful Hydra. Small but cosmopolitan, elite and low-key at the same time, artistic, independent, but also civilized and welcoming. The car-free town of Hydra is built amphitheatrically and is adorned with traditional stone mansions, cobblestone streets, traditional taverns and secluded squares. When you arrive you instantly feel the change of pace.
Just 1 hour from Athens, experience one the most majestic island day trips from Athens. A day trip to Aegina. You will undoubtedly enjoy the Aegina Town, with the elegant Neoclassical buildings, lots of shops with local products , taverns and coffee shops. It is a lovely place to stroll along the port promenade and the narrow streets, to have a nice dinner and enjoy a few drinks.
Spetses is also a very beautiful island. You may stroll along the seafront on the way to the picturesque old port, admiring the architecture of traditional and modern houses, as well as boutique hotels and restaurants, and have an elegant and delicious dinner. Apart from the beautiful and cosmopolitan town and the old port, Spetses offers plenty opportunities to discover the beautiful nature of the island. Just choose one beach and enjoy one of the most stunning island day trips from Athens with your loved ones.
Most of the islands in Greece are great for self-exploration. Contact us and we’ll provide you with useful information on where to go and what to do.
Athenians have always known how to have fun, always willing to enrich their cultural knowledge. Every year, many shows and festivals in Athens draw massive crowds and help upgrade the local art scene. If you’re visiting Athens, then you should probably check some of the festivals that take place there every year.
The Athens and Epidaurus Festival is among the best festivals in Greece and a highlight of the Greek summer calendar. With a legacy that spans more than sixty years, it incorporates nowadays a full programme of music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Performances at the two ancient theatres of the Odeon Herodes Atticus and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus are highlights of the festival. Both are famous for their incomparable acoustics and many of the great works of classical playwrights, such as Sophocles, premiered at the Epidaurus theatre during many festivals in Greece, in the ancient times.
The Odeon of Herodes was originally a steep-sloped amphitheatre with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof, and was used as a venue for music festivals with a capacity of 5,000. Since 1957 it has been one of the main venues of many festivals in Greece, which takes place annually from May to October, staging art festivals including musical concerts, ancient drama performances and opera. In more recent years the Odeon has hosted a variety of significant Greek and International performers including Sting, Elton John and Andrea Bocelli!
The Aeschylia festival in Elefsina is an annual artistic event that takes place at the end of Summer. (usually beginning at the end of August and lasting until early September). The main program contains a large number of events from various areas of entertainment such as theatre plays, music concerts, dance shows, visual art exhibitions and installations, cinema projections and others. Make sure to include it in your itinerary as it is one of the most captivating festivals in Greece.
Book your tickets in advance and experience a cultural phenomenon that will leave you with your mouths open.
Athens has so many interesting museums it is hard to pick which ones you want to visit! Many of the museums in Athens are considered to be the best in the world thanks to their incomparable educational and historical aspect and their architecture. During your stay in Athens, make sure you include some of the best museums in Athens in your itinerary to witness the majesty of the Greek civilization.
If your main focus is history and mythology, some of the best museums in Athens that should be included on top of your list are the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Agora, the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos and the Byzantine Museum of Athens. Admire the thousands of artifacts and exhibits that have stood the test of time and acquire a better knowledge of ancient Greece and apprehend its importance in shaping today’s society. Hear stories about how life was in ancient Greece and perceive how it shaped the western civilization as we know it.
Book your ticket in advance to avoid the huge lines and make your holidays as enjoyable as possible. Also, keep an eye open for some fascinating temporary exhibitions to spice up your experience even more.
The art scene in Athens is just as vibrant as the city itself. Numerous painters and sculptors have shaped the Greek culture and have offered to the world a number of masterpieces that are studied to this day. Some of the best museums in Athens to admire Greek art are the Museum of Benaki, the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery. Most of the museums have works of local and international artists and some of them offer a wide range of installations, from sculpture, murals, abstract paintings, even performance art.
Visit the Cycladic art museum, as it is considered to be one of the best museums in Athens, where you can also buy some truly unique souvenirs.
Once in Athens, make the most of your time by getting around efficiently, minimizing waiting and transportation times. Some tips and info by our experts on how to best experience and get to know the capital of Greece, by moving around like a local.
You can reach the center by Metro or bus. The trip from the Airport to Syntagma (center of Athens and metro lines connection) lasts around 40 minutes and the price of the ticket is 8,00 EUR (for all destinations).The bus takes more time but it only costs 5,00 EUR.
It is called Bus Airport Express. It connects the airport with the center of Athens and the price of the ticket is 5,00 EUR.
Taxi is the fastest and most convenient transfer option, but costs 50 €. A cheaper option is the bus, which costs only 6€, but takes over an hour. The final transfer option is the metro.
Book your transportation or do some research beforehand so you don’t waste time trying to find where to go.
The metro system in Athens is very efficient. There are 3 lines, the red, blue and the green one (which is actually an overground train). Check the map and find the line that will get you to your destination.
The metro is the quickest and easiest way to get around Athens. It is easy to navigate as It has only 3 lines. It is one of the newest metros in Europe with good condition facilities and cleanliness.
The price of the ticket is 1,20 EUR for all metro lines and destinations and there is also a 5 day ticket which costs 8,20 EUR.
Athens has many bus connections that can take you around the whole city. Make sure you find the right stop and find the bus that will take you to your desired location. A bus is also a great way to admire the city of Athens, going from one place to another.
Taking the bus in Athens is not as enjoyable of an experience as the Metro and it can be quite confusing, as the bus stops are often hidden away on side streets routes.
The trolleys are similar to a bus but run on electricity and the signs for the stops are usually yellow. They are affordable (1,20 EUR) and a 90 min ticket from the Metro can be used to connect with another bus, trolley or the tram.
Make sure you download the OASA Telematics application on your smartphone to check the bus routes and timetables and make your stay in Athens less stressful.
Want to get to the nearest beach in Athens? The tram is the perfect way to reach the most picture-perfect locations in Athens to take a stroll or dive in the refreshing waters of the sea.
The environmentally friendly tram connects Syntagma Square with the beach areas along the coast, including the Glyfada neighborhood in the east and Piraeus in the west. There are 3 lines operating exclusively along the scenic sea-front promenade.
Renting a car is the perfect idea if you want to live a more spontaneous experience. Also, you don’t have to wait for the big number of stops, transfers and massive crows while taking public transportation.
Driving in Athens can be a challenge at times due to its heavy traffic and lack of easy parking, especially in the center.
Renting a car is only advisable if you plan to leave the city and explore the mainland of Greece. Most car rental companies require the driver to be 21 years of age with a valid driver’s license.
Are you visiting Athens with your whole family? If yes, book a car and travel around the island on your own terms. Don’t forget that you can book your preferred vehicle directly from the team of Travel12 which will help you in the best way possible.
Getting around with a taxi can be a relaxing experience, especially in the hot summer days. A taxi is, without a doubt, the most convenient way to get around in Athens no matter what time it is.
Taxis are available 24/7. Taking a taxi is significantly more expensive than public transit, but they are also the fastest and most convenient option.
It’s best to book a private transfer in advance if you know what you’ll need. There are top-quality services that will certainly be on time to drive you safely and comfortably to your destination, also sharing any information you may need along the way. This way you’ll know your fare and in advance and you won’t risk being left to wait.
If you want to explore Athens at your own pace, book a private driver. Private transfers are a great way to go to places without worrying about the timetables of public transportation.
Athens is a big city with many options on where to stay. There are many different accommodation options in Athens, from world-famous hotels to small boutiques that will make you feel like home. You can choose between a breathtaking view of the Acropolis or the view of a picturesque alley. Are you still wondering where to stay in Athens? Keep reading and find the answer.
Plaka is one of the oldest areas of the city and the best if you want to discover its culture. Here you will not stop admiring the neoclassical buildings, the colorful houses, and the bougainvilleas through the pedestrian streets. Syntagma is a place with endless options of stores, bars, cafes, restaurants to keep you entertained from the morning till late at night. This part of the town never sleeps.
Koukaki is an area in the shadows of Acropolis. Accommodations here offer more comfortable and luxurious stay, just a breath away from Athens’ top attractions. The lively areas of Monastiraki and Psirri offer a very convenient accommodation as you will be in a walking distance of Athens’ top attractions and in the heart of the city beat. If you’re wondering where to stay in Athens and you want to be close to the most important parts of the city, then the historic center will definitely satisfy you.
Wondering where to stay in Athens to be close to the beaches? Athens Riviera is the coastal area in the southern suburbs of Athens, from Piraeus to Sounion. If you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, then the Athenian Riviera is an incredibly good option for you. In this corner of Athens, you can relax, swim, and dine by the sea. Don’t miss visiting Cape Sounion, where you’ll admire the Temple of Poseidon, one of the most significant monuments of Ancient Greece. Also, it's a great choice if you need a short stay near the airport.
If you want a luxurious short stay and a refreshing alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city center, then this is the best option for you. If you’re visiting with your family and don’t know where to stay in Athens then Kifissia is definitely for you. Kifissia, is among the oldest suburbs of Athens and a favorite place for those who like a more tranquil atmosphere. Here, north of the center of Athens, you will find international designer boutiques, exclusive leather goods stores, art galleries and many excellent restaurants and bars. Accommodations here are all about luxury, glamour and elegance.
If you’re visiting Athens with your family, the northern suburbs will be more ideal as they are less crowded and there are many parks for your kids to have fun and play.
Athens is a big city. We’re sure that many of you are wondering how many days are enough to enjoy the capital to the fullest and experience as many different things as possible. Bear with us as we’ve gathered information and planned different itineraries, which will help you see the most important Athens monuments, taste incredible food and have the time of your life with your loved ones.
Athens is a big city with lots of things to see and do. Even if you’re only staying for an afternoon you can still experience the majesty of the city. Keep reading and find out the best things you can do in Athens in an afternoon.
If you’ve got just one afternoon or evening in Athens, your first stop will undoubtedly be the Acropolis, the hill towering over the city that includes the Parthenon, a temple to Athena constructed in 438 BC. Just utter the words “Ancient Greece,” and most people will immediately get an image of this iconic structure.
What many travelers aren’t aware of is that it’s actually the anchor point for an entire complex of buildings, each worth a visit. These include an ancient theater, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Erechtheon, famous for its Caryatids – columns shaped like women that hold up one of its porches – and the Acropolis Museum, responsible for displaying and preserving all of the archaeological finds of the Acropolis.
Are you visiting Athens for only 24 hours? Then keep reading because we’ve panned a great itinerary which will help you dive deep into the Greek culture and grasp the majesty of the Greek capital in the best way possible.
Although you could easily spend an entire day just at the Acropolis, there are plenty of other historic and modern sights to keep you occupied. The National Archaeological Museum is full of antiquities from all over the country, attesting to the brilliance of the Ancient Greeks, many of whom were far ahead of their time when it came to art, architecture, philosophy, and technology. Another ancient site – the Tower of the Winds – is an octagonal marble clock tower that was actually part of the Roman forum, and therefore a remnant of yet another great ancient civilization that made this land the center of the world.
If you’d rather see how the modern half lives, reserve a few hours to wander around one of Athens’ buzzing neighborhoods, including the up-and-coming Pangrati neighborhood, or the Psyrri area, known for its nightlife and mezze, or small Greek appetizer plates. Monastiraki flea market is open every day, selling everything from painted icons to leather sandals to cheap souvenirs, with an entire separate street for antiques and vintage goods. It’s a great place for people-watching, wandering, and hunting for bargains alongside some of the city’s savviest locals.
Once you know you’ll be spending at least 2 full days in Athens, you can add a day trip to your itinerary. This may seem counterintuitive, since you’ll be leaving Athens and going on to your next Greek adventure in such a short time, but there are plenty of nearby destinations that make more sense when you’re based in Athens and are more convenient without an overnight
A popular day trip option is Delphi, a major archaeological site on the slopes of Mount Parnassus that includes the Temple of Apollo and the Sacred Way, a path leading up to it flanked with columns, as well as an ancient amphitheater and an archaeological museum preserving and displaying many of the site’s smaller treasures, including stele, friezes, the Sphinx of Naxos and the bronze Charioteer of Delphi. This is a great option if you want to dig deep into Ancient Greek and Roman history, but kids will also love the chance to play and explore outside.
Other options include a visit to Cape Sounion at the southern end of Attica, where jagged cliffs are crowned by the remains of the Temple of Poseidon. Although it is a very long day trip and at least one overnight is ideal, Meteora is also an option, where a cluster of Eastern Orthodox monasteries balance precipitously atop a dramatic rock formation, just as they have for a thousand years. Over the centuries, these holy places have sheltered monks, hermits, and pilgrims; today they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that welcomes countless awed tourists.
If you have up to 5 days in Athens, consider joining a tour that will allow you to see the city through a new lens, or observe it through a particular theme. Joining a tour can be a great idea if you want to enjoy an organised experience and at the same time enrich your knowledge with the help of an experienced guide.
An Athens food tour will whisk you through bustling markets and to some of the best street food stalls so you can taste cured meats, olives, and cheeses, honey and olive oil, and Greek coffee and baklava. A private photography tour will have you revisiting some sites like the Acropolis and adding new ones, all with the aim of teaching you how to capture one of the most photogenic countries in the world on film. If you’ve found yourself still dreaming of the Acropolis, go on a Greek mythology tour that will let you explore the site in depth and reveal its secrets. After all, you can never learn enough about Zeus, Athena, and Poseiden, just like you can never spend enough time at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This enchanting city is delightful in Spring, it is sensational in Summer, sophisticated in Autumn, and wonderful during the Winter. The main element that makes Athens a magnificent destination is its unique blend of ancient heritage with a modern flair. Visiting it any time of year will reveal a different kind of charm.
In the Spring, Athens becomes a gorgeous place as the flowers blossom, the weather gets better, making it the perfect time for outdoor sightseeing before the crowds of summer arrive. It also offers visitors the unique opportunity to participate in Greek Easter traditions which are popular among the locals. Orthodox Easter takes place on different dates than the Western Christian Easter, so check in advance to confirm exact timings. For all the above, Spring is the best time to visit Athens.
During Easter, guests can visit historic Byzantine churches for services and taste traditional sweets at the city’s bakeries. Processions take place throughout Athens on ‘Good Friday’, while on Easter Saturday, a holy flame is brought to Athens from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Easter isn’t the only event in Athens in spring; there’s also Greek Independence Day on March 25th. If you plan to be in Athens on that day, check museum timings in advance—some may have limited hours, while others (like the Acropolis Museum) usually offer free entry. The holiday is celebrated with parades through the city streets, and by eating bakaliaros skordalia (cod with garlic sauce).
July and August are typically the hottest months of the year, with rising temperatures and exhausting heat waves. Make sure you start your visits way earlier than usual and always keep yourselves hydrated under the hot Greek sun. Athenians tend to spend a great deal of their summer time outdoors, roaming around the city center and enjoying drinks at café-bars, rooftop settings and terraces.
Major attractions in Athens, like the Acropolis Museum, the Parthenon, and the National Archaeological Museum, are very busy during Summer. It’s a good idea to make your arrangements well in advance, including booking accommodation, ferries, and tickets. Despite the crowds, the high season is a good time to take advantage of the longer summer opening hours.
All summer long, locals gather to honour the country’s cultural traditions. Most of Athens’ festivals are connected to religion, and many are celebrated nationally, such as the Dormition of Virgin Mary (on August 15th), one of Christianity’s most significant days and also a public holiday in Greece.
Athens in the autumn transforms into a city with a special kind of charm. If you love sunny weather but don’t care for crowds, fall can be a good time for sightseeing in Athens. While the weather generally remains fairly warm until November, the attractions get less busy after the August rush, making Autumn the best time to visit Athens.
Athenian film buffs begin their winter viewing season with the annual Athens International Film Festival, or Premiere Nights as it is more commonly known. The event stands as a major attraction for the city’s considerable following for quality, independent productions from all over the world. If you want to experience a unique cultural event, then the Athenian film festival is perfect for you.
The ongoing pleasant weather also makes early fall a great time for day trips. The Saronic islands (Aegina, Hydra, Poros, and Spetses) can easily be reached via a quick ferry ride. If you’d prefer to stay on the mainland, there are many fascinating towns and archaeological sites nearby: Cape Sounion, Eleusis, and Marathon are all very close to Athens, while Delphi, Corinth, and Thebes are a 1-2 hour drive away.
Winter is the off-season in Athens. Rain showers fall intermittently during this time, and it has even been known to snow. However, the winter is usually punctuated by plenty of “halcyon days”, when temperatures are surprisingly warm and summer-like.
One of the best things to do in Athens in winter is to visit a museum. Athens has over 70 museums, and you will definitely find a few that spark your interest. For those who’d love to explore the Acropolis without the large crowds, winter is the best time to visit Athens.
Syntagma is likely to be a point you'll pass through several times during your stay in the city. In the month running up to Christmas, you may see that it is decorated and there is a tree in the square. Opposite, the Evzones Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on the hour, every hour. If you are there at 11am on a Sunday, you will see a huge, grandiose affair which is well worth watching.
We hope our ‘What to do in Athens’ travel guide stays by your side during your holidays in Athens and we wish you the best time ever.
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Safe travels, The team of Travel 12
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