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Visiting Athens

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 21:22

50 things to do in Athens

Is it your first time in Athens? Are you a born-and-bread Athenian, maybe? Whether you are a newbie or an old-timer in the city of Athens, there are always catchy things to do! From relaxing wanderings around scenic neighborhoods and discovering culture through local flavors to amazing places to visit and have fun, exploring Athens is a never-ending list; it makes you always return to catch up with the new things going on or rekindle memories of exciting experiences. Here is a carefully selected 50 of what you can do in the city!

1. Reach the peak of Lycabettus Hill
If Athens panoramic view is what you are after, this hilltop is the ideal place to get it. Do so and you will be more than compensated by the view and the thrill of the highs! You can reach the top of Lycabettus Hill by the funicular or – for the most adventurous - walking up the hill. Once you get on the top, you will find a small church and a café overlooking the vast Athens. Perfect photo spot! Funicular’s timetable: daily, every 30’, 09:00-02:30

2. Dine in a Cretan restaurant
Do you fancy visiting Crete without leaving Athens? As impossible as it sounds, you can experience the Cretan Culture in the very Athenian city! Just visit an authentic Cretan restaurant and taste the richness of the land through Cretan flavors and hospitality. Opt for “Mpiftekaaatsi”, a highly ranked traditional Cretan restaurant in Athens and let the journey to Crete begin!
Address: 39 Perikleous Avenue, Cholargos.

3. Feed the pigeons in Syntagma square
Athenians grow up with the habit of family walks to Syntagma Square and Zappeion just to feed the pigeons! Kids love throwing all sorts of wheat-food around just to make as many pigeons as possible assemble! Grown-ups also enjoy the vibe of Syntagma Square and relax their thoughts by feeding the kit of pigeons gathering there. Just make sure you have enough bread crumbles for all!

morning walks in Athens

4. Go for a morning walk in the city center
Under the quiet light of the morning sun, go for a morning stroll around the city center and discover the most historic neighborhoods of Athens- Syntagma, Plaka, Anafiotika, Monastiraki and Psirri! Everything seems different in the morrow and the nostalgic figures of the buildings reveal their stories! Join us for an Athens Highlights tour and see the best of the city in a few hours!

5. Cheer up in “Allou! FunPark”
Are you in a crazy and adventurous mood? Hold your horses and get ready to unleash them in "Allou! Fun Park", the biggest amusement park in Greece. Roller coasters, peaks and valleys, shock and drop, water coasters and many more fun games to get you into the loop of ultra-fun! Get high doses of adrenaline and still stay safe!

6. Have a Greek folk dance class
Sway to the rhythm of Greek folk music and learn to dance popular Greek folk hits, such as the “Zorba’s Dance” syrtaki. Dance makes our hearts beat faster, improves our brain function and cheers us up! So what’s better than dancing to experience a whole culture through steps and moves that echo the Greek hospitality, compassion and spontaneity? Does it sound like your cup of tea? Don’t miss out on "The Zorba inside me" dance experience and get the chance to dance like a Greek!

7. Picnic with beloved ones
With so high frequency of sunshine in Athens, going for a picnic is a joy for all! Athens may be considered as a grey city, but still there are several places to enjoy green spaces and sunshine. Fill your basket with nice food, drinks and a tablecloth and make your way to Syggrou Park, Athens Music Hall’s garden or even the National Gardens. Lie on the grass and gaze the sun or let the Greeking.me team arrange it for you!

8. Relish the sunset from "Vrahakia"
Are you looking for an amazing romantic spot to watch the sunset? Nothing compares to Vrahakia (meaning little rocks) at the top of the Areopagus hill, near Acropolis. It’s a popular place with locals and everybody – lovers, friends and families or even on their own – go there to take in the magnificent sunset view of Athens; an ideal spot for thinking, inspiration and relaxation! A “must-visit” place in Athens for sure.
Acropolis hill

9. Visit Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
Of course, it goes without saying, but Acropolis needs to be in every Athens-list. The sacred hill with human activity that goes back in 1000 BC, its ancient monuments fighting their stand on the place since the 5th century BC, the glorious Parthenon – a sight brilliant and harmonious to the eye – and the Acropolis Museum that comes along to complete your Acropolis visit are a MUST when you drop by the city of Athens. Team-up with an excellent licensed guide and join our Acropolis and Acropolis Museum Tour.

10. Snap a photo with an Evzone
That one is a classic! Get to Syntagma square and find an Evzone - a guard with the traditional Greek uniform. Don’t expect him to blink an eye as you will stand by him to take your photo. Probably, every visitor or citizen in Athens has taken at least one picture standing next to the guard of the Unknown Soldier memorial.

11. Bottoms up with rakomelo or ouzo.
While being in Athens, you definitely need to get a taste of those drinks! Rakomelo is a Cretan alcoholic beverage made of raki, honey, clove and cinnamon. It is mostly served warm to pair with desert after a rich meal. Ouzo is a classic Greek alcoholic drink with anise flavor and quite popular during summertime; it’s served with ice and it’s easily paired with seafood. Go for it!

12. Take a walk at Philopappou hill
Start your day with an energizing walk to Philopappou Hill! It’s one of the most beautiful walking routes in Athens; follow cobble-paved laneways that lead at the top of the Philopappou Hill enjoying the surrounding green landscape filled with olive and pine trees. You will meet several spots of great historical importance on your way and you’ll get to take in a magnificent view of the Acropolis at the Philopappou hilltop. Don’t miss it!

13. What about some cream or rice pudding? 
Whether you are a cream indulger or you just love trying unique desserts, the shop "Stani" in Maria Kotopouli St. is all you want to pay a visit to! "Stani" is a family business and always uses fresh local milk bought from small farmers around the area. Although this neighborhood is not the place to hang out and relax, stopping by this shop to taste these delicious goodies is a must when in Athens.

enjoy the beach

14. Go to the beach! 
Most of the year the mild weather in Athens qualifies for a beach-visit! The coastal suburbs of the city bristle with wonderful and clean beaches. Come up for air with a walk by the beach during the autumn and spring months; spend your time there with your family playing around or have a picnic with your friends under the loving sun! When summer comes, going to the beach for a cooling dive is a must! You can also read our blog post about the 10 best beaches in Athens.

15. Long night out in the city? Time for street food!
The youth of Athens has a really unquenchable desire for partying! A long night out seems to be a must at the weekends and those exhausting all-nighters make street food necessary to keep them going all night long! Young people in Athens always gobble up something either for a break between parties or just before they return home to cool down. That’s why there is so much street food in Athens. You can find burgers in Kolokotroni St, chicken nuggets in Mihalakopoulou St, crepes in Panormou St and hot-dogs almost everywhere! It sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

16. Walk in Pittaki St.!
There is some nice history behind that street! Back in the days, it used to be an abandoned dirty alley. Then, someday people of Athens were invited and encouraged to donate their old lighting fixtures, chandeliers and all sorts of lighting materials, while painters transformed the walls along the street leaving their creative mark to this art project. Now, Pittaki St is a beautiful homely alley ideal for romantic evening walks!

17. Buy a round sesame bread (koulouri)
The round sesame bread is one more street-food gem and Greeks actually call it "Koulouri Thessalonikis". It is ideal for those times when you wander around the city and you want something light to eat! Even if it is traditionally made in Thessaloniki, you can find many street vendors with trolley stands full of round sesame breads in central Athenian streets or outside of metro stations. In case you don’t recognize them around the streets, you can always buy one from a bakery. We just prefer the traditional way! Tip: Koulouri is one of the foods consumed during our Athens food tour!

18. Have a late night out!
When in Athens, get the chance to go for a fun all-nighter around the city! Athens by night is a must-do experience, especially if you are the kind of a night-owl person looking for unique bars and nightly eateries! Athens is full of those and going out at night till the sun comes up is the best thing you can do to discover many interesting places and feel the local vibe of the city; taste delicious Greek mezedes, drink unique cocktails, meet the energetic locals and when you see the first morning light, wolf down some street food and hit the bed!

19. Go shopping in the Central Market of Athens
Athens Cental Market (Varvakeios Agora) is one of the top places to visit when in Athens. It is the ideal place to feel the local vibe and browse through the richness of the Greek land; from fresh vegetable and fruit produce to meat, fish, nuts, honey and spices, Varvakeios Market is a colorful palette oozing with aromas of Greece! You could also join our Greek cooking class and visit the Central Market of Athens to buy fresh ingredients for your own authentic Greek meal!

Wine tasting

20.  Enjoy a Greek wine tasting experience
Greece has some of the oldest wineries in the world and there’s no shortage of them around Athens. Take a tour around a local vineyard, tasting your way through some of Greece’s beautiful landscapes. Familiarize yourself with local grape varieties and learn how the wine is made. Who said drinking can’t be educational?

21. Play your time away in an escape room!
Jump on the bandwagon and get in one of the escape rooms in Athens! This growing gaming trend is flourishing in the city which offers a variety of rooms to tease your intellect! It is about a brilliant adventurous group game; you get locked in a room and you need to puzzle your way out in less than 60 minutes! Choose among a wide variety of themed escape rooms in Athens – such as the "Minotaur’s Labyrinth" or "Lost statues of Knossos" – and try to escape using your friends’ help! 

22. Have a Greek cooking class!
What a better way to discover Athens’ culture than having a Greek cooking class? Greeks are very passionate people and their authentic nature is voiced through the flavors of their land. The rich bounty of Greece offers the optimum produce to compose delicious dishes with simple ingredients. Fancy to discover how? Join us for a Greek cooking lesson and stroll around Athens Central market to take a grasp of the goings-on of Greek food; then fill your bags with the best of goodies in the city and meet an expert Greek cook to teach you the art of making signature dishes of Greece!
You might think that Athens is all about its history and its ancient glory. However, when in the city you can easily realize the richness of the culture evident everywhere!

23. Shop in the kilo-shop
Athens has its own kilo shop and the concept is pretty simple: choose among a vast variety of vintage or second-hand clothes and pay by their weight. Scan the shop around and browse within jackets, skirts, shirts, coats, trousers, denim wear, furs, shoes, scarfs and all sorts of men, women and kids wear! There are many scales in the shop that make it easier for you to know the price of the new piece of your wardrobe. Find the Kilo-shop in Athens city center, 120 Ermou St.

24. Visit the National Garden of Athens
Explore the National Garden of Athens and find a small heaven of greenery within the bustling city! Adjacent to the Greek Parliament Building in Syntagma Square, the National Garden boasts for its lush plantation and offers a quiet place to chillax amidst the hustle and the bustle of the city. You can enjoy a morning walk among locals and discover antiquities, a small pond, the Botanical museum and even a Children’s library!
Tip! Join us for a neoclassical Athens tour and explore the National Garden among other marvels of Neoclassical architecture in the city!

anafiotika view
25. Wander around the neighborhood of Anafiotika
How do you like to see an island in the middle of Athens? Anafiotika is the most beautiful Athenian neighborhood resembling an actual Greek island just amidst the bustle of Athens city center. Ramble through its cobble-paved alleys with small white-blue houses covered here and there by pink-flowered bougainvillea. Relax in one of the cozy coffee shops or have dinner in romantic restaurants of the area; the vintage yellow lights with the freshness of the dense-leafed trees make up the most idyllic atmosphere in Athens!

26. Eat “loukoumades” at Krinos
Go on a "loukoumades" binge - one of Greeks’ dearest dessert – in a historical sweet shop in Athens city center. "Krinos" dates back in 1855 as the first pharmacy in Athens; the place was bought by a Greek refugee from Izmir in 1923 just to be transformed in the first sweet shop in the city with authentic oriental-flavored desserts. Every time we visit Krinos, we go back to our childhood when we relished delicious loukoumades with our parents; believe it or not, the quality is as high as it was back then! Tip: Did you know that Krinos is also one of the stops in our delicious Athens Food Tour?

27. Visit the museum of baths
A relic of the Ottoman era in Greece, this old Turkish bathhouse has been converted into a quaint museum. Visitors can see the marble remains of what used to be a place for cleansing and relaxation. Features include Turkish tilefloor designs, an option to listen to an audio tour, and AV projections depicting what it originally looked like. Pass by on your way to the Roman Agora!

28. Eat souvlaki at Kostas 
Trying souvlaki is a must-do for visitors to Greece and Kostas’ is the best place to get it. Locals like to frequent this place for it’s true and traditional recipe, not to mention it’s cheap but filling. Kostas, a tiny souvlaki shop in Agias Eirinis Square, is using a secret sauce for a more intense explosion of taste - just ask for it!

29. Attend a classical theater performance in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre located at the base of the Acropolis, named after a distinguished and rich Greek aristocrat. He was a patron of public works and funded the building of the theatre in 161 A.D., among other projects. Today, you can attend the Athens Art Festival, musical concerts, and classical tragedies in the open air.

30. Attend a concert at Megaron
Hosting opera, ballet, symphony and theatre performances from October through June, the Athens Concert Hall is renowned for its acoustics and impressive design. It’s one of the largest concert halls in the world. An expansion in 2004 provided space for exhibition areas, shops, restaurants, and a music library - there’s plenty to keep you entertained!

handmade sandals

31. Buy sandals from the most famous sandal–maker in Athens
Stavros Melissinos is a poet and a sandal-maker, known for his lyrical prose and high-quality hand-made sandals. His customers include Sophia Loren, the Beatles, Jacqueline Onassis, Queen and Anthony Quinn. Reminiscent of Ancient Greek styles, feel like Greek God or Goddess while walking around with a pair of Stavros’ shoes.

32. Cocktail in a rooftop bar
For those who like spectacular rooftop views, Athens offers many choices. Places like Couleur Locale, A for Athens and Athens 360 offer the chance to grab a drink from the bar and revel in the view of the nearby Acropolis and the city below. Let loose with friends and enjoy the atmosphere! If you're looking for places to dance in Athens, here are some of our suggestions.

33. Go for a hike on Mount Parnitha
Declared a National Park in 1961, Mount Parnitha is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Athens. The mountain contains various topographies and sceneries, from summits and gorges, to streams and caves. Hadrian’s Aqueduct, built by the Romans, began at the foot of Mt. Parnithia and transported water to a stone reservoir on Mount Lycabettus in Athens. Only parts of the aqueduct are preserved.

34. Shop at Athens Mall or Golden Hall
A shopaholic’s dream, the Golden Hall of Athens is the biggest shopping center in the city with over 100 stores. Bring a full wallet however -- many of the stores are designer brand name. You can take a break from all the shopping (or window shopping) at the mall’s restaurants and cafes. If you are shopaholic, please check our Athens shopping guide.

35. Try a traditional dessert
Please your sweet-tooth with traditional Greek sweets and desserts, paired with Greek coffee. Try baklava, semolina cakes, loukoumades, kataifi and more!

36. Falafel at "Falafelas"
In the neighbourhood of Plaka, make sure you grab one of the best crafted falafels in town from Falafelas. For under 3 euros, you can get a good-sized pita pocket filled to the brim with deliciousness. The place itself is very small, so take your falafel to go and explore the lively neighborhood.

traditional Greek coffee

37. Enjoy a traditional Greek coffee
Coffee is a major part of our culture, as it is deeply connected to every aspect of our daily life. From gossip to sports, from politics to fashion, everything is discussed in a coffee shop while sipping the traditional Greek coffee in its small white demitasse. Some people even do cup readings! Enjoy your cup of self-filtered Greek coffee in Mocca, one of the most historical coffee points with its own production right in the heart of Athens! The store is located in 44 Athenas Str and it is open all day long to amaze you with its exquisite coffee blends! 

38. Attica zoological park
With about 2000 animals representing 400 species, the Attica Zoological Park is open 365 days a year. It has the third largest bird collection in the world, a reptile and African Savannah exhibit, and a dolphinarium. You can enjoy coffee or lunch at the ZooCafe overlooking the African Savannah.

39. Visit Flisvos Marina
Known as the mega-yacht destination in Greece, stroll around this posh area for peaceful sea views, shopping, and eating. Shops include frozen yogurt, a bookstore, and sportswear. Yacht renting services are also available for luxurious mariners.

40. Visit an open-air cinema
Open air cinemas have a long history in Greece and is a strong part of the local cultural entertainment. At the Thiseion Open Air Cinema, you can enjoy a movie with a snack, right under the Acropolis in full view. The atmosphere is magical during summer nights.

41. Relish a beautiful view from Pnyx Hill!
Walk up to Pnyx Hill through a lush-green route and discover the place where democracy set its roots during the antiquity. This is the place where the Athenian assembly met to take important decisions about Athens. Step on the curved trail to the speaker’s platform and feel like an ancient orator ready to voice your opinion about important matters! You will also enjoy a beautiful view of the Acropolis and the city itself. A not-to-be-missed walk!

42. Lake of Vouliagmeni
Considered a geological phenomenon, Vouliagmeni Lake is a natural spa experience. The lake’s underground thermal springs ensure that the water remains at a comfortable warm temperature. Even more fascinating is the lake’s underwater cave labyrinth, which has been explored up until 3,123 meters. Where the cave ends is still unknown.

43. Stavros Niarchos park
Connected to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, the Stavros Niarchos Park is a green space for learning, reflection, and recreation. Pine and Olive trees line the walkways, and plenty of plants, water fountains and open spaces provide a peaceful respite from the bustle of the city. Have a picnic or sunbathe on the grass.

Athens' street art

You may not know it, but Athens is considered as the mecca of street art and in fact, street artists from all over the world pick their own favorite spots in the city center to create their colorful graffities. Throughout an alternative Athens street art tour, you can enjoy all of their different styles and techniques, but mostly you will understand several aspects of the social and political life in Greece. What’s better than this?
 
45. Enjoy a relaxing walk on the paved Apostolou Pavlou Street 
In 51 A.D., St. Paul, an apostle who helped first introduce Christianity to Athens, walked across the Agora and the Acropolis, and made his way to Areos Pagos to preach his religion. Apostolou Pavlou is a pedestrian street representing the path St. Paul walked during his mission. Craft booths with handmade jewelry and other items can be found along the way for browsing and shopping.
 
46. Visit Kallimarmaro - Panathenaic Stadium
Discover your athletic self by admiring this phenomenal masterpiece of classical Greece, constructed in the 4th century BC and was used to host the huge event of “Great Panathenea”, the celebration dedicated to the ancient goddess of wisdom, Athena. As it comes to modern Greek history, this stadium is connected with the first modern Olympic Games of 1896, as it held both the opening and closing ceremony. You can visit Kallimarmaro every day, by paying a 5-euro ticket, which is customized to 2,50 euros for students and people over 65 years old. 
 
47. Walk through the market in Avissinias Square 
The so called “giousouroum” of Avissinia, is practically one of the most interesting flea markets in the city, where different cultures, civilizations and religions are met. The stores and tables are packed up with genuine antiques, paintings, furniture and special old books. Very close to Monastiraki square, it exudes a nostalgic feeling for the past and if you are a collector or simply a history and culture lover, then that’s the place to be! 
 
48. Chill out in Spiromiliou Stoa
Known already as the City Link, this stoa is located in the city center, in 3 Voukourestiou Street, two minutes on foot from Syntagma Square. Renovated in the beginning of the 21st century, this place is characterized by its vivid day and nightlife and you will be impressed by its classical decoration and its glass roof. Ideal for chill out walks and endless shopping, Spiromiliou Stoa hosts also art exhibitions and fashion events and it’s one of the main meeting points for the most famous Greek celebrities!
 
49. Goulandris Museum of Natural History
This museum is located in the beautiful area of Kifisia, in the northeast part of Athens, housed in an elegant neoclassical building constructed in 1875. Since its foundation in 1964 by Aggelos and Niki Goulandris, it has mapped a pioneer route, a new rapprochement between man and natural environment. Nowadays, it is home to zoological, botanical, marine, rock, mineral and fossil specimens and hundreds of visitors are guided and trained in order to develop and increase their environmental awareness on a daily basis. With a ticket of 6 euros (4 euros for children, students and elderly people) it’s definitely a must-see!
 
50. Fly you to the moon at Evgenidion Foundation (The Planetarium) 
Founded in 1954 with a donation from Eugenios Eugenides, the planetarium offers visitors an exciting glimpse into our universe’s history. With the help of the latest digital technology, the planetarium hosts inspiring productions on astronomy and a whole variety of scientific topics, creating a unique experience for science fans – and not only – who will be totally swept away to the ends of the earth and beyond! You can visit the Planetarium all year long at 387, Suggrou Avenue and buy tickets from 4 to 8 euros for this – once in a lifetime – experience!


Because everything is about experiences! See, taste and do in Athens!