Greece is a wonderful destination and Athens is a vivid city that may surprise you! Maybe you will stay here for a few days before visiting a Greek island or maybe Athens is your final vacation destination. There are literally a myriad of things to do during your stay in Athens but you will probably have time only for a few special ones. We have put together a few recommendations that will help you explore the city and discover its true soul during your Athens vacations.
Archaeological sites & museums
Athens is well-known for its ancient history and its archaeological sites. Whether you are an archaeology buff or not, there are some monuments that are worth the visit. Acropolis and the Parthenon need no introduction. Acropolis is the most important landmark of Athens, as it has been standing in the heart of the city for more than 2,500 years. It is a world heritage site and a unique monument that you just must visit. If you have some time, you should also visit the Acropolis Museum to see magnificent exhibits and get to know more about life in ancient Athens.
The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio is also a must-see monument. Built next to the sea to honor Poseidon, the god of the sea, the Temple crowns the top of the cape Sounion. This is an excellent chance for a day trip during your vacations in Athens, as it is a wonderful place with great history. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the sunset; you will be mesmerized by the different colors that engulf the temple as the sun descends into the sea.
Strolling in the city
The only way to see the real Athens and its different aspects is on foot. Start walking and exploring the small neighborhoods of the center of Athens. Walk around the historical center, from Syntagma to Kerameikos, where ancient monuments are in total harmony with neoclassical buildings and modern architecture. Near the historical center, you will find Filopappou Hill, where in ancient times the Athenians gathered on the Pnyx rock to host their assemblies. It is literally the birthplace of democracy.
As Athens is built at a short distance from the coastline, it is a good idea to get close to nature and go for a swim in the Athens Riviera. In Alimos, Voula, Vouliagmeni, and Varkiza, where the Athenians gather throughout the year, you will find many beaches to choose from, based on your preferences and your budget. Lake Vouliagmeni, a place tourists haven’t discovered yet, is a superb choice for those who want to swim, but prefer a more quiet and peaceful place.
During your Athens vacations, we recommend you to find some time to enjoy a performance in Theatre Herodes Atticus, a view of the sunset on the Lycabettus hill, a movie in an outdoor cinema or a performance in a music festival.
Theatre Herodus Atticus is a Roman theatre in the foothills of Acropolis, where part of the Athens Festival takes place each summer. It is certain that you will find a performance of your interest and have the unique opportunity to watch a live spectacle while marveling at the lit-up Parthenon.
The Lycabettus hill lies in the center of Athens and is a popular destination for Athenians. Undoubtedly, it is the most romantic place in Athens and has the best panoramic view of the whole city. Watching the sun setting in the sea from the Lycabettus hill is quite an attraction, especially if you are spending your honeymoon in Athens. The Athenian sky overflows with colors as the sun goes down and a few minutes later the lights of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium, and the Ancient Agora are lit.
Usually located on a roof terrace or in a garden among buildings, the outdoor movie theaters are Athenian’s favorite pastime for a cool summer evening. Outdoor movie theaters often show old movies offering the opportunity to rediscover some true gems. And, if movies are not to your taste, you can always check out the music scene by attending one of the many music festivals that take place by the sea in Water Square in Faliro. You can sing, dance and enjoy famous bands and artists from all over the world.
Food & Coffee
Greek cuisine is a unique experience. It is a significant part of Greek culture and you need to definitely try it. When tasting the true Greek cuisine you may be surprised because the taste can be quite different, compared to what you have tasted in Greek restaurants in your country. There are taverns and restaurants with Greek food everywhere, but we recommend you to pick one in Plaka or Psirri. Both neighborhoods are picturesque and vivid and are thought some of the best areas to stay in Athens as a tourist. Avoid going to a very touristic restaurant. Follow the Greeks and you will find one that guarantees an authentic experience. Also, do not miss the opportunity to taste souvlaki, the famous Greek street food. Grab a wrapped souvlaki (“tylichto souvlaki” in Greek) and walk around the city. Find the perfect spot and enjoy it!
In Plaka, Thissio, or Monastiraki you’ll find many rooftop spots where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with a clear view of Acropolis. A coffee in Anafiotika, the area at the foot of the Acropolis, will instantly take you to a Greek island, as the neighborhood’s look and feel is similar to that of the Greek islands. If you want to enjoy your coffee by the sea, choose Alimos, Glyfada or Palaio Faliro, the southern suburbs of Athens, all accessible by the tram.
Getting excited about your trip to Athens? Want to know more about Athens and its secrets? Just ask us and we will be happy to share!