Important monuments and museums, delicious food and coffee, beautiful pedestrian roads: Athens city center has it all and fulfils all interests. Thus, before you start exploring the popular Greek islands, it’s worth spending a few days in this vibrant city!
Let’s see the 10 things you can do in Athens. Trust me, there are a lot more than 10, but the ‘tour’ will begin with the most important ones.
- Visit Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Odeon of Herodus Atticus
The Greek capital was built around Acropolis, the most visited monument of the city. Walk through Dionisiou Aeropagitou street, visit the amazing Acropolis Museum, where impressive artefacts are preserved and afterwards, you can see the Odeon of Herodus Atticus, the theatre that hosts various important musical and theatrical performances and one of the most significant theatres of Greece.
Coming down from Acropolis, you will arrive at Philopapou Hill and later on you see the Ancient Agora, which used to be the political and commercial center of Athens.
- Visit Plaka district
On the Acropolis’ northern slopes, lies Plaka, one truly beautiful and picturesque neighborhood of the city. Make sure to wander there, the romantic old era vibes are all over this place! Plaka is all about cute corners. Stroll around the alleys and make sure to:
- Have a coffee or a delicious pie at Yasemi, the cutest café in Anafiotica. Sit on one of the little tables on the steps and enjoy.
- Visit Vrettos, one of the most traditional café-bars of Athens. You can find it on Kydathineon street.
- Visit Cine Paris and watch a movie. Especially during summertime, the rooftop area is really pretty.
- Watch a movie in an open-air cinema
Besides Cine Paris, there are more various open-air cinemas in the city, which play modern or older movies in beautiful surroundings. ‘Floisvos’ in Marina Floisvou, Vox, Riviera in Exarcheia district, Cine Thiseion in Thiseio district and the one at Zappeion are just a few.
- Meet Monastiraki square
This is one of the most central meeting points of Athens and paradise for any kind of leather products or souvenirs. From Adrianou street to Thissio you will come across Hadrian’s Library and then you will come across the Roman Agora, or Forum and the Stoa of Attalos. Around there, it’s worth making a stop at ‘Couleur Locale’ café, ‘360 bar’ and ‘A for Athens’, popular coffee places for the amazing view they offer.
- Walk around Psirri district
Stroll around the alleys of Psirri and discover the cutest little places for food and drinks! My favorite one in this hip Athens district is the ‘Little Kook’, the ultimate place for fairytale desserts!
- Discover Ermou street
Welcome to the most commercial street of Athens, that stretches from Syntagma Square to Gazi district. In this street you can find many stores for shopping and also, if you search a bit in the alleys around, you will discover many little treasures. Namely presenting, the ‘Fouar’ café (Mitropoleos and Christodoulou street) and ‘Faust’, one of the most theatrical bars in the city. It’s located on Kalamiotou Street in Agia Eirini square and also has a theatrical scene, where various performances take place.
- Visit Syntagma
Syntagma is the center and the heart of Athens. The Greek Parliament is situated there and in front of it lays the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to the fallen soldiers at war. The Tomb is guarded by the Evzones, which is the Greek honorary guard. Since you are there, it’s worth visiting the Zappeion Megaron and the Kallimarmaro (Panathenaic Stadium).
- Visit Kolonaki district
This is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Athens. Voukourestiou street hosts all luxury brands with many cafes and restaurants around. Furthermore, numerous important museums are located there, namely presenting the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the National Gallery. While at Kolonaki, enjoy a coffee at Zonar’s, one of the oldest cafes and restaurants in the city or at City Bistro.
- Climb Lycabettus Hill
Reached either by car or by foot, Lycabettus Hill offers breathtaking views. Moreover, you can watch a performance at the open-air theatre or enjoy dinner at Orizontes restaurant.
- If you love art and museums then you have to visit these:
- The Museums of Folk Art and Frysira Gallery.
- Also, the National Archaeological Museum in Patision Street, one leading and inspiring art museum.
- Explore the Athens Riviera
Did you know that in approximately 10 miles from Athens city center you can leave behind the urban landscape and find yourself experiencing the Athens Riviera? Summer never ends in the Athenian coastline, that stretches from Piraeus to Sounion. Many organized beaches, rocky spots for divers, cocktails bars, beach bars and classy resorts allow travelers to understand that they don’t have to travel far in order to get a taste of the Greek summer! Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza are just a few of the coast districts that will amaze you!
- Visit Sounion
Besides the beaches, Sounion is famous for the Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea. It is highly recommended to visit the Temple during sunset so that you can enjoy a spectacular view! Sounion is approximately an hour (maybe a bit more depending on traffic) from Athens center.
Did you get an idea of how to make the most out of your stay in Athens? Enjoy!
*Athens can be reached from Doha in less than 5 hours on a direct flight with Qatar Airways. Alternatively, you can fly with Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines or MEA with a stop.
By Maria Petropoulou
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