the ultimate athens travel guide for you including 73 tips
If you ask me, Athens is the perfect destination for a city trip in the spring and in the fall. Because the weather over there is still great at those times and the city is buzzing with nice terraces to enjoy every minute of it. When you think of Athens, you might think of the Akropolis and other cultural sights at first. The fact that the city also has so many trendy restaurants, is covered in street art, holds the best cocktails bars of the world and has rooftop bars with fantastic views, that you might not have known yet.
I’ve got to say that I’ve been a huge fan of Greece and the Greek cities either way. What to do in Athens? In this Athens Travel Guide we’ve lined up our best travelling tips for you. Varying from the best hotspots in Athens to the best things to do there.
9 x BEST HOTELS IN ATHENS WHERE YOU DON’T WANT TO CHECK OUT ANYMORE
Electra Metropolis: During my last trip I’ve been lucky enough to spend several nights here and the rooftop pool and the view it gives you alone makes it a recommendation. The hotel is modernly classic, is super centrally located (and next to my favourite restaurants in Athens like Ergon and Nolan) and it also has a great spa where you can use the inside pool and sauna if you’re a guest there. We’ve enjoyed breakfast there every morning while enjoying the view of the Akropolis. That’s a view I won’t easily forget and if you ask me this is without a doubt one of the best hotels in Athens.
COCO-MAT Hotel: This hotel kind of reminds me of a speakeasy. From the outside it looks like an ordinary matress store, but there’s more than meets the eye. Once you’re inside you take the stairs down and you enter the reception of the hotel. Above the store there are studios where you can spend the night (and you sleep on Coco-Mat matresses, of course). The hotel also has a rooftop, where you can have a drink and a bite (although they don’t really have a restaurant there, so to be fair I’d recommend you to grab dinner in the nice area!). When you’ve awaken you can compose your own breakfast downstairs that they’ll bring you at the rooftop or to your own little balcony. A recommendation, because it’s a real relaxing wake up!
Semiramis: A hotel franchise to remember when you’re travelling to Athens are the YES hotels. Honestly, almost all the hotels from this chain are worth staying at, but if you’re going to Athens in the summer the Semiramis establishment would be my recommendation. The Instagram-worthy pool with its pink parasols alone makes it worth the visit. The rooms are modern, light and neatly decorated.
New Hotel: During my first trip to Athens I stayed in the New Hotel, that had only been open for a couple of months when I checked in and popped up on all the lists of the best hotels in Athens. A lovely modern boutique hotel with a nice restaurant that is popular among locals during the weekend for brunch. The rooms are nicely spacious, light and decorated with design. The New Hotel is situated a mere 200 meters from the Syntagma Square.
13 x restaurants in athens where you’ll want to eat
Nolan: Situated directly next to our hotel (we stayed in the beautiful Electra Metropolis Hotel) perhaps one of the currently best restaurant of Athens was situated. At Nolan you eat modern dishes made with the best local ingredients and a Greek touch. If you’re going to Athens make sure to reserve a table in the evening at this cute gastrobar! When the weather’s nice you can sit on the terrace and do some people-watching. The menu differs often but the zucchini salad and the grilled baby baracuda are definitive recommendations!
33, Voulis 31, Athens, Greece – nolanrestaurant.gr
Ergon: When I went to Thessaloniki a couple of years ago the first food store versus restaurant by Ergon just opened their doors. In Athens you can find this restaurant right across the entrance of the Electra Metropolis Hotel. Share as much different dishes of the menu in order to taste as much as possible!
Mitropoleos 26, Athens, Greece – ergonfoods.com
Cherchez La Femme: Imagine yourself in a Parisian bistro for a second while being in the heart of Athens when you walk into Cherchez La Femme. Green marble, a wooden bar and fresh field flowers on the tables. I went there for lunch and my-oh-my, this was so delicious. On the menu you’ll find Greek dishes to share. The eggplant salad and the dolmades are recommended!
Mitropoleos 46, Athens, Greece
Melilotos: This restaurant has a cute terrace, but perhaps an even cuter interior. They’re open from lunch to dinner and with a menu full of Greek dishes, this might be the perfect hotspot to have something to eat or drink when you’re busy shopping in the area of the big shoppingstreet Ermou.
Kalamiotou 19, Athens, Greece – melilotos.gr
11 x cocktail bars in AthenS TO DRINK TILL LATE
Couleur Locale: Couleur Locale is one of the go to cocktailbars among the adolescents in Athens. The trendy interior, the great cocktails and the lots of spirits and the view of the Akropolis make this a gerat hotspot to enjoy the sunset in the evening.
Normanou 3, Athens, Greece – Facebook page
Noel: Noel might perhaps be one of the most well-known cocktail bars in Athens. Because of the great cocktails there serve, but also because of the extraordinary interior. As this is inspired by Christmas the entire year through, to an extreme. Believe us when we say you won’t know where to look here!
Kolokotroni 59B, Athens, Greece – noelbar.gr
The Clumsies: The Clumsies is not just one of our favourite cocktail bars in Athens, it’s also in the list of world’s best bars. This leads to the bar being completely full every evening. In other words, get there on time or reserve a table if you also want to eat something there.
Praxitelous 30, Athens, Greece – theclumsies.gr
9 x coffee bars in athens that serve the best frappé
Little Tree Books & Coffee: One of the coffeebars in Athens that has been recommended to us immediately is Little Tree Books & Coffee in the Koukaki district. A cute place where you can enjoy a book, laptop of your lover in all ease while nipping your frappé or cappuccino.
Kavalloti 2, Athens, Greece – Facebook Page
Espressaki: For the great atmosphere alone you’d have to visit Espressaki. It’s a small cafe where, next to your frappé and carrot cake they also serve great homemade sangria. That’s going to be a tough choice!
Evinou 3, Athens, Greece – Facebook Page
Otto: A restaurant where it’s impossible to walk past without having a peek inside. Because Otto is completely pink-coloured, it has pink velvet (!) couches and giant chandeliers on the inside. A cute place to watch the street wake up in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee.
Kalamiotou 18, Athens, Greece – Facebook Page
9 x THE BEST ROOFTOP BARS IN ATHENS WITH THE BEST VIEW
A for Athens: To enjoy an amazing view of the Akropolis and one of the best cocktails of Athens you’d have to reserve a table at A for Athens. It’s a little crowded, a little more pricey than most cocktail bars, but it’s definitely worth it. Every night is packed here!
Pl. Monastirakioum, Athens, Greece – aforathens.com
Loukoumi Bar: One of the popular local rooftop bars in Athens is the Loukoumi Bar. The bar has a view of the Akropolis and the Monastiraki square, in other words there’s enough for you to see for the entire evening. Loukoumi Bar has a vintage-like vibe and they host live perfomances and DJ nights regularly to make your evening complete. So make sure to check their Facebook page and plan your night our accordingly.
Platia Avissinias 3 & 10, Athens, Greece – Facebook Page
Athens 360: A beautiful cocktail bar situated at the Monastiraki square with an – of course – view of the Akropolis. It’s not just tourits and expats that come together on the roof here, the locals also love to order their drink here as the evening starts. Therefore be sure to come on time, so you can be sure of a table.
Ifestou 2, Athens, Greece – three-sixty.gr
13 x fun to do in athens
Visit the Akropolis: If you’re going to Athens, there’s no way to get around this! Akropolis means ‘the highest point of the city’ in Greek and is also known as the sacred rock of Athens. There are a couple of holy temples on the Akropolis, dedicated to several Gods like the God of protection Athena. On the Akropolis there are also the remains of the building Parthenon, the temple of Nike and the Propylaëen and the Erechteion. Something to put on your bucketlist and very nice of all the things to do in Athens. Unfortunately the Akropolis has been in renovation for a while now!
Participate in a street art tour: Almost every wall in Athens has been painted or decorated, that’s a matter of perspective, with graffiti. Some beautiful artworks and texts that you’ll probably find in every city. To seperate the chaff from the grain you can book a street art tour with withlovals.com. Definitely recommend if you want to explore the nicer street art in the city. Would you rather go on your own? Make sure to now skip the district Exarcheia and the surroundings of the Riga Palamidou Street in the Psyrri district.
Book a food tour: What can be more fun than getting to know the food culture in a different city? There are several organizations in Athens where you can book a food tour. Personally we always prefer to go on a tour with a local. For example, book a food tour with withlocals.com and taste the best and tastiest Athens has to offer. We did a food tour like this with a food journalist and we tasted the best feta of the city among others, a cows’ tongue (pretty tasty) and incredibly good olive oil and goat cheese. The fun thing about one of those food tours is that you visit spots that you wouldn’t have found as easily by yourself!
5 x de leukste (food) markten in Athene // Athens Travel Guide
Thissio: If you’re looking for jewelry and handmade products you’d definitely have to go to the Thissio district. The beginning of this market in Athens is at the beginning of the Apostolou Pavlou street where it’s a feast to stroll around. The street has been made car-free because of the Olympics in 2004 and that hasn’t changed back since then. Now street mechants come together every day to show you their goods and to hopefully sell some as well. What can be found here? Imagine silver jewelry, old photo cameras, watches, coins, secondhand leather bags, clothes and of course many fun gadgets. Among the stands you’ll also see some artists and musicians that provide the nice atmosphere at the market.
Apostolou Pavlou, Athens – Greece
Varvakeios: The biggest of the markets in Athens is the Varvakeios market. It’s the market where not only the locals get their groceries, but also where the chefs get their fresh fish, nuts, vegetables and meat. The market is divided into two areas, in the indoor area you can find fresh meat and fish, and there’s even the possibility to sit at some local and traditional teeny tiny restaurants where you can order the homemade dishes. Across the indoor area you’ll see the vegetables and fruit stands. Besides fruits and vegetables this is also the place for olives, wine, nuts and sweetness.
You’ll find the market between Monastiraki and Omonia on the Athinas street, and it’s open from Monday through Saturday till 3PM.
Antique and flea market: On Avyssinias Square, a large vintage/antique market is being held every Sunday, where you can literally find everything you can think of. Around 8 in the morning the market merchants have stalles their goods, the souvlaki’s are being grilled and the people have already started to drop by. Whether you’re looking for secondhand sneakers, a velvet chair, Greek paintings or handmade jewelry, you’ll find it at this market. On other days you can also go shopping for some anitques in Athens. When you’re walking through the Flea Market Monastiráki it’s definitely a must to also take a peek at one of the small side alleys that are full with small antique stores and hidden coffee spots, like TAF.
Avyssinias Square, Athens, Greece
4 x THE BEST BEACHES IN ATHENS TO RELAX
One of the most popular beaches is Glyfáda, also known as the urban beach of the coastal region. Here you’ll find lots of beach clubs where they party until late in the evening. The beach is pretty sheltered and it progressively decreases, so it’s very suitable for some paddling. Voúla is also recommended. A pretty gold-yellow beach where you can engage in watersport activities, and there are terraces, shops and restaurants. Besides these two Vouliagmeni and Kavouri also belong to the best beaches in Athens to enjoy the Greek sun.
Take the tram, especially at night when the temperatures rise in the city, to the Greek Rivièra. Go out for a walk on the beach or visit one of the beach clubs and have some delicious sea food.
Athens Travel Tips
MORE TRAVEL TIPS ON ATHENS: Are you looking for more tips on Athens? Make sure to check out these handy lists from our extensive Athens Travel Guide with lots of more tips or pay a visit to the site visitgreece.gr for all practical information needed.
THIS IS HOW YOU GET THERE: To name a few, Aegon Airlines, Transavia and KLM fly from Amsterdam to Athens. Would you like to be sure of the cheapest ticket? Then use the ticket searching engine Skyscanner.nl.
YOURLBB’S FAVOROURITE HOTELS IN ATHENS: During our last trip we’ve stayed in several nice boutique and design hotels in Athens. And good news: almost all the hotels have a rooftop bar that offer an amazing view of the city and with a little bit of luck they also have a pool there. These are some of the hotels that are guaranteed to let you have a great time:
– Electra Metropolis: a very great location, lovely pool and breakfast while enjoying the view of the Akropolis
– COCO-MAT Hotel: go to the lobby via the store and then check into your own studio with a commonly shared rooftop
– Semiramis: with an awesomely coloured pool
– New Hotel: on a mere 200m of the Syntagma Square
– A For Athens: without a doubt one of the best locations and best rooftop bars
– Twentyone: design hotel in the district Kifissia
– Periscope: modern boutique hotel in the Kolonaki area
– Athens Was: the buzzing rooftop bar alone will make you want to stay here
– Fresh Hotel: modern hotel with a beautiful rooftop pool
Have fun if you’re going to Athens!
Anne de Buck
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