discover our favourite things to do in athens!
Athens is an enormous city, where you can easily spend a midweek as there is so much to do. From vintage shopping to visiting the Akropolis, if it’s sunny you can go to the beach (yes, Athens is situated by the beach!) or go for some cocktail bar hopping and of course testing the countless restaurants and visiting the cultural highlights if you’re in the city for the first time. We’ve recently spent a week in Athens to put together this extensive Athens Travel Guide. In this blog we’ve listed our favourite things to do see and things to do in Athens for you that you’ll don’t want to miss for sure during your trip. Have fun!
13 x fun things to do in athens to get to know the city
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!
Vintage shopping: Athens is very suitable for some really, really good vintage and anitque shopping. Visit the vintage stores, the vintage shopping street “Protogenous Street” or go to the antique market looking for some gems to make everyone back home jealous. From Levi’s shorts to pink velvet chairs, marble tables, retro sunglasses and a pair of must have Adidas, believe me – you can score so many cool items here. In this blog you’ll read more about our favourite addresses to go shopping in Athens.
Visit the district Pláka: If you walk from Monastriáki Square upwards towards the Akropolis you’ll walk right intro the Pláka district. An old, authentic area with romantic restaurants and narrow alleys where you’ll definitely will want to stroll around with your lover. This district is popular among tourists, although it’s been recommended by locals as well time and time again.
Go for lunch at Nolan: Nolan is a restaurant with BIB Gourmand in the heart of Athens where you can have a delicious meal for a very fair price. We’ve been there for lunch during our trip and that can certainly be recommended. Especially if you didn’t make a reservation, you can have a shot at a spare table during lunch. Having some (comfort foort) dinner in the evening is of course also a possibility, but in that case you’d have to make a reservartion a couple of days beforehand in order to be sure of a table, as this hotspot is very popular. Tip: the zucchini salad is so delicious!
Voulis 31, Athens, Greece – nolanrestaurant.gr
Go cocktail bar hopping: Would you like to go for a drink in the evening in Athens you won’t have to leave your hotel before 10PM. They always eat their dinner late and have drinks until late. Athens is bursting with cocktail bars when you can have some drinks with friends till deep at night. From cocktail bars with signature ingredients like rum or gin to bars with a special theme like Christmas. Yes, for real! Check out our list of favourite cocktail bars here and hop from cocktail bar to cocktail bar. Cheers!
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!
Go to the beach for a day: What you might not know is that Athens is situated by the beach as well, so if the temperature’s hot you can cool down in the sea. If you take the tram you’re at the several beach places in no time (actually they’re suburbs of Athens), by the Greek Revièra and you’ll enjoy the little breeze. PS. the tram stops at all the beach places and stops every few minutes, in other words: decide what beach you want to visit on the spot.
Watch a movie in an open air theatre: From May till the beginning of October you can enjoy a movie at several open air theatres while having a drink, under a beautiful starry sky in the lovely Greek atmosphere. No worries, you won’t be the only tourist there that’s mixing among the Greek locals, it’s very normal that you also go out for a movie. Personally we recommend the open air theatre Zefyros (Throne 36) in the upcoming district Petrálõna.
Tatse cold cuts and cheese at Karamanlidika: Among the fun things to do in Athens is this activity. Karamanlidika is actually a small stores where locals come to purchase the most fresh products. Consider countless different types of meats and cheeses, like the tastiest feta cheese of Athens. Nowadays you can also have a seat and taste the products straight from the farmer and you can even have lunch there. A very nice test room for foodies and make sure to order the goat cheese!
Sokratous 1, Athens, Greece – karamanlidika.gr
Visit the rooftop bars: One of the must do things in Athens is the visiting of the many rooftop bars of the hotels that offer a view of the enormous city and the Akropolis, like the view from the rooftop of the Electra Metropolis hotel. Sometimes you can even see the sea! Go for a fresh dive into the pool (if you stay in a hotel with a rooftop pool!), drink a frappé or have some lunch or dinner. Tip: make sure to get there on time to see the sunset, as you don’t want to miss this. The entire city gets a pink haze, after which the lights will pop up one at a time.We’ve lined up 9 rooftop bars you don’t want to miss for you!
Climb the Lycabettus: This one is one of the best things to do in Athens! Would you like to have a beautiful view of the sunset? Then climb the Lycabettus mountain. Don’t feel like climbing all the way to the top when it’s really hot? You could perhaps take a taxi almost all the way up there and be dropped off there. At the top there’s a restaurant that gives you a fantastic view. Afterwards go walking down via the path that leads you along cacti and more beautiful plants. A recommendation!
Eat souvlaki at O Kostas: The best of the very best of souvlaki in Athens can be found at the restaurant O Kostas in the centre of the city. Be aware, you’ll easily walk right past it as it doesn’t like very special. Order your souvlaki at the bar and eat it while enjoying the Greek evening sun, gotta love streetfood!
Pentelis 5. Athens, Greece
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.
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.
- 13 x fun things to do in Athens
- 9 x rooftop bars to watch the sunset from
- 11 x cocktail bars not to miss
- 4 x the beach beaches in the area of Athens
- 9 x cute coffee bars to get a frappé
- 5 x (foodie) markets to visit in Athens
- 14 x the best stores of Athens
- 13 x the best restaurants in Athens
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