The birthplace of democracy, the capital of Greece, Athens captures the heart of its visitors. Its architecture has been marked by Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations, which accompany the classic Greek style.
A bustling metropolis of over 3.7 million inhabitants, Athens is a vibrant city, a center for arts, history, and culture. Whether you decide to visit the historical sites, relax in the National Gardens or explore hidden gems such as Anafiotika, there are a lot of things to do in the capital of Greece.
When is the best time to visit ATHENS?
One of the first questions we are asked is – When is the best time to visit Athens?
The answer is year round. But let us elaborate. Athens is at its best during the low season, from November to March. That’s when the nightlife is in full swing and you get the historical sites for yourself. Summers are scorching hot but, if you plan to visit the islands, you should not miss a stop in Athens. Just plan accordingly, stay hydrated, and do like the locals: go out in the morning or in the evening.
The recent crisis has affected the prices, making Athens an affordable place to visit year-round. But things are picking up again so you may want to plan in advance to get the best deals.
Here are 7 Awesome Things to do in Athens, Greece
1. A tour of the street art
Street art is abundant in Athens and you don’t need to search hard to find interesting pieces. Keep your eyes open, look up, look down, and on the sides. Monastiraki area is a good place to start and if you like to venture further out, try the old airport grounds.
Graffiti has always existed in Greece but nowadays it is the business shop owners and commercial property investors who come to the street artists to ask them to paint their walls.
You can hire artists to take you on an artistic tour of Athens.
2. Slow down and enjoy nature in the National Garden
Behind the Parliament building and right in the heart of the busy city, you will find the National Garden. It is a public park spreading over 38 acres (15.5 ha). Forget about keeping time and just walk and soak up the greenery. Commissioned in 1838 by Queen Amelia, the garden also includes some ancient ruins – as it’s the case with any patch of land in Athens.
3. A walk in Anafiotika
A part of Plaka, right below the Acropolis, Anafiotika is a still-undiscovered area of Athens. Not many travelers know about it, but those who explore the area fall in love.
The houses were built by workers from Anafi, who came to Athens during the era of Otto of Greece. The neighborhood was built according to typical Cycladic architecture and the feeling has remained the same over the centuries. Unfortunately, part of the area was destroyed in 1950 when the archeological research was conducted. Currently, only 45 houses remain.
The area is best explored when it’s not raining (or snowing), as the tiny streets can get extremely slippery when wet. Allow yourself to get lost, you’ll find the way out…eventually.
4. Bargain at the Monastiraki Flea Market
What better way to get to learn a culture than to visit one of the most vibrant flea markets in Europe?
Make sure you show up on a Sunday, reading to browse the collection of…well, everything. From books to silver jewelry, to watches, and phone cards.
And let’s not forget the food! Let your nose guide you to find the portable souvlaki shops.
During the week, there’s still a market here but with regular shops which also sell pretty much everything. If you are looking for trinkets to bring back home as souvenirs, it may prove to be a good choice.
5. A taste of the local cuisine in a hidden taverna
Do yourself a favor and get out of Plaka. Walk towards Monastiraki and look for a hidden taverna where the menu is not in English. Now you can relax and order. Start with mezedes and get a taste of what the real Greek cuisine is about.
A personal favorite is tzatziki – the thick yogurt dip. And please, don’t order Greek salad in the height of winter as it’s best enjoyed when the tomatoes are in season (summer).
6. View the city from another perspective: Lycabettus Hill
Mount Lycabettus stand at 300 m above sea level and offers great panoramic views of the city.
There’s a funicular which takes you to the top, home to a chapel, a restaurant, and a theater.
Mythologically, Lycabettus is a creation of Athena. When she was carrying the limestone mountain for the construction of the Acropolis, she dropped it and so Lycabettus Hill came into existence.
7. A self-made tour of the historical sites
No visit to Athens is complete with visiting the major historical sites: the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, the Greek Agora, and the Temple of Zeus.
Each of them offers unique insights into the life of ancient Greeks and they can keep you busy for hours. If you were to choose, at least don’t miss visiting the Acropolis. Take your time and explore the huge grounds at your own pace.
Where to Stay in Athens, Greece
Best Budget Hotel in Athens, Greece –
In the historic center of Athens, Acropolis View Hotel offers spectacular Parthenon views. The New Acropolis Museum and the metro station are just under half a kilometer away. Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is 32.2 km away.
All air-conditioned rooms at the Acropolis View come equipped with free Wi-Fi access, a satellite TV and minibar. Some rooms include balconies with views of the Acropolis or Filopappou Hill. Breakfast is served daily in the breakfast room and there is also a rooftop terrace where guests can relax with a drink and enjoying views of the Acropolis.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Athens, Greece –
Central Hotel is strategically in the picturesque area of Plaka, 202 m from Syntagma Square. The central shopping district of Athens is a short walk from the hotel.
The Central rooms are air-conditioned and include a safe and bathroom with hairdryer. offers a rooftop terrace with hot tub and Acropolis view, and free Wi-Fi at the lobby.
The daily buffet breakfast includes fresh juices and local delicacies. The rooftop bar is the ideal place to have an evening drink while enjoying spectacular city views.
Best Luxury Hotel in Athens, Greece –
Athens Lotus has elegantly furnished rooms and suites, all equipped with double glazed windows, anatomic mattresses, independent air conditioning and heating, minibar and laptop safe. It offers tasteful rooms with free Wi-Fi and 19-inch LCD TVs and free parking.
The 4-star boutique hotel is conveniently near the Metaxourgeio Metro Station and a short walk from Athens’ historic monuments. Larissis Train Station is only a 2 minute walk from the hotel.
About the Writer
Cristina is a travel and lifestyle blogger, forever in the love with the Mediterranean culture and cuisine. She grabs every opportunity to visit Greece, basking in the winter sun, sampling the mezedes, and enjoying a walk on the history filled streets.