For some people, visiting Athens during summertime is a great opportunity to wander around the city with clear blue skies and admire its monuments under the bright Attican sun. Having in mind though, that July and August are typically the hottest months of the year, summer in the city can prove to be more challenging than expected. Hence, we provide you with the advice of locals in order to survive the summer heat like a true Athenian!
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We are almost in the middle of Greek summer with July and August being typically the hottest months of the year, with rising temperatures and exhausting heatwaves. Spending time around the city under those conditions can prove to be quite a challenge. Therefore, you’d better follow the following survival tips, which will make your life much easier and will help you enjoy your stay in Athens!
Start your day in Athens as early as possible
View of the Acropolis on a hot summer's day - credits: S.Borisov/Shutterstock.com
In case you want to visit the Parthenon, a great idea is to start your visit way earlier than usual. The archaeological site of the Acropolis is open every day from 8 am to 8 pm, therefore, visiting it during early morning hours could be a life-saver!
At noon, temperatures can rise really high and combined with the white marble that reflects the sun rays, walking around the hill could become quite arduous. In the morning, temperatures are still low and the soft breeze coming from the port of Piraeus creates a comfortable atmosphere.
In addition to the aforementioned advantages, you will also have the chance to experience the site with much fewer people, since most of the visitors arrive after 10.00 am. The same concept stands not just for the Acropolis but for the rest of the archaeological sites in Athens as well.
Always keep yourselves hydrated
Boy cooling down with a garden hose - credits: Kzenon/Shutterstock.com
High temperatures and sun exposure are two factors that could result in severe dehydration, especially if you keep ignoring the signs. During summer, the human body loses a lot of water through breathing and sweat. Therefore, in high-temperature conditions dehydration is a stealthy foe, that might strike at any time!
Some common symptoms of dehydration are dizziness, sleepiness, mouth dryness, headaches, and skin dryness, signs that warn you that you need some water. In case of long exposure in heat, do not try to quench your thirst with super-cold water cause you may provoke a shock to your body.
A temperate cool drink will make you feel much better immediately and replenish the lost water of your body. So, always carry on you a small bottle of water, and by taking into consideration how cheap still water is in Greece, you might even consider buying a couple more!
Avoid the sun
A tourist in the Acropolis during summer - credits: Alexandros-Michailidis/Shutterstock.com
A true Athenian always lives by the following motto: Always avoid the sun! Despite the nice tanning, you might get by wandering around under the sun, you'll immediately notice that Athenians always try to avoid direct sunlight by walking in the shade under balconies or trees.
Never stay under the sun for more than ten consecutive minutes and during noon hours try to reduce the distances you want to cover on foot, as much as possible. Make frequent rest stops and wear light clothes and try not to expose your skin to the sun for too long and always apply some sunblock on!
Hats are accessories that you need to take with you! Find your personal favorite straw hat in one of the numerous traditional hat workshops at the city center and walk around the city not just protected, but also in style!
Rest a bit in much cooler spots
Athens' National Gardens - credits: Anastasios71/Shutterstock.com
In case you find yourselves in the city center and you want to spend some time in a much cooler place, there are definitely some options for you! Check out the National Gardens of Athens, close to Syntagma Square, and spend some time under the shade of the densely planted trees or a small picturesque gazebo.
The National gardens are full of fountains, ponds, and pools for you to relax and have a short break by the waterside or even enjoy a picnic! Find your own personal spot and escape the heat! During noon, choose to go shopping in one of the city’s air-conditioned shopping malls or visit museums and dive into the history of Athens in a comfortable and cool environment!
Have a couple of cold drinks
Frappe coffee; a Greek summer innovation - credits: Tomas Mehes/Shutterstock.com
Since summer in Athens is quite hot, people always seek for a nice, refreshing cold drink. Fortunately, Athens has it all! Choose among a nice nutritious natural juice or some delicious smoothies with a bit of fresh Greek yogurt.
The locals’ favorite choice though is iced coffee! Greece is the Mecca of iced coffee with numerous options for every coffee-lover! From the popular freddo cappuccino and freddo espresso to the always favorite and traditional frappe, there isn't a more Greek way to relax and cool yourselves down!
Read on: Our guide to Greek summer coffees!
Find the closest beach to Athens
Legrena beach in Attica - credits: PitK/Shutterstock.com
Perhaps the best way to escape the heat is by laying on one of Athens’ close-by beaches! Check the link of a list with suggested beaches near Athens and choose your personal favorite. With frequent bus routes from downtown Athens to most of those destinations and coaches taking you outside of the city, it is a great idea to organize a small trip to the countryside or even enjoy a ride to the south coast of Athens!
Our team has also prepared a great guide to the Athens riviera.
Enjoy the Nightlife of Athens
Night view of Monastiraki square - credits: Trabantos/Shutterstock.com
Athens is truly wonderful by night with many of its key landmarks illuminated whilst the streets are full of busy cafes, restaurants, and street musicians. You can either go downtown or move to the southern part of the city, which is a better choice during the summer months if you'd like to be by the sea.
If you decide on the center, Monastiraki Square is one of the most popular choices for people of all ages, as there are plenty of clubs, bars, and restaurants. Most bars open at around 10.00 pm but remember that here, the nights are long and it is perfectly normal for them to stay open until the last customer leaves.
Looking for a night out at the beach? Glyfada, a southern suburb of Athens, is an excellent choice with its mix of restaurants, cocktail beach bars, and nightclubs.
If you're less into nightclubs and more into just enjoying the streets of a city by night, our Athens Evening Highlights Tour with Meze Dinner takes you on a stroll through some of the prettiest parts of Athens, ending with a mezedes dinner that includes wine, a choice for those who want to simply unwind at the end of the day.
If you're more of a night owl and you'd like to know where locals go to find the best cocktail and wine bars, our Athens Nightlife Tour in Koukaki Neighborhood is designed to show you how locals like to spend their evenings in town. Along with your local expert guide, enjoy an evening of wine, spirits and cocktail tasting paired with charcuterie boards, street food, and a walk through some of Athen's quirkiest spots.
Relish in Greek food
Greek Salad - credits: ORLIO/Shutterstock.com
Last but certainly not least! Greece is famous for many things, among which food holds a prominent place.
Souvlaki is the original Greek 'fast food' but there is also so much more to discover. Eating in Athens is a real indulgence with a wealth of eateries, taverns, and restaurants to choose from. Whether you are seeking out a traditional, authentic taverna or you're more into contemporary fusion cuisine Athens is not short of culinary options.
Many restaurants are also located on rooftops and therefore boast unbeatable views of the city. Our advice is to do your research before choosing where to eat as, unfortunately, there are also many 'tourist-traps', most of which are located downtown.
We constantly check and try out new and old places, picking only establishments that we ourselves would frequent and being an independent enterprise we are under no obligation to favor one eatery over another. So when we say local discovery...we truly mean it!
For those of you who like to get busy in a kitchen, rather than only order from it, we have created our very own Greek cooking lesson! Led by a talented and professional chef you will head to Athens' Central Market to pick your own fresh produce and then create a delicious meal. Learn the 'tricks of the trade' to making delicious Greek food, with a glass of wine in hand of course!
Athens offers a lot of opportunities to the visitor, even when temperatures are sky high! Plan ahead, follow locals’ advice along with our Athens travel guide, and enjoy your stay in the city!