Is it your first time in Athens? Are you a born-and-bread Athenian? Whether you are a newbie or an old-timer in the city of Athens, there are always riveting things to do! From relaxing wanderings around scenic neighborhoods and discovering culture through local flavors to amazing places to visit and have fun, exploring Athens is a never-ending list; it makes you always return to catch up with the new things going on or rekindle memories of exciting experiences. Here is a carefully selected list of 50 things you can do in the city!
1. Reach the peak of Lycabettus Hill
Lycabettus Hill - credits: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock.com
If Athens' panoramic view is what you are after, this hilltop is the ideal place to get it. Do so and you will be rewarded with the view and the thrill of the highs! You can reach the top of Lycabettus Hill by the funicular or – for the most adventurous - walking up the hill. Once you get on the top, you will find a small church and a café overlooking the fascinating city of Athens. To top it all off, this spot of the city is perfect for photos! Funicular’s timetable: daily, every 30’, 09:00-02:30
2. Dine in a Cretan restaurant
Do you fancy visiting Crete without leaving Athens? As impossible as it sounds, you can experience the Cretan Culture through its local flavors in the center of Greece's capital! Just visit an authentic Cretan restaurant and taste the richness of the Cretan land along with the locals' hospitality. Opt for 'Diomataris' in Petralwna, a highly ranked traditional Cretan tavern in one of Athens' most vibrant and trendy neighborhoods, and let the journey to Crete begin!
Address: Dimofontos 80, Athens, 118 51
3. Feed the pigeons in Syntagma square
Athenians grow up with the habit of taking long family walks to Syntagma Square and Zappeion to feed the pigeons. Kids love throwing all sorts of wheat-food around in an effort to attract as many pigeons as possible! Syntagma square isn't only enjoyable to kids though; its relaxing vibe charms grown-ups, making them relax and take on the calming task of feeding the pigeons as well. Just make sure you have a massive supply of bread crumbs, enough to feed the dozens of pigeons that are bound to gather around you - we promise you that Greece's pigeons are kinder than Hitchcock's!
4. Go for a morning walk in the city center
Under the quiet light of the morning sun, go for a morning stroll around the city center and discover the most historic neighborhoods of Athens- Syntagma, Plaka, Anafiotika, Monastiraki, and Psirri! Everything seems different in the morrow as the nostalgic figures of the buildings reveal their stories! Join us for an Athens Highlights tour and see the best of the city in a few hours!
5. Cheer up in “Allou! FunPark”
Are you in an adventurous mood? Hold your horses and get ready to unleash them in "Allou! Fun Park", the biggest amusement park in Greece. Roller coasters, peaks and valleys, shock and drop, water coasters and many more fun games will keep yu thoroughly entertained, guaranteeing an exciting, unforgettable experience! Get a big dose of adrenaline in a fun and safe environment!
6. Have a Greek folk dance class
Sway to the rhythm of Greek folk music and learn to dance popular Greek folk hits, such as the Zorba’s syrtaki dance. Dance makes our hearts beat faster, improves our brain function and cheers us up! So what’s better than dancing as a way to experience the Greek culture through steps and moves that echo the Greek hospitality, compassion and spontaneity? Does it sound like your cup of tea? Don’t miss out on "The Zorba inside me" dance experience and get the chance to dance like a Greek!
7. Picnic with your loved ones
Being one of the most sun-filled cities in the world, going for a picnic in Athens is one of the best activities you can choose to experience, one that everyone is going to love! Athens may be dominated by the cement-grey color, but there are still several places to enjoy greenery and sunshine. Fill your basket with nice food, drinks, and a tablecloth -preferably a white and red checkered one- and make your way to Syggrou Park, Athens' Music Hall’s garden or even the National Gardens of Athens. Lie on the grass and gaze at the sun, enjoying its warmth on your skin. Alternatively, let us arrange an adventure for you!
8. Relish the sunset from 'Vrahakia'
Sunset at 'Vrahakia' of Acropolis - credits: Bruno135/Depositphotos.com
Are you looking for a gorgeous romantic spot to watch the sunset? Nothing compares to Vrahakia (meaning little rocks) at the top of the Areopagus hill, near Acropolis. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike; lovers, friends, families or even people on their own go there to take in the magnificent sunset view of Athens. It's an ideal spot for relaxing and sorting out your thoughts! A 'must-visit' place in Athens that will bewitch and inspire you.
9. Visit Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
It goes without saying, but Acropolis needs to be number one in everyone's 'to-visit' list. The sacred hill that goes back to 1000 BC, with its ancient monuments fighting their stand on the area since the 5th century BC, the glorious Parthenon – a work of brilliance– and the Acropolis Museum, are a sight not to be missed when you decide to visit the capital of Greece. To have an expert, licensed guide lead the way through Greece's history, join our Acropolis and Acropolis Museum Tour and leave our country with a wealth of knowledge regarding the ancient Greek civilization.
10. Snap a photo with an Evzone
That one is a classic! Get to Syntagma square and find an Evzone - a guard wearing the traditional Greek uniform. Every visitor or citizen of Athens has taken at least one picture standing next to the guard of the Unknown Soldier memorial, however, don’t expect him to blink an eye as you stand by him to take your photo, as it stricktly forbitten for Evzones to engage with or react to anything civilians say!
11. Bottoms up with rakomelo or ouzo.
While being in Athens, you definitely need to get a taste of the local spirits of Greece! Rakomelo is a Cretan alcoholic beverage made of raki, honey, clove and cinnamon. It is mostly served warm to pair with desert after a rich meal. Ouzo is a classic Greek alcoholic drink with anise flavor, especially popular during summertime; it’s served with ice and it is usually paired with seafood. Cheers! -or as Greeks say it 'Geia mas!'
12. Take a walk at Philopappou hill
Start your day with an energizing walk to Philopappou Hill! It’s one of the most beautiful walking routes in Athens; follow the cobble-paved laneways that lead at the top of the Philopappou Hill, while enjoying the surrounding green landscape filled with olive and pine trees. You will meet several spots of great historical importance on your way up and you’ll get to take in a magnificent view of the Acropolis at the Philopappou hilltop. Don’t miss it!
13.What about some cream or rice pudding?
Whether you like to indulge in sweet flavors or you just love trying unique desserts, the shop under the name "Stani" in Maria Kotopouli St. is for you! "Stani" is a family business that always uses fresh local milk bought from small farmers around the area. Although the neighborhood is not the best spot of Athens to hang out, we definitely suggest you stop by this shop to taste the delicious goodies.
14. Go to the beach!
Athens Riviera - credits: Aerial-motion/Shutterstock
Most of the year the mild weather in Athens qualifies for a visit to the beach! The coastal suburbs of the city bristle with wonderful and clean beaches. Breath in the sea mist on a walk by the beach during the autumn and spring months; spend your time there with your family, playing around, sunbathing and swimming under the glorious Athenian sun! When summertime comes, going to the beach for a cooling dive is not optional any more, it's mandatory! You can also read our blog post about the 10 best beaches in Athens to choose your beach destination wisely.
15. Long night out in the city? Time for street food!
The youth of Athens has a really unquenchable desire for partying! A long night out seems to be a must at the weekends and those exhausting all-nighters make street food necessary to keep the enrgy levels high all night long! Young people in Athens always gobble up something either in-between parties or just before their return home. That’s why street food in Athens is such a big part of modern Greek culture! You can find burgers in Kolokotroni St, chicken nuggets in Mihalakopoulou St, crepes in Panormou St and hot-dogs almost everywhere! Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
16. Walk in Pittaki St.!
There is a nice story behind this street: back in the days, it used to be an abandoned dirty alley. Then, one day people of Athens were invited and encouraged to donate their old lighting fixtures, chandeliers and all sorts of lighting materials, while painters transformed the walls along the street leaving their creative mark to the art project. Now, Pittaki St has transformed into a beautiful homely alley ideal for romantic evening walks!
17. Buy a round sesame bread (koulouri)
The round sesame bread is one more street-food gem, which Greeks actually call it "Koulouri Thessalonikis". It is ideal for breakfast or for those times when you wander around the city looking for light snack. Even if it is traditionally made in Thessaloniki, you can find many street vendors with trolley stands full of koulouri in central Athenian streets or outside of metro stations. In case you don’t recognize them around the streets, you can always buy one from a bakery. Tip: Koulouri is one of the foods consumed during our Athens food tour!
18. Have a late night out!
When in Athens, get the chance to go for a fun all-nighter around the city! Athens by night is a must-do experience, especially if you are a night-owl looking for unique bars and nightly eateries! Athens is full of those and going out at night till the sun comes up is the best way to discover many interesting places and feel the local vibe of the city; taste delicious Greek mezes, drink special cocktails, meet the energetic locals and when you see the first morning light, wolf down some street food and hit the bed!
19. Go shopping in the Central Market of Athens
Athens' fish market - credits: Baloncici/Shutterstock
Athens Central Market (Varvakeios Agora) is one of the top places to visit if you're a foodie in Athens. It is the ideal place to feel the local vibe and browse through the richness of the Greek cuisine; from fresh vegetable and fruit produce to meat, fish, nuts, honey, and spices, Varvakeios Market is a colorful palette oozing with aromas of Greece! You could also join our Greek cooking class and enjoy your own authentic Greek meal!
20. Enjoy a Greek wine tasting experience
Greece has some of the oldest wineries in the world and there’s no shortage of them around Athens. Take a tour around a local vineyard, tasting your way through some of Greece’s beautiful landscapes. Familiarize yourself with local grape varieties and learn how the local wine is made. Who said drinking can’t be educational?
21. Have a thrill in an escape room!
Jump on the bandwagon and get in one of the increasingly popular escape rooms in Athens! This growing gaming trend is flourishing in the city, which offers a variety of rooms to tease your intellect! It is all about a brilliant adventurous group game; you get locked in a room and you need to puzzle your way out in less than 60 minutes! Choose among a wide variety of themed escape rooms in Athens – such as the "Minotaur’s Labyrinth" or "Lost statues of Knossos" – and try to escape using your friends’ help!
22. Have a Greek cooking class!
What a better way to discover Athens’ culture than having a Greek cooking class? Greeks are very passionate people and their authentic nature is voiced through the flavors of their land. The rich bounty of Greece offers the optimum produce to compose delicious dishes with simple ingredients. Fancy to discover how? Join us for a Greek cooking lesson and stroll around Athens Central market to take a grasp of the goings-on of Greek food; then fill your bags with the best of goodies in the city and meet an expert Greek cook to teach you the art of making signature dishes of Greece!
You might think that Athens is all about its history and its ancient glory. However, when in the city you can easily realize the richness of the culture is evident everywhere!
23.Shop in the kilo-shop
Athens has its own kilo shop and the concept is pretty simple: choose among a vast variety of vintage or second-hand clothes and pay by their weight. Scan the shop around and browse within jackets, skirts, shirts, coats, trousers, denim wear, furs, shoes, scarfs and all sorts of men, women and kids wear! There are many scales in the shop that make it easier for you to know the price of the new piece of your wardrobe. Find the Kilo-shop in Athens city center.
Address: 120 Ermou St., Athens
24. Visit the National Garden of Athens
Explore the National Garden of Athens and find a small heaven of greenery within the bustling city! Adjacent to the Greek Parliament Building in Syntagma Square, the National Garden boasts for its lush plantation and offers a quiet place to chill amidst the hustle and the bustle of the city. You can enjoy a morning walk among locals and discover antiquities, a small pond, the Botanical museum of Athens and even a Children’s library!
Tip! Join our Athens tours and explore the National Garden among other marvels of Neoclassical architecture in the city!
25. Wander around the neighborhood of Anafiotika
Anafiotika - credits: Anafiotika-eFesenko/Shutterstock
How do you like to see an island in the middle of Athens? Anafiotika is the most beautiful Athenian neighborhood resembling an actual Greek island just amidst the chaotic center of the city. Ramble through its cobble-paved alleys with small white-blue houses covered here and there by pink-flowered bougainvillea. Relax in one of the cozy coffee shops or have dinner in romantic restaurants of the area; the vintage yellow lights with the freshness of the dense-leafed trees make up the most idyllic atmosphere in Athens!
26. Eat “loukoumades” at Krinos
Go on a loukoumades binge - one of Greeks’ most loved dessert – in a historical sweet shop in Athens city center. "Krinos" dates back in 1855 as the first pharmacy in Athens; the place was bought by a Greek refugee from Izmir in 1923 just to be transformed in the first sweet shop in the city with authentic oriental-flavored desserts. Every time we visit Krinos, we go back to our childhood when we relished delicious loukoumades with our parents; believe it or not, the quality of their loukoumades is the same it was back then! Tip: Did you know that Krinos is also one of the stops in our delicious Athens Food Tour?
27. Visit the museum of baths
A relic of the Ottoman era in Greece, this old Turkish bathhouse has been converted into a quaint museum. Visitors can see the marble remains of what used to be a place for cleansing and relaxation. Features include Turkish tile floor designs, an option to listen to an audio tour and AV projections depicting what it originally looked like. Pass by on your way to the Roman Agora!
28. Eat souvlaki at Kostas
Trying souvlaki is a must-do for visitors to Greece and Kostas’ is the best place to get it. Locals like to frequent this place for it’s traditional, mouth-watering recipe, not to mention it’s cheap but filling. Kostas, a tiny souvlaki shop in Agias Eirinis Square, is using a secret sauce for a more intense explosion of taste - just ask for it!
29. Attend a classical theater performance in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre located at the base of the Acropolis, named after a distinguished and rich Greek aristocrat. He was a patron of public works and funded the building of the theatre in 161 A.D., among other projects. Today, you can attend there, the Athens Art Festival, musical concerts, and classical tragedies in the open air.
30. Attend a concert at Megaron
Hosting opera, ballet, symphony and theatre performances from October through June, the Athens Concert Hall is renowned for its acoustics and impressive design. It’s one of the largest concert halls in the world. An expansion in 2004 provided space for exhibition areas, shops, restaurants, and a music library - there’s plenty to keep you entertained!
31.Buy sandals from the most famous sandal–maker in Athens
Stavros Melissinos is a poet and a sandal-maker, known for his lyrical prose and high-quality, hand-made sandals. His customers include Sophia Loren, the Beatles, Jacqueline Onassis, Queen and Anthony Quinn. Reminiscent of the ancient Greek style, feel like a Greek God or Goddess while walking around with a pair of Stavros’ shoes.
32. Cocktail in a rooftop bar
For those who like spectacular rooftop views, Athens offers an array of choices. Places like Couleur Locale, A for Athens and Athens 360 offer the chance to enjoy a drink from the bar and revel in the view of the nearby Acropolis and the city below. Let loose with friends and enjoy the atmosphere! If you're looking for places to dance in Athens, here are some of our suggestions.
33. Go for a hike on Mount Parnitha
Declared as a National Park in 1961, Mount Parnitha is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Athens. The mountain demonstrates a diverse topography, from summits and gorges to streams and caves. Hadrian’s Aqueduct, built by the Romans, began at the foot of Mt. Parnithia and transported water to a stone reservoir on Mount Lycabettus in Athens. Unfortunately, only parts of the aqueduct are preserved. Explore the mountain and experience the imposing beauty of Greece's landscape outside the city.
34. Shop at Athens Mall or Golden Hall
A shopaholic’s dream, the Golden Hall of Athens is the biggest shopping center in the city with over 100 stores. Wear your most comfortable shoes and bring a full wallet - the majority of the stores are designer brands. You can take a break from all the shopping (or window shopping) at the mall’s restaurants and cafes. If you are a shopaholic and need your fix, you can also check out our Athens shopping guide.
35. Try a traditional dessert
Give in to your sweet-tooth with traditional Greek sweets and desserts paired with Greek coffee. Try baklava, semolina cakes, loukoumades, kataifi and more and make your trip to Athens even sweeter!
36. Eat falafel at "Falafelas"
While strolling through the neighborhood of Plaka, make sure you grab one of the best-crafted falafels in town from 'Falafelas'. For under 3 euros, you can get a good-sized pita pocket filled to the brim with fresh and delicious ingredients. The place itself is very small, so take your falafel to go and explore the lively neighborhood.
37. Enjoy a traditional Greek coffee
Traditional Greek coffee - credits: RUBEN-M-RAMOS/Shutterstock.com
Coffee is a major part of our culture, as it is deeply connected to every aspect of our daily life. From gossip to sports, from politics to fashion, everything is discussed in a coffee shop while sipping the traditional Greek coffee in its small white demitasse. Some people even do cup readings! Enjoy your cup of self-filtered Greek coffee in Mocca, one of the most historical coffee-points with its own production right in the heart of Athens! The store is located in 44 Athenas Str. and it is open all day long to amaze you with its exquisite coffee blends!
38. Attica zoological park
With about 2000 animals representing 400 species, Attica Zoological Park is open 365 days a year. It has the third largest bird collection in the world, a reptile and African Savannah exhibit, and a dolphinarium. You can enjoy coffee or lunch at the ZooCafe overlooking the African Savannah.
39. Visit Flisvos Marina
Known as the mega-yacht destination in Greece, stroll around this posh area for peaceful sea views, shopping, and eating. Shops include frozen yogurt, a bookstore, and sportswear shop. Yacht renting services are also available for luxurious mariners. It's the enchanting view, however, that makes this place unforgettable!
40. Visit an open-air cinema
Open air cinemas have a long history in Greece and are a strong part of the local cultural entertainment. At the Thiseion Open Air Cinema, you can enjoy a movie with a snack and the Acropolis in full view. The atmosphere is magical during the hot summer nights.
41.Relish a beautiful view from Pnyx Hill!
Walk up to Pnyx Hill through a lush-green route and discover the place where democracy set its roots during the antiquity. This is the place where the Athenian assembly met to take important decisions about Athens. Step on the curved trail to the speaker’s platform and feel like an ancient orator ready to voice your opinion about important matters! You will also enjoy a beautiful view of the Acropolis and the city itself. A not-to-be-missed walk!
42.Lake of Vouliagmeni
Considered a geological phenomenon, Vouliagmeni Lake offers spa experience gifted to Athenians by nature. The lake’s underground thermal springs ensure that the water remains at a comfortably warm temperature. Even more fascinating, is the lake’s underwater cave labyrinth, which has been explored down to 3,123 meters deep. The end of the cave, however, remains unknown.
43. Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Connected to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a breath of greenery by the sea, perfect for reflection, and recreation. Pine and olive trees line the walkways, while plenty of plants, water fountains and open spaces provide a peaceful respite from the bustle of the city. Discover the modern culture of Greece in its premise and enhance your experience by having a picnic or sunbathing on the grass.
Athens' street art at Thissio - credits: Milan-Gonda/Shutterstock
45.Enjoy a relaxing walk on the paved Apostolou Pavlou Street
46. Visit Kallimarmaro -Panathenaic Stadium
47. Walk through the market in Avissinias Square
48. Chill out in Spiromiliou Stoa
49. Visit Goulandris Museum of Natural History
50. Fly you to the moon at Evgenidion Foundation (The Planetarium)
A person's wealth lies in their experiences. So, make sure to leave Athens affluent in culture, history and fun activities!