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 for you to experience! From relaxing wanderings around scenic neighborhoods, to discovering culture through local flavors, exploring Athens is a never-ending task! The city lures you in, making you always return to catch up with the new ventures or rekindle memories of exciting experiences. Here is a carefully selected list of 50 things you can do in the Greek capital to make sure Athens lives up to your dreams!
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 or you to visit. Do so, and you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Athens and the thrill of hights! You can reach the top of Lycabettus Hill by the funicular or – for the most adventurous - by 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 Instagram ready and perfect for photos!
*Funicular’s timetable: daily, every 30’, 09:00-02:30
2. Dine in a Cretan restaurant
Dakos, traditional Cretan food - credits: Fanfo/Shutterstock.com
Do you fancy a journey through Crete without leaving Athens? As impossible as it sounds, you can experience the Cretan culture through its local flavors in the center of the Greek 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!
3. Feed the pigeons in Syntagma square
Syntagma square - credits: lornet/Shutterstock.com
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-based 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
Anafiotika - credits: EnginKorkmaz/Depositphotos.com
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 you thoroughly entertained, guaranteeing an unforgettable vacation experience! Get a big dose of adrenaline in a fun and safe environment!
6. Have a Greek folk dance class
Greek folklore dance - credits: vverve/Depositphotos.com
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! Therefore, 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. Experience a picnic with your loved ones
National Garden of Athens - credits: Anastasios71/Shutterstock.com
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 a picnic adventure just 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 (which translates to 'little rocks') at the top of the Areopagus hill, near the 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 the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum - credits: serkan senturk/Shutterstock.com
It goes without saying, but the 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
Evzones - credits: Dmytro Shapova/Shutterstock.com
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 is strictly forbidden for Evzones to engage with or react to anything civilians say!
11. Taste the traditional Greek liquors of rakomelo and ouzo.
Rakomelo - credits: www.neoiorizontes.gr
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 dessert after a rich meal. Additionally, ouzo is a classic Greek alcoholic drink with a prominent 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
Philopappos monument - credits: vivooo/Shutterstock.com
Start your day with an energizing walk to Philopappos Hill, one of the most beautiful walking routes in Athens. Follow the cobble-paved laneways that lead at the top of Philopappo 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 its hilltop. Don’t miss it!
13. Indulge in traditional Greek cream and rice pudding desserts
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 exactly what you're looking for! 'Stani is a family business that always uses fresh local milk bought from small farmers around the whole of Greece. Although the neighborhood is not the best hangout spot of Athens, we definitely suggest you stop by this shop to taste its delicious goodies. Trust us, you won't regret it!
14. Go to the Athenian beaches
Athens Riviera - credits: Aerial-motion/Shutterstock
Most of the year the mild weather of Athens qualifies for a visit to the beach! The coastal suburbs of the city bristle with wonderful clean beaches. Breathe 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 anymore, it's mandatory! You can also read our blog post about the best beaches in Athens, so you can make an educated decision about which Athenian beach fits your criteria best!
15. Try the best hangover cure, Greek street food!
Souvlaki wrap - credits: gioiak2/Depositphotos.com
The youth of Athens has an 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 energy levels high all night long! Night-crawlers in Athens always gobble up something either in-between parties or just before their return home, which is the reason 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. If you want to get a comprehensive insight into Athens' street food scene, check out our ultimate guide to Athens' street food. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
16. Stroll through Pittaki St.
Pittaki street in Psirri - credits: str Haris vythoulkas/Shutterstock.com
There is a cool story behind this street. Back in the day, the Pittaki street used to resemble an abandoned dirty alley. Then, one day the people of Athens were 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 is a beautiful homely alley ideal for romantic evening walks and it's new, photogenic look is popular among Instagrammers and photography-lovers that visit the city. therefore, if you find yourself on Pittaki St., don't miss the opportunity to snap some pictures and show the world the distinctive urban aesthetic of Athens!
17. Buy a traditional koulouri
Koulouri - credits: vovidzha/Shutterstock.com
The round sesame bread which the Greeks call 'koulouri', is ideal as breakfast or as a light snack during your wanderings around Athens. Koulouri -or variations of it- can be found all around the eastern part of the Mediterranean and the Balkan countries. In Greece, despite it being traditionally made in the region of Thessaloniki, you can find many street vendors with trolley stands full of different types of koulouri in central Athenian streets or outside metro stations. Alternatively, you can buy one from any bakery you come across. Keep in mind that koulouri is one of the foods consumed during our Athens food tour. Hence, if you want to taste koulouri, along with other traditional Greek flavors, don't hesitate to join us on a sense-provoking, 4-hour journey into Athens' culinary scene!
18. Party the night away
Athens during nighttime - credits: Anastasios71/Shutterstock.com
There is no better place to indulge in a fun all-nighter than in the city of Athens! 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 fun and intriguing spots and dancing until the sun comes up is the best way to 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
Wine tasting - credits: Jose Ignacio Soto/Shutterstock.com
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 and taste your way through some of Greece’s most beautiful landscapes. Familiarize yourself with Greek grape varieties and get an insight into the local wine production. Who said drinking can’t be educational?
21. Chase an adrenaline rush at an escape room!
Jump on the bandwagon and get in one of the increasingly popular escape rooms in Athens! This gaming trend is flourishing in the city, offering a wide variety of rooms designed to tease your intellect! After you choose a witty group game, you get locked in a room and you are required to figure your way out through puzzles and queries 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 problem-solving skills and your friends’ help!
22. Cook traditional Greek dishes
Greek cooking class - credits: Alexxxey/Shutterstock.com
What a better way to discover Athens’ culture than with a journey through its gastronomy? Embark on a Greek cooking class adventure and taste the authentic nature of the locals, which is voiced through the flavors of their land. The rich bounty of Greece offers the optimum products 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 Greek dishes! You might think that Athens is all about its history and its ancient glory, however, when you visit the city, you will soon easily realize that the richness of its culture is evident everywhere!
23. Explore the world of vintage shopping
Although not as popular as in the rest of the word, vintage and second-hand shopping in Athens has become an exciting activity during recent years. In the context of the development of alternative shopping, Athens now has its own Kilo shop and the concept is pretty simple: you get to choose among a vast variety of vintage or second-hand clothes and pay by their weight. Browse the shop and choose between 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. Vintage Love, Reset Thrift Shop and Hotsy Totsy Athens, are excellent thrift shop choices as well, giving you the opportunity to own previously loved clothes of excellent quality.
24. Visit the National Garden of Athens
National Garden of Athens- credits: Anastasios71/Shutterstock.com
Explore the National Garden of Athens and find a small oasis 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: eFesenko/Shutterstock
How do you feel about visiting a tiny island in the middle of Athens? Anafiotika is the most beautiful Athenian neighborhood resembling a Cycladic 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 and indulge in a romantic dinner in one of the traditional restaurants of the area; the vintage yellow lights with the freshness of the dense-leafed trees make up the most idyllic landscape in Athens!
26. Eat traditional loukoumades at 'Krinos'
Loukoumades - credits: foodlove/Shutterstock.com
Go on a loukoumades binge - one of Greeks’ most loved dessert – in a historical sweet shop in Athens. 'Krinos' dating back to 1855, the sweet shop now lies where the first pharmacy in Athens used to be. The building was bought by a Greek refugee from Izmir in 1923 in order for it to be transformed into the first sweet shop of the city with authentic oriental-flavored desserts. Every time a local visits 'Krinos', they go back to their childhood, when they relished delicious loukoumades with their parents; believe it or not, the quality of their loukoumades is the same it was back then!
Tip: '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. It's definitely worth a visit, even as a stop on your way to the Roman Agora!
28. Eat souvlaki at Kostas
Souvlaki - credits: rawf8/Shutterstock.com
We could write an entire collection of novels dedicated to souvlaki, but we're not going to do that; we are just going to state the obvious: trying souvlaki is an absolute must-do for all visitors of Greece! It is cheap, filling and delicious, and 'Kostas’ is the best place to get it. Locals like to frequent this tiny shop in the center of Agias Eirinis Square for it’s traditional, mouth-watering recipe, as well as its special secret sauce that gives an intense explosion of taste. All you have to do is ask for a traditional souvlaki wrap with the special sauce added in and you'll be instantly transported to yummyland; it's a place the Greeks visit often, one you'll never want to leave!
29. Attend a classical theater performance in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Odeon of Herodes Atticus - credits: Nataliya Nazarova/Shutterstock.com
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre located at the base of the Acropolis, named after a distinguished 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
Monastiraki flea market where you can find greek sandals - credits: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock.com
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 Melissinos sandals. This little piece of Greek fashion is the perfect souvenir from Greece for you to take back home!
32. Drink a cocktail on a rooftop bar
View of the Acropolis from A for Athens bar - credits: aforathens.com
For those of you who like spectacular rooftop views, Athens offers an array of choices in regard to striking rooftop cafes and bars. Places like Couleur Locale, A for Athens and Athens 360 offer the chance to enjoy your coffee in the morning or a drink from the bar at night and revel in the view of the Acropolis and the whole city of Athens below. Let loose with friends and enjoy the atmosphere! After your drink on the rooftop, you can choose one of the many places to dance in Athens and have the night of your life!
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 Mount Parnitha 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. `if you're up for it, you can even embark on a hiking adventure, as Mount Parnitha is known for its beautiful trails, attracting hikers from across the country!
34. Shop at Athens Mall or Golden Hall
A shopaholic’s dream, the Golden Hall of Athens is the biggest shopping center in Athens 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
Baklava - credits: Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock.com
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! Your holiday in Greece is the perfect time for you to get out of your comfort zone and try flavors you've never tried before!
36. Eat falafel at 'Falafelas'
You can find vegetarian souvlaki and falafel while strolling through the center of Athens - credits: Nic Crilly Hargrave/Shutterstock.com
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. It's the ideal street food for vegetarians in Athens, but even if you're not a vegetarian, its unmatched taste will leave you asking for more!
37. Enjoy a traditional Greek coffee
Traditional Greek coffee - credits: RUBEN-M-RAMOS/Shutterstock.com
Coffee is a major part of Greek culture, as it is deeply connected to every aspect of our daily life. From politics to fashion, everything is discussed in a coffee shop while sipping a cup of 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 open all day long to amaze you with its exquisite coffee blends!
38. Delve into a watersports adventure in the Athenian sea
With the sea being so close to you, it would be a pity not to exploit the fact that the capital of Greece is surrounded by water. Therefore, if you're a watersports fan and lying on a sun lounge sounds boring to you and your family, don't hesitate to take advantage of the watersports that are available in most Athenian beaches. Athens Water Sports center provides all the information you could possibly need. Staying fit yet refreshed is a combination that makes for the perfect way to fight the summer heat!
39. Visit Marina Flisvos in the southern part of Athens
Marina Floisvou - credits: PitK/Shutterstock.com
Known as the mega-yacht destination in Greece, stroll around this posh area for peaceful sea views, shopping, and eating. Shops include a frozen yogurt parlor, a bookstore, and a sportswear shop, among others. 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 and the snacks that are available are to-die-for!
41. Relish a beautiful view from Pnyx Hill!
Pnyx Hill - credits: Alla Khananashvili/Shutterstock.com
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. Swim in Vouliagmeni Lake
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. Explore Stavros Niarchos Foundation's Cultural Center
Stavros Niarchos Foundation - credits: KOSTAS TSEK/Shutterstock.com
Linked 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
Take a walk in Apostolou Pavlou str. - credits: PitK/Shutterstock.com
In 51 A.D., St. Paul, the apostle who first introduced Christianity to Athens, walked across the Agora and the Acropolis, making his way to Areos Pagos to preach his religion. Apostolou Pavlou St. is a pedestrian street representing the path St. Paul walked during his mission. Craft booths with handmade jewelry and other unique souvenirs can be found along the way. The walk along Apostolou Pavlou str. reflects the quintessential vibe of Athens, making it ideal for anyone who wants to submerge themselves in Greek culture.
46. Run on the Panathenaic Stadium
Panathenaic stadium - credits: Anastasios71/Shutterstock.com
Discover the athletic side of yourself by admiring this phenomenal masterpiece of classical Greece, constructed in the 4th century BC and was used to host the huge event of “Great Panathenea”, the celebration dedicated to the ancient goddess of wisdom, Athena. In modern Greek history, this stadium is connected with the first modern Olympic Games of 1896, as it held both the opening and closing ceremony. You can visit the Panathenaic Stadium - or Kallimarmaro as it is often referred to- daily by paying a 5-euro ticket or a 2,50-euro one if you're either a student or over 65 years old. There, you can visit the museum and even exercise on the ground where ancient Greeks used to exercise thousands of years ago. Run Forest, run!
47. Unveil hidden treasures at the market on Avissinias Square
Monastiraki flea market - credits: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock.com
48. Chill out in Spiromiliou Stoa
49. Visit Goulandris Museum of Natural History
50. Travel to space 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!