An Awesome Guide For What To Do In Athens

Picture of Mount Lycabettus. Top things for what to do in Athens.

Being married to an Athenian I have gone on many whirlwind adventures to this ancient city and visited many of the Greek islands. Let me take you on another adventure and give you the details of some pretty spectacular ideas of what to do in Athens. 

Here I have list some of things to do in Athens you may of heard of already. But, there are some other things I have experienced from being with locals. So are you ready for one awesome adventure? Let’s go and get this journey started. 

Two soldiers outside of the Parliament in Athens. Text reads top things to do in Athens, Greece for an exquisite trip.

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AWESOME LIST FOR WHAT TO DO IN ATHENS

1| SPEND HOURS AT THE ACROPOLIS

Although visiting the Acropolis isn’t on the off beaten path, it is one of the must-see things to do in Athens. 

This ancient citadel is located on the top of a rocky prominence above the city. There is a cluster of famous structures to see such as the Parthenon which is the most famous of them all. You can also view the Temple of Athena Nike, Propylaea, and the Erechtheion. 

Address: Athens 105 58, Greece
Opening Hours: Sunday to Saturday 8AM-8PM
Admission: 20-Euros, purchase your tickets now. 

2| GET EDUCATED ON ANCIENT GREEK HISTORY AT THE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM

If you’re looking for what to do in Athens to learn the rich history of this country then I suggest visiting this Acropolis Museum. I recommend visiting prior to taking your trip to the Acropolis of Athens. Get educated on the history of the archaeological sites located at the Acropolis and more.

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary depending on season. Find out more details when the museum will be open during your trip here.
Admission: Winter season  (November 1st- March 31st 5- Euros), Summer season (April 1st-October 31st 10-Euros). Or purchase your tickets in advance here. 

3| WALK THE  WINDING STREETS OF PLAKA

Picture of a bike with potted plants on the winding street in Plaka

One of the best places in Athens to visit is Plaka. This antiquated neighborhood is the perfect location to grab a bite to eat and shop for souvenirs. Although it maybe one of the touristy things to do in Athens, it is one of the oldest districts and my favorite area to explore during my visits. 

This part of town has an alluring charisma as if you’re in a Greek village. Plaka has many narrowed cobblestone streets that are filled with many sidewalk cafes, family owned tavernas,  and tiny shops. Many stores have clothing, handmade jewelry, and local ceramics to buy. If you are looking for some free things to do in Athens, then take a trip to Plaka. 

4| HAVE A TRADITIONAL GREEK COFFEE

Honestly, no trip to Greece would be complete without having a legitimate Greek coffee. Greeks are very serious and take pride in their coffee as they should. Let me give you the details of the Greek coffee to try during your trip to Athens. 

My absolute favorite to sip on during my visits is the Freddo Cappuccino. It consists of a double shot of blended espresso and topped with a frothy cream. Give it a good shake before sipping so the cream is mixed well into the espresso. 

Another favorite of the Greeks is the Freddo Espresso, which is a double shot of espresso blended and poured over ice. 

Also, for those who love a strong cup of Joe go with the traditional Greek coffee blend. This will definitely help you overcome any jet-lag you may have. 

The best place to grab these popular Greek coffees is at Coffee Island. They are located throughout the city and make one spectacular Freddo Cappuccino.

Address: Located all around the city.
Hours: Most locations open at 6AM  and close at 10PM 

5| SING ALONG WITH THE GREEKS AT A BOUZOUKIA 

Get one memorable Greek traditional experience by attending a bouzoukia. It is by far one of the top things to do in Athens. Bouzoukias are nightclubs that has many popular Greek performers.  

The name termed after the popular musical Greek instrument that resembles a guitar used in many of their songs.

Greeks sure do know how to party. Bouzoukias are loud, passionate, and somewhat crazy.  Locals bellow along to the lyrics, stand and dance on tables, and throw flowers onto the stage.

The party doesn’t begin until 12:00AM and typically ends with the sun comes out. 

You can checkout upcoming performances and singers attending right here.

*Insider tip– Most Greeks are smokers and smoking is allowed inside these nightclubs. If you are sensitive to smoke then you may want to avoid attending a bouzoukia.

6| HAVE A CASUAL MEAL AT THE PLAKA STAIRS

One charming place to see and that attracts many tourists is the Plaka Stairs. Many famous cafes and restaurants exists on this side of Athens that are deserving of your visit.

The Plaka Stairs have some of the characteristics like you’re on a Greek Island. Go early to grab a table or a seat on the stairs because it gets rather crowded quickly. 

Address: Mnisikleous 22, Athina 105 56, Greece
Opening Hours: Roam around 24/7

READ MORE: Things To Do In Zakynthos

7| GET A TASTE OF ATHENS WITH A GYRO PITA

two gyro pitas on a plate

Gyro pitas are a traditional Greek dish that can be found at a taverna or sold as a street food. It consists of tenderized meat, crispy thick cut fries, tzatziki, and juicy tomato slices wrapped in a warm pita. 

This is one local Greek dish you must try during your trip to Athens. 

One of the best places to visit in Athens for a spectacular gyro pita is the famous Savvas in Monastiraki. There are a few locations, but Savvas in this neighborhood has more of a local and authentic Greek vibe to me.

Address: Ermou 91, Athina 105 55, Greece
Opening Hours: Sunday- Saturday 9AM-4AM

8| HAVE A GLASS OF WINE AT GAZOHORI

Gazohori is one of the top places to see in Athens. This taverna is cozy, crowded, loud, and everything else that epitomizes the Greek culture. 

If you’re not a fan of small cramped spaces then avoid Gazhori all together. What gives this place its charm is the jammed in quarters. Just visit and you will see it’s quite an experience. 

Since I did not eat here, I cannot comment on the food. But, this is one amazing spot to share a bottle of wine when you’re with good company. 

Address: Dekeleon 2-6, Athens 11854, Greece (Psirri / Gazi)

9| BRING OUT YOUR INNER GEEK AT THE NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

The National Archaeological Museum is known to be one of the greatest museums in the world. 

This museum is the largest museum in the country and holds some of the most extensive artifacts from numerous archaeological locations in Greece. 

Address: 28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece
Opening Hours: The National Archaeological Museum has varying hours depending on the season. Here you can find out more details when open during your visit.
Admission: April 1st to October 31st entry is 12-Euros. From November 1st until March 31st 6- Euros to enter. 

10| CATCH A SUNSET AT MOUNT LYCABETTUS

 Mount Lycabettus on a sunny day top things for what to do in Athens

Mount Lycabettus is one of the other free things to do in Athens. The hill can be easily spotted no matter where you are in Athens.

 If you are feeling brave then I suggest walking up the steep slope that’s 300 meters above sea level. It’s a great way to burn off some of those calories from all the delicious Greek cuisine. You can also reach the top by car, there is parking if you prefer not to walk. 

At the top you will discover a wonderful surprise. There is one breathtaking panoramic view of Athens. Try to go later in the evening because it is a perfect spot to catch one killer sunset. 

Feeling hungry or parched after your walk? Mount Lycabettus hill has a dine in cafe and concession stand to purchase refreshments. 

11| HANG OUT WITH THE EXCLUSIVES IN KOLONAKI 

Kolonaki is an upscale neighborhood where the elite in Athens live and hangout. Numerous  designer boutiques, high end clothing stores, fine dining restaurants, and fancy people liven up this part of the city. 

Two cafes I highly recommend to visit are Da Capo and Al Buon. Both cafes have delicious Greek coffee and great outdoor seating for people watching. 

Also, for a night out it is the perfect spot to go listen to live jazz or dancing to a DJs beats. 

12| NIBBLE ON SOME LOCAL GOODS AT VARVAKEIOS CENTRAL MARKET

Varvakeios Central Market is a bustling farmer’s market. You can buy local meats, nuts, cheeses, produce, seafood, and other delicious treats. 

Strolling this central market is quite a site to see. I highly advise making time to squeeze in a trip to this market.

For those who are non-meat eaters or have a sensitive stomach I advise avoiding the fish stalls and butcher area. No need for me to go into further detail. 

Address: Athinas 42, Athina 105 51, Greece
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 8AM-6PM
Admission: Free

READ MORE: Quotes About Greece

13|  GO SEE THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER 

Want more on what to do in Athens? Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. Between 1930-1932 the tomb was sculpted to honor the Greek soldiers killed during war. 

It is guarded by the Presidential Guard’s Evzones. 

 You can find it located by the Hellenic Parliament building located in Syntagma Square. 

After viewing the tomb, walk about and admire the stunning architecture of the Parliament building. 

Address: Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias 133, Athina 105 57, Greece
Opening Hours: Everyday 24/7

14| HAVE A COCKTAIL WITH THE LOCALS AT BRETTOS BAR

 colorful wall at Brettos one of the unique things for what to do in Athens.

Brettos is a distillery and bar that’s been open for a century. Located in the heart of Plaka, Brettos is one fun place to end your night in Athens before heading back to the hotel. You cannot miss the many colorful bottles decorating the walls of the bar. 

Even though Brettos may be located in a touristy neighborhood,  you will actually find more Greeks in the bar sipping on an ouzo.

Address:  Kidathineon 41, Athina 105 58, Greece
Hours: Everyday from 10AM-2AM

15| CATCH A VIEW OF THE ACROPOLIS FROM A ROOFTOP

Catch one remarkable view of the Acropolis at night on a rooftop. Galaxy Restaurant & Bar, located inside the Hilton Hotel is the best way to see this famous archeological site lit up. 

Address: Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 46, Athina 115 28, Greece
Opening Hours:  Everyday from 5:30PM to 12AM. 

16| VISIT THE OLDEST CHURCH IN ATHENS PANAGIA KAPNIKAREA

Church of Panagia Kapnikarea is the oldest and most historical church in the city is located on one of the busiest streets in Athens, Ermou. 

This church dates as far back to the 11th-century and is currently surround by a busy shopping strip. During your buying adventures stop and take a look at this church that survived from being firebombed by the Turks. It’s quite a site to see something so antique surrounded by modern buildings. 

Address: Ermou 55, Kapinkareas 2, Athina 105 63, Greece

17| SHOP AT THE FLEA MARKETS IN MONASTIRAKI SQUARE

Monastiraki Square houses historical landmarks in the city such as Hadrian’s Library, Stoa of Attalos, and the Ancient Agora. However, many locals and tourists flock to this square for the Monastiraki Flea Market. 

If you are into antiques, books, artisanal soaps, homemade jewelry and sandals, and old vinyl records then you would enjoy this square. Strolling the market is another one of the many free things to do in Athens. 

After shopping you may develop and appetite and there is a plethora of tavernas and restaurants that are accompanied with Acropolis views. 

18| SEE A PART OF HISTORY VISITING THE PANATHENAIC STADIUM

 Panathenaic stadium on a sunny day

The Panathenaic Stadium dates back to hosting the first modern games in1896.  Today the stadium has been preserved for others to see a piece of history. The size of this stadium is truly one remarkable site to see. 

Did you know this is the only stadium in the world built of only marble?

Address: Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina 116 35, Greece
Opening Hours: Everyday 8AM to 7PM

19| MAKE BAD CHOICES CLUBBING IN GAZI

Gazi is a trendy neighborhood surrounded by the old gasworks in Athens.The district is known for their colorful wall murals, live music, and contemporary art spaces. 

If staying up to the wee hours into morning is on your agenda, Gazi has plenty of bars and clubs to keep you entertained. 

Also, there are plenty of delectable restaurants with very creative menus. Do fill up that belly with a meal first before chasing down cocktails. 

20| WATCH AN OUTDOOR CINEMA

 movie board with the cinema listings

Catch one of the best views of the Acropolis and a movie at Cine Paris. It is a rooftop garden in the heart of Plaka that transforms into an open-air theater. 

But, if you’re wanting to catch the outdoor cinema, make sure you arrive during May through October when the theater is open. 

Address: Kidathineon 22, Athina 105 58, Greece

A LITTLE INFO TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO ATHENS

LANGUAGE SPOKEN IN GREECE

Greek is the dominant language spoken in Greece. But, don’t worry you don’t have to learn Greek before your trip. Many locals are also fluent in English so you shouldn’t have any problem. 

However, I always like to be polite when traveling and learn a few phrases to wherever I am going. A few Greek phrases that may be helpful to you I have listed below: 

  • Hello (geia)
  • Thanks (efharistó)
  • You’re welcome (parakaló)
  • Good morning (kaliméra)
  • Good night (kaliníhta)
  • Please (parakaló)
  • Water (neró)
  • Delicious (nóstimo)
  • Cheers (geiá mas)

CURRENCY USED IN GREECE 

Euros are the primary currency used in Greece. Also, most places in Athens accept major credit and debit cards. If you are on a budget, you will find there are many activities and restaurants that are easy on the wallet. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT ATHENS

Athens is pretty popular destination worldwide due to its rich history and landscapes. Try escaping to Athens during the spring months between March through May. If you can not escape during this time try visiting during the fall which is September to November. Weather during these seasons is very comfortable and you can expect plenty of sunshine.

Since fall and spring are off season you can expect less crowds and cheaper hotel and airfare then the summer and winter months.  

WEATHER IN ATHENS

Athens does go through a change of seasons. During the summer months you can expect the highs to reach 31° Celsius (87° Fahrenheit) or more with July being the warmest month. You may be wondering is Athens worth visiting during the summer. Honestly, in my opinion no it isn’t. Expect massive crowds and inflated prices on hotels and meals anywhere you visit in Greece.

 If you wanna catch summer and have more of a pleasant time opt for May or late September. Usually around this time the crowds have ceased. May and October have the most pleasant weather and make it more enjoyable for walking the city. Temperatures usually range from 20° Celsius (68°Fahrenheit) to the upper 25° (77°Fahrenheit).

If you are not a fan of cold rainy weather then avoid visiting during December and the coldest month February. 

WHERE TO STAY IN ATHENS

If you are wanting amenities during you trip, it’s recommended you book a hotel. Plaka and Monerstarki are the best neighborhoods to stay during your visit to Athens. Both districts are within walking distance to all major sites in the city or just a quick cab ride. Select one of the hotels below that is within your budget.

Recommendations for where to stay in Athens, Greece:

Booking.com

HOW TO GET AROUND ATHENS

If you are staying in the popular neighborhoods such at Plaka or Monastiraki you will find everything is pretty much within walking distance. Some places you may need to catch a cab, but everything is pretty much close so fare will be inexpensive. 

GREEK DISHES TO TRY

Picture of saganaki one of the best Greek dishes

Greek cuisine is by far one of my favorite meals. The foods rely on fresh and simple ingredients to make some of the most appetizing dishes. I have a list of some dishes you must try while in Athens.

SNACKS/APPETIZERS

  • Spanakopita- Spinach and a mixture of Greek cheeses inside phyllo dough.
  • Tiropita- Variety of Greek cheeses wrapped in phyllo dough.
  • Saganaki- Fried salty Greek cheese appetizer.
  • Greek Salad- Mixture of tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, Greek olives, feta, and oregano splashed with olive oil and vinegar. 

MAIN DISHES

  • Souvlaki- Pita filled with tomatoes, fries, tzatziki, and succulent meat. 
  • Keftedes- Minced beef and/or lamb meatballs with a crispy crust.
  • Dolmades- Grape leaves stuffed with herbed rice. 

DESSERTS

  • Galaktoboureko- Semolina custard baked in phyllo and soaked in a citrusy syrup.
  • Bougatsa- Same as the galaktoboureko without syrup. This is by far my favorite Greek dessert. 

DRINIKS

  • Ouzo- Anise flavored liquor sipped on by Greeks over ice. 
  • Tsipouro- An un-aged brandy from Greece.
  • Coffee- Greeks are huge on coffee. Try a traditional Greek coffee, but if that is too strong for you go for a Freddo cappuccino or espresso. 

THAT’S A WRAP ON WHAT TO DO IN ATHENS!

Athen’s has been one city that I love visiting frequently. It has an exceptional beauty, outstanding food, and the Greeks welcome you like a long lost family member. These activities are the best things for what to do in Athens.  Have you visited any of these places before? Would love to know, leave me a comment below! 

Interested in reading more on Greece ? Check out my posts on Things To Do In Zakynthos and Quotes About Greece.

Enjoy visiting European cities? I have some other travel guides for beautiful places to visit while in Europe. 

Like this post on what to do in Athens? Share it with others or pin it for later in your Athens or Greece travel board. 

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17 Comments

  1. This is such a great list! Thanks for all the ideas. Definitely saving for later.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Shay. Thanks for reading.

  2. I traveled the Greek islands a few years back and my biggest regret is that I didn’t go to Athens for a few days. I think I need to make a return trip so I can do some of the awesome things on the list! I would LOVE to visit the acropolis, and drink Greek coffee, and of course make some bad decisions out at the clubs heheh. Thanks for the great guide!

    1. Oh I hope you get to go back and explore Athens Erin. It is such a lively city. Especially a great overnight stop if you
      are taking a ferry to the islands. The Acropolis is absolutely breathtaking.Thank you for reading.

  3. Having only been to Santorini, I really want to explore more of Greece and the capital city seems like the best place to start!

    1. Athens is really great for a few days before taking the ferry to the islands. It is such a lively city.

  4. I’ve always wanted to go to Greece, and Athens has been top of my list. I’m a big history fan so would love to explore the acropolis and the other historical sites there. But Athens sounds like a fun city to explore the small streets and find delicious food, your list has given me plenty of ideas for my first visit

    1. Oh Emma you would really enjoy Athens. They food, the ambiance, scenery, and the sites. You will have so much fun during your visit. Hope you get to explore soon.

  5. Looking at your Table of Contents, I knew this post was going to be great – and it was! Athens is so alluring to me – as are most places in Greece. I haven’t been able to visit yet, but every year that passes I get more antsy, haha.

  6. So many fun things to do in Athens! I have only spent 1 night and 2 days there so still lots to see in the future.

    1. Hi Katie! There is so much to do in Athens. Hope you get to make it back soon.

  7. Awesome list – I will have to make my way there when everything opens up again. Thanks ?

    1. Yes, I would definitely go when things open. You will have such a great time Ann.

  8. I would like to visit Greece including Athens! I think I would enjoy exploring the little streets plus the rich history of the place. I really hope I could go there. Do you have any other cultural experience and food recommendations?

    1. Hi Mikaela. During my visits with my husband I know Greeks like to hang out at cafes late at night, pretty much overnight. If you venture off some of the popular streets there are lots of squares where the locals hang. Going to a bouzoukia was by far my favorite experience. The foods I listed are my favorite. One popular Greek dish is moussaka, and if you want a lasagna Greek style Pastitsio is delicious. You can never go wrong with eating lamb in Greece.

  9. I haven’t not been to Greece yet but it’s definitely on my bucket list. Athens seems like a great destination. Thanks for sharing all these information!!

    1. Greece is such a beautiful country. I hope you get to make it there soon.

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