Are you looking for a vacation hotspot with a mix of culture, adventure and sun? Look no further than Athens, the city that rose from the ruins to create an unforgettable experience! From its Ancient ruins to the rooftop bars, this is a city like no other. Read on to find out what all you can explore in Athens and find out the best things to do in Athens.
Introduction to Athens
Athens is the capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world, known as a cradle of civilization. It has a unique mix of historic sites and modern infrastructure that make it a must-visit spot for tourists. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins, visit museums, climb the Acropolis hill, or take in some nightlife, Athens has something for everyone.
This vibrant city is located near the Mediterranean Sea and is filled with fascinating architecture, world-class shopping venues and scrumptious cuisine. From its charming coastal villages to vibrant urban areas, Athens offers an exciting mix of nature and culture. The city also has an array of activities to enjoy during your stay from top restaurants and bars to live music clubs or an evening classical concert at the iconic Herod Atticus Theater in Athens’ grand Odeon amphitheater below the Acropolis hill.
Historical Sites to Visit in Athens
Athens is home to a wealth of incredible historical sites that tell the story of the city’s long and illustrious past. From ancient temples to grand stadiums, there are plenty of attractions to explore that offer a glimpse into the history of Athens and its significance within the wider context of Greek civilization. Here are some of the most notable places to go when you visit this captivating city.
- The Acropolis: This iconic ancient citadel overlooks the entire capital and is home to some extraordinary relics and ruins which have survived since Ancient Greek times. Visit iconic monuments such as the Parthenon, Theater of Dionysus, Temple of Athena Nike and Propylaea, as well as other must-see attractions such as Erechtheion.
- Ancient Agora: This was once central spot for political, educational and cultural life in ancient Athens. Visit ruins from shops where philosopher Socrates used to teach young Athenians life lessons or view sculptures dedicated to gods like Hermes or Zeus located here.
- National Archaeological Museum: Visitors interested in getting more intimate with artifacts from ancient Greece can take a stroll through this excellent museum located near Omonotis Square. Descend deep into its corridors before marveling at some truly remarkable pieces such as Cycladic figurines dating back over 5000 years!
- Temple Of Olympian Zeus: Constructed in 6th century BCE this formidable temple remains an incredible testament to Athenian engineering prowess even today. Look out for its impressive columns which span 13 m tall in height!
With so much to see and explore, it’s easy to understand why Athens has long been seen as one of Europe’s top tourist destinations – having been voted Europe’s best travel destination three times by Lonely Planet!!
Cultural Experiences in Athens
Historical sites, ancient ruins and impressive landmarks are part of the fabric of Athens. Founded in 1200 BC, the capital city of Greece has a long history and is an excellent starting point for any visitor who wants to explore the country’s rich culture. Here are some of the top cultural experiences in Athens:
- Acropolis: Located on an elevated hill, a tour of this archaeological site gives visitors insight into Ancient Greek society and allows them to explore some of the most important temples in all of Greece.
- Parthenon: Dedicated to Athena, the Parthenon is one of the best known structures from Ancient Greek architecture and contains numerous statues and sculptures dedicated to deities like Athena, Zeus and Poseidon.
- Temple of Olympian Zeus: Constructed over a period spanning more than 700 years, this temple was dedicated to the ruling god of Ancient Greek mythology.
- National Archaeological Museum: Get an in-depth look at artifacts from ancient civilizations that include sculpture fragments from Acropolis monuments, pottery from Minoans and Mycenaeans, Cycladic sculptures – even theatrical masks used during Ancient Greek plays.
- Theater at Epidaurus: This UNESCO World Heritage Site features legendary acoustics that brought fame to Epidaurus during antiquity – and it still offers performances today!
- Mount Lycabettus: This picturesque mountain sits at just over 700 meters above sea level in central Athens – take a cable car up for beautiful views throughout all four seasons!
Shopping and Dining in Athens
Athens is a city full of opportunity for shopping and dining! There are endless options for food, beauty, clothing and other products for the discerning shopper. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, gourmet specialties or luxury items, Athens has something that fits every budget.
Shopping in Athens is a must-do activity. From traditional markets to chic boutiques and trendy malls, this bustling city offers an impressive array of shops where locals and visitors alike can find what they’re looking for. Don’t miss out on iconic landmarks like Plaka street and Monastiraki area which are packed with great finds. The stylish Kolonaki district also has some of the best shops the city has to offer.
Another highlight of Athens is its superb dining scene. Whether you’re in search of unique flavors or want to sample traditional Greek dishes, this vibrant Mediterranean capital won’t disappoint even the most demanding foodies. Besides classic Greek tavernas serving mouthwatering meals made with fresh ingredients, there’s also a vast selection of international cuisine such as Asian fusion, Italian trattorias and cozy bakeries where you can indulge in delicious desserts accompanied by an amazing view over the city’s rooftops.
Outdoor Activities in Athens
Athens is a great destination for nature lovers and those looking for a restful outdoor escape. In the gorges outside Athens, you will find lush vegetation and crystal-clear streams, which provide ideal locations for activities like fishing, hiking, or even just relaxing with a picnic. The highest peak in Athens is Mount Parnitha National Park–ideal for hikers and nature lovers alike.
Closer to the city centre are several parks that are perfect to take a leisurely stroll through while admiring old monuments, vibrant gardens, and beautiful landscapes.
For more adventurous outdoor activities, consider visiting the lakes of Marathon and Beletsi. Everybody can enjoy water sports such as canoeing or windsurfing in these beautiful settings. There are also plenty of fascinating sites in nearby areas such as caves and abandoned monasteries waiting to be explored. Moreover, Athens’ coastline is perfect for all kinds of seafaring activities like sailing boats or motorboats and lots of beaches await swimming enthusiasts!
Nightlife in Athens
Nightlife in Athens is vibrant and buzzing with excitement. Whether you’re looking for an after-dinner stroll on the beach, an electric evening watching a live show or clubbing until dawn, you’re sure to find something that fits your style in this vibrant city. With trendy bars, quaint lounges and chic rooftop terraces dotted around town, Athens has something to offer all eager night owls.
For those looking for the classic bar experience, Athens Old Town is one of the best places to enjoy a drink, chat with locals and soak up some of the city’s iconic atmosphere. You can also explore Athenian cuisine at some fantastic restaurants and taste local wines or craft beers. For something more cultural, dance and music clubs can be found around Syntagma Square offering live performances every night with DJs spinning all kinds of genres from deep house to old school funk and retro hits – which promise a fun time until the early morning hours!
If you are looking for a unique experience head to Monastiraki Square after midnight where cozy bars and lounges line up the square featuring jazz bands playing impressively soulful music while actors perform theatrics throughout the evening. If that is not enough there are always rooftop terraces with spectacular views over Acropolis Hill hosting events late into the night accompanied by great food options made with fresh local ingredients.
Day Trips from Athens
Athens, the capital of Greece, offers enough for just about any traveler – from ancient ruins to modern-day chic – but it’s also a great hub from which to explore other destinations. Whether you’re into urban adventure or prefer a beach break, there’s something for everyone within easy reach of Athens.
Here are a few of the top spots for day trips from Athens:
- Hydra: Located just over an hour away, Hydra is Athens’ closest escape to the island life. This car-free island is known for its small, pretty towns and cobbled streets lined with distinctive pink-blossomed ladders. Take a leisurely stroll and then relax on one of the nearby beaches while admiring the views back to Athens across the Saronic Gulf.
- Ancient Corinth: Just 72km northwest of Athens lies one of Greece’s most wealthy and important cities in antiquity: ninth century BC Corinth. Stroll through this archaeological site browsing ruins ranging from Roman temples to former private mansions and baths still visible today – all surrounded by stunning natural beauty when you gaze out across the Isthmus down towards Peleponnese.
- Sounio: Located 74km south east of the city there lies Temple at Sounio which was built in 447BC dedicated to Poseidon and god of seas over looking views out on Attica coastline with panoramic overlooking sights out o Megara bay this sight is a gem amongst all day trips that are available in athens.
- Nafplio: A popular tourist hub located 117km southwestof Athens, Nafplio boasts an abundance of activities such as horseback riding along its pristine beaches, night markets around its cobblestone streets or scuba diving among some ancient shipwrecks. Or if you’d like something more classic and relaxingthen spend your time admiringthe street art or cafe hoppingas there’s always something to see in beautiful Nafplio!
Accommodations in Athens
Athens, the capital of Greece, is an exciting city full of history, modern amenities and stunning architecture. Accommodation options range from luxury hotels to budget-friendly apartments, so there’s something for every traveler. With its dense urban landscape and broad variety of neighborhoods, it can be difficult to find the perfect place to stay when traveling to Athens. To help make your decision easier, here are some great accommodations in Athens:
- Hotels: With modern furnished rooms and all the amenities you expect from hotel stays including cafes or rooftop bars, hotels in Athens provide an ideal balance between comfort and convenience. Options range from business-class 4-5 star accommodation right up to cozy boutique favorites.
- Apartment rentals: If you are looking for more affordable accommodation with a homely atmosphere, you’ll find plenty of apartment rentals throughout the city. Not only are they often cheaper than hotels but they provide more space than most standard hotel rooms while enabling travelers to really get a feel for local living with their fully equipped kitchens and air conditioning units.
- Hostels: Hostels are a great way to experience this Mediterranean metropolis without breaking your budget – most rooms come equipped with Wi-Fi access and often include breakfast for a nominal fee. Shared accommodations offer young adults a chance to meet other international travelers or potential business contacts in an even environment.
- Villas: For longer stays or special occasions such as honeymoons or family holidays in Athens, why not try taking advantage of one of many villas? Most villas come equipped with restaurants, pools that overlook the Mediterranean Sea or views of central Athens as well as gorgeous gardens full of fragrant flowers perfect for outdoor entertaining areas or just soaking up some sun during springtime getaways!
Should Athens not appeal to you, have a look at our other suggestions for where is the cheapest place for a city break?