Your one stop guide to Athens
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Your one stop guide to Athens

Athens ● 03 September 2018
 
Athens is an extremely interesting destination in Greece, which gives you thousands of things to do. Nightlife, history, art, live stages, bars, significant museums, this city is a living legend. Learn here the most important things you can do in Athens. But remember that it is really impossible to write about all the secrets of the Greek capital in only one article. Check in our blog all the things you should know about Athens and stay tuned!

Old Town

Plaka

Plaka, under the shadow of Acropolis Hill, is the most popular among tourists area of the Old Town, with narrow, cobblestone streets to have a beautiful walk. Kydathinaion is the main street there that is full of traditional taverns and local shops. In Plaka, there is also the district of Anafiotika, an area that gives you the feeling of being on an island with small houses climbing on the sacred cliff of Acropolis.


Thiseio

The cliff of Acropolis stands imposing in Thiseio, and on the other side, cafes and bars as well as people having a walk create the perfect scenery to relax and admire the perfect view. Apostolou Paulou, the pedestrian street that starts in Thiseio and ends in Acropolis Museum is by far the best walk in the Greek capital. You are literally walk with a magnificent view of the Acropolis in a majestic street with flowers, trees and luxury, neoclassical houses, bars, taverns and cafés. In this street, is also located the entrance to Pnyx, the place where democracy is born, and the Athenians voted. Nearby, you can see the cell of Socrates, where the great philosopher was imprisoned.

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Monastiraki

Monastiraki is the area with the most multicultural atmosphere. On the square, is located a mosque and  a Flea Market, which reminds of the oriental origin of the city. You can come here also in the evening because Monastiraki is one of the most vivid districts, which is filled with young people until late at night. Adrianou, the main street of the area, is a small pedestrian zone that ends in Thiseio. It is located near Ancient Agora (Athens), and it offers a magnificent view of the Temple of Hephaestus. Small, neoclassical, colourful houses and traditional restaurants make this place ideal to relax, eat and drink coffee.


Panepistimiou Street

Panepistimiou is the street that connects Syntagma Square with Omonoia Square. With its large sidewalks, you can walk carefree under the shadow of Lycabetttus hill. The main sightseeing in Panepistimiou Street is the complex of the impressive, neoclassical historical buildings that used to be the University, the Library and the Academy of Greece.


Museums

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is a gem of the city and one of the must-see museums all over the world. The museum, with the award-winning architectural design, hosts a remarkable collection of incredible ancient artefacts that were excavated on the cliff of Acropolis. The building is covered with glass, offering a breathtaking view of the Acropolis, which you can also admire from the restaurant of the museum. Among others, guests can explore everyday objects, buildings remains and sculptures that date back to the Bronze Age.


The National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum, the largest museum in Athens and whole Greece, is located in a neoclassical building of the 19th century. With more than 11,000 exhibits from a wide range of historical periods, you may need many hours to explore it. The most famous exhibits are the wall frescoes of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, the Antikythera Mechanism and gold artefacts from Ancient Mycenae.

The Museum of Cycladic Art

The Cycladic Art Museum focuses on the prehistoric forms created in the Cycladic Islands. The classic figures of this civilisation bear a striking resemblance to some forms of modern art, but the most impressive thing is that these small marble statues are 5,000 years old. The museum hosts also modern art exhibitions and a very chic and minimalistic café.

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The Numismatic Museum

Although you may think that a coin museum might not seem like the most exciting destination, you have to prepare yourself to be impressed by this amazing museum. The collection is housed in an incredible building, which was the mansion of the archaeologist, who discovered ancient Troy, Heinrich Schliemann. The exhibitions include coins from the ancient as well as from the modern period, and if you want to relax, you can sit in the museum café in the magical garden that will make you feel far away from the city.

The Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum is a stunning private collection that provides an overview of the full spectrum of the Greek history. This museum has everything gathered in one place, and you can admire there ancient prehistoric, Cycladic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman artefacts alongside Byzantine exhibits, and modern pieces, such as clothing, furniture and paintings, from the Greek Revolution and the Greek folk art. 

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Historical sites

Acropolis

Acropolis is the trademark of Athens and maybe the most important archaeological site in the world. It is the symbol of democracy and the Golden Age of Pericles, and it is something more than just a temple. Standing imposing on the top of a cliff, it can be seen from everywhere in Athens Center, reminding of the ancient times that were the beginning of the philosophy, the science and the theatre. Acropolis consists of three ancient temples, but the most impressive is Parthenon. In the archaeological site, you can also admire the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus, where the performances of drama in ancient Athens took place.


Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora (Athens) was the market place of ancient Athens. There, you can explore the ruins of ancient buildings, like houses and shops, as well as the museum with many sculptures. The best-preserved Temple of Hephaestus will impress you with the fact that it is even better-preserved than Acropolis!


Roman Agora

Roman Agora was the market place during the Roman times. There, it is located an impressive site, the Tower of the Winds, the first weather station in Europe! Other important monuments of the site are the Gate of Athena, East Propylon, the public latrines, agoranomion and a Turkish mosque, which was built in 1456 A.D.

Keramikos

Keramikos Archealogical site is the ancient cemetery of the Greek capital since 3.000 B.C. Numerous cist graves and burial offerings have been discovered by the archaeologists. These findings, together with sculptures and burial monuments, you can admire in the impressive historical site and the important museum.

Nightlife

Athens is worldwide known as the city that never sleeps, and this is true. Every Friday and Saturday night, but also during the weekdays, streets are full of people, who want to have fun until the dawn. It is not unusual to be traffic jam in Athens Center even at 4 o'clock in the morning! The bars are literally numerous and perfect for amazing bar-crawl, but the most impressive thing is that they are not gathered in a single place. The districts, where you can find bars and clubs to drink and dance, are numerous.

Syntagma-Monastiraki Square

Athens by night gives you its best in the area between Syntagma Square and Monastiraki. The top streets are Kolokotroni, Thisseos, Lekka, Romvis, Kalamiotou and Avramiotou as well as the square of Saint Eirini. Narrow streets, alternative and elegant bars, music for every taste (rock, pop, jazz, dance, electro) people dancing and laughing and signature cocktails make this area the hottest nightlife spot of the center.

Kolonaki

The district of Kolonaki is an elegant shopping area with expensive boutiques, which the last years, has turned into a modern nightlife spot for the high society of the capital. There, you will find elegant bars and restaurants, as well as legends of Athenian nightlife, such as Rock 'n' Roll, which said to be the favorite spot of Mick Jagger, when he visits Athens.

Gazi

Gazi is located near Keramikos and it is an alternative area. Its trademark is the abandoned gas factory, which is nowadays a museum. The whole district is industrial, full of cafés, bars and clubs. In Gazi, you will find the famous club that the American actress Lindsey Lohan opened when she fell in love with Athens.

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Parks and gardens

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The most modern park in Athens is the park of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre near Faliro, by the sea, which is a vital green space and a breath of life for the whole city. It offers many surprises to its visitors, such as opportunities for learning, rest, recreation and new experiences. With its lush garden landscape and the wide range of trees, plants, water fountains, allées, paths, playgrounds and open spaces is ideal for a leisure walk, exercise, play with the children as well as open-air concerts and exhibitions. Its ecological concept, functionality and physical topography support the public's needs and preferences.

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National Garden

Located in the heart of Athens center, next to Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament, National Garden is the most popular destination for locals as well as visitors seeking some respite from the crowds and the traffic. A stand of tall palm trees at the main entrance resembles an exotic colonnade blocking the outside world from the garden. 7,000 trees, 40,000 shrubs and other plants grow around the garden's network of shaded paths. There are also small lakes with ducks, a café and ancient remains dating back to Roman period.

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Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden (or Diomedes Garden) of Athens is located 8 km west of the Old Town, in the district of Haidari at Mount Aegaleo. This enormous expanse, which covers 180 hectares, is divided into cultivated and wild sections. The second is a natural forest of pine and cypress trees along with other endemic plants. This forest is home to lovely fauna, such as turtles, frogs, rabbits, partridges, foxes, badgers and owls. The cultivated area of the park covers 20 hectares and features more than 4,000 plant species. One of the sections is dedicated to species mentioned in ancient works, such as myrtle, with which goddess Aphrodite concealed her nudity when she emerged from the sea, or hemlock, which was consumed by Socrates after being sentenced to death.

Athens off-the-beaten-path

Lycabettus Hill

In the area of Kolonaki, is located the Lycabettus Hill, from which you will have a breathtaking view of the whole city. You can take the cable car and enjoy this view, drinking coffee or eating in the luxurious restaurant that you will find on the top of the hill.

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Dexameni Square

Dexameni Square is located in Kolonaki district, just under Lycabettus Hill. It is a marvellous summer spot in Athens with an open-air cinema and a Greek tavern with mezedes and tables in the middle of the square. It also has a luxury hotel with cocktail bar and Peruvian restaurant. The view of Acropolis, the lush greenery, the well-preserved buildings and the different spots make Dexameni Square an elegant hidden gem of Athens only some locals know.

Metaxourgeio

Near Keramikos and the Technopolis, is located Metaxourgeio, a neighbourhood that until lately was considered to have bad reputation. Today, it is full of modern lofts, taverns with mezedes and live music, bars with rock music, famous clubs and live stages. On the opposite side of Psirri, Metaxourgeio is a less crowded but funny option for your Saturday night.

Koukaki

Airbnb declared Koukaki as one of the best neighbourhoods to live in Europe. With a magnificent view of Acropolis, just near Thiseio and Plaka, Koukaki is a district of past decades. Many neoclassical houses, especially when you approach the pedestrian of Dionysiou Areopagitou, bars, galleries and elegant shops create the scenery of old Athens.


Petralona

On the one side of Filopappos Hill, is located Thiseio, on the other side Petralona. Petralona is a neighbourhood with low-profile, small houses, cafés and bars full of youngsters. From Ano Petralona, you can take the pedestrian road that leads on the top of hill. From up there, the view of whole Athens and the sea is just breathtaking. In a close distance, is also situated an open-air cinema with cinephile films that will steal you heart.


Excursions

Athens Riviera

Athens in summer is fascinating, and there are many places to spend amazing moments, dance by the sea, swim, sunbathe and eat seafood. The top place among them is Athens Riviera, the coastline that starts from Piraeus, passes from the suburbs Faliro, Alimos, Elliniko, Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Lagonissi, Saronida and Anavyssos and ends in Cape Sounio. Athens Riviera is characterised by an amazing coastline, wonderful beaches with pine trees and water sports amenities, as well as archaeological points of interests, such as the Temple of Apollon Zoster in Vouliagmeni.

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Cape Sounio

The beaches in the district of Sounio, about 60 km from Athens are by far the best beaches you can find in the wider region of Athens, swimming in the Aegean Sea. What makes Sounio so unique is that there starts the Aegean Sea, and at the top of the cliff, is located the ancient temple of Poseidon. Swimming on the beach under the temple, visiting this significant monument and enjoying the view as well as eating mezedes and drinking ouzo in the traditional taverns nearby is a once in a lifetime experience you will always remember.

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Ancient Temple of Artemis

The ancient Temple of Artemis is located in Vravrona, on the eastern side of Attica, in a close distance to the Airport of Athens (Greece). In the archaeological site of the temple, you can explore in addition to the temple, the sanctuary of Ifigeneia, the gymnasium and other ancient buildings, and there is also an Archaeological Museum with many findings of the area. The landscape is astonishing, full of trees and a small river crossing the site. After this, you can swim in a beach in Porto Rafti, Loutsa or Rafina, which are located nearby.

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Greek Island Hopping

Athens has a great asset, which can not be easily found in other destinations. It has many beautiful islands in a close distance (that means 1-2 hours by ferry). The islands near Athens are located either in the Saronic Gulf or in the Aegean Sea (Cyclades). They are numerous, and each of them has something really different to offer. If you can't decide which island to choose, you can definitely explore more islands as the distance between the islands is very short. Greek Island Hopping near Athens is a must, and you can simply organise it after learning everything about Greek Island Hopping from Athens here.

Where to Stay

Hotel in Athens, Greece Claridge Hotel
6.3 10
Claridge Hotel
4, Dorou Str., 10431 Athens, Greece

Claridge Hotel is located in the center of Athens, just a 2-minute walk from Omonoia Metro Station, which connects directly to Piraeus Port. Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is 36km away.#

Boutique Hotel in Athens, Greece Anixi Boutique Hotel
8.7 10
Anixi Boutique Hotel
17, Marathonos Ave., Anixi, 14569 Athens, Greece

Anixi Boutique Hotel is located in Athens, 26 km away from the city centre. Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" is 36 km away and Piraeus Port is 34 km away.

Hotel in Athens, Greece Best Western My Athens Hotel
7.6 10
Best Western My Athens Hotel
3, Keramikou Str., 10437 Athens, Greece

Best Western My Athens Hotel is located in the heart of Athens, only 400 m away from Metaxourgeio Metro Station and within a 20 minute walk of Acropolis, Plaka and Syntagma Square.


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