If there is one country that I absolutely love, it is Greece. From riding a donkey in Santorini to exploring the ancient site of Phaistos, Greece just seems to have so many things to do.
This beautiful country is not only a good destination for tourists to visit, but it is also a country full of culture – filled with history and architecture. Greece is one of my favorite countries and Athens is perhaps a city I am most familiar with. So as someone who has been there and has done plenty of things around the city, here are the top 20 things to do in Athens.
20 things to do in Athens
1. Explore the Acropolis
Upon my arrival to Athens, one of the first things I got to do was explore the Acropolis. Having grown up learning about ancient Greece, seeing the monuments was a dream come true.
The Acropolis has Parthenon, Erechtheion, Temple of Athena Nike, Pedastal of Agrippa and so many more monuments to see.
The tickets are about 20 Euros, but they also do have free admission days on certain days, which you can check out on their website. At the time of my visit, I was a university student and I was able to get reduced admission by presenting my university card. Anyone outside the European Union, who has has a valid university card can get a discount.
2. Visit the National Archaeological Museum
The largest Archaeological Museum in Greece, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is one of the most important museums in the world devoted to the ancient Greek art.
The National Archaeological Museum houses antiquities from all over Greece and has become quite a popular spot to visit among tourists.
The admission fee varies: From April until October it is 10 Euros and from November until March it is 5 Euros. Students outside of the European Union also get a discount here (as long as you show an ID). Admission is also free on certain days.
3. Go sailing
Its easy to get around Athens, especially with the type of transportation they have. So going to the nearest sea to go sailing is not an issue at all. In fact, although I did not go sailing, I was near a marina that was full of beautiful sail boats and yachts.
Greece is big on their sailboats and it’s no surprise, since the best way to visit the Greek Islands is by sailboat. So if you are looking to sneak out of Athens for a bit, then take a sailboat to the Greek Islands.
4. Go on a bus tour of the city
I love getting to know a city by going on tours. During my time in Athens, I took a bus tour that took me all throughout the city. There are many bus tour operators in the city, but the one I went on was the City Sightseeing Athens.
They have different packages depending on what you would like to see and the prices all range from 18 Euros to about 35 Euros.
5. Shop in the Plaka
As a huge collector of shot glasses (I collect shot glasses from around the world), shopping is always a must for me. So when I got the chance to go to Plaka, I went looking for souvenir shops and they had plenty! Not only that, but I also got to dine in the Plaka, where they also have a bunch of restaurants.
Plaka is a great spot to visit, especially since it resembles a village with its nice cobblestone streets and tiny shops.
6. Check out the changing of the guards
If you’d like something free to do in Athens, then check out the changing of the guards. This occurs on Sundays at 11 A.M. at the Parliament Building in Syntagma Square. Plenty of people gather for this and its a great freebie too!
7. Walk around Monesteraki Square
Full of eclectic outlets, the Monesteraki Square offers a variety of items to people who visit. Even though shopping may not be in your plans, this is still a good trip to take as this area shows you a bit more of the Greek culture.
As someone who loves to observe and learn about different cultures, its always fun to see how people are in market settings, especially when tourists are haggling prices or just simply glancing around.
8. See Socrates’ Prison
Having grown up hearing stories about Socrates, I found Socrates Prison fascinating. To see Socrates’ Prison, you would need to go to Filopappou Hill. From there, you follow the path and the signs, and you should eventually see the prison.
9. Stroll around Filopappou Hill
If you would like to explore outside in nature, Filopappou Hill is a good choice. Not only would you find Socrates’ Prison, but you would be able to find the Monument of Filopappos, which is at the top of Filopappou Hill.
The stroll around the park is wonderful and also full of different things to see. There’s also a great church in the area – Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris.
10. Go to a restaurant with live music
When I was in Plaka shopping for souvenirs, I also ended up going to a restaurant with live music. It was so much fun to see how people were having such a good time and the live music was very festive. While in Athens, I suggest finding a good restaurant with live music because the atmosphere is completely different and its very much a good time.
11. Go to the Diomedes Botanical Gardens
If you are all about nature, this might be one place you may want to visit. The Dionedes Botanical Gardens has more than 500 species of plants and this beautiful garden is also free to the public.
12. Eat some Baklava
Before going to Greece, I was already aware of what Baklava was. In fact, I had tried a few, but nothing compares to what you get in Greece. So when in Athens, eat some Baklava. Of course, if you are allergic to nuts, I would suggest trying Portokalopita, which is a type of Orange cake.
Greece has many different desserts, that are all just wonderful to eat.
13. Go to Akti Vouliagmenis Beach
When we think of Athens, we don’t really think of going to the beach, but the beaches in Greece are actually quite decent. Although, there are many beaches to go to, Akti Vouliagmenis Beach is a recommended beach to go to and also 28 minutes away from Athens.
Akti Vouliagmenis Beach has sun lounges, restaurants and has a variety of other amenities. It is a great beach for anyone who likes to spend their time outdoors and also wonderful for families.
14. Walk around the National Garden
Located directly behind the Greek Parliament building, this beautiful public park is home to about 7,000 trees. The National Garden is a wonderful park to visit and has many things to offer, such as a sun dial, conservatory and even a small cafe.
15. Take advantage of their free walking tours
Greece has plenty of things to do for free, especially walking tours. So if you are on a tight budget, but still want to have a tour of the city, then take one of their walking tours.
Although there are a few free walking tours, one good one is the Athens Free Walking Tour, all you need to do is fill out a form of when you would like to take the tour and they will add you to the list.
16. Take a Street Art Tour
Around Athens, it’s easy to find street art, but there’s also street art tours that will show you all the art you may be missing out on. One good street art tour is by Alternate Athens, which is a guided tour by a local street artist.
The price for 3 hour tour is 40 Euros, but during this time you will be introduced to new, cool neighborhoods and wonderful street art.
17. Go watch a movie in Cine Thisio
Something I don’t see very often in the U.S. are the open air cinemas. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the U.S., however it seems to be very popular in Athens.
Cine Thision offers an open air space for anyone wanting to watch movies under the stars. This isn’t your typical gathering on the lawn, but rather it is an actual Cinema with seats and all, minus the roof!
18. Visit the oldest house in Athens
One of the oldest houses in Athens, the Benizelou Mansion used to belong to the Benizelos. The mansion ended up turning into a museum, which focuses on the story of Agia Filothei, who was the daughter of the Benizelos Family.
Agia Filothei ended up building a monastery after her husband’s death and was mostly known for her philanthropic actions. However, during a visit to a church ceremony, she was beaten by Turks and died from her wounds at the age of 67.
The museum has many different floors to visit and visitors will learn about Greek modern history and the story of Agia Filothei. The entrance to the museum is free.
19. Watch the boats at the port of Piraeus
The port of Piraeus is the main and largest sea port of Athens. It’s also a great spot to see all of the boats and yachts, as well as the Greek Islands. It’s such a great spot to visit and the view is wonderful.
20. Daphni Monastery
If you are into mosaics and historical sites, then Daphni Monastery should be on your list. An 11th-century Byzantine monastery, Daphni Monastery is a small monastery fully decorated with beautiful mosaic inside.
Although the visit to the Monastery is absolutely free, make sure to check the hours as this beauty is not opened everyday.
Athens has plenty to offer visitors. Whether you have a family, are a nature lover or love architecture, you will find a variety of things to do in Athens.
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