Often too warm, sometimes rainy, cold and humid, Athens just aims to trick (or treat!) you when it comes to weather during fall. Still, it’s the only capital in Europe where the dilemma can be between ‘beach’ or ‘centre’, even if that’s the end of October. So, mind your packing dear visitors: flip flops, swimsuits, raincoats and boots are all welcome!
You could spend a lifetime exploring the historical capital of Europe, but whether that’s for a few hours (in which case you will need our guide to your 48 hours in Athens!) or weeks of visit, whether on a rainy or a warm day (in which case you might need our top picks for summer or a rainy day!) this fall we’ve got you covered with this shortlist of 25 fun things to do in the hometown of Goddess Athena.
So here it goes, in random order for you to decide what's getting on your list of 'things to do today':
#1 Visit the Acropolis Museum | Acropolis
Pay a morning or a late afternoon visit at the Acropolis museum.
If you haven't’ been there already, this should make the top of your list for the day!
Join the Best Acropolis Tours
#2 Climb the Acropolis Rock
Wear those comfy shoes and climb that rock for outstanding view of the city.
Stroll around the Parthenon and Erechtheion and discover the magic and history behind this miraculous establishment. You can do this on your own or join one of the fabulous tours organised by remarkable professionals in the city. Bear in mind that there are two entrances to the ‘rock’: one from the side of the museum and one from Plaka neighbourhood.
Athens sightseeing tours you will love!
#3 Stroll the Ancient Agora
Do it like an ancient Athenian and stroll around Agora.
In fact, buy a ticket from either Agora or the ‘Rock’ (above) and with just 12 euros you can enter a number of local attractions and superb sightseeing spots in the city. Having said that, if you're looking for more off-the-beaten path things to do, besides the Acropolis, we have some suggestions for you here!
#4 A Bunch of Top Notch Museums Just Around the Corner
The city offers a variety of world class museums that are often overlooked by visitors, guides and critics, even locals;
Whether that’s Benaki, Cycladic Art, Byzantine, National Archeological Museum, Numismatic or Lalaounis Jewellery museum there’s plenty to seize your visit in the city. You can read more in our dedicated post to Athens' museums here. Tip: take a break at the museums’ cafes (personal favourites: outdoors Numismatic museum and indoors museum of Cycladic art). Read more on museum cafes here.
Discover Athens Off-the-Beaten Track
#5 Bargain in Monastiraki flea market
For interesting finds and a nice walk in the heart of the city
Stroll around Monastiraki flea market, via the Plaka neighbourhood, Anafiotika alleys and a scent of ancient Athens, before or after your visit to ‘the rock’ (but before you start shopping, you may want to read our Athens' shopping guide). If you get hungry, make sure you try some authentic souvlaki, the ultimate Greek street-food (and here's where you can enjoy the best in town!).
#6 Enter Kallimarmaro Panathenaic stadium
The stadium of the first modern Olympics Olympic games.
Magnificent and worth it, at least for the selfie!
#7 Read a book in the National Library
The visit to the National Library is a trip back in time. This is where you can get some of the scarce, nowadays, old Athens feel.
#8 Watch the sunset at the Temple of Poseidon
Drive to Sounio or take a tour to the temple of Poseidon for striking scenery and sunset, definitely one of the best things to do in Athens on a date! For more romantic things to do, make sure you check our 'romantic' guide to Athens here.
#9 Take a roadtrip from Athens
Take a day trip on one of the islands about an hour far from the city by ferry.
One of the great bonuses of visiting (or living) in Athens is that you are about one hour away from a little paradise. The island of Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Aigina, Tzia are only a short ferry trip from Piraeus and guarantee a wonderful escape either for a day trip or for a little tiny break! The list is endless if you have more time to spend.
#11 Discover the Athenian art scene
There is a variety of concert halls that feature world class venues.
Check the program at the Onassis Cultural Centre, 'Megaron' Athens Concert Hall or even live music scenes such as Gazarte for performance plus drink! Dear future readers in mid-2017, don't miss the majestic new national opera house in Faliro.
#13 Swim in Vouliagmeni lake
Too chilly to swim in Kavouri, Astir beach or Yabanaki in varkiza beach but still, you’ve got that swimsuit on your suitcase and haven’t had the chance to use it?
One of those crazy things to do is a dive in the Lake of Vouliagmeni. The water maintains a constant 24C temperature all year round. The best part is that you can grab a warm shower and cup of tea (or booze!) just after and you’re good to go for the next adventure of the day. If you still aim for the real thing - the beach- make sure you visit one of Athens' best beaches here!
#14 Take a break in Vouliagmeni neighbourhood
For a stroll, coffee, snack, ice cream, lunch (or swim!)
This posh and laid back suburb offers a variety of seaside cafes (such as Moorings in the marina or En Plo) and lunch options, either a souvlaki at Piazza Kalamaki, traditional Greek cuisine in ‘Louizidis’ taverna, ‘Omilos’ (aka the restaurant inside the Vouliagmeni Nautical Club) for beautiful view of the coast, ‘Rafale’ for a more refined/modern feel or seafood & wine in ‘Ithaki’ restaurant, to do it like a celebrity. Almost forgot: mind-blowing ice-cream at Waffle House. Personal favorites: 'ekmek' and 'tsoureki' flavours!
Looking for the best ice-cream in the centre of Athens? Here are our suggestions.
#15 Glyfada: do the brunch (or lunch!)
Only while writing those lines I realised that Glyfada has a variety of wonderful brunch spots.
Whether that is Yi (for a smoothie, vegan, raw foodist, super healthy, extraordinary choice), Soleto, ARK or Balux for a seaside feel, to name the least. There is a variety of cafes and casual restaurants for souvlaki, budget and wonderful fish/seafood (Sardelaki), sushi (Tokyo Joe), Steaks (MOOUU), Italian (Sale Bianco), Aperitivo (for salads and a more contemporary menu), Just Burgers (for, well, burgers!), Salad Up for just awesome fresh salad and last but not least George’s steak house in the renowned cult ‘bouftekoupoli’ (aka meatball-town) on lower Konstantinoupoleos street in Glyfada for mind blowing meatballs, fries and salad. But it's not just Glyfada you can enjoy a good brunch - check out our guide to the top brunch restaurants in central Athens here.
#16 Piraeus fish extravaganza
If you like seafood then seek no further.
The choices offered around the majestic Greek port are top notch. Starting from affordable options like vintage Margaro next to the Naval Academy for fried shrimps, crawfish, red mullet, choriatiki Greek salad and wine from the barrel (just that), Yperokeanio for a variety of seafood meze, Vassilenas on Aitolikou street for a more mixed, yet elegant and affordable menu just opposite the cruise port, or jaw dropping celebrity Michelin star Varoulko Seaside in Mikrolimano (which has made it to our list of luxurious things to do in Athens!)
#17 Sample local produce
Athens -as is Greece generally- is a foodies’ paradise.
Check out your closest ‘laiki’ aka open market near you to taste juicy Greek and produce directly from the source and a dose of “couleur locale”. My personal favourite is the organic open market in Voula every Saturday from 09:00-14:00 at Xenophontos and Lykourgou streets. For ‘the real thing’ visit the largest market in Athens, Varvakeios Agora, near the Ancient Agora in the historic centre of Athens. In fact, in the late (LATE) hours, sample local specialities inside the Varvakeios Agora in Papandreou taverna. Also check out some of the city’s up and coming nut shops, selling dried fruit, herbs and, well, nuts! Try shops like Era Nuts and Carpo in Kolonaki for example. Last but not least, visit "Bahar" store in central Athens (Evripidou street) for all the spices and herbs you can imagine! Do not, I repeat, do not leave town without herbs and the precious golden Greek thyme honey and these fantastic Greek souvenirs we have listed for you here.
#18 Run Athens
Experience the real thing, the authentic classical Marathon.
Athens classical marathon takes place early November every year and is unique experience of a lifetime. For the less tones and daring, choose between the 10k and the 5k runs which take place on the same day. For training, I love the route by the Athens riviera. For more routes and tips on running Athens read here.
#19 Nourish your skin and body
Indulge yourself in one of the city’s spas.
The Divani Apollon Thalasso Spa is a great choice when staying by the sea or Grande Bretagne and Hilton Spa in the centre.
#20 Nightlife - the city that never (ever) sleeps
Even amid Greek crisis, Mondays and Saturdays look alarmingly similar at Athens’ bars, streets and restaurants.
From Gazi and Kerameikos neighbourhoods, to Psirri, Agia Irini square and surrounding alleys, Kolonaki, Glyfada or Kifissia, this city never -ever- sleeps. From a casual drink in hidden bars of Athens to magnificent rooftop terraces, fancy clubs and live Greek music ‘bouzoukia’ stages, this city has such a variety to offer that to satisfy every age, mood and taste.
#21 Play a game
Whatever you do, do not leave this country without a sip of the Santorini AsSyrtiko wine (and get a bottle to enjoy back home! here are some more greek souvenir ideas!)
This variety is grown in the volcanic soils of Santorini and is one of a kind. Personal favorite: any from the Hatzidakis winery. Pair with fish in every form.
#23 Eat in -at least- one of Athens’ gourmet restaurants
From amusement parks to stimulating experiences, Athens offers a variety of choices to entertain your children while in town.
Well, truth be told we have said it all in our definitive guide to Athens with kids, but we are happy to share some highlights! For a day close to nature, visit the Attica Zoological Park, Diomidous Botanical Gardens, “Perivoli” in Vari (a self-sustainable veggie farm organising a variety of creative activities for kids) and tours and bike rides organised inside and outside the city. Noteworthy events and workshops are hosted by the Acropolis museum, Hellenic Cosmos, Planetarium and Hellenic Children’s Museum. Boys will love the War museum and the Averof battleship. Last but not least, the amusement Allou! fun park offers a variety of games to entertain children of all ages.
So, there you have it dear visitors. Whether you are visiting Athens for merely a few hours and looking for things to do today or staying in the city for longer, make the most of what this magnificent city has to offer.
Oh, and by the way, should you need any help with this adventure, don't hesitate to contact theTravelPorter. We would love to help you make the most out of your time and resources and have the best holiday, ever!
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