8 Ways to Experience Athens
From the iconic columns of the ancient Acropolis to the posh seaside resorts of Glyfada and the bohemian neighbourhood of Exarcheia, there’s so much to see in Athens that you could spend an eternity trying to compile a checklist of sights and attractions. To save you some time, I’ve come up with eight of my top recommendations for things to do in Athens:
1. Visit the Acropolis
You should set aside at least one day to learn about “classical Athens”, the era during which the city was home to Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. This was also the period of history when us Greeks inherited some of our most precious treasures including the Acropolis, as well as ancient temples and theatres. The Acropolis and its awesome Acropolis Museum allow visitors to gain a further understanding of Greek history and culture and will definitely be one of the highlights of your trip to Athens.
2. Wander around Plaka
Take a walk around Plaka. Athens’ most historical neighbourhood which is clustered around the Acropolis is also known as the ‘’Neighborhood of the Gods’’ and is definitely a must. The old buildings and little shops and restaurants create a unique atmosphere right at the heart of the city.
3. Visit Anafiotika
On the northern slopes of the Acropolis hill, you’ll find the tiny picturesque neighbourhood of Anafiotika which was built during the 19th century. The first houses were constructed by workers who came from the island of Anafi, so you’ll notice that the pretty neighbourhood consisting of only 45 houses has distinctive Cycladic architecture.
4. Enjoy the view from Mount Lycabettus
Standing 227 metres high, the Lycabettus is basically a balcony to the Attica basin and the Aegean. There is also a beautiful café where you can relax while enjoying the spectacular view. If you go there with your other half then it’s even better, as this spot is extremely romantic.
5. Drive along the Athens Riviera
Take a road trip to the beautiful coastline of the Athens Riviera and explore the beaches of Athens. If you have time, you should also make a stop at the lake of Vouliagmeni. Dive into the clean and therapeutic waters or have a romantic dinner in its restaurant during the evening hours. My favourite part of the Athens Riviera, is Cap Sounion. According to ancient Greek mythology, it was home to the ancient temple of Poseidon the God of the Sea. Try to get there by sunset so that you can enjoy the beautiful contrast of the sun as it reflects on the Aegean Sea. If you’re into photography, this place is ideal to take some ‘’no filter’’ pictures.
6. Thiseion Open Air Cinema
If like me, you’re a film fan, then you’ll truly appreciate the charm of watching a classic Hollywood flick underneath the Athenian sky. Located beneath the Acropolis, the family owned Thiseion Cinema has been open since 1935 and screens only eclectic films. The selection of food is unique too – the homemade sweet liquors and desserts are amazing.
7. Visit Benaki Museum- 138 Pireos Street Building
Located at 138 Pireos Street, the new Benaki Museum is a great place to escape hot day-time temperatures and learn about the local history and culture. It regularly hosts alternative events in its exhibition hall and courtyard.
8. Experience the Nightlife
I have a few favourite rooftop bars in Athens including A for Athens and the rooftop bar at the Grande Bretagne Hotel, where the cocktails are as good as the view. I also recommend Six D.O.G.S which is a bar, concert venue and gallery offering a secret garden in the back. Drunk Sinatra is another great bistro offering a great selection of international cocktails with 1960’s themed decor and classic tunes playing in the background.
Dimitra is a sales executive in Ryanair’s marketing department