Explore the colorful Athens
Stroll around history and picturesque neighborhoods
The capital of Greece holds the rhythm of the country and introduce the visitor to a unique scenery. Athens is a magical mixture of ancient and modern history, an “oleo-graph” of European -at least- civilization, with a sentimental flavor and a spice of colorful light.
What to see /visit
- Acropolis is probably the most famous neighborhood in Athens, owing to the presence of the magnificent ancient monument, crowned by the Parthenon and the presence of the Acropolis Museum.
- Under the sacred rock of the Acropolis, visit the ancient Theater of Dionysos and the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, where every summer concerts are held. Υou' ll be inspired from the way ancient Greeks perceived art.
- The Acropolis Museum is a must see when visiting Athens and a truly evocative experience. It is rated as one of the best museums in the world and contains more than 4000 finds from the Acropolis monuments.
- At the eastern side of Acropolis, at the heart of the historical center stands Plaka. A stroll through the narrow but elegant streets, is like strolling around the eras and the combinations of conflicting civilizations. Old, aristocratic houses, flowers, gardens, beautiful churches and bohemian, romantic places, creating the ideal settings. Mnisikleous street is the most famous spot in Plaka. There are cafes and taverns all along the white stairs that climb uphill to the picturesque neighborhood of Anafiotika.
- As you walking down towards Monastiraki (at the northern end of Plaka), you can find the Roman Market (Agora). Actually, through a paved path, it is connected to the Ancient Market in Thissio. Although the Ancient Market was the place of political gatherings for the Athenians, the Roman Market was a marketplace, an open market, a large, open-air courtyard surrounded by colonnades on all four sides. (If you are coming from the Acropolis your entrance ticket allows you to visit the Ancient Agora as well). The most famous building in Roman Market is the Tower of the Winds. This eight-sided pendelic marble tower was built between the Second and First Century BC by Andronicus of Cyrrhus, and it's a combination of water clock, sundial, and a weathervane.
- Little further, at the end of the Roman Market, stands Monastiraki. The area is full of narrow streets and small old buildings. At the square you will find the main entrance to the famous flea market, which in the old days was called Yousourum. The main market is at Avyssinias square at the end of Hephaestou street. You will find various shoe shops, clothing shops, music stores and some good second hand book stores.
- Strolling down from Monastiraki you'll find Thissio, one of the oldest and favorable neighborhoods of the city, There you can find the Ancient Market, where Socrates and Platonas, walked and talked. The pedestrian streets of Apostolou Pavlou and Irakleidon are full of open-air cafes, restaurants and bars, full of people from early morning to well after midnight, creating a festive and lively atmosphere particularly during spring and summer.
- The most panoramic view of Athens is from this magnificent post of Lycabettus Hill. The perfect choice to experience the Athenian sunset. On the top of the hill stands the small picturesque church of Saint George. (Funicular Railway starts from the top of Ploutarchou street in Kolonaki).
Where to eat/drink
- In Greece there is a tradition of pie making. Savory pies are sold in individual portions in bakeries (which are everywhere in Athens). Cheese-pie (tyropita), spinach pie (spanakopita) along with bougatsa (a sweet pie with a light cream filling that is topped with powdered sugar), are the most common pies in every bakery. If you are around the center of Athens, Ariston bakery, is the place to go for pies of all varieties. Tucked into the extremely busy Voulis Street (10 Voulis str.) right behind Syntagma Square, this shop has been in the same spot since 1910. Customers usually head for the store’s specialty – kourou pies – I like them much too. These small pies shaped like half-moons, are made with a solid dough with a cheese “feta” filling, have an almost yellow glow, and a superb taste.
- For lunch or dinner try Bairaktaris restaurant (6 Kirikiou str. - Monastiraki Square). Since 1879, for six generations, this restaurant serve the excellent dishes of Greek cuisine, made with the fresh materials, low prices and friendly environment.
- Greeks love coffee and it is not a surprise to find a coffee shop around every corner of the city. Melina Cafe-bistrot (Lissiou 22) is a wonderful spot in Plaka and a mixture of traditional Greek coffee shop and french bistro. It is dedicated to Melina Mercouri, the famous Greek actress and former Minister of Culture.
- The themed cafe Little Kook (17 Karaiskaki, Psiri) is an amazing spot for coffee or desert. The colorful lights, statues, original street lamps, a circus tent, displays of toys make the scenery unique. A large dragon has been sitting on its roof since opening day and is shining mysterious lights in the night. A carriage outside and a very colorful facade invites you to step inside... the fairytale.
- You will love the neo-vintage Christmas decoration, all year round, inspired by Paris and Cuba, the jazz and swing music and the playful atmosphere of the Noel Holiday Bar (59B Kolokotroni str.). It's one of the most popular places in Athens for drinks, coffee, brunch or meal. Loved by locals.
- Depends on the season you're visiting Athens, but, mostly, the rush hours for museums and archeological sites are around 11am - 1.30pm. So if you're visiting Athens during summer, where the heat is high, try to visit the sites early in the morning or in the afternoon (check the visiting hours).
- Public transportation is a cheap way to move around (Regular 90-minute single ticket for all public transport means 1,40€ (apart Airport Metro, EXPRESS & X80 Bus Lines), but you must have in mind the pickpockets. If you prefer to take taxi, the fee around the city center, is approximately 5-10 euros.