31 BEST Things to do in Athens [November 2019]

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The heart of the might Ancient Greek civilizations, Athens has occupied a seat of power for centuries. Hailed by historians and photographers as one of the best travel destinations, you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy Athens!

From exploring the Parthenon to walking along the charming old town streets, each moment in Athens has the potential to become a lifelong memory.

Feeling stressed about planning your trip to Athens? Keep reading to help narrow down your list of things to do and places to stay in the magical capital of Greece!

Table of Contents

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Athens!

Looking for luxury? We got you. Need to watch your budget? We also got you! Here are the top picks for accommodation in Athens to fit any budget.

Acropolis Guest House by the Museum

The Best Budget Option in Athens

Acropolis Guest House by the Museum

Acropolis Guest House by the Museum is our pick for the best budget option in Athens

  • Heart of Athens!
  • Bikes, cars, and airport shuttle

Right in the center of Athens, you can’t get a better location than the Acropolis Guest House. You’ll have your own private air-conditioned room and access to a communal kitchen, lounge, and terrace to relax after a day of sight-seeing!

 

Gaia Rooms & Apartments

The Best Mid-Range Option in Athens

Gaia Rooms & Apartments

Gaia Rooms & Apartments is our pick for the best mid-range option in Athens

  • Balcony view!
  • Private parking and airport shuttle

Comfy rooms with a private bathroom and toiletries, pleasant balcony views, and a convenient airport shuttle are the highlights of the Gaia Rooms & Apartments.

Nearby attractions include the Ermou Street-Shopping and the Monastiraki Square!

 

Mythos Luxury Suites

The Best Luxury Option in Athens

Mythos Luxury Suites

Mythos Luxury Suites is our pick for the best luxury option in Athens

  • Close to the Acropolis!
  • Home-like comfort

With a fully equipped kitchenette, common area, and private bath, the luxury suites of Mythos are perfect for a home-away-from-home feel.

Numerous temples and historic monuments are nearby and it’s walking distance to the Acropolis!

 

The 31 Best Things to do in Athens

 

#1 – Walk around the Historic Neighborhood of Plaka

Walk around the Historic Neighborhood of Plaka

A great leisure option in Athens (Photo Credit – athensguide.com)

  • Charming residential area
  • Close to the Acropolis
  • Shop and eat locally!

Some of the oldest buildings in Athens are found in the neighborhood of Plaka, sitting in the shadow of the Acropolis!

It’s a great place to browse local stores and simply take in the pleasant ambiance of the area.

 

#2 – Artifacts at the Acropolis Museum

Artifacts at the Acropolis Museum

You’ve never been so close to history

  • Best museum in Athens!
  • Unique perspective of ancient life
  • Amazing excavated artifacts!

From the mythology to the medicine of the ancient Greek civilization, the Acropolis Museum covers it all!

Step back in time to learn about the discoveries made by the Greeks ranging from democracy to surgery. The museum is a must-visit for everyone coming to Athens!

 

Athens is Big! You have to decide in which part you’ll stay, which is why we created our Athens neighborhood guide!

#3 – The Acropolis: Crowing Jewel of Athens

The Acropolis: Crowing Jewel of Athens

A ‘cool’ thing to do in Athens in winter

  • UNESCO listed site!
  • Fewer people in winter
  • Postcard worthy photos!

By all accounts the star attraction of Athens, the ancient Acropolis has astounded historians, archaeologists and tourists for years!

Walking through the Acropolis is like walking back through time for the chance to glimpse what life might have been like for the ancient Greeks!

 

#4 – Unique Art at the Benaki Museum

Unique Art at the Benaki Museum

Photo Credit – tripadvisor

  • Specializing in Greek artwork
  • Free on Thursday!
  • Great cultural experience!

Occupying several buildings, the Benaki Museum is one of the most highly acclaimed art museums in Athens.

If you’re an art lover, this is a must-include place in your travel itinerary! Make sure to check out the special exhibitions dedicated to famous Greek artists such as Yannis Pappas.

Let’s make this simple. These are the best hotels in Athens!

#5 – Cruise to the Saronic Islands

Cruise to the Saronic Islands

A very cool thing to do in Athens

  • Stunning coastal scenery
  • Amazing cultural activity!
  • Enjoy the sea breeze!

Hoping to see more of Greece than the city of Athens? On a day cruise to the nearby islands of Poros, Hydra, and Aegina, the famous Saronic Islands!

You’ll have a chance to get off and walk around each island, which is the perfect opportunity to pick up a local souvenir or take some photos of the incredible island landscape.

 

#6 – Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art

Photo Credit – pinterest.com/patrudine/

  • Cultural artifacts
  • Fun family activities!
  • Small, but full of character

Dedicated to preserving important artifacts associated with Greek culture, the Museum of Cycladic Art might not be large, but it packs a lot in to a small space!

Take a deeper look at various items and learn about their stories to create a more complete picture of ancient Greek life. Kids can enjoy the interactive workshops for a fun learning experience!

Excited to visit Athens? Get excited to take an amazing day trip too!

#7 – Explore Athens on a Segway Tour

Explore Athens on a Segway Tour

One of the best fun things to do in Athens

  • Lots to see in little time!
  • All the top sites
  • Segway training provided!

Rather not walk around the city or only have a short stay in Athens? A Segway tour is the perfect choice for you since you can make it around to all the top sites without breaking a sweat!

From the Pnyka Hill to stunning panoramic views, the tours go all over the city allowing you to see more and get better photos than you would trying to break up each activity.

 

#8 – Kick back and Relax at Edem Beach

Kick back and Relax at Edem Beach

Great thing to do in Athens with kids (Photo Credit – travelgreecetraveleurope.com)

  • It’s free!
  • Enjoy the Adriatic Sea…
  • Easy to reach

Hoping to get in some beach time without planning a trip to an island? Edam Beach is the answer!

It’s not as popular as the island beaches, but that means you might have more space to yourself, and there’s still plenty of sun, sand, and beautiful coastal scenery to go around. Grab your swimsuit and umbrella and you’re set!

 

#9 – Temple of Poseidon at Sunset

Temple of Poseidon at Sunset

Best view of the sunset in Athens

  • Amazing photographs!
  • Top historic attraction
  • Perfect romantic evening

On the Cape of Sounion is the incredible Temple of Poseidon, considered one of the most significant ancient temples in all of Greece.

Enjoy a front-row seat watching the sunset over the Aegean Sea, which is the perfect chance to get some incredible photos! You didn’t realize history could be so romantic until now…

 

#10 – Try a Classic Greek Coffee

Try a Classic Greek Coffee

Get your caffeine kick Athenian style (Photo Credit – themediterraneantraveller.com)

  • Unique taste!
  • You better like your coffee cold!
  • Authentic and local

Greece has three signature coffees, all of which are served cold, which is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day in summer!

Stroll around the downtown area and find a local coffee house for a drink that will pack a definite caffeine punch! It’s a great way to experience the local scene of Athens while on vacation.

 

#11 – Day Trip to Delphi Archaeological Site

Day Trip to Delphi Archaeological Site

Step back in time to ancient Greece!

  • Temple of Apollo
  • Delphi Museum
  • Fascinating history!

One of Greece’s most famous archaeological sites, Delphi is an easy day trip from Athens!

The amazing archaeological ruins include the impressive Temple of Apollo and the theater which seats for 5,000 spectators! Check out the other artifacts held at the Delphi museum, such as bronze statues, vases, and mosaics.

 

#12 – Sunday Changing of the Guard

Sunday Changing of the Guard

Things to do in Athens this weekend (Photo Credit – greekcitytimes.com)

  • Free to watch!
  • 11am every Sunday
  • Great cultural experience

If you happen to be in Athens on a Sunday, make sure you catch the dramatic spectacle of the changing of the guard!

Traditionally dressed Greek guards perform a ritual ceremony in front of the Parliament building which is free for spectators to watch and photograph for a unique cultural event.

 

#13 – Countryside Monastery in Meteora

Countryside Monastery in Meteora

  • Beautiful scenery and nature
  • 6 famous monasteries!
  • Learn about Greek culture

The monasteries of Meteora are a popular day trip from Athens, and the perfect way to get the chance for a view of the beautiful Greek countryside.

In addition to the 700-year-old monasteries, you’ll also get to see other charming villages, learn about local life, and have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the scenery and incredible rock formations!

 

#14 – Learn How to Cook Greek Food

Learn How to Cook Greek Food

Get your taste buds ready for a flavor explosion!

  • Traditional recipes!
  • Professional guidance
  • Keep the recipes!

It’s easy to fall in love with Greek cuisine! The perfect way to make sure you can take some of your favorite dishes home is to sign up for an authentic cooking class.

Right in downtown Athens, you can learn from the experts about how to make your own delicious creations to be enjoyed with wine and dessert!

 

#15 – People Watch in Monastiraki Square

People Watch in Monastiraki Square

A great way to see local culture in Athens (Photo Credit – athensguide.com)

  • Historic square in Athens
  • Great local culture!
  • Relax and watch the day roll by!

Need a break from a vacation itinerary? You can enjoy the ambiance of Athens in the popular Monastiraki Square.

Come for a few photos of the historic buildings or take your time and enjoy a coffee and snack at one of the local cafés while watching the tourists and locals going about their day.

 

#16 – Panoramic View from Lycabettus Hill

Panoramic View from Lycabettus Hill

One of the best cheap things to do in Athens (Photo Credit – visitgreece.gr)

  • Stunning sunsets
  • View the Acropolis at night!
  • Ride the funicular

Lycabettus Hill is one of the best places in Athens to watch the sunset, and plus you’ll have an excellent view of the Acropolis lit up in the evening!

Grab your camera and maybe a bottle of wine for a romantic evening with the city spread out below.

 

#17 – Visit the National Archaeological Museum

Visit the National Archaeological Museum

  • Largest museum in Greece!
  • 11,000 plus exhibits
  • Amazing historic artifacts

Another of the countless way to appreciate the history and culture of Greece! Visiting this world-renowned museum, you’ll have the chance to see some of the most important archaeologic discoveries of ancient Greek culture.

With five permanent galleries, you could easily spend an entire day looking at the statues, clay pottery, paintings, and other artifacts!

 

#18 – Experience the Athens Central Market

Experience the Athens Central Market

One of the more unique things to do in Athens (Photo Credit – smithsonianmag.com)

  • Traditional Greek market
  • Helps to have a translation app!
  • Get some local treats

You don’t have to buy anything to have an incredible experience at the Athens Central Market!

While many of the vendors speak limited English, you can use gestures if there’s something you’re hoping to try. It’s a fun way to see what local shopping is like in Athens!

 

#19 – Walk around Ancient Agora

Walk around Ancient Agora

  • Learn about Greek democracy
  • Top historic attraction!
  • Great spot for vacation photos

Considered a must-visit site for every traveler in Athens, Agora is full of historic wonders.

“Agora” means marketplace, and this was once the site of a bustling market of ancient Athens. Now, you’ll have the opportunity to get photos and visit the Museum of Ancient Agora for a look back in time!

 

#20 – See the Unique Street Art

See the Unique Street Art

One of the best things to do in downtown Athens

  • Spectacular urban art!
  • Let a local guide you!
  • Amazing view into city life

Athens is famous for its modern street art scene which has left neighborhoods with stunning street art.

Get a better understanding of the meaning behind various images with a local guide. It’s a great way to see the contemporary side of the city and get photographs to distinguish your trip!

 

#21 – Try a Gyro (or two, or three!)

Try a Gyro (or two, or three!)

A mandatory taste-test in Athens! (Photo Credit – athenscoast.com)

  • Authentic Greek food!
  • Fresh and delicious
  • Perfect cheap meal

Fresh pita bread stuffed with lamb or chicken, vegetables, and sauce. How much better can Greek cuisine get?

These monster meals are the perfect solution to a long day of walking and sightseeing! Ask the locals to find the best places around to get fresh and yummy gyros.

 

#22 – Try Being an Olympic Athlete

Try Being an Olympic Athlete

You’ve never exercised like this before!

  • A historic workout!
  • The origins of the Olympics
  • Fun for all ages

Ever dreamed of being in the Olympics? Well, in Athens, you can at least visit the spot where the Olympic games originated!

Run in the Panathenaic Stadium, learn about the ancient sports, and try a few classic events like the javelin throw!

 

#23 – Stroll around the National Gardens

Stroll around the National Gardens

One of the best free things to do in Athens (Photo Credit – athensguide.com)

  • Peaceful escape
  • Perfect picnic area!
  • Easy to access

Located right behind the Greek Parliament buildings, the National Gardens are a great place to visit if you need a break from city life.

Grab a snack to go and spend a relaxed afternoon enjoying the gardens and native trees!

 

#24 – Visit Nafplio, Greece’s First Capital

Visit Nafplio, Greece’s First Capital

Visit the origins of Greece

  • Great day trip!
  • Castle of Palamidi
  • Tour of history

Enjoy a live history tour in Greece! Nafplio was the first capital and is still full of ancient treasures.

Visit the Burtzi Caslte, the hilltop Castle of Palamidi with 900 steps, and traditional local food in the village!

 

#27 – View the Acropolis from Philopappou Hill

View the Acropolis from Philopappou Hill

One of the best views in Athens (Photo Credit – travelgreecetraveleurope.com)

  • Get a workout sightseeing!
  • Excellent panorama view
  • Philopappou monument

What the picture-perfect shot of the Acropolis in the distance? Climb up Philopappou Hill for the best view in the city!

Protected as a cultural area, there are numerous landmarks on the hill including the Philopappou monument and the church of Ayios Demetrios.

 

#28 – A Night of Greek Dancing

A Night of Greek Dancing

Get your groove on to the best local bands

  • Fun traditional evening!
  • Visit old taverns
  • Try local foods!

The neighborhood of Plaka has several traditional taverns and performance venues, perfect for a memorable evening experience!

Over a dinner of delicious local cuisine, you can be entertained by Greek music, acrobats, and folk dances you’ll probably want to join in on!

 

#29 – Browse Stores in Spata

Browse Stores in Spata

A great place to go shopping in Athens (Photo Credit – tripadvisor)

  • Numerous outlet shops
  • Great outdoor shopping
  • Fun attractions for kids!

If you like shopping you’re going to love the Spata area, known for its outlet stores and pedestrian-friendly paths.

From classy and fashionable clothing to quality restaurants, a modern cinema, and playgrounds for children, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

 

#30 – Eat Your Way through a Food Tour

Eat Your Way through a Food Tour

Best way to sample authentic dishes

  • World famous Greek cuisine!
  • Get advice from a local
  • Enchant your taste buds!

Why do Greeks always seem to be ready for the next meal? Probably because the food is so good!

Discover the true flavors of Athens on an authentic tasting tour of the city where you can visit traditional and modern venues with a local and try all the signature dishes. The olives are just the beginning!

 

#31 – Visit the Seaside Town of Glyfada

Visit the Seaside Town of Glyfada

A great way to take a break from the busy city (Photo Credit – athensguide.com)

  • Charming coastal town
  • Great beach!
  • Easy tram ride

Craving an escape from the city? In a short 40 minutes you can take a tram to the coastal village of Glyfada!

Walk along the beach, eat a lunch of fresh fish at a local restaurant, and browse through the local shops.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a history fan or a foodie, Greece is a guaranteed incredible traveling opportunity! From the beaches to the ancient ruins, Athens is hard to beat when it comes to great places to travel on vacation. Start making plans today to ensure you hit all the tops sites during your next trip!

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About the Author Aaron Hovanesian

Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.