Favorite Things to do in Athens
Why Visit Athens? It’s the cradle of Western Civilization, and one of the oldest cities in the world dating back to 3,000 BC. As the birthplace of theater, democracy, the Olympic Games, and Western philosophy, you’ll find history come to life.
“There are three reasons to visit this city,” shared Panos, our guide from Context Travel. Context Travel provides one-of-a-kind private walking tours.
Panos points out…
Ruins. As a local, instead of going to a park, you get a cup of coffee, walk through ruins!
Food & Drinks. Here you find Mediterranean food at its best. You’ll find some of the best olives and olive oil here, given Greece is one of the world’s top producers. After all, it was Athena, the Greek goddess, who gave the olive tree to Athens.
People. This city is the most vibrant city because of what’s happened in ancient history paving the way for modern civilization. Today, history is being made. We are a young country, since our recent democracy began in 1972, and the people are making the best of their lives.
Panos shares his Favorite Things to Do in Athens. We added a few of ours as well to this list.
What are your favorites? Add to this list by sharing a comment below the article post – thank you!
Temple of Olympian Zeus:
Located near Hadrian’s Arch, only ruins, gigantic columns, remain at the Temple of Zeus, but still worth a visit.
Attend a Performance at Odeon Herodes Artticus:
Located on the Acropolis, a spectacular setting overlooking Athens!
Changing of the Guards:
You can watch the changing of the guards at the Greek Parliament every hour, just across the street from the Hotel Grande Bretagne, or in front Presidential Mansion.
First Olympic Stadium in Athens – Panathinaiko:
Athens held the first modern Olympic Games in 1895, and again recently in 2004 in this gigantic marble horseshoe shape stadium. Good to note, the first Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece in 776BC. You can visit this stadium located in the heart of Athens.
Open Air Cinemas:
You can find these open air cinemas all over town between May-October. Check local guides for locations and times – really fun to watch movies outside with locals!
Go out for some Mezedes dishes:
Mezedes are the Greek Tapas, small traditional Greek hot and cold appetizers served before the main meal, such as eggplant, caviar spread, dolmas. Delicious! You’ll find the Greeks love olive oil, feta cheese, grilled fish and lamb with unique spices. Some items to order: Pastitsio (Greek lasagna), Moussaka, Dolma (meat with rice in grape leaves), Koulouri (sesame bread), Tyropitta (cheese pie). Of course, don’t finish your meal until you have the dessert pastry with honey and nuts – baklava!
Syntagma Central Square:
This square is in the middle of Athens, across the street from the Greek parliament and luxury hotels surround it. To the east of this square, you can visit the museums of Vasilissis Sofias, or go shopping to the west in Ermou district.
Athens has several museums and galleries! Some of us visited and saw include the National Archeological Museum near Omonia, the new Acropolis Museum, and there are many others to visit given the antiquity of this city.
Visit the 7 Hills of Athens:
- Acropolis: Visit the most famous landmark in Athens – the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the temples on this sacred hill, including the famous Parthenon that was built in honor of the Goddess Athena. See the 92 plaques displaying allegories and its enormous 58 columns supporting this massive temple. Visit the other temples on the top of this hill including the Erectheion and the the Temple of Athena Nike.
- Pnyx Hill: The 5th century BC meeting place for some of the most famous speeches in Ancient Athens by Pericles, Aristides.
- Areopagus Hill (Mars Hill): The marble hill that is located just near the entrance to the Acropolis Hill. The Greek Myth claims this is where the ancient trials were held by the Council of the Gods. It’s also the hill where Apostle Paul preached Christianity in 51 AD.
- Hill of the Nymphs: You’ll find an 18th century observatory at the top of this hill. Nymphs hill is just north west of the Pnyx Hill.
- Lycabettus: This pine covered hill is almost 900 feet, and only the courageous climb up the endless staircase that takes you to the highest hill of Athens. Or there’s the funicular… Either way, It’s worth the effort to go to the top of this hill for the amazing views of Athens to the Aegean sea! At the top of the hill is the 19th century St. George Chapel.
- Philopappos Hill (Muses Hill): This hill is named after a Roman Consul, and is also known to be the Muses Hill, home of the nine muses.
- Agora Hill: Ancient Agora has one of the best preserved ancient Greek temples, Temple of Hephaestus, and a great view of the Acropolis.
Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
Sea Promenade Faliro, don’t miss the Opera House
Gazi: for mainstream nightlife, visit this neighborhood
Monastiraki: this area has lots of local tavernas
Psyrri: more local tavernas where you can find traditional Greek food that is not expensive.
Exarcheia: mostly students frequent this area. Don’t miss! Graffiti street art
STAY & DINE
Step into luxury in Athens! Welcome to the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Hotel Collection.
Here’s a sneak peek at our 24 hour stay… click here to watch!
Our favorite in Athens! Known as the most luxurious hotel in Athens, next door to Syntagma Square and across the street to the Greek Parliament. Very central to all the major sites in Athens, and amazing views of the Acropolis…especially from the GB Rooftop Garden Restaurant.
Be sure to book a reservation for a delicious gourmet dinner and watch the sunset over the Acropolis.
From the moment we walked into the grand entry, then our beautiful rooms, and onto pool time, topping off our day with a lovely dinner on the GB Roof Garden Restaurant overlooking the Acropolis – magical!
Global Adventuress would like to thank Hotel Grande Bretagne for hosting our stay, and the GB Roof Garden Restaurant for hosting our dinner.
We also want to thank Context Travel and our guide Panos for providing us with an insightful tour of Athens, and Athens Limo for hosting our transfers to/from the airport and hotel and driving us around Athens.