The National Archaeological Museum, in Exarchia, is home to Ancient Greece’s most spectacular pieces. One room contains Schliemann’s finds from Mycenae, another has the famous frescoes from Santorini on display. There is also a fine collection of idols from the Cyclades and ceramics!
The Parthenon, the temple of Athena, is the major city attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Erechteion displays the statues of the female Caryatids, though the original statues have been replaced by copies due to air pollution (the originals are in the new Museum or ... in London!). On the southern slopes of the Acropolis lies the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a Roman theatre with room for as many as 5.000 spectators. It is used during the annual Athens Festival for world-class ballet and music performances. The Dionysus Theatre lies beside Herodes Atticus, and almost all the tragedies and comedies of Ancient Greece were written for this theatre.
Benaki is a history museum with Greek art and objects from the Stone Age up to the War of Independence against the Turks. It lays its pieces over three floors and apart from seasonal exhibitions, the museum offers events, courses and publications to educate the audience of all ages. The annexed cafe-restaurant welcomes you in a relaxed ambience where to enjoy dinners, lunches or breaks before exploring the museum.
Mount Lycabettus (in Greek: Lykavittos, Λυκαβηττός) lies right in the centre of Athens, rising 277 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Getting yourself up to this altitude (walking or with the funicular - although walking is way worth it) gives you an exquisite 360° view over Athens, the Aegean sea and the ships in Piraeus. When the sky is clear, you can see all the way to the mountains in Peloponnese. Apart from the view, there is also a chic cafe-restaurant, a 19th century Chapel and an amphitheatre up there.
Well worth visiting and at the foot of the Acropolis lies the new Acropolis Museum. Brief presentations by Museum Archaeologists-Hosts are held in Greek and English every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The museum restaurant offers panoramic views of the Acropolis and a 700 square meter public terrace commanding a breathtaking view of the historic hills of Athens.
The Temple of Hephaestus is a well-preserved ancient Greek temple built in 450 BC for the worshipping God Hephaestus - considered the protector of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. This may be one of the most well-preserved temples, not only in Greece, but in all Europe.
Erechtheion is said to have been a great king during the Archaic Period, and legend says that he is buried nearby this temple. The temple is built on a slope which creates an interesting architectural fact: there is a 3 meter difference between the north-west side and the south-east side.
The Panathenaic Stadium was built in 330 BC and renovated for the 1896 Olympic Games. It is the world´s oldest stadium which is still in use, and the only one in the world entirely built in white marble. Simply stunning! It is from here that the Olympic Flame is delivered to all the Olympic games.
The Megaron, Athens' Concert Hall, was inaugurated in 1991 and it now houses four halls offering a variety of musical performances. It is famous for its top-notch spectacles and an impressive acoustic. It is also a beautiful place surrounded by pleasant gardens and really easy to access.
Temple of Athena Nike is located on the south-west corner of the Acropolis. It is one of the earliest pieces from the Ionic order, one of Greece three classical architectures - and a great representation of it. Celebrating Athena "The Victorious", it is anchored deep in the Greek mythology.
For a nice walk or picnic a bit outside the busy streets and squares of Athens centre, you can head to the Filopappos Hill. It offers a great view over the city and maybe the best view of the Acropolis, just far enough to embrace it all while avoiding the tourists crowd and close enough to see the beauty of its architecture.
Monastiraki, right under the Acropolis offerts great views of it and it is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Athens. Nowadays, it houses the local "Flea Market" but it combines also shops, cafes, eateries and touristic stores. It is one of the nicest areas to walk in but also one of the most crowded. In Monastiraki, the authentic lives side by side the fake "made in China" souvenirs -still, with its small streets branching out from the main square, it is the true heart of Athens centre.
If you spend more than a few days in Athens and the weather permits it, you should go feel the maritime air around Glyfada and further on the coast. Glyfada is a nice beach town with many restaurants, shops, bars and cafes, accessible from Athens by bus and tram. In Glyfada and further on the Athens Riviera you will find several beaches where to relax while having a swim or sunbathing.
To Kioupi is a traditional Taverna serving hearty and generous Greek specialties that you can choose directly at the kitchen in the windowed counter. The main feature here is actually the live Greek music nights. A great occasion to spend a typical Greek night the way they do it best: with food, drinks, music and friends.
The Old Tavern of Psarras (meaning, the old fisherman's Taverna) is Plaka's oldest restaurant, indeed it exists since 1898. It serves delicious Greek food at a price befitting the area, but with the benefit of being seriously beautiful. You can choose to seat in either of the old houses that are now the restaurant, or even in the pleasant courtyard.
To Kati Allo is a simple family owned tavern in the area next to the new Acropolis museum. A real tavern, with a friendly staff and which is open so late the Plakas waiters may come and keep you company. It is very popular amongst local: always a good indication in touristic cities like Athens.
Spondi is the best restaurant in Athens – and in Greece, according to many visitors. A French chef has put together the menu, and he has successfully created a renowned wine cellar. Simplicity is the motto at this restaurant, which has been winning all the prizes there are to be won for years.
Finding a vegetarian restaurant in this meat loving country might not be the easiest, but Avocado is a great option for vegetarian food. The products are with no added preservatives and they try to use as much organic food as possible. The food here is healthy, fresh and tasty and Avocado is well worth a visit even if you prefer meat dishes.
Gostijo is Athens first and only kosher restaurant. Their specialities are Sephardic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Kosher cuisine served in a lovely atmosphere. You can also hear some live music on some evenings and on location, you will find a Kosher mini-market in case you need.
Oroscopo is centrally located just opposite of the Divani Caravel Hotel on the square. You can come here and enjoy their Greek, Italian and Mediterranean menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food tastes great and all at a great price. Take a seat at their terrace to make the best of the place.
Do not let the prices put you off from trying CTC, it is a unique and peculiar experience you can only live there. The food is prepared with care and obvious passion, and presented in a way that is borderline art. And despite it being a fine dining place, CTC managed to keep its simplicity and it is a very relaxed place where the staff and chef are more than willing to spend some time with you.
Plaka feels like a small village, at the very heart of the vibrant Greek capital. You will most likely walk through the neighbourhood on your way to or from the Acropolis, but do not stop at this: Plaka has a soul of its own, and its small streets, flowery corners and pretty stairs brim with uncountable coffee shops!
Exarcheia, Athens' anarchist neighbourhood, has seen the youth of the city rise up against the power and injustice many times, and it has also unfortunately been the theatre of dramas. But nowadays, although Exarcheia has kept intact its rebellious soul, and keeps on its walls traces and street art as testimony of its agitated past, it is also a place turning slightly hipster. It is a cool place to hang out, go for a walk, meet locals, and have a coffee or a drink around the main square.
Cafe Peros is Kolonaki Square’s central point, where sooner or later everyone you know will pass by. A place for ladies and gentlemen partaking of coffee under a canopy. It is mostly frequented by Athenians, a good sign especially in a place as touristy as Kolonaki's square. You can also eat some classic Greek food for a reasonable price.
This popular cafe serves coffee, cocktails as well as yummy homemade pies. Joker has a funky decor where the walls are decorated with Rolling Stones posters, art pieces, bamboos, and other mixed objects. For those who like it old-school, there is also a jukebox!
Greece and yogurt is a combination made in heaven. Try the divine yogurt with honey, nuts, fruit or make your own amazing fusion. This yogurt bar is located just a few steps from the Acropolis and it serves the best products: local and fresh original Greek yogurt, biological honey and handmade jams and other toppings. You should also try their smoothies!
This traditional Greek cafeteria offers the best coffee experience in Greece. The atmosphere and decoration are very classic and you will see a few typical old Greek men in here, playing Backgammon (Tavli in Greek) or passing time with their Komboloi, strings of beads used to relieve stress. You can also hear some local musicians performing!
City Zen in Monastiraki is one of the three coffee-bar-restaurants you can find around the area having a roof terrace granting a breath-taking view over the neighbourhood and the Acropolis. Open from morning until late in the night, City Zen is perfect for a coffee stop during the day, some drinks at night or food at any time.
Take your significant other or you inner chocolate monster to these place to drink the most perfect chocolate drinks and deserts you could ever imagine! Choose the type of chocolate, what to add to it (including surprising toppings such as basil or even alcohol!), and then... enjoy. The place is great and the people working there just as sweet as their drinks.
Six d.o.g.s is an all day and night reinvented space devoted to culture and entertainment. It works as a cafe as well as a bar, and itìì's home to a Gig Space, a Project Space, a Bar, a Foyer, and a Garden. It has created a resolutely pop yet avant-garde spirit and hosts an average of 500 events per year!
Psyrri and Gazi are the newest hearts of Athens night life. The crowd is young and trendy, and this is where the Students and locals gather between friends for an all night long party. The options are basically limitless, but look out for Astron or Bee, must-visit in these areas!
360 Degrees in Athens is not one of these places that take advantage of a great location to cut on the quality of what they serve. Here, you will have the best view possible on Monastiraki square and the Acropolis, absolutely stunning, but you can also enjoy delicious cocktails and amazing food. An absolute must!
Gazarte is an incredible venue in Gazi where you can catch a movie, grab a bite, drink awesome cocktails, attend conferences or business parties, enjoy live music, make purchases in their bookstore or - keeping the best for the end - have a drink on their amazing rooftop terrace, with a view over the techno-pole beyond Gazi while listening to their on location DJ and music producers.
Brettos is easily recognisable by the colourful bottles that decorate its bar and its overall really cool decor of wooden shelves, stone walls and barrels full of Ouzo and tsipouro (if you don't know what there are, you must find out very soon!). Brettos is actually Athens' oldest distillery: one more reason to visit!
A from Athens is one of the three most famous bars in Athens, with 360 degres, for their rooftop terraces and views over Monastiraki square and the Acropolis. It is difficult to say which is the best, because they are equally excellent! Do not hesitate then, and come sip on a cocktail with a view here as well.
This bar is claimed to be the best one in Athens. Stop for a super classy Gin and Tonic, or just to try what seems to be a collection of every possible Gin in the world! The place is top-notch, yet genuine and the staff is as friendly as the other Athenians: a great evening in perspective!
If you enjoy a good vibe and indie music you will most likely enjoy yourself at Mosaiko. Here you can order a cup of coffee or a drink, how about trying the Mosaiko's special drink? Note that Mosaiko is in Glyfada, Athens' closeby seaside town, but that only makes this cafe-bar more pleasant.
The Speakeasy is a cocktail bar inspired by the 20s-30s in the United State. You will find the prohibition area style and atmosphere, all the way to the high-class cocktails, alcohols and the live Jazz music - you even have to ring a bell to get into which is in the basement. Opened since 2011, Speakeasy is now unavoidable in Athens' night scene!
This bar is one of the best in town. With its very classy and peculiar decor, complemented by a friendly and relax atmosphere despite top-notch service and professionalism, it is a must. The Clumsies serves amazing cocktails prepared by true artists : the recipe for a good time!
Baba au rum - which, funny enough, abbreviates to B.A.R - is King on the Athenian bar scene. It has also been named one of the best bars in the world and received several awards for its amazing rums and original cocktails. Located right between Monastiraki and Syntagma, it is the perfect place to start a crazy night in town.
If you want to bring your loved ones, or yourself, a typically Greek souvenir here are a few suggestions: -Alcohol: look for Ouzo, Tsipouro and Raki, local alcohols that come in small bottles so you can even bring them in your carry-on! -Food: Greek pastries and loukoums are always a must. And of course, the olive oil here tastes nothing like what you can find back home so it is a great investment. -Souvenirs: typical Greek objects include the "lucky eye" meant to drive away the "bad eye" and its negative effect.
The ultimate shopping street in Athens is Ermou Street, departing from Syntagma square. There, you can find all the classic brands such as H&M and similar department stores. If you are not familiar with shopping in Greece, check out the Hondos Center - a local cosmetic chain with good prices compared to other European countries. Voukourestiou, Patriarhou Ioakim, Skoufa, Tsakalof, Kanari and the side streets around Kolonaki are other options for shopping. There are many designer clothes, more expensive boutiques and jewelers.
In the middle of Athinas street which runs between Monastiraki and Omonia square is the covered market hall which occupies a whole block, with a fish market in the middle. All around are butchers and spice shops, and around the market are several simple but good places to eat.
This high-end fashion and leather goods brand originates from Italy, in Florence to be exact. Gucci was founded in 1921 and you will be guaranteed, most probably, a genuine Italian shopping experience. Apart from offering clothes for man and women, Gucci creates also jewellery, watches as well as home decor items.
If you like to combine shopping with other pleasures, you might want to go for a stroll in Glyfada, where you can also find many shops concentrated in a small town, a few steps away from the beaches and the sea. Glyfada is perfect for a sunny day, and is also one of Athen's richest suburbs. You can also check out their nice Orthodox Church: Church Saint Constantine.
If you want to give your house a new appeal, The Loom is the right shop to go if in Athens. Here you will find a huge selection of stylish carpets, blankets and pillows with unique patterns and original styles. And if you are thirsty, you should know that there is always a bottle of fresh red wine waiting for the customers.
Located near Monastiraki Square, this store is a must in Athens, especially if you want to know more about the story of ancient Greek craftsmen. Sandals and jewellery are created by combining art and craft in a way that each product is unique - and all at very reasonable prices.
This elegant store displays beautiful jewellery pieces, across a broad price range. The owner, George, is also available to tell you the story behind of each item, including the production process, so if you want to combine good shopping and know more about the gold craft culture, this is the right place to go.
Pantopolion is a traditional grocery store where you should go if you want to try authentic Greek food specialities. And if it is not enough, the store also offers a huge variety of typical beverages, such as tsipouro, tsikoudia or Greek beers and liquors, and also a wide range of honey and jams to sweeten your breakfasts or your afternoon breaks. It is open seven days a week.
This big store consists of two rooms, the stone and the white room, where you can choose among a variety of items showing the best Greek design. The products include clothes, bags, shoes, stationery items and also home decor items and they are all created with high quality products. The store assortment is updated with new brand-name items every day, so don't forget to visit it if you're in town.
Greece can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Greece is a tourist destination beloved worldwide, and summer is the most crowded season of all, especially so July and August. Spring is, perhaps, the best season to travel to Greece, as the main cities such as Athens are not so crowded and the prices are quite a bit lower. June and September are the best months to visit Athens for near-lying beaches and entertainment. If you are a hiking lover, don't miss Athens in autumn.
Athens International Airport is located at Spata, 33 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of Athens. A taxi ride to the city-centre will cost a flat rate of 38 euros between 05.00 and 00.00 and 54 euros between 00.00 and 05.00. The fixed fares include the basic fare, VAT, extra luggage charges and road tolls. The Metro goes to the centre. The journey to Syntagma takes around half an hour. There are airport buses to Syntagma (X95), Pireaus port (X96), Kifissou Avenue (X93) and Elliniko (X97). Travel time to Syntagma and the other areas in town takes around 1 hour, to Pireaus port around 1,5 hours. Check: www.athensairportbus.com/en
The Metro stations are well worth seeing as they are kept spotlessly clean. At the Syntagma and Acropolis stations you will find a large collection of antiquities on display. There is a tram from the centre (Syntagma) running along the coast to Glyfada (50 minutes) and Voula (60 minutes). Buses, trolley buses and the Metro run until around midnight. The tram runs between 05.30 and 01.00 (until 02.30 on Friday and Saturday). Airport buses all run H24. The airport bus tickets are not valid on other public transport services but only for a single journey. Ferries out to the island leave from the harbour in Piraeus or from Rafina.