Athens is located in the Peloponnese peninsula, and it is the capital city of Greece. It is known as the birthplace of democracy, and many historical figures, such as Aristotle and Socrates, have traversed its cobbled streets. Apart from being historic, it is also beautiful at any time of the year. To help you navigate the city, we have devised a list of ten of the best things to do in Athens, Greece.
1. Climb The Acropolis
The Acropolis is the most famous archeological site in Athens. It is a citadel located on a hill in the center of Athens. It contains several famous ancient buildings such as The Parthenon and The Temple of Athena.
2. Visit The Acropolis Museum
While you are in the area, to get the full experience of how the Acropolis looked in the past, make sure to visit the Acropolis Museum. It contains all the artifacts recovered from the Acropolis site.
3. Walk Through The Streets of Plaka
Located on the other side of the Acropolis is Plaka. It is a small neighborhood covered in cobblestone streets with beautiful cafés and jewelry shops. It looks out of this world, and it feels like you are stuck in the early 1900s, far away from mobile phones and the fast living style of today. The thick shade provided by its many trees makes it a perfect place to have a coffee break.
4. Explore Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square is the very center of Athens. It is a place where all social gatherings and concerts happen. You can see The Old Royal Palace in the Syntagma square, which serves as the Greek Parliament building. Its bright yellow color and neoclassical building style are very distinctive. The building itself was built for King Otto to celebrate Athens becoming the new capital of Greece.
The square itself was named after the first Greek constitution, and thus the meaning Syntagma Square which in Greek means The Constitution Square.
5. See The Guards Change at The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier
Located across Syntagma Square, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a monument dedicated to all Greek soldiers who died in World War 1. It is guarded twenty-four hours a day by soldiers called Evzones. The Evzones are part of the Presidential Guard and change every hour. It is quite an attraction since they have a special choreography that they perform every time the change is due.
6. Get Lost in The Monastiraki Square
In our opinion, Monastiraki is one of the most beautiful squares in Athens. It is named Monastiraki due to a church in the middle of the square. The Church of Pantanassa was built in the 10th century, and after some time, the locals started calling it “Monastiraki,” which means little church.
The church is not the only thing that makes this part of Athens beautiful. The narrow cobblestone streets leading to the square give the feeling of being somewhere far from home. The streets are filled with pastry shops, tavernas, and souvenir shops.
There is one downside to mention. The streets are filled with people who offer you bracelets or some other forms of hand-woven jewelry for free, saying it is a gift from them and that you don’t need to pay. However, from the moment they put the piece on you, they start asking for money and feign ignorance of any previous conversation. It is advisable to just return the “gift” they give you and continue on your way.
7. Try The Famous Pita Gyro
A pita gyro is a traditional Greek food, and it can be found on every corner. It consists of shredded meat, usually pork, served with pita bread and fresh vegetables. Oh, and of course, don’t forget the tzaziki sauce, made from Greek yogurt, grated cucumbers, garlic, and dill.
8. Taste Local Spirits
Greece is famous for its alcohol, and there are a variety of drinks to choose from if you want to get a buzz. The first on the list is Ouzo, a high-proof drink made from fermented grape skins. The drink is usually served before the meal, acting as an aperitif. After fermentation, the mix is added to anise and other herbs to make the distinct Ouzo flavor. It is a staple in Greek culture.
Rakii is also a very high-proof alcoholic drink made from grapes that didn’t make a cut for wine production. It is fermented for several weeks until all of the sugar in the grapes becomes alcohol. Unlike Ouzo which is popular in Greek culture only, Rakii is famous across the Balkan and Middle East as every country has the same name for it, and it is produced in the same way.
Metaxa is a highly concentrated drink made from fermented red wine. The wine is left to sit for a couple of years and must reach a particular oxidation part to be considered a Metaxa. It is best described as a crossover of wine and whiskey.
9. Check Out A for Athens
A for Athens is the best cocktail bar/cafe in Athens. To understand why, you just have to go there. The drinks and food are fine, but the view separates it from every other bar in Athens. A for Athens is located on top of a building, and once you get on the rooftop, you look directly at the Acropolis. No words can sum up that level of beauty until you see it for yourself.
10. Take a Trip to The Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal is technically not in Athens itself but rather on the outskirts of town. It is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with The Ionian Sea, and it has been in the making since AD 1. When we say in the making, we mean they tried to make it but failed many times. Finally, in 1893, it was finished. The canal is a very creepy place. It is very deep and rather narrow, so you feel impending doom when you stand on that tiny suspension bridge while a harrowing wind tries to push you over the edge, and the ships below seem like little remote-controlled toys.
Things To Do in Athens Greece
There are many other great places to see, so don’t hesitate to ask any local to point you where you should go, as they are very friendly and helpful. Once you get there, pick an orange from the orange trees planted all over Athens or ride their amazing subway system. It is the best mode of transportation in such a big city! Enjoy your trip!