A Tour of Athens with Tips from a Local
Guest post, hometown series
Athens is the heart of history, civilization, and culture. It’s a city where ancient ruins meet contemporary structures, creating a unique mix of the past and present that’s both breathtaking and fascinating. In this post, I’m sharing a collection of must-experience places, local eateries that serve mouthwatering Greek cuisine and recommended accommodations that should be included on your tour of Athens. Here are the best things to do in Athens with tips from a local.
Top Stops on a Tour of Athens
1. Acropolis: A Walk-Through History
Start your tour of Athens with the magnificent Acropolis, a symbol of Greek heritage. Set atop a rocky hill, the Acropolis was the heart of ancient Greek civilization. The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, the city’s patron goddess, stands majestically as a testament to classical architecture. The nearby Erechtheion, another ancient temple with its captivating Caryatids – maidens serving as architectural supports – leaves visitors spellbound. Here’s a tip from a local on visiting the Acropolis, it’s best to arrive early in the morning to avoid both the midday Mediterranean sun and the crowds of tourists.
2. Top Stops on a Tour of Athens: Acropolis Museum: A Journey into the Past
Located a stone’s throw away from the historical site, the ultra-modern Acropolis Museum is an archaeological marvel, housing only artifacts excavated from the Acropolis. The museum, with its transparent glass floors, offers a sneak peek into the ongoing excavations, inviting you to take a step back in time. Even if you only have two days in Athens, the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum should be on your tour of Athens.
3. National Garden: An Oasis in the City
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and find solace in the National Garden. This lush, verdant oasis is a perfect retreat, with a picturesque pond, diverse flora, and a small zoo, making it an ideal spot for families. There is also a cute little cafe in the garden.
4. Monastiraki Flea Market: The Heartbeat of Athens
Monastiraki Flea Market is a bustling bazaar filled with life and color. An authentic Athenian shopping experience, from charming souvenirs to vintage treasures, this market is your one-stop shop for unique mementos. Don’t miss stopping at one of the cafes opposite the Stoa of Attalos to enjoy your coffee with a view of the first and largest ancient shopping mall.
5. Top Stops on a Tour of Athens: Plaka: The Neighborhood of the Gods
The old historical district of Plaka, with its labyrinth of narrow cobblestone lanes, pastel-colored houses, and splendid neoclassical architecture, has a timeless charm. Stroll through its streets and discover small shops, traditional tavernas, and quaint cafés, offering the perfect ambiance to sit back and enjoy the slower pace of life.
6. Panathenaic Stadium: Where Ancient Sports Come Alive
Step onto the all-marble seats of the Panathenaic Stadium, the venue of the first modern Olympics, and get transported back to the era of ancient athletic games. Unique in its construction, it is the only stadium globally built entirely out of marble and should be included on your tour of Athens.
7. Lycabettus Hill: The City from Above
Hike up to Lycabettus Hill or catch the funicular for a panoramic view of Athens. This vantage point offers breathtaking sunset views over the city, with the Acropolis standing proudly on the horizon. There is a high-end restaurant at the top in case you would like to enjoy the view longer.
8. Archaeological Museum: Greece’s Cultural Treasure Trove
The Archaeological Museum is a repository of Greece’s rich and diverse history. It houses a vast collection of artifacts and relics from all over the country, offering a comprehensive look into Greece’s glorious past. While the Acropolis Museum showcases artifacts from only one place, the Acropolis, the Archaeological Museum offers insights on different eras and areas of Greece. Tip from a local: the museum is huge and most likely you will not be able to visit everything, so you will need to prioritize.
9. Top Stops on a Tour of Athens: Syntagma Square: The Pulse of Modern Athens
Syntagma Square is the heart of contemporary Athens with the Greek Parliament housed in the old palace. Witness the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and mingle with locals over a friendly game of tavli (Greek backgammon) at a nearby café.
10. Ermou Street: A Shopping Paradise
For fashion enthusiasts, Ermou Street is a haven. This commercial hub, lined with international and local stores, also hosts charming cafes and eateries for when you need to refuel. If you are looking for more high-end shops, Kolonaki is just a few steps away.
Restaurants in Athens
Now, let’s embark on a gastronomic journey through Athens. The city’s cuisine is a savory mix of traditional Greek delicacies and innovative dishes.
Here you’ll savor the taste of Greek cuisine, including calamari, tzatziki, Greek salad, and other well-known dishes. The restaurant serves a variety of traditional dishes, each prepared with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. It is located in Plaka and is loved by tourists and locals alike.
A visit to Athens is incomplete without sampling souvlaki. This eatery offers the best in town, with succulent grilled meat wrapped in warm pita bread, garnished with tangy tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes, and onions.
Hotels in Athens
For your stay, consider the 5-star “Hotel Electra Palace“, conveniently located near Syntagma. It offers a mix of comfort, great location, and warm hospitality, complete with a rooftop pool with view of the Acropolis. For those on a budget, the “City Circus Athens Hostel” in Psirri boasts eclectic décor, a lively atmosphere, and pocket-friendly rates.
Athens, with its unique blend of historical grandeur, cultural richness, amazing cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, promises an unforgettable journey. Enjoy your Athenian adventure!
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jo, the person behind the blog World Wild Schooling. Originally from Athens, I now call Brussels home. I’m a huge fan of learning about different cultures and exploring the world. Through my blog, I share stories, tips, and insights on travel and the joy of lifelong education. My goal is to inspire others to go out there, discover new places, and embrace the beauty of cultural diversity.
Pin It For Later: