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Uncover a unique facet to Athens with these enjoyable, uncommon issues to do within the Greek capital…
Athens. One of many world’s oldest cities, a spot the place the traditional world collides with the trendy – and the place a number of layers of historical past and tradition coexist in a chaotic jumble.
Historical structure emerges everywhere in the metropolis centre: seen in metro stations, below public squares, or included into fashionable buildings. And all of the whereas, the long-lasting Parthenon on Acropolis Hill overlooks the town’s skyline.
However past the historical past the town is so well-known for, Athens is a pulsing and fast-evolving metropolis present process a radical city transformation. As soon as-impoverished districts are being reclaimed as inventive centres, filled with vibrant road artwork, fashionable boutique retailers, and bars & eating places to swimsuit each style conceivable.
When you’ve checked off the primary sights in Athens, it’s time to immerse your self within the metropolis’s quite a few personalities. Dive into well-liked native nightlife hotspots, search road artwork between Byzantine buildings, beach-hop your manner alongside the Athens Riviera, or people-watch on the bustling metropolis centre markets.
These are a few of the extra uncommon issues to do in Athens – that can assist you get below the pores and skin of the town and expertise it a bit extra “like a neighborhood”. Don’t have time to learn the entire article? There’s additionally a map and a brief model of the checklist on the backside of this web page. Take pleasure in…
Beneficial Athens Excursions
Whether or not you wish to discover the primary websites in Athens or get off the overwhelmed monitor, there are some nice excursions on Get Your Information. These are a few of the top-rated…
Uncommon Issues to do in Athens
In a rush? There’s a map and a brief model of the checklist on the backside of this web page! Use the contents menu above to skip forward if it is advisable.
1. Don’t Miss the Historical Websites in Athens
Athens is known for its historic websites – particularly the long-lasting, hilltop Acropolis which might be seen from throughout the town. These don’t actually matter as “uncommon issues to do” as they’re so well-known, however they’re positively must-sees once you go to Athens. So right here’s a short checklist of the “prime” historic websites you shouldn’t miss:
- The Acropolis and the Parthenon. For a extra uncommon take on Athens’ most well-known sight, take a look at this Acropolis Mythology Tour.
- The Acropolis Museum
- The Historical Agora
- Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- Temple of Hephaestus
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Prime tip – you may purchase a Combo Ticket for entry to all the following: Acropolis, Historical Agora, Roman Agora, Temple of Zeus, Aristotle’s Faculty, Hadrian’s Library, and Kerameikos Historical Cemetery. Click on right here for particulars and newest costs.
RECOMMENDED TOUR: Acropolis, Parthenon, & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour (from €57pp)
2. See Athens with a Native on an Various Athens Tour
After I visited Athens, I took a strolling tour with a unbelievable native firm referred to as Various Athens. They’re simply probably the greatest tour firms within the metropolis, providing small-group strolling excursions led by skilled native guides – all of which intention to take you past the basic vacationer websites and allow you to get to know the actual, genuine Athens.
Various Athens runs a number of distinctive metropolis excursions, together with meals excursions, a Homosexual & Lesbian Nightlife Tour, and a Avenue Artwork Tour. I took the Sudden Athens Orientation Tour, which runs each day at 9:30am, takes 4 hours, and prices €49 per particular person.
It’s the right introduction to the town, taking in a lot of the most important websites in addition to a few of the metropolis’s quirkier districts. Plus, your information will be capable to share a number of insider suggestions for locations to eat and drink throughout your journey to Athens. You simply can’t beat a advice from a neighborhood!
3. Watch the Altering of the Guard at Syntagma Sq.
Syntagma Sq. appears like the guts of Athens: a bustling sq. on the pinnacle of the busy excessive road Ermou.
It’s dwelling to the Royal Palace, a modest neo-classical constructing relationship from the 1830s when Greece lastly gained independence after centuries of Ottoman occupation. Right this moment, the palace homes the Greek parliament.
Don’t miss the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in entrance of the parliament constructing: a memorial devoted to the fallen troopers of Greece’s wars. The tomb is continually guarded by troopers wearing conventional livery, together with Tsarouhi: massive, clog-like sneakers with studded soles and fluffy pompoms on the toes.
The Altering of the Guard takes place each hour, a drawn-out course of involving all of the pomp and fussiness you’d anticipate type such a ceremony. It’s free to look at and is effectively value together with in your Athens itinerary. On Sundays at 11am, the Grand Change takes place: a bigger model of the ceremony involving extra troopers and much more pomp!
4. Search out the Avenue Artwork in Athens
Followers of road artwork and concrete artwork will love exploring Athens’ historic sidestreets and quirky hipster neighbourhoods. There are murals, installations, and vibrant items of road artwork in every single place!
Psirri, Monastiraki, Gazi, and Metaxourgio are a few of the greatest districts to go road artwork looking. Higher nonetheless, take a guided tour with a neighborhood skilled that can assist you discover the perfect road artwork in Athens. I’d advocate one in every of these two:
5. Hunt for Bargains at Monastiraki Flea Market
Monastiraki is a historic neighbourhood near the Historical Agora recognized for its quirky procuring scene and vibrant road artwork. The labyrinthine community of slender streets is full of unbelievable eateries and bars, artisanal boutiques, and funky classic retailers.
Don’t miss the well-known Monastiraki Flea Market. That is held each Sunday morning within the space between Monastiraki Sq. and Avissynias Sq.. Stalls right here promote every thing from damaged Barbies and surplus military gear to vintage furnishings and outdated cash. There are sometimes road performers and busking musicians, too, giving Sunday mornings a celebration vibe!
Though the market is barely held on Sundays, the entire space is full of vintage retailers and weird boutiques which can be open all week. So even if you happen to’re not visiting Athens on the weekend, it’s nonetheless value exploring the Monastiraki Flea Market space for some window procuring, people-watching, and bargain-hunting.
6. Uncover Athens’ Up to date Artwork Scene at TAF (The Artwork Basis)
Housed inside a superbly crumbling Ottoman mansion with a central courtyard, TAF is an progressive cultural centre in Athens’ Monastiraki district. They host worldwide and native group exhibitions, in addition to cultural occasions, workshops, performances, and movie screenings.
It’s value visiting simply to discover the constructing itself – however this cultural hub can be dwelling to a up to date artwork gallery, a store selling native designers, and a vigorous courtyard cafe-bar.
7. Witness 4 Eras of Athens Historical past at Monastiraki Sq.
From Athens’ well-known Monastiraki Sq., you may take pleasure in a view that takes within the 4 main eras of the town. There’s the red-tiled dome of the Ottoman Tzisdarakis Mosque, the Roman pillars of Hadrian’s library, the trendy metro station, and the Historical Greek Acropolis above.
It’s an incredible picture to summarise Athens, the place the layers of the town’s previous are chaotically intertwined creating a posh, vibrant mishmash of various eras, architectures, and influences.
8. Take a Greek Meals Tour in Athens
For my part, one of the simplest ways to get to know a tradition is thru meals. I attempt to take a meals tour in each metropolis I go to. It’s the right option to discover the native flavours (each actually and figuratively. There are some unbelievable meals excursions in Athens to select from – these are my prime picks:
9. Uncover a Roman Tomb inside a Zara Retailer
Head to the Zara retailer on Stadiou Avenue for a real hidden gem in Athens. On the basement stage, you may see the ruins of an Historical Roman tomb!
These are protected by a glass wall, and have a glass ceiling so you may look down from the ground above as you enter the store.
Athens is Europe’s oldest capital metropolis, with recorded historical past relationship again over 3,400 years, so there are various traces of the previous buried beneath the trendy metropolis. It appears you may’t begin digging within the centre of Athens with out discovering one thing, and plenty of fashionable buildings have needed to be distorted throughout constructing to protect the previous. This is only one of many examples: nevertheless it’s free and straightforward to go to so effectively definitely worth the detour!
10. Swing by the Archaeological Web site inside Monastiraki Metro Station
Main on from the above, there’s additionally a small archaeological website contained in the Monastiraki Metro Station. A number of archaeological finds had been uncovered in the course of the station’s building, relationship way back to the eighth century BC. It’s additionally free to go to – so cease by earlier than you catch your prepare!
11. Spot Neo-Classical Structure on Panepistimiou Avenue
Take a stroll alongside Panepistimiou Avenue, a serious road working from Omonia Sq. to Syntagma Sq., to discover a treasure trove of neoclassical structure.
Probably the most well-known buildings right here type the so-called “Neoclassical Trilogy”: the Academy of Athens, the Nationwide and Kapodistrian College of Athens, and the Nationwide Library. These are thought of three of the perfect items of structure within the metropolis and are completely gorgeous.
There are a number of extra buildings value noticing alongside Panepistimiou Avenue. Don’t miss the Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, inbuilt an elaborate Neo-Renaissance type.
The pink-bricked Athens Ofthamiatrio (Public Eye Hospital) has an attention-grabbing historical past. Supposedly, it was constructed to deal with the massive quantity of eye issues that sprang up within the nineteenth century, brought on by the mud from all of the constructing work as Athens was remodeled from a tiny metropolis of simply 10,000 residents into the new capital of Greece.
12. Soak Up Ottoman Structure and Hipster Vibes in Psirri District
From the mid-Fifteenth century to the early nineteenth century, Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire, and earlier than that was below Byzantine rule. These centuries of occupation left as a lot of a mark on Athens as the sooner Historical Romans and Greeks did.
To find a few of these traces, head to the colorful, historic district of Psirri (additionally referred to as Psyri) – one of many metropolis’s oldest neighbourhoods. A maze of winding alleyways and sloping streets designed to channel rainwater, Psirri is full of crumbling Ottoman Mansions and Byzantine church buildings.
Nowadays, it’s one in every of Athens’ trendiest neighbourhoods; recognized for its vigorous nightlife and nice foodie scene. There’s loads of road artwork round, with work and murals tucked into nearly any out there spot. Fashionable tradition and hipster vibes blended right into a superbly vintage neighbourhood – what’s to not love?
RECOMMENDED TOUR: Psyri Neighborhood Graffiti Self-Guided Recreation & Tour – from €10.99
13. Be taught In regards to the German Occupation at Korai 4
In newer historical past, Athens was topic to a different occupation: this time by the Germans throughout WW11. Initially an workplace constructing, Korai 4 was requisitioned because the headquarters of the Gestapo in Athens between 1941 and 1945.
Visiting Korai 4 is likely one of the extra uncommon issues to do in Athens, nevertheless it’s a captivating and chilling perception right into a horrible chapter of the town’s historical past.
The slender, basement-level air-raid shelter – claustrophobic behind metallic air-lock doorways – was transformed right into a “momentary” subterranean jail. Non permanent within the sense that almost all prisoners had been solely stored there for a matter of days earlier than being transported to a camp or executed.
Inside, you may see imprints of the tiny cells on the flooring. The partitions are scarred with writing and drawings etched by the prisoners. Some left their names and the dates of their incarceration, others scratched out doodles or self-portraits.
14. Dive Into the Stylish Gazi District
Athens is continually reinventing itself, and nowhere is that extra obvious than within the trendily grungy, industrial-chic district of Gazi.
The fuel works that stood right here till 1989 as soon as pumped out a lot air pollution that the encircling space was often called the “Gasoline District” (Gazi). Right this moment, the now-silent chimneys and the rusted skeleton of the outdated fuel holder nonetheless dominate the realm – however now they’ve been repurposed into Athens’ coolest nightlife district.
The outdated fuel drums have been transformed into eco-friendly places of work, whereas the previous fuel works now homes Technopolis, an industrial museum and a serious cultural venue. The encompassing streets are filled with cafes, eating places, bars, and golf equipment – together with some unbelievable LGBTQ+ golf equipment – and the neighbourhood has change into often called probably the greatest locations to social gathering in Athens.
RECOMMENDED TOUR: Bar Crawl with Free Drinks and Membership Entry – from €26.70pp
15. Take a Sip of Historical past on the Oldest Distillery in Athens
Within the coronary heart of the historic Plata district, you’ll find the oldest bar and distillery in Athens: Brettos. The distillery was based by Michail Brettos in 1909, who produced ouzo, brandy, and liqueurs primarily based on outdated household recipes from Smyrni (modern-day Izmir in Turkey). You may nonetheless pattern these similar liqueurs immediately for an actual style of historical past!
Over a century outdated, this atmospheric bar nonetheless seems nearly precisely because it did at first of the twentieth century. The partitions behind the outdated picket bar are lined with shelf upon shelf of vibrant bottles, lit from behind to create a surprising impact.
RECOMMENDED TOUR: Greek Wine & Olive Oil Tasting at Brettos – 2 hours, from €110pp
16. Take an Olympic Work Out within the Historic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is likely one of the most iconic websites in Athens. It was constructed (or re-built) as a reproduction of an Historical Greek stadium which as soon as stood on the identical website and which hosted the Panathenaic Video games, a spiritual and athletic pageant celebrated each 4 years in honour of the goddess Athena.
The stadium we see immediately was reconstructed for the primary fashionable Olympic Video games in 1896. It’s additionally the one stadium on the planet constructed fully of marble.
These on the lookout for extra uncommon issues to do in Athens ought to take a look at this distinctive Olympic Video games Exercise expertise (from €55pp). You’ll get the prospect to run across the stadium – in addition to attempt a few of the basic Olympic sports activities like javelin, shot put and discus.
17. Watch an Historical Greek Theater Efficiency
Carry the tales and myths of Athens’ historic buildings to life with this distinctive expertise. In a rooftop theatre overlooking the Acropolis, you may watch an excellent Historical Greek Theater Present.
Actors put on conventional costumes and use masks to depict totally different characters, precisely as they did in historic instances. The play, ‘Medea and Different Buddies I Made in Athens’, is a humorous tackle the traditional Greek myths – so it’s a good way to study a bit of the historical past behind the town’s iconic ruins. From €25 – click on right here to purchase tickets.
18. Or Catch a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Athens
Talking of performances – how about an outside cinema? In summertime, open-air cinemas are a BIG factor in Athens, with over 60 scattered throughout the town. Right here’s my choose of a few of the greatest:
- Aegli – the oldest open-air cinema within the metropolis, set inside the gardens of stately Zappeion Corridor.
- Cine Dexameni – on the roof of the Historical Roman Hadrian’s Aqueduct.
- Cine Thisio – views of the illuminated Acropolis at night time.
- Zefyros – historic, bohemian cinema showcasing basic & artsy movies.
19. Store with the Locals at Varvakios Market
Varvakios Central Municipal Market is the largest and liveliest market in Athens, so it’s an incredible place to expertise an genuine facet of Athenian life.
The historic constructing, relationship from 1886, is full of stalls promoting recent meat, fish, olives, herbs, spices, and all method of scrumptious Greek produce. It’s an incredible place to people-watch and pattern some native flavours. Be warned, although, the sections housing the meat and fish usually are not for the faint-hearted!
RECOMMENDED TOUR: Half-Day Final Meals Strolling Tour – 4 hours, from €69pp
20. Discover the Seafront of the Athens Riviera
Athens could also be greatest often called a metropolis break vacation spot, however you can even have a seashore vacation right here!
If you wish to see one other very totally different facet of Athens, head south to the coastal space often called the Athens Riviera. The riviera stretches round 60km from the swanky marina at Paleo Faliro to Cape Sounion. All alongside it, you’ll find stunning sandy seashores, bustling ports, posh “yachtie” haunts, and hidden coves.
21. Take a Greek Cooking Class
For an additional enjoyable and weird exercise in Athens, think about taking a cooking class. It is a nice option to meet different travellers, uncover some scrumptious native meals – and possibly study a bit about Athenian tradition whilst you do it. Right here’s my choose of the perfect cooking courses in Athens:
Uncommon Issues to do in Athens: Quicklist and Map
Don’t have time to learn the entire publish above? Right here’s a fast checklist of the perfect uncommon issues to do in Athens – plus a useful map that can assist you navigate.
- Don’t Miss the Historical Websites
- Take a Strolling Tour with Various Athens
- Watch the Altering of the Guards at Syntagma Sq.
- Search out the Avenue Artwork in Athens
- Hunt for Bargains at Monastiraki Flea Market
- Uncover Athens’ Up to date Artwork Scene at TAF (The Artwork Basis)
- Witness 4 Eras of Athens Historical past at Monastiraki Sq.
- Take a Greek Meals Tour in Athens
- Uncover a Roman Tomb inside a Zara Retailer
- Swing by the Archaeological Web site inside Monastiraki Metro Station
- Spot Neo-Classical Structure on Panepistimo Avenue
- Spot Avenue Artwork and Ottoman Structure in Psirri District
- Be taught In regards to the German Occupation at Korai 4
- Dive Into the Stylish Gazi District
- Take a Sip of Historical past on the Oldest Distillery in Athens
- Take an Olympic Work Out within the Historical Stadium
- Watch an Historical Greek Theater Efficiency
- Or Catch a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Athens
- Store with the Locals at Varvakios Market
- Discover the Seafront of the Athens Riviera
- Take a Greek Cooking Class
Have you learnt any extra hidden gems or uncommon issues to do in Athens? Scroll right down to share your prime suggestions within the feedback!