When people think about Athens, they immediately think, “Okay, I just need to do one day jam packed with every single historic site there is in Athens and then I’ll hop on my flight to Santorini and be on my merry way”. I then ask those types of people how they liked Athens and the response is “eh it was okay, not for me.” Well of course it was just okay, you ninny. All you did was play tourist and check items off your list. Don’t get me wrong, the historic sites of Athens are breathtakingly amazing. To stand on the Acropolis knowing that you are witnessing thousands of years of history, is a truly awe-inspiring moment. But, that’s not all that Athens has to offer and it would be a shame to leave the city without seeing the rest!

So what are the best things to do in Athens besides visiting the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the temple of Zeus, and all the other historic sites? What a great question! (Yes, yes I forced you to ask it but trust me you’ll be glad I did).

A trip to athens doesn't have to be just a trip to the Acropolis. Athens has some incredible things to offer. Click through to read about the top things to do in Athens, Greece beyond the Acropolis #wanderlust #greece #travel
There are so many places around Athens that provide a fantastic view of the Parthenon. Keep reading to find out my favorite spots!

Do a Walking Tour

Normally, I’m not a huge tour person BUT walking tours are an exception. I love a good walking tour. Since I’m a nerd, I always stay right next to the tour guide so I don’t miss a word. Seriously, I’ve pushed my way past some people who tried to beat me to the front. And yes, I was that kid who liked to be at the front of the classroom. Anyways, I digress.

So, why should you do a walking tour of Athens? There are almost too many reasons to list but I will do my best:

  1. The guides are extremely knowledgeable so you can ask them for their input during or after the tour. Be sure to ask them for restaurant recs (ding ding ding!)
  2. You learn about the history of the city in a fun and often humorous way
  3. You get your bearings of the city. This is why I generally recommend doing the walking tours on the first day. You’ll understand the layout of the city and get a fantastic overview. Just make a mental note of where you’d like to come back to spend more time
  4. You always learn some sort of local secret. Guides love to show you their favorite spot or tell you a fact that isn’t commonly known
  5. Did I mention it’s free? You should of course, leave a tip. But the guides leave it up to you to decide how much the tour is worth. I love that concept! Can you imagine going to watch a movie and then after it’s done, deciding how much you want to pay based off of how your experience was?

Here’s a link to the tour we did (and loved!)

Check out the Rooftop Bars

Okay, why didn’t anyone tell me that Athens is home to some of the most incredible rooftop bars? Thank god I’m resourceful and stumbled upon them myself or else I would have been pissed. But seriously, if you love rooftop bars (and who doesn’t?) then you will fall head over heels in love for Athens. And the reason why is this: where else in the world can you sit at a rooftop bar and have a gorgeous view of a historical structure that is thousands of years old? That’s right, all of the rooftop bars have a direct view of the lit up Parthenon. You can literally be sipping some Greek wine or a fancy cocktail and enjoying some house music WHILE seeing the Parthenon. Is no one else freaking out? Because I most certainly was. Besides the awesome view, the rooftop bars all seemed to have a different yet equally awesome eclectic vibe (yes, we went to three of them in two nights and I encourage you to do the same).

The three bars we went to (and loved): A is for Athens, Couleur Locale, and Athens Gate Hotel

A trip to athens doesn't have to be just a trip to the Acropolis. Athens has some incredible things to offer. Click through to read about the top things to do in Athens, Greece beyond the Acropolis #wanderlust #greece #travel
View from A is for Athens rooftop

Eat Greek Food at a Place That Isn’t a Tourist Trap

If you’ve been to almost any part of Europe, you’ve seen those people standing outside the restaurant trying to get people to come into the restaurant. They practically shove you inside and promise you their first born if you so much as stop and glance at the menu. It’s no different in Greece and as much as I understand being hangry and wanting to eat at the first place you set your eyes on, I encourage you to do a bit of research. Because I’m obsessed with food, I see each meal in a different country as a finite resource and I can’t waste a single precious one on a bland overpriced meal. Like I said, obsessed. Do some research, check out trip advisor, ask your concierge, or better yet, ask a local for a recommendation and sit back because oh boy, Greek food is out of this world delicious.

Oh oops, you’re waiting for a restaurant rec aren’t you? Check out Oineas it’s both reasonably priced and has some fantastic authentic Greek food!

A trip to Athens doesn't have to be just a trip to the Acropolis. Athens has some incredible things to offer. Click through to read about the top things to do in Athens, Greece beyond the Acropolis #wanderlust #greece #travel
Our mouthwateringly delicious dessert

Explore Plaka

Besides the fact that Plaka is a fun word to say (I don’t know why I enjoy saying it so much. Just go with it), it’s an awesome area to just spend a couple of hours exploring. You’ll come across little shops, cafes, and restaurants. The best part about Plaka is that it’s fun day or night. At night, you’ll often hear live music coming from the restaurants. One thing about Athens: they have awesome bars. And you’ll find no shortage of them in Plaka. Be sure to make a stop by Brettos even if it’s just to see the vibrant wall full of liquor bottles.

A trip to Athens doesn't have to be just a trip to the Acropolis. Athens has some incredible things to offer. Click through to read about the top things to do in Athens, Greece beyond the Acropolis #wanderlust #greece #travel
I could def have myself a great time in here

Get Lost in Anafiotika

This is technically considered part of Plaka but it’s got a completely different vibe. This is a scenic tiny neighborhood that is reminiscent of a Greek island. That by the way, is no coincidence, as the first houses were built by workers from the island of Anafi (yes, I learned that on my walking tour). Ditch the map and just explore the area. You’ll find incredible houses, plenty of scenic places for a great photo op, and an overall calming feeling.

A trip to Athens doesn't have to be just a trip to the Acropolis. Athens has some incredible things to offer. Click through to read about the top things to do in Athens, Greece beyond the Acropolis #wanderlust #greece #travel
Exploring the beautiful streets

Shop on Ermou

Ermou is quite the street. We made the mistake of going on Black Friday which was alarming to say the least. It appears that Greeks take their Black Friday shopping just as seriously as Americans. But if you go on a normal day, you will fall in love with this street. There are so many stores to shop at and you can stock your suitcase full of the latest fashion before you head back home.

I swear in just typing this post, I fell even more in love with Athens. I truly cannot wait to go back.

Loved this Post on the Best Things to Do in Athens Beyond the Acropolis. Then you’ll love these:

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Greece in the Off Season

A Wonderful Stay at the New Hotel in Athens, Greece

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A trip to Athens doesn't have to be just a trip to the Acropolis. Athens has some incredible things to offer. Click through to read about the top things to do in Athens, Greece beyond the Acropolis #wanderlust #greece #travel

 

 

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23 Comments

  1. Your posts give me wanderlust! Beautiful photos! i would love to go to Athens. It may be awhile before I can, though!

  2. What great recs! I’ve heard so many people recommend basically skipping over Athens that I’m glad you took the time to give it a chance. That food looks incredible. Hopefully a Greece trip is sometime in my future 🙂

    • Priyanka Reply

      Yes! The first time I visited I listened to those people but the second time I gave it a chance and I’m so glad I did!

  3. After visiting one of the Greek islands and falling in love I’ve been dying to get back to Greece and visit Athens! I love these recommendations. Definitely pinning your post for later. 🙂

    • Priyanka Reply

      Thank you 🙂 I hope you get to visit sometime soon! Let me know if you end up making it there!

    • Priyanka Reply

      Thank you!! I hope you get to visit soon 🙂

  4. So many things to do in the Greek capital! You are correct- most tourists aim directly for the popular tourist spots, but there is so much more to experience in this ancient city.

    • Priyanka Reply

      Glad you agree! As much as I love the islands, I am enchanted by Athens!

  5. i love Greece, spend around a year there but have never been in Athens. Miss that time so much. And greek food of course. hahah

    • Priyanka Reply

      Love love Greek food <3 Hope you make it to Athens next time!

  6. you’re right, Plaka is so fun to say haha!
    I cannot wait to get to Greece! And thanks to your previous post about the New Hotel in Athens, I now know exactly where i’d want to stay!! 🙂

  7. wow Athens looks amazing I would really love to go there. Great post – you’ve got me wanting to fly off somewhere now!

  8. I had an experience that was more like you are talking about- I got to wander the streets, go to rooftop bars & eat dessert at a non-touristy place. This was simply because I traveled with a family who was from Athens, and stayed with the family in the city. I look back fondly on my time in Greece, and Athens, because of this! It makes a hugeeee difference to appreciate and be immersed in the culture!

    • Priyanka Reply

      I’m glad you agree and had a similar experience!!

    • Priyanka Reply

      Glad to hear it! You’re going to love Greece!

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