Greece may have had its difficulties over the last few years, but that hasn’t stopped its capital city, Athens, being a popular tourist destination. And so it should be! With its Ancient Greek architecture, bustling markets, exquisite food, and some of the kindest residents you’ll ever find in a city, Athens has to be close to the top of anyone’s bucket list.
If you are planning to visit this cultural hubbub of a city, then you probably already have all of the obvious things to see and do on your list. Of course, you’re going to want to visit the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus, but what about all of the other hidden gems? Athens is absolutely teeming with experiences that you won’t get anywhere else, so here are our top 5 places to go in the Greek capital.
The city of Athens is filled with more modern shops than you can shake a stick at, but what if you want something a little more… cultured? The Monastiraki Market is the ideal place to spend your afternoon, browsing all of the incredible goods that the sellers have on offer. For most of the week, this market is a vibrant bazaar of goodies (and some junk, unfortunately) that both tourists and locals alike will love. However, on a Sunday the market really comes alive with residents laying out blankets and tables, turning the whole area into a proper flea market. If you’re looking for something other than the usual tourist souvenirs, make sure you check out Monastiraki Market.
There’s no denying that Greek food is some of the best in the world (although I may be a bit biased, having lived there). However, once you’re filled to the brim with feta and gyros, you may want to check out Varsos Bakery in Kifisia. As soon as you walk through the door of this family-run business, you will be hit with the smell of freshly baked goods. Your stomach will start rumbling, and you won’t be able to leave without a few pastries for the road. This is also a good place to stock up on edible souvenirs, including gorgeous bags of sugared almonds, fresh jam, and boxes of assorted cookies.
Dinner in the Sky
If you have a little bit of a budget to blow, then you simply must get to Dinner in the Sky in Athens. There is no better way to see all of the beauty and culture this city has to offer than from above it. The food is amazing, the sights are amazing (seeing the Acropolis from the air is something else!), and the service is second to none. Put your fear of heights to one side and give this once in a lifetime experience a go.
If you’ve never experienced an outdoor movie theater, then there’s no better place to try it out than in Athens. There are plenty of places to pick from in the city, and a few just outside in the countryside too. Many of the movies shown will be in English with Greek subtitles, so it’ll be just like watching a movie at home. Only outside. In Athens. Dreamy.
Coffee on Syntagma Square
Finally, once you have finished climbing the hills to the Ancient ruins, exploring the flea markets, and eating all the gyros you can, you have to head to Syntagma Square to grab a coffee. The Greeks like their coffee strong and black, so be prepared to ask for it ‘me gala’ if you like milk. Once you’ve got your caffeine fix, head up the steps to Parliament House to watch the age-old tradition of the changing of the guards.
There are so many unique places to visit and things to do in Athens, so don’t just go for the obvious tourist traps. You can spend a good few days just soaking up all that this glorious city has to offer before you’ve even considered climbing the hill to the Acropolis. Make the most out of Athens, and you won’t be disappointed.