Athens is a city full of landmarks, archaeological sites, and museums. When in Athens, you will surely try to visit as many of these as possible. After these cultural explorations, it’s time to unwind. Here are 6 unmissable experiences in Athens for you to relax and enjoy your time in one of the most interesting cities in Europe. By trying all of these experiences, you will have explored all of the faces of Athens.
Relax at a Café in Anafiotika
While sipping coffee here, you may feel like you are on a Greek island without ever having left the city centre of Athens. Anafiotika is part of Plaka, the most picturesque neighbourhood in Athens.
The name comes from that of the Greek island Anafi, known for having the best builders in Greece. Anafi craftsmen were hired to build mansions for wealthy Greeks in Athens in the middle of the 19th century. When they came to the city, they built their own houses on the slope of Acropolis Hill. Since building in this part of Plaka was forbidden by the Greek Government, the houses were built in the dark of night!
The cute houses, narrow streets, and small cafés combine to create a truly unique atmosphere. Enjoy a coffee or homemade lemonade sitting on the stairs and taking in the smell of the bougainvillaea trees.
Buy Souvenirs and Local Products
The centre of Athens is full of places to go shopping. If you want to have a different shopping experience, visit Adrianou Street or the flea market in Monastiraki Square. Adrianou Street is the oldest commercial agora in Athens. It is located in the neighbourhood of Plaka. There, you can find many shops selling traditional products, souvenirs, and handicrafts. Be sure to buy some famous natural sponges from the island of Kalymnos, or try some olive oil, olives, and many other local products. Take a piece of Greece home with you!
The flea market in Monastiraki square is not the typical kind of flea market you may have in mind. What is referred to as the flea market is actually made up of small shops selling souvenirs and folk art. On Sundays, however, some shops are closed, and people bring tables and carpets to sell all kinds of things, there are definitely some special gems to uncover in this market.
You surely know that the most famous dish in Greece is souvlaki. When in Athens, you can find many places that offer it. Souvlaki is small chunks of pork or chicken on a stick. You can try souvlaki on a stick or wrapped in pita bread. The souvlaki-pita also contains sliced tomatoes and onions, tzatziki, and fries. You can replace the souvlaki meat by gyros (pork or chicken roasted on a rotating mechanical skewer) or by kebab. In Monastiraki Square, there are some famous spots to taste souvlaki. Let your nose be your guide to these places. Don’t forget to combine the souvlaki with a cold Greek beer.
Enjoy a View of Athens from a Rooftop
Can you imagine what Athens looks like from above? You can enjoy many of the archaeological sites, squares, and the most picturesque neighbourhoods of the city from a rooftop. Many hotels and bars open their rooftops to visitors so that they can enjoy breathtaking views of the city. Sip on a cocktail while enjoying a view of the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, the neighbourhood of Plaka, or Mount Lycabettus. Keep in mind that these rooftops are very popular, and it can sometimes be difficult to find a free table. But if you have the patience to wait, you will be handsomely rewarded by the view.
Watch a Performance at the Odeon of Herodus Atticus
This is a very unique and unusual way to spend an evening in Athens. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is located on the southwestern slope of the Acropolis. “Herodeon”, as the locals call it, was built between 160 and 174 AD and was used for musical performances and competitions, with a capacity of 5000 spectators. At the beginning of the 20th century, several renovations and restorations were undertaken. Since then, it has become a major venue for the Athens Festival, which lasts from May to October each year. Take the opportunity to enjoy a music concert, classical theatre performance, or other cultural events. Taking in a moonlit performance in a Roman Odeon under the hill of the Acropolis is an amazing and unparalleled experience. You will feel like you have travelled back in time.
Eat Fresh Seafood by the Sea
Don’t have plans to travel to a Greek island? No problem! You can experience the islands without leaving Athens. Head out of the city centre to visit the coastal area of Mikrolimano. It only takes about half an hour, and then you can walk along the small harbour and enjoy the blue of the sea. Mikrolimano has the best fish taverns and most famous restaurants, offering appetizers, fresh fish, and other seafood. Combine your meal with our famous ouzo or with some fine Greek wines.
While planning your trip, don’t forget to download our Cultural Places App, where you can find our new city tours around Athens. Combining our guided city tours with these 6 amazing experiences will make your trip to Athens truly special and complete!