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Top 10 Things to Do in Athens, Greece

Top 10 Things to Do in Athens, Greece

Whether you're specifically planning to visit this ancient capital city or having a stop over for a day or three on the way to the islands, taking time to learn about Athens' rich history is worth your while.  The culture, the shopping, the food is all discover-worthy and delicious.  In fact, it is a shopper and foodie's paradise steeped in rich antiquity. 

View of Athens from the Acropolis

View of Athens from the Acropolis

Top Things to Know Before You Go

-Currency - euro 

-International country code - +30

-Tap water - it is good! You will need to drink bottled water on the islands, but you are OK here in Athens. 

-Temperature - in the summer months you can expect temperature ranges from 20-30 degrees celsius, but also know July and August can come with three day long heat waves. 

-Safety - pickpocketing and minor theft are common in Athens.  Take precaution, especially on public transportation like the metro. 

View from the Athens Gate Hotel

View from the Athens Gate Hotel

-Stay at the Athens Gate Hotel - it offers spectacular views of the Parthenon and is close walking distance to the central part of the city, buses and nearby attractions.  Arriving to Athens after a long flight?  The hotel is able to provide in room massages. The hotel is also able to assist you with transportation to and from the airport.  Look for maps of the city at the hotel.  They may also have coupons for nearby shops and attractions that you need. 

Airbnb is also available through-out Athens if you are looking for more time with a local perspective. 

-Transportation - Getting around Athens can be done by foot, tram, taxi, bus, metro, or even Uber.  The X95 bus will take you from the Athens airport to the center of Athens, Syntagma Square. 

-Wifi - is not always readily available throughout the city.  Some restaurants may offer it to you and your hotel or accomodation.  You may want to consider a SIM card if you don't opt for your phone company's international data plan. 

-Greetings:

Kalimera (καλημέρα): "good morning"

Kalispera (καλησπέρα): "good afternoon" or "good evening"

Kalinihta (καληνύχτα): "good night"

Top 10 Things to Do in Athens

1. Hop on Hop off Bus Tours - this may seem silly or too touristy, but depending on the amount of time you have, it might be exactly what you need to get an overview of the city and a lay of the land. You may have time to visit a few sites or none during your short layover. The trip around the cities' center can assist you with what you feel most drawn to. City Sightseeing buses also offer free wifi and have routes that can take you to the closest beaches. If you are visiting Athens for your short layover, the bus also has lines that take you to the cruise ship docks in Piraeus, getting you set up for your upcoming ferry ride. You can buy your tickets on the bus (Syntagma Square) or your hotel may be able to assist you.  If you are super into it, there is also photo and walking tours available with your bus ticket. 

Hellenic Parliament

Hellenic Parliament

Travel hack: Be sure to save the receipt from the trip as it can offer you a discount on the same company's tour in another city where they're offered. 

2. Plaka - stroll around the narrow paved streets in this little section of the city that feels like a village.  It is the oldest section of Athens. 

3. Ermou street - shopping galore! Browse shops that lead to beautiful Ag Assomati Square. If you are interested in more commercial shopping, the Hondos Centers might be the right fit for you.  They have everything from clothing to electronics. 

4. Monastriraki - traditional flea market. Also, be on the lookout for beautiful sandals sold from local merchants.  

5. The Acropolis (and Museum) and Parthenon - the ancient citadel containing many of the most famous and ancient buildings, for example the Parthenon dedicated to the Goddess Athena.

6. Ancient Agora of Athens -  one of the most famous classical and ancient sites for gatherings and assemblies. 

7. Panathenaic Stadium - located in the heart of Athens, this stadium is not only the one stadium in the world built entirely of marble, but it is famous for the original Olympic games. 

8. Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Zeus - constructed to celebrate and honor Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor Olympian God Zeus. 

9. Eat! Look for Souvlaki at the restaurant Thenasis Kebab or village salad (greek salad no lettuce) at The Grecos Project.  If you're super into food in Athens, consider joining the authentic Athens food tour. Have coffee in a traditional cafe in Karytsi Square. 

10. Theatre of Dionysus - Found at the base of the Acropolis, the theatre was dedicated to Dionysus, the God of plays and wine. 

There's obviously tons to do in Athens so for more information about the city, feel free to visit the Greece tourism website, which can offer special events taking place during your time in the city. 

If history or Greek culture isn't your thing you can also take a one day cruise to three islands of the Satonic Gulf, visit the Archelon sea turtle rescue, or swum in the turquoise waters of Vouliagmeni Lake. 

Enjoy your time in Athens and as always, send your feedback! 

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