21 Cool & Unusual Things to do in Athens

21 Cool & Unusual Things to do in Athens

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Uncover a special 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 all around the metropolis centre: seen in metro stations, below public squares, or included into trendy buildings. And all of the whereas, the enduring 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, full of vibrant road artwork, stylish boutique retailers, and bars & eating places to go well with each style possible.

When you’ve checked off the principle sights in Athens, it’s time to immerse your self within the metropolis’s quite a few personalities. Dive into widespread native nightlife hotspots, search road artwork between Byzantine buildings, beach-hop your means alongside the Athens Riviera, or people-watch on the bustling metropolis centre markets.

These are among the extra uncommon issues to do in Athens – that will help 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. Get pleasure from…

Whether or not you wish to discover the principle websites in Athens or get off the overwhelmed observe, there are some nice excursions on Get Your Information. These are among 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

Side of the Parthenon temple with four marble sculptures of human figures that form columns supporting the roof, taken during spring time on the Acropolis in Athens with bright pink flowers out of focus in the foreground and clear blue sky behind

Athens is known for its historical websites – particularly the enduring, hilltop Acropolis which might be seen from throughout the town. These don’t really matter as “uncommon issues to do” as they’re so well-known, however they’re undoubtedly must-sees if you go to Athens. So right here’s a short checklist of the “high” historical websites you shouldn’t miss:

The Acropolis and the Parthenon. For a extra uncommon tackle Athens’ most well-known sight, try this Acropolis Mythology Tour.
The Acropolis Museum
The Historical Agora
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Temple of Hephaestus
Panathenaic Stadium
Prime tip – you should 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

Greek parliament in Athens, a large beige coloured palace in a neoclassical style with three storeys and a collonaded section around the main entrance

After I visited Athens, I took a strolling tour with a unbelievable native firm known as Various Athens. They’re simply among the best tour firms within the metropolis, providing small-group strolling excursions led by knowledgeable native guides – all of which goal to take you past the basic vacationer websites and provide help to get to know the true, genuine Athens.

Various Athens runs a number of distinctive metropolis excursions, together with meals excursions, a Homosexual & Lesbian Nightlife Tour, and a Road Artwork Tour. I took the Sudden Athens Orientation Tour, which runs every day at 9:30am, takes 4 hours, and prices €49 per particular person.

It’s the proper introduction to the town, taking in a lot of the foremost websites in addition to among the metropolis’s quirkier districts. Plus, your information will have the ability to share numerous insider ideas 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.

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, the guard is wearing a white tunic with long sleaves and a patterned shawl over the top, with a small red hat on his head. He has his back to the camera and an officer in uniform is inspecting his sleave.

Syntagma Sq. appears like the center of Athens: a bustling sq. on the pinnacle of the busy excessive road Ermou.

It’s residence to the Royal Palace, a modest neo-classical constructing relationship from the 1830s when Greece lastly gained independence after centuries of Ottoman occupation. At this time, 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 consistently 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 count on kind such a ceremony. It’s free to observe and is properly price 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. Hunt down the Road Artwork in Athens

old yellow plaster wall with a wooden door surrounded by a large mural in black and white of two nude women lying down surrounded by swirling hair
Road artwork within the Psirri district of 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 all places!

Psirri, Monastiraki, Gazi, and Metaxourgio are among the finest districts to go road artwork looking. Higher nonetheless, take a guided tour with a neighborhood knowledgeable that will help you discover the perfect road artwork in Athens. I’d suggest considered one of these two:

5. Hunt for Bargains at Monastiraki Flea Market

Antiques on a stall at the Athens flea market, various items of bric a brac including a large copper diving helmet
Monastiraki Flea Market

Monastiraki is a historic neighbourhood near the Historical Agora identified for its quirky purchasing 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 little thing from damaged Barbies and surplus military gear to vintage furnishings and previous cash. There are sometimes road performers and busking musicians, too, giving Sunday mornings a celebration vibe!

Though the market is just held on Sundays, the entire space is full of vintage retailers and weird boutiques which can be open all week. So even when you’re not visiting Athens on the weekend, it’s nonetheless price exploring the Monastiraki Flea Market space for some window purchasing, 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 revolutionary 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 price visiting simply to discover the constructing itself – however this cultural hub can also be residence to a recent artwork gallery, a store selling native designers, and a vigorous courtyard cafe-bar.

7. Witness 4 Eras of Athens Historical past at Monastiraki Sq.

Large Ottoman mosque in Monastiraki square with yellow walls and a red tirled dowed roof, there are collonaded arches around the front section on the ground floor. Behind the church is a small rocky hill with the ancient ruins of the acropolis on top. unusual things to do in athens.

From Athens’ well-known Monastiraki Sq., you possibly can 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 ideal picture to summarise Athens, the place the layers of the town’s previous are chaotically intertwined creating a fancy, vibrant mishmash of various eras, architectures, and influences.

8. Take a Greek Meals Tour in Athens

man's hand holding a souvlaki or greek kebab, with meat wrapped in pita in a white paper wrap, in front of a view of the athens skyline

For my part, the easiest way 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 proper option to discover the native flavours (each actually and figuratively. There are some unbelievable meals excursions in Athens to select from – these are my high picks:

9. Uncover a Roman Tomb inside a Zara Retailer

Ruins of an old roman tomb with two arches made of stacked pieces of limestone

Head to the Zara retailer on Stadiou Road for a real hidden gem in Athens. On the basement stage, you possibly can see the ruins of an Historical Roman tomb!

These are protected by a glass wall, and have a glass ceiling so you possibly can 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 numerous traces of the previous buried beneath the trendy metropolis. It appears you possibly can’t begin digging within the centre of Athens with out discovering one thing, and lots of trendy buildings have needed to be distorted throughout constructing to protect the previous. This is only one of many examples: nevertheless it’s free and simple to go to so properly well worth the detour!

10. Swing by the Archaeological Website inside Monastiraki Metro Station

Main on from the above, there’s additionally a small archaeological web site contained in the Monastiraki Metro Station. A number of archaeological finds had been uncovered through 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 practice!

11. Spot Neo-Classical Structure on Panepistimiou Road

small white neoclassical style building with 6 pillars below a triangular shaped roof, there is a staircase in front and two tall white columns topped with gold statues on either side of the building
The Academy of Athens

Take a stroll alongside Panepistimiou Road, a significant road operating from Omonia Sq. to Syntagma Sq., to discover a treasure trove of neoclassical structure.

Essentially the most well-known buildings right here kind the so-called “Neoclassical Trilogy”: the Academy of Athens, the Nationwide and Kapodistrian College of Athens, and the Nationwide Library. These are thought-about three of the perfect items of structure within the metropolis and are completely gorgeous.

There are a number of extra buildings price noticing alongside Panepistimiou Road. Don’t miss the Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, in-built an elaborate Neo-Renaissance fashion.

The pink-bricked Athens Ofthamiatrio (Public Eye Hospital) has an fascinating historical past. Supposedly, it was constructed to deal with the large quantity of eye issues that sprang up within the nineteenth century, attributable to the mud from all of the constructing work as Athens was reworked 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

Top of an Ottoman church in Psirri district of Athens with grey walls and a circular top floor with red tiled roof against a clear blue sky

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 known 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.

Today, it’s considered one of Athens’ trendiest neighbourhoods; identified for its vigorous nightlife and nice foodie scene. There’s plenty of road artwork round, with work and murals tucked into nearly any accessible spot. Trendy tradition and hipster vibes blended right into a superbly vintage neighbourhood – what’s to not love?

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Psyri Neighborhood Graffiti Self-Guided Sport & Tour – from €10.99

13. Be taught Concerning the German Occupation at Korai 4

In more moderen 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 without doubt one of the extra uncommon issues to do in Athens, nevertheless it’s an enchanting and chilling perception right into a horrible chapter of the town’s historical past.

The slender, basement-level air-raid shelter – claustrophobic behind steel air-lock doorways – was transformed right into a “non permanent” subterranean jail. Short-term within the sense that the majority prisoners had been solely saved there for a matter of days earlier than being transported to a camp or executed.

Inside, you possibly can 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 Fashionable Gazi District

Black and white street art mural on the Athens gas factory with part of the chimney visible behind

Athens is consistently reinventing itself, and nowhere is that extra obvious than within the trendily grungy, industrial-chic district of Gazi.

The gasoline works that stood right here till 1989 as soon as pumped out a lot air pollution that the encircling space was often known as the “Gasoline District” (Gazi). At this time, the now-silent chimneys and the rusted skeleton of the previous gasoline holder nonetheless dominate the realm – however now they’ve been repurposed into Athens’ coolest nightlife district.

The previous gasoline drums have been transformed into eco-friendly workplaces, whereas the previous gasoline works now homes Technopolis, an industrial museum and a significant cultural venue. The encompassing streets are full of cafes, eating places, bars, and golf equipment – together with some unbelievable LGBTQ+ golf equipment – and the neighbourhood has turn into often known as among the best locations to celebration 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, yow will discover the oldest bar and distillery in Athens: Brettos. The distillery was based by Michail Brettos in 1909, who produced ouzo, brandy, and liqueurs based mostly on previous household recipes from Smyrni (modern-day Izmir in Turkey). You possibly can nonetheless pattern these identical liqueurs at present for an actual style of historical past!

Over a century previous, this atmospheric bar nonetheless seems virtually precisely because it did in the beginning of the twentieth century. The partitions behind the previous wood 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

long oval-shaped stadium built in ancient greek style with tiered marble seating around the outside and a running track inside

The Panathenaic Stadium is without doubt 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 web site and which hosted the Panathenaic Video games, a spiritual and athletic competition celebrated each 4 years in honour of the goddess Athena.

The stadium we see at present was reconstructed for the primary trendy Olympic Video games in 1896. It’s additionally the one stadium on the planet constructed fully of marble.

These in search of extra uncommon issues to do in Athens ought to try this distinctive Olympic Video games Exercise expertise (from €55pp). You’ll get the prospect to run across the stadium – in addition to attempt among the basic Olympic sports activities like javelin, shot put and discus.

17. Watch an Historical Greek Theater Efficiency

Deliver the tales and myths of Athens’ historical buildings to life with this distinctive expertise. In a rooftop theatre overlooking the Acropolis, you possibly can watch an excellent Historical Greek Theater Present.

Actors put on conventional costumes and use masks to depict completely different characters, precisely as they did in historical instances. The play, ‘Medea and Different Associates I Made in Athens’, is a humorous tackle the traditional Greek myths – so it’s an effective way to be taught just a little 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 out of doors cinema? In summertime, open-air cinemas are a BIG factor in Athens, with over 60 scattered throughout the town. Right here’s my decide of among the finest:

Aegli – the oldest open-air cinema within the metropolis, set throughout 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 evening.
Zefyros – historic, bohemian cinema showcasing basic & artsy movies.

19. Store with the Locals at Varvakios Market

Interior of Varvakios Central Market in Athens, a large hall with high cieling with green metal beams. On either side is a row of stalls with lit up glass fronts and vendors wearing white coats
Central Market in Athens

Varvakios Central Municipal Market is the most important and liveliest market in Athens, so it’s an ideal 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 ideal place to people-watch and pattern some native flavours. Be warned, although, the sections housing the meat and fish aren’t for the faint-hearted!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Half-Day Final Meals Strolling Tour – 4 hours, from €69pp

20. Discover the Seafront of the Athens Riviera

Aerial view of the a small bay with a beach and Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion at the edge of Attica, Greece, during summer sunset time
Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion

Athens could also be finest often known as a metropolis break vacation spot, however you can too have a seaside vacation right here!

If you wish to see one other very completely different facet of Athens, head south to the coastal space often known as the Athens Riviera. The riviera stretches round 60km from the swanky marina at Paleo Faliro to Cape Sounion. All alongside it, yow will discover stunning sandy seashores, bustling ports, posh “yachtie” haunts, and hidden coves.

Don’t miss the well-known Temple of Poseidon, the therapeutic mineral waters of Vouliagmeni Lake, or the wonderful seafood eating places round Piraeus.

21. Take a Greek Cooking Class

For an additional enjoyable and weird exercise in Athens, take into account taking a cooking class. It is a nice option to meet different travellers, uncover some scrumptious native meals – and possibly be taught just a little about Athenian tradition whilst you do it. Right here’s my decide of the perfect cooking courses in Athens:

Uncommon Issues to do in Athens: Quicklist and Map

Don’t have time to learn the entire submit above? Right here’s a fast checklist of the perfect uncommon issues to do in Athens – plus a helpful map that will help you navigate.

Don’t Miss the Historical Websites
Take a Strolling Tour with Various Athens
Watch the Altering of the Guards at Syntagma Sq.
Hunt down the Road 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 Website inside Monastiraki Metro Station
Spot Neo-Classical Structure on Panepistimo Road
Spot Road Artwork and Ottoman Structure in Psirri District
Be taught Concerning the German Occupation at Korai 4
Dive Into the Fashionable 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

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Are you aware any extra hidden gems or uncommon issues to do in Athens? Scroll right down to share your high ideas within the feedback!

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