Top 10 Things To Do in Athens Greece
A town rich in history and monuments, an Athens Greece vacation can be a learning experience or a pleasurable getaway. Athens, Greece, accessible by foot, car, or public transport is a great town to visit many sites. With the variety of things to do in Athens, you are never far from nightlife, restaurants or cultural events.
1. The Acropolis – From the heights of this monument that was home to the statue of Athena, the breathtaking view is reason enough to make the climb up the stone steps. The Acropolis is part of the historical Athens tourist attractions. The term, Acropolis, means upper city. This upper city built before 5th century BC is now part of the beautiful ruins of the Ancient Greece. Warning: It is best to visit this historic monument late or early in the day (climbing in the heat is not advisable).
2. Theater Museum – A trip to Athens, Greece would not be complete without a tribute to the theatrics of the Greeks. Known for their performances on the steps of now-historical buildings, these ancient plays and costume are now captured in this museum. The origins of western theater can be traced all the way to ancient Greece. In an effort to educate on the region’s integral part to developing the art form, the Greek Theatre Writers Society founded the Athens Theater Museum. Athens’ notable performances and performers are catalogued in displays designed to look like dressing rooms. The museum has a fascinating collection of photographs, masks, playbooks, and props from performances dating back to the early 1800’s; along with gorgeous posters and costumes. This easy to miss gem is among things to do in Athens interested in Greece’s history while still avoiding tourist crowds. With free admission, it is a hard deal to beat.
3. Frissiras Museum of Contemporary Greek and European Painting – With ancient culture and history such a cornerstone of Greek tourist attractions, it can be more difficult to find things to do in Athens focused on contemporary art. The Frissiras Museum, Athens, located in the Plaka district, is a museum dedicated to European and Greek contemporary artists. The collections and exhibits housed focus on the human figure as it appears in post-World War II works—such “andocentric” pieces often overlooked in modern fine art galleries or contemporary art museums. Provocative artwork in two and three dimensions makes up the two thousand pieces in the two buildings that form the museum. This collection is perfect for an afternoon of the artistic things to do in Athens. The museum has private collections, drawings, and art exhibits year round. The art museum is also in two neo-classical buildings, which adds to the architecture and artistic atmosphere.
4. Athens Zoo – The zoo is an ideal Athens attractions for kids. Home to the world’s second largest bird collection and a host of exotic animals, this zoo is unique in their “up-close” attitude. Still relatively new on the list of things to do in Athens is the Athens Zoo, having been built in only 2000. This privately owned zoo is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and conforms to all standards as such. However, the Athens Zoo is unique from other zoos in that many areas of the park are laid out with protected walk paths directly through the enclosures, allowing visitors to get closer to many species of wild animal than ever before. Some of the cages are open and front and center, giving visitors an opportunity to get better photographs or pet some of the animals. The zoo holds over two thousand birds from three hundred twenty species, and other wild life such as bears, big cats, and primates.
5. Athens Planetarium – The planetarium of Athens is one of the best digital planetariums in the world. Reasonably priced showings that occur multiple times a day makes this cinema easy to plan other Athens things to do around a magnificent digital show. Since its renovation in 2003, the Athens Planetarium is now a fully digital, state of the art facility—the largest of its kind in the world. The main theater can seat two hundred eighty, and each seat has personal controls that allow the occupant to comfortable adjust their view of the nearly one thousand square meter screen. In brilliant, three dimensional projections, the real-time night sky lights up the planetarium, and the audience can even participate in some aspects of the presentation. Up and coming plans for the planetarium include digital IMAX and OMNIMAX movie showings; at ten times the size of a regular theater display, this will make it one of the things to do in Athens that is truly unlike any other experience.
6. Kerameikos – The Kerameikos archaeological site is a getaway from the crowds of the Acropolis. This ancient cemetery of Athens is located in downtown Athens on the northwest corner of the city. Following Ermou Street down from the Monastiraki train station is the oldest of the things to do in Athens from its history, the Kerameikos necropolis. Kerameikos was named in honor of the son Dionysios and Ariadne, Keramos—patron hero of potters, the source of the word “ceramic.” The necropolis was in use from the twelfth century B.C. until the late Roman era. Start at the Kerameikos Museum at its entrance and learn more of its history, and see collections of well preserved pottery. In Kerameikos itself you can pass the ruins of the original gates of ancient Athens, and view impressive statuary and burial sites from its thousands-year history. This serene, beautiful area is a unique visit for even the Athens local.
7. Psiri – For those seeking a truly authentic experience there are several neighborhoods with things to do in Athens, however recently the trendier of these is Psiri. Athens crime lords once gave Psiri its reputation, but over the years the neighborhood cleaned up and is now a hot spot for up and coming night clubs and fashionable shopping. Art galleries, handmade craft stores, and other specialty stores line the streets, and at night the wine bars and clubs spring to life. The area is not overrun with tourists, so you can be assured that the resident nightlife is a genuine Athens crowd partying exactly as genuine Greeks do. During the day, it is a craftsmen’s paradise, but if you are looking things to do in Athens at night, visit Psiri after dark. Described as a “mecca of cafés, bars and restaurants”, it is described as an atmosphere that is similar to New York’s Soho. The area is also patrolled by law enforcement to ensure security while enjoying the nightlife.
8. Byzantino Jewelry – A deep, loving admiration for history and tradition drives the artisans of Byzantino Jewelry. The three shops in Athens have become one of the most highly rated things to do in Athens because of a dedication to artistry that is rare in even fine jewelry making. The original owners sought to produce jewelry as their ancestors did, making all of their replicas of ancient Grecian treasures by hand. This spirit is with them after nearly thirty years, and now encompasses three shops: Byzantino Jewelry’s original shop in Plaka, a second Plaka location named Olympica, and another Byzantino Jewelry off of Pandrossou St. An array of handmade jewelry is the best Athens has to offer. This dealer offers a wide variety that fits anyone’s price range. Being located in the Plaka of Greece, it is near other sightseeings which is perfect for the shopping traveler.
9. Hani Restaurant – This restaurant has been transformed from a tacky tourist trap to a hub of travelers and Greek natives. Chefs working at the Vyzantino Taverna in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens branched off to create their own tavern, the Hani Restaurant. The surrounding area is full of restaurants that cater specifically to tourists, but for a more authentic dining experience the Hani is an excellent choice. The tavern is situated on Adrianou Street, surrounded by other things to do in Athens unique to the Plaka district—such as wine bars, shopping, and clubs. At the Hani choose from flavorful seafood, savory roasts, and fresh salads and oven roasted vegetables. The courteous staff is fluent in English, making an authentic experience an easy one. Live music plus a fabulous garden makes this eatery a pleasant atmosphere perfect for enjoying their meats, fresh fish, and grilled vegetables. After taking a break from Athens sightseeing, this is a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat.
10. Sofitel Athens Airport – One of the Athens airport hotels that is rated a five star stay is the Sofitel Athens Airport. Flying in and out of the Athens airport is made easy by this quick commute. A ride down the underground directly from the Athens airport leads to the Sofitel Athens Airport, one of Athens’ most luxurious hotels. The close proximity to the airport puts Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel within fifteen to twenty minutes away from the best things to do in Athens at the heart of the city. During your stay you can enjoy the best in modern, stylish rooms with the best in amenities; and take advantage of the Sofitel’s full spa, indoor, heated pool, and fitness center. Also on site are fine selections at the Artemis bar, and the two restaurants: the Mediterranean inspired Karavi and Mesoghaia.