Visiting Athens: Everything You Need To Know

visiting Athens

Thinking about visiting Athens?

That’s a great idea!

The capital of Greece is one of the most unique places in the world.

There is so much Ancient Greek history packed into one spot. Athens has so much to offer for the first time visitor!

If you plan on visiting Athens in the future…

This post is for you!

In this post, we’re going to go over:

  • Getting Around Athens
  • Top Things To Do In Athens
  • Where To Stay When Visiting Athens
  • Best Time Of Year To Visit Athens

If visiting Athens is a totally new concept to you…

Then this guide is a great start!

Continue reading below!

Getting Around Athens

Currency

Athens currently uses the Euro as its form of currency. Make sure you know the exchange rate while planning your trip.

Flying Into Athens Airports?

Athens International Airport is about a 45 – 60-minute drive away from downtown Athens. However, daily traffic in and out of Athens can make the trip to the airport take even longer.

Once you arrive at the airport, plan on taking a bus or a taxi into the city ( taking a bus will be the cheapest option).

Getting Around Athens

The Metro is your best bet for getting around Athens for the least amount of hassle. The Metro can get you anywhere you want in town for an affordable. The metro runs from 5:30 AM until midnight every day of the week. The lines run until 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

Getting around on foot is your next best option. Once you’re in the city center, most of the popular attractions are within walking distance. So get ready to walk a lot! It’s one of your most efficient options.

We recommend avoiding buses and taxis. It’s confusing to figure out the correct bus route for your destination and a mistake might end up costing you more. Taxis are hard to come by and a much more expensive option for transportation.

The Tram is another option that connects the city to the coast. The tram is a much slower way of getting around. But you will get to see some pretty sights along the route.

 

Top Things To Do In Athens

Parthenon

The Parthenon is a prime example of ancient Greek architecture. It once was the Treasury and was a Christian Church.

There are many striking columns on the outside and inside of the structure. You’ll also see many statues from Greek Battles. One of the more popular statues is a gold and silver statue of Athena in full armor.

We recommend taking a tour to learn more about the history of the building.

Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to enter the building because of its fragility. But we still think a tour is worth it!

It’s constantly in a state of renovation due to its age. Make sure you check to see if it is going to be open before you go!

Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora is a part of Athens that people once assembled for military or political events. Once considered the center of Athens, the square has plenty of history to marvel at.

It has ancient buildings, monuments, and old roadways. Even the great philosopher Socrates gave lectures audiences here.

One of the most notable structures is the Altar of Twelve Gods sanctuary. You should also check out the Tholos. The Tholos is a circular building where the government met and old laws used to pass.

You can tour ancient Agora and get tickets to other attraction in Athens nearby.

Important: The walkways consists of gravel. Make sure you bring good walking shoes when you tour!

Plaka

Plaka is a residential neighborhood in Athens. It’s a nice spot to visit during the day for a few hours when visiting the city.

It has many restaurant and cafes for tourists to dine at. After your done eating, you can take a look at all the retail shops that sell jewelry and clothing.

The shops offer souvenirs and handcrafted items.

Plaka is conveniently located near the metro stations for travel. But you’ll need to be up for walking because cars are not allowed in the neighborhood.

Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is home to some of the best archeological findings in the city.

It has many historical statues and artifacts. The displays are well designed and the glass floor lets you see what Greek ruins once looked like.

Some of the displays include:

  • ancient temples
  • the Hekatompedon
  • Gallery of Slopes of Acropolis

The museum has a cafe, restaurant, and gift a shop. It also has educational programs for children and teachers.

Erechtheion

Erechtheion is an old temple where the Ancient Greeks used to worship Greek Gods.

The building itself contains marble and grey stone. The statue details are striking and resemble the original ones.

Tour this restored Greek temple as part of a combination tour with other historical sites.

Acropolis

The Acropolis is an ancient site built into a flat-topped rock that has many ancient buildings and statues well known in Athens.

Many tourists enjoy hiking to see the buildings and ruins. It has a gift shop and refreshment booths.

The best way to reach it is taking a bus or the train.

Herod Atticus Odeon

Herod Atticus Odeon is a large outdoor arena that has held many outdoor events and music festivals. Today, it still hosts many special art and music festivals.

If you have a chance to catch an event that takes place here…

YOU SHOULD GO!

The steps are steep so wear comfortable shoes when you visit the arena.

Purchase a combined ticket to save money when touring.

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus used to be a Christian church but has since undergone restoration and converted into a museum.

It opened in the late 1930’s to the public. It can be only toured from outside.

But the outside still has several Greek columns and intricate carvings for tourist to view.

Try visiting the site early morning when temperatures are cool.

Where To Stay When Visiting Athens?

Plaka

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens is Plaka. It has many fine shops, restaurants, and cafes.

The area features several jewelry stores and art galleries to browse in. It also has the Greek Folk Art Museum and Music Museum.

The Cine Paris is one of the best outdoor movie theaters in this neighborhoods.

Other attractions are the Towers of the Winds, They have hotels and guest house for those that have a tight budget.

Makrianna

The neighborhood of Makrianna hosts the Acropolis Museum, small shops, and specialty restaurants. Many artisans have shops that make handcrafted goods.

It has many cafes and bars to stop for entertainment and refreshment. Most hotels are  4 stars and 5-star rating with many amenities.

Thission

Thission is an area with an active nightlife. Many young people like to stay here when visiting Athens. It has handcrafted items and a local cinema open in the warmer months.

The Melina Mercouri Cultural Center is a museum and art museum. This neighborhood has 2 and 3-star hotels.

Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square is an area with a lot of attractions near the Syntagma Metro station. It is the central location of Athens.

Here you can take the trolley to many attractions in Athens.

Some of the attractions include:

  • National Archaeological Museum
  • Parliament Building
  • Beaches
  • Flea Markets
  • National Gardens

Monastiraki

Monastiraki is an area of Athens that is like a large bazaar most of the week. The stores sell clothing, jewelry, antiques, and crafts.

Mixed in with all the shops are restaurants, cafes, and galleries.

Best Time to Visit Athens

If you want to save money on your trip, the best time to travel to Athens is during the winter months of January and February.

Since it’s less crowded, airfare is less expensive and hotels rates are lower. The only downsides are it’s much colder and some major attractions are not open as long.

September and October are good months to enjoy the cooler weather and many festivals.

During the spring, the weather warms up and it’s busier. May is a good time to go because all the attractions are open and it’s still not peak tourist season.

The busiest season is June through August. This time of year brings the warmest temperatures and highest travel prices for tourists. We personally don’t enjoy visiting Athens this time of year. It gets pretty hot out and very crowded. But if you’re bringing the kids it might be your only option.

Conclusion

That’s it! Hopefully, this guide taught you some new things about Athens.

If you do decide to go…

You’ll have a great time visiting Athens! It’s a once in a lifetime experience!

Need more tips for traveling to Europe? Check out this post here!

Have you ever visited Athens?

How was it?

Tell us about it in the Comment Section!

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