Athens Travel Guide

" Everything you need to know before traveling to Athens"

Athens is one of the oldest Greek cities in Attica and the Capital of contemporary Greece. This ancient city is also extremely rich in history and has been settled for more than 3000 years. Evidently, due to its unique location, this city and the entire nation have had a significant role in the entire world’s history. As such, it is called the Birthplace of Democracy and also the Cradle of Western Civilization. 

The economic system, as well as the political structure of ancient Greek and Athens, have also been one to learn from. But because of the turn of events, it never became like the Roman Empire.

Still, Athens is a very educational trip into history that is filled with knowledge and historic sites. Among the highlight, it is also worth discovering the beautiful aspects of some Greece philosophy and learn from Plato, Aristotle, and Lyceum. 

This city is a beautiful destination with structures of all corners of its history. The architecture of both old and new monuments and buildings is marvelous, filled with the amazing art of this country. If you cherish beauty, lore, history, and a classic vibe in a traveling destination, you will feel at home in Athens. 

 
  • Local Name Αθήνα (/ˈæθɪnz/ Athens)
  • Country Greece
  • Population (2012) 3,100,500
  • Time Zone UTC+2 (EET)
  • Area Code 21
  • Website www.cityofathens.gr

Why Visiting Athens?

All of Greece is ancient, but Athens alone has more than 3000 years’ worth of history. And it is not just the history of the Greek alone, from east to west of the planet has been affected by this nation. During their best times, they have also had a great deal of democracy and philosophy to teach the rest of the world.

These numerous events during the centuries have also left behind marvelous buildings for the later generations. Some of them are the massive stone structures, stadiums, and temples they have left behind. The rest are the contemporary museums and art galleries that were constructed in the modern age.

Sadly, not all of their heritage is still standing, but these fallen and ruined sites have become touristic highlights in the form of archeological sites. Athens gets its fair share of visitors who come to admire just what has left of all those years ago.

So far, it was all just heritage, art, and philosophy, but Athens is also an extremely beautiful city. Both the old and new architecture have made the city into a cute and pretty place to explore. It does not matter how old the travelers are or how large their groups are; it is an enjoyable city for all. But perhaps it is most beautiful for couples.

What can make this place more amazing is the weather and vibe of the city. Going to a rooftop bar or restaurant during sundown or visiting a site during sunrise is a memorable one in a city full of discoveries. 

The capital of Greece is also a good place to spend some time on the beach. It is not the ideal beach destination, but in terms of beauty, it does not lack in any way. More than that, there are small islands to visit with boats.

Moving away from the city does not mean you will have fewer places to visit, as there are always numerous options to enjoy. But it is better to stick to the central areas where you can also enjoy the rich culture of the locals. The markets are a good place to spend some time shopping and meeting the people of the capital.

Athens is a place to explore and go on trips all day. It does not matter if the place you are visiting is ancient or new. What you should consider is that it is a city to see both during the day and night. The nightlife of the capital is also one of the reasons, so many travelers come to visit.

 

Last but not least, it is also an affordable destination, meaning you will be easily able to go on a budget experience or a luxurious one.

Athens Tours

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What to See in Athens

  • Acropolis Museum
  • Acropolis of Athens
  • Adrianou
  • Allou! Fun Park
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Antonis Tritsis Metropolitan Park
  • Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
  • Archaeological Museum of Piraeus
  • Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  • Areopagus
  • Areopagus – Hill
  • Athens Concert Hall
  • Athens War Museum
  • Benaki Museum
  • Benaki Museum – PIREOS 138
  • Byzantine And Christian Museum
  • Byzantine Monastery of Daphni
  • Cathedral Church of Athens
  • Central Municipal Athens Market
  • Cephissus
  • Choragic Monument of Lysicrates
  • Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • Church of the Holy Apostles
  • Church of Virgin Mary Gorgoepekoos and Saint Eleutherius (12th c.)
  • Epigraphic Museum
  • Erechtheion
  • Filopappou Hill
  • First Cemetery of Athens
  • Frissiras Museum
  • Goulandris Museum
  • Goulandris Natural History Museum
  • Hadrian’s Arch
  • Hadrian’s Library
  • Hekatompedon Temple
  • Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center (Museum & Theater complex)
  • Hellenic Maritime Museum
  • Hellenic Motor Museum
  • Herakleidon Museum 
  • Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes
  • Hymettus
  • Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum
  • Industrial Gas Museum
  • Kotzia Square
  • Little Kook
  • Lycabettus Hill – Τελεφερίκ Λυκαβηττού
  • Lyceum of Aristotle
  • Marina Zeas
  • Monastery of Kaisariani
  • Monastiraki Flea Market
  • Monument of Philopappos
  • Monument of the Unknown Soldier
  • Mount Lycabettus
  • Municipal Gallery of Athens
  • Museum of Ancient Greek Technology 
  • Museum of Cycladic Art
  • Museum of Greek  Musical Instruments
  • Museum of Illusions Athens – Greece
  • Museum of Islamic Art
  • Museum of Modern Greek Culture
  • Museum of the City of Athens 
  • Museum Ship Averof
  • National Archaeological Museum
  • National Art Gallery
  • National Garden
  • National Historical Museum
  • National Library of Greece
  • National Observatory of Athens
  • Numismatic Museum of Athens
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  • Old Parliament
  • Omonia Square
  • Onassis Stegi
  • Panathenaic Stadium
  • Parthenon
  • Piraeus Harbour
  • Plaza built over ancient excavations
  • Pnyx
  • Presidential Palace
  • Propylaea
  • Roman Agora of Athens
  • Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia
  • Statue of Athena
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
  • Stavros Niarchos Park
  • Stoa of Attalos
  • Stoa Poikile (Painted Porch)
  • Syntagma Square
  • Technopolis
  • Temple of Athena Nike
  • Temple of Hephaestus
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • The Jewish Museum of Greece
  • The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum
  • Theatre of Dionysus
  • Tzisdarakis Mosque
  • Varvakios Central Municipal Market
  • Zappeion
  • Εθνικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης (ΕΜΣΤ)
  • Μεγάλος Περίπατος

Best Time to Visit Athens

The peak season of Athens is from June to September or Summer, but this time of the year is not the most recommended. Most people travel during summer because the schools are out and it is the best time for a vacation, but unless you want to spend the whole time on the beach, it is not suitable for other activities. Ideally, it is better to travel during Spring from March to May, especially during April. This time of year has cooler air and better prices in some places, making it more recommendable.

Spring (March-May)

  • Temperature: 6.7°C (44.1°F) – 26°C (78.8°F)
  • Features: Spring in Athens is cool and a little wet, but this time of the year is ideal for some exploration and sightseeing. It is basically the shoulder season in the capital, which means much better prices in everything. The weather patterns do not shift, and checking the forecast will always help. 
  • Recommendation: It might not be
    suitable to go to the beach or visit the colder part of the city. But if the weather suits you, it is the ideal time of the year for all activities. Budget travelers will especially have a good time during Spring. 

What to wear?

The only thing to fight off is the wind during these months. The rain will not be bothersome, and the heat of the days will not get high. The cold weather, however, can become problematic at times. So, it would be wise to bring something like a jacket or more if your trip begins in March. The more you go towards April, the warmer and better it gets. 

Summer (June – August)

  • Temperature: 18.2°C (64.76°F) – 33.5°C (92.3°F)
  • Features: Hot and crowded are the main features of Summer in Athens. Humidity will not be a problem, but the sun might give you trouble. The temperature can rise higher than expected but what is worse than that is seeing a large number of other travelers. It is also possible that the locals leave for colder areas of Greece, leaving certain shops and public places closed.
  • Recommendation: The most recommended thing to do in Summer is to stick to the beach and surrounding islands. Roof bars, restaurants, and cafés are great places to spend some time, and the nightlife is very enjoyable. The historic sites might be a little too hot during this time, but nothing that will stop you from visiting. Look for some of the fun national events of Greece in Athens. 

What to wear?

Something cool along with sunglasses and sunscreen. There will be no bothersome winds and as little rain as possible. You can wear anything you like that will keep you cool. 

Autumn (September – November)

  • Temperature: 9.8°C (49.64°F) – 29.2°C (84.56°F)
  • Features: Autumn in the capital is just like Spring, only warmer. The weather is more pleasant, but this suitable air will not last for longer than September. The humidity and rain will also increase significantly. But on the other hand, the offers on hotels and other places will be very good. Almost all other travelers are returning to their homes as well.
  • Recommendation: Ideal for all activities. The coast gets a little cold as Winter approaches, but it is still enjoyable. The best options are visiting the highlights, shopping, and sampling the cuisine. There are some fun events during Autumn which are enjoyable along with clubbing and exploring the city.

What to wear?

Warm clothing is always suggested even if you are traveling during the warmer period of Autumn. Rain is also a possibility in Athens, but checking the forecast can help a lot in this matter. It will not get very cold, pack some light yet warm jackets. 

5.2°C (41.36°F) – 14.1°C (57.38°F)

  • Temperature: 15 °C (59°F) – 14°C (57°F)
  • Features: Cold and very wet. Traveling at this time is cheapest but planning a trip gets difficult. The rain and humidity will not allow you to have the best experience, but some indoor activities remain. If you like the cold and the constant possibility of rain at any given time, Winter is ideal. But also note that there will be hours of sunshine on many of the days in these months. You will get the best prices and offers during these days.
  • Recommendation: Museums and all other indoor places are the most suitable areas in Athens. Restaurants, cafés, and clubs will be great when the weather is not suitable, but the sites are also worth a visit. You will need to check the forecast every day and plan as it goes. Just expect to be indoors and away from the beach most of the time

What to wear?

Warm clothing. Sleeved shirts, jackets, and more as it gets colder in Winter. More than that, it is recommended to have an umbrella at all times. The sunshine will not be a problem, and there will not be a lot of rain, but humidity and cold are always present. 

How Long To Stay?

A minimum of two days can be enough to visit the must-see areas and do it quickly. You can also have some of the recommended dishes of the capital during this time. The recommended amount of time for staying in Athens would a six to seven days. This way you can enjoy all the top things of this ancient city, visit its historic sites and perhaps spend some time on the beach and the islands.

Things to do in Athens

Athens is an ancient and historic city and part of a grand civilization. Some of the key parts of traveling to Athens can be its history and rich heritage. But more than that, it is a place to enjoy yourself at the beach or in the roof bars. The options for having fun are numerous, but it is much more recommended to learn their history culture before just heading out to have some fun. And when it is time for fun, be careful as it is very easy to overdo it in Athens.

Start Your Journey in Athens with The Acropolis

The number one attraction and highlight of Athens is its Acropolis of its ancient civilization. You should walk up the hill, which used to be fortified and protected and surrounded by numerous other structures. The number one on the list of things to do in Athens is always visiting the Acropolis that has existed for more than 2500 years. The Acropolis is the birthplace of democracy and an important location where philosophers stood and gave speeches. The Acropolis is also a magnificent structure that has stood all of these centuries, still showing some glory of its ancient history. You can get a beautiful view of the area from atop the hill, and if you have the time, you can get a ticket to visit all the other highlights near the Acropolis as well. 

Have a Relaxing Time in the National Garden and the Zappeion Park

The National Garden and the Zappeion Park of Athens make for the largest green and natural area inside the city. This peaceful place is full of life and even has some animals, right in the center of the capital of Greece. Going to the National Garden is a must, as it is a quiet and cool place to rest and relax. Besides the beauty of the National Garden and the Zappeion Park, the location is also near several highlights near the heart of the city. But the best thing about it is that despite being in the middle of a noisy and busy city, it feels nothing like that. It is as if you are away from the stones of the old and modern era in the National Garden.

See the Remains of Centuries of History in Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora in Athens is another historic site of Greece, and it is not very far from the Acropolis. The Ancient Agora is also known as the “Ancient Marketplace,” or, in other words, a place of public gatherings and trade. The Ancient Agora may not seem as glorious as it did thousands of years ago, but it does have enough to show the foundations of a great market. This archeological site in the capital used to be a central location of the city. It has also served for more important meetings as well as day-to-day shopping. You might want to dedicate one or two hours’ worth of exploration to see all of the remains of this place.

Visit the Panathenaic Stadium During One of Its Events

Panathenaic Stadium used to be a place for numerous significant events and the most important contests of ancient Greece. The Panathenaic Stadium was constructed in 335 BC and during the time of Herodes Atticus as one of the largest structures of Athens, with a capacity of more than 60,000 visitors. Later on, it was upgraded with marble stones and with increased capacity. Keep in mind that what you see today is not the same building. The Panathenaic Stadium of today is a reconstruction of the original, that was to replicate the real one for the 19th century Olympic Games. Nonetheless, it is a marvelous structure, a great replica of an original and glorious place in Athens that still holds numerous events.

Walk Around the Old and Beautiful Plaka Neighborhood

Plaka Neighborhood is an old part of Athens that is known to be the oldest continually inhabited area of the city. It is also an important part of the city as it sits below the Acropolis. Plaka Neighborhood is not exactly the same as it used to be in its ancient times, except for still having narrow streets and alleys with small shops. The best of the Plaka Neighborhood is the calm and quiet as you explore its streets and discover the old churches. It is the best chance to take pictures as the structure, and everything in the Plaka Neighborhood look as amazing and cute as it gets. And while exploring, it is good to try some street food in the Plaka Neighborhood.

Explore the Busy Streets of Monastiraki Neighbourhood

Monastiraki is the heart of Athens, filled with shops and highlights of the city all in one place. It is not far from the Acropolis, near the Hadrian’s Library, and has the Monastiraki Flea Market. As one of the busiest places in the capital, it is one that should be explored. Monastiraki has several amazing things to discover, but the best of all of them is the rooftop bars and restaurants. As for access, it is best to stick to the metro, as the above-ground routes will be heavily crowded in the Monastiraki district.

Climb to the top of Mount Lycabettus

One of the fun things to do in Athens is to climb Mount Lycabettus to get a 360° view of the entire city. With a nearly 280 meters height, the climb will not be difficult, but if you think you do not have the energy or the time to spend on the path, take the Mount Lycabettus cable car to the top. Going to Mount Lycabettus is a recommended activity as the view of the city from the top is something you cannot get anywhere else. It is the best place to catch a sunset with one of the best outdoor activities.

Discover the Roman Agora Right Next to the Ancient Agora

The Roman Agora was constructed like the Ancient Agora of Athens. And it was placed near the exact same spot, to replace the old center of the city. There are several key highlights of the city in this large marketplace of the ancient time that were constructed in the final years of the first century B.C. Even some buildings of the Roman Agora were built in the ancient Agora, but the difference and the Roman influence are visible. The Gate of Athena and the Tower of the Winds are two of the most iconic monuments in the Roman Agora that must be seen in a visit to Athens.

Educate Yourself in the Vast History of Greece at The Acropolis museum

The Acropolis Museum is one of the most important structures of Athens to explore, holding its rich and ancient history. The Acropolis Museum holds several thousand years of history in an area of 14,000 square meters of exhibition. The collection in the Acropolis Museum is one of the most complete and valuable collections of Greek history, art, and culture. It is one of the popular attractions of Greece and a top place to visit in Athens. This is because the Acropolis Museum holds valuable insights into this civilization and its history. It would even be a good idea to visit the Acropolis Museum first and before all the historic sites to get an education of their history before actually going to each site.

Where to Stay in Athens

Gazi Area for Budget Travelers

Gazi is a cheaper alternative in Athens, which is not bad and not far from the attraction of the city. It is well connected, besides having better prices with a hippie-like vibe. There are bars and restaurants to go to, which are also nice, but the downside is that it can get loud at night.

Kolonaki Area for Luxury and High-End places

Kolonaki costs more than the ordinary places around Greece, but it is comfortable and suitable for families as well. The best and safest area of the city for tourists and it is close to museums. Another good thing about Kolonaki is the clean and green streets, but they can sometimes get too expensive.

Psyri for the Nightlife

The night never ends in Psyri as people are always having fun. This part of town is the most entertaining, but it is not near any of the other highlights. But it has and easy access to the metro and getting to the airport is easiest from here. Plan to stay awake all night, as most of the bars and clubs in Psyri will be too loud to let you sleep!

Plaka and Syntagma for First Timers

The two neighborhoods of Plaka and Syntagma are the best places to stay for people visiting Athens for the first time as they are full of sites to visit. Plaka is basically below the Acropolis, and all around its pedestrian streets are full of other highlights. The same goes for Syntagma, but this neighborhood is not as old as Plaka. Syntagma is mostly a place full of life and energy, best suited for those who want to start with the museums of Greece before the sites.

How to Get to Athens

By Plane

The newly constructed Eleftherios Venizelos, which is designed by a German construction company, is currently one of the best airports in Europe. It has a bus station along with a metro station that enables easy access to the city. You can take a flight to Greece from almost all the countries. Some of the airlines and countries with flights to Eleftherios Venizelos are as follows:

  • Aer Lingus (Dublin)
  • Aeroflot (Moscow)
  • Aerosvit Airlines (Kiev, Odessa)
  • Air Baltic (Riga)
  • Air Berlin (Munich, Leipzig, Nuremberg)
  • Air China (Dubai, Beijing)
  • Air Europa (Barcelona) 
  • Air France (Paris / CDG / ORY) 
  • Air Malta (Malta) 
  • Air Moldova (Kisinevo) 
  • Air One (Milan / MXP, Bologna, Naples, Rome) 
  • Air Transat (Montreal, Toronto) 
  • Albanian Airlines (Tirana) 
  • Alitalia (Rome) 
  • Armavia (Erivan) 
  • Austrian Airlines (Vienna) 
  • Blue1 (Helsinki) 
  • British Airways (London / LHR) 
  • Brussels Airlines (Brussels) 
  • Bulgaria Air (Sofia) 
  • Carpatair (Timisoara) 
  • Centralwings (Krakow) 
  • Clickair (Barcelona) 
  • Continental Airlines (New York / EWR) 
  • CSA Czech Airlines (Prague) 
  • Cyprus Airways (Larnaca, Paphos) 
  • Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, New York -JFK) 
  • Donbassaero Airlines (Lvof, Donetsk) 
  • EasyJet (Berlin, London Luton, London Gatwick, Milan, Paris) 
  • Easyjet-Switzerland (Paris / ORY) 
  • Egyptair (Cairo) 
  • El Al (Tel Aviv) 
  • Emirates (Dubai) 
  • Georgian Airways (Tbilisi) 
  • Germanwings (Cologne, Stuttgart) 
  • Gulf Air (Bahrain) 
  • Iberia (Madrid) 
  • Ilyich Avia (Mariupol) 
  • Jat Airways (Belgrade) 
  • Jetairfly (Brussels) 
  • KLM (Amsterdam) 
  • Kras Air (Moscow) 
  • LOT Polish (Warsaw) 
  • Lufthansa (Munich, Frankfurt) 
  • MALEV Hungarian Airlines (Budapest) 
  • MEA Middle East Airlines (Beirut) 
  • MyAir (Bari) 
  • Norwegian (Warsaw, Oslo) 
  • Olympic Airlines (Athens)
  • Finnair (Helsinki) 

By Train

Getting to Athens by train is a little complicated. If you are already in Greece, the OSE (Organismos Sidirodromon Ellados) at www.trainose.gr can help you find a train to the capital with ease. If you are not in Greece, you can only travel from Western Balkan countries and Bulgaria via train. 

Car

Road access to Greece and Athens will not give you a hard time for except maybe a driver’s license. Alternatively, you can take a bus to see the country and visit this city. In case you are in a car (rental or your own) keep in mind that you might need a local driving license. E.U. Member-State citizens can drive in Greece in case they have an international license. Otherwise, you will have to get a local one. 

Ship

Going by sea is always possible to arrive directly at the capital, but it has some limitations. There are only a few countries with ferries to this destination, such as Turkey, Albania, Italy, and Croatia. There are some cruises from the USA as well, but they are not cheap nor regular. 

Get Around In Athens

Metro

There are three lines in the Athens metro system. Line one is the oldest and slowest, with cars running every 30 minutes, taking you from Piraeus and Kifissia. If you look at a map of the metro system in the capital, this line is shown in green.

Line two, shown in Red, was operational since 2000, and it connects the northwest (Anthoupoli) to the southeast (Elliniko). Line three, shown in Blue, also began in 2000 and connects the west to the east and the airport.

To use the metro, you will need a ticket at the price of about $1.50 per person. Alternatively, you can purchase a three-day tourist ticket at about $25 and use it at all times in any metro or bus station around the city. These tickets are only valid for the duration of their use and expire after that (the $1.50 is only valid for 90 minutes).

Bus and Trolley

With the same tickets as above, you can get a bus ride or trolley ride across the city. The only difficulty here is that some of the stations and stops are not very visible, and therefore, you have to ask around. Trolleys do not have this drawback as they use yellow signs that are visible from a distance.

Suburban Railway

The options are very limited with the Suburban Railway as it can just take you from the airport to the central areas of the city. After that it can stop near the archeological sites but nothing more.

Tram

The tram is the faster and cheaper alternative to most of the transports with three lines. Line 1 “Syntagma – SEF” runs through the downtown areas while Line 2 “Syntagma – Voula” connects the center to Voula. There is also Line 3 “Voula – SEF” which is known to be the most scenic one, running along the coast.

Taxis

Finding an empty taxi in Athens can be a challenge, but they are usually fast and experienced if you find one. They can take you from the best ways to reach your destination, but sometimes, a few of them can get a little tempted to charge extra. Just make sure the meter is working and on. Otherwise, it is better to find another ride. The prices for fares are fixed and should not be doubled until midnight, so keep that in mind before agreeing to the price before 00:00 no matter how late it gets.

On Foot

Last and perhaps the best way to get around. Walking around Athens is the best way to see the city and get to a destination. This way you can see the beauties of the city, travel in the narrow streets where no stations or cars can go, and you do not have to pay for it. The ways are not confusing, and there are always locals willing to show you the path. That is, of course, in case your google maps is not working.

Flight to Athens (ATH)

Athens Food & Drink

The food in the capital of Greece is something that is both new, and at the same time very old. The recipes of some of these exotic dishes have existed for thousands of years in Athens. The best thing to do is to explore their cuisine and give everything a try. Being in one of the most important cities of this ancient civilization and its contemporary time means you have a lot of exploration on your hands.

Gyro or Gyros (Street Food)

If you like meat and sandwiches, then you will love the Gyro or Gyros of Athens. First of all, it is a popular street food all over the world, chances are, you have already had some Gyros. Second, Gyros have similarities with kebabs and Souvlaki of Greece, but they are also a whole new world. They can be made with pork, chicken, lamb, and beef that is roasted on a vertical skewer. Then the meat is sliced and placed in pita bread along with vegetables, tzatziki (a sauce to die for), and some fries. Gyros is not a national dish or anything, but the version found in the streets of the capital is one of a kind.

Saganaki (Fried Cheese)

Saganaki is the best appetizer to have before any of the meals in Athens. It is nothing more than fried cheese and perhaps a few drops of lemon. There is alternatively the grilled version of Saganaki which is also good. The name of Saganaki is actually the name of the frying pan and not the cheese. As for the cheese itself, Saganaki can be made with any type of Greek cheese that will not melt with high heat. This way, you will get a crispy and crunchy exterior with a soft and melting cheese inside. One bite, and you will be addicted to this amazing appetizer.

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

Spanakopita is a healthy and tasty filo pastry made with spinach and cheese. It is not one of the most famous dishes in the country, but the Spanakopita is something to try in Athens. There are various versions of this pastry with several kinds of cheese (usually feta), herbs, and perhaps vegetables. And it can be heavy enough to be served as a meal. Just be careful as you try Spanakopita since it is quite crunchy and can get really messy.

Loukoumades

One of the oldest and most traditional pastries on the planet is found in Athens with the name of Loukoumades. They are a favorite of any local or tourist with a sweet tooth, and they have been around since the time of the first ancient Olympics. The Loukoumades come in different sizes and shapes. Some of them even look like doughnuts. What makes the Loukoumades so special is the various ways of adding toppings. You can have cinnamon, seeds, nuts, sometimes even a mix of all of them. And on top of all these toppings, there is always honey which makes Loukoumades just wonderful. You can probably find Loukoumades all over Greece, but try them at the capital, where all the various versions are easily available.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad needs no introduction as it has global fame and reputation with its numerous healthy and delicious ingredients. But still, it seems the Greek Salad of Athens is something that is only found in this city. The unique taste is perhaps in the local cucumber, olives, olive oil, tomatoes, onions, spinach, pepper, and feta cheese of Greece itself. It does not matter what makes it amazing. You will have to order some Greek Salad with every meal you can during your stay. It is a staple part of Greek cuisine that tastes good and has a lot of nutrients.

Souvlaki

Souvlaki can be described as any kind of meat that is grilled on a skewer. The difference between the Souvlaki and Gyros is basically the serving, as the Gyros are sliced while Souvlaki is served as chunks of meat. There is also another difference in the special marination of Souvlaki, which makes it tender and very tasty. This mouth-watering alternative to the Kebabs is served in pita bread or on top of the bread. Just like the Kebab, Souvlaki is served along with various baked vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and green pepper. Another great thing to order as the ideal side dish would be some Greek Salad and have a complete meal in Athens.

Tzatziki

Tzatziki is the best dipping sauce in all of Greece and Athens. The base for the sauce is Greek Yogurt that is mixed with garlic, dill, cucumber, and a few drops of lemon. Some people also add more herbs or spices to the mix. When the mix is ready, it is then topped with olives and olive oil to be made into a Tzatziki sauce. It can be served on its own and with some pita, or it can be served with a meat dish as well as vegetables. You can basically have some Tzatziki with whatever you want since they are so amazing and delightful.

Moussaka

Several layers of delicious eggplants, minced meat, and potatoes, topped with bechamel sauce, is the Moussaka. Moussaka is not exactly confirmed to be a dish from Greece, but it is one of the popular street foods in Athens. Most people and tourists order Moussaka for lunch as it can get very heavy and rich. This dish is rather creamy, rich, and should not be underestimated. If you have never had Moussaka before, the best place to have some is Athens.

Dolma or Dolmathakia

Dolmathakia, Dolmades, or Dolma, is a very delicious, rich, healthy, and fantastic thing to eat in Athens. It is basically food to have all over Greece, Turkey, or even the Middle East. Meat and rice, and other ingredients are wrapped in grape leaves and can be eaten as a meal, appetizer, or even dessert! Dolmathakia can be sweet, sour, or spicy with so many different methods of cooking and ingredients that it is magical. While Dolmathakia may not be Greek, it is a food to have in any part of the world you can find it.

Just keep in mind that it can even be seen in supermarkets all over the world due to its popularity. Dolmathakia of supermarkets is not bad, but the fresh-cooked thing is the real deal.

Greek Coffee

Greek Coffee may not be known to be the best coffee on the planet, but it is worth a try. It is similar to Turkish coffee, but the Greek Coffee is not as thick as the Turkish version. The method of making this Greek Coffee is also different and rather odd. It is worth a try as part of drinking something new that is not available anywhere else.

Shopping in Athens

The best shopping districts in Athens

Golden Hall

Golden Hall has a very beautiful design, and more than that, it is a place to purchase some beautiful art. You can find almost anything in the Golden Hall, but it is better to seek edibles such as dried fruits and nuts, which are best in this place.

McArthur Glen & Smart Park

McArthur Glen & Smart Park is a great outdoor experience of shopping and having fun with the family. It is a great experience for shopping for clothes and brands as well as eating some Greek food.

Athens Metro Mall

One of the best places to shop for brands and top-quality clothes is the Athens Metro Mall. It is not too big or too small but has all the clothes and shoes you want.

What to buy in Athens

Worry Beads or Komboloi

The Worry Beads of Athens are nowadays something to hold and carry as a way of relaxing. They used to be religious objects, but nowadays, they are used for stress relief.

Greek Backgammon or Tavli

Tavali or Greek Backgammon are unique items to bring home, especially if it is made with olive wood. This game is rooted in history and tradition and has beautiful designs with top-quality material.

Evil Eye or Mati

Numerous nations may have Mati or Evil Eye in their culture, but they are traditional souvenirs of Greece. Buy one in Athens at the beginning of the journey and ward off evil.

Greek Coffee

If you love coffee as much as the people of Athens and value quality, Greek Coffee is a great thing to buy while in the capital.

Herbs

Local herbs and spices of the country are all available in this city and can make your food much better and aromatic. 

Cheese

Like the famous olives of Greece, cheese is also one of the most delicious edibles of the country. If for nothing else, you have to bring back some cheese for frying!

Ceramics

Handicrafts of Greece are always popular souvenirs. The most famous of them might be the woodcrafts or the jewelry, but their ceramics with ancient designs are also among the best things to buy.

Olive and Olive Products

Greek Olive and its products (beauty, skincare, or edible oils) need not an introduction. This is just a reminder so you will remember to buy some.

Leather Sandals

One of the things gaining popularity is the Leather Sandals of Athens that are worn even by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie. Perhaps a little exploring in Monastiraki can be good for finding some of them for yourself.

Greek Honey

Not one of the most famous, but definitely one of the best items is the Greek Honey. Greek Honey is natural, tasty, and it is something that can be used for making some traditional pastries and sweets of Athens.

Ouzo

Perhaps this national drink of the country is not so famous for tourists, but Ouzi is the number one choice of purchasing alcohol in the whole country.

Athens Travel Tips

Always Carry Cash

You can rely on your cards, but Athens is a city that will require some amount of cash.

Use Online Services and Booking

Most of the things and places will offer good quality with good prices. However, sometimes, certain individuals charge tourists extra. To avoid these, use online taxis, book everything ahead, and try not to look very much like a tourist.

Watch Your Cash Money and I.D.s

Since the city is very crowded and there are numerous narrow alleys and streets, there is a high chance of running into a pickpocket. Therefore, it is best to mind your belongings at all times. Tipping is not Mandatory

Unlike most European countries, you do not have to tip in Greece. But that does not mean you should not do it for good services.

Do not Buy Fakes or Cheap Souvenirs

A lot of people fall for the very low prices on certain items. Buying low-quality products without checking means buying something that will not last long. Other than that, it means you are ruining the business of real handicrafts and original designs by purchasing fakes.

Be Extra Careful on the Roads

The drivers in Greece are a little restless and drive fast. This means more possibility of car crashes and accidents. They can easily be avoided if you watch the road as you drive or pass as a pedestrian.

Better to Go with a Guide

This does not mean you have to have a guide, but having one on the first experience helps a lot. Both for understanding their history and culture.

Foreign Embassies & Consulates in Athens

Australian Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Level 2, 5 Hatziyianni Mexi Street, PO BOX 14070, Ambelokipi 115 10, 115 28 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 870 40 00
Fax (+30) 210 870 41 11
Austrian Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 4, Ave Vass. Sofias, 10674 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 725 72-70
Fax (+30) 210 725 72 92
Canadian Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 48 Ethnikis Antistaseos Street, Chalandri, 152 31, Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) (210) 727 3400
Fax (+30) (210) 727 3480
Chadian Honorary Consulate in Athens, Greece
Address Athens, Greece
Phone (+33) 1 45.53.36.75 (embassy in Paris)
Chinese Embassy in Athens, Greece
 
Address 10-12, rue Dimokratias – 154 52 P. Psychico, P.O. Box 65188, Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210.67.83.803 – (+30) 697 343 0531
Fax (+30) 210 672 38 19
Czech Embassy in Athens, Greece
 
Address 6, G. Seferis Str., Palaio Psychico, Athens 154 52, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 6713755 – (+30) 210 6719701
Fax (+30) 210 6710675
Danish Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Mourouzi 10, 4th floor, 106 74 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 725 6440
Fax (+30) 210 725 6473
French Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 7, avenue Vassilissis Sophias, 10671 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 339 12 00 – (+30) 210 339 10 00
Fax (+30) 210 339 10 09
German Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Karaoli & Dimitriou 3, PO BOX 11 75, 106 75 Kolonaki, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 728 51 11
Fax (+30) 210 728 53 35
Icelandic Honorary Consulate General in Athens, Greece
Address 60 Papanastassiou & Kallari Str., P. Psychico, 145 64 Nea Kifissia, Greece
Phone (+30) (210) 672 6154 –  (+30) (210) 677 9771
Fax (+30) (210) 677 9770
Indian Embassy in Athens, Greece 
Address Abdullah bin Aiyash Street, Building 45, 10674 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210-7216227 – (+30) 210-7216481
Fax (+30) 210-7211252
Italian Embassy in Athens, Greece 
Address Odos Sekeri, 2, 106 74 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 – 36.17.260 – 3 – (+30) 210 – 36.17.273 -4 -5
Fax (+30) 210- 36.17.330
Japanese Embassy in Athens, Greece 
Address 46, rue Ethnikis Antistasseos, 152 31 Halandri, Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210.670.99.00
Fax (+30) 210.670.99.80
Netherlands Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 89 Liberation Road, Corner Thomas Sankara Circle, P.O. Box CT 1647, 10674 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210-7254900
Fax (+30) 210-7254907
Norwegian Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 23, Ave Vass. Sophias, 115 28 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210.724.61.73
Fax (+30) 210.724.49.89
Russian Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 28, rue Nikiforou Litra, 154 52 Psychico, 154 52 Psychico, Greece
Phone (+30) 210.672.52.35
Fax (+30) 210.674.97.08
South African Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Rominteweg 3, 151-10 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 610 6645
Fax (+30) 210 610 6640
Spanish Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Dionisiou Areopagitou, 21, 117 42 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 9213 123 / 237
Fax (+30) 210 9214 264
Swedish Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Vassileos Konstantinou 7, 5 tr, 106 74 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) (210) 72 66 100
Fax (+30) (210) 72 66 150
Swiss Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Rue Iassiou No 2, 115 21 Athen, Greece
Phone (+30) 210 723 03 64 / 65 / 66
Fax (+30) 210 724 92 09
Turkish Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 8, rue Vass. Géorgiou II, 106 74 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210.94.11.603
Fax (+30) 210.94.11.603
United Arab Emirates Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address Kigali City Gasabo, District Kinyinya, KG15 Ave, House No 11, Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 780 716 66 66 – (+30) (2) 26 185 777
Fax (+30) (2) 24 946 501
British Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address 15 Rue de L’industrie, 106 75 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 692 066555-mobile
U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece
Address P.zza G. Garibaldi, 58, 2° p., 10160 Athens, Greece
Phone (+30) 210.721.29.51 / 9
Fax (+30) 210.645.62.82

Exchanging Money

Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos

The Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos can be a good place to exchange some money. But only a small amount of cash so you can pay for a ride into the city. Otherwise, it is suggested to visit an exchange office for getting the local currency.

  • Note: Always check the rates in all of Greece. The economy is much better, but slight changes are always possible.
  • Note 2: The best rates are not offered at banks or other places, the best rates are always found at the exchange offices.
  • Note 3: Banks are only good for exchange if you have a local bank account. That way, you can send some money to your account and just withdraw your cash at reasonable rates.

Exchange Offices

Some of the more reliable offices are:

Capital Exchange

  • Address: 6 Agiou Konstantinou Street, Omonia, 104 31 Athens Attica
  • Phone: +30 210 522 8075- +30 693 241 7750
  • Opening hours: Daily 08:00 – 21:00 –  Weekend 08:00 – 20:30

Onexchange

  • Address: 4 Karageorgi Servias street, Syntagma Square, 105 62, Athens / 2 Karageorgi Servias street, Syntagma Square, 105 62, Athens / 16 Mitropoleos street, Syntagma Area, 105 63, Athens / 1 Marikas Kotopouli street, Omonia Square, 104 31, Athens
  • Phone: 800 11 39900 – +30 210 3312 462 – +30 210 3228 606 – +30 210 5220 314
  • Opening hours: Daily 08:30 – 21:00 – Weekend 10:00 – 17:00

Intel Express

  • Address: 57 Menandrou Street, Omonia Square
  • Phone: +0030 210 5245817
  • Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 21:00
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