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Athens Things To Do
A LIST THINGS TO DO
The Best Things To Do In Athens
Some of the best things to do in Athens
Conduct Your Own Self-Guided Athens Food Tour
There are food tours aplenty in the city of Athens and if you’re looking to rock up and be shown the best places by locals, it’s often more than worth the price you pay.
Here’s a few top rated tours:
However, sometimes I don’t love the constraints of a tour and want to take things a bit easier – and often with a beer in hand throughout! And so why not conduct your very own self guided food tour instead?
Yes, you’ll need to do some research before you go but let me give you a few foods to look out for and then it’s up to you google away and find where you want to go, or simply happen across them:
- Baklava – Ground nuts and honey layered in flaky filo pastry
- Bougatsa – Greek breakfast pastry with semolina, custard, cheese or minced meat between layers of filo
- Choriatiki – The classic Greek salad consisting of feta, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and oil
- Dolmades – Minced meat wrapped in vine leaves
- Loukoumades – Deep fried dough soaked in sugar
- Mousakka – Aubergine, minced beef, tomatoes, bechamel sauce and topped with a layer of cheese
- Saganaki – Salty fried cheese
- Souvlaki – Grilled meat often served in a wrap
- Spanokopita – Greek savoury spinach pie that often also contains cheese
- Straggisto – Strained yoghurt – what many of us would call ‘Greek Yoghurt’
- Tzatziki – Yoghurt with cucumbers, garlic, salt and olive oil
As for drinks, these are some Greek beers:
And here’s some more drinks to keep an eye out for:
- Mastica – liquour seasoned with mastic
- Ouzo – Anise flavoured aperitif
- Rakomelo – Raki and honey digestive spirit traditionally used as a home remedy
- Sahlep – hot milky drink popular in the winter months that’s also popular in Turkey. This one isn’t alcoholic!
You can also take a look at my food and drink recommendations of Athens here too.
Escape the City and Explore the Saronic Islands
Port of Piraeus
The Saronic Islands include – in order of proximity to Athens – Salamina, Aegina, Angistri, Athena, Poros, Hydra and Dokos.
You can either catch a ferry from Piraeus which is easily accessed from the city centre by metro or tram, or you can hire a car and drive down the coast and find a closer point to get a ferry from (or in the case of Methana, simply drive straight there!)
We did the latter during our trip to Athens and actually ended up staying in a town called Galatas which is a 5 minute €1 boat ride from Poros.
It was absolutely stunning and we were so glad we chose to team up a busy trip to the capital with a week chilling out with an incredible view. We drove to Methana too which was gorgeous – and even enjoyed their natural hot springs.
We travelled in off season so it was very quiet (we loved it!) but expect it to be busier during the peak months due to it being so easy to reach for Athenians too.
However, they’re certainly less popular and cheaper than Santorini and Mykonos, so this could be a great way to get your summer Greek island fix!
Shop for Fresh Produce at Athens Central Market
Athens Central Market, Athens
If you want to experience a real snippet of Greek life, head to Athens Central Market.
Inaugurated in 1884, this market has been a go to shopping place for locals for a long time so remember to take in the architecture as well as the sounds, sights and smells!
Speaking of smells, the building has the largest fresh fish market in Europe where five to ten tons arrive daily from the islands.
There’s restaurants too – head to Karayiannis for ouzo and mezze or to Aris who will even grill your freshly purchased fish for you.
If you’re on a budget, try Epirus Tavern which makes a range of basic classics like soups and casseroles and has attracted many a celebrity chef and food critic, including Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver.
Join a Free Walking Tour around Athens
Hadrian's Arch, Athens, 0558
Whenever I go away, I try to join a free walking tour on the first morning I’m there as it really sets my bearings for the rest of my exploration.
In Athens, we joined the Athens Free Tour and spent 2.5 hours visiting historical monuments and learning about Athens’ past, present and future.
There are a few different free walking tours available so do your research, but we really enjoyed this one.
You will still need to book your spot on the free walking tour so don’t just show up, and if you can afford it, have some cash on hand to tip your guide at the end.
When I was on a super tight budget, I would have tipped around €5 but now I’m working in the travel industry, I’ll tip between €10-€20 depending on how good the guide has been and whether they’ve answered any additional questions from me!
I know some will think this is too much for a ‘free’ tour but I see this as a way that I can support the local travel industry and hopefully subsidise the tips of those who aren’t able to afford more.
Overall, the tour is listed as free so you’re completely within your rights to keep it that way – but also remember that 2.5 hours for nothing is outrageously good value!
Catch the Coastal Tram Down the Athens Riviera
The Athens Riviera is a coastal area in the souther suburbs of Athens – starting from Piraeus (where you can catch ferries out to the islands from) and down to Sounio.
And if you’re looking for an easy day trip to a seaside suburb, I recommend checking out Glyfada for boutique shops and restaurants, Voula for its small beaches and Sounio to explore the Temple of Poseidon.
There’s a direct link from Syntagma Square to Glyfada on the Athens Coastal Tram which will take you between 45 mins and an hour depending on your destination, and costs €1.40 for a 90 minute ticket. It’s not the fastest way to travel but it is easy! Plus there’s some great views to be had too.
Explore the Trendy Neighbourhood of Psyri
Psyri, Athens, 10554
If you’re looking to escape the tourist crowds of Plaka and head somewhere with more of a village vibe, take a short walk to the neighbourhood of Psyri – also known as Psirri.
Whilst it wasn’t always a go to area (I find this is often the case with these ‘trendy’ areas…) it has now become a hub for independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and makes a wonderful afternoon wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere.
My favourite bar that we visited was Juan Rodriguez Bar and if you’re after a view, many of the hotels in the area have rooftop bars and restaurants so you can enjoy the local feel whilst marvelling in the lights of the Athenian Acropolis in the distance.
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