A Guide to Athens
Collected by Allison Murray, AFAR Contributor
While you may be drawn to Athens' historic beauty, visitors find that it marks an enjoyable contrast to the vibrancy of the living city. Athens inspires visitors to connect with chaotic modern life, as well as retreat into the natural beauty surrounding the ancient urban center.
Anafiotika, Athina 105 58, Greece
Anafiotika is best described as a tiny village planted in the middle of a major city. I still think anyone visiting Athens should make an effort to venture away from the usual sights and explore this hidden gem. You'll find scenic walkways such as...
Ithakis 59, Ag. Ioannis Rentis 182 33, Greece
With 20+ flavors to choose from and a cool interior, this ice cream parlor is a comfortable refuge from the heat. They also serve fresh waffles which was an unexpected but delicious addition to the menu. While it's a small chain throughout Greece,...
Cape Sounio, Sounio 195 00, Greece
The Temple of Poseidon, perched on the edge of Cape Sounion, has long been a welcoming sign of "home" for sailors returning to Athens. The 5th-century BC structure is dedicated to the god of the sea, and it's just a quick drive from downtown...
Athens 105 57, Greece
In front of the Parliament House in Athens, the Evzones, an infantry unit of the Greek Army, guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Evzones wear traditional Greek red and blue uniforms. The changing of the guards takes place every hour and...
Plaka, Athens 105 58, Greece
We picked up some gyros to-go during our stroll through the historic Plaka neighborhood below the Acropolis. Thespidos street was particularly memorable for the cafe we stopped at and discovering Brettos bar, which we decided to come back to enjoy...
Wandering through Omonia, my fiance and I came across this massive music and electronics store called Metropolis. Best way to describe it is a copycat of a Virgin Megastore. Up on the top floor they had a nice, quiet cafe that I believe many don't...
Athinas, Athina 105 51, Greece
The noisy, smelly, chaos of Athens Central Market is an experience no foodie (or photographer) should miss. The colours, shapes and patterns are a compositional dream, but the market is not for the squeamish. You can find every conceivable...
Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
Treat yourself to a luxury day under the Greek sun at Astir Beach. Like a kid, I get antsy lounging on the beach all day but here they have every form of entertainment for the whole family. With sand sports, jet-skis, cocktails, snacks, bungalows,...
Kidathineon 41, Athina 105 58, Greece
While sitting outside at a café in Plaka, the historical neighborhood in Athens, a brightly colored wall across the way—filled with bottles—caught my eye. Ouzo was something I wanted to try, as it is for many first-time visitors to Greece, but...
Αλ. Παναγούλη 58, Βουλιαγμένη, 16671, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
The footpath along the mountain ridge above the Vouliagmeni Lake is the perfect place to energize after a relaxing trip to the hot springs. Here you can literally go off the beaten path, do some casual birdwatching, and hike to your heart's...
Thasou 16, Vari 166 72, Greece
What was the coast slightly south of Athens missing? An authentic German Bierhaus of course. Their selection of beer is immense with at least 5 varieties of draughts, lagers, pils, ales and ciders. Woodsy elements and long communal tables give the...
Aiolou 106, Athina 105 64, Greece
Sometimes you can't listen to elders warning you of certain neighborhoods. My father made Omonia sound like a crime and drug-ridden area not worth venturing into. I found some sense of urban decay, but much of the area seemed more upscale than...
Eginis 10, Glifada 166 74, Greece
Glyfada’s shopping district is a great place for boutiques by the beach. With everything from designers to specialists, walk down Metaxa Avenue and Grigoriou Labraki Street for the best finds. More places to find unique wares also run along the...
Ερωτοκρίτου και, Erechtheos 16, Athina 105 56, Greece
When in Athens, venture away from the typical sites and explore the neighborhood of Anafiotika. It's like a tiny quiet village was planted in the middle of a major metropolis. A relic of the old days, the area now is a maze of small decorative...
Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
When I think of Greece, I don't think of great sushi but Matsuhisa Athens proves me wrong. In modernly appointed dining spaces overlooking the Mediterranean sea, they serve distinct dishes and seasonal specials. The natural ambiance and organic...
Pl. Sintagmatos, Athina 105 63, Greece
Syntagma Square is most notoriously known for its political demonstrations in front of the Parliament Building. All the major events in Greece over the past century have been mourned or celebrated here, and it's a hub of activity. Grassy areas...
Likavittou, Athina, Greece
On my way down from Likavittos, I noticed this is the bench to sit and take in Athens. The view of the city below can't get any better. I had seen the church on the top of Likavittos Hill through the lens of my camera from the Acropolis and was...
Apollonos 28, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
For typical Greek dishes with an outstanding view, try Ithaki Restaurant. Their freshly grilled seafood dishes are popular, however I'd recommend cozying up outside with a glass of wine and an appetizer. Reaching out over the Vouliagmeni...
Giannitsopoulou 6, Athina 166 74, Greece
With lines of exclusive scents and Greek silk products, this cute shop is a hidden gem along the coast south of Athen's city center. The family-run perfumery is carrying out their Egyptian grandfather's legacy of providing unique scents to new...
Λίμνη Βουλιαγμένης, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
For a rejuvenating hot soak, head to Lake Vouliagmeni. Contrary to its murky appearance, the minerals in this spa are constantly being replenished by the upwelling of water from springs below. Known among Greeks for its therapeutic properties, a...
Acropolis, Athens 116 36, Greece
The Acropolis is, for most people, the "can't miss" site. Because of its popularity it can be very busy, and the hours seem to change constantly. There's also the possibility that the workers might go on strike, which can mess with your plans as...
Athens 105 58, Greece
Acropolis is one of the world's most famous landmarks and Greece's center of history and culture. The Parthenon is the largest structure of the Acropolis and is admired by the entire world. The temple was complete in 438 BC and was dedicated to...
Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece
Slave-traders and shoe-menders, jewelers and moneylenders haggled and gossiped at this ancient marketplace the history of which spans five millennia. The Agora was also the stomping ground of rival philosophers Plato and Socrates—the latter...
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