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21 Cool & Uncommon Issues to do in Athens

21 Cool & Uncommon Issues to do in Athens

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Aerial shot of the Athens city skyline taken from Monastiraki Square with a domed ottoman church with red tiled roof in the foreground on the left side of the square and a green hill in the distance with the ancient greek ruins of the acropolis on top. Unusual things to do in Athens.

Uncover a distinct aspect to Athens with these enjoyable, uncommon issues to do within the Greek capital…

Athens. One of many world’s oldest cities, a spot the place the traditional world collides with the fashionable – and the place a number of layers of historical past and tradition coexist in a chaotic jumble.

Historic structure emerges everywhere in the metropolis centre: seen in metro stations, underneath public squares, or included into trendy buildings. And all of the whereas, the long-lasting Parthenon on Acropolis Hill overlooks town’s skyline.

However past the historical past town is so well-known for, Athens is a pulsing and fast-evolving metropolis present process a radical city transformation. As soon as-impoverished districts are being reclaimed as creative centres, full of vibrant road artwork, fashionable boutique retailers, and bars & eating places to go well with each style possible.

When you’ve checked off the principle points of interest in Athens, it’s time to immerse your self within the metropolis’s quite a few personalities. Dive into common native nightlife hotspots, search road artwork between Byzantine buildings, beach-hop your method alongside the Athens Riviera, or people-watch on the bustling metropolis centre markets.

These are a few of the extra uncommon issues to do in Athens – that can assist you get underneath the pores and skin of town and expertise it a bit extra “like a neighborhood”. Don’t have time to learn the entire article? There’s additionally a map and a brief model of the record on the backside of this web page. Get pleasure from…

Whether or not you wish to discover the principle websites in Athens or get off the crushed observe, there are some nice excursions on Get Your Information. These are a few of the top-rated…

Uncommon Issues to do in Athens

In a rush? There’s a map and a brief model of the record on the backside of this web page! Use the contents menu above to skip forward if you must.

1. Don’t Miss the Historic Websites in Athens

Side of the Parthenon temple with four marble sculptures of human figures that form columns supporting the roof, taken during spring time on the Acropolis in Athens with bright pink flowers out of focus in the foreground and clear blue sky behind

Athens is legendary for its historical websites – particularly the long-lasting, hilltop Acropolis which could be seen from throughout town. These don’t actually matter as “uncommon issues to do” as they’re so well-known, however they’re undoubtedly must-sees while you go to Athens. So right here’s a quick record of the “prime” historical websites you shouldn’t miss:

  • The Acropolis and the Parthenon. For a extra uncommon take on Athens’ most well-known sight, take a look at this Acropolis Mythology Tour.
  • The Acropolis Museum
  • The Historic Agora
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  • Temple of Hephaestus
  • Panathenaic Stadium
  • Prime tip – you may purchase a Combo Ticket for entry to all the following: Acropolis, Historic Agora, Roman Agora, Temple of Zeus, Aristotle’s Faculty, Hadrian’s Library, and Kerameikos Historic Cemetery. Click on right here for particulars and newest costs.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Acropolis, Parthenon, & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour (from €57pp)

2. See Athens with a Native on an Various Athens Tour

Greek parliament in Athens, a large beige coloured palace in a neoclassical style with three storeys and a collonaded section around the main entrance

Once I visited Athens, I took a strolling tour with a improbable native firm referred to as Various Athens. They’re simply among the finest tour firms within the metropolis, providing small-group strolling excursions led by knowledgeable native guides – all of which purpose to take you past the basic vacationer websites and assist you to get to know the actual, genuine Athens.

Various Athens runs a number of distinctive metropolis excursions, together with meals excursions, a Homosexual & Lesbian Nightlife Tour, and a Road Artwork Tour. I took the Sudden Athens Orientation Tour, which runs each day at 9:30am, takes 4 hours, and prices €49 per particular person.

It’s the right introduction to town, taking in many of the essential websites in addition to a few of the metropolis’s quirkier districts. Plus, your information will be capable of share plenty of insider ideas for locations to eat and drink throughout your journey to Athens. You simply can’t beat a suggestion from a neighborhood!

3. Watch the Altering of the Guard at Syntagma Sq.

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, the guard is wearing a white tunic with long sleaves and a patterned shawl over the top, with a small red hat on his head. He has his back to the camera and an officer in uniform is inspecting his sleave.

Syntagma Sq. seems like the center of Athens: a bustling sq. on the pinnacle of the busy excessive road Ermou.

It’s dwelling to the Royal Palace, a modest neo-classical constructing courting from the 1830s when Greece lastly gained independence after centuries of Ottoman occupation. At this time, the palace homes the Greek parliament.

Don’t miss the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in entrance of the parliament constructing: a memorial devoted to the fallen troopers of Greece’s wars. The tomb is continually guarded by troopers wearing conventional livery, together with Tsarouhi: giant, clog-like sneakers with studded soles and fluffy pompoms on the toes.

The Altering of the Guard takes place each hour, a drawn-out course of involving all of the pomp and fussiness you’d anticipate kind such a ceremony. It’s free to observe and is nicely price together with in your Athens itinerary. On Sundays at 11am, the Grand Change takes place: a bigger model of the ceremony involving extra troopers and much more pomp!

4. Hunt down the Road Artwork in Athens

old yellow plaster wall with a wooden door surrounded by a large mural in black and white of two nude women lying down surrounded by swirling hair
Road artwork within the Psirri district of Athens

Followers of road artwork and concrete artwork will love exploring Athens’ historic sidestreets and quirky hipster neighbourhoods. There are murals, installations, and vibrant items of road artwork all over the place!

Psirri, Monastiraki, Gazi, and Metaxourgio are a few of the finest districts to go road artwork looking. Higher nonetheless, take a guided tour with a neighborhood knowledgeable that can assist you discover one of the best road artwork in Athens. I’d suggest considered one of these two:

5. Hunt for Bargains at Monastiraki Flea Market

Antiques on a stall at the Athens flea market, various items of bric a brac including a large copper diving helmet
Monastiraki Flea Market

Monastiraki is a historic neighbourhood near the Historic Agora recognized for its quirky buying scene and vibrant road artwork. The labyrinthine community of slender streets is filled with improbable eateries and bars, artisanal boutiques, and funky classic retailers.

Don’t miss the well-known Monastiraki Flea Market. That is held each Sunday morning within the space between Monastiraki Sq. and Avissynias Sq.. Stalls right here promote the whole lot from damaged Barbies and surplus military gear to vintage furnishings and previous cash. There are sometimes road performers and busking musicians, too, giving Sunday mornings a celebration vibe!

Though the market is barely held on Sundays, the entire space is stuffed with vintage retailers and weird boutiques which might be open all week. So even in case you’re not visiting Athens on the weekend, it’s nonetheless price exploring the Monastiraki Flea Market space for some window buying, people-watching, and bargain-hunting.

6. Uncover Athens’ Modern Artwork Scene at TAF (The Artwork Basis)

Housed inside a superbly crumbling Ottoman mansion with a central courtyard, TAF is an modern cultural centre in Athens’ Monastiraki district. They host worldwide and native group exhibitions, in addition to cultural occasions, workshops, performances, and movie screenings.

It’s price visiting simply to discover the constructing itself – however this cultural hub can also be dwelling to a up to date artwork gallery, a store selling native designers, and a energetic courtyard cafe-bar.

7. Witness 4 Eras of Athens Historical past at Monastiraki Sq.

Large Ottoman mosque in Monastiraki square with yellow walls and a red tirled dowed roof, there are collonaded arches around the front section on the ground floor. Behind the church is a small rocky hill with the ancient ruins of the acropolis on top. unusual things to do in athens.

From Athens’ well-known Monastiraki Sq., you may take pleasure in a view that takes within the 4 main eras of town. There’s the red-tiled dome of the Ottoman Tzisdarakis Mosque, the Roman pillars of Hadrian’s library, the fashionable metro station, and the Historic Greek Acropolis above.

It’s an ideal picture to summarise Athens, the place the layers of town’s previous are chaotically intertwined creating a posh, vibrant mishmash of various eras, architectures, and influences.

8. Take a Greek Meals Tour in Athens

man's hand holding a souvlaki or greek kebab, with meat wrapped in pita in a white paper wrap, in front of a view of the athens skyline

For my part, one of the best ways to get to know a tradition is thru meals. I attempt to take a meals tour in each metropolis I go to. It’s the right technique to discover the native flavours (each actually and figuratively. There are some improbable meals excursions in Athens to select from – these are my prime picks:

9. Uncover a Roman Tomb inside a Zara Retailer

Ruins of an old roman tomb with two arches made of stacked pieces of limestone

Head to the Zara retailer on Stadiou Road for a real hidden gem in Athens. On the basement degree, you may see the ruins of an Historic Roman tomb!

These are protected by a glass wall, and have a glass ceiling so you may look down from the ground above as you enter the store.

Athens is Europe’s oldest capital metropolis, with recorded historical past courting again over 3,400 years, so there are a lot of traces of the previous buried beneath the fashionable metropolis. It appears you may’t begin digging within the centre of Athens with out discovering one thing, and lots of trendy buildings have needed to be distorted throughout constructing to protect the previous. This is only one of many examples: however it’s free and simple to go to so nicely well worth the detour!

10. Swing by the Archaeological Web site inside Monastiraki Metro Station

Main on from the above, there’s additionally a small archaeological website contained in the Monastiraki Metro Station. A number of archaeological finds have been uncovered through the station’s building, courting way back to the eighth century BC. It’s additionally free to go to – so cease by earlier than you catch your prepare!

11. Spot Neo-Classical Structure on Panepistimiou Road

small white neoclassical style building with 6 pillars below a triangular shaped roof, there is a staircase in front and two tall white columns topped with gold statues on either side of the building
The Academy of Athens

Take a stroll alongside Panepistimiou Road, a serious road operating from Omonia Sq. to Syntagma Sq., to discover a treasure trove of neoclassical structure.

Probably the most well-known buildings right here kind the so-called “Neoclassical Trilogy”: the Academy of Athens, the Nationwide and Kapodistrian College of Athens, and the Nationwide Library. These are thought-about three of one of the best items of structure within the metropolis and are completely gorgeous.

There are a number of extra buildings price noticing alongside Panepistimiou Road. Don’t miss the Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, in-built an elaborate Neo-Renaissance fashion.

The pink-bricked Athens Ofthamiatrio (Public Eye Hospital) has an attention-grabbing historical past. Supposedly, it was constructed to deal with the large quantity of eye issues that sprang up within the nineteenth century, brought on by the mud from all of the constructing work as Athens was remodeled from a tiny metropolis of simply 10,000 residents into the new capital of Greece.

12. Soak Up Ottoman Structure and Hipster Vibes in Psirri District

Top of an Ottoman church in Psirri district of Athens with grey walls and a circular top floor with red tiled roof against a clear blue sky

From the mid-Fifteenth century to the early nineteenth century, Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire, and earlier than that was underneath Byzantine rule. These centuries of occupation left as a lot of a mark on Athens as the sooner Historic Romans and Greeks did.

To find a few of these traces, head to the colorful, historic district of Psirri (additionally referred to as Psyri) – one of many metropolis’s oldest neighbourhoods. A maze of winding alleyways and sloping streets designed to channel rainwater, Psirri is stuffed with crumbling Ottoman Mansions and Byzantine church buildings.

Lately, it’s considered one of Athens’ trendiest neighbourhoods; recognized for its energetic nightlife and nice foodie scene. There’s quite a lot of road artwork round, with work and murals tucked into nearly any obtainable spot. Fashionable tradition and hipster vibes blended right into a superbly vintage neighbourhood – what’s to not love?

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Psyri Neighborhood Graffiti Self-Guided Sport & Tour – from €10.99

13. Study In regards to the German Occupation at Korai 4

In more moderen historical past, Athens was topic to a different occupation: this time by the Germans throughout WW11. Initially an workplace constructing, Korai 4 was requisitioned because the headquarters of the Gestapo in Athens between 1941 and 1945.

Visiting Korai 4 is likely one of the extra uncommon issues to do in Athens, however it’s an enchanting and chilling perception right into a horrible chapter of town’s historical past.

The slender, basement-level air-raid shelter – claustrophobic behind metallic air-lock doorways – was transformed right into a “short-term” subterranean jail. Momentary within the sense that almost all prisoners have been solely stored there for a matter of days earlier than being transported to a camp or executed.

Inside, you may see imprints of the tiny cells on the flooring. The partitions are scarred with writing and drawings etched by the prisoners. Some left their names and the dates of their incarceration, others scratched out doodles or self-portraits.

14. Dive Into the Fashionable Gazi District

Black and white street art mural on the Athens gas factory with part of the chimney visible behind

Athens is continually reinventing itself, and nowhere is that extra obvious than within the trendily grungy, industrial-chic district of Gazi.

The gasoline works that stood right here till 1989 as soon as pumped out a lot air pollution that the encircling space was often called the “Fuel District” (Gazi). At this time, the now-silent chimneys and the rusted skeleton of the previous gasoline holder nonetheless dominate the realm – however now they’ve been repurposed into Athens’ coolest nightlife district.

The previous gasoline drums have been transformed into eco-friendly workplaces, whereas the previous gasoline works now homes Technopolis, an industrial museum and a serious cultural venue. The encircling streets are full of cafes, eating places, bars, and golf equipment – together with some improbable LGBTQ+ golf equipment – and the neighbourhood has turn out to be often called among the finest locations to celebration in Athens.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Bar Crawl with Free Drinks and Membership Entry – from €26.70pp

15. Take a Sip of Historical past on the Oldest Distillery in Athens

Within the coronary heart of the historic Plata district, you could find the oldest bar and distillery in Athens: Brettos. The distillery was based by Michail Brettos in 1909, who produced ouzo, brandy, and liqueurs based mostly on previous household recipes from Smyrni (modern-day Izmir in Turkey). You may nonetheless pattern these similar liqueurs in the present day for an actual style of historical past!

Over a century previous, this atmospheric bar nonetheless appears to be like virtually precisely because it did in the beginning of the twentieth century. The partitions behind the previous wood bar are coated with shelf upon shelf of vibrant bottles, lit from behind to create a surprising impact.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Greek Wine & Olive Oil Tasting at Brettos – 2 hours, from €110pp

16. Take an Olympic Work Out within the Historic Stadium

long oval-shaped stadium built in ancient greek style with tiered marble seating around the outside and a running track inside

The Panathenaic Stadium is likely one of the most iconic websites in Athens. It was constructed (or re-built) as a duplicate of an Historic Greek stadium which as soon as stood on the identical website and which hosted the Panathenaic Video games, a non secular and athletic pageant celebrated each 4 years in honour of the goddess Athena.

The stadium we see in the present day was reconstructed for the primary trendy Olympic Video games in 1896. It’s additionally the one stadium on the earth constructed fully of marble.

These searching for extra uncommon issues to do in Athens ought to take a look at this distinctive Olympic Video games Exercise expertise (from €55pp). You’ll get the prospect to run across the stadium – in addition to strive a few of the basic Olympic sports activities like javelin, shot put and discus.

17. Watch an Historic Greek Theater Efficiency

Convey the tales and myths of Athens’ historical buildings to life with this distinctive expertise. In a rooftop theatre overlooking the Acropolis, you may watch a superb Historic Greek Theater Present.

Actors put on conventional costumes and use masks to depict completely different characters, precisely as they did in historical occasions. The play, ‘Medea and Different Mates I Made in Athens’, is a humorous tackle the traditional Greek myths – so it’s a good way to be taught just a little of the historical past behind town’s iconic ruins. From €25 click on right here to purchase tickets.

18. Or Catch a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Athens

Talking of performances – how about an outside cinema? In summertime, open-air cinemas are a BIG factor in Athens, with over 60 scattered throughout town. Right here’s my decide of a few of the finest:

  • Aegli – the oldest open-air cinema within the metropolis, set inside the gardens of stately Zappeion Corridor.
  • Cine Dexameni – on the roof of the Historic Roman Hadrian’s Aqueduct.
  • Cine Thisio – views of the illuminated Acropolis at night time.
  • Zefyros – historic, bohemian cinema showcasing basic & artsy movies.

19. Store with the Locals at Varvakios Market

Interior of Varvakios Central Market in Athens, a large hall with high cieling with green metal beams. On either side is a row of stalls with lit up glass fronts and vendors wearing white coats
Central Market in Athens

Varvakios Central Municipal Market is the most important and liveliest market in Athens, so it’s an ideal place to expertise an genuine aspect of Athenian life.

The historic constructing, courting from 1886, is filled with stalls promoting recent meat, fish, olives, herbs, spices, and all method of scrumptious Greek produce. It’s an ideal place to people-watch and pattern some native flavours. Be warned, although, the sections housing the meat and fish are usually not for the faint-hearted!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Half-Day Final Meals Strolling Tour – 4 hours, from €69pp

20. Discover the Seafront of the Athens Riviera

Aerial view of the a small bay with a beach and Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion at the edge of Attica, Greece, during summer sunset time
Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion

Athens could also be finest often called a metropolis break vacation spot, however it’s also possible to have a seaside vacation right here!

If you wish to see one other very completely different aspect of Athens, head south to the coastal space often called the Athens Riviera. The riviera stretches round 60km from the swanky marina at Paleo Faliro to Cape Sounion. All alongside it, you could find lovely sandy seashores, bustling ports, posh “yachtie” haunts, and hidden coves.

Don’t miss the well-known Temple of Poseidon, the therapeutic mineral waters of Vouliagmeni Lake, or the wonderful seafood eating places round Piraeus.

21. Take a Greek Cooking Class

For one more enjoyable and weird exercise in Athens, think about taking a cooking class. It is a nice technique to meet different travellers, uncover some scrumptious native meals – and possibly be taught just a little about Athenian tradition when you do it. Right here’s my decide of one of the best cooking courses in Athens:

Uncommon Issues to do in Athens: Quicklist and Map

Don’t have time to learn the entire put up above? Right here’s a fast record of one of the best uncommon issues to do in Athens – plus a helpful map that can assist you navigate.

  1. Don’t Miss the Historic Websites
  2. Take a Strolling Tour with Various Athens
  3. Watch the Altering of the Guards at Syntagma Sq.
  4. Hunt down the Road Artwork in Athens
  5. Hunt for Bargains at Monastiraki Flea Market
  6. Uncover Athens’ Modern Artwork Scene at TAF (The Artwork Basis)
  7. Witness 4 Eras of Athens Historical past at Monastiraki Sq.
  8. Take a Greek Meals Tour in Athens
  9. Uncover a Roman Tomb inside a Zara Retailer
  10. Swing by the Archaeological Web site inside Monastiraki Metro Station
  11. Spot Neo-Classical Structure on Panepistimo Road
  12. Spot Road Artwork and Ottoman Structure in Psirri District
  13. Study In regards to the German Occupation at Korai 4
  14. Dive Into the Fashionable Gazi District
  15. Take a Sip of Historical past on the Oldest Distillery in Athens
  16. Take an Olympic Work Out within the Historic Stadium
  17. Watch an Historic Greek Theater Efficiency
  18. Or Catch a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Athens
  19. Store with the Locals at Varvakios Market
  20. Discover the Seafront of the Athens Riviera
  21. Take a Greek Cooking Class

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Have you learnt any extra hidden gems or uncommon issues to do in Athens? Scroll right down to share your prime ideas within the feedback!