AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ATHENS, GREECE
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ATHENS?
One of the first questions we are asked is – When is the best time to visit Athens?
The answer is year round. But let us elaborate. Athens is at its best during the low season, from November to March. That’s when the nightlife is in full swing and you get the historical sites for yourself. Summers are scorching hot but, if you plan to visit the islands, you should not miss a stop in Athens. Just plan accordingly, stay hydrated, and do like the locals: go out in the morning or in the evening.
The recent crisis has affected the prices, making Athens an affordable place to visit year-round. But things are picking up again so you may want to plan in advance to get the best deals.
1. A TOUR OF THE STREET ART
Street art is abundant in Athens and you don’t need to search hard to find interesting pieces. Keep your eyes open, look up, look down, and on the sides. Monastiraki area is a good place to start and if you like to venture further out, try the old airport grounds.
Graffiti has always existed in Greece but nowadays it is the business shop owners and commercial property investors who come to the street artists to ask them to paint their walls.
You can hire artists to take you on an artistic tour of Athens.
2. SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY NATURE IN THE NATIONAL GARDEN
Behind the Parliament building and right in the heart of the busy city, you will find the National Garden. It is a public park spreading over 38 acres (15.5 ha). Forget about keeping time and just walk and soak up the greenery. Commissioned in 1838 by Queen Amelia, the garden also includes some ancient ruins – as it’s the case with any patch of land in Athens.
3. A WALK IN ANAFIOTIKA
A part of Plaka, right below the Acropolis, Anafiotika is a still-undiscovered area of Athens. Not many travelers know about it, but those who explore the area fall in love.
The houses were built by workers from Anafi, who came to Athens during the era of Otto of Greece. The neighborhood was built according to typical Cycladic architecture and the feeling has remained the same over the centuries. Unfortunately, part of the area was destroyed in 1950 when the archeological research was conducted. Currently, only 45 houses remain.
The area is best explored when it’s not raining (or snowing), as the tiny streets can get extremely slippery when wet. Allow yourself to get lost, you’ll find the way out…eventually.
4. BARGAIN AT THE MONASTIRAKI FLEA MARKET
What better way to get to learn a culture than to visit one of the most vibrant flea markets in Europe?
Make sure you show up on a Sunday, reading to browse the collection of…well, everything. From books to silver jewelry, to watches, and phone cards.
And let’s not forget the food! Let your nose guide you to find the portable souvlaki shops.
During the week, there’s still a market here but with regular shops which also sell pretty much everything. If you are looking for trinkets to bring back home as souvenirs, it may prove to be a good choice.
5. A SELF-MADE TOUR OF THE HISTORICAL SITES
No visit to Athens is complete with visiting the major historical sites: the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, the Greek Agora, and the Temple of Zeus.
Each of them offers unique insights into the life of ancient Greeks and they can keep you busy for hours. If you were to choose, at least don’t miss visiting the Acropolis. Take your time and explore the huge grounds at your own pace.