If you think of Greek Gods and the mythic history that surrounds them when you hear the word Greece. Then finding all the best places to visit in Athens is for you.
It’s the capital of the country and home to Ancient Greece. Perfectly positioned with the sun above and the Mediterranean Sea stretching into the distance, it’s hard to choose the best time to visit Athens.
Athens holds the roots of philosophy, science, the arts, and democracy. It’s helped shape the modern world as we know it. As one of the world’s oldest cities, it has nothing but stories to tell. The ornate buildings of the past, the cobblestoned streets, and the sea-filled air hum the tales of old Greece.
Mykonos may be known for its partying ways, and Santorini was made for lovers with its roving hilltops. However, Athens is what birthed these places and has given life to Greece.
5 Best Districts in Athens
Named after Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Athens was home to the philosophers Aristotle and Socrates. Filled with beautiful churches and jaw-dropping ruins, it’s no wonder people tend to flock to it.
One of the main features of the city is the Acropolis. At the center of the Acropolis is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena. A tour of the Acropolis will allow you to marvel at its beauty without having to wait in line.
The city has numerous neighborhoods that offer a bustling nightlife and a multitude of restaurants and beaches for you to enjoy.
Plaka │ Best for Leisure
The oldest and most famous neighborhood in Athens is undoubtedly Plaka. Situated at the base of the Acropolis, its winding streets and picturesque village-like setting are perfect for an afternoon stroll.
It’s lined with jewelry shops, cafes, and tourist stores for you to enjoy. Plaka is overflowing with spectacular sites of archeology that are sure to pique your interest.
One of the more notable ones is the Tower of Winds, an octagonal structure made of marble that was used to tell the time. Other archeological sites are the Doorway of the Medrese, the Monument of Lysicrates, and the Theater of Dionysus.
Best Thing to Do in Plaka | Visit Anafiotika
This is a village filled with white-washed houses that give it an island feel. Its car-free narrow streets and Cycladic homes create amazing views of the city. The Church of St. George can be found in the south of Anafiotika. Sitting atop Lycabettus Hill, it’s perfect for pictures and hiking; there’s a cable car at the top for those who need it.
The village is packed with Byzantine churches and plenty of spots to get the perfect shot for Instagram. If you want to get away from the bustle of the city, then Anafiotkia’s serene atmosphere and warm setting are exactly what you need.
Monastiraki │ Best for Exploring
One of Athens’ oldest neighborhoods, Monastiraki, is a blend of culture and history. Located 1.8 miles from Plaka, the two neighborhoods almost become one in their closeness and historical attributes.
The architecture reflects the diversity of the district, laced with cafes and shops for you to grab a quick bite and buy souvenirs for your loved ones back home. This neighborhood boasts the meeting place for Athenians, Monastiraki Square.
With numerous cobble-stoned streets leading up to the center of the square, you’re sure to find yourself there somehow. It’s known as the hub of Athens, with its people converging there to eat, drink, and talk their day away.
Things to Do in Monastiraki
One of the main things to go and see is the Tzistarakis Mosque, which no longer serves as a place of worship. It’s actually been a museum for over a hundred years, housing beautiful artifacts and pottery.
Near the mosque, you can find Hadrian’s Library, built as an offering to the city of Athens by Hadrian, the Roman Emperor. He built it for literary works to sit in and great philosophers to speak in. It was meant to enrich the lives of the Athenians and now serves as a testament to its history.
Psiri │ Best for a Night Out
If you’re looking for somewhere to drink and dance the night away, then Psiri is for you. Known as the party district, it’s where the Athenian youth spend their time. The streets went from artisan workshops to lively bars and restaurants, although there are some artisans finding their way back to Psiri.
The duality of Psiri lies in its old worldly skeleton, covered in the skin of modern life. This can be echoed in the daily routine of the area, by day a quiet and quaint neighborhood that’s perfect for shopping and a stroll. By night, it’s a lively mirage packed to the brim with people and beaming with music.
Things to Do in Psiri
Psiri is known for its street art and has been revered as one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Athens. If you walk through the streets, you’re sure to see some of the art.
For those of you interested in cooking or even just eating, the Museum of Greek Gastronomy is for you. The museum displays recipes of Greek dishes, ingredients, and illustrations to help you make an authentic meal. You’ll also get to taste some ingredients and some meals from their restaurant.
For a magical and Insta-worthy experience, head to Pittaki Street, where there are multiple hanging lamps shining different colors for you to take in.
Gazi │ Best for Art
Gazi is a district that’s on the rise in terms of nightlife, restaurants, and art. This neighborhood was home to a gas power plant. Now, it’s been transformed into a living museum and cultural center. Filled with contemporary art pieces, it transforms at night with beams of light bouncing off of the art.
Gazi is slowly becoming a nighttime hotspot. There are bars and clubs filling the streets with music, offering a variety of experiences from laid-back to high-spirited. A number of events are hosted in various bars, so you’re likely to find something to do.
Things to Do in Gazi
Gazi doesn’t just have things to do in the evenings; there are plenty of things for you to spend your days doing. For instance, there’s the Greek Film Archive, an old movie theater that has been transformed into a museum. You can find old costumes worn in Greek movies.
There are plenty of lovely eateries for you to indulge in, and Gazi has a great selection. There are a few Greek taverns in this area that offer you authentic Greek food with a twist. They are also a bit pricier than the average tavern but worth the money.
Exarchia │ Best for Rebels
Known for its anarchist-esque energy and pre-war buildings, Exarchia is home to the rebels of Athens. With inexpensive housing, it’s brimming with students and older people who cling to the pre-gentrification era.
This district is lined with cafes, bookshops, publishing houses, and record stores. Exarchia is covered in street art and is known for being the home of artists and writers of the city.
It’s a poet’s dreamscape in the day, with people seated at cafes creating their art and leisurely going about their day. However, at night, it’s a party-goer’s ultimate hotspot, with the streets coming alive.
Things to Do in Exarchia
The main attractions in this district are the National Archaeological Museum and the Epigraphic Museum. The National Archaeological Museum is the most visited museum in the city due to its significant installations, such as collections on the Mycenaean civilization.
It features the Mask of Agamemnon, the Antikythera mechanism, as well as numerous statues, such as the one of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
The Epigraphic Museum is a part of the National Archaeological Museum. It houses a vast collection of ancient Greek inscriptions, giving insight into the economic, political, religious, and societal life of the ancient days.
FAQs on Best Places to Visit in Athens
Naturally, you may have some questions about Athens. To help you properly plan your trip, we trust that these questions give you some insight.
When is the Best Time to Visit Athens?
If Athens is a stop along the way on your Greek adventure, then summertime is the best time to visit, so June to August. Should Athens be the destination, it’s best to go in March, April, September, and October when it’s not too hot for you to walk around.
How Many Days Do I Need for Athens?
That is completely dependent on you. If you aren’t planning on seeing much, you can do a 24 or 48-hour trip. If you want to see a bit more than the highlights, a five-day trip will do just fine. For a more in-depth trip, we recommend 14 days.
What Should I Wear in Athens?
For summer you won’t go wrong with light clothes like shorts and T-shirts. Also, pack comfortable walking shoes and swimming attire. For winter, you will definitely need warm clothes and boots; it does snow in the winter, so be prepared.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Athens
Athens has proven to be more than just a stop along the way. With a nightlife that can compete with Mykonos, it’s definitely a city worthy of your time. Boasting architectural and historical landmarks alongside multiple cafes, restaurants, and museums, you’ll never be bored.
Greece isn’t all about Athens, though. If you’re looking for an epic day trip during your travel, have a look at this Athens to Delphi tour.
Last updated on January 15th, 2024 at 01:00 pm