Undeniably, Athens is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Besides featuring places with incredible ancient history, Athens never fails to surprise its travellers. Athens is the cosmopolitan hub of Greece. Perhaps, for the entire Western culture. Being one of the top tourist destinations, one might wonder what to do in Athens? Well, from popular cultural heritage sites to shopping locations, delicious food, nightlife, and peaceful lakes, Athens has lots to offer. Though there are various things to do here, here are our top 7 picks.
1. Visit the Monastiraki Flea Market
Well, it is not a real flea market or what you might actually think of. However, the special thing about this place is that people in large numbers come down from hills and gather here on Sundays. They lay their blankets and begin to sell all types of things.
It is an incredible mob scene that is worth experiencing. If you really don’t want to be a part of this crowd, you can enjoy your coffee in a café while watching overlooking the ancient agora & metro tracks on Adrianou Street.
You can also watch shoppers, African DVD sellers escaping from the cops, and street musicians. It is usually a collection of clothing stores, tourist shops, jewellery stores, and fur, dotted with a few interesting shops, particularly if you are fond of rare CDs or vintage stuff.
Monastiraki Square is one of the liveliest squares in Athens. At nighttime, it is occupied with street and young people.
2. Drink the Real “Greek” Coffee
Drinking a cup of freddo cappuccino is certainly one of the best things you can do at Athens. Freddo cappuccino is one of the 3 classic coffees that Greeks offer. While freddo cappuccino is ideal, the other two are frappe & freddo espresso.
Frappe is made with water, sugar, and instant coffee. Freddo cappuccino is espresso but topped with some frothy milk. Freddo espresso is nothing but swirled espresso above ice. These coffees come with a high caffeine punch. Since they are served cold, it makes it perfect during a hot day in Athens.
3. Take a Dive at Lake Vouliagmeni
So the next time when you visit Athens, make sure that you don’t skip this spot. Lake Vouliagmeni is a tiny brackish-water lake, which is fed by subversive currents seeping via the mass of Mt. Hymettus.
The lake features unique environmental condition. It has warm seawater (27-35°C) through a deep underground channel that spreads via a group of flooded caves. This is the reason why its temperature never falls below 18°C (but sometimes ranges between 21°C and 24°C).
It also has a freshwater spring, which lessens its salinity to some brackish levels. It goes deep inside the mountains to underwater caves, which are still not fully explored because their ends seem impossible to track even after using sonar detections. Many underwater missions have been done to trace the ends. But many divers sank trying.
4. Eat some Loukoumades
Wondering what Loukoumades are? Well, they are Greek Donuts. They are small puff pastries, which are soaked in pure honey and garnished with cinnamon. Many shops also offer sesame seeds too. And needless to say, they are super delicious!
Though there are many places that sell Loukoumades, the ideal spot in Athens to buy them is at Lukumades. Aptly named right? No wonder.
5. Don’t Forget to Visit Psiri
Though you have plenty of sightseeing places in Athens, Psiri is a location that cannot be overlooked. It features endless little streets comprising ouzeries, cafes, bars, restaurants, theatres, art galleries, and clubs. And the best part?
It is just a one-minute walk from Ermou & Athinas streets and Monastiraki Square. Make sure to join those huge crowds on weekend nights, especially during famous Greece’s Carnival – Apokreas.
The popularity of Psiri increased and turned to be a hub for Athens nightlife in the 2004 Olympics. You are never going to find a cooler and better city in America or once you are here. You can experience that buzz, as you see those cafes with hundreds of people talking, smoking, and drinking simultaneously.
You can also find those little cafes in the back streets with just 2 or 3 tables and of course, guys grilling octopus or cuttlefish.
6. Pay a Visit to Al Hammam
Don’t be confused about what to see in Athens when you have a place like “Al Hammam.” It is a well-admired traditional bathhouse located in Plaka. Just lay down on those warm marbles and relax.
Leave everything to the experts there, where they take care of you from head to toe. They have “aketse,” an exceptional sponge to exfoliate your skin and natural soap made of olive oil. It is indeed an ideal place to get yourself a relaxing massage, followed by a head wash. What’s even special? They have packages for couples too.
7. Visit Hydra
If you are at Athens, paying a visit to any one of the Greek islands is a must. Talking of islands, “Hydra” is something you cannot miss in your trip. It is a tiny island, which does not allow cars to enter in.
Everything that you want to do is located right at this port, even including shopping and restaurants. The best thing about this pot is that it also features a huge swimming pool, which is just a 5-minute walk away.
It takes only 1 hour on a ferry to reach Hydra, given that you get the fastest ferry. This costs about €56 and you have to catch this ferry from Piraeus port. Take time and spend your day at Hydra and the, return to Athens for dinner.
You can even join for a one-day tour to Hydra, Aegina, and Poros islands when you aboard in a cruise ship.