One of the world’s oldest cities, Athens is widely regarded as the birthplace of democracy. Continuously inhabited for at least 5,000 years, it offers plenty for history and archaeology enthusiasts with its ancient ruins, iconic monuments like the iconic Parthenon on Acropolis hill, and internationally renowned museums. 

While the centuries-old history is reason enough to visit, there’s a thriving dining scene to explore as well. Traditional tavernas serve authentic dishes like spinach pie, souvlaki, and moussaka, and you’ll find Greek salads, feta cheese, and sweet treats too. There are also fine-dining restaurants helmed by top chefs serving a wide range of Greek and international fare, and no matter where you go, you’ll find plenty of tasty regional wines to pair with it. 

Endless shopping opportunities include antique shops and markets offering a great taste of Athenian culture and the chance to discover bargains while sampling all sorts of delicious Greek meze. Of course, squeezing time in to unwind is important too and you’ll find many enticing cafes for sipping coffee or wine while watching the parade of locals and visitors walk by.

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Best Hotels in Athens

You’ll find a wide range of hotel options in Athens which means you’ll first want to choose the neighborhood in which you’d like to stay based on what you hope to see and do. Historic Plaka is a great choice as it not only offers lots of charms, but it’s one of the most central, set between the Syntagma metro station, the Monastiraki area, and the Acropolis. Or stay in the city center at or around popular Syntagma Square, within walking distance to Plaka, the Acropolis, and Monastiraki. You’ll find some of the very best hotels here, including Hotel Grande Bretagne. Booking a property in Monastiraki, which hosts lots of small boutique hotels, will put you just steps from one of the top areas for shopping as well as the vibrant dining and drinking scene while being just a 10-minute walk from the Acropolis.

Another option is the Makriyanni neighborhood, centered around the Acropolis Museum south of Acropolis hill. The upscale area offers an extensive array of hotels from budget-friendly to luxury options along with lots of good dining choices. Thission is popular for young travelers who want a mix of sightseeing and lively nightlife, while Psiri is a bohemian, alternative, “up and coming” neighborhood with trendy cafes, stylish tavernas, street art, and plenty of fun after dark.

 

Things to do in Athens

 
The Acropolis of Athens, UNESCO world heritage in Greece

When to visit Athens

As most visit Athens with the hopes of marveling at iconic sites like Acropolis hill, and exploring the monuments and museums, the best time to visit is when the weather is mild and there’s no need to battle the tourist crowds. Those ideal periods generally fall between mid-April and May or mid-October to mid-November when you won’t have to worry about searing heat or elbowing your way through the masses. If you have your heart set on enjoying the beaches and swimming along the Athenian Riviera too, you might want to aim for late May through mid-June or early October.

 

Athens FAQ

Perian
From

Perian Our Greece Expert

How many days do you need in Athens?
While some feel that there is never enough time to spend in Athens, with two days you can see the highlights of the historic centre, including Acropolis hill, the Parthenon, and Ancient Agora, as well as enjoy shopping and dining in the charming Plaka district or other neighbourhoods. Three days would be ideal as you can experience all of that and take a day trip to the Temple of Poseidon, the Athenian Riviera, or a place of significant importance like Delphi.

What is the best time to visit the Acropolis?
During the off-season, from November through March, you may be able to stroll around the Acropolis with few others around, especially if you arrive soon after it opens. In the winter, it may be nearly deserted most of the day while skies are often clear, providing magnificent views from the top. If you visit during the busy tourist season, April through October, you’ll want to arrive a few minutes before the site opens at 8 a.m. to beat the thickest crowds and the hottest temperatures. Or, come at the end of the day, about an hour or two before closing.

Is food in Athens expensive?
Food in Athens is reasonably priced, especially when compared to other European cities like London, Milan, or Oslo, although it will be more expensive in and around main tourist areas. You’ll find the best values at restaurants catering to locals. That said, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant here typically ranges from 7 to 12 euros while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range eatery runs around 50 euros. It’s easy to find budget-friendly eats by heading to the street food stalls.

Is Athens worth visiting?
A vibrant city with an excellent mix of historic and modern, Athens is an exciting destination that offers something for everyone. Of course, it’s a must for history buffs who could easily spend their entire life exploring the Greek capital with something to marvel at around every corner not to mention there are more than 80 museums. Foodies love it too as a visit to Athens brings a chance to sample cuisine from across the country. There are art galleries and plenty of street art to explore, endless opportunities to shop, and fantastic nightlife venues too.

 
 

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