Top 7 Local Things to Do
Although gallivanting through Athens may allow you to serendipitously discover little intriguing spots that you could never imagine, following a certain route for a day (as below) may save you some time, allowing you to make the best of the day.
If you really want to take a piece of Athens with you, trust Wander Like Me’s concierge services to show you how.
1. Gazing Upon Awe-Inspiring Archaeological Treasures
With a modern city built on the premises of archaeological sites representing the birthplace of Western civilization, visit the Acropolis Museum to embark on an enchanting journey to travel back in time. Here you will be able to discover numerous enlightening artefacts, magnificent marble statues, and a plentitude of everyday objects.
Expect to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring beauty of the ancient pieces.
It is one of the most popular historical monuments in Greece, attracting people from around the world to come and discover enthralling facts of the Ancient Greeks, through the unique and educational presentation of the archaeological findings.
The well-thought design of the Acropolis Museum together with having been built on Makrigianni Hill, allows it to overlook the Acropolis hill – establishing a meaningful and direct connection between the original archaeological site and the exhibits housed in the museum.
2. Observing the Meeting Grounds of Tradesmen and Politicians
Take a walk for under fifteen minutes to wander off to the Ancient Agora – a significant landmark within Athens. The word ‘agora’ means to assemble and it is here that the citizens of ancient Athens would meet and discuss matters that required attention and acceptable solutions.
It was once a lively meeting place where distinguished thinkers such as Socrates and where normal citizens would gather. These gatherings involved addressing political, judicial, and social matters. Today only remnants remain within a large open archaeological plateau, adorned with many trees creating a tranquil environment where you can relax.
All you need is a strong imagination to travel back to the ancient times and appreciate how the influences of the past live on in today’s Western world with the existence of democracy, justice, and freedom.
The Ancient Agora’s most noteworthy monument is the temple of Hephaestus that has been well-preserved.
3. Strolling Along Culturally Engrossed Passageways
A few steps away from antiquity, you can take a walk towards one of the most bustling areas found at the heart of contemporary Athens – Monastiraki. In Greek, it means ‘little monastery’, named after the tenth century church Panagia Pantanassa from the Byzantine era, located at Monastiraki square.
Not only is Monastiraki a meeting place but also a melting pot where culture, history, and art have been amalgamated from different times, presently representing the old and the new. This feeling comes from the coexistence of the ancient and the modern.
You will find the narrow streets filling up with people from different walks of life, following meandering passageways. These lead to various stores along the pavement that are run by tradesmen with pride. The bustling between tradesmen and visitors enlivens the surrounding atmosphere.
Gazing upon these stores, be sure to find anything that your heart desires, ranging from handmade leather bags and sandals, culturally influenced paintings, vinyl records, historically inspired souvenirs, and variable antiques reminiscing folklore stories of the past.
4. Taking a Mediterranean Cuisine Food Stop
Grab a souvlaki at ‘O Kostas’ that is located at the St. Eirini Square. Regardless of its touristic location, this takeaway eatery has a humble-looking and homely feeling to it and has become a legendary Athens food stop due to its high quality of souvlakia.
This eatery has been established for over sixty-five years and has managed to pass on the well-preserved authentically traditional from generation to generation in this family-run business.
Don’t be intimidated by the line-up of customers waiting to grab their share of tantalizingly souvlakia as Kosta serves reasonably fast. It is ideal for those who don’t have time to sit down for a meal. All you need to do is order, collect, and head off on a slow observing stroll, during which you can devour your appetizing souvlaki(a).
You can’t go wrong by stopping at a joint that has been recommended by the National Geographic.
5. Leisure Walking in a Reviving Park
Catch a breath of fresh air at Stavros Niarchos Park after an approximately twenty-minute taxi drive from Kosta’s. It is something to marvel about as it is a seaside park of 170 000 square-meters with a softly inclining artificial hill of thirty-two meters height. At the hill’s highest point you can admire the breathtaking sea view as well as pulsating views of the Acropolis and the Agora.
You begin to feel like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ as you are surrounded with the natural wonders of olive trees, lush greenery, and an assortment of flowers – an amazing reality to be appreciated. Each season blossoms with a kaleidoscope of changing colors.
Based at The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) – designed by well-renowned architect, Renzo Piano – the park’s natural beauty is complimented by the sea-water canal that runs parallel to the scenic walkway that leads towards the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera House, and cafes. The canal proves to be entertaining for kayaking and sailing fans.
6. Getting a Taste of Salt Water
Hop into a taxi and take a close drive to Beach Freatida. It is a small local beach in Piraeus and it is quiet with great views. Take a dip into this beach’s serene sea and you will immediately unwind in its refreshing blue waters.
If there is a shower available nearby you can take a rinse before drying up under the soothing sun, but drying with the salt water has health benefits such as increasing your blood circulation.
This beach is just a tip of the iceberg concerning the diversity of enchanting beaches that Athens and its surrounding areas have to offer.
Now that you’ve gotten a taste of an urban based beach, perhaps you would be attracted to considering a trip to tranquil island beaches.
7. Exploring Technopolis by Night
With a star lit sky and a throbbing curiosity to discover more, there is nothing better than a night outing. Technopolis City of Athens is ideal for that and is based at the old gas factory plant. It once ignited the city with power and light, but today it has been transformed into a cultural hub that has revitalized the city center by providing lively entertainment and creative art performances.
It appeals to all walks of life that are attracted to its lively vibe. There is always something happening at Technopolis as it hosts a variety of events ranging from jazz concerts to food exhibitions.
Visit Technopolis and embrace its reviving nightlife and alluring atmosphere evident in its variety of diners and music venues.
8. Why You Just Can’t Get Enough
So, you have managed to see a variety of impressive things within a day, all within a total proximity of under (a full circle of) thirty kilometers.
Gaining some good exposure to the ancient city of Athens may have been enthralling, while the other complementing side of Athen’s – a contemporary, lively and robust city – may have taken your breath away.
While you strolled in the city’s vigorous narrow cobbled roads with the archaeological sites laying a stretch away, you probably felt the learnings of great philosophers like Plato echoing in the wind. Throughout this excursion there has been a juxtaposition of the ancient and contemporary, that harmoniously coexist.
Just imagine the diversity of gifts this city holds, awaiting to be unwrapped by you. If you have a burning desire to discover more, plan your next trip to Athens with Wander Like Me to uncover the plethora of treasures.