Athens, the capital of Greece, is not only a fantastic European capital to visit, with unique monuments, archaeological sites, and museums, but is also a great place to live for longer periods as well. Digital nomads, remote workers, and full-time travelers that visit Athens often decide to stay longer than initially intended.
How To Move Around In Athens
One of the many advantages about living in Athens is the metro railway that connects different neighborhoods with each other, making it effortless and fast to reach different corners of the city in no time. You can take the metro system to the town center upon your arrival at the international airport Eleftherios Venizelos. It’s also easy to use the metro to reach the Port of Piraeus and board a ferry to one of the famous Greek islands. In addition, the city has an extensive bus network and plenty of taxis, both convenient and safe to travel among Athens’ neighborhoods. It’s easy to reach the southern suburbs as well, located by the sea and explore the Athenian Riviera, which is also connected to other seaside areas outside the capital by central motorways.
Most Picturesque Neighborhood In Athens to visit
While staying you may want to visit some of the nearby picturesque neighborhoods such as Plaka, Monastiraki, Psirri, Syntagma, Koukaki, Kolonaki and Thissio.
A favorite area among tourists and locals alike is Plaka—the old district area of Athens. Plaka is a maze of picturesque alleys and narrow streets that host a variety of shops and markets. The beautiful cafes and tavernas are a must. Be sure to dine al fresco both in summer and in the colder months. Plaka is only a few steps away, close to archaeological sites such as Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and several important museums. You can reach Plaka on foot from other central areas, including Monastiraki and Syntagma. Plaka can also be very busy due to its proximity to the Acropolis, so make sure to visit Plaka as early as you can so you can enjoy it freely. In Plaka, most houses have a traditional Neoclassical façade, making it one of the most beautiful places for street photography, if you’re a fan!
Just down the road from the center of Plaka, you can also spend some time in Anafiotika. It is a place where many immigrants from the Cycladic Island of Anafi settled many years ago when moving to Athens to build the palace. Although it is not easy to find a place to stay in the area, it’s definitely a fantastic place to visit when you’re staying in a hotel in Athens Greece.
Monastiraki is located around a central square that’s the beating heart of the city, the Monastiraki Square. The picturesque area is a great place to hang out and catch up with friends since it is near and in a walking distance from the beautiful Ancient Agora of Athens and Hadrian’s Library.
You can go shopping for souvenirs and memorabilia in the beautiful flea markets and of course have a bite in the tavernas. If you want to taste traditional meat platters, such as gyros and souvlaki, then you can choose any of the gyro joints in the alleys around Monastiraki and enjoy the best of Greece’s street food. Monastiraki is also a place where people choose to go shopping; walk from Monastiraki to Syntagma Square along Ermou Street and discover an outstanding shopping opportunity as several top brand shops are located in the area.
One of the most hip neighborhoods of Athens: Psirri
Psirri is close to Monastiraki and Plaka, but it still preserves a unique, boho atmosphere that makes it an ideal area for younger crowds. Nights come alive with colors, music, sounds and food every evening. In Psirri, you’ll be able to taste and experience the best of Athens’ nightlife, visiting the different bars, tavernas, and pubs that remain open until late at night, serving great local food and offering all the music genres you can possibly imagine. Psirri is an ideal area for photographers who love to capture that bizarre and creative street art. When in Psirri, do not miss a chance to look around; the chances are that street art will surprise you!
This is arguably the best area to stay in, for a vibrant combination of street life, nightlife and Greek cuisine.
Athens’ most central and important square is Syntagma, the place where you’ll find the Greek parliament. Tourists and locals gather every morning to witness the change of the guard of the Evzones, the legendary Greek military elite. Although the place is relatively central and well connected, it’s also where locals gather to protest and demonstrate, something you should keep in mind when visiting the area.
The locals also meet in Syntagma square, which is an important transport hub. Several bus lines have their stop there for those trying to reach the port, the airport, and more. Syntagma is easy to reach on foot from other Athenian neighborhoods, including Monastiraki, Plaka, and Kolonaki, and some of the most exclusive luxury hotels athens greece city center are located there.
The elegant neighborhood of Athens
Located at the base of the stunning Lycabettus Hill, Kolonaki is a glamorous area with stylish buildings and some of the most exclusive shops hosting both international and local luxurious brands. Nightlife is tranquil and relaxed, but it’s also exclusive. In fact, in Kolonaki, you have the option to experience some of the city’s most sophisticated restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for a neighborhood with an elegant atmosphere, surrounded by gorgeous cafeterias, restaurants, Kolonaki is the place to stay in Athens for you. The most convenient metro stations to get to Kolonaki are Syntagma and Evangelismos.
Koukaki is a residential area where you can enjoy the most authentic atmosphere of Athens. From Koukaki is easy to visit the Acropolis Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, and the fascinating Jewelry Museum of Athens. The closest metro stations to Koukaki area are Acropolis and Syngrou Fix.
The stunning Thisseio Neighborhood
If you’re a young traveler, a stay in Thisseio will guarantee you tons of fun and exciting things to do. The neighborhood features dozens of cafés, cocktail bars, restaurants, and a well-known open-air cinema, Cinema Thisseio while being conveniently located nearby. Interesting places within walking distance include Filopappou Hill, Kerameikos and the Temple of Hephaestus inside the Ancient Agora, while getting there by metro the closest stations are Thisseio and Monastiraki.
When is the best time to visit Athens
Athens is known for its year-round mild weather. Summer is the high season, when the city’s attractions are packed with visitors, while the peaceful winters are often dry. Spring and fall offer pleasant weather and thinner crowds, making it a perfect time of the year to visit Athens.
Summer (June through August)
Major attractions in Athens, like the Acropolis Museum, the Parthenon, and the National Archaeological Museum, are very busy during this time. Try to make your arrangements well in advance, including your stay, ferries rides and plane tickets. Despite the crowds, the high season is a good time to take advantage of long summer days and full-time opening hours of the museums, restaurants and bars.
Fall (September through November)
If you love sunny weather but don’t care for crowds, fall can be a great time for sightseeing in Athens. While the weather generally remains fairly warm until November, the attractions get slightly less busy after the August rush. The ongoing pleasant weather also makes early fall a great time for day trips. The Saronic Islands (Aegina, Hydra, Poros, and Spetses, as well as the less popular Salamis) can easily be reached via a quick ferry ride. If you’d prefer to stay on the mainland, there are many fascinating nearby towns and archaeological sites to visit: Cape Sounion, Eleusis, and Marathon are all close to Athens, while Delphi, Corinth, and Thebes are a 1-2 hour drive away.
Winter (December through February)
The winter is the off-season in Athens. Rain showers fall during this time, and it has even been known to snow. However, the winter is usually interrupted by plenty of “halcyon days” when temperatures are surprisingly warm and summer-like. Though some attractions have shorter hours during the winter, it’s still possible to get great deals on booking tickets. For anyone who would love to investigate the Acropolis without the flooding crowds, winter is a good time to plan a visit. Despite the cold, outdoor life continues throughout the year, with many cafés offering heat lamps so customers can enjoy their coffee or lunch outside, in the crisp joyful winter weather.
Spring (March through May)
The springtime in Greece is marked by the blossoming of flowers and temperatures warm enough for sightseeing and outdoors activities, especially before the crowds of summer arrive. It also provides a unique opportunity to participate in Greek Easter traditions. Orthodox Easter takes place on different dates than the Western Christian/Catholic Easter, so check in advance to confirm the exact timing. During Easter, you can go to Byzantine churches for services and taste traditional sweets at the city’s bakeries. Processions take place throughout Athens on Good Friday, while on Easter Saturday, the holy flame is brought to Athens from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Easter isn’t the only event in Athens in spring; there’s also the Greek Independence Day on March 25th. If you’re planning to be in Athens on that day, check museum timings in advance—some may have limited hours, while others (like the Acropolis Museum) usually offer free entry. The holiday is celebrated with military parades through the city streets and by eating traditional bakaliaros skordalia (cod with garlic sauce).
Things to do in your hotel
Returning from your sightseeing and neighborhood strolling you might feel tired and enjoy some time on your hotel. Hotels offer a variety of amenities, and they are a great way to take a day off sightseeing. Here are some of the things to do while staying in your hotel.
Have a nice breakfast
Most of hotels nowadays include breakfast in their room prices. But it is not to be taken for granted, so be sure to check in advantage. Breakfast buffets are famous for their quality, variety, and exquisite flavors.
Enjoy a drink
Stating the obvious, but many hotels have fabulous built-in bars. A wide variety of soft drinks and cocktails awaits you. Do not hesitate to try the classic ones with a local twist!
Watch a sunset or sunrise
One of the most romantic things to do on a getaway in a hotel room is watching the sunset or the sunrise. Make sure you ask your hotel for a room with a balcony so you can sit outside and chat with your other half while the sun goes down.
Order room service
It can be fun to order room service because it feels like a luxury to a lot of people. Once in a while, splurge on yourself! Order from the hotel menu something that you’ve never tried before to make it all more interesting. Order several items and have a tasting party! You could also order into the room, as many hotels offer information about food delivery services.
Connect To Wifi
We’re in the digital age and being connected is an important part of our everyday lives. Before you even book your accommodation, it is important to always check if your room will have a free Wifi connection or if you’ll have to pay a little extra in order to get it. If your room comes with free wifi, make sure that as soon as you arrive, you check the password, connect to your mobile or whichever device you’ll be using to connect with your friends back home and tell them about your stay in Athens.