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Touring Athens: Top 10 Reasons to Visit
January 15, 2017 – 03:25 pm
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top-ten-reasons-visit-athens-nowBy: David on

Despite being one of the world’s oldest cities, Athens is a modern and sophisticated 21st century capital. It is a destination that has plenty to offer, depending on your travel interests. Unfortunately, Athens has gotten a bad rap for being boring and expensive, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Travelers are often too eager to skip touring Athens entirely to hurry off to the Greek islands. This is a huge mistake!

Monastiraki Square

There are many things to do in Athens, you just have to know where to look. Lucky for you, we did just during our recent trip, and now we can say with complete certainty that Athens is the ideal city for history buffs, foodies, and partygoers. Despite the Greek economic crisis, Athens is growing steadily, and now more than ever is the best time to score deals on hotels and tours. Here are the top 10 reasons why touring Athens is well worth your time:

1. To see the ancient ruins

Roman Agora

7, 000 years of history doesn’t just get covered up by modern buildings. Evidence of past civilizations still remains scattered across this bustling metropolis. Touring Athens will reveal a collection of archaeological sites concentrated within the central part of the city. Standout ancient ruins include the Acropolis, Parthenon, Ancient Agora, Herodus Atticus Theater, Dionysus Ancient Theater, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Hadrian’s Arch, and the Temple of Zeus. All are connected by a continuous pedestrian path that spans several districts and shopping zones. We recommend purchasing a combined ticket for multiple archaeological sites. The pass costs €12 and is good for four days. Combined passes can be purchased at the ticket office at the Acropolis. Check out our episode on to see more awesome ruins.

Forum_top-ten-reasons-visit-athens-now2. You can go to the beach

Voula Beach

In the hot summer months, the Athenian Riviera becomes a breezy and pleasurable respite from the oppressive heat. The new, modern Athens tram network makes it easier than ever to access the city’s best beaches and coastal shopping and dining zones. Visitors don’t have to leave at all if they don’t want to since now the area of Glyfada has several luxury beach resorts to choose from. Most of Athens’ city beaches are equipped with bathrooms, snack bars, and beach chairs. The Kavouri-Vouliagmeni area boasts waters that are perfect for swimming.

3. Greek food is wondrous

Calamari Salad

I can’t think of a more underrated cuisine than Greek food, and while touring Athens you’ll have your choice of specialties from every part of the country plus delicious fusion foods. Greek gastronomy is characterized by freshness and simplicity. As a whole, the Greek diet is rich in animal protein and vegetables, but geography has a huge influence on local specialties. Core ingredients of Greek cuisine include olive oil, lemon, fresh herbs, tomatoes, cheese, pork, beef, and seafood. Greeks also love their coffee, and nothing says “Athenian” quite like a midday coffee break at a trendy café in Kolonaki Square. For a complete list of traditional Greek dishes, check out our post,

4. You can shop till you drop

Voula Beach_top-ten-reasons-visit-athens-nowHogan Store in Kolonaki

Athens boasts a vast selection of artisanal shops, art galleries, top fashion labels, beauty stores, and souvenir shops. Almost every neighborhood is central Athens offers visitors the opportunity to browse and shop for things they like. Typical products include traditional Greek worry beads (komboloi), all-natural beauty and spa products, handmade leather accessories, and expertly crafted Byzantine-style gold jewelry. Athens’ main shopping areas are Monastiraki (souvenir shops and urban clothing), Plaka (European fashions and art galleries), Ermou Street (over 100 clothing and shoe stores), and Kolonaki (crème de la crème of the Athens shopping scene, has stores like Prada, Cartier, and Dior).

5. It’s easy to get around

Athens Metro

Athens made several changes to its infrastructure and transportation systems in time for the 2004 Olympic Games. The metro and tram systems are efficient, immaculate, and can take you almost anywhere you want to go as you tour Athens. Metro stations in Athens feature free art exhibits and “mini museums” showcasing ancient artifacts uncovered during the construction of the metro line. Our personal favorites are the Acropolis and Syntagma station exhibits. In addition to the tram and metro lines, you could always opt for a taxi – Athens has a sizeable fleet of taxis rumored to number over 2, 000!

6. There are many free museums to take advantage of

Syntagma Station Exhibit

In addition to the metro station mini museums, which are all free to check out even if you’re not riding the metro, Athens has a handful of museums that offer complimentary admission. These include the Exile Museum, Greek Instruments Museum, and the Greek Theatre Museum. To get free entrance to Athens’ best known museums, like the New Acropolis Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art, and the National Archaeological Museum, you’ll need to time your visit accordingly. All of the city’s museums are free for everyone on certain days: March 6, April 18, May 18, June 5, September 27, Last weekend in September, and every Sunday from November 1 to March 31 and on the first Sunday of April, May, and June.

7. Vibrant nightlife

Monastiraki by Night

Athenians, like most Greeks, love to party. And in the summer months when the weather is hot, the nightlife around the coast is reminiscent of the part scene in Mykonos. Voula, in particular, has some of the Athenian Riviera’s biggest outdoor beach parties. But you don’t have to leave the city to have a good time. After dark, many coffee houses and restaurants will set up tables outside, switch the music, dim the lights, and create an entirely new ambiance for their evening crowds. Greeks typically have dinner late (9 – 10 p.m.), then head out around midnight or later. The area around Gazi Square is perfect for bar-hopping. For a classy night out, head to the always-fashionable GB Roof Garden at the Hotel Grand Bretagne in Syntagma Square.

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