I’ve been living in Athens for 3 months now and the city has really grown on me. Athens is a destination that is usually overlooked when planning a trip to Greece, most people want to explore the Greek Islands, but I think the city has so much to offer. Here are 7 things you must do that aren’t super touristy and that aren’t the Acropolis.
#1 Sunset at Mount Lycabettus
In my opinion, Mount Lycabettus is the best place to view the sunset in all of Athens. It allows at 360° view of the city, and it really shows how vast the city is. You can hike up to the top, (in the summer this can get very sweaty). Or you can take a cable car, if you don’t feel like hiking, which costs €5.
Once at the top there is a restaurant, or you can buy ice cold beers from a man with a cooler box for around €5 a beer. I recommend getting up there a little while before sunset to get a good seat dangling your legs over the edge.
To get there you can take the Line 3 blue metro to Evangelismos (ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΜΟΣ ΠΛ.1) and walk to the base of the hill from there (if hiking), or to the cable car and it will take 10 minutes.
Address: Mount Lycabettus, Athens 114 71, Greece
#2 Swim at Glyfada Beach
This is one of my favourite public beaches in the Athens area. The water is instantly deep when you walk in, which I love. The best thing about this beach is that it’s free to enter. Unfortunately, lots of good beaches in the area are paid entry. If you get there early you can nab a parasol, but since this beach is popular with the locals you might not get the chance to get one!
The best way to get there is on the A2 Bus and it takes around 30 minutes. Or you can get the T5 Tram from the Neos Kosmos area and it takes roughly the same amount of time.
Note: There are no bars or restaurants on the beachfront so make sure to bring drinks and snacks if you plan to eat/drink throughout the day.
Address: Glyfada Beach, Diadochou Pavlou, Glyfada, Greece
#3 Dinner at a classic Greek taverna
When walking the streets of Athens in the evening you will see that almost every restaurant has outdoor seating, and around the touristy areas, you will have lots of Greek waiters trying to get you to look at their menu for their restaurant. Around the Monastiraki area, a great place to try is O Thanasis, they have delicious moussaka and cheap wine. This taverna is especially known for its kebab and souvlaki.
Address: O Thanasis, Mitropoleos, Athina, Greece
#4 Go for a drink in a rooftop bar
There are so many great rooftop bars in Athens and when I arrived in the city first I was on a quest to try them all. My favourites are 360 Cocktail Bar and Couleur Locale. Both have great views of the Acropolis and delicious food and drinks. The prices are a little on the pricier side of Athens, due to the great view and vibe, but something I like to do is start the night in a rooftop bar at around sunset and then head to the side streets later on.
360 Cocktail Bar, Ifestou 2, Athina 105 55, Greece
Couleur Locale, Normanou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece
#5 Catch a movie at an outdoor cinema
Going to the cinema is always a treat, but going to an outdoor cinema is instantly a better treat. There are a few different outdoor cinemas to choose from such as Cine Aegli, this cinema shows new movies and there are 2 showings per day. Another is Thision Open Air Cinema which shows older, black and white movies. Typically, the operations of outdoor cinemas begin in the last week of April or the first week of May and end in late October.
Thision Open Air Cinema, Apostolou Pavlou 7, Athina 118 51, Greece
Cine Aegli Summer Cinema, Κήπος Ζαππείου Μεγάρου, Athina 105 57, Greece
#6 Get lost around the side streets of Psyri
No matter how many times I visit this area I get confused about where I am and end up walking in circles. This eclectic, highly graffitied area is home to lots of great places to eat, drink, and dance. During the day it’s great to just walk around and get lost, grab some brunch in Zampano, their eggs benedict is one of the best in Athens. Head to Little Kook for a dessert and their magnificent decor. At night, head to one of the street bars, my favourite is Old Fashioned Bar, they serve great Guinness and delicious cocktails at very affordable prices.
#7 Karaoke at Ghost House
One of my favourite things to do when in a new city is hit up a karaoke bar. This place was really great, with such friendly and helpful staff, a nice atmosphere and it’s full of locals. It’s €5 entry with a drink included (beer or wine). The place is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Address: Lepeniotou 17, Athina 105 54, Greece