Things to do /try in Athens in 4 days

Part 1 City center area

Airport code: ATH
Airport name: Eleftherios Venizelos
Athens is the largest city in Greece, having a population of 3,090,508 (in 2011).
The most common 3 questions people ask before buying a vacation or a city break, are what can you do, visit and try.

Well, it depends on what you want, Athens has a large variety of things to offer.
I will split them in 2 categories Seaside and City side, and we will discuss about the seaside in the next article.

Airport to city centre:

  • Taxi – Between 35 and 40 € depending on the exact location, in 30 – 45 minute you arrive at your destination, depending on the traffic conditions.
  • Metro – Athens airport metro runs every 30 minutes, but only between the hours of 06.30 and 23.30. The ticket prices are € 10 for one person, € 18 for two people, and  € 24 for three people. 
  • Bus– at approximative 8 euros per person, the Athens airport bus is by far the cheapest option. 
  • x95 Athens Airport Bus to Syntagma Square is the most popular. If you are staying at a hotel near the centre, this is the bus you would take.
  • x96 Athens Airport to Piraeus Port bus is the next most popular if you are heading straight to the port to catch a ferry to one of the islands and also for the seaside are we will discuss about x96 in the next article.
  • X93 Athens Airport to Kifisou Avenue bus,
  • X97 Athens Airport to Elliniko bus.

Athens City centre

Athens city center and the main attractions

Above you can see a map of Athens city center and the main attractions in the area.

Where to stay

There are many great hotels in Athens, at different prices from low to high, I only tried 2 and I will quickly talk about them.

Titania 4*

  • Score: 8.5 on Booking.com;
  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor;
  • Address: Panepistimiou 52;

I discovered a small jewel, I went online and looked for a hotel very close to all the main attractions.
I wanted a low price, but a good location and I saw the below hotel.
In the pictures, it looked good for a 1* hotel, it has a bathroom in the room, and I thought to my self, as long as it is clean, I don’t mind a 1* hotel.

Phaedra 1* – it looks like 3* hotel

  • Score: 8.3 on Booking.com and 9.8 for location;
  • Score: 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor;
  • Address: Cherefontos 16 & Adrianou Street;
  • The location is 5 minutes away from Adrian’s Arch;
  • 5 min to the museum of Acropolis;
  • 6 min to Zappeion;
  • 8 min to Acropolis;
  • 10 min to the national garden of Athens;
  • 1 min from Lysikrates monument;
  • 10 min to Monastiraki;
  • 8 min to Ermou street;
  • 12 min to Syntagma square/ the parliament of Athens; 
  • 15-20 minutes to Omonima square;
  • We had Acropolis view.
View from Phaedra hotel

Optional excursions

  •  1-day cruise – Visit 3 islands in 1 day, Hydra, Poros and Aegina – you also have the lunch included (drinks are excluded) – I already talked about these 3 islands and I will leave the links for the articles at the end of this article.
  • Sunset at Cape Sounion – Watch one of the most majestic sunsets in Greece with a half-day twilight tour to Cape Sounion. Travel along the Saronic Gulf and Athens Riviera to the cape, which sits atop a sheer sea cliff and was a sacred site in the ancient world. Tour the Temple of Poseidon, dedicated to the mythological god of the sea, and contemplate as the sun dips below the horizon and several islands in the distance.
  • You can also take 1-day tour to Peloponnese and visit the Corinth Canal, Olympia, Mycahaene, The Theater of Epidaurus, and Nafplion.
  • Half-day tour to the Oracle of Delphi to discover your future.

 What to do/ visit

Acropolis – Areopagus – Acropolis Museum
  • Acropolis – The word Acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (Akron, “highest point, extremity”) and πόλις (polis, “city”). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as “The Acropolis” without qualification.
  • Areopagus – Ἄρειος Πάγος – also called the Hill of Ares – The legend says Ares was supposed to have been tried there by the gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Halirrhothius. In classical times, it functioned as the court of Athens and it’s surroundings.
  • Acropolis Museum – Open to the public in 2009, opened at the initiative of Melina Mercouri for regaining of the marbles which are still present at the British Museum. The Acropolis Museum hosts over 4000 objects in 1400 m2.
Acropolis by day- night-dawn
Plaka & Monastiraki

Plaka & Monastiraki – are 2 of the most animated areas of Athens, for nightlife, cafes, bars, bouzouki, taverns and shopping.

Hadrian Arch – Zapeion – National Garden – Syntagma – The parliament of Athens
Hadrian’s gate, parc and Zapeion – AcrossEurope
  • Hadrian’s Gate – separate the old city from the new one
  • Zappeion – is a building in the heart of Athens, Greece. It is generally used for meetings and ceremonies, both official and private.
Zappeion
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus – It was dedicated to “Olympian” Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world.
  • The Parliament of Athens – in Greek known as Voulí ton Ellínon, located in the Old Royal Palace, overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens. The Parliament is the supreme democratic institution that represents the citizens through an elected body of Members of Parliament (MPs). It is a unicameral legislature of 300 members, elected for a four-year term.
Numismatic museum – Art academy – The university – The national Library – AcrossEurope
  • The Numismatic Museum – is one of the most important museums of Greece and houses one of the greatest collections of coins, ancient and modern, in the world. The museum itself is housed in the mansion of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, formally known as Iliou Melathron.
  • The ophthalmology hospital;
  • The Basilica of Dionysius the Areopagite – protector of Athens;
  • Followed by the Trilogy of non-classical buildings in Athens, Academy of Arts framed between the gods of the arts Athens and Apollo;
The Art Academy
  • The University of Athens – is the second-largest institution of higher education in the country, with over 50,000 graduates.
  • And my favourite building The National Library which houses a large collection of books, maps, newspapers and approximately 4,500 Greek manuscripts.
The National Library
  • The Archeological Museum – The National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses some of the most important artefacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artefacts from Greek antiquity worldwide. Address: 28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece
  • Omonoia Square  – the previous 0 km of Athens. It marks the northern corner of the downtown area defined by the city plans of the 19th century and is one of the city’s principal traffic hubs. It is served by Omonoia train station.
  • Omonoia Square is one of the oldest squares in the city of Athens and an important shopping centre. It is located at the centre of the city at the intersection of six main streets: Panepistimiou, Stadiou, Athinas, Peiraios, Agiou Konstantinou Street and 3rd Septemvriou Street.

Mount Lycabettus – one of my favourite locations, at the beginning of march the sunsets into the sea in Piraeus Area.

  • at 300 meters above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.
  • The hill is a tourist destination and can be ascended by the Lycabettus Funicular, a funicular railway which climbs the hill from a lower terminus at Kolonaki.
  • The Funicular costs 4€ and it comes every 30 minutes.
  • Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, (Lycos in Greek), meaning the wolves hill.
  • Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a limestone mountain she had been carrying from the Pallene peninsula for the construction of the Acropolis after the box holding Erichthonius was opened.
  • Another point that offers a beautiful view of Athens is the Filopappos Hill which is opposite the acropolis.
  • The Monument of Lysicrates – The monument is known as the first use of the Corinthian order on the exterior of a building. It has been reproduced widely in modern monuments and building elements.
  • Roman and Ancient Greek Agora
  • Panathenaic Stadium also is known as Kallimarmaro (meaning “beautiful marble”), is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens, Greece. One of the main historic attractions of Athens, it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. A stadium was built on the site of a simple racecourse by the Athenian statesman Lykourgos (Lycurgus) c. 330 BC, primarily for the Panathenaic Games. It was rebuilt in marble by Herodes Atticus, an Athenian Roman senator, by 144 AD and had a capacity of 50,000 seats. After the rise of Christianity in the 4th century it was largely abandoned. The stadium was excavated in 1869 and hosted the Zappas Olympics in 1870 and 1875. 
Panathenaic Stadium 
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus – is a stone Roman theatre structure, located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. The building was completed in 161 AD and then renovated in 1950.
  • Kolonaki district – the quietest and most select neighbourhood in Athens;
  • Piraeus Port and the beaches in the area;
  • The Graffiti Tour as a relaxing walk;

What to eat

One place I like to go and eat at list once, when I am in Athens, is Baraiktaris Tavern. They have fresh food and big portions of food like you will see in the below picture.

  • Gyros & kebab meat
  • Lamb, veal and pork
  • Fish & seafood
  • Kalamaki
  • Souvlaki
  • Soutsoukakia
  • Horiatiki – greek salad
  • Zucchini tiganites – chips fries Zucchini
  • Grilled tomatoes – they go very well with all that meat
  • Tirokafteri – Spicy Greek Feta Dip 
  • Skordalia – Greek potato and garlic dip
  • Tzatziki – Greek yoghurt, cucumber and garlic sauce
  • Mix grill at Baraiktaris (pictures from the right) – it is a platter for 2 persons that contain gyros & kebab meat, Kalamaki, Tsoutsoukakia, pita bread onion and tomato and you can have a taste of most of the above-mentioned dishes.
Breakfast in Athens – Ham&eggs, Greek yogurt with honey and nuts, fresh fruits, Milopita, Bougatsa
  • Galaktobureko – is a Greek dessert of semolina custard in filo. The name means “milk börek”. It may be made in a pan, with filo layered on top and underneath and cut into square portions, or rolled into individual servings.
  • Bougatsa – the sweet miracle of Northern Greeks, ”bougatsa” is made with a special, tender yet crunchy phyllo pastry, filled with thick vanilla custard.
  • Spanakopita – probably the most famous and loved pastry, spanakopita is a delicious dish based on spinach and feta cheese – perfect for breakfast.
  • Tiropita – ”tiropita”, or feta cheese pie, can be described as the base of Greek pies.
  • Diples – this delicious dessert is made with thin pastry sheets that are rolled, deep-fried, and doused or drizzled with a thick, honey-based syrup. These pastries can be wrapped into various shapes and are often sprinkled with nuts and dusted with cinnamon.
  • Milopita – Greek-style apple, it is either prepared as a rich coffee cake that couples cinnamon-spiced apples and soft, buttery dough, or as a simple pie in which shortcrust pastry is topped with a delectable apple filling.
  • Chips with Oregano –
  • Icecream
Snacks in Athens – Icecream – milopita – Chips with oregano

What to Drink

Coffee, coffee, coffee, some coffee, fresh orange juice, some Amita motion all fruits for me, but they also have tea and other drinks, here is what coffee I’ve tried in Athens:

  • Eliniko Caffe
  • Freddo Cappucino (one of my favourite ice coffees)
  • Frappe
  • Cappucino
  • The prices are between 2.50€ and 3.50€ it depends on where you are and at what coffee shop.

Coffee shops are also depending on how you prefer your coffee, but 2 great ones are:

If you prefer your coffee with milk, Mikel is a great choice for you and me :), it is my favourite coffee.
It is the Greek healthier and better version of “Starbucks”.
MIKEL launched its first coffee store in 2008 in the city of Larissa. As of recently, MIKEL has expanded beyond Greece, launching its first coffee store in the United Arab Emirates in 2016.
s of March 2018, the company has also begun operating in London.
As of August 2018, the company has also opened its first store in Australia. As of September 2018, the company has also opened its first store in U.S.A.
And the good news is that a coffee shop will open in Romania 🙂

If you prefer your coffee as black and natural as chaos was before the world has been created, then Coffe Island is the perfect choice for you.
The company was founded in 1999, in Patras by a doctor.
In 2009, Coffee Island expanded and introduced its first coffee shop in Cyprus.
In 2014 the chain had 135 outlets in Greece and 27 in Cyprus.
By 2015 the company had expanded further with 256 stores that employed around 1,300 people in Greece alone.
In November 2016, Coffee Island expanded to the United Kingdom opening its first store in Covent Garden, London in the United Kingdom while in May 2017 another store opened in Toronto, Canada.

Shopping and Fashion in Athens

There are Hondos centre malls all over Athens, you can also go shopping on Adrionou street, Plaka, Ermou, Omonia, Panepistimiou, and Boukorestiou street.

Voukourestiou Street, located near the famous Grand Bretagne hotel, is one of the most famous streets of Athens, the essence of luxury, the right place for shopping enthusiasts.
The Bucharest street was named after the Treaty of Bucharest, from 1913, which ended the second Balkan war. But, more than that, its name is also inspired by the Greek merchants who had flourishing businesses, in Bucharest, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Then, at the time, it was said that a respected Greek must necessarily have a house in Athens and one in Bucharest.

Below you can read the articles related to 1-day cruise excursion

Hydra article
Poros
Aegina