A holiday to Greece should top everybody’s summer to-do-list. Its beautiful capital city of Athens sees the modern and ancient worlds collide in the most spectacular way. Whether it’s the numerous ancient treasures or the golden sandy beaches you’re visiting, there’s plenty to see and do in Athens.
Home to some of the greatest artefacts of the ancient world, from the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis hill to the Panathenaic Stadium, the world-class shopping, outstanding museums such as the National Archaeological Museum and its thriving taverns perfect for a tipple or two in, there is something for everyone.
With an excellent public transport timetable, the capital is easy to navigate, which is perfect for tourists. And regardless of what time of year you visit, you’re sure to have a great time. Temperatures during the summer months reach average highs of 32 degrees, which means a dip in the beautiful Aegean Sea is definitely called for. While temperatures during the winter months may not allow that, come October/November, the crowds do thin out, meaning you’re able to explore Athens undisturbed.
Situated in southern Athens, Glyfada is an upmarket suburb home to the rich and famous of Greece, proving popular with millionaires and celebrities alike. Thanks to Athens’ smooth-running tram system, it’s easy to reach and is accessible via the tram that runs alongside the beach. Hop on and visit some of Glyfada’s finest restaurants, lively bars and luxury shops. stretching from the foot of the Hymettus mountain to the Saronic Gulf, the beach isn’t all that bad either and makes for a nice excursion from your Athens break.
Vouliagmeni, meaning sunken in Greek, is the perfect island getaway and just some 15 miles from Athens itself. Like Glyfada, it’s very upmarket and makes for a pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of the capital’s centre. It’s popular for tourists who are looking to enjoy a relaxing Greek holiday but still wish to see what Athens has to offer, with its serene surroundings allowing for the perfect opportunity to do this.
A little further away from the city centre, Varkiza is definitely worth the trip. The beach of Varkiza is stunning and boasts a whole manner of brilliant facilities including volleyball courts, snack bars and play areas perfect for the little ones. The town itself is hugely popular in the summer due to its litter of cafés and restaurants serving authentic Greek cuisine. You’re also guaranteed some beautiful views of the coast.
When the crowds stop cheering and the Olympians head home, what’s left behind? Vast Olympic sites steeped in history. The suburban Marousi is home to Greece’s most recent Olympic milestone. Open to visitors, the now empty soaring arches in the velodrome, the rusting pools and stark stadiums are a must for sports fans and inquisitive visitors. Setting foot in the places where records were broken and dreams fulfilled is a moving experience. One that’s all the more intriguing now the roaring cheers are a distant memory. Explore the surrounding area and you’ll find streets named after athletes who made their mark on the games.
Pireaus offers an irresistible side order of metropolitan buzz with your Greek island escape. As the busiest port in the Mediterranean, the sheer scale of this city is mesmerising. An expansive coastline shelters various harbours, all brimming with yachts, boats and catamarans of every size. You’ll also find those all-important seafood taverns, perfect for enjoying a bite to eat with a view. Head inland where museums and neoclassical buildings chart the port’s historic glamour and lead the way to the impressive shopping district. Your options are endless in Pireaus. Our tip? Grab an early evening cocktail at Mikrolimano harbour for the best views.
Forking out just one Euro will see you hopping off a ferry onto the island of Salamina. One of the best kept secrets in Athens, it’s worth every cent and more. Salamina is a no frills, rustic Athenian escape, serving up unspoilt beaches and the crystal clear waters found in Salamina’s natural inlets. But it’s not all sand and sea. Explorers can roam among ruins or uncover Salamina’s history in the island’s museums. Head to Iliakti for a dip in a delightful cove. Or, for a Greek take on a fish supper on the beach, head to Kanakia Beach’s fish tavern.
The National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum happens to be the largest archaeological museum Greece. It was founded at the end of the 19th century in order to display and secure antiques relating to the country’s rich history. The museum is one of the most important in the world devoted to Greek art and does a great job in telling the history of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece.
The Panathenaic Stadium
Located on the site of an ancient stadium, the Panathenaic Stadium dates as far back as 330BCE and has hosted games for many centuries, including gymnikoi agones - the participation of naked male athletes in track and field events and athletic championships! The stadium hosted the first modern Olympic Games as we know them today in 1896.
The Acropolis is a must see when visiting Athens and cannot be missed. A UNESCO World Heritage Centre, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and of huge historical significance. It is an ancient citadel located on the top of an outcrop, which overlooks Athens. Not only are the buildings located there fascinating to explore but the views it offers are completely unrivalled. Head there during sunset, and you’ll see the city bathed in pink and gold.
Though exploring the ancient wonders of Greece is important, so is sampling some of their finest beaches and tranquil waters. Schinias is one of the most popular beaches in Athens and is famed for its crystal clear waters. A beautiful curved beach, it is amass with natural beauty thus it’s no surprise the locals love it just as much as tourists. It’s also a great sport for windsurfing so if you’re looking to try your hand at some water sports, this is the perfect opportunity.
Greek Street Food
Sampling the food and drink of Athens is just as much of an adventure as anything else you’ll experience on this trip. Whether you’re picking up lunch from a street vendor, be it a Koulouri, a sesame seed bread ring, a Galaktoboureko which is a delicious custard-filled flaky pastry topped with a dusting of icing sugar, or a souvlaki, the local cuisine is a must try.
Restaurants in Athens
When it comes to restaurants, the menus are full of unusual spices, lamb, fish and olive oil (you’ll be hard pressed to find a savoury dish without at least one of these ingredients) proving there is more to Greek food than gyros. The restaurants of Athens are elegant and picturesque, the estiatorion tend to be more expensive whilst the taverna are informal and usually, family run businesses, psistaria, on the other hand, specialise in seafood dishes and grilled meats.
You’ll more than likely enjoy your food with some Greek wine, which is good but can be an acquired taste. If you’re brave enough, you may even have a glass or two of Ouzo but we can’t guarantee you’ll remember it!
Although a holiday to Athens can seem expensive, it doesn’t have to be that way. With easyJet holidays, you are able to enjoy flexible booking with low-cost flights from a trusted brand. You can choose the length of your trip rather having it decided for you and booking your flights and accommodation together means you can save money!