10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Athens [Greece]

Last Updated on: May 4, 2021

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Athens has been unceasingly rising towards the top of lists of travelers and travel agents around the globe during the past years. The city is now widely considered to be among the pantheon of European destinations for year-round vacations.

The Greek capital’s rise to fame was long overdue and it is now seeing its streets brimming with visitors throughout the year. Athens boasts an astonishing blend of cultural attractions, historical monuments, exquisite gastronomy, marvelous hotels, amazing nightlife, and magnificent beaches.

So if you’re wondering what it is that makes this beloved city such an exceptional destination, here are 10 reasons to visit Athens that will have you booking your next vacation at the earliest chance.

Top-Notch Cultural Attractions in Athens

It should come as no surprise that Athens is often referred to as the cradle of western civilization.

Arts, philosophy, history, mythology, science, linguistics, the contributions to the development of western culture by the Athenians over the millennia have been more than significant.

And not all is lost in the sands of time. A few of Greece’s most important cultural attractions like the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Parthenon, the Ancient Agora, and the Temple of Hephaestus are situated in Athens.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, also known as the Olympieion

Even if you’re not a culture vulture, a visit to the birthplace of democracy and a tour of Athens’s most important historical attractions can give you a glimpse into the past and a better understanding of how the modern world was shaped.

The Weather in Athens Is Ideal

There is really no bad time to visit Athens. The mild Mediterranean climate of Greece has gifted the capital city with mellow winters, sunny summers, and soothing temperatures in between.

Regardless of when you choose to visit you can expect almost ideal weather conditions for your short city break or extended holiday.

The weather in Athens is perfect for vacationing all year round. Locals start heading towards the beaches near Athens as early as April and most of the cafes and restaurants in Athens follow a strong al-fresco attitude and offer outdoor seating almost year-round.

If you’re a film buff, make sure to visit an open-air cinema in the city center for an unprecedented experience.

athens weather
The best time to visit Athens is from March to June

Vibrant Nightlife in Athens

The nightlife in Athens is nothing short of stellar. There are countless bars and nightclubs to suit every taste and accommodate any desire.

Even though troubled times, locals never ceased to regularly roam the city’s streets after sundown in search of good cheer. Due to its large size, Athens has several different nightlife hotspots that can sometimes extend to include entire neighborhoods, each one with its own unique style and character.

Vibrant nightlife in Athens
The Athens nightlife is sophisticated and varied.
Courtesy: ᴅɪᴍɪᴛʀɪs ᴀɴᴅʀ| ᴘʜᴏᴛᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ

If you’re a night owl, be well prepared to spend a considerable amount of time exploring the city’s hidden charms. We tried this Athens nightlife tour from GetYourGuide.com and it was one of the best so far! Check it!

Visit Athens and Experience the Greek Hospitality

Greek hospitality it’s not one of the legendary Greek myths. Hospitality is a major part of the Greek culture and there’s no better way to experience it than a trip to Athens.

Locals will happily go out of their way to help you with directions, tips, and advice and, of course, get to know you a little better.

The image of a vast metropolis that is always busy might make it seem odd at first but, given the chance, Athenians are very communicative and have a spontaneous urge to engage in conversation with travelers, especially over a glass of wine at their local tavern.

In this context, you can be sure that staying in one of the numerous hotels in Athens will be an incredible experience in its own right.

Monastiraki square in athens
Monastiraki district is the best place to meet new people in Athens.
Courtesy: ᴅɪᴍɪᴛʀɪs ᴀɴᴅʀ| ᴘʜᴏᴛᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ

And it gets better: We have written an extensive article about all kinds of hotels in Athens along with our recommendations for every type of accommodation. Check it out, you shouldn’t miss it!

There Are Several Beaches Near Athens

What more can you ask for than sea sun and sand just a few kilometers away from the city center of a busy metropolis for a perfect vacation? 

Indeed you might be instantly thinking of the famous Greek islands when planning your holidays in Greece, but Athens holds some secrets to behold.

If you visit during summer, you’ll notice that half of the city’s population mysteriously disappears on weekends. The key to this enigma is all too simple. There are several magnificent beaches within a short radius of the city center that are perfect for a quick escape.

beach in athens city
Athens beaches are spread all along the southern and northeastern side of the Attica peninsula

Umbrella dotted shores, a soft breeze, chilled drinks at the beach bar! And the good news? Who says you can’t combine sightseeing with a sunny day at the beach with a hop-on hop-off tour?

Greek Cuisine Is Just Wonderful

Even if you have never visited Greece before, you have probably heard about the famous Greek cuisine. Its simplistic brilliance, splendid tastes, and fresh ingredients have made it recognized the world over.

And Athens is the place to be if you want to get a real taste of the evolving gastronomy scene of Greece. The Greek capital teems with restaurants and every other kind of eatery, serving anything from traditional finger food to gourmet high-end molecular dishes and everything in between.

According to most visitors, dining in Athens is a unique experience in itself. So, why don’t you try a perfect food walking tour?

Day Trips From Athens

Athens’ location in the center of Greece makes it ideal for some extraordinary day trips. While based in Athens you can easily wander to a great number of magnificent destinations.

Depending on what your interests are, you can explore the country’s mainland and witness some of the most phenomenal historical and religious sites like the unique Meteora and Delphi, head towards the seafront and Cape Sounion to marvel at the sunset, or even join a short luxurious cruise around the nearby islands in the Saronic Gulf.

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio
The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is one of the best day trips you can do from Athens

And if these are not enough, check this article below and find out the best day trips from Athens! The possibilities are endless. 

Athens Offers Amazing Views

There are very few places that can offer visitors such enchanting panoramas over the cityscape as Athens does.

Athens city is built within the confines of what is called the Attica Basin, surrounded by four large mountains, one at each end of the city. Nature lovers make frequent excursions up their lush green sides to admire the astonishing views from the top.

athens amazing view
When you set off to discover Athens, you will be surprised by the number of amazing vantage points the city has to offer. Courtesy: ᴅɪᴍɪᴛʀɪs ᴀɴᴅʀ| ᴘʜᴏᴛᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ

But there are also exquisite view opportunities within the city, with hills Lycabettus and Philopappos being the most popular. Nevertheless, if all that seems like too much trouble, don’t be disappointed. There are several rooftop bars right in Athens city center that will allow you to enjoy your drink while marveling at the Parthenon from above as well as magnificent hotels with views of the Acropolis.

athens hotel with acropolis view
The view form the rooftop terrace of the Acropolis View Hotel in Athens

One of them is the Acropolis View Hotel which is located in the historical center of Athens and offers spectacular Parthenon views. The New Acropolis Museum and the metro station are just 650 m away. Check it on Booking.com to see photos, prices, and availability.

Events in Athens

Athens is buzzing with extraordinary events all year round. Whether it’s Christmas or Easter celebrations, the springtime carnivals, an athletic event, a dramatic play at an ancient theater, a summer music festival, or just a spontaneous party, there’s always something special going on in the Greek capital.

Locals never miss a chance to celebrate every aspect of life, usually employing an over-the-top approach that lures visitors to surprise and fascinate them in the most incredible ways.

Make sure to check what is on when you take your trip to Athens and attend any event to get closer to local culture and witness the true Greek cheerfulness.

athens christmas
Christmas mood in Athens. Courtesy: ᴅɪᴍɪᴛʀɪs ᴀɴᴅʀ| ᴘʜᴏᴛᴏɢʀᴀᴘʜᴇʀ

Shopping in Athens

It might not sound that special at first, but shopping in Athens is certainly an unparalleled experience. Here you can find everything from local products, and refined clothing at famous fashion designers’ stores to second-hand vintage knick-knacks on the streets.

Shopping in Athens is much more than practical for the locals. It involves long walks in the city followed by a cup of coffee, taking the form of a Sunday morning ritual.

shopping monastiraki athens
When in Athens, spend your Sunday mornings searching for antiques and collectibles at Monastiraki’s flea market. Courtesy: Weekend Wayfarers / flickr.com

Apart from the stores at Syntagma and Kolonaki, make sure to visit the flea market and the traditional food markets at Monastiraki for a quick and deep immersion in local Athenian culture.

Tips and Recommendations for Your Next Trip To Athens

In this short section, we will try to answer all those questions that our readers ask regularly. At the same time, we’ll provide our local insight in the form of tips and recommendations that will hopefully make planning your trip easier and help you have an amazing vacation in Athens.

In a few words, why should you visit Athens?

Athens offers a unique mix of history, culture, gastronomy, and nightlife. It’s probably the only place in the world where so much history in the form of monuments like the Parthenon and the Temple of Olympian Zeus is to be found right alongside busy shopping streets and charming bars and restaurants. To top it all off, there are plenty of stunning beaches near Athens waiting to be explored.

Is Athens dangerous for tourists?

No. Athens is a fairly safe city compared to other European capitals. Of course, like any other major tourist destination, you should take all the standard precautions against petty crime in the streets like pickpocketing, especially at the city’s busiest spots. Nevertheless, you will not have any serious reasons to worry about your safety while visiting Athens.

What are three facts about Athens?

If we only had to choose the three most important facts about Athens we would mention the following:
1. It is the birthplace of democracy
2. It is Europe’s oldest capital city
3. It was the first European Capital of Culture

What is Athens most famous for?

Besides being the birthplace of the first democracy and the cradle of western civilization, Athens is most well-known for being home to Acropolis Hill and Parthenon temple.

What language is spoken in Greece?

The official language of Greece is Greek.

What is the name of the famous building in Athens?

The famous white temple that you have probably seen in countless pictures online and postal cards is called Parthenon. It’s an ancient temple that stands atop Acropolis Hill in the heart of the city center.

Do they speak English in Greece?

Yes. English is being taught in Greek schools starting from quite early on. You will most probably have no trouble communicating with locals in English, especially with younger people. Many Greeks also speak French, German, and Italian.

Is Athens expensive?

Athens is quite cheap compared to other western European capitals. Of course, it all depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for. Athens is home to ultra-luxurious hotels and upscale restaurants. However, you will most definitely be able to find numerous budget-friendly options for your trip.

What is the best location to stay in Athens?

The most sought-after locations to stay in Athens are all the neighborhoods that surround the Acropolis. Some of the most famous among them are Plaka, Petralona, Koukaki, Monastiraki, Syntagma, and Thisseio. These areas offer everything you could be looking for for your stay including public transportation, restaurants, shopping streets, and vivid nightlife.

How far is Athens from the sea?

There are several beaches close to Athens. Most notably, the popular coastline named the Athenian Riviera is located only 45 minutes away from the center of Athens.

What should I buy in Athens?

Walking the most famous shopping streets of Athens like Ermou, you’ll find that there are numerous souvenir shops offering all kinds of gifts and knick-knacks. If you go shopping, make sure to get some virgin olive oil, some ouzo, a traditional evil eye, and some homemade soaps to take with you back home.

All in all, it’s no wonder that Athens is seeing more and more visitors every year. The city’s glorious past, numerous impressive attractions, and natural beauty coupled with the famous Greek hospitality make it an amazing tourist destination no matter what kind of vacation you are after.

We invite you to follow our tips and suggestions to plan the most incredible trip to Athens and we have absolutely no doubts that you will be coming back again.

A Quick Reminder:

Remember that BTI Athens Travel Guide is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.

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