Athens city breaks

The capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens is a fascinating destination where ancient landmarks jostle together with bustling neighbourhoods and huge cosmopolitan nightclubs.

A city break in Athens promises plenty of history, culture, nightlife, and unforgettable sights that you’ll treasure the memory of forever. Explore the city’s rich past at the Acropolis, browse the boutiques in Plaka, then round off your day at the spectacular Odeon of Herodes Atticus theatre.

Things to do

There’s something to suit every holidaymaker in Athens. History fans will love exploring ancient ruins, like the world-famous Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon. The Temple of Olympian Zeus is another must, while the Ancient Agora of Athens is similarly impressive.

Enjoy modern Athenian culture when you explore beautiful and bustling local neighbourhoods. There are plenty of shops and traditional eateries scattered around. At the same time, the nightlife is sure to meet even the highest expectations of the Greek capital city.

Sights

Athens is an ideal destination for keen historians and those looking to immerse themselves in ancient culture. Start at the Acropolis, the ancient citadel of Athens, where several ancient remains remain for visitors to explore. The Parthenon is the most iconic, while the modern Acropolis Museum is the perfect place to learn about the area. You should also try and make time to see Ancient Agora, the heart of the city centuries ago, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Athens doesn’t have many green spaces, which makes Stavros Niarchos Park even more special. Its landscaped paths, children’s playground, and proximity to the ocean make this park an ideal place to cool off.

Neighbourhoods

Like many major cities, Athens is home to several neighbourhoods, attracting diverse residents and visitors to the one that suits them best.

Start with Plaka, a busy tourist-favourite at the centre of old Athens. It’s a beautiful area to stroll around, getting lost in small lanes among rows of pastel buildings. Next, Kolonaki is a wealthy residential neighbourhood with lots of luxurious bars, restaurants, and shops.

Syntagma is Athens’ political heart, while Monastiraki is famous for its flea market and bustling narrow lanes. Gazi-Kerameikos is the city’s youthful art, design, and nightlife district, transforming to accommodate local and tourist revellers when the sun goes down.

Searching for something quieter? Head to Thissio, a beautiful residential neighbourhood with plenty of independent eateries and shops.

Food & drink

Greek food uses typical Mediterranean ingredients, with many unique elements and dishes you won’t find anywhere else. When in Athens, expect plenty of grilled meat and fish, delicious fresh salads, olive oil, and flatbreads. Try traditional meze, selecting small plates including various dips, olives, bread, vegetables, meat, and cheese. Moussaka is another must, with layers of aubergine, minced lamb, tomato, and spices. Charcoal-grilled meat and fish is always a good option in Athens, often served with fresh tomatoes, yoghurt, and flatbreads.

In the mood for something sweet? Athenians have plenty to offer, including flaky filo pastry desserts sweetened with honey and basted in olive oil. Grab some traditional baklava for a perfect end to any meal, or enjoy local honey on Greek yoghurt for breakfast.

Nightlife

If you’re interested in experiencing Athens’ vibrant nightlife, you’ll have plenty of choices no matter what you’re into. Enjoy a luxurious evening of dinner and cocktails or party like a local in a lesser-known bar or nightclub.

Koukaki is ideal for floating between sophisticated bars, while Gazi is a must for fans of super clubbing. Psyrri is a trendy, gentrified area with endless bars and music spots. Patsion is home to one of Athens’ oldest bars, Au Revoir Bar, a must if you’re exploring local history.

Athens Riviera

Athens Riviera is the coastal area south of the city, where visitors can enjoy sunbathing and swimming along the beautiful shore. The sheltered coastline is fringed with palm trees and dotted with parasols and sunbeds. There are beach bars and clubs where holidaymakers can grab a drink or bite to eat and settle in for a comfy few hours in the sun or shade.

The beach is just 20 minutes drive out of Athens, and while you might not want to hire a car for your city break, many taxis and busses can get you there for just a few Euros.

Map of Athens

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10-29 ℃

Athens enjoys a subtropical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

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4 hours

Athens International Airport, “Eleftherios Venizelos” (ATH), is located 20 miles southeast of central Athens.

Athens is best for...

History buffs: Explore Athens’ fascinating history through its many museums and ancient landmarks.

Theatre lovers: Experience a show like none other in one of Athens’ spectacular theatres.

Sun-seekers: With summer temperatures reaching up to the mid-30s (°C), Athens is a great place to perfect your tan.

Fast facts for Athens

Language: The language spoken in Athens is Greek. 

Currency: The currency used in Athens is Euro (€).

Local time: Athens is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Athens International Airport, “Eleftherios Venizelos” (ATH), is located 20 miles southeast of central Athens.

Flight time from UK: Approx 4 hours.

Tourist information: Further Athens tourist information can be found at www.visitgreece.gr/en/main_cities/athens.

Visa and health: Before your holiday to Athens, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece for recommendations and advice on visas and health.

Getting around Athens

By bus: Local buses are an easy way to day-trip around Athens.

By tram: Trams offer a scenic journey to Faliro and Glyfada. The service runs 5am to 1am Monday to Thursday, then 24 hours for the rest of the week. 

By metro: Metro is the best way to get a taste of local life in Athens.

By taxi: Flag down a yellow taxi for any journey around the city. Make sure the meter is running, and don’t be surprised if you end up sharing the car with other passengers going the same way.

Events in Athens

Carnival: Be prepared for marching bands, masked revellers and the occasional bop on the head from a plastic hammer during the three-week carnival in February.  

Show time: A highlight of the year is the Athens Festival in June, with fabulous productions of ancient drama, opera, ballet and modern dance held at the grand Odeum of Herodes Atticus.

Flashing lights: Join thousands of holidaymakers at the Acropolis in October, for a month of spectacular sound and light shows every night.

Athens weather

Temperature: 10-29 °C

Thanks to its warm, Mediterranean climate, you can enjoy a holiday in Athens at any time of the year. Tour the historical sites in the spring or autumn, when temperatures are cool enough for exploring, or book your holiday during the summer to enjoy glorious highs of 33 (°C). Winter guests can take advantage of quieter streets and pleasant temperatures in the mid-teens. 

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