Unearthing the Gems of Athens: Beyond the Ordinary

cool things to do in Athens

Ah, Athens! This ancient city is a treasure trove of history, art, and culture. While most travelers are familiar with the iconic Parthenon, Athens offers a myriad of lesser-known, cool experiences waiting to be explored. Here’s a dive into some unique activities and sites that the city boasts.

1. Dive into the Anafiotika Neighborhood
Winding streets, whitewashed buildings, and splashes of bougainvillea – you might think you’re on a Greek island, but this is Anafiotika, nestled right below the Acropolis. Built by workers from the island of Anafi, it’s a little slice of the Cyclades in the heart of Athens.

2. Taste Athens on a Street Food Tour
Sure, you’ve tried gyros, but have you sampled koulouri (a sesame-crusted bread ring) or loukoumades (honey-soaked doughnut balls)? Embark on a street food tour to tantalize your taste buds with Athenian flavors.

3. Explore the Street Art Scene
Modern Athens has a burgeoning street art culture. Take a guided street art tour or wander on your own in neighborhoods like Psyrri, Metaxourgeio, or Exarchia to witness some of Europe’s most innovative urban art.

4. The Hidden Underworld of Athens
Did you know Athens has its very own underground scene? Literally! Visit the ancient city beneath the current one at the **Crypt of Agios Eleftherios Church** and the **subterranean exhibit** at the Syntagma Metro Station.

5. Sunset at Mount Lycabettus
For the best panoramic views of Athens, trek or take the funicular to the summit of Mount Lycabettus. The sight of the sun setting over the city, with the Acropolis standing proud, is simply magical.

6. Visit the Museum of Illusions
For a break from historical sites, head to the Museum of Illusions. A space filled with interactive exhibits, it’s fun, educational, and perfect for those Instagram shots!

7. Relax at the Hammam Baths
Seeking rejuvenation after all the sightseeing? The Hammam Baths provide a serene atmosphere where you can unwind and experience traditional Greek wellness.

8. Sip Cocktails with a View
Rooftop bars are plentiful in Athens. Grab a cocktail at 360 Cocktail Bar or A for Athens and gaze at the illuminated Acropolis while enjoying the Athenian night vibes.

9. Stroll Through the National Garden
Escape the hustle and bustle by walking through the National Garden. This oasis in the city center is home to ducks, peacocks, and a small pond. It’s a great spot for a picnic or simply to relax with a book.

10. Delve into the World of Greek Mythology
Beyond just visiting historical sites, immerse yourself in ancient tales by attending a Greek mythology workshop or seminar. Understand the stories behind the ruins, making your sightseeing even more enriching.

11. Experience Athens by Night
While the city is magnificent during the day, it takes on a different charm at night. Join a night tour to experience the illuminated ruins, lively neighborhoods, and local stories that come alive after dusk.

12. Visit a Vintage “Rakadiko”
Experience local life by visiting a Rakadiko – a traditional taverna specializing in raki (or tsipouro) accompanied by meze, small Greek dishes. It’s a taste of authentic Greece.

Athens is a mesmerizing blend of the ancient and the contemporary. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an art lover, Athens has something cool and unique to offer. So, next time you visit, venture beyond the well-trodden path and unearth the city’s hidden gems. Happy exploring!