The Best Tours in Athens
Fun tour of the best food and restaurants in central Athens. Also, a stop at the Central Market – a highlight of modern Athens. Get a good overview of the city’s culture (and a bit of history) while eating some great food with a friendly guide. I know I sound like a broken record on this but food tours are an awesome way to explore a new city.
A four-hour tour of the Acropolis, Parthenon, and nearby sights. Includes entrance tickets to both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. (A huge advantage of doing a tour is that you get skip-the-line tickets. When you visit on your own you need to queue for tickets and that line can be insanely long.)
If your budget allows, this is a great private tour of the Acropolis and surrounding area (Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea, Temple of Nike, Dionysus Sanctuary, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Ancient Agora) and is the best way to see the highlights of Athens and learn the city’s history. Like all tours, your guide will have skip-the-line tickets for the Acropolis which allows you to bypass the long entrance queues. This tour is very flexible with time, duration, and route.
Awesome tour of the graffiti and street art of central Athens. Many tours describe themselves as “off the beaten path” that only visit the expected top sights. This one really does explore a side of Athens tourists rarely explore or think about. Very cool and great for families with teens.
Great introduction to Greek food and how to make it. Cook 7 or 8 dishes (depending on the menu), eat what you make, and go home with a recipe book. Very family-friendly. There’s also an excellent Nighttime Food & Wine Tasting Tour.
The best wine tour from Athens with an excellent tour guide (usually Spyros – he really know his wine). Includes hotel pick up and drop and a good quality lunch at a seaside taverna.
Fun and easy-going tour of the highlights of central Athens. The 9 KM route takes in most of the top historic sights and tours the Plaka and National Gardens. Tour starts at 10am in an easy-to-find spot in the Plaka.
Hotel pickup (in Athens) and transportation to one of the top historical sites in Greece. Tour guide and lunch included. There’s also a private Delphi tour if that’s what you prefer.
The Meteora is my favorite destination in mainland Greece. It’s spectacular. Delphi is great, but you do need to have a keen interest in Greek history to make it worth the trip. The Meteora, on the other hand, will appeal to anyone with a pulse. The dramatic and awesome setting is stunning. It’s very hard to visit the Meteora in one day unless you do a private tour (like this one). You’ll get picked up from your hotel (in Athens) and make the 3-hour drive to the Meteora. A stop for lunch and a few other historical sights are built into the itinerary but most of the focus is on seeing the monasteries of the Meteora. There is also a cheaper Meteora tour that involves taking the train; an overnight tour that allows for a complete tour of all 6 monasteries (worth it if you have the time); and a combination tour that visits both Delphi and the Meteora.
Great boat tour of 3 wonderful islands a short boat ride from Athens. Lots of swimming and sunbathing. Includes traditional Greek lunch, made and served onboard. Highly recommended!
The Best Things To Do in Athens
If you only have time to do one thing in Athens then see the Acropolis (the hill) and the Parthenon (the largest building on the Acropolis). In summer it has long opening hours (8am to 8pm) making it easy to visit on a tight schedule. Having a guide makes the experience much more rewarding and interesting. Also, guides can buy tickets at a different kiosk which is much quicker than the general ticket queue.
This relatively new museum is a highlight of a visit to Athens. It’s a short walk from the Acropolis (head south down the hill towards the Odeon of Herodes Atticus) so the 2 sites are easy to visit together and complement each other well. If you 5 hours or less in Athens then visit the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum.
3. The National Archaeological Museum
The single best museum in Greece and loaded with archaeological treasures. It’s one of the few top attractions that isn’t a short walk from the Plaka/Acropolis area so you’ll need to take a taxi (5 minutes), metro (10 minutes, get out at Omonia station), or walk (about 25 minutes from the Plaka or Syntagma Square). If you have only one day in Athens you might be forced to miss this. If you have 2 days or more then make an effort to get here. The experience is dramatically enhanced if you get a private tour guide to explain all the history and top exhibits.
4. Plaka and Monastiraki
A fun lively atmosphere that is filled with historical sites like the Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Hephaestus, and Stoa of Attalos. A great area to wander, shop, eat, and sightsee.
5. Temple of Olympian Zeus
The famous Arch of Hadrian is on the same site (as the Temple of Olympian Zeus) and they’re both only a 5 minute walk from the Acropolis Museum making them an easy stop in the central area.
6. Lycabettus Hill
This hill sits across Syntagma Square from the Acropolis Hill and provides great views of the Parthenon and central Athens. There’s a funicular (tram) to help you to the top or climb the whole way.
A wonderful lively slice of modern Athens. Meats, olives, feta, olive oil, fruits, vegetables – you name it, it’s here.
8. The National Gardens
A short walk from Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament buildings this is relaxing break from the chaos of busy Athens.
9. Cape Sounio
An 80 minute drive southeast of Athens but only worth the trip if you have 3 days or more in the capital (any less and your time is better spent in central Athens).
10. Outdoor Cinema
Watch a movie in the Plaka under the lights of the Acropolis at Cine Paris. Films are typically American (in english) with Greek subtitles. Beer, wine, and light snacks are available. This is a highlight of summer in Greece.
11. Gyros and Souvlaki
Athens is loaded with great restaurants but nothing beats an authentic gyro from a local shop. There’s a strip of good gyro places just off Monastiraki Square (opposite the metro station) but if you have time Kavouras in the Exarcheia neighborhood (and not far from the The National Archaeological Museum) is worth seeking out.
12. Best Restaurant in Athens
The best restaurant in the Plaka area is Psaras Taverna. Magical setting and great traditional Greek food.
13. Best Bar in Athens
Lively and fun Brettos Bar is my favorite place to get a drink in the Plaka. It’s often packed but staff are friendly and helpful even when busy.
14. Best Rooftop Bar in Athens
Great food, cocktails, and wine at the rooftop bar and restaurant of the historic Grande Bretagne hotel. Idyllic!
15. Best Gelato in Athens
Coco’s in the Plaka has the best gelato in Athens. It’s worth seeking this place out.