If you are planning a trip to Athens here, you find the complete guide that reveals the best of the city!
Update: Due to Coronavirus, we might enjoy again a “special” summer. We wrote an article (more information here!) where we explain the current measures and situation, and we will update it as often as possible.
Where is Athens located and how to get there?
Athens is situated in mainland Greece, and it is the capital of Greece since 1834! Its location makes Athens an excellent starting point for ferries trips to many of the Greek islands.
If you are interested in island hopping, then you can read our analytical post here.
Athens has one the busiest international airport in Greece, with direct flights from most of the major European cities and good connections with the rest of the world!
What is Athens famous for?
Athens is considered as the birthplace of democracy and one of the most important centres of the Ancient Greek civilization. The name comes from the Greek goddess Athena, who was the goddess of wisdom, war, and the patron of the city of Athens.
Athens is nowadays famous for its archaeological sites, like, of course, the Acropolis site, which includes the Parthenon, Herodeion etc. and the Ancient and Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium.
How many days do you need?
This is a common question, and I think there is no right answer.
Of course, it depends on how much sightseeing you want to see and how quickly etc. I would say that around 2-3 days it is a good average time if you’re going to see all the top things in Athens.
Which is the best time to visit Athens?
Greece is often considered as sunny and warm, but this is not always the case as it can be quite cold and rainy during December to February! To me, the best months to visit Athens are May, September to October, but you can check here with details and tables!
Which harbour should I use to visit the Greek islands?
Near Athens, there are three different ports. Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio.
Piraeus: It is the largest port in Greece and one of the largest in Europe, and it is connected with both rail and overground. Most of the islands are linked from Piraeus, so it should be your first choice! If you are looking for routes and tickets, then you can use Ferryhopper, which is my favourite ferry portal, as it is reliable and user friendly!
Rafina: If you want to visit Mykonos and Andros, from Rafina harbour the journey is faster, but the connection to this port is only by car and coach. You can visit islands like Mykonos, Andros, Naxos, Tinos, Syros and a lot more. Here is a timetable for the coaches from Athens to Rafina port.
Lavrio: It is a little bit further from Athens, but it is a less crowded port and an ideal to save some time if you want to visit specific islands, like Kea (Tzia), Kythnos, Syros etc.
What to do
Athens is a historical city, where they are 1.000 different things that you can do! On this detailed post, you will find a little less than 1.000, but all the must-do, plus some experiences and activities for this magnificent place!
7 +1 museums in Athens that you have to visit! You may not know, but Athens has some of the best museums in the world. Don’t you believe me? Not a problem. Have a look on the list where I give some evidence about what I am talking about!
The best vineyards of Athens: Athens is one of the very few European capitals that vineyards & wineries are so close to the city!! Five notable winemakers of Attica have joined forces to create Wine Roads Athens and present you – among others – Retsina wine, the oldest wine in the world, in a totally and more sophisticated way!
Hiking in Athens! Athens is a quite populated city, which is not famous for green areas! But close there are places that you can escape from the noise and the crowd.
Shopping in Athens! Following a local! This is a quick guide from Helen that gives you an idea of the shopping area in the Athens area.
Sailing in Athens: Athens has a fascinating coast that usually we don’t give the intention that we should! One of the best things that you can do is going sailing for a couple of hours or even days! Why not? Some beautiful islands are so close to Athens!
Athens nightlife: Here you will find a blog story from our friend Anna who goes out in a typical Greek night out! Note that the best bars in central Athens is Noel Bar and the Clumsies and have been voted as some of the best cocktails bars in the world! Of course, a classic choice is Brettos in Plaka and if you like rooftops, then Couleur Locale in Monastiraki is a must choice for a drink or coffee!
Where to stay in Athens
The best neighbourhoods to stay in Athens are Plaka, Monastiraki, Koukaki, Syntagma. The first two are quite pedestrianized, and they are located in the foot of the Acropolis, and almost most of the sites are within walking distance. The other two also have a right combination of proximity, sightseeing, great restaurants and bars.
On this detailed guide, you find all the 21 Best Hotels in Athens, with reviews, photos and a detailed map!
Best day trips from Athens: So, you are going to visit Athens, but still you want some taste for some other Greek places. Not a problem! There are many choices!
Athens Public Transportation
Buses: Most likely you won’t use the bus system in Athens, only for your transportation from and to the airport. But if you are going to use it, you should know that there is the Anonymous Athina Card, which is a paper card that you can recharge it and use it for routes till 90′. You can find check here with details and tables! You can buy it from Athens Transport ticket offices, which you can find in every metro station.
Athens Metro: The Athens Metro has 3 lines. The Green Line (no 1) operates since 1869, an the other two were open in 2000. Today’s Athens underground system connects significant sites in Athens of the Greek capital, like Acropolis, Athens Airport, Port of Piraeus, and Olympic Stadium.
If you have any question regarding Athens travel guide, just leave a comment or send us an email!