Very few capital cities in the world manage to haunt your senses with their charisma, Athens is one of them. It’s a city where 5th century BC landmarks stand proudly next to 21st century architecture, where history is as interesting as the future and where food is cooked not just to satiate your hunger but to satisfy your soul!
And, if you decide to visit this bustling metropolis on your next vacation, no doubt you should explore the top tourist attractions the city has to offer, vis-à-vis the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Byzantine Museum, the ancient Agora and the Olympieion temple of Zeus. But Athens is so much more than its tourist attractions; it has so many delightful and memorable experiences to offer to you… And here are just 7 of the many stupendous experiences you can have in Athens.
Amazing Experiences You Can Have On Your Trip To Athens
1. Watch a movie in an open-air cinema hall
Why lock yourself in a movie theatre, that too in the beautiful city of Athens, you ask? Well, since summers in Greece are toasty and delightful, come summer season, Athens’ open-to-air cinema halls throw open their doors and start putting up shows of the latest blockbusters as well as old classics. And catching a movie show at Athens’ open-air cinemas is an experience you will never forget – a relaxing evening watching a movie under a blanket of stars…. Just imagine… Some outdoor cinema places in Athens include Cine Thissio, Cine Paris and Zefyros New Art Cinema. And, if you want to watch a traditional drama show or catch a musical performance, head over to the open-air theatre on top of Lycabettus hill.
Also read: Top 7 Greek Holiday Destinations For Summer
2. Go picnicking
A favourite pastime of families in Athens is picnicking atop the striking and historical Filopappou Hill. Also known as the Hill of the Muses (Muses are Greek goddesses of the arts and sciences), this hill doubles up as a vantage point for some of the best panoramic views of Athens including spectacular views of the Acropolis. At the summit of the hill lies the Monument of Philopappos, a monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes ‘Philopappos’ who was a Roman senator and prince. Just pack some sandwiches and soda and head over to the Filopappou Hill for a cherished picnic in Athens.
3. Take a dip in warm, healing waters
Located just a 40 minutes’ drive from Athens, Lake Vouliagmeni is the place that locals head over to for some rejuvenation of the body and soul. A hot water lake with an average temperature of 24° C, all thanks to underground hot springs that feed it, Lake Vouliagmeni’s mineral properties are said to cure and heal ailments such as eczema, arthritis and common headaches. During the summer season, the authorities at the lake offer sessions of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. So, for a thermal spa-like experience in Athens, head over to this charming lake and watch your pain float away!
4. Explore Athens’ island!
Google Greece and you will find typical photos of white houses with blue doors, deep blue waters and pink and purple bougainvillea. And while that’s not a misrepresentation, you will find such places only on the islands of Greece, like Santorini and Mykonos. Athens is different, it is a bustling metropolis where ruins of ancient empires are juxtaposed against high rises and glass buildings. There is however one neighborhood in Athens where you’ll get to see architecture and colour schemes characteristic of Greece’s islands. Anafiotika is that neighborhood and it is fondly called Athens’ island! Perched prettily on the slopes of Acropolis hill, you should definitely take a stroll down the bylanes of this area and magically step into much simpler times.
5. Admire a historical gem
The Benizelou Mansion, also known as the House of St. Philothei, is the oldest house in Athens.Built sometime during the 16th century, this mansion boasts of architecture that was prominent during the Ottoman Empire. Belonging to the aristocratic Benizelou family, this restored and refurbished mansion has several interactive digital displays that tell you stories of the lives and lifestyles of the bygone era. The most famous resident of the house was Revoula, AKA Saint Philothei, a religious sister and one of the patrons of the city of Athens.
6. Get serenaded by the sun!
The historical Areopagus Hill, located just west of the Acropolis, is known to witness spectacular sunsets. Also known as Mars Hill, the Areopagus is a bare marble hill where, way before the 5th century, elders of the city of Athens used to hold their council. When you hike up this hill to catch a lovely sunset, do check out the charming skyline of Athens towards the north and the Aegean sea and the port of Piraeus towards the west.
7. Satiate your hunger with some Greek street food!
Think street food in Athens and only one predominant dish pops up – souvlaki pita! Made up of chunks of marinated meat grilled on a stick (known as souvlaki) and served in a pita wrap laden with tomatoes and sauces, souvlaki pita is as delicious as it sounds! Another street food you can grab on the go is koulouri which is essentially a sesame covered bagel. You should also bite into the deliciously cheesy tyropita which is a layered pastry cheese pie!
Now that you know 7 stupendous experiences you can have in Athens, are you ready to explore this gorgeous new-age metropolis with unparalleled historical charm like a pro?! After all, experiences lead to lovely moments and, sometimes, you never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a beautiful memory.