Getting to know Athens
What you can do for free in Athens
- Visit the National Garden
This public park is a whole experience! Located near the Parliament building, it features a botanical museum, a small pond, a zoo and a café. You can walk around, enjoy everything, and maybe bring stuff for a great picnic.
- Go for a free tour of the city
There are some organizations in Athens that offer free tours to tourists. Look them up online and get ready to be introduced into the fabulous world of Athens by the locals themselves.
- Visit the free museums
A few of the museums in the Greek capital are open to the public and completely free. You can go to The Municipal Gallery of Athens, the Museum of Popular Instruments and Arystotle’s Lyceum.
Top spots to visit
The most famous hill in the capital of Greece is also one place you cannot miss if you visit Athens. Numerous Greek ruins of great importance are located on the hill, as well as many other buildings that are blending beautifully with nature, and the monuments on the sides of the hill.
Standing at the top of the previously mentioned Acropolis hill, the Parthenon is the most popular building in Athens and Greece altogether. It is considered the symbol of ancient Greece, and it was built to honor the goddess Athena Parthenos, the patron of Athens.
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
It is the largest temple in Greece and building this monument took nearly seven centuries. It is dedicated to the Zeus Olympios, and today only 15 of the 104 huge columns that were initially built are standing.
Hidden spots to visit
- Hadrian’s Reservoir
Initially built as an aqueduct that would increase Athens’ water supply in 140 CE, the reservoir is located at the Western base of Mt. Lycabettus. Access inside the reservoir building is restricted, but you can get a pretty good look inside through one of the large viewing portals on the western walls.
- Syntagma Square Metro Station
Pretty sure you haven’t seen this very often: archeologists and metro engineers worked together for some years, and the results was Athens’ first subway, the largest acheological excavation in the history of the city and metro stations that are also practically museums! Visit them and be amazed!
- The Gennadius Library
This library has been open to the public since 1926, and it is the place to go if you are interested in ancient Greece. The Gennadeion also organizes cultural events such as concerts, lectures, and exhibits.
Greek cuisine if fantastic, and the restaurants in Athens are numerous and diverse. Check out some fine-dining places, such as Dinner in the Sky, Aleria, Funky Gourmet and CTC, or something more affordable and traditional like Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani, Dio Dekares i Oka and Scala Vinoteca.
Recommended time for visiting
Weather is an important aspect when in comes to deciding when to plan your Athens vacation. From the middle of April to the middle of June, temperatures are warm and cozy, but not too hot. From September to the middle of October, things are quite similar to the previously mentioned period. August might also look like a good idea, because many locals also go away on their own vacations, but temperature wise… not a good idea. Keep in mind that opening hours for certain archaeological spaces vary depending on the season and daylight time.
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