Athens On & Off the Beaten Track – 3 Days City Guide

Athens is this city where you can spend endless time exploring every corner of every street and you will always find something interesting. It’s just incredible how much a single city can hold, its a playground for history lovers, having literally layers over layers of civilizations stacked on top of each other, dating back more over 5000 years ago. On top of this, Greek people happen to have an extremely refined sense of design and their creativity gave birth to tons of stylish restaurants, cafes and bars spread around the city. These places are focused more on the experience rather than only consumption.

I’ve been to Athens several times,  and usually the first visit to Athens is the same for everybody: Visit the same most important sights: the Acropolis, the Parthenon, at least 3 museums and enjoying the streets of  Plaka in the center. All of that is time-consuming and takes 3 to 4 days which is about what most people have in one visit. But Athens is much more than only that. This time around I focused my visit on the other neighborhoods of Athens, which deserves some attention too! And they all happen to be around the center.

Exarcheia is the anarchist neighborhood where I was staying as they have tons of decent priced Airbnbs. It’s conveniently located between the cooler neighborhoods of Athens. It’s also notorious for having violence as it was seen during the 2008 riots, and I experienced it myself during my visit with riot police standing at every corner and even received gas bombs right at my apartment doorsteps from ongoing fighting. However, tons of hipster style bars and cafes can be found on Christokopidou street and are worth a visit. I really enjoyed the Kolonaki neighborhood, northeast from the Acropolis. It seems to be the “trendy” neighborhood, surrounded by the parliament and embassies. Consequently, prices at restaurants and cafes go up. The Tsakaof passage is a pedestrian street where many of the top-rated cafes in Athens are situated, so I spent a lot of time here. Seems like all the cool people in town gather at any of the dozen cafes and bars on that street.

Lykavittos Hill

For a really nice area out of the typical tourist areas of Athens, I recommend going to the eclectic neighborhoods of Gira and Kerameikos, walking along Leonidou st just north-west of the Acropolis. Seems like there’s a cafe or terrace at each corner (or two) and nice bars all around the place, with a hipster feel. Definitely a place to come at night but during the daytime, it’s a great area to eat and sip coffee on long afternoons. I came here and wanted to visit a cafe which scored 9.4 on Foursquare and reviews were amazing. Its called the Blue Parrot and it can be found with its Greek name: Μπλε Παπαγάλος. High roof, nicely decorated with plants all around and Good music, great place to come to work as a digital nomad or to enjoy the terrace which spreads around the park. This place is a gem, definitely deserves its high score I highly recommend a visit.

Athens has an incredible amount of nice fancy cafes all around the city, thanks to this cultural Greek custom to hang out with friends for hours sipping espressos. My love for coffee and original coffee shops brought me to visit all the top rated ones during this stay. My favorite has got to be Odori Cafe, a super fancy and stylish cafe situated just next to a park and an Orthodox Church, serving great coffee on their flashy bright copper bar during the day and converts into a popular bar at night. The other one I would recommend is The Clumsies, which was voted one of the best bars in the world (following an in-flight magazine).

Views of Athens from Lykavittos Hill

2 to 3 Days itinerary

First, do the typical. Go up the Acropolis in the morning and continue to the Ancient Agora on the way down. Arriving at Monastiraki place, Stop for lunch in a Gyros place where they say is the best place in town to find them. From the Monastiraki Flea Market, spend some good time exploring Plaka and explore the corners and tiny streets. Go all the way to the parliament and visit the Hadrian’s Arch and Temple of Olympian Zeus. At night, enjoy one of those restaurants in Plaka with a view on the Acropolis.

The second day, wake up early and make it to Lykavittos Hill for a hike up or cable car ride with the best view of Athens! Enjoy a bit of Kolonaki neighborhood and lunch around the area before going to The Archeological museum in Exarcheia, walking through the neighborhood.

Concentrate the rest of the time in Gira and Kerameikos to sample the nightlife of Athens and its hipster side. Enjoy some more museums such as the Acropolis museum. In the afternoon, take the subway to Piraeus to enjoy some of its beautiful cafes around Mikrolimano and Zea Bay.

Athens Streets

Top 10 Things to do in Athens

  • The Parthenon
  • The National Archaeological Museum
  • The Agora Central Market
  • Acropolis Museum
  • Hike up Lykavittos Hill
  • Walking around The Plaka
  • Climbing Mount Lycabettus
  • Erechtheion
  • Mikrolimano and Zea Bay in Piraeus
  • Philopappos Hill
  • Temple of Athena Nike
  • Ancient Agora of Athens

Top Rated and Recommended Restaurants in Athens

  • Guarantee
  • Juicy Grill
  • Feyrouz (middle eastern)
  • Yiasemi
  • Colibri
  • Manimani
  • Peek a Bloom

The Acropolis

Top Rated and Recommended Cafes in Athens

  • Odori Cafe
  • Μπλε Παπαγάλος (the Blue Parrot)
  • The Clumsies
  • Drupes and Dripes
  • Superfly Cafe
  • Kaya
  • Taf Coffee
  • Peek a Bloom
  • Lotte

Top Rated and Recommended Bars in Athens

  • Jazz in Jazz
  • The Clumsies
  • Noel
  • The Speakeasy
  • The Gin Joint
  • Oinoscent

Top best Views of Athens

  • Lykavittos Hill
  • Mars Hill/Aeropagus
  • Filopappos Hill
  • Lycabettus Hill
  • From the Acropolis

The Acropolis from Lykavitoss Hill

Athens at Night

Orange Trees in its peak season

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