Insider Guide to Athens 2023

January 16, 2023


Things to do in Athens, to stay like a local

It’s no secret: Athens is bursting with a fascinating history and spectacular ancient architecture. From the towering Acropolis to the time-withstanding Temple of Olympian Zeus. History buffs, deep thinkers, and art lovers will immediately fall in love with the knowledge hidden within the city.

For the tourist, it’s easy to join a guided tour and tick off all the famous landmarks in the afternoon. However, the true traveler knows Athens’s glory runs much deeper. With our insider guide to Athens, you’ll be enjoying a late afternoon stroll through the park, people-watching at one of the many flea markets, and sampling locally-made wine is what keeps the city ticking.

Forget your watch and let the day take you away with our list of things to do in Athens to experience the city like a local. Here is our guide to the top things to do in Athens.

Insider Guide to Athens
The Acropolis, Athens

Explore – Monuments and Landmarks in Athens

This ancient city is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, many of which date back to ancient times. These landmarks are important not only for their historical significance but also for the role they play in shaping the city’s identity and culture. 

The Acropolis 

The Acropolis is perhaps the most iconic landmark in Athens and is considered one of the most important ancient sites in the world. It is a hilltop fortress that was built in the 5th century BC and was home to some of the most important buildings of ancient Greece, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon is the most famous of these buildings and is considered one of the most important examples of classical architecture in the world. The temple was built to honor the goddess Athena and was used as a treasury and a place of worship. The Erechtheion is another important building on the Acropolis and was dedicated to the goddess Athena and the god Poseidon. The Temple of Athena Nike is a small temple located on the south side of the Acropolis and was dedicated to the goddess Athena, the goddess of victory.

Inside Guide to Athens
The Acropolis of Athens

The Agora

The Agora was the center of public life in ancient Athens and was the hub of political, commercial, and social activity. It was a large open space that was used for markets, political assemblies, and religious ceremonies. The Agora was also home to some of the most important buildings in ancient Athens, including the Stoa of Attalos, the Temple of Hephaestus, and the Royal Stoa. The Stoa of Attalos was a covered walkway that was used for markets and other commercial activities. The Temple of Hephaestus was a temple dedicated to the god of metalworking and was one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Athens. The Royal Stoa was a large building that was used for political assemblies and other public gatherings.

TBV Athens Photo
Temple of Hephaestus, Ancient Agora of Athens

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stunning ancient theatre located on the south slope of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Built in 161 AD by Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Greek aristocrat, and philanthropist, the theatre was used for musical and theatrical performances. The Odeon has a seating capacity of approximately 5,000 and is considered one of the most well-preserved ancient theatres in the world. The theatre is made of marble and features intricate carvings and sculptures, including a depiction of the god of music, Apollo, on the stage. 

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is still in use today and is the venue for the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, an annual event that showcases the best in Greek theatre, music, and dance. The theatre is also used for other cultural events throughout the year, including concerts and operas. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a must-see for anyone interested in ancient history and architecture. Its stunning design and well-preserved state make it a unique and fascinating piece of Greek history. The theatre’s continued use for cultural events also makes it a vibrant and lively part of the modern Athenian landscape.

Insider Guide to Athens
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens

The Theater of Dionysus 

The Theater of Dionysus is one of the oldest and most important theatres in the world. It was built in the 5th century BC and was used for performances of plays and other performances. The theatre was built on the south slope of the Acropolis and could seat up to 17,000 people. It was used for performances of plays by some of the most famous playwrights of ancient Greece, including Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The theatre was also used for religious ceremonies and other public events. 

The Roman Agora 

The Roman Agora was built in the 1st century AD and was used as a market and a place of commerce. It was located near the ancient Agora and was used for the same purposes. The Roman Agora was also home to some important buildings, including the Tower of the Winds, the Gate of Athena Archegetis, and the Library of Hadrian. The Tower of the Winds was a clock tower that was used to tell time and was one of the most famous landmarks of ancient Athens.

TBV Athens Photo
Roman Agora, Athens

 Temple of Poseidon in Sounio

The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio is a breathtaking ancient site that offers a glimpse into the past and the culture of the Greeks. Built in the 5th century BCE, it was considered one of the most important religious sites in ancient Greece. The temple is a popular spot for sunset viewing, where the temple and ruins are bathed in a golden light, creating a truly magical experience. Despite its age and the damage caused by time and the elements, the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio remains one of the most impressive ancient sites in Greece and a must-see for any traveler visiting the region.

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio
Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio

Be Active

Pondering the world as you enjoy a morning coffee, you can’t help but notice ancient mountains fully surround Athens. Protecting the city yet pulling at your heartstrings to see what’s just over the hill. Mount Hymettus is a true hidden gem sought out by active locals to escape the city’s heat. As you set out on your hike, within moments of entering the dense pine forest scattered with olive trees and wildflowers, a sense of calmness washes over you. Looking out over the ancient Acropolis far below reminds you just how far civilization has come.

National Garden of Athens

The National Garden of Athens is a must-see natural landmark in the city. The garden is located in the center of Athens and covers an area of approximately 15 hectares. It is a green oasis in the middle of the city and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. You will also find a small lake, playgrounds, a cafe, and also the Presidential Mansion, which is also known as the Maximos Mansion.

Philopappos Hill

The hill is located just south of the Acropolis and is home to the Philopappos Monument. This 2nd-century AD tomb was built to honor the Roman consul Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappos. The hill is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike, as it offers stunning views of the city, the sea, and the Acropolis.

Taste – Restaurants in Athens

Athens is a city that is known for its rich history and culture, but it is also a city that is home to some of the most delicious and diverse restaurants in the world. From traditional Greek tavernas to modern fusion eateries, there is something for every palate.

One of the most popular types of restaurants in Athens is the taverna, which is a casual dining establishment that serves traditional Greek dishes such as moussaka, a layered dish made with eggplant, meat, and a béchamel sauce, and dolmades, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and sometimes meat. These restaurants are often family-owned and operated, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors to enjoy a meal. 

Insider Guide to Athens
Greek traditional Dolmadakia

Another popular type of restaurant in Athens is the souvlaki shop. These are small, casual eateries that specialize in souvlaki, which is a Greek dish made of grilled meat (usually pork or chicken) wrapped in pita bread with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. These shops are often found throughout the city, and they are an excellent option for a quick and affordable meal.

For a more upscale dining experience, the city also offers a number of fine-dining restaurants that specialize in Mediterranean and international cuisine. These restaurants often feature elegant decor, attentive service, and a diverse menu of dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Many of these restaurants also have outdoor seating areas, which are perfect for enjoying a meal while taking in the sights and sounds of the metropolis. 

There is also a thriving street food scene, where you can find food trucks and street vendors selling delicious street foods such as gyros, falafel, and Greek-style burgers. These street foods are usually very affordable and are a great way to experience the flavors of Greece on a budget. 

TBV Athens Photo
Street vendor in Athens, Greece

Athens is also known for its coffee culture, and you can find many coffee shops and cafes throughout the city. The coffee shops and cafes in Athens serve a wide variety of coffees, teas, and pastries, and they are a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while taking in the vibrant ambiance of the city.

Nightlife in Athens

Athens is a city that comes alive at night. Known for its vibrant nightlife scene, the Greek capital offers a wide variety of options for those looking to experience the city’s energy and excitement after dark. Whether you’re looking for a night out with friends or a romantic evening with your significant other, Athens has something for everyone. 

One of the most popular nightlife destinations is the famous Monastiraki Flea Market. This bustling market is open all day, but it really comes to life at night when the shops and vendors stay open late, and the streets fill with people. You can browse through the market’s many stalls, which sell everything from traditional Greek souvenirs to vintage clothing and handmade jewelry. The market is also home to a number of bars and clubs, making it the perfect place to grab a drink and dance the night away. 


Another popular nightlife spot in Athens is the neighborhood of Gazi. This trendy area is known for its lively bars and clubs, as well as its many restaurants and cafes. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many traditional Greek tavernas or dance the night away at one of the neighborhood’s many clubs and bars. The area is also home to the famous Technopolis, a cultural center that hosts concerts and events throughout the year. 

For those looking for a more sophisticated night out, Athens offers a number of elegant rooftop bars and rooftop restaurants. These venues offer stunning city views and are perfect for a romantic evening or a night out with friends. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine while taking in the city’s beautiful skyline. 

In addition to its many bars and clubs, there is also a number of live music venues. The city is home to a thriving music scene, with many local bands and musicians performing at venues throughout the city. Whether you’re a fan of rock, jazz, or traditional Greek music, there’s something for everyone in Athens. 

Athens at night
Athens city centre

The nightlife in Athens is truly something special. With its vibrant energy and endless options, there’s never a dull moment in this exciting city. Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing and partying or a more relaxed evening out, Athens has something for everyone. So grab your friends and head out for a night of fun and adventure in this incredible city.

Shop in Athens

Athens is a shopping paradise for those who love to explore new boutiques, vintage shops, and designer labels. The city’s historic center is home to a wide variety of shops, from trendy fashion boutiques to traditional Greek souvenir shops. For a more luxurious shopping experience, head to the upscale neighborhoods of Kolonaki and Glyfada, where you’ll find designer labels, high-end jewelry stores, and high-end fashion boutiques. For a more bohemian shopping experience, check out the neighborhoods of Monastiraki, Psirri, and Exarchia, where you’ll find vintage shops, independent designers, and unique boutiques.

Monastiraki Fleat Market

The Monastiraki flea market may be mentioned in every other travel guide to Athens, but it’s worth the visit beyond the souvenir shops. Wandering the flea market is an adventure in itself, and if you find yourself in Athens on a Sunday, set aside a few hours to seek out hidden treasures found amongst the bustling stalls. Musicians attempt to draw your attention away from the quirky stalls, but it’s impossible not to be in awe of the antiques, classic toys and retro electronics spilling from every booth. The deeper into the market you go, the more likely you’ll be to find your treasure.

The Greek hospitality

One aspect of Athens that often goes overlooked is its hospitality. The city is home to some of the most welcoming and friendly people in the world, making it a destination that travelers will never forget. 

Hospitality is a core value in Greek culture, and it is evident in every aspect of Athens. From the moment you arrive in the city, you will be greeted with warm smiles and friendly faces. The locals are always eager to help visitors navigate their way around the city, and they will go out of their way to make sure that you feel comfortable and at home.

TBV Athens Photo
Areopagitou Street, Athens

One way to experience Greek hospitality is to take a walking tour of the city. The local guides are passionate about their city and are eager to share their knowledge and history with visitors. They will take you on a journey through the city, showing you the most iconic sites and monuments while sharing stories and anecdotes about the city’s rich history. 

But perhaps the best way to experience the hospitality of Athens is to simply wander the streets and engage with the locals. The city is full of friendly people who are always happy to chat and share their culture with you.

Stay – The Best Boutique Hotels in Athens

Boutique hotels in Athens offer a unique and luxurious experience for travelers visiting the city. They are often located in historic buildings, such as restored neoclassical mansions or charming townhouses, and feature elegant decor and top-of-the-line amenities. Many boutique hotels in Athens also offer rooftop terraces with breathtaking views of the city, as well as gourmet restaurants and spas. For those looking for a more exclusive and refined stay in Athens, a boutique hotel is a perfect choice.


Nestled on a serene street in the sophisticated Kolonaki district, the late-1920s residence of Shila Hotel Athens seamlessly blends timeless elegance with a modern, urban flair. As soon as you step inside, you are enveloped in a harmonious blend of thoughtful hospitality, artfully crafted to awaken all of your senses.

Insider Guide to Athens
Shila in Athens

14 Reasons Why

14 Reasons Why is housed in a former storage building tucked away along a quiet street next to Monastiraki square. The boutique hotel combines the best aspects of industrial style with modern sleekness and designer features. Get ready to experience the ‘wow’ factor from the moment you step in.

14 Reasons Why Reception
14 Reasons Why

Oniro City

Located in a beautifully restored neoclassical building in the fashionable Kolonaki area, Oniro City offers a sophisticated atmosphere with a mix of modern design and natural hues. The luxurious amenities, contemporary guest rooms, and attentive staff will ensure your visit is a one-of-a-kind experience of grandeur and comfort.

Insider Guide to Athens
Oniro City


The Foundry Suites

If you believe that industrial locations lack genuine character and history, prepare to be amazed by The Foundry Suites Athens. The structure has undergone numerous transformations since the 1930s and the hotel boasts a sophisticated blend of industrial design with a contemporary retro aesthetic.

Insider Guide to Athens
The Foundry Suites

Moon and Stars

The 1920s Art Deco building stands tall and beautiful in the shadow of the ancient Acropolis, which you can contemplate from the hotel’s rooftop with a drink in your hand. Whether you’re visiting Athens for business or pleasure, the Moon and Stars Hotel is the perfect place to experience the city’s rich culture and history in style.

Insider Guide to Athens
Moon & Stars

Here is a selection of hotels from The Boutique Vibe that will ensure a luxurious and comfortable stay in Athens.

The weather in Athens

Athens is known for its Mediterranean climate, which is characterized by mild winters and hot summers and an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. The city experiences an average temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer months of June to September. 

The winter months of December to February are much milder, with an average temperature of around 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature can drop as low as 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) during the coldest days, and it can be quite chilly, especially in the evening. The city also experiences occasional rainfall during this time, so it’s best to pack an umbrella and a jacket. 

Travel from Athens to the islands

Athens is a popular starting point for many travelers looking to explore the Greek islands. There are several options for getting from Athens to the islands, including ferry, hydrofoil, and plane. 

One of the most popular options for getting from Athens to the islands is by ferry. Ferries run regularly from the port of Piraeus, located just outside of Athens, to many of the islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas. The journey can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the destination. Some of the most popular islands that can be reached by ferry from Athens include Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos

Insider Guide to Athens, Santorini
Beautiful Santorini

Another option for getting from Athens to the islands is hydrofoil. Hydrofoils are faster than ferries and can cut travel time in half. They run from the port of Rafina, located east of Athens, to several islands in the Cyclades. Some of the most popular islands that can be reached by hydrofoil from Athens include Andros, Tinos, and Mykonos

For those in a hurry and don’t mind spending extra, there is always the option of flying from Athens to the islands. Many of the major islands have airports and are serviced by domestic flights from Athens. Some of the most popular islands that can be reached by plane from Athens include Santorini, Mykonos, and Paros.

Transportation in Athens

The Metropolitan Area, which includes the city and its surrounding suburbs, is served by an extensive public transportation system. The metro system is efficient, clean, and reliable, making it a convenient way to get around the city.

In addition to the metro, Athens has a well-developed bus system, with more than 100 routes throughout the city. Buses are frequent and run late into the night. 

For those who prefer to drive, there is a great network of roads and highways that connect the city to other parts of Greece. The city also has a number of parking garages and on-street parking, although parking can be challenging to find in the city center.

Day trips from Athens

Although Athens is a great destination to visit, there are also many other places nearby that offer a chance to explore unique Greek traditions and culture. If you plan on spending a few days in Athens, taking a day trip to one of these locations can add a special touch to your trip. Here are some of The Boutique Vibe’s top picks for memorable day trips from Athens. You certainly don’t want to miss out on these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Insider Guide to Athen
Delphi, Greece

Athens is a city that holds a special place in the hearts of many. It is a city that has seen the rise and fall of empires, yet it still stands tall and proud, a testament to its rich history and cultural heritage. From the awe-inspiring Acropolis to the bustling streets of Monastiraki, Athens offers a unique blend of ancient and modern that will captivate any traveler. Whether you are a lover of history, art, and architecture or simply someone looking for a new adventure, Athens is a destination that should not be missed. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and set out on your own journey to discover the beauty and wonder of Athens.


Where to Stay in Athens