Athens, the cradle of Western civilization, is a city where the ancient and the modern intersect seamlessly. With its rich history, vibrant street life, and dynamic nightlife, the Greek capital offers a myriad of experiences to travelers, regardless of the time of day. Here’s a concise guide on how to make the most of Athens by day and by night:
- Historical and Archaeological Sites: Begin your day with a visit to the iconic Acropolis and its adjacent museum. Explore other ancient sites such as the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
- Strolling and Shopping: Wander through Plaka, Athens’ oldest neighborhood, with its narrow streets, charming houses, and souvenir shops. Head to Monastiraki for bustling flea markets and vintage finds.
- Museums: Spend a few hours in the National Archaeological Museum, which hosts an extensive collection of antiquities. Other must-visit museums include the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art.
- Culinary Delights: Savor Greek cuisine in local tavernas. Don’t miss out on tasting dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, and baklava. Enjoy a coffee break in one of the many cafes that dot the city, especially around Syntagma Square.
- Dining: Athenian nights start with a late dinner. Head to Gazi or Psirri for a plethora of dining options, from traditional Greek eateries to modern fusion restaurants.
- Bars and Rooftops: Enjoy panoramic views of the city, including a lit-up Acropolis, from rooftop bars such as A for Athens and 360 Cocktail Bar in Monastiraki. Kolonaki is another upscale neighborhood known for its chic bars.
- Nightclubs: For those looking to dance the night away, Gazi is the hub of Athens’ clubbing scene, with several venues playing a mix of international and Greek hits.
- Live Music and Performances: Experience traditional Greek music in the form of rebetika or laika in the many live music tavernas in Psirri. For a more eclectic mix, the Technopolis in Gazi frequently hosts concerts and festivals.
- Late-Night/Early Morning Eats: No night in Athens is complete without a stop for a late-night gyro or souvlaki. Many places in Monastiraki and Syntagma remain open until the wee hours to cater to night owls.
- Strolls: The area around the Acropolis is beautifully lit at night, providing a tranquil environment for a peaceful walk. The pedestrianized Dionysiou Areopagitou Street is particularly popular among locals and tourists alike.
In Athens, every hour offers a unique experience. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a party enthusiast, the city has something special in store for you.
Athens is a city that presents a rich tapestry of experiences, both by day and night, across its diverse neighborhoods. Each area has its distinct character and charm, offering an array of eateries, cafes, bars, and clubs to choose from.
Monastiraki and Agia Irini Square
A historical blend where the past meets the modern. The square has evolved over time, reflecting the city’s resilience and vibrancy.
- Cafes: Explore Lukumades for a unique twist on traditional Greek dessert. Tailor Made, Thorubi, Athens 360, and A for Athens offer splendid coffee with Acropolis views.
- Restaurants: Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina provides a homey touch to Greek cuisines. Melilotos, Thanasis, and Kostas offer delectable Greek dishes.
- Nightlife: Faust is a Greek theatre bar that attracts a significant crowd during the winter. Other trendy spots include Osterman, Noel, and S.I.X. Dogs.
- Day: Known for its bustling marketplace and cafes with views of the Acropolis.
- Night: The area transforms into a hub of vibrant nightlife with trendy bars and restaurants.
- Must-visit: Lukumades for dessert, Tailor Made for coffee, and Faust for nightlife.
A walk through Plaka feels like traveling back in time. Its neoclassical homes, Anafiotika neighborhood, and the surrounding ambiance speak volumes about Athens’ rich history.
- Restaurants: O Platanos, H Palia Taverna Tou Psara, and Daphne’s provide authentic Greek culinary experiences.
- Cafes and Bars: Mnisikleous is an ideal spot for a casual coffee or drink, while Bretto’s is perfect for tasting Greek spirits.
- Day: Explore the Anafiotika neighborhood and enjoy coffee on Mnisikleous Street.
- Night: Dine at local restaurants like O Platanos and savor Greek spirits at Bretto’s.
- Must-visit: H Palia Taverna Tou Psara for a taste of traditional Greek cuisine.
Psirri: Nestled between other famous Athenian neighborhoods, Psirri comes alive at night with its energetic vibe and traditional Greek music.
- Cafes: Ta Serbetia Tou Psirri is known for its desserts, while The Art Foundation (TAF) offers a blend of exhibition space and café vibes.
- Restaurants: Delight in Greek cuisines at Oinopoleion and Krasopoulio tou Kokkora. For nightlife, Tranzistor and Cantina Social are the places to be.
- Day: Relax at unique cafes like Ta Serbetia Tou Psirri and explore The Art Foundation.
- Night: Enjoy the bohemian bars like Tranzistor and try local cuisine at Oinopoleion.
- Must-visit: Cantina Social for its vibrant and friendly atmosphere.
This transformed immigrant quarter is now a hub of restaurants, bars, and clubs, drawing large crowds, especially during the summer.
- Dining: Sardelles, Athiri, and the Butcher Shop are popular choices.
- Rooftop Bars: Hipster and Gazarte offer excellent rooftop areas to unwind.
- Day: Wander around and explore the area’s industrial roots and artistic spaces.
- Night: Discover rooftop bars like Gazarte and dine at popular restaurants like Athiri.
- Must-visit: Sardelles for a seafood dining experience.
A touch of luxury and authenticity awaits you in one of Athens’ upscale neighborhoods.
- Coffee: Alouf and Da Capo are favorites for a relaxed coffee experience.
- Restaurants: From Taverna Fillipou to Malconi’s, the dining choices are vast and exquisite.
- Nightlife: Skoufa street, Cinco, Big Apple, and Rock n Roll are popular hotspots.
- Day: Enjoy Greek coffee at local favorites like Alouf and shop around the chic boutiques.
- Night: Experience the upscale nightlife at places like Cinco and enjoy gourmet dining at F&W by Olivier Camphana.
- Must-visit: Rock n Roll club during winter months for a top clubbing experience.
Known for its artistic and alternative appeal, it draws a diverse crowd, offering an eclectic blend of experiences.
- Coffee: Exarchia Square offers a unique coffee experience.
- Nightlife: Alexandrino stands out with its French touch.
- Restaurants: Oxo Nou and Giantes provide excellent Greek dining experiences.
- Day: Experience the city’s alternative and bohemian vibe and enjoy coffee in Exarchia Square.
- Night: Explore punk-like bars and clubs and dine at local favorites like Oxo Nou.
- Must-visit: Alexandrino, a charming bar with great cocktails.
The sea’s proximity makes this an ideal location for glamorous open-air clubs, especially during the summer.
- Restaurants: From seafood at Nikolas to Moroccan delights at Tagine, the choices are vast and impressive.
- Bars: Whether it’s Moorings in Vouliameni or Opus in Glyfada, each bar has a unique vibe to offer.
- Day: Bask in the sun at one of the glamorous beach clubs and explore the upscale neighborhood of Glyfada.
- Night: Experience the lively nightlife at clubs like The Island Club and dine at gourmet venues like Matsuhisa.
- Must-visit: The Moorings in Vouliameni for a cocktail with a view.
- Travel and Accommodations: Consider local charter services for convenient travel to and around Athens, and explore luxury hotel options for comfortable stays.
- Activities: Explore the rich history of Athens through its numerous museums and archaeological sites during the day, and indulge in its vibrant culinary scene and nightlife after sunset.
- Seasonal Considerations: Some places, especially in the Athenian Riviera, are best experienced in summer, while others, like certain clubs in Kolonaki, are winter favorites. Keep the season in mind while planning your itinerary.