When me and my hubby, Oto, decided to attend my best friends wedding in Dubrovnik, we had a couple of hours to spend in the capital of Greece. The list of things to do in Athens on short time can get quite big. But we decided to narrow it down. And instead of spending hours in touristy places, we headed towards the city.
Things you need to know before visiting Athens
- If you are coming from a country which has its own currency, make sure you buy Euros in your home country. My salary is in USD, so I thought I would change them in Athens, but oh boy! I was so wrong. All of the currency exchange offices have a very high commission!
- You can leave your luggage at the airport storage facility. They calculate price per hour, and for up to 12 hours we paid 8€
- Bus from the airport to the city center costs 6€
- You can experience the city with a local guide for FREE at This is my Athens, but unfortunately, none of the volunteers were available on the date we arrived.
- You can buy Athens city pass for 30€ to reduce costs on museums, Acropolis and public transport.
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Things to do in Athens on short time
Plaka is the oldest area of the city, where most of the streets are for pedestrians only. The area is full of souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants and jewelry stores. Therefore, it’s one of the most touristy places in the city center.
Considered one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city, located under the Acropolis Plaka stretches towards the Syntagma square. You might even get lost there, but if you stay around its two main streets – Kydathineon and Adrianou – you’ll be fine.
One of the things to do in Athens on short time is to visit Monastiraki neighborhood to glimpse at its flea market. And if your visit falls on Sunday, there are even more stalls and vendors selling all the vintage items. Even if you are not in vintage stuff, it’s still is a fun place to wander.
There’s a central tourist attraction Attica to bargain for souvenirs or buying something for yourself. Walk towards the square, take a look at the Church of the Panatassa and sit down somewhere to relax and people-watch.
Hidden area of the city MUST be on your list of the things to do in Athens on short time. The neighborhood is well hidden on the north side of the Acropolis with the small streets leading to the area. With its wite wall houses and colorful doors, Anafiotika looks like a little island tucked away from the bustle and hustle of the city.
If you, like me, love finding excellent street art, head to the Pittaki Street. Here, Chinese paper lanterns, midcentury metal lamps, 40s floral and fringed lampshades, Moroccan mirrored shades, and stained glass lamps hang up in the air. The allay painted in soft pastel colors with pictures of kitchen and living room furniture, Pittaki street is a modern touch of the ancient city.
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5Open Air Market
While wandering the streets of Athens, we stumbled upon a small open-air market with fresh fruits, vegetables, and our all-time favorite olives. The country is famous for its olives, so it’s a shame not to take an advantage and taste a bit.
What to Eat and Drink in Athens
I could not resist the temptation to taste one of my favorite salads in the place it originated from. The world famous Greek Salad is a simple meal, but local feta cheese, olive oil, and kalamata olives make it so delicious.
I have read on one of the travel blogs to try falafels once I get to Athens. Falafellas has a wide variety of falafel sandwiches to choose from, but we took the smallest one for 2.50€, and we had a hard time finishing it. The pita bread was full of falafels, veggies and a right amount of sauce!
Loukoumades is a Greek dessert similar to crusty donuts. Small shaped balls of dough deep fried in oil and are sprinkled with sugar, honey, cinnamon, chocolate or other toppings. We tried it at Lukumades, and one portion of those sweets was more than enough for two of us.
The so-called “colorful bar” is a great place to try Greek wines and local spirit Ouzo. Brettos is the oldest distillery in Greece, producing alcoholic drinks for at least 100 years. Here, you can try three different Ouzo and 160 different types of Greek wine by the glass.
They even have wine tasting session from 10 am to 6 pm every day. So take the advantage of it!