The 10 best things to do in Athens – From Athens By Bike
A lot of people are wondering about things to do in Athens. And, believe it or not, many locals are among them. Being born and raised here, I’m confident enough to say that I know most of the city’s beauties. For years I used to hang out in places that nowadays are considered to be secret spots of Athens. Out of a huge selection, here are my 10 best things to do in Athens!
The time machine has not yet been invented, but whenever I start walking in Plaka I’m having second thoughts. This old part of the city is unique and has remained the same as Athens walks through history. Invisible to most people is a tiny neighborhood between Plaka and the Acropolis, Anafiotika, which is also one of the hidden gems of Athens, Anafiotika is identical to a neighborhood on the Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos. For some locals, me included, it’s the absolutely quickest way to feel like we’re on summer holidays. Walking through the narrow streets between the beautiful white houses do the trick every time! Don’t miss this, maybe it’s no1 on the list of things to do in Athens!
Riding a bike around Psirri when I was 14 years old, I was amazed by the amount and quality of graffiti that I was seeing, so I got a bit jealous and I grabbed a few spray cans to begin doing it on my own. The idea was good, but the result was terrible, I simply can’t draw anything right. I stopped drawing, but never stopped enjoying graffiti in Athens and now, more than ever, it’s so spread around Metaxourgeio, Exarcheia, Kerameikos, Psirri and more places that I am proud to say that alternative Athens exists. You may ask: Is Athens safe? The answer is of course yes, it is very safe and you feel that when you walk around all these places. You’ll need to go a bit off the beaten path of Athens to enjoy great murals and beautiful pieces of art!
3. Sunset on Lycabettus hill
It was a rainy winter day, following many and I was craving for a ray of sun. A friend of mine was the owner of one of the most beautiful cafes in Athens, just beneath Lycabettus hill and I was enjoying my afternoon hot chocolate when I saw what I was waiting for all these days: sunshine was hitting the building across the street and it was almost sunset time. I didn’t have much time, so I grabbed my bike and began cycling in Athens like a maniac. And I made it right on time for one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life! The best location is not at the top of the hill, as it get quite busy, but somewhere in the middle. Check the location HERE. It’s one of the secret spots of Athens. If you feel like taking a similar photo, I can give you my fixed gear bike and you can give it a try!
4. Athens riviera
Greek summer is a state of mind. The best way to get this feeling is by going to the islands. The next best thing is a visit to the Athens riviera that extends from the port of Piraeus all the way down to cape Sounio, with lots of nice beaches, lakes, luxury boat marinas, restaurants, cafes and more. A good suggestion is to hire a car and drive the whole way making stops along the way to enjoy what the Athens riviera has to offer. Another way is to do a bike tour with Athens by bike, the Athens Coastal Bike Tour!
Down to the Athens riviera, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is a huge set of facilities that consist of: the new national library of Greece, the new national opera of Greece, a large park and much more! Located between two neighbourhoods, Kallithea and Faliro, it’s a bit off the beaten path of Athens and still remains quite unknown to travellers since it first opened in 2016. I once spent a whole day down there and, still, it was not nearly enough. You can use the library, check out the fountain show, get a bike, attend concerts, watch movies, enjoy art exhibitions and the list goes on. And the icing on the cake: everything is for free! It’s one of the very few places that you can find free activities in Athens! As a traveller, you can replace Acropolis with this huge set of facilities on the list of things to do in Athens! Check out events and more at the official website HERE.
The closest island to Athens is Aegina and it takes less than an hour by ferry from the port of Piraeus to get there. It might sound weird, but I’ve been there only twice in my life, the first being when I was 5 years old. The second time though was in 2018 and I greatly appreciated what the island has to offer. From ancient temples, archaeological sites and museums, to nice beaches, traditional taverns and the unique island feeling Greece is famous for. Ferry ticket to Aegina can be bought at port, you can check out the ferries timetable at viva.gr
7. Goulandris museum of contemporary art
Undoubtedly, very high on the list of things to do in Athens is visiting museums.If you are not into museums you can skip this and if you are a museum junkie, Athens is your paradise as we have more than 70 museums in the area! I personally have visited about 10 and for me it’s enough! Famous ones are the National Archaeological museum and the New Acropolis museum. One of the least known is the Goulandris museum of contemporary art, which is quite new(opened in October 2019) and has art works from famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, El Greco and more! For opening hours and more info you can check out the museum’s website HERE.
8.Ancient Greek Agora
One of the most important archaeological sites of all times is the Ancient Greek Agora. The reason is quite simple: this is where democracy was born and evolved, this is where Socrates was going around teaching his students. Modern western way of thinking was established here in the 5th century BC. Although everyone thinks that visiting the Acropolis of Athens with the magnificent Parthenon is no1 on the list of the best things to do in Athens, in my opinion the Ancient Greek Agora is more important! We pass by and have a nice at this beautiful place on our Athens Bike Tour!
Located right next to Acropolis hill, Philopappou hill is one of the 3 hills inside the city center and, by far, the most beautiful one! It’s one of the secret spots of Athens, with an amazing view of the whole city, great picnic spots and big trees to cover you from the scorching hot summer sun! At the top of the hill, there is a big monument, that is an amazing spot to watch a sunset! When you see the sunset, stay a bit longer and have your eyes on the Acropolis, as the lights go on a few minutes after the sunset! Seeing the light of Acropolis as they go on is one of the unique things to do in Athens!
10. Farmer’s market
As pure food lovers we, Greeks, try to avoid supermarkets for fruits and vegetables, as we prefer going to the farmers’ market for those supplies. A farmers’ market in Athens is a colourful and loud place where farmers are able to sell their goods directly to consumers. I usually go first thing in the morning (they open around 7am) not only to avoid the summer heat and crowds, but also to get the very fresh products that they bring out in the beginning! You can find one every day of the week, except Sundays, in around the city center’s neighborhoods: Petralona, Koukaki, Exarcheia, Neos Kosmos, Pagrati etc.
The best way to do all these is by bicycle! If you want to rent a bike or do a guided bike tour with us, check our offers at https://www.athensbybike.gr/ and get ready to explore Athens by bike. It’s the best thing to do in Athens!