What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Greek summer? The sun, the sea, the sunsets by the beach, the endless hours of relaxation..These are only a few of the things that Greece offers to millions of people from all over the world every year. Even though the Greek islands are without a doubt the number one destination for travellers who wish to experience a unique summer, this time of the year is definitely the best time to visit Athens without the hustle and bustle of the city. Because Athens is more beautiful under the summer sun, we give you a list of the best things to do in Athens this summer. So pack your swimsuits and lots of sunscreen and dive with us in the unique things this beautiful city has to offer!
By Savina Skourmalla 05-07-22
S is for summer and sightseeing: Acropolis, Museums and the National Gardens
There is not a single person who hasn’t heard of the Acropolis or the Parthenon, Athens’ landmark that adorns the modern metropolitan city from above and is visited by countless visitors all year round. A visit to the hill of the Acropolis is certainly one of the top things to do in Athens, especially if you are travelling here for the first time. During the summer months, the temperatures in the city centre hit very high levels so if you are planning to visit the sacred rock during your stay it’s better to do it either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat. Most monuments adjust their opening and closing times during the summer months maximising the flexibility of visiting.
After you are finished with the mandatory visit to the Acropolis, you can seek the air-conditioned shelter of the Acropolis Museum that will complement your knowledge of the ancient past and the Acropolis History. With a modern design and spacious rooms where the rich ancient Greek history is exhibited and explained, the Acropolis museum offers a unique experience to the visitor who wishes to enrich their historical knowledge. Don’t forget to enjoy a coffee, a drink, or even one of the delicious mediterranean courses in the state-of-art Cafe and Restaurant at the top of the museum where you will be able to marvel at the Parthenon in a breath’s distance through the huge glass window while enjoying a nice treat.
Credit: Greece Is
The large history of Athens that covers thousands of years can also be found in a variety of other museums some of which include the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, Benaki Museum and Goulandris Natural History Museum to name a few. If your vacation plan allows it, these museums are a great addition to your visit and one of the best things to do in Athens during the summer (again…the air condition!).
There is only one place in the heart of Athens that not only provides shade and tranquillity, but also a large area full of vegetation, rare bird species and….palm trees!
It’s hard to believe that right next to the Greek Parliament and a few metres away from the busiest shopping street of Athens, there is a green oasis that is perfect for a stroll or even a family picnic that will make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise. With picturesque paths and lakes with little ducks and turtles, the National Garden of Athens is not only one of the best places to visit while in Athens, but it is also the perfect place to be if you wish to avoid the summer heat and enrich your instagram feed with aesthetic photos! You can either bring your own snacks and lie between the trees or even enjoy some traditional coffee and Greek ‘meze’ in the little cafe that can be found in the middle of the gardens. If you are visiting Athens with family, the National Garden should definitely be on your bucket list as it will offer the children hours of fun play as well as peaceful and quiet moments for everyone.
Credit: Greeking me
Signature dishes and cocktails under the Athenian Moon: Rooftop Bars in Athens
Imagine this: you’ve spent a long day sightseeing, shopping or simply exploring Athens and the sun has started to set while the beautiful night lights slowly make their appearance. You crave something nice to eat, maybe a drink or two somewhere secluded where you can chill before bed.
All you have to do is…look up!
Athens has a variety of beautiful rooftop bars and restaurants with a spectacular view in which you can choose from a variety of well selected menus for food and drinks. Even if you have already visited the Acropolis you will certainly be up for a treat when you see the Parthenon standing lit and monumental on the top of the hill from the terrace of one of these bars.
Rooftop bars like Ciel, 360 Cocktail Bar and A for Athens are some of the most loved hotspots between local Athenians with dishes that elevate Greek gastronomy as well as signature cocktails made by the best of their kind.
Credit: True Voyagers
Take a glimpse of the sun disappearing behind the horizon and watch Athens turn into a majestically lit and mysterious yet romantic city that you will never forget, all from the comfort of one of these modern and luxurious bars and restaurants.
Cinema Paradiso – Open air cinemas and the Odeon of Herodus Atticus
There is nothing better than enjoying a nice movie with fresh buttery popcorn and an ice-cold beer.
Now if you combine all that with the beautiful starlit Athenian sky, you get to experience one of the best things to do in Athens during Summer: the unique Greek summer movie night in one of the countless open-air movie theatres.
Spread across Athens like the stars in the sky, every neighbourhood has a small and local open-air cinema in which you can enjoy either blockbuster movies or older films, from comedies to horror movies!
Movie-goers and cine-fans who are visiting Athens this summer will also have the opportunity to attend Athens Open Air Film Festival that accommodates local and international productions, films and documentaries for anyone’s taste.
One small tip from us: make sure to bring mosquito repellent with you if you don’t wish to look like a strainer afterwards!
Credit: Clio Muse Tours
Summer in Greece also means open air concerts in the beautiful Lycabettus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, only a breath away from the Acropolis. From June to August, the audience can attend a number of concerts, operas and theatrical plays under the eye of Parthenon with the annual Athens Epidaurus Festival. The ancient historical theatre can accommodate around 4.000 visitors per event, creating the best festival experience anyone could have asked for.
Credit: Sunny Athens
If all that sounds boring for your rocker heart, get ready to bang your head and raise your hand-horns in Athens’ biggest rock festivals, Release Athens and Rockwave Festival. From Pet Shop Boys to Slipknot and from one-day events to multi-day-camping-experiences, there is something for everyone.
When the night falls and the amplifier gets louder, these festivals are the place to be if you are seeking for a thrill and an unforgettable gig night in Athens!
Athenian Riviera – Vouliagmeni Beach and Flisvos Marina
No matter how hard it is to believe it, Athens has some of the best beaches in Greece that have also been awarded with a Blue Flag. Summer without spending a day (or every day) at the beach is no Summer at all!
If you decide to visit Athens for your summer holidays you will be surprised to find a variety of organised beaches by the beautiful Athenian coastline, only a few kilometres from the city centre that will definitely be one of the highlights of your trip and should definitely be in your list with the top things to do in Athens!
One of the best and most cosmopolitan beaches in this category is Akti Vouliagmenis Beach. Located in one of the most beautiful Athenian coastlines in Vouliagmeni area, 20 kilometres away from the city centre yet easily accessible (there is a big parking lot that would come convenient if you are renting), this is definitely one of the most well-organised beaches with a number of facilities to accommodate everyone’s need for a full, fun and exciting day at the sea!
Credit: Akti Vouliagmeni
Here you will be able to enjoy a dive in crystal clear blue waters, get the most of the sun (and get a nice tan) on the sun lounges and umbrellas to rent, enjoy a coffee and a snack in one of the many coffee shops and beach bars available in the area and even practise your beach volley and water sport skills in the designated areas.
This is definitely the best location to spend an entire day with your family as the available sports facilities as well as a kid’s playground will give you and your family countless hours of fun. If on the other hand, you simply wish to sit back and relax, and if you want to check on the latest instagram posts and news, free wifi is provided! When you feel tired of sunbathing and playing in the water you can simply enjoy a great traditional meal (fresh fish!) by one of the many Greek ‘Tavernas’ nearby.
A small tip from us: It’s better to pre-book your spot for one of the umbrellas since the beach is busy every day and you definitely wouldn’t want to miss a spot under the sun!
Credit: Nou Pou
If you are seeking for a more luxurious experience by the Athenian coast, our top choice of things to do in Athens this summer would definitely be the majestic and exclusive marina of Flisvos. Located only 6 km from the city centre, this popular yacht station not only accommodates yachts from Greece and abroad but also provides a huge commercial space which includes a variety of dining and shopping options and even houses a floating museum, in Averof Ship.
This is the perfect place to spend a lovely day with your family and it’s popular among the locals who want to spend their weekend in an area full of greenery and things to do during summer.
Athens by Bike tours
Travelling to a place for the first time can be very frustrating. Too many things to do, too little time to do them, all while being unsure what’s best for you, price and quality wise. If you find yourself travelling to Athens this summer, there is no better introduction to this beautiful and vibrant city than a fun and unique bike tour! If you are looking for a thrill and love cycling, you will love exploring Athens on a bike! Our tour leaders are all local Athenians who are ready to share their love, passion and personal stories regarding this city with anyone who is willing to join this adventure. During the tour you will be able to see not only all the main highlights of Athens, but also areas and places you wouldn’t normally visit on foot (or with other tours!). You will get to know where the locals hang out for a coffee or some food, see all the hip and cool areas and get lots of useful information to plan the rest of your stay in this city. We are certain that after the tour you will have the best overview of the city and be motivated to explore even more of this extraordinary city.
Credit: Athens by Bike
If a bike tour around the city sounds dull to you, then there is always the city&sea bike tour option in which you will be able to see the spectacular Athenian riviera and even take a dive in the sea while on it! You will ride next to the famous Athenian coastline and visit areas outside of the city centre which are impossible to explore without the help of a local.
Now if you combine both of these tours during your stay then you will definitely have the best of both worlds and an excellent overall feel of Athens!
Regardless of what’s on your bucket list for this summer, we hope that these tips about the best things to do in Athens will help you organise your trip better and give you more ideas and motivation before visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world, our Athens!