Tips for a Successful City Trip to Athens

Tips for a Successful City Trip to Athens | Editor: Florian Lieke

Are you planning a city trip to Athens? Then check out our tips, highlights and the most important sights of the Greek capital right below!

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View of the University of Athens

7 Exciting Facts About Athens

  • The population of Athens is estimated at around 5 million inhabitants - about 1.2 million more inhabitants than officially reported (as of February 2021)
  • Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world
  • The name of the city derives from the goddess Athena
  • Athens has not always been the capital of Greece - from 1821 to 1834, Nafplio was the capital city
  • Although the surrounding area is the smallest region in Greece, it is home to one third of the population
  • Athens is the birthplace of democracy (around 5 B.C.)
  • The ancient Olympic Games are often wrongly attributed to Athens, but Olympia was the actual venue

When is the best time to travel to Athens?

Sunshine, sunshine and even more sunshine! Sun worshippers will definitely get their money's worth on a holiday or city trip to Athens. With around 348 sunny days a year, Athens is one of the sunniest capitals in Europe and promises dry weather almost all year round and thus the best conditions for a successful city trip. However, if you are sensitive to heat, you should avoid a trip in high summer. As the average temperature in Athens can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius in July and August, it is often too hot - even for the Greeks. It rarely cools down at night either. However, you can join many Athenians and spend the day by the sea or on one of the nearby islands.

View of the city and Acropolis

If you want to get to know the ancient city exclusively and with all its facets, we recommend a holiday or city trip in spring or autumn. The weather is pleasant and there are fewer rainy days than in winter. However, if you are not a fan of tourism and crowds, the winter months are probably the best time to visit the Greek capital. Although lower temperatures and more rainy days are to be expected, the average temperature of around 10 degrees seems tolerable.

View of random street in Athens

What Is the Best Way to Get Around Athens?

The fastest way to get around Athens is by the Metro. On the occasion of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the entire network was extensively expanded, so that the capital now boasts a modern metro network. It is also best to take the metro from Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos. Metro Line 3 (blue) takes you to the city centre twice an hour. If you prefer to travel above ground, you can also switch to trams and buses. However, you will travel much slower this way.

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During the expansion of the Athens Metro for the 2004 Olympic Games, more than 50,000 archaeological artefacts were found. Today, you can have a look at them at some of the metro stations.

All Athens Highlights at a Glance

What Are the Must-See Attractions in Athens?

The Acropolis of Athens

In a city that has as many sights to offer as Athens, you certainly need a good overview. So, what would be a better starting point than the city's most famous landmark? The Acropolis! From here, you can get a really good overview of the city that lies magnificently at your feet. And if you haven't already lost your breath on the way up, you will certainly do so when you see the impressive buildings of the Acropolis.

View of the Acropolis in Athens

The Parthenon in Athens

For our next highlight, we stay at the Acropolis. At its top, one of the most important buildings is waiting for you: The Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the goddess Pallas Athena Parthenos. It is one of the most famous buildings in the world - with an age of almost 2,500 years. If you haven't had enough so far, the Acropolis still has a lot more to offer. For instance, explore the most important archaeological sites and sights of Athens, such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the ancient Agora of Athens, the Kerameikos Cemetery, the Pnyx or the Theatre of Dionysus.

View of a sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens

The National Archaeological Museum in Athens

Did you know that you come across various architectural styles from different millennia in Athens? No wonder Athens is also called THE ancient city. Therefore, it is only logical to take a closer look at the city's history during a trip. And where is the best place to do so? In the National Archaeological Museum, of course! Here, you will come across numerous works, finds and collections from the most diverse epochs - especially from antiquity. It's not for nothing that the museum is considered to be the most important for collections and works from that time. So, if you're visiting the Greek capital, you should definitely pay a visit to the most visited museum in the city.

The Greek National Opera in Athens

Would you like to visit something modern in addition to all the ancient and historic buildings? Then make sure to stop by the Greek National Opera! The opera was relocated in 2017 to the contemporary cultural centre of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, where you will find a complete change of style compared to the rest of the city. Previously, the National Opera was located in the Olympia Theatre, which now houses the Athens Concert Hall. The aim of the cultural centre was to unite numerous cultural institutions in one place. Thus, you will also find some parts of the National Library here.

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As you stroll through the Mediterranean gardens, pay attention to where you are. You might be walking across the green roofs of the Greek National Opera.

The Historic Port of Piraeus in Athens

Are you longing for some cooling off, sea breezes or the sound of waves? Well then, you should definitely stop by the historic port of Piraeus on your city trip to Athens. For many visitors of Athens, the port is just the starting point of their journey, especially when they arrive by sea. However, it is definitely worth exploring the port and the surrounding district. Here, you will come across excellent tavernas and fish restaurants, you can cool off at some of the shores and beaches during hot summer days, and you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the promenade in the evening. The port is also a perfect starting point for visiting the surrounding islands.

View of the sea from Piraeus
View of the island Poros

What Are the Best Day Trips From Athens?

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours, you can easily visit one of the surrounding islands of Athens. The islands of Aegina, Poros and Hydra are particularly suitable for this, as they are located almost directly opposite the port of Athens. In some cases, you can reach the islands in less than one hour and start your discovery tour. While Aegina impresses with its classical Byzantine architecture, Poros boasts beautiful nature with lemon and pine trees. In Hydra, on the other hand, a lot of history and a dreamlike promenade await you. It's definitely worth it!

Where Is the Best Viewpoint in Athens?

The Acropolis, of course, offers a magnificent view of the entire city. But if you would also like to have a view of the landmark and get even higher, you should climb the city mountain Lycabettus. The view is absolutely worth seeing! Especially in the evening, thousands of lights glitter here and the ancient buildings stand out even more magnificently. At 277 metres, the city hill is the highest point in Athens and offers a perfect view of the city's most important sights. And there are truly so many that Athens can truly be described as a vast, living museum – a tourist attraction in its own right.

View over the city from Lycabettus

What Is the Ultimate Insider Tip for Athens?

One highlight of the city – not just for tourists, but also for locals - is Monastiraki flea market, held in the old city every Sunday. If you are a collector, you will find everything your heart desires here - with objets d’art and antiquities especially sought-after!

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Tip: It's better to get up a little earlier, because it gets very busy from midday onwards - and don't forget to trade!

Flights to Athens With Austrian Airlines

This city will definitely leave you breathless! Get ready for lots of culture, history and sunshine. You can book your flights to Athens right here:

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