As a Greek who’s lived outside of Greece, I’m privy to understand the particular conundrum many visitors face when coming to Athens. There are those who dip into the city for a couple days only to book it to an island. Many arrive and say they simply don’t know where to start, so they eat a few souvlakia, hit a museum or two, and ferry off to an island.
But I’ve always adored Athens. It’s a city with attitude. A place to wander… it has a pulse, and it’s sexy as hell. Much about the city is easy, but it’s worth making the effort to get a deeper experience.
Outdoor festivals and terraces with amazing views are abundant. It’s not hard to make the most of the city if you just know where to look….
Whether you’re a resident or tourist, below are several ways to make the most of Athens, Greece this summer.
Catch a movie outdoors.
Greece has the perfect climate for outdoor summer activities. While Greeks -~ two outdoor places
The Athens Open Air Film Festival, now in its 7th iteration, shows movies throughout the summer in different locations.
Showing such films such as the author’s favorite Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads in myriad iconic locations, it’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening. Check out the full programming here.
If you can’t make any of the dates of the Athens Open Air Film festival, it’s worth noting there are other locations to catch a movie on a breezy Athenian night.
Plaka’s Cine Paris has a view that may or may not distract you from the film itself.
Originally built in the early 20s by a Greek hairdresser who’d lived in Paris, the centrally-located cinema is worth a visit. Check their Facebook for more info.
Thision Open Air Cinema also has an amazing view of the Acropolis.
Hear authentic Greek music on a top notch sound system… AND Greek dance taboot
Check out SummerERTime concerts in Aghia Paraskevi. These free concerts, organized by the Hellenic Broadcasting company, feature incredible musicians playing traditional Greek music. Each concert has music from a different region. The concerts run throughout the month of July, visit their website for full info.
Make the most of the city’s art.
You’ve likely visited the new-ish (compared with Athens itself, it’s basically still in the embryo) Acropolis Museum. Which, by the way, is an excellent place to have a coffee. (Somehow everywhere in Greece seems to turn into an excellent place for coffee… but I digress.) here’s more to Athens culturally than its relics of yore…
BUT there’s more to Athens’ culture than its relics of yore…
Pick up a copy of the und. Athens guide to discover the best of Athens’ alternative culture. Including bookstores, galleries, open studios and so much more, we’re huge fans of this comprehensive guide. If you’re somehow not sold, read our exclusive interview with und. Athens to get a peek at their excitement for the city… not to mention insider knowledge.
If you’re interested in a deeper dive into the city but don’t have any local friends, try a tour with Alternative Athens. In addition to city tours, Alternative Athens offers food tours, nightlife tours, local experiences and family-oriented activities. Many of their offerings are oriented towards specific interests, such as street art, mythology, and modern Greek designers. If you’re at all overwhelmed by Athens, hand over the reigns Alternative Athens’ team of experts.
Our complete museum guide FEATURING A BREAKDOWN OF OPENING HOURS is on its way… but for now, take a look at these with your own Google machine.
Athens is full of incredible cocktails bars. If you’re feeling lazy, just walk along Kolokotroni street for easy access.
UPDATE:: We recently wrote an ultimate guide to drinking in Athens center, check it out here.
The city also has many incredible rooftop bars (noticing a theme with this whole summer + outdoors thing?) where you can sip cocktails whilst gazing upon jewels of antiquity.
Couleur Locale, A is for Athens and Thisio View Bar. Many hotels also have amazing roof tops, but tend to close earlier. And yes, our full guide to Athens bars is coming soon, but one can only drink / afford but so many cocktails at a time.
Take advantage of the storied Athens & Epiduaros Festival
This long-running festival takes place throughout the summer, aiming to highlight Greek artists on an international scale.
Check out their calendar here.
Check out a concert at Technopolis Athens in Gazi
Critically acclaimed international acts such as Monophonics play Technopolis this summer. Check their website for full programming, and scope out the neighborhood of Gazi (site of the former gasworks…) while you’re down there.
Visit the architectural marvel that is the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
Its gardens and architecture alone are worth the trip to Kifissia. It’s also an amazing place to get work done, thanks to the free wifi!
Have any Athens tips or must-sees? Shoot us a note hello@delphireclaimed or comment below!