Athens has many iconic historical landmarks which prove a major attraction when visiting the city, but as the weather heats up and the number of tourists increase, these spots can become unbearably crowded. Instead of wasting time shuffling along with everybody else in the boiling sun, try exploring different parts of the city. If you’re looking for a more relaxed visit to Athens, head off the beaten track with Culture Trip’s guide to escaping tourist crowds in Athens.
Visit the Archeological museum
The National Archeological Museum in Athens is an underrated gem. It’s hard to rival the Acropolis museum in terms of stature and design, but what the Archeological museum lacks in spectacle, it makes up for in its displays. Five main rooms offer a collection which encompasses exhibits from the sixth millennium B.C. and ranges until the Roman Conquest around 200 B.C. Rooms of marble sculpture show the development of the Greek national and artistic identity. Accompanying text charts the transitions to democracy in Athens and highlights the changing fates of the region. Most thrilling of all though, is arguably the discoveries made by archeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1890. He uncovered a plethora of ornate works from the Mycenaean era, which fill rooms and rooms. Expect to spend a few hours taking everything in.
Enjoy Acropolis views from Filopappou Hill
Swap Thisseio for Petralona
The area at the bottom of the Acropolis houses a beautiful cobbled boulevard that circumvents the historical site, but if you’re looking a more authentic destination to eat lunch after a morning of sightseeing, Petralona is the spot for you. A short walk behind Thisseio, there’s a host of great tavernas and bars to visit in this buzzing local neighbourhood. For delicious, well-priced food and great cocktails try Το Θείο Τραγ (the Holy Goat). If you’re not in the mood for Greek food, try Chez Lucian instead.
Visit Attiko Alsos Park
Head a little further out of Athens to Attiko Alsos Park, an underrated destination. Alongside a luscious, clean park you’ll also find a zoo which is home to a diverse range of species. There are two cafés on either side of the park too, for when you need to cool down with an iced coffee. Away from the traffic and noise of the city centre, Attiko Alsos offers a real chance to relax and unwind, take a cycle or go for a run, all while enjoying the best of Athenian nature.
Trade a day in Exarchia for Metaxourgeio
While retaining its rich and vibrant atmosphere, Exarchia has changed over recent years from an anarchist hot spot to more of a tourist destination. With so much incredible graffiti on offer, and with a huge range of places to go out, it’s not a surprise. However, if you’re looking for the same kind of experience with fewer crowds, you can also head to Metaxourgeio. Situated next to the party area of Gazi and very close to the centre, Metaxourgeio offers a host of hidden gems such as the Museum of Islamic Art, Latraac and The Breeder Gallery. It is increasingly becoming a home to young artists and there’s plenty of fun restaurants that sprawl onto street corners. Just be prepared for a little less of a polished experience.
Spend an evening in Pagrati
A favourite amongst the older millennial crowd, the Pagrati offers a mix of options and a vibrant nightlife. Located behind the iconic Hilton, Pangrati takes a more relaxed approach to hospitality without compromising on the experience. There’s plenty to choose from, but Black Sheep is a local favourite. Afterwards spend the night hopping between bars such as Chelsea Hotel and CV Distiller.
Swap rooftop bars for sunset beers in Lycabettus
Nothing beats watching the sun go down from a high rooftop bar, but it’s always crowded. The highest point in Athens, Lycabettus has a rooftop bar and restaurant of its own, but there are better places to enjoy the view if you head a level below. Instead of being overcharged for a drink, stop by a kiosk on your way up to the hill and pick up a few beverages of your choice. Find a bench on the level below the iconic church and watch the sunset in peace over the Aegean. Just make sure not to litter.
Check out the trendy suburb of Chalandri
If you’re a visitor to Athens, the likelihood is that you won’t think much to move beyond the centre. This is a shame, because a 25-minute drive north offers a whole host of new and exciting places to visit. Fashion-lovers will find a selection of cool boutiques, such as Distressed. Literary lovers can investigate the great book store Evripidis and enjoy coffee in the in-house café. Meanwhile bars such as White Monkey, Wine Not? and Side Walk all-day bar have excellently curated drinks menus. In all, the perfect place to embrace local Athenian life.
A post shared by Βιβλιοπωλεία Ευριπίδης (@evripidis_bookstores) on Feb 24, 2018 at 1:43am PST
Take a day trip
If you’re really looking to escape the crowds in Athens, why not head out of the city altogether. Depending on the time of year you visit, there’s no guarantee that you won’t encounter tourists elsewhere. However, if you’re visiting off-season, a trip to one of the nearby Saronic islands offers fresh air and beautiful sights. We recommend Aegina. On the mainland, Delphi is only a few hours away by coach, and Sounion at sunset is hard to beat. Even in summer, these are destinations well worth journeying to if you have the time.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.