Non-Touristy Experiences in Athens

Athens 2004 Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA)
Athens 2004 Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) | © Kim Bach/Flickr
Ethel Dilouambaka

A city blessed with a rich history, Athens is an ideal destination. But we know that sometimes, visiting museum after museum can be tiresome, so we have compiled a list of activities to see and do in Athens that does not involve long queues and typical touristy places.

Take An Alternative Tour Around Athens

For those visitors keen to see the city under a different light, you are in for a treat. In recent years, many companies have come up with a variety of alternative tours and walks in Athens. Join and discover how local artists, photographers, designers or foodies live. Take part in a street art tour or a photography tour to explore underrated spots in the city or discover truly local gastronomy. Check out organizations such as Alternative Athens or Atathens to find a tour of interest.

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CentralAmerica

GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

5 days . Mini
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1. Guatemala

An express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.

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CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

5 days . Mini
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2. Belize

A quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
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CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

5 days . Mini
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3. Mexico

An exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
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SouthAmerica

ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
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1. Ecuador

A remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.

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SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

9 days . Epic
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2. Peru

An alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
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Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
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1. Italy

The ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.

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Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

7 days . Culture
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2. Scotland

Embark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
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Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

8 days . Culture
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3. Portugal

A wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
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Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

10 days . Epic
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1. South Korea

Discover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.

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Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
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2. Thailand

From Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
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Asia

SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

10 days . Culture
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3. Sri Lanka

A fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
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Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
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1. Morocco

An epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!

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Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
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2. Egypt

From Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Africa

IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

8 days . Epic
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3. Kenya

An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
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A guided tour at the National Archeological Museum, Athens

Plunge In Warm Waters

Spa

Whether visiting during the spring or wanting to experience something different, a trip to Vouliagmeni lake is another option. Located 20 kilometers away from the center, the lake enjoys a temperature of 24° C thanks to underground hot springs. Its water, full of minerals and salt is believed to cure many ailments and skin issues. Besides, the Vouliagmeni lake also hosts a series of events such as theatre performances and jazz concerts.

Vouliagmeni Lake, Vouliagmeni, Attica, Greece. +30 210 8962237 or 210 8962239

Lake Vouliagmenis, Greece | © Christina/Flickr

Catch Up On The Latest Movie Releases

You may ask what is the point of locking yourself in a movie theatre while in Greece, but let us explain. As Greeks are blessed with a sunny climate, the summer is also the season of open air cinemas. Do like the locals and enjoy a relaxing evening watching a flick on a big screen under the stars. Athens has a plethora of outdoor cinemas where guests can watch the latest blockbusters or rewatch old-time classics. Visitors may even be lucky enough to be in town for the Athens Open Air Film Festival, with free daily screenings happening around the city.

Courtesy of Cine Thissio

Enjoy Views Over The City Without The Crowd

After a while, Athens can become chaotic. To take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, seek refuge on Streffi hill, located in the notorious neighborhood of Exarcheia, the bastion of anarchy in Athens. Offering panoramic views of Athens, the Acropolis and even the Athens Riviera, the green hill is a small haven to relax after a day of sightseeing where joggers and dog walkers abound. A word of caution though, try to avoid it at night, as the place is badly lit and frequented by drug addicts. While you’re making your way down, stop by Ama Laxei on Kalidromiou street, a quaint little taverna where you can indulge in delicious Greek cuisine.

Streffi Hill, Exarcheia, Athens, Greece.

Hike On Higher Ground

Monastery, University

If you are hiking enthusiasts, Mount Hymettus, culminating at 1026 kilometers, is located east of Athens, near the Zografou university campus. So skip the monument visits and get your dose of fresh air by climbing up the mountain and enjoying spectacular views of the city all the way to the sea. Make a day of it and try to reach Kaisariani Monastery, a Byzantine monastery dating back to 1100.

Mount Hymettus, Paiania, Attica, Greece.

View of Athens from Mount Hymettus | © yeowatzup/Flickr

Head South

While for many, Piraeus is a synonym for island gateway, the southern suburb used to be a city before it was incorporated to the capital. Take a stroll on Kastela hill, where you will stumble across picturesque neoclassical mansions and enjoy views over Mikrolimano, the picture-perfect marina where you can savour delicious, fresh seafood and fish. Piraeus is also home to the beautiful Municipal Theatre, built in the 1880s by architect Ioanni Lazarimo, an archaeological museum and a maritime museum as well. Take the time to explore Zea Marina (Pasalimani) and enjoy a drink in one of its many bars.

Piraeus, Attica, Greece.

Mikrolimano, Piraeus | © Simon Schoeters/Flickr | © Simon Schoeters/Flickr

Visit The Athens Olympic Complex

While the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) was built in the 1980s, it underwent major renovation works in preparation for the 2004 summer Olympics by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Stunning and beautiful, the OAKA is now in a state of abandon and resembles a ghost town, with weed-filled stadiums and rusting structures, although part of the complex is still used by local sport leagues and some of the venues have been converted into arenas, where famous bands like U2 or acts such as Madonna have performed. You will leave surprised at how this ambitious project is experiencing such decline.

OAKA, Kifissias Avenue, Maroussi, Athens, Greece.

Revel In The Beauty Of Athens' Latest Cultural Innovation

The stunning Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, located in Kallithea, was rightfully the talk of town since its inception. While many thought it was a welcome addition for Athens, others thought the colossal project would end up as a budget sinkhole. Now completed, one thing is for sure: the stunning structure, comprising a park, an outdoor physical activies playground, an artificial canal (which is the new home of the National Library and the Greek National Opera), is an impressive endeavour that attracts hundreds of visitors who enjoy walks in the lush parks or along the canal and the many activities and performances hosted there. Why don’t you join them? The center organizes guided tours of the premises and you could make a day of it and settle for a picnic on its welcoming lawns. Check out the website to see the event program, which includes outdoor concerts and movie screenings.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Andrea Syggrou Avenue 364, Kallithea, Athens, Greece. +30 21 6809 1000

Admire A Beautiful Yet Underrated Orthodox Church

Cathedral, Church

Often overshadowed by the New Metropolis church next door, the Little Metropolis church, also known as Agios Eleftherios church, is a gem located on Metropoleos square, near Plaka. While its construction dates haven’t been confirmed by scholars due to the use of marble blocks from non-Christian temples, the church has undergone little change. With a free entrance, the church and its colourful frescoes definitely deserve a visit.

Agios Eleftherios Church, Mitropoleos square, Athens, Greece.

Agios Eleftherios chapel, Mitropoleos square | © Dimitris Kamaras/Flickr

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