In a marvelous city of ruins and concrete like Athens, you are bound to find a good time just waiting for you around the corner. With a dynamic nightlife scene, perennial landmarks, a sea of funky bars and exquisite restaurants, Athens has a plethora of entertainment on offer. However, if you’d like to explore the more unusual and less obvious side of the city and discover what you can do in Athens to spend a night you will always remember, then be sure to check out our list of suggestions below.
You cannot enjoy everything Greece has to offer and skip one of the main traditions: a night at the bouzoukia. If you are not familiar, the bouzoukia – coming from the Greek word bouzouki, the traditional stringed instrument central to traditional Greek music – are live music clubs where famous Greek singers perform for an entire season, much like the residency shows of Las Vegas. In the past, it was at the bouzoukia where people would smash dishes to demonstrate their joy. This expressive – and rather destructive custom –has been replaced by the more manageable tradition of throwing a great number of flowers to the stage in honor of the singer and their talent. During the summer months, most of them switch to their summer locations along the Athens Riviera on Poseidonos Avenue. Club22, Stavros tou Notou and Votanikos are excellent bouzoukia establishment where you can discover this unique experience.
During summer, both the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the open air Lycabettus theater are frequently used for live performances. The former focuses mostly on theater, opera and more classical choices, while the latter has hosted hundreds of famous bands and artists from around the globe, such as Pink Martini, Césaria Évora, Angélique Kidjo, Buena Vista Social Club, Peter Gabriel, PJ Harvey, Thievery Corporation, Morrissey and many more. Whether Puccini is your cup of tea, or the Scorpions are more likely to rock your boat, both these outdoor theaters are guaranteed to offer you an incredible experience.
Lycabettus Theater, Lycabettus hill, Athens, Greece, +30 210 722 7233
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece, +30 210 928 2900
You cannot be in Greece and not be down for a night of nostalgia and Greek blues. Rembetika (or rebetika) is a style of music born in the 1920s, its roots in the Smyrneika songs brought over by Greek refugees after the Asia Minor destruction. There is a great number of Greek rembetika venues across town where you can enjoy a night of delicious house wine and sweet melancholy. Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised as an impromptu rembetiko dance transpired right in front of your eyes.
When in Athens, do like the ancient Greeks. Indeed, in ancient Greece, the Areopagus – a bare marble rock located right across from the entrance of the Acropolis – was the place where the council of elders used to meet to judge serious crimes and homicides. It is also where Apostle Paul preached against the widespread paganism of Athenians. Nonetheless, today it is a place where locals like to take an evening stroll to get a view of the city from up high. On a warm evening – of which Athens has many – grab your drinks, snacks and bluetooth speaker and climb up the hill to enjoy an incredible view of the city and a stunning close-up of the Acropolis. Word of caution: the rocks can get quite slippery so forget your stilettos, and remember to keep your belongings close.
With such a dynamic and vibrant nightlife available in Athens, a bar crawl is an excellent option to discover the colorful variety of bars downtown. Book a tour and get an introduction to Athenian bar culture via Athens Bar Crawl or, if you’re more of an independent watering-hole explorer, why not tailor your own bar crawl? Whether you enjoy whiskey, beer, wine or even sake, the city center offers a plethora of options.
If you want to enjoy a quiet and relaxing evening in town, then head to the only hammam baths in Athens. Spoil yourself with a day of relaxing and pampering and, after a cup of Turkish tea, leave feeling refreshed and revived. To end your night on a high point, stroll along the train tracks of Thissio and have dinner at Kuzina, while enjoying an incredible view of the Acropolis. Who says you have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to have a great time?
Hammam Baths, Agion Asomaton 17, Thissio, Athens, Greece, + 30 21 0323 1073
Take a break from salt water (your hair will thank you), escape the crowded beach and spend an afternoon relaxing at Vouliagmeni lake, an idyllic natural lake fed by the sea offering a thermal spring. The best part is that you don’t have to drive anywhere for dinner afterward – the lake also has a restaurant, serving high-quality dishes and a refined wine list. Welcome to Athens’ natural, small water haven by the Riviera. Bonus point: For your post-spa nightcap, drop by seaside Akanthus club.
Vouliagmeni Lake, Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni, Athens, Greece, +30 210 896 2237