Visiting Athens during summer often means having to cope with high temperatures. Whether you’re only visiting Athens or are just planning a short stay before escaping to the islands, here are some tips for staying cool in an Athenian summer.
With its collection of ancient sites, museums and cultural centers, Athens is a sightseer’s paradise. Plan your visits the smart way. Drop by outdoor archaeological sites early in the morning and reserve museums and galleries for the afternoon. That way, when the heat is strongest, you can be indoors enjoying the heaven-sent air conditioning. The Benaki, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the National Archaeological Museum are perfect places to stay cool while getting some culture. Also check out the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, by the sea, which always has a activity-filled agenda, with events suitable for every age.
Sometimes you shouldn’t fight the heat: just embrace it. The best place to do so is at the beach. Venture to the Athenian riviera and explore one of its beaches. The beaches are packed on the weekends, so try to visit on a weekday or arrive as early as possible. The best Athenian beaches may charge an entrance fee, although only usually until the early evening. To avoid the fee, opt for an evening swim and a drink by the water.
Can’t be bothered driving to the beach? Take advantage of Athens’ outdoor pools instead. Several hotels open their pools to the public for a fee. Grab your towel, order an iced coffee and relax by the pool.
Sometimes, escaping the heat during the day is as simple as leaving the city. There are a number of good day trip options that will allow you to see the countryside and enjoy some fresh air outside the city. Whether you choose to visit a nearby island or an ancient site, a little escapade outside the capital will be worth it.
Take advantage of one of the many open-air cinemas in Athens. There is something magical about watching a movie under the stars. You might even be lucky enough to be in town while the Athens Open Air Film Festival is on, when there are free screenings all around town. Alternatively, choose an indoor cinema complex for the free air conditioning.
Athens is not known as a green city, but there are several green spaces and parks here where you can enjoy the shade of the trees. Stop by the National Gardens in Syntagma, or venture further out to the Diomedes Botanical Garden on Iera Odos, or even Mount Hymettus.
Athens has a vibrant nightlife scene, and summer is actually the best time to fully experience it. Bars are set up with the summer heat in mind, with outdoor terraces or patios to enjoy, or even better: rooftops with a breeze and night views of the city.