Ultimate Guide to Athens in 2023: Explore & Discover the City

Guide to Athens in 2023

Greece is a destination that is steeped in rich history and ancient culture, with Athens being one of the country’s most popular destinations. From ancient landmarks to vibrant neighborhoods, Athens is a city that is sure to capture the hearts of its visitors. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the city’s streets to discover the best places to explore and the hidden gems that are waiting to be uncovered.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the history of Athens through its ancient landmarks and historic sites.
  • Explore the vibrant neighborhoods and uncover hidden gems that few tourists know about.
  • Experience the cultural heart of Athens through its art scene, music festivals, and cultural events happening in 2023.
  • Indulge in Athens’ culinary delights and sample some of the delicious Greek food that the city has to offer.
  • Get practical tips and advice for traveling to Athens, including transportation options, safety, and local customs.

Getting to Athens in 2023

Athens, the capital of Greece, is easily accessible from various parts of the world. There are several ways to get to Athens in 2023, depending on where you are traveling from and your budget. Here are some transportation options and tips to help you plan your trip to Athens.

Traveling by Air

Athens International Airport (ATH), also known as Eleftherios Venizelos, is the largest airport in Greece and serves as a hub for international flights. The airport is located approximately 20 kilometers east of Athens and is easily accessible by taxi, metro, or bus.

If you are flying from Europe, there are several budget airlines that offer affordable flights to Athens, including Ryanair, EasyJet, and Wizz Air. If you are traveling from other parts of the world, major airlines such as Emirates, Delta, and Air France offer flights to Athens.

Traveling by Train

Traveling to Athens by train is possible if you are coming from neighboring countries such as Bulgaria or Turkey. The Greek railway system is called TrainOSE and offers several routes to Athens from other major cities in Greece, such as Thessaloniki and Patras.

Traveling by Bus

The Greek bus system is efficient and affordable, making it a popular transportation option for those traveling within Greece. There are also several international bus companies that offer routes to Athens from other countries in Europe, such as FlixBus and Eurolines.

It is important to note that bus schedules and routes may change depending on the time of year, so it’s best to check with the bus company or a travel agent for up-to-date information.

Traveling by Car

If you are coming from other parts of Greece, driving to Athens is a convenient option. The city is well-connected by highways, making it easy to access from other major cities such as Thessaloniki, Patras, and Ioannina.

However, driving in Athens can be challenging due to heavy traffic and narrow streets, so it’s recommended to avoid driving in the city center if possible. Instead, consider parking your car outside the city center and using public transportation to explore the city.

Overall, there are several ways to get to Athens in 2023, depending on your budget and travel preferences. Whether you choose to fly, take the train, bus, or drive, make sure to plan ahead and book your tickets in advance for the best deals.

Where to Stay in Athens

Choosing the right accommodation in Athens can make or break your trip. Thankfully, the city has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to stay in the heart of the action or a quieter neighborhood. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Athens in 2023:

Neighborhood Highlights Recommended Hotels
Plaka Charming alleys, proximity to historical sites. Electra Palace Athens, Athens Was, A77 Suites by Andronis
Syntagma Central location, shopping, nightlife. Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens Tiare Hotel, InnAthens
Kolonaki Boutiques, cafes, upscale dining. St George Lycabettus, Periscope Hotel, Coco-Mat Athens Jumelle
Gazi Trendy bars, clubs, industrial charm. The Foundry Athens, Urban Frame Hotel, T.A.P. Rooms
Pangrati Local vibe, green spaces, affordable. President Hotel Athens, Civitel Esprit, Oscar Hotel

Of course, there are many other neighborhoods to choose from, each with its own unique vibe. Do your research to find the best fit for your travel style and budget.

Exploring Athens’ Ancient Sites

Athens is steeped in history, and no visit to the city would be complete without exploring its ancient sites and historical landmarks. Here are some of the must-visit attractions:

The Acropolis

The Acropolis is one of the most iconic landmarks in Athens. This ancient citadel dates back to the 5th century BCE and features several important structures, including the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. A visit to the Acropolis Museum nearby is also highly recommended.

The Ancient Agora

Located in the heart of Athens, the Ancient Agora was once the center of the city’s political and commercial activities. Visitors can explore the ruins of ancient temples, including the Temple of Hephaestus, and the famous Stoa of Attalos.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

One of the largest temples in ancient Greece, the Temple of Olympian Zeus was built between the 6th and 2nd centuries BCE. Today, only a few columns remain standing, but they are an impressive sight and a testament to the city’s rich history.

These are just a few examples of the many ancient sites and historical landmarks that Athens has to offer. Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in exploring the city’s past, Athens is sure to delight with its rich cultural heritage.

Uncovering Athens’ Hidden Gems

Athens is known for its iconic landmarks and famous tourist attractions, but there are also plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These lesser-known sites offer visitors a unique and authentic experience of the city.

Here are some hidden gems to add to your Athens itinerary:

  • Mount Lycabettus: For breathtaking panoramic views of the city, hike up Mount Lycabettus, the highest point in Athens. At the top, you’ll find a charming chapel and a cozy restaurant.
  • Anafiotika: Tucked away in the shadow of the Acropolis, Anafiotika is a hidden neighborhood that feels like a Greek island. With its winding streets and whitewashed houses, it offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Monastiraki Flea Market: A bustling maze of stalls selling antiques, souvenirs, and vintage clothing, the Monastiraki Flea Market is a must-visit for any shopper. Bargaining is expected, so don’t be afraid to haggle!
  • Philopappou Hill: For a romantic walk with stunning views, head to Philopappou Hill at sunset. With its lush greenery and ancient ruins, this park is the perfect spot for a picnic or a quiet moment of reflection.

“Athens is a city full of surprises. If you’re willing to explore a little, you’ll discover some of its hidden treasures.”

These are just a few of the hidden gems waiting to be uncovered in Athens. Take some time to wander off the beaten path and you’re sure to find your own special place in this incredible city.

Immerse Yourself in Athens’ Culture

Athens is not just a city with ancient ruins and breathtaking views, it also offers a vibrant and dynamic cultural scene that is worth exploring. Whether you are interested in art, music, or theater, Athens has something to offer for everyone.

Art in Athens

If you’re an art lover, Athens has a plethora of museums and galleries to explore. The National Museum of Contemporary Art showcases works by both Greek and international artists, while the Benaki Museum has a collection of art spanning from ancient Greece to modern times. Art enthusiasts should also check out Technopolis, an industrial museum that hosts exhibitions and cultural events.

Music in Athens

Athens is a city that loves music, with a variety of festivals and concerts taking place throughout the year. The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival, held annually in May, features local and international jazz artists, while the Rockwave Festival, held in the summer, showcases popular rock bands. For a more classical experience, visit the iconic Odeon of Herodes Atticus Theater, which hosts operas and classical music concerts.

Cultural Events in Athens

Athens is a city that takes pride in its cultural heritage, and there are numerous festivals and cultural events that take place throughout the year. The Athens Epidaurus Festival, held in the summer, is a celebration of theater, music, and dance, with performances held at the ancient theater of Epidaurus and other venues across the city. The Athens International Film Festival, held in September, offers a chance to see some of the best contemporary films from around the world.

Visiting Athens in 2023 offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural scene, with a variety of events and festivals taking place throughout the year.

Athens’ Gastronomic Delights

Food is an integral part of Athens’ culture and history, and the city boasts an array of delicious dishes and world-renowned cuisine. Visitors are advised to try traditional Greek meals from various regions, accompanied by a glass of ouzo or wine.

Indulge in a classic moussaka, a layered dish of minced lamb or beef, eggplants, and potatoes covered with béchamel sauce, or savor the succulent souvlaki, small pieces of grilled meat skewered on a stick, often served with pita bread and a salad. For seafood enthusiasts, Athens’ coastline provides a wealth of fresh catches, with grilled octopus being a local favorite.

If you prefer vegetarian options, try spanakopita, a pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese, or the classic Greek salad, a refreshing mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

Best Restaurants in Athens

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, consider visiting Kuzina, a restaurant situated in the heart of Athens that offers traditional Greek cuisine using high-quality ingredients sourced locally. You can also try Varoulko, a seafood restaurant located near the port of Piraeus, known for its innovative take on fresh seafood dishes.

If you want to experience a less formal atmosphere, the taverns in Plaka, Athens’ old town, are a must-visit. Try To Kafeneio for its authentic Greek menu and cozy atmosphere, or Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani, known for its charcuterie and cheese plates, as well as its extensive wine selection.

Souvenirs: Taking a Piece of Athens’ Cuisine Home

Bring a piece of Athens’ cuisine home by purchasing some local products. You can find a variety of Greek spices and herbs at the street markets, such as the Monastiraki Flea Market, or visit the stores selling olive oil and honey in Athens’ central market. Other popular souvenirs include Greek wines, such as retsina or Assyrtiko, and the traditional Greek sweet treat, baklava.

Overall, Athens’ gastronomic delights are a must-try for visitors to the city. For a true immersion into the city’s culinary scene, consider taking a food tour or cooking class, where you can learn how to prepare some of the local dishes yourself.

Shopping in Athens

One of the best ways to explore Athens and its unique character is by indulging in some retail therapy. From ancient markets to modern shopping districts, Athens offers a plethora of shopping experiences to suit every taste and budget.

The Best Shopping Districts in Athens

If you are looking for a modern shopping experience with all your favorite brands, head to Ermou Street, Athens’ most famous shopping district. This pedestrian-only street is lined with shops and boutiques, including international brands like Zara and H&M, as well as local designers.

If you are more of a luxury shopper, then Kolonaki is the district for you. Located at the foot of Lycabettus Hill, this area is home to high-end boutiques, jewelry stores, and art galleries. It’s the perfect place to shop for designer clothes, shoes, and accessories.

Ancient Markets in Athens

If you prefer a more traditional shopping experience, then head to Athens’ ancient markets. The Monastiraki Flea Market is one of the most popular markets in Athens and is located just below the Acropolis. Here, you can find handmade jewelry, antiques, and souvenirs at reasonable prices.

The Central Market of Athens, also known as Varvakios Agora, is a lively market in the heart of the city, where locals go to buy fresh produce, meat, and fish. It’s a great place to experience the hustle and bustle of Athens’ daily life.

Unique Souvenirs to Buy in Athens

Looking for the perfect souvenir to remember your trip to Athens? Head to Plaka, Athens’ oldest neighborhood, and browse the many souvenir shops for unique items like handmade ceramics, olive oil soap, and traditional Greek worry beads.

You can also find beautiful hand-woven textiles at the Loom, a cooperative of artisans who specialize in creating high-quality products using traditional techniques.

Markets in Athens

In addition to the ancient markets, Athens also has a variety of modern markets worth exploring. The Athens Flea Market (Dimotiki Agora) is a great place to find vintage clothing, antique furniture, and other unique items. It’s open every Sunday and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

The Athens Central Market (Varvakios Agora) is also a must-visit, even if you aren’t looking to buy fresh produce. You can find a wide range of food products, including spices, herbs, and local cheeses.

Whether you prefer modern shopping districts or traditional markets, Athens has something for everyone. Be sure to set aside some time during your trip to explore the city’s diverse shopping scene.

Outdoor Activities in Athens

Athens may be a bustling city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some outdoor activities during your visit. Here are some suggestions to help you get out and enjoy the beautiful weather:

Explore the National Gardens

Tucked away in the heart of Athens, the National Gardens offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With numerous walking trails, ponds, and benches to relax on, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy some greenery.

Take a Hike up Mount Lycabettus

For a bit more of a challenge, consider taking a hike up Mount Lycabettus. The summit offers stunning views of the city and the Aegean Sea, making the climb well worth it. For those who don’t want to hike, there’s also a funicular railway that can take you to the top.

Go for a Swim at the Beach

While Athens might not be known for its beaches, it still has some great spots to take a dip. The beach of Vouliagmeni is a short drive from the city center and features crystal clear waters and a sandy beach. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit closer to the center, head over to the Flisvos Marina where you can swim right in the heart of the city.

Attend a Sporting Event

Athens has a thriving sporting scene, with soccer being the most popular sport. If you’re a fan of the game, consider catching a match at the Olympic Stadium, home to Greece’s national team. The stadium is also used for other sporting events, such as track and field, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s on during your visit.

Whether you’re looking to relax or get your heart pumping, Athens has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained. So why not get out and enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer?

A Year of Events in Athens

Visitors to Athens in 2023 will have a host of exciting events and festivals to choose from. Here’s our list of some of the highlights:

  1. Athens Epidaurus Festival: This annual arts and culture festival spans from June to August. With performances ranging from theater to music, visitors can enjoy a diverse range of artistic expressions.
  2. Athens Street Food Festival: Held annually in May, the Athens Street Food Festival is a must-visit for foodies. Visitors can sample dishes from Greece and around the world, as well as attend cooking workshops and food-related events.
  3. Athens Marathon: Taking place each November, the Athens Marathon is the perfect event for sports enthusiasts. The course follows the original route of the historic marathon from the city of Marathon to Athens, ending in the Panathenaic Stadium.
  4. Athens International Film Festival: Running for eight days in September, this festival showcases a range of international films, including new releases, documentaries, and shorts.
  5. Athens Pride: This annual LGBTQ+ pride parade takes place in June and includes a variety of events and celebrations throughout the city.
  6. Christmas in Athens: Athens is a magical place to celebrate Christmas, with stunning light displays, festive markets, and unique traditions.

No matter when you visit Athens in 2023, there’s sure to be an event or festival that catches your interest and makes your trip even more memorable.

Practical Tips for Traveling to Athens

Traveling to Athens in 2023 can be an exciting and unforgettable experience. However, it’s important to be aware of some essential tips to make your trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Here are some practical tips to keep in mind during your stay in Athens:

Local Customs and Etiquette

Greece has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and etiquette during your stay in Athens. For example, in Greek culture, it’s common for people to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, even if they have just met. Dress modestly when visiting churches or other religious sites. Be polite and courteous to locals, and try to learn a few basic Greek phrases, such as “kalimera” (good morning) and “efharisto” (thank you).

Getting Around Athens

Athens has an efficient public transportation system, including buses, trains, and the metro. The metro is the fastest and most convenient way to get around the city, with a one-way ticket costing around 1.40 euros. Taxis are also readily available, but they can be more expensive than public transportation. If you plan to drive in Athens, be aware that traffic can be heavy and chaotic, and finding parking can be difficult in some areas.

Staying Safe in Athens

Athens is generally a safe city, but it’s always important to take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Avoid dark and isolated areas at night and be careful in crowded places like markets and tourist attractions, where pickpocketing can occur. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your valuables at all times. Also, avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry with you.

Climate and Weather in Athens

Athens has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. If you’re visiting Athens during the summer months, be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and light, breathable clothing to stay cool in the heat. In the winter months, temperatures can be cooler but still mild, so bring a jacket or sweater for chilly evenings.

Money and Currency in Athens

The currency used in Athens is the Euro (EUR). Most shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit cards, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases and tips. ATMs are widely available throughout the city, but be aware of potential scams and never share your pin number with anyone.

Health and Medical Services in Athens

The healthcare system in Athens is generally good, with many hospitals and clinics throughout the city. If you need medical assistance during your stay, you can visit one of the public hospitals or private clinics. It’s also a good idea to have travel insurance in case of any unexpected medical emergencies.

By keeping these practical tips in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Athens in 2023. Whether you’re exploring ancient sites, sampling delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Athens is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.


Congratulations! You have now reached the end of the Ultimate Guide to Athens in 2023. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into what Athens has to offer and has helped you plan an unforgettable trip to this beautiful city.

From exploring ancient sites to uncovering hidden gems, indulging in Athens’ gastronomic delights to immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, Athens truly has something for everyone.

Remember to use the practical tips provided in this guide for a smooth and hassle-free experience. And, most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

We wish you a wonderful time in Athens and hope you enjoy exploring and discovering all that this amazing city has to offer.


Q: What is the purpose of this guide?

A: The purpose of this guide is to provide you with all the information you need to explore and discover Athens in 2023. From travel tips to hidden gems, we’ve got you covered!

Q: How can I travel to Athens in 2023?

A: There are several options for transportation to Athens in 2023. You can choose to fly into Athens International Airport or take a ferry if you’re coming from nearby islands. Additionally, there are train and bus connections from other cities in Greece.

Q: Where should I stay in Athens?

A: Athens offers a variety of accommodation options. The best areas to stay in Athens in 2023 include Plaka, Syntagma, and Monastiraki, which are close to major attractions. There are also several popular hotels and accommodations in these areas.

Q: What are the must-visit ancient sites in Athens?

A: Athens is known for its rich history and ancient sites. Some of the must-visit sites include the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Ancient Agora. These historical landmarks offer a glimpse into Athens’ ancient past.

Q: Are there any hidden gems in Athens?

A: Absolutely! Athens is full of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path attractions. Some of these include the Anafiotika neighborhood, the Pnyx Hill, and the Kerameikos Cemetery. Exploring these lesser-known spots will give you a unique perspective of the city.

Q: What cultural experiences can I have in Athens?

A: Athens is a hub of culture and creativity. You can immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant art scene, attend music festivals, and participate in cultural events happening in 2023. There’s always something happening in Athens to satisfy your cultural cravings.

Q: What are some popular restaurants in Athens?

A: Athens is a food lover’s paradise. There are numerous restaurants offering delicious Greek cuisine. Some popular restaurants in Athens include To Kati Allo, Ta Karamanlidika, and Klimataria. Don’t miss the chance to savor the gastronomic delights Athens has to offer.

Q: Where can I go shopping in Athens?

A: Athens boasts a vibrant shopping scene. You can explore popular markets like the Central Market and Monastiraki Flea Market for unique souvenirs. The neighborhoods of Kolonaki and Ermou Street are also known for their shopping districts. Get ready to indulge in some retail therapy.

Q: What outdoor activities are available in Athens?

A: If you love the outdoors, Athens has plenty to offer. You can explore the city’s parks, engage in sports activities, and enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding Athens. Whether you’re a hiker or a cyclist, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Q: What events and festivals are happening in Athens in 2023?

A: Athens is a city that loves to celebrate. Throughout 2023, there will be a variety of exciting events and festivals taking place. From music festivals to cultural celebrations, Athens is sure to keep you entertained all year round.

Q: Do you have any practical tips for traveling to Athens?

A: Absolutely! When traveling to Athens in 2023, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Make sure to familiarize yourself with local customs, stay aware of your surroundings, and use public transportation to get around the city. Don’t forget to try some local delicacies too!