Exploring a city that you haven’t visited before is one of life’s great experiences. Exploring it like a local, well, that’s even more amazing!
When it comes to doing it how the locals do however, there are so many questions – Where do people eat? What do they drink? Where do they go to enjoy themselves? How do they have fun in their city? What are the places they like to visit?
A very common route for local Athenians, who want to stroll here while chattering with friends, starts from Monastiraki square and then heads out to Thissio either through Andrianou Street or through the flea market of Ifestou Street.
If you choose to take Andrianou Street, you can admire the monumental temple of Hephaestus which is located on your left.
Acropolis is the eternal monument of the Greek capital and in many ways an eternal symbol of Greece itself. The views from the ancient sight are stunning, so it’s worth the climb. There’s a special energy there – no wonder the ancient Greeks chose that spot for it! Afterwards, the Acropolis Museum is a must. Not only is it one of the most beautiful museums in the world, it’s a way to learn more about the significance of the Acropolis throughout time. The dining patio is a great place, with beautiful views over the site.
When you are up for a big night out… head to the centre of Athens and then choose from a set of bars that have helped redefine the lively nightlife scene here, like the Christmas-themed Noel, Clumsies for creative cocktails and Faust which hosts cabarets too.
There are traditional Greek music clubs, and the party goes on until the morning hours. It’s one of the most unique cultural nightlife experiences you can have in this part of the world.
Athens is becoming Europe’s hottest destination… for art. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center opened earlier this year with impressive venues promoting local art and culture. You can’t ignore the street art either!
In recent years, Athens has been called ‘the New Berlin’ for its fantastic street art that’s impressive, edgy, meaningful. There are now tours helping travellers discover this new face of an ancient city. It’s really fascinating.
Another great spot… to explore on foot in Athens is Apostolou Pavlou Street, a place where many stallholders sell handmade jewelry and other beautiful handicrafts.
Probably the best thing about this route however, is an area located in the middle that is covered with little rocks! It sounds strange, but this is a favorite local place in Athens.
The name of the site is “Vrahakia”, meaning little rocks in Greek, and if you climb it and walk for about 5 minutes, you will be treated to a unique, panoramic view of the city.
After all that walking, you’re bound to feel a bit peckish, so make sure you don’t miss out on some local Athenian cuisine while you are here.
If food is your thing and you have some free time in the afternoon, then a great activity you can enjoy in Athens is participating in a Greek cooking class.Teamed up with a trained chef, you’ll easily learn to cook like a local as you uncover the secret flavor combinations and cooking techniques that give Greek cuisine its delicious character.
If you’re still hungry when the sun goes down, then join the locals of Athens by heading out to a taverna (traditional restaurant) to taste some authentic Greek food.
If you are lucky enough to find one that does, you may also see people local dancing along. In this case, don’t hesitate to join them; they will enjoy it as much as you!
It may be Greek to you… but learning and speaking a few words is fun and locals will appreciate it. Greeks simply don’t expect any visitors to say anything in their language because it’s famously strange and difficult to learn. Here are a few top phrases: kalimera (good morning), efharisto (thank you), parakalo (you’re welcome).
Exploring the places in Athens where the locals go, along with the very well-known attractions, is something that you won’t regret and soon, you’ll get a real feel for exactly what being part of this amazing city feels like!
So hopefully that’s given you some great ideas about how to explore Athens like a local in just one day.