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The best Athens travel tips from visitors

Like the ancient Spartans, the commenters on our call for Athens travel tips were few but mighty. Captbrad6 may have set the all-time Hack Your City record with six comments each on a Homeric scale. His recommendations alone could fill a weekend trip. See highlights below, along with more great tips for visiting Athens.

Eat and Drink

  • “Do drink ice cold Cafe Frappé with sugar & milk and also try Freddo Cappuccino! These are our true national drinks!”—SpaceFromGreece
  • “Loved this little bar called Lotte, and Bretto’s bar/distillery.”—Seaseaseasea
  • “We found the most splendid restaurant down the street from our AirBnB: To Kati Allo, Chatzichristou 12, Athina 117 42, Greece. A little Mom & Pop restaurant that has a flame grill with rotisserie chicken, daily specials and a flame grilled salmon that will make you cry. The moussaka is the best.”—dergolem

Do and See

  • “One of the things that amazed me was that, in the corner of a parking lot, behind a trash dumpster, you would find a crumbling statue that was thousands of years old. They have so much old history that they can’t even care about all of it.”—Dave in Dallas
  • “The Monastiraki Flea Market is pretty mind blowing, as is the Central Market. Worth taking an hour to stroll through and gape at everything.”—mumbly
  • “Do the Acropolis in the morning. For one, it’s a big open spot on a hill so on a hot day it’ll get toasty pretty early and for two, the line starts to get massive after 10am.”—AntiHeroV
  • “Understand that many of the Acropolis structures may be going under repair so you’ll see scaffolding and workers working to repairs the columns. We really enjoyed visiting Panathenaic Stadium. We even ran up the stairs and ran a lap around the whole track. They have free devices to listen to different points around the stadium.”—Oscar
  • “The Acropolis museum is nice, the National Museum of Archeology is much better. Do not miss the Anthikitera master piece.”—DaffyDuck
  • “Explore the parks beyond the Acropolis. Bonus points for finding Prison of Socrates.”—lorem ipson
  • “I would also add the Kerameikos as a must-see to the serious among us who can’t get enough: the site of the city’s gateway to Piraeus, along which the Long Walls rose to protect that connection, which Pericles passionately pleaded to expensively build, and conquerers stipulated to be taken down. Here you will find exposed some of the most ancient walls of the city, and its oft rebuilt Gates. The river still flows out here, and just beyond begin the grave monuments of generations of its citizens, and even Spartan warriors.”—Captbrad6
  • “If you are interested in ancient Greek history and philosophy, Aristotle’s Lyceum was almost empty when I went. It’s a location that likely changed the course of human history and it’s amazing to see it in person. It’s walkable from the Acropolis Museum and included in the ticket package you buy for the Acropolis and Agora for like 30-ish euro.”—Shape of a Lion

Know and Plan

  • “Choose the location of the hotel carefully. While the metro is efficient, some places are just not where you would go after sunset (Omonia springs to my mind). Others are great (Plaka) but difficult to get there with your luggage. Or, very central (Kolonaki) but crazy expensive.”—DaffyDuck
  • “I had expected in my head we would be immersed in old-world quaintness. But the reality is that Athens is a massive bustling city that has been growing, ebbing, and evolving for thousands of years. The streets are small and not at all a grid. There are busy people who don’t care if you are touring, they want you out of their way. It really all makes sense, but it isn’t what I expected and so I quickly had to change my mindset before I could attempt to enjoy it all.”—IndyGoTell2
  • “You do not flush toilet paper, ever. You put it in a little wastebasket next to the toilet.”—dergolem (It’s true! Blame the British.)

Get Out of Town

  • “If you’re planning a longer vacation, take a cheap flight out to one of the islands (I recommend Santorini or my favorite, Crete). The islands are a completely different feel from Athens, and flights were faster and cheaper than the (godawful) ferry.”—AntiHeroV
  • “Spend one day at the Acropolis, it’s totally worth it. Then get the hell out of Athens. Go to Delphi, go to Piraeus, drive around the countryside…just don’t stay long in Athens.”—IceHippo73
  • “The two local road trips are out along the curved seaside highway to breathtaking Sounion, with the stunning temple of Neptune solitary on a high headland, the most seaward point of Attica where under the watchtowers the warships, invaders, and commerce of this empire passed. Get the guidebook at the gateway and deeply enjoy. Find the accompanying city site on the back slope of the hill, with the remains of ship sheds carved into the sheltering back cove for the defending sea patrols that guarded this vital approach. Continue along the shore road, and with your good map, you will find a country road that climbs up into the hills, and after some pleasant miles and vistas, you will find the excavations that were the fabulous silver mines, pits really, that funded the wealth and rise of the Athenian Empire. At the crest of the ridge is a giant hole, surrounded by groves of trees and picnicking Greeks, the greatest and richest of these mines. Other sites and towns are nearby to see. Descend to a modern highway that will speed you back into Athens.”—Captbrad6

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