Beyond The Tourist Crowds: 6 Reasons To Visit Athens

Athens, the oldest capital in Europe, is a rather famous holiday destination, given its numerous attractions. The Greek city is over 4,000 years old and has experimented with nearly every form of governance known to man, with varying degrees of success. 

Athens is worth visiting due to its many historical sites and ruins. The weather, beaches, and beautiful seas also make Athens a worthwhile destination. The city’s world-class food and drink outlets provide another reason to consider visiting Athens.

This piece will delve deeper into Athen’s offerings, demonstrating why you should visit the ancient city. 

6 Reasons Why Athens Is Worth Visiting

Over four millennia, Athens has accumulated many attractions, including the ones listed below. 

1. Numerous Historical Attractions

Few cities worldwide can hold a candle to Athens in terms of historical attractions. The Acropolis is perhaps Athens’ most famous attraction, containing the Parthenon temple, the Propylaea, and the Erechtheion, among others. Due to its fame, the Acropolis is often crowded, but there are other sites across Athens for you to visit. 

The Temple of Hephaestus is often overlooked by Athens’ visitors despite being a sight to behold. The remarkable site was built nearly 2,500 years ago and remains in good condition. A plus point for this location is you’ll rarely encounter huge crowds. 

Athens hands you an opportunity to hold an Olympic torch at the Panathenaic Stadium, the location of the first modern Olympic games. The Ancient Agora of Athens, with its museum and ancient buildings, is another location worth your time. 

The ancient cemetery at Kerameikos can be challenging to find, but you’ll be rewarded for the effort. Kerameikos also contains famous monuments and a small museum. 

The National Archaeological Museum in Athens is like a portal through time, containing exhibits from the Stone Age to the Greek and Roman eras. Athens is a history enthusiast’s paradise. 

2. The Weather, Sands, and the Sea

Athens’ Mediterranean climate guarantees relative warmth throughout the year. Even during late autumn and winter, temperatures are usually well above freezing, though Athens receives most of its rain during this period. 

The best time to enjoy Athens’ tropical weather, sand, and seas is between April and October. The crowds intensify between mid-June and Mid-September, so I advise that you visit in the spring or as autumn begins.

It’s usually warm enough for sightseeing and excursions on the sands and the sea. Varkiza beach on the Athens Riviera is an ideal location for relaxation. Astir beach, also on the Riviera, is more crowded but enjoyable. If you would like a relaxing dip in the Mediterranean followed by seafood cuisine, Schinias beach is the location for you. 

The Temple of Poseidon overlooks Sounio beach at the end of the Riviera. It’s the ideal sunset location – the temple’s marble columns and the deep blue ocean below, kissed by the pale orange tint of the setting sun, make Sounio beach one of the most photogenic places in Athens. 

Families can enjoy a fun-filled day at the Grand Beach Lagonissi. The beach is filled with amenities and hosts watersports like towed rings. You’ll likely use inflatable rubber rings at the pool. Read my article to learn how to blow them up without a pump.]

If you prefer inland water bodies, visit the Vouliagmeni Lake and Beach, which is warmer than the ocean and surrounded by several restaurants. 

Check out this drone footage of Athens on YouTube

3. World-Class Food and Drink

Athens’ cuisine is unique and reason enough to warrant a visit to the city. You’ve probably had Tzatziki, Greece’s famous dipping sauce, in other restaurants, but it doesn’t compare to the variety offered in the nation’s capital. It contains herbs, garlic, olive oil, yogurt, cucumber, and white wine vinegar/ lemon juice. 

Strofi Athenian Restaurant is probably the best place to enjoy Tzatziki as the location offers breathtaking views of the Acropolis. 

A trip to Athens is incomplete without a taste – or a bellyful – of souvlaki, Greece’s most popular fast food. Souvlaki consists of meat chunks grilled on a skewer. Kalamakia O Elvis, named after Elvis Presley, grills some of the best souvlaki in Athens. Other Athens delicacies include Loukoumades, Spanakopita, and Dolmathakia, among others.

There are many locations in the city to enjoy coffee or cocktails, but we recommend visiting the central rooftop bars. The 360 Cocktail Bar, providing a 360-degree view of Athens, is a must-visit. Furthermore, it has plenty of cocktail offerings. 

A for Athens, an all-day bar with a rooftop terrace, offers views of the Acropolis and has accommodation. Friday and Saturday nights are the liveliest, as locals and tourists enjoy cocktails from the famous cocktail bar. Couleur Locale and City Xen are also rooftop locations worth visiting. 

4. The City’s Theatres

It’s a little-known fact that Athens contains more theater stages than Broadway and the West End combined. Instead of visiting the city’s modern theaters, explore stages that are thousands of years old. 

You can enjoy a show at the partially restored Odeon of Herodes Atticus. It was built nearly 2000 years ago and offers excellent city views. The theater beneath the Acropolis has hosted legendary names like Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra.

You can time your visit to coincide with the yearly Athens and Epidaurus Festival, one of Europe’s oldest art festivals. 

5. It Is Ridiculously Cheap

The prices in Athens are ridiculously low, making the city the perfect location for a budget traveler. With things being so inexpensive, you can eat, drink, and explore more, making the trip more worthwhile. 

A September 2022 study found that Athens is the cheapest European city to visit. According to the report, prices in Athens dropped by 15% from 2021 to 2022. It noted that though cities like Paris and Amsterdam remain top tourist destinations, the high travel costs are prompting tourists to look to cheaper cities like Athens. 

The study shows that the cost of visiting Amsterdam is nearly three times that of visiting Athens. 

6. A Variety of Shopping Options

If you love shopping on your travels, Athens is your ideal destination. The city’s markets offer delicacies, clothing, and jewelry and are places to mingle with locals and absorb Greek culture. 

The Monastiraki Flea Market is an affordable place to get ancient clothing and artifacts and enjoy Greek cuisine. It opens daily but offers the widest variety of goods on Sundays.