Athens is one of the most popular destinations in Greece, which gives you literally innumerable things to do. Vivid nightlife, significant history, cool neighbourhoods, this city is a living myth. With car rental in Athens, you can explore the city comfortably and safely, go off-the-beaten path and make amazing excursions. Especially this summer, Athens is an ideal destination, as Greece is one of the safest places in the world to visit during the coronavirus pandemic. The country has the fewest cases in Europe and all shops, restaurants and generally businesses follow the safety rules to keep Greece coronavirus-free.
Read here all the insider’s tips you need to know and enjoy!
What to see in historical centre
The historical centre of Athens is easily accessible on foot, as the places of interest are close to each other. You should not miss the following neighbourhoods and historical sites:
- Plaka: Plaka, under the shadow of Acropolis, is the most popular area of the old town, with narrow, cobblestone paths. Kydathinaion is the main street that is full of traditional taverns and local shops with souvenirs. In Plaka, there is also the area of Anafiotika, with small colourful houses climbing on the cliff of Acropolis.
- Monastiraki: Monastiraki is one of the most vivid districts in Athens, where you can find everything. The pedestrian of Adrianou has taverns and restaurants, the streets around the square are full of bars with young people, which is filled with young people until late at night. Small, neoclassical, colourful houses and traditional restaurants make this place ideal to relax, eat and drink coffee.
- Thiseio: Apostolou Paulou, the pedestrian street that starts in Thiseio and ends in Acropolis Museum is by far the best walk in Athens. You walk with a breathtaking view of the Acropolis in a beautiful street with flowers, trees and neoclassical houses. The whole neighbourhood of Thiseio is full of bars, taverns and cafés. In the street of Apostolou Paulou, is also located the entrance to Pnyx, the place where democracy is born, and the Athenians voted.
- Acropolis: Standing imposing on the top of a cliff, Acropolis, one of the most important sites in the world and the symbol of democracy, can be seen from everywhere in Athens. The site consists of three ancient temples, but the most impressive is Parthenon. In the archaeological site, you can also admire the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus, where the famous performances of drama, such as Antigone of Sophocles and Medea of Euripides, in ancient Athens took place.
- Acropolis Museum: After the visit of Acropolis, you should definitely visit the Acropolis Museum. The museum hosts a remarkable collection of incredible ancient artefacts that were excavated on the cliff of Acropolis. The building is covered with glass, offering a magnificent view of the Acropolis.
- Ancient Agora: Ancient Agora was the marketplace of ancient Athens. There, you can explore the ruins of ancient buildings, like houses and shops, as well as the museum with many impressive sculptures from the Golden Age of Pericles. Inside the historical site, you can also admire the well-preserved temple of Hephaestus.
- Roman Agora: Roman Agora was the marketplace during the Roman times. There, it is located an impressive site, the Tower of the Winds, which was the first weather station in the world. Other important monuments you should visit are the Gate of Athena, East Propylon, the public latrines and agoranomion.
- Keramikos: Keramikos was the ancient cemetery of the Greek capital since 3.000 B.C. Numerous cist graves and burial offerings have been discovered there by the archaeologists. These findings, together with sculptures and burial monuments, are exhibited in the museum inside the site.
In the wider area of Athens historical centre, are located many other significant museums. Before coronavirus, you could go there by bus or subway, but in order to stay safe, we recommend you visit these museums by car. The parking stations in Athens are cheap, and there are also parking meters on most streets that cost only 1€ per hour.
The museums you should visit are the National Archaeological Museum, which is the largest museum in Greece with more than 11,000 exhibits from a wide range of historical periods, the Cycladic Museum, which has exhibits from the prehistoric civilisation in the Cyclades, as well as the Numismatic Museum, which has a large selection of coins from the ancient as well as from the modern period.
Regarding the nightlife of Athens, remember that Athens is worldwide known as the city that never sleeps. There are many districts in Athens, where you can have fun until the dawn, such as Monastiraki, Kolonaki, the streets around Syntagma Square and Gazi. Numerous bars are located there and you can do the greatest bar hopping.
What to do in Athens by car
Athens is not only its historical centre, so it is highly recommended that you rent a car and explore the whole city. You can do several excursions, as well as go in a close distance to the city centre, in places that remind of an island:
- Athens Riviera: Athens in summer is amazing, and there are many places to spend fascinating moments by the sea. Athens Riviera is the coastline that starts from Piraeus, passes from the suburbs Faliro, Alimos, Elliniko, Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Lagonissi, Saronida and Anavyssos and ends in Cape Sounio. There, you can find wonderful beaches with pine trees and water sports amenities, as well as archaeological points of interest, such as the Temple of Apollon Zoster in Vouliagmeni. The route by car in Athens Riviera, especially in Vouliagmeni and in Sounio, is something you will never forget. You need about 1 hour drive from Piraeus or Athens centre to Sounio and it is the most beautiful seaside route you can see. From all spots in Athens Riviera, you can see breathtaking sunset.
- Northern neighbourhoods: Very beautiful are also the northern neighbourhoods of Athens, such as Chalandri and Kifisia. There, you can do shopping as well as eat and enjoy the atmosphere. Especially Kifisia is a very elegant and aristocratic area, where you can admire stone-built houses and mansions.
By car, you can also visit other wonderful places in the wider area of Attica, such as Lake Marathon, Mount Parnitha and the ancient temple of Artemis in Vravrona. Read more about the excursions you can do around Athens.
Keep in mind that Athens is a never-ending city and there is always something more to explore. Rent a car in Athens and explore one of the oldest cities in the world that is still vivid and flourishing!