The mythical Greek capital mesmerizes visitors year round – even in the winter. With temperatures ranging between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius, winter in Athens usually remains quite mild, with sunshine most days and only occasional rainfall. Enjoy a stroll under the vast Athenian sky as you pass through the scenic streets of Plaka, Monastiraki, the Roman Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus in Thiseio, Philopappus Hill, the ancient theatre of Dionysus (the oldest theatre in the world) and the Herodes Atticus Odeon.
Do some window-shopping along Ermou, a thriving pedestrian street, and in Kolonaki, the trendiest, high-end neighbourhood in Athens. And if you get tired, you can always relax and enjoy a hot cup of coffee in one of the numerous outdoor cafés. You can even savour some delicious finger foods in one of the local taverns, all under the gorgeous winter sun.
Visit Athens’ Finest Museums
Weather-wise, winter is the best time to visit the numerous local museums. Be sure to check out some of the following: the New Acropolis Museum (15, Areopagitou St.), the Archaeological Museum of Athens (44, Patission St.), the Museum of Cycladic Art (4, Neofytou Douka, Kolonaki), the Benaki Museum (1, Koumpari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave.), the Museum of Islamic Art (22, Ag. Asomaton St. & 12, Dipilou St.), the Benaki Museum of Modern Art (138, Pireos Ave. & Andronikou St.), the Archaeological Museum of the Ancient Agora in Athens, the Hellenic Folk Art Museum (17, Kithathineon St., Plaka), the National History Museum (13, Stadiou St., Kolokotronis Square), the Numismatic Museum (12, Panepistimiou St.) and the Goulandris Museum of Natural History (13, Levidou St., Kifissia). You can also visit countless archaeological sites scattered across the Greek capital.
Discover Athens’ Historical Monuments
Take advantage of Athens’ sunny winter mornings to visit the sacred rock of the Acropolis. Explore the world-renowned Parthenon, Propylaea, the Erechtheion, or the Temple of Wingless Victory, and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of Athens!
In Monastiraki, visit the ancient Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, and take a stroll through the scenic cobbled streets around Monastiraki Square, where you’ll find a number of small shops. Don’t forget the stop by Avissinias Square, which is known for its antique stores.
Take a walk along Panepistimiou Street (Metro Station Panepistimio), and admire the neoclassical buildings that house the National Library, the National University of Athens, and the Academy. Nearby, you’ll also find the incredible Byzantine architecture of the Ophthalmology Clinic, the Catholic Church of Saint Dionysus and the Numismatic Museum, which has its own cosy little café. Just a stone’s throw away, you will also find the Old Parliament House and the Museum of the City of Athens (Vouros – Eftaxias Foundation) in Klafthmonos Square.
Continue your tour up to Syntagma Square, where the building of the Hellenic Parliament stands out proudly. Take a stroll through the National Gardens and visit Zappeio and the Temple of the Olympian Zeus.
Explore Athens’ Famed Art Scene
While in Athens, you will have the opportunity to visit many art exhibitions housed in various Galleries, as well as the Technopolis in Gazi (100, Pireos St. & 1, Persefonis St., Tel.: +30 210 3475518, +30 210 3461589, www.technopolis-athens.com).
The Athens Concert Hall hosts various concerts and performances from renowned Greek and international artists daily. So be sure not to miss out! (Vas. Sofias Ave. & Kokkalis St., Tel.: +30 210 72 82 333, www.megaron.gr).
While in Athens, see some of the remarkable music, dance and theatrical performances and shows presented in the Badminton Theatre (Goudi Olympic Complex, Tel.: 13855 and +30 210 8840600, www.badmintontheater.gr).
Of course, every visitor must experience the modern Greek music phenomenon, bouzoukia, either in one of the massive concert halls on the Athenian coastal boulevard, or in the smaller, cosier taverns, where smaller groups perform live. Some of the best can be found in the narrow scenic streets of Plaka, Gazi, Keramikos, Petralona, Halandri and other Athenian neighbourhoods. It’s the perfect way to join in Greek festivity first-hand!
Piraeus... More than a Port
A stroll in the beautiful city of Piraeus, through the neighbourhoods of Freatida, Pasalimani, Mikrolimano, is definitely a must. Don’t forget to visit the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus and the Maritime Museum of Greece, and be sure to catch a theatrical show in the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus, which has recently reopened. Finish off the day with some delicious seafood in one of the ouzo bars at Piraiki or Mikrolimano, right by the sea.
Escape Reality with a Gorgeous Getaway
If you have a car, consider taking a short road trip to some of the amazing nearby destinations. Drive down the spectacular Athenian coastal highway to Sounio to see the magnificent Temple of Poseidon, and enjoy your coffee as the sun sets. The view is truly one-of-a-kind!
Choose a sunny day, wear your warm coat and mittens and take a day trip to Mount Parnitha. Hike along one of the designated trails under the perennial fir trees, sip a steaming cup of tea or hot chocolate in the Bafi Refuge (Tel.: +30 210 2403556, +30 210 2469050, www.mpafi.gr) and enjoy the awe-inspiring vista of Athens.
Visit the Attica Zoo
See animals from all over the world in the Attica Zoological Park, a perfect outing for families young and old. Don’t miss the spectacular dolphin show, and watch the feeding of the zoo’s famed predators. End your visit with a meal in the café, and purchase a souvenir from the gift shop – this is sure to be a trip to remember for the whole family! (Location Gialos, Spata, Tel.: +30 210 6634725, +30 210 6634724, www.atticapark.com).
Savour Top-Notch Greek Cuisine
With strong roots in the Mediterranean diet, Greek cuisine is both healthy and delicious. From the traditional souvlaki served on almost every street corner, to the gourmet flavours found in the city’s upscale restaurants, you are certain to be dazzled by the quality of the local Greek products and Athens’ world-class meals.