1. The Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum
What is the first thing you must do as soon as you arrive in Athens? The only answer is to visit these gems. Miss them and you’ve missed it all. They're the epitome of architectural grace on the grandest of scales. We suggest that you start with the Parthenon, then soak up the abundance of history, culture and art at the New Acropolis Museum.
2. The National Archeological Museum
One of the world’s great museums, it’s home to an incredible collection of ancient Greek sculpture, pottery and jewellery. Spend a few extra minutes admiring the kouroi statues and gaze in wonder at the Antikythera device, an astronomical instrument that is more than 2,000 years old.
3. Plaka – the Old City
Stroll around the old city of Athens, mingle with locals and visitors and search for that special souvenir to take back home. Have lunch or dinner at one of the many traditional tavernas. Don’t forget to cast your eyes upward and take in the sight of the Acropolis in between courses.
4. Visit Psiri – for a taste of the nightlife
Psiri (and its neighbour, Gazi) are full of cafés, bars, galleries, clubs and people. Wear your best smile and let yourself be seduced by the Athenian lifestyle.
5. Take the cable car to Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus sits in the middle of the city and seems to appear out of nowhere. Taking the cable car up the hill and walking up the stairs to St. George’s Chapel will reward you with a bird’s-eye view that spans the entire city and the Saronic Bay beyond.
6. Watch the changing of the guards
At the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier on Syntagma Square, next to the parliament building, you can see the guards practicing their routine every half-hour. If you find that impressive, then be sure to come on a Sunday morning at 11.00am, when you can see a company of 200 guards marching down the street towards Syntagma Square.
7. Enjoy a Greek coffee or frappé by the seaside
Visit a café in Mikrolimano or Paleo Faliro, grab the first available table and enjoy your favorite coffee, sip by sip, for hours on end.
8. Souvlaki, choriatiki and baklava
You can’t go home without trying these Greek delicacies. Let your nose guide you to the nearest souvlatzidiko, tavern or pastry shop – they’re everywhere!
9. Wanna see the wannabes?
Head for Kolonaki Square, where you can shop (or window-shop) at the city’s most exclusive boutiques. When you’re done, just take a seat at one of the many cafés and bar-restaurants, and try to tell the truly famous from those aspiring to celebrity.
10. Party until dawn
If you really want to experience nightlife like a local, prepare for a long night out. The nightclubs are upscale, crowded and plentiful; ask your concierge to book you a table at a recommended bouzoukia (nightclub). You may find Greek music to be an acquired taste, but your evening is guaranteed to be unforgettable.