When the weather gets balmy, Athens gears up for our favorite season. Greece enjoys a prodigiously long summer and, from April till October, its quirky and boisterous capital affably invites you to discover the local joie de vivre.
Days go longer, sunsets are dramatic, tables spill out on the sidewalks and life is better enjoyed outdoors. To help you plan the most memorable stay in Athens here are the most seductive summer charms of the city.
Evening visit to the Acropolis
The ancient citadel, perched on a rocky outcrop above the city, allures every visitor to climb and see the Parthenon up close. During summer the Acropolis archaeological site stays open until 20:00 and visitors can experience it in a new light avoiding the sweltering midday temperatures. If you plan your visit on a Sunday evening, you will also have the unmissable opportunity to see the Evzones lowering the Greek flag at sunset, accompanied by members of an Athenian marching band playing the national anthem! To make the most of your Acropolis experience, book your entry ticket online along with an engaging audio tour and discover the stories and legends of the illustrious landmark!
Watch a movie under the stars
Come spring, the Athenian cinephiles love watching their favorite films under the stars. There’s always a hidden yard or an ambient rooftop terrace in every neighborhood to enjoy an alfresco cinematic experience. Besides, this is the best way to blend with the locals and delve into the laid-back charms of the Athenian lifestyle. The open-air Cine Dexameni is an all-time classic! Situated in a tranquil corner of the Kolonaki neighborhood and covered in cascading bougainvilleas, it will offer you a good dose of old-school summer romance.
Take a stroll in Plaka
Summer in Athens without a walk around the area of Plaka is like summer with no ice cream. Nestled on the slopes of the Acropolis, the oldest neighborhood of Athens is a maze of colorful cobbled streets evoking out of time memories and island life tranquility. Oh, yes! Right at the noisy heart of the Greek capital, a small Cycladic paradise awaits to be discovered. The Anafiotika quarter in Plaka is one of those little romantic digs that will fill your heart with retro nostalgia. If you really want to get under the skin of the picturesque Athenian neighborhood download “Insider’s Plaka tour: the essentials” self-guided audio tou and get ready for a long relaxing walk full of stories.
Catch the sunset from Lycabettus Mount
Standing high above the city and offering a mesmerizing panorama across the Attica basin and the Aegean, Lycabettus hill promises the most dramatic sunset views. To reach the hilltop, you can hike up the path that starts at the end of Aristippou Street in Kolonaki or opt for the funicular in case you want to save some energy. Lycabettus is also home to the ambient Horizons restaurant, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner, but be careful here as prices are as high as the hill!
A visit to the National Garden
Only a few steps away from Syntagma square and right next to the imposing parliament building lies a lush-green oasis of tranquility, the National garden. It covers 24 hectares full of vegetation, rare species of plants from all over the world, fragrant orchards and scattered ancient ruins. This English landscape garden, which could have popped out of the canvas of a Romantic painter, is the ideal place to cool down after a long day sightseeing. You can find some shade in the small cafe or set out on a leisurely-paced walk with and learn the history of the gardens with “Athens National Garden tour: the early years.”
Drink with a view
It’s no secret that Athens has evolved into Europe’s newest nexus of vibrant nightlife. If you’re craving to soak up the bustling nightlife scene of Athens, I suggest you climb high! There’s no shortage of rooftop bars all across the city; relaxed, romantic, upbeat, hippie, there is the right place for everyone. If you want to enjoy your drink at an insider spot with a lively atmosphere check out Bios rooftop. The culturally curious will also be thrilled to discover this off-beat cultural venue, where you can always combine a cocktail night with a theatre performance, a movie or an opera.
Catch a concert at Odeon of Herodes of Atticus
Among the most memorable experiences in summer in Athens is an evening concert at the world-famed Roman Odeon of Herodes of Atticus. The stunning open-air odeon theatre has been sitting beneath the slopes of the Acropolis for almost 2000 years. Today it is one of the main venues for the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, where you can marvel at majestic ballets, arias, ancient Greek tragedies and operas in a breathtaking setting that you’re unlikely to ever forget!
See the exhibits at the Acropolis Museum
No visit to Athens is complete without a stop at its most talked-about museum. The Acropolis Museum invites you to discover unique treasures that have been unearthed on the slopes of the Acropolis, including votive offerings and objects associated with the rituals and everyday life of the ancient Athenians, as well as the sculptural decorations from the ensemble of temples that imposingly stand atop the hill. Entirely made of glass and bathed in natural light it allows you to take glimpses of the Acropolis hill and an ancient settlement found below the building. Plus, if you are in town on August Full Moon night, you can enjoy an extraordinary late visit as the museum will be open until midnight.
Explore the Athenian Riviera
The alluring Apollo Coast, known as the Athens Riviera, stretches along the southern edge of the city. Rocky bays, sandy beaches, luxurious resorts, deep-house soundtracks resonating from the lively beach clubs and elegant waterfront restaurants are all there to remind you that summer fun is not only to be experienced in the islands. Should you hire a car to drive along the Riviera, your final destination should be Cape Sounio, the southernmost tip of Athens, where the ancient Greeks built the imposing Temple of Poseidon. Pay your respects to the god of the sea with a swim in one of the nearby beaches and find a table in a local taverna for some ouzo and octopus.
One of the city’s beguiling gems is the Hill of the Nymphs in Thissio district, crowned by the National Observatory on its top. A visit to the stunning neoclassical building with the distinctive dome should be on your ‘summer in Athens’ bucket list as it has recently launched lots of fascinating programs and events allowing visitors to observe the night sky and learn about the history and secrets of the National Observatory of Athens.