The Acropolis is something you simply have to visit when you’re in the Greek capital of Athens. In fact, this world-famous monument is a big reason why millions of people visit the city in the first place. One of the most outstanding ruins of ancient Greek culture in the world, the Acropolis is an icon not just of the city but of the whole country. Visiting the Acropolis is about the closest you’re ever going to get traveling back in time to the Athens of Pericles, Socrates, and other famous Greeks.
The Acropolis was the ancient heart of Athens, and it remains central to this modern city. And as impressive as the ruins are, there’s much more to Athens than its antique past. This huge and vibrant city is full of exceptional food, great activities, and incredibly friendly people. This all combines to make it a fantastic place to explore by yourself.
Drop off your bags at an Acropolis luggage storage, and you’ll be able to see for yourself just what Athens has to offer solo travelers. Before you know it, you’ll be planning your next trip here.
The new Acropolis Museum is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Athens, and it’s also great to enjoy solo. The museum was only completed in 2009, but it has already become one of the city’s most popular attractions.
The museum tells the story of the Acropolis through some 4,000 artifacts that have been recovered from the site. These include sculptures, vases, jewelry, and everyday objects that give you a real sense of what life was like here in ancient times.
There are also excellent views of the Acropolis itself from the top floors of the museum, making it the perfect place to get your bearings before heading up to explore the ruins.
Admission to the museum is by timed ticket, and booking in advance online is advisable to avoid having to queue.
Plaka is the oldest and most atmospheric neighborhood in Athens, and it’s a great place to stroll around solo. The maze of narrow streets is lined with neoclassical buildings, cafes, and souvenir shops, and there are plenty of hidden squares and courtyards to discover.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Roman Forum and Hadrian’s Library while you’re here. And if you want to learn more about the history of Plaka, pop into the Museum of Greek Folk Art for some interesting exhibits on traditional life in Greece.
Go Shopping in Monastiraki
Monastiraki is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Athens, and it’s a great place to go shopping. The main drag, Adrianou Street, is lined with stores selling everything from souvenirs to designer clothes.
There are also some great markets here, including the Monastiraki Flea Market, where you can find all sorts of interesting trinkets and antique furniture. If you’re looking for something to eat, be sure to check out the food stalls in the central square known as the Kotzias Market.
Take a Food Tour
One of the best ways to experience a city’s food culture is to take a food tour, and Athens has several excellent ones to choose from.
Tours typically last around three hours and take in some of the city’s best-loved dishes, from savory pies known as tiropites to fresh seafood straight from the Aegean.
You’ll also get to sample some of the local wine and learn about Greek gastronomy from your knowledgeable guide. Most tours include visits to several different restaurants, so you’re sure to find something to suit your taste.
If you’ve never had Greek food before, you’re in for a treat. If you have, you know this Mediterranean cuisine focuses on fresh ingredients simply prepared to make some truly delicious dishes. Nothing breaks down barriers like great food, so you’ll soon find yourself having a great time exploring some of the best restaurants and tavernas in the city in the company of fellow travelers.
Head to the Beach
Athens may not be the first place you think of when it comes to beaches, but there are actually some great ones within easy reach of the city center. The most popular is probably Vouliagmeni Beach, which is just a short drive from the Acropolis.
This sheltered lagoon is perfect for swimming, and there’s also a beach bar where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail or bite to eat. If you’re feeling active, you can even rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the coastline.
Other beaches worth visiting include Glyfada Beach and Varkiza Beach, both of which are easily accessible by public transport.
See a play at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus
The ancient Greek theater at Epidaurus is one of the best-preserved in the country, and it’s still used for performances today. The theater dates back to the 4th century BCE, and it’s said to have perfect acoustics.
Several plays or musical events usually occur here each month, so check the schedule in advance and book your tickets online. Even if you don’t understand Greek, it’s worth coming to see a performance in this incredible setting.
Plus, this ancient theater isn’t the only one in town. During the summer, Athens has several theater, music, and performing arts festivals, many of them held in historic venues like this, so it’s worth doing some research to see what’s on while you’re in town.
Visit the islands
Just a short ferry ride from Athens are the stunning Saronic Islands, and it’s well worth taking the time to explore them. The most popular island is Hydra, which is famous for its picturesque harbor lined with chic cafes and boutiques.
Don’t miss the chance to swim in the crystal-clear waters or hike up one of the island’s many scenic trails.
Other islands worth visiting include Aegina, where you can see the Temple of Aphaia, and Poros, which is home to a charming 18th-century Greek Orthodox monastery.
Whichever island you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a great time exploring Greece’s stunning coastline.
Beyond the Acropolis itself, Athens absolutely packed with great things to do either alone or with a group. Once you’ve seen the majestic ruins of ancient Greece, drop off your bags and get ready to explore other facets of the city. You’ll be glad you did.