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FREE Athens ATTRACTIONS

FREE THINGS TO DO IN Athens

Top Athens Attractions Free

Best Free Things To Do in Athens - 2018

1. Hike Mount Lycabettus (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

This hill is the highest point in Athens at 277m (908ft) above sea level, and affords breathtaking views over the city and out to the Aegean Sea, making it well worth the journey to the top. It also has the 19th century Chapel of St George, a theatre, and a restaurant at its two summits.

There is a funicular railway that ascends the hill, starting from Aristippou Street, but if you’re up for an invigorating physical challenge, it’s a great idea to hike to the top. During the summer it’s best to go at twilight to avoid the sweltering heat, but in any case you should bring a bottle of water with you. A view of the sunset from the peak is a sight to be remembered, with lights beginning to twinkle on across the city and rooftops taking on a rosy glow.

There are many interesting myths surrounding the hill - it’s supposed to have been created when Athena dropped a mountain meant for the Acropolis, and apparently once harboured wolves, which gave it its name.

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2. Plaka (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

Plaka is the oldest neighbourhood in Greece, as it is built directly on top of ancient housing and has many interesting archaeological sites. It is located on the northeastern slope of the Acropolis, leading to the name “The Neighbourhood of the Gods”. Excavations starting in the 19th century have shown among other things that Adrianou Street is the oldest street in the city, with the layout unchanged since ancient times.

There are many museums to visit including the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments (link), and plenty of shops where, with a bit of hunting, you can find a unique item to take home from your holiday - including jewellery and classical-style pieces.

It’s very nice to wander around Plaka in the evening, stopping at one of the many restaurants and taking in the history all around in the picturesque old buildings. It also features an open air cinema during the summer, with English subtitles, in Kydathinaion Square.

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3. Agora-Athens Central Market (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

This vibrant market is the place to be to get all your fresh produce sourced from all over Greece - meat, fish, and vegetables.

Unless you’re staying in a self-catering apartment, you may not have much call to do any cooking while on holiday, but it’s still well worth a wander around to soak in all the delicious sights, sounds, tastes and smells. There is also a fantastic range of cheeses, olives, spices and much more. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, as the fish area can be slippery underfoot! And you can sample some of the goodies on offer in one of the restaurants on site. These are slightly rough and ready, but serve food of the highest quality, such as the patasas - an authentic old Greek soup made from tripe.

There are many eyecatching sights all around the market, such as the meat carcasses lit by light bulbs. The Agora is a taste of the working life of Athens that shouldn’t be missed.

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4. Anafiotika (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

For a real taste of old-fashioned Athens, you have to visit this picturesque neighbourhood, which is part of the Plaka district. If you are visiting the Acropolis, you will find it situated just under the temple complex on the northeastern slope of the hill.

It’s well worth spending some time strolling the streets, which seem untouched by modern progress. The whitewashed, cubic houses are beautifully decorated with blooming flowers and many local cats enjoying the sun. The streets are very steep with a lot of steps, so do be aware that it’s not wheelchair accessible.

You can enjoy a delicious meal and some Ouzo at one of the charming restaurants, where you can take in spectacular views both of the Acropolis, which is beautifully illuminated at night, and of the city spread out below you. Anafiotika imparts the feel of an unspoilt Greek island, far removed from the urban sprawl while being right in the middle of it.

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5. Monastiraki Flea Market (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

You can find anything and everything at this bustling market; books, antiques, paintings, jewellery, clothing, records and much, much more. It’s centred on Avissynias Square and there are many cafes and restaurants in the area. The busiest day is Sunday; try to arrive before 11am as it gets extremely hectic with the influx of tourists. It’s definitely a great place to hunt for that souvenir from your holiday as there are many bargains to be had - haggling is encouraged!

There are also many shops round about the area selling a huge variety of goods. You can find these on Pandrossou Street and Adrianou Street. There are many side streets where you may be able to find more unique items, as many of the bigger shops sell mass-produced wares. Or you can just sit at one of the cafes and watch the world go by. Whatever you do, it’s the place to experience the real hustle and bustle of Greek working life.


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6. Changing of the Guard Athens (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

For a real flavour of the pomp and circumstance of the Greek military, you should check out this highly ritualised ceremony which takes place every hour on the hour. The Greek Evzones in their traditional uniform change the guard which stands at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Parliament Building in Syntagma Square.

Usually, just four guards are involved - two replacing two - but if you come on Sunday at 11am, there is a marching band and an entire regiment of guards, making for quite a spectacle. The guards wear a very particular uniform, the most notable features of which are the kilt known as the fustanella and dress shoes with pompoms. This is a recreation of the uniform worn by the Klephts, highly regarded guerrillas who fought against the Turkish occupation of Greece from the 15th to 19th centuries.

The Evzones are an elite unit, trained to stand motionless except when changing guard - which is a highly elaborate ceremony involving slowly raising each leg high in the air before taking each step.

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7. Mars Hill at Night (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

This bare marble hill, situated next to the Acropolis though not nearly as tall, is a place of pilgrimage for many, as it was where the Apostle Paul delivered his sermon on “the Unknown God”. A bronze plaque commemorating this can be found at the bottom of the stairs leading to the top. If you want to climb the hill, wear sturdy shoes in the wet, as the steps can get slippery.

The summit affords a good view of the Acropolis. It is especially nice to ascend the hill on a cool night and look out over the city lights.

The rocky outcrop is named after Mars, the Roman God of War, although in Greek it is known as Areopagus, or Rock of Ares - Mars’ Greek name. In classical times it served as the High Court of Appeal, and there was a temple at the bottom where murderers could find sanctuary.

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8. National Gardens (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

These picturesque gardens offer a tranquil haven from the hubbub of the city while being located right in the middle of it. Spanning 32 acres, they are a perfect place to just sit and relax for a while, or you can explore the park and the many interesting features it contains by wandering along the 7.5km of pathways which wind between the array of plants and trees.

Opened by Queen Amalia in 1840, animals were kept in the park from the beginning and you can still find some today at the eastern side, including ducks, geese, peacocks, parrots and a donkey. Ancient ruins are scattered around the premises, including Corinthian columns, mosaics and Roman baths.

The gardens are a perfect place for kids, with a well-stocked children’s library and a large playground.

At the Botanical Museum, you can find examples of the park’s ornamental plants. There is also a cafe which is ideal for refreshing snacks and drinks on a hot day.

Nearby Attractions

9. Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

This compact museum displays 600 well-loved instruments dating back 300 years.

Exhibits are spread over three floors, covering percussion, wind and strings. Among the items you can find are lyres, bouzoukia (similar to a mandolin), and toubelekis (a type of drum). Headphones are provided with each instrument so you can check out the sound.

The museum garden hosts regular concerts, where you can listen to the harmonious sounds of the instruments as they are played by talented folk musicians. Educational programmes for children are also offered daily in the exhibition space and lecture hall, underpinning the museum’s stated aim of promoting and safeguarding Greece’s folk musical heritage. Check out the website for details of upcoming events.

It’s also an excellent idea to check out the shop, where experts on Greek music can recommend selections from a diverse array of CDs. Located in Plaka, the museum is well worth a visit if you’re wandering through the area.


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10. The Beach (Free)

1 Free Tourist Attraction

There is a wide variety of beaches with beautiful golden sands only a few miles out of the centre of Athens. After examining all those temples, no holiday would be complete without an afternoon of stretching out and topping up your tan. Let’s take a look at what some consider the best of the bunch, Votsalakia.

Only 9km (5.6 miles) south of Athens in the Piraeus area, the beach boasts a volleyball court and watersports as well as numerous cafes and restaurants in close proximity. Be aware that things can get very crowded in the summer season (May to July); like most Greek attractions, the best thing to do is arrive early. Take a bus to Piraeus (itself worth exploring with its attractive harbour) and another one to the beach.

The beach is well noted for its cleanliness, and the sparkling water temptingly invites you in for a refreshing dip.

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