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What to do in Athens

  1. Before arriving in Athens
  2. How to get to Athens - Getting to Athens by train, plane, car, ship or bus
  3. Public Transport in Athens - Getting around Athens
  4. Cost of Living in Athens
  5. Save money in Athens - Tips for living in Athens on a student budget
  6. Accommodation for students in Athens - Top tips and advice
  7. Athens neighbourhoods - The most important districts of Athens
  8. Greek Cuisine - The gastronomy of Greece and traditional dishes
  9. Where to eat  in Athens - Best restaurants in Athens
  10. Athens Nightlife - Nightclubs and going out in Athens
  11. What to do in Athens
  12. Top 10 must-see attractions in Athens
  13. Top 10 Festivals in Athens
  14. Athens Beaches - The best beaches in Athens
  15. Day trips from Athens - Places to visit and excursions around Athens
  16. Athens in three days- What to see in Athens in three days

Athens is a city that will never let you get bored, as there are dozens of activities that can fill your days and nights, and you will never run out of new sites or places to explore. Let’s start mentioning some of the things that can make your life a little easier or simply occupy your time while studying or just spending some time in the capital.

Studying in Athens - Free Public Libraries in Athens

If you are the type of student who loves the calmness of a library environment and prefers to study in one instead of in your own house, then here are your best options for the perfect study:

Library of the Panteion University: Inside the Panteion University there is a fully equipped library consisting of many floors, with numerous books, computers, and big tables, ideal for a cozy and quiet study.

Library of Stavros Niarchos Cultural Foundation Centre: Being one of the newest and most modern libraries, it is located in Faliron and it is connected to the National Library of Greece. You will find numerous people studying there all day long.

Library of the French Institute: Here the entrance is free, without any previous registration needed, and it is located in the centre of Athens, in Kolonaki. You can have access to the internet and you will also find available computers for free use.

EKPA Reading Hall: In the heart of Athens there is the Reading Room of the Kapodistrian University of Athens or rather a part of it, which is quite popular among students as many prefer it for studying. Keep in mind that during the exams period you need to get there early enough in order to find a seat.

The Arcade of the Book: This is a public place, dedicated to the majesty of the books. It offers innumerable book titles and it is suitable for reading. You can visit the countless publishing houses and bookstores the place hosts, and read your book while drinking coffee on the comfortable sofas and tables inside the arcade.

Library of the Faculty of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens: This library forms part of the historic Averoff building and offers many opportunities for students wishing to read there. Numerous books, spacious tables in many places and internet access are all you need for an effective reading.

Visiting museums in Athens

The Acropolis Museum: Under the “sacred Rock”, the New Museum of Acropolis, one of the most remarkable museums in the planet, hosts some of the impressive statues and protected marbols of the Acropolis. Being the “ornament” of Athens, it is one of the mostly visited and must-see museums if you want to get the true feeling of the ancient Greece and explore some of the treasures of the past while diving into the Greek history. It helds great exhibitions from time to time, and you can always have a quick coffee or food at its coffee-restaurant with a spectacular view of Acropolis. (General admission fee: 5€- 3€ for students)

National Archaeological Museum: It is the largest and most representative museum of Greece, located in the heart of Athens, on Patission Street (between Omonoia and Victorias Square). Originally destined to receive all the 19th century excavations from Attica, it gradually took the form of a central National Archaeological Museum and was enriched with findings from all parts of the Greek world. Its rich collections, will offer you a panorama of ancient Greek culture from the prehistory to the late antiquity. (General admission fee: 10€- free for students)

Hellenic Maritime Museum: Having a long and great naval history, Greece could not miss a museum that highlights the historical heirlooms mentioned in the naval races as well as in any naval activity from 3000 BC till today. It boast thousands of items that are chronologically and thematically classified, bringing life to naval history and tradition from the prehistoric times to the present day. There is also a Maritime Library open to the public with a great number of books and magazines on nautical history, science and art. There are also sculptures and important outdoor exhibits, such as the turret of the historical submarine "Papanikolis" and anchors of the naval battle of Navarino. (General admission fee: 4€)

Goulandris Natural History Museum: The Goulandris Natural History Museum was the first museum of its kind to be established in (1964), and the first to initiate the education about the environment in the country. The Museum’s complex includes two buildings that are interconnected, the Goulandris Natural History Museum and the Gaia Centre for Environmental Research & Education, both significant cultural centers devoted to the study, preservation and protection of the natural environment through research, education and exhibition. The Goulandris Natural History Museum is home to zoological, botanical, marine, rock, mineral and fossil specimens, while the Gaia Centre for Environmental Research & Education, provides you the unique opportunity to get acquainted with Earth, the flora and fauna, via new interactive technologies, and get to know the impact of human activity on the environment. (General admission fee: 6€- 4€ for students)

National Historical Museum: The National Historical Museum is currently housed in the Old Parliament House on Stadiou Street (Kolokotroni Square) since. It depicts the history of modern Hellenism: the period of Ottoman domination and the Frankish rule, the Revolution of 1821, the liberation struggles, the creation of the independent state, the political, social and intellectual evolution of Hellenism up to today. In this way, it will give you an insight in the way Greece evolutioned throughout the modern years. (General admission fee: 3€- 1,5€ for students)

Athens War Museum: It is devoted to all those people who fought and died for Greece, and it gathers thousands of historical records, cinematographic material, and a great collection of maps, books, weapons, planes, and even military uniforms. Here you can find all the military history of Greece, and see how the weapons evolutioned throughout its war history. (General admission fee: 4€- 2€ for students)

The Byzantine and Christian Museum: It is one of Greece’s national museums. Its areas of competency are centred on religious artefacts of the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods. It has over 25,000 byzantine and christian artefacts in its possession, which date from between the 3rd and 20th century AD, and their provenance encompasses the entire Greek world, as well as regions in which Hellenism flourished. (General admission fee: 8€- 4€ for students)

The National Gallery- Alexandros Soutsos Museum: Here you can find paintings and sculptures by well-known Greek - and not only- painters, like El Greco, Giambattista Tiepolo or G. Jacobides. Today, the National Gallery collections comprise more than 20,000 works of painting, sculpture, engraving and other forms of art; this is the treasury of Modern Greek art, encompassing the period from the post-Byzantine times until today. Moreover, the National Gallery owns a remarkable collection of Western European paintings. (General admission fee: 5€- 3€ for students)

Averof Ship: One of the most glorious ships of modern Greek history, the legendary "Georgios Averoff" battleship, took part in great naval battle during the Balkan Wars, and remained active until the Second World War. Today it functions as a museum and inside it are preserved, among other things, the cabins of the master and officers, the boats of the sailors and the chapel of Agios Nikolaos. (General admission fee: 3€- 1,50€ for students)

Useful Tip: you can take advantage of the special dates with free admission in all the national museums and the archaeological sites in Athens:

6th March - Memory of Melina Merkouri.
5th June - World Environment Day.
18th April - International Monument Day.
18th May - International Museum Day.
The last weekend of September of each year (European Cultural Heritage Days).
Every Sunday from 1st of November to 31th of March.
National holidays of 25th of March and 28th of October.
The first Sunday of each month, excluding the months of July, August and September.

Activities to do in Athens

Escape rooms: It is the new young trend, and you can find hundreds of them spread all around Athens. It is a great opportunity to escape from reality and do a perfect bonding activity with your friends. You can choose one of them through the reliable critics of the site , and you will pay on average 10-15 euros per person, depending on the time needed to escape the room, and the number of the participants.

Karting: It is a unique form of fun that helps you put and overcome limits and forget every tension. If you want to experience the adrenaline of driving a kart, you only have to take your company and go to the nearest track. The best near Athens are Kartland, Speedforce Racing Kart and Karting centre of Ag. Kosmas, and the price you will be asked to pay is gonna be 8-12 euros for 8 minutes of drive.

Bicycling: One of the best ways to see all the best of Athens if you are a fanatic of cycling, would be to drive around it by bicycle. There are many day bicycle tours, which you can explore and choose the best according to your tastes here: In addition, you can join for free the Freeday, which is a team of people with bicycles that cycle around Athens every Friday night for several hours, so as to enjoy the emptiness of the streets and the cool weather.

Football Matches: If you are a football fanatic, in Athens you have the opportunity to watch a football match of two of the greatest football teams of Greece, Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. The Stadium of Leoforos, also called the “green house” is located in Ampelokipoi district, and the George Karaiskakis Stadium of Olympiakos FC is situated at the Faliron, close to the sea.

Shopping in Athens

It is impossible to go in a foreign city for a short or even a long period and not need to do some shopping for the basic stuff for your new house, or even for some pair of clothes or shoes that didn’t fit in your luggage or you just forgot at home.

The cheapest possible place where you can find absolutely anything for your house, is a giant super-cheap chinese chain-store called Jumbo, and it can be found in almost any suburb of Athens, apart from the centre. Here, you can buy from games, till beautiful culinary stuff in really low prices.

If you want to buy cheap clothes, you can always visit the cheap brands for young people like Zara, H&M, Bershka, or Pull n Bear, that you can find in the centre of Athens. Stadiou, Aiolou and Ermou are the most-well known streets in the centre where you can find anything. Alternatively, you can just take a stroll in any local market of the suburbs, where you can find cute little shops selling anything you can imagine.

If you like big shopping Malls that gather all the shopping necessities as well as food and entertainment, I’ll give you the three best choices:

Athens Metro Mall is the most inexpensive and appealing to a low budget, and it can be found just outside at the Ag.Dimitrios Metro Station (red line).

The Mall Athens has a little more expensive stores and shops, but it is bigger and with many more options if you have long hours to spend. It is located right outside the Neratziotissa Train station (green line of the metro).

River West is the most difficult to reach, but the newest one that gathers all the low cost shops. You can go there by taking the blue Metro line up to the Aigaleo Station, and then board on the free mini- bus that starts across the street every 20 minutes and takes you to the shopping centre.

Cinemas and Theatres in Athens

You can probably watch the new blockbusters in the multiplex of the city, the most famous of them being Village Cinemas and Odeon Starcity, found in the biggest malls of Athens, and offering a complete experience with huge screens and a variety of options, like 3D experience, Gold Class viewings etc. In these multiplexes there are special offers in certain labour days, with a significant discount or even two tickets at the price of one.

But if you are a cinemaholic, you need to know that Athens is a city full of amazing single cinema rooms and most of them count many years of life, make special projections and tributes and all at a low price. List the following: Astor, Odeon Opéra, Trianon, Elli, Athineon, Danaos, Asty, Ideal and Alkioni.
Extra tip: The exhibition of independent underground films documentaries in Koukaki (Kolokotroni 42) with an entrance of only 2.50 euros, where you can see very rare movies, like the first silent Greek film.

The best thing in Athens is that in the summer there are many outdoor cinemas all around the city, with ticket fee or not, where you can sit with your friends and enjoy an old film with some chilled beers under the full moon. One of the most well known that are situated in the centre, are Cine Thission, Cine Aegli, Cine Dexameni, Cine Zefyros, Cine Psirri and Cine Vox.

In terms of theatres, if you speak Greek, you can find an extremely great number of theatres with diverse kinds of plays throughout the winter, like dramas, comedies and political satire, the most successful of them touring throughout Greece in the summer.

On the other hand, if you wish to experience a play in an ancient Greek theatre, you can achieve that in the summer, in one of the many performances that take place at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus during the Athens Festival with opera, concerts, as well as ancient and modern theater. In addition, at the Philopappou Theatre, there are nights of Greek songs and dances with folk costumes by the famous dance group of Dora Stratou.

Other places worth visiting in Athens

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center: It is a stunning park and culture hub that was founded in Athens, in order to host the Greek National Library and the National Opera Hall. Thousands of people spend their afternoons or their weekdays there, taking a walk and admiring the spectacular views. There are free exhibitions, sports activities and events held in it throughout the year, making it one of the most beautiful and newest cultural centres in Athens. You can check out the events and how to get there here .

Royal Gardens of Tatoi: The former Royal Estate of Tatoi is open to the public for free from the Sunrise will the West. It is an important place, as some governments, like the one of Eleftherios Venizelos or George Papandreou, were sworn in here. In the estate you can wander around the buildings, walk on the paths of the estate, stroll with your friends, have a picnic, and ride a bicycle. Interestingly, they have buildings that once made bottled wine and produced oil and butter for the kings. You are not allowed to enter the buildings, but you can have a look at them. An excellent route is the one to the artificial lake “Kithara” which has excellent views of Attica and is of rare natural beauty. One day is never enough to see everything, but it is definitely worth the visit.

Plato’s Academy: This is where Plato founded the Academy, in which he himself taught, in 378 BC. By winding down the stone steps and the wooden bridges under the shade of the trees, one can almost imagine the philosopher teaching outside the Peristyle Building, and his students exercising at the Gymnasium when they do not engage in marathon philosophy. The Academy also acquires its own interactive and highly interesting museum, thanks to the Foundation of the Hellenic World. The entrance to both the archaeological site and the museum is free.

Attica Zoological Park: It is the only existing zoo in Greece, where you can see animals from all around the globe, participate in animal feedings and watch different educational programs. The park is a little outside Athens, at Yalou- Spata, but you can reach it by taking the blue line of the metro up to Doukissis Plakentias Station, and then taking the bus lane 319 which passes every 35 minutes to take to you Spata. Make sure you have enough hours to spend there, as the park is huge! The entrance fee is 18 euros for a general ticket or 14 euros for students.

Megaro Mousikis- The Athens Concert Hall: It is one of the most sophisticated multi-cultural centers of the world, ideal for the art lovers, as it offers a forum of all sorts of educational and artistic activities, remarkable concerts and great international exhibitions. There are numerous events and conferences taking place all year long, so it is ideal for anyone that is really into culture.

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