Nowadays most people visit Greece in summer, when temperatures are at their highest and it is possible to swim in crystal clear sea. However, Athens is an amazing city that deserves to be visited all year round. Why not consider a trip to Athens in winter, you might be surprised.
Athens in Winter
Thanks to a milder climate, wandering around the cradle of the Western society in winter is a truly pleasant experience. Although the capital of Greece offers countless opportunities for anyone, let’s now discover 8 things to do in Athens during that time of the year.
Climb to the Mount Lycabettus
With its 300 meters above the sea, the Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens. Featured in some of the legends belonging to the Greek culture, it can be reached by a funicular which departs from Kolonaki, a famous metro station.
Alternatively, athletic people can also opt for a walk to the top, which may be a good idea in winter, when temperatures are lower than in the Greek summer.
From the top, you can enjoy one of the most astonishing views over the city. It is warmly suggested to go there at night, when the lights of Athens enhance the experience. For those who plan on spending New Year’s Eve in Athens, the Mount Lycabettus is an excellent location to admire the fireworks. In the case the wind gets too chilly, you can drink something hot in the restaurant located at the top of the hill, in front of the Chapel of St George.
Wander around Anafiotika and Plaka
Anafiotika is located in the neighbourhood of the Parthenon, and it is one of the most charming areas of the city. Founded in the 19th century by the inhabitants of Anafi, a Greek island, its architecture and flair definitely mirror the ones from the Cycladic Island. The white small houses and the narrow paths will bring you back in time, and you will even forget to be in the 21st century Athens.
A few steps away from Anafiotika you will find yourself in the heart of Plaka, another typical area of the city which is famous for its architecture and the many shops where to buy souvenirs for your beloved, such as Greek olives, olive oil soap, ouzo and much more.
Enjoy a Typical Greek Meal
If you wander around Athens while being really hungry, there is (almost) nothing better than sitting in a traditional tavern and taste some meals from the Greek tradition. Be it Moussaka, fried fish or Tzatziki, the typical cuisine is likely to satisfy everyone’s preferences.
Alternatively, eating a Pita, the typical bread stuffed with chicken or pork meat, Tzatziki, potatoes and tomatoes, can also be a really good idea: it is a cheap fast meal which is incredibly tasteful.
Moreover, if you want to warm up in a cold day (although Athens does not usually get extremely cold), have a shot of Raki or Ouzo in Plaka or Monastiraki, two of the nicest areas of the city centre. Independently from your choice, here is a trick: try to always eat in restaurants and taverns where many Greek people gather. Usually this is a good sign, therefore the possibility that the food will be good is really high.
Have some Rest in the National Garden
The National Garden is located close to the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Residence. It was initially conceived as the garden of the latter building, but nowadays it belongs to the city of Athens, which makes it possible for everyone to enjoy it all day long.
Walking through the 15-hectare garden is a delightful experience, even in winter times. If you are travelling with children, they will undoubtedly appreciate the many birds and animals which populate the garden, which is also extremely appropriate in the case of a romantic getaway.
Visiting the National Garden can also be a really good way to spend the 1st of January: what is better than starting the year by enjoying a nice, refreshing walk in a fascinating garden?
Witness the Changing of the Guard
When walking in the area of Syntagma Square, it is possible to assist to the changing of the guard. The Greek presidential guards, the Evzones, guard the National Parliament: a shift lasts one hour and it is to be individually worked three times within 48 hours by the same guard.
Being chosen as Evzones is an honour for every Greek soldier. The discipline, precision and dedication to the duty shown by them are worth paying attention to this daily ceremony. It can be observed either in Syntagma Square, where several tourists gather at 11 on Sundays, or in front of the Presidential Residence every hour, with a smaller crowd to appreciate the procedure.
Visit the Acropolis
When spending some time in Athens, it is always worth visiting the Acropolis, symbol of the Greek capital city. Built in the 13th century BC, the Acropolis has much more to offer besides the Parthenon, which however is one of the most impressive elements of the area. The World Heritage Site, protected by the UNESCO, is an example of the finest Greek classical sculpture and architecture, and its majesty can be appreciated from almost every part of the city.
In order to reach the top of the Acropolis, you have to walk through olive trees surrounding the steps, and once on top the view over Athens is simply stunning. Climbing over the Acropolis is an amazing idea for a winter Sunday morning, as on that day of the week the entrance to the site is free for everyone from the 1st of November to the 31st of March.
Admire the Greek Jewellery
Either you want to get your beloved something typical Greek or you want to buy it for yourself, Greek jewellery may be a really good choice. The neighbourhood of Plaka and the city centre offer a wide range of Greek necklaces, rings, bracelets and much more which can be afforded by anyone, either you are a budget traveller or looking for luxury.
Even in the case you are not interested in purchasing any jewel, it is still worth entering those little shops to admire the handmade creations of artisans who will be happy to display them in all their beauty.
Jump on a Tram to Glyfada
If you have a spare day and you are craving for some rest after having visited all of the monuments of Athens, you can get on a tram which is directed to the seaside. In fact, the coast is not very far from the city centre: with a 40 minutes ride, you can reach Glyfada from the very city centre of Athens.
Glyfada is a coastal town which offers several restaurants, shops, and taverns also in the winter season. Eating fresh fish there will not disappoint you, and walking on the beach is a really pleasant experience, as it never gets freezing and the sound of the waves is extremely relaxing even in winter time.
There you have it, I bet you never thought that there were so many things to see and do on a trip to Athens in winter.