Even if you’ve never been to Athens, there’s no doubt that you’ll know that, as the seat of one of the ancient world’s greatest civilisations, it’s packed with jaw-dropping historical sites like the Agios Georgios Church, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Hephaestus and more.
But what if (shock, horror!) these types of iconic sites don’t actually float your boat that much?
Should you bin your trip to the gorgeous Greek capital in search of somewhere more suitable?
You’ll be glad to know that as a city that blends contemporary and ancient elements brilliantly, there’s even more to Athens than all of the above attractions.
If you like seeing the side of a city that’s a little bit different, take a look at these five top tips for alternative Athens!
1. Street Art
Athens has an awesome street art scene and top venue Technopolis (more of which later) held a huge exhibition of Banksy’s work last year. Legendary local artists here include Ath1281, INO, Billy Gee, Thisisopium, Insane 51 and N_grams, so watch out for their tags on eye-popping murals city-wide.
If you’re not happy discovering urban artworks here serendipitously, you can maximise your viewing pleasure with this cool Athens street art map by Street Art Cities.
A bustling boho neighbourhood located between Kolonaki and Kypseli, Exarchia has been a hotbed of radical counterculture for many years, so it’s a must-see for alternative adventurers.
Electro artist Leon of Athens has a recording studio here, there are ramshackle bookshops packed with revolutionary texts, cool cafes aplenty and nightspots like An Club, where you’ll meet all sorts of wonderfully weird characters.
A former gasworks (built in 1857), multi-purpose Athens arts centre Technopolis typically attracts more than 1 million visitors annually with a deep and diverse calendar of events that cover live music, performance art and theatre, contemporary dance, entrepreneurial gatherings and creative workshops for adults and children alike.
This is an ambient space with an awesome atmosphere and there’s sure to be something exciting on when you visit.
Fancy busting a few outrageous moves on the dancefloor? Ekei, at 23-25 Lekka, Historic Centre, is definitely the place to be.
A two-storey building nestled between traditional silverware shops, the dancefloor is always bouncing in the basement (Ekei Kato) and the first floor (Ekei Pano). The infamous Issues club night is held every week and pumps out genres like hip-hop, funk and EDM.
Fancy ditching urban attractions for a day or two to see an ancient attraction with a difference? Meteora is a surreal lunar landscape full of stunning rock pillars and curvaceous cliffsides that fold and flex as far as the eye can see.
357km from Athens, you’ll reach Meteora on the E75 road via Lamia, Domokos, Karditsa, Trikala and Kalapaka. Hire a car in Athens from Enjoy Travel, stay here for a day or two and explore the otherworldly environment and majestic monasteries perched precariously on cliffsides.
That’s our list! Share your own alternative Athens tips in the comments section.