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Unusual of off beat attractions in Athens

I'll be in Athens for a couple days on my own in early June before joining a group in the Cyclades. Has anyone had a recent experience (neighborhood, attraction) that they really enjoyed especially if it's outdoors (walking is great) and not terribly crowded. Just want to get a flavor of Athens (I have visited the major sites before), and perhaps some sidebar histories.

Also very interested in Greek Orthodox churches. Thanks.

Posted by
3104 posts

We were just there and enjoyed walks in the National Garden - it's a bit cooler there too!

Posted by
2866 posts

If u start at the MItropoleos (Athens Cathedral) on Mitropolis St. there are several things of interest -- Track on his map - https://www.orangesmile.com/destinations/img/athens-map-big.jpg (click & ir gets huuuge; navigate using side slides)

Just 1 square walking north On ERMOU St is a fascinating tiny VERY old Orthodox church; pop in to see it ... then walk N on EOLOU Street... You will come upon a very modern kind of open Square With a MOdernistic town hall. WHen I did that walk, an ad agency was filming a car commercial, well-dressed men kept getting into a car driving around, dri ving back doing it over. And over. But there's more to see here, on what's called KOTZIA Square -- https://www.athenskey.com/kotzia-square.html ... not modern cars ... but evidence of ANCIENT cars. Right in the middle of the street entering the square, there's a concrete "box" with a glass lid and you look down on archeology!... There and in the window of an adjoing bank ... you will see evidence of an ancient ROAD, with grooves worn in it 2400 or so years ago, by Chariot Wheels. I found it quite an odd contrast, to look down at ancient wheel-tracks, while standing 50 yards from an H&M Fashion outlet.. that article gives more info -

Posted by
264 posts

I suggest you go to the Monastery of Kaisariani which is located a few kilometers from the center of Athens on the slopes of Mount Hymettus, it is located in the forest of Kaisariani.

You can visit the monastery (in the morning) and then take a walk in the forest, there is also a botanical garden.

Do an internet search on this place and see if you are interested.

https://www.gtp.gr/TDirectoryDetails.asp?ID=14839

A taxi can take you there for less than 15 euros or you can take the bus 224 from Syntagma square to Kaisariani stop but then you have to walk for about 1mi.

For taxis in Athens I recommend the "Beat" application, it does not allow you to book a taxi in advance but to request a taxi for an immediate trip, it is used by a large part of the official taxis (the yellow cars) of Athens

Posted by
21067 posts

This is probably not off-the-beaten-path enough, and it's indoors, but I really enjoyed the Cycladic Art Museum. If you haven't gone there in the past, it fits well with your destination on this trip.

Posted by
1767 posts

Also very interested in Greek Orthodox churches.

Then you should not miss Daphni monastery and its supberb 11th century mosaicis. It's accessible by bus. Combine it with a visit of the splendid Byzantine museum in Athens.

Posted by
3620 posts

Not exactly off-the-beaten-path, but very few people were at the Agora. One of the best preserved temples in Greece.

Posted by
951 posts

For something entirely different and sorta off beat check out the Central Markets on Athinas St.

Three separate markets include veggies (very pleasant), seafood (some you may never heard of), and meat (could be a bit too much for the squeamish but certainly something you don't see every day.

Posted by
1304 posts

I really like Pangrati and particularly the area behind the old Olympic stadium: Ardittos Hill and Varnava Square.

The first of these is a park that wraps around the stadium and gives great views of the stadium itself and back across to the Acropolis. To access it you walk on a footpath / small road outside the stadium on its left. (The first part is a flight of steps, the road is called Agras if you want to check it on a map.) Turn right off of Agras onto Archimidous and then almost immediately right again into the park. It looks quite private but isn’t.

Varnava is a couple of blocks back from the park and is in a pleasant neighbourhood. It also has some nice places for coffee / lunch.

If you happen to be there on a Thursday there is a laiki (street market) on Archimidous.

If that doesn’t appeal there are some more central walks here

https://www.discovergreece.com/travel-ideas/cover-story/neighbourhood-tour-athens

Alan

Posted by
7699 posts

Well known, but a trip up to Mt. Lycabettus in Kolonaki gives you a beautiful view of Athens all the way to the sea. There is a tram part of the way up.

Posted by
2866 posts

Have you ever heard of the Pnyx?? It's actually the place where ancient Athens held its democratic assemblies ... and you find it just off the pedestrianized promenade just south of the Acropolils "precinct" -- Look on this great onlline Map - http://www.orangesmile.com/destinations/img/athens-map-big.jpg -(click & it gets huuuge, use side-slides to Navigate) if you are at all interested in the "Golden Age of Athens" this will be thrilling ... you can stand on the very platform where Pericles gave his famous oration -- where Athenians argued, declaimed & voted on the great issues of their time. Here's a great intro - http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/LX/Pnyx.html with photos -- you can see it's a great vantage point for an Acropolis picture.

Posted by
44 posts

Check out Athens entries on atlasobscura.com for some interesting oddities!!

Also we loved the Museum of ancient Greek technology and the byzantine museum.

Posted by
3186 posts

If you're interested in the churches, you might want to peak in at a service.

Posted by
2866 posts

The original poster was in Greek weeks ago... too late for recommends.

Posted by
7699 posts

The First Cemetery in Athens is a beautiful space
filled with sculptures. Many famous Greeks are buried there.

Posted by
6 posts

the original poster may have left, but I'm going in September and I'm interested in this thread. Thanks for all the recommendations and add more!

Posted by
822 posts

ks, I recommend visiting the Athens Central Market with its fish market and meat market. Very interesting!!! We also enjoyed the Athens Flea Market. It is shady, has cafes to stop for a meal and/or drinks, and was not as crowded as the Plaka and Acropolis area. So a good respite from the heat and crowds.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks all. Your tips were great. I finally got out to the Kaiseriani Monastery with friends today on our last day here. It was shady, delightful and we met some of the folks from the "Friends of the Forest" NGO that maintains the botanical trail.

Thanks for all of your generous responses. I felt right at home here.