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24 Non-Touristy Things To Do In Athens- Awesome Experiences In Athens

While many are lured by the iconic silhouette of the Acropolis or the bustling alleys of Plaka, there’s a less-trodden path awaiting those with an adventurous spirit. For those eager to dive deeper and see the city through the eyes of a local, the list of non-touristy things to do in Athens is both exciting and endless. From hidden hilltop vistas to tucked-away tavernas, Athens beckons with a promise of authentic unusual experiences away from the maddening crowds. So, if you’ve got the heart of an explorer and are yearning for a more intimate connection with this ancient city, let’s embark on a journey beyond the postcard sights.

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Helpful Resources For Exploring Non-Touristy Things To Do In Athens

If you’re looking to discover some of Athens’ less-known places, you may like this Athens off the beaten track tour or this tour that pairs you up with a local guide taking you to some of Athens’ not-so-famous places.

For the cheapest flights to Athens, you can use this Qatar Airways special offer. Personally, I use this offer a lot of the time when I fly and get up to 15% off on all flights to Greece.

If you’re looking to rent a car in Greece, my AutoEurope offer can get you 15% off on all car rentals.

For the best deals on local transportation in Greece, check out Busbud (for more info, check out our Busbud review).

For accommodation deals in Athens, use this Booking offer to get 10% off on all accommodation rentals in the city.

Last but not least, don’t forget about travel insurance. From my own experiences, I’d steer you towards SafetyWing. Unlike some insurers that might tempt with low rates but skimp on coverage, SafetyWing ensures a comprehensive shield. For a deeper dive, check out our SafetyWing review.

Kifisia Suburb – Athens’ Luxurious Oasis

Kifisia non touristy things to do in athens

We’re starting this list of non-touristy things to do in Athens with one of its less popular suburbs- Kifisia. Unlike the bustling heart of the city, Kifisia seems to breathe a different kind of air; it’s cooler, perhaps a bit crisper, reminiscent of the way Hemingway might’ve felt sipping on a cool drink on a Spanish afternoon. The streets are lined with sophisticated boutiques and lush green parks, providing a retreat for those with discerning tastes.

Historic mansions whisper stories of bygone eras, while chic cafes spill laughter and chatter onto tree-canopied avenues. It’s a place where modernity meets tradition, where the spirit of Athens is captured but with a more refined, laid-back touch. As the sun sets, casting long shadows over its tranquil streets, one can’t help but feel that Kifisia isn’t just a suburb; it’s an experience.

Glyfada Neighborhood – Coastal Charm Meets Urban Vibe

Glyfada non-touristy things to do in athens 2

Set along the sun-kissed Athenian Riviera, it offers a breezy respite from the city’s ancient grandeur. The fusion of upscale boutiques, vibrant nightclubs, and traditional fish markets creates a uniquely Athenian mosaic, far removed from the usual tourist circuits. Most travelers chase the echoes of Plato and Socrates in the city center, overlooking this coastal enclave. But in Glyfada, you find the authentic rhythm of local life — an intimate dance between the Aegean’s waves and Athens’ urban soul. 

Anafiotika Neighborhood – The Island Feel in the City’s Heart


Nestled in the shadow of the Acropolis, Anafiotika is a delightful anomaly in Athens’ urban sprawl. This neighborhood, with its narrow paths and cascading bougainvillea, defies the city’s chaotic hustle. Crafted by masons from the island of Anafi, Anafiotika feels like a secret whispered among Athenians. While tourists tread the well-worn paths to historic ruins, those in the know escape to this enclave to find the city’s heartbeat. It’s a place where cats laze in sunlit corners and locals share tales as old as the city itself. Venturing to Anafiotika is not just about sightseeing; it’s about experiencing Athens as it was and as it remains in hidden pockets — raw, charming, and untouched by time’s touristy tides.

Food Tour – Culinary Adventures Through Grecian Flavors

non-touristy things to do in athens

When in Athens, why limit oneself to just the typical gyros stands and moussaka-packed tourist traps? Dive deep into the culinary heart of the city with the Original Greek Food Tour. Wander through age-old markets, savoring olives straight from the barrel and cheeses you won’t find in your average guidebook. Stumble upon quaint eateries where locals gather, and relish dishes passed down through generations. Among the non-touristy things to do in Athens, this food tour stands out as an authentic feast for the senses.

Cocktail Hour In Kolonaki – Athens’ Chic Nightlife


As the sun dips below the horizon, the Kolonaki district awakens with its characteristic cosmopolitan allure. Trendsetters and those in the know drift to some of the area’s most stylish bars, where mixologists craft concoctions that are as much art as they are refreshment. Cocktail hour in Kolonaki is all about immersing oneself in a scene where modern Athenian elegance unfolds. While the Acropolis stands testament to the city’s ancient grandeur, Kolonaki speaks of the capital’s contemporary spirit. For those hunting for non-touristy things to do in Athens, an evening here offers a glimpse into the genuine rhythms of local life in the Greek capital.

The Archaeological Museum – Unraveling Ancient Mysteries

Archaeological Museum

Within the walls of the Archaeological Museum of Athens is where the epochs of history converge, sharing ancient tales of heroism, artistry, and civilization. While Athens is a city known for its outdoor ancient ruins and other historic sites, this museum offers an intimate journey through some of the city’s most important forgotten artifacts and relics away from the crowds of the Parthenon or the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

So, for those seeking non-touristy things to do in Athens, a visit here is akin to holding a magnifying glass over the intricate details of Greece’s storied past. It’s where you’ll encounter the whispers of artisans, warriors, and everyday Athenians who once walked the very grounds you tread upon.

The Benaki – Cultural Tapestry of Greek History

benaki museum athens

Tucked away from Athens’ bustling streets, The Benaki Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the unique cultural tapestry of Greek history. From ancient pottery to Byzantine icons and contemporary artworks, The Benaki encapsulates Greece’s multifaceted legacy in a singular, glorious setting. In the Benaki, every exhibit tells tales of artistry, resilience, and evolution and even its corridors echo with whispers of history. For those delving into non-touristy things to do in Athens, The Benaki offers an intimate experience, a chance to commune with the heart and soul of Greece beyond its iconic landmarks. 

The Cycladic Museum – Delving into Island Heritage

Cycladic Museum

Amid the intricate mosaic of Athens’ cultural landmarks, The Cycladic Museum offers something different; a deep plunge into the island heritage of Greece. The museum tells tales of the ancient Cyclades (the sun-drenched islands scattered like pearls across the Aegean Sea). The museum captures the essence of Cycladic civilization with its characteristic marble figurines, alluring in their simplicity and abstraction. Every exhibit seems to sway to the rhythm of the waves, echoing the islanders’ profound connection to the sea and the earth. And as one traverses this repository, it feels as though the wind-swept landscapes of the Cyclades beckon, their history is interwoven with the very fabric of Hellenic culture.

Numismatic Museum – Coins Tell Tales of Time

Numismatic Museum

In the heart of Athens, the Numismatic Museum is a unique museum dedicated to coins that appeared in this part of the world in different parts of history. Housed in a neoclassical mansion, the museum holds more than just metallic currency; it’s a vast chronicle of history, art, and culture. Each coin, from ancient drachmas to Byzantine solidi, carries with it a story, a testament to the political upheavals, societal norms, and artistic endeavors of its individual era. The delicate imprints and engravings speak volumes, revealing insights into the aspirations and values of civilizations that once thrived. 

Wax Museum of Andreas Syggros – Lifelike Journeys Through History

athens wax museum

Nestled away from the bustle of Athens, the Wax Museum of Andreas Syggros is a hidden gem that offers a vivid walk through the annals of history. With lifelike wax figures that seem to breathe life, it transports visitors to epochs and eras, letting them brush shoulders with luminaries and ordinary folk alike.

Every figure, meticulously crafted, captures the essence of time, holding still moments that shaped the trajectory of civilization. While most flock to the iconic ruins and marbled temples of Athens, delving into this museum is one of those non-touristy things to do in Athens that promises an immersive experience. If you’re seeking a detour off the beaten path, let the Wax Museum guide you through tales that time almost forgot.

National Observatory of Athens – Gazing at Celestial Wonders

National Observatory of Athens 2

Perched atop the Nymphs’ Hill in Thiseio, the National Observatory of Athens stands as a sentinel to the universe. It’s a place where the cosmic expanse unfolds, where stars, planets, and galaxies come into sharp, breathtaking focus. Established in the 19th century, this institution has charted the heavens for decades, contributing to our understanding of the universe’s vast intricacies.

Visitors are invited to share in this celestial voyage, to peer through telescopes, and to witness the dance of the constellations. Beyond its scientific prestige, the Observatory also offers panoramic views of Athens, its ancient ruins juxtaposed against the modern cityscape. While many are drawn to the more popular attractions of the city, the Observatory remains one of those non-touristy things to do in Athens.

Akadimia Platonos – Where Philosophy Was Born

Akadimia Platonos

Nestled within the urban tapestry of Athens lies Akadimia Platonos, a hallowed ground where the echoes of ancient dialogues still linger. It’s here that the legendary philosopher Plato founded his academy in the 4th century BCE, transforming a grove dedicated to the hero Akademos into the epicenter of Western thought.

Beyond its rich historical significance, Akadimia Platonos offers a serene escape from the bustling Athenian streets. Its tree-lined avenues and verdant spaces invite quiet contemplation, a chance to muse on one’s own philosophical queries. As the sun casts long shadows over the remnants of the academy’s structures, it’s easy to imagine the lively debates that once filled the air.

Poulopoulos Hat Factory – Crafting Elegance One Hat at a Time

Poulopoulos Hat Factory

Established decades ago, the Poulopoulos Hat Factory has long been shaping the heads of Athenians and visitors alike with its impeccable designs. Each hat, carefully crafted with precision and an eye for detail, tells a story of elegance and style, weaving tradition with contemporary flair. Rows of unfinished hats await their final touches, while master craftsmen, with years of experience etched into their hands, meticulously shape and mold, ensuring each hat is nothing short of perfection.

What sets Poulopoulos apart is not just their unparalleled craftsmanship but also their commitment to keeping the age-old tradition of hat-making alive. In an era of mass production, they hold steadfast to bespoke creations, understanding that true elegance lies in uniqueness.

The Gennadius Library – Treasures of Literature and Knowledge

Gennadius Library

Nestled in the vibrant heart of Athens, The Gennadius Library stands as a silent guardian of literature and knowledge. It’s not just a library; it’s an ode to the rich tapestry of human thought, an embodiment of our insatiable quest for understanding. And for those seeking non-touristy things to do in Athens, this is a portal to an intellectual adventure.

Founded by the esteemed bibliophile Joannes Gennadius, the library is home to a wealth of manuscripts, rare books, and unique archives, each echoing tales from bygone eras. Wander through its corridors, and you’ll be walking alongside giants of literature, philosophy, and art. Every shelf, every nook holds stories that span centuries, waiting for the curious soul to unearth them.

Ghika Gallery – Celebrating Greek Artistic Genius

Ghika Gallery

In the heart of Athens, away from the well-trodden tourist trails, the Ghika Gallery is one of Athen’s best-kept secrets. This gallery celebrates the incredible talent and vision of one of Greece’s most renowned artists, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika. Ghika’s work is a unique combination of deeply rooted Hellenic traditions and uniquely contemporary elements and serves as a testament to the dynamic nature of Greek art.

His paintings feature many intricate details and vibrant hues while displaying tales of Greek landscapes, mythology, and even everyday life, blended seamlessly with modern abstract sensibilities. What’s truly mesmerizing about the Ghika Gallery is the intimate connection it offers to the Ghika’s world; inside, the gallery feels like stepping into Ghika’s universe, witnessing the evolution of his style, and understanding his inspirations.

Nitra Gallery – Contemporary Art in Classic Athens

Nitra Gallery

The Nitra Gallery offers a compelling juxtaposition: a classic setting with a modern pulse. The gallery is famous among locals for its sleek interiors and curated exhibitions, making it Athens’ ultimate haven for contemporary art enthusiasts. Venturing into the gallery, visitors are welcomed into a realm where imagination knows no bounds.

Every piece showcased inside the gallery, all artwork from bold paintings and thought-provoking sculptures to mesmerizing contemporary installations, challenges conventions and often sparks lively discussions among visitors. The artwork doesn’t just speak; it converses, questions, and sometimes even playfully debates with the observer, making a trip to the Nitra Gallery one of the best non-touristy things to do in Athens.

Street Art in Exarchia – Urban Canvases of Revolution

Exarchia non-touristy things to do in athens

Nestled amid the vibrant streets of Athens is Exarchia, a lively area pulsating with a rebellious spirit and walls that speak, or shall I say, tell stories. Far removed from the typical ancient temples and museums, the street art of Exarchia offers a unique insight into Athens’ underbelly, things you won’t read in the tourist brochures and see in the famous museums, making this neighborhood one of the best non-touristy things to do in Athens if you’re looking for an experience both authentic and profound.

Exarchia it’s the birthplace of Athens’ counterculture, where every spray-painted mural and graffiti tag tells a story. A story of resistance, revolution, freedom, etc. These aren’t just artworks; they are powerful social commentaries, chronicling the thoughts, dreams, and aspirations of a generation that refuses to be silenced.

Queen Amalia’s Tower – Royal Tales and Panoramic Views

Pyrgos Vasilissis

For those with a penchant for unearthing hidden gems in bustling cities, The Queen’s Tower (Pyrgos Vasilissis) is a piece of history that goes beyond the Greek capital’s famed ancient ruins. Tucked away from the well-worn tourist tracks, this historic tower offers tales of royal character but also some of the most breathtaking vistas of Athens, providing a unique blend of culture and scenic beauty.

The Queen’s Tower has been a silent witness to an era where royalty held sway over Greece, a story that can be heard and felt as you meander through its ornate rooms, with each artifact and portrait unraveling a tale from a different era. The tower still stands proudly today, serving as a poignant reminder of a bygone age, yet blending seamlessly with the narrative of a city that has seen empires rise and fall throughout the years.

The House of the Caryatids – Architectural Marvels of Athens

House of the Caryatids

In the heart of Athens, a city celebrated for its illustrious history stands The House of the Caryatids – a symbol of Grecian architectural prowess that often gets overshadowed by the Acropolis and Parthenon. However, what you may not know is that this lesser-known hidden gem offers an intimate glimpse into the underrated artistry of ancient Athenian builders. In case you’re not familiar with the term, Caryatids are sculpted female figures, gracefully poised, in this context, this a reference to the building’s architectural pillars that are more than just support beams, they’re rather symbols of strength, grace, and endurance.

The First Cemetery of Athens – Peaceful Rest Amidst History

First Cemetery of Athens

Now, you might think that a cemetery is nothing more than a place of mourning but let me tell you, dear reader, this one is not. It’s actually a testament to the rich tapestry of Athenian life and a completely unexpected haven of art and history.

Despite its name, the First Cemetery of Athens was established in the 19th century, and in addition to being a final resting place for the departed, it’s also an open-air museum, showcasing some of the finest funerary art and sculpture in Greece and for that matter, in the whole region. As you meander through the cemetery, you’ll find yourself amidst impressively carved tombstones, grand mausoleums, and statues that could be compared to works in the world’s most famous galleries.

Tower of the Winds – Timekeeping the Ancient Way

Tower of the Winds

The tower was built in ancient times and for years it served as one of the city’s most important horologist and meteorologist stations. While most tourists that visit the Greek capital are drawn to the grandeur of the Acropolis, the few ones in the know often seek out this octagonal marvel as one of the best non-touristy things to do in Athens.

The Tower of the Winds, or Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes as it was originally named, is very possibly the world’s first meteorological station- it was built in the 2nd century BC and is proof of not only the Ancient Greek architecture prowess but also their insatiable curiosity and scientific acumen. Interestingly, each of its eight sides faces a point of the compass and is adorned with a relief of the wind deity that represents that direction.

Kape Beach Secluded Cove – A Hidden Gem of Serenity

kape beach Athens

Speaking of the best non-touristy things to do in Athens, we can’t forget about the secret Kape Beach Cove. If you ever get tired from the hustle and bustle of the capital, this pristine patch of sand offers a tranquil respite from the usual tourist hotspots. Set against a backdrop of rugged cliffs and blanketed by azure waters, Kape Beach is your typical seaside retreat- its crystal-clear waters offer an ideal setting for snorkeling and diving, revealing a mesmerizing underwater realm teeming with marine life.

However, this place wouldn’t be that tranquil if it was easy to find. The beach is only a short drive from the city center, but to get there, you need to walk a scenic trail that leads to this secluded paradise. 

Lake Vouliagmeni – Nature’s Thermal Spa Retreat

Lake Vouliagmeni

Lying peacefully under the shadow of the Hymettus mountains, where the capital’s Riviera meets lush strips of greenery, you’ll discover one of the most peaceful spots around Athens – Lake Vouliagmeni. Often referred to as “Nature’s Thermal Spa Retreat,” this enchanting lagoon is a wonder of nature with its therapeutic properties.

The lake is fed by underground springs and has lukewarm waters that hover between 22 to 29°C throughout the year, making the lake a delightful place to visit regardless of the season. But what truly sets it apart are the rich minerals and salts present in the water, known for their healing benefits, making visitors from around the world plunge into its depths.

Lycabettus Hill – Ascend to Athens’ Highest Peaks

Lycabettus Hill 2

Last but not least, we wrap up this list of non-touristy things to do in Athens with Lycabettus HillSpeaking of panoramic viewpoints, the Acropolis is known as the city’s crowning jewel, but what if I tell you that you can get the same views (if not better) without the crowds at Lycabettus Hill?

Towering over the skyline of the Greek capital, Lycabettus Hill, or “Mount Lycabettus,” as some call it, is the highest geographical point in Athens (207 meters/908 feet). The journey to the summit might be a bit of a trek, but rest assured, every step is worth the reward that awaits in the shape of gorgeous panoramic views of terracotta rooftops, skyscrapers, and bustling squares from a bird’s eye perspective. And if you don’t feel like a long walk, you can also get to the top via funicular.

How did you like this list of non-touristy things to do in Athens? Did you ever visit any of them? Feel free to share your awesome experiences in the comments below.

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