Named after Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, Athens is a gloriously historic city, its origins dating back almost 5,000 years. The city is as famous for its food, fabulous shoe shopping, excellent museums and charming cobbled streets as it is for the many ancient ruins that lay bare so much of its tumultuous past. Experience a taste of Greek life as it was centuries ago when you explore the narrow, cobbled streets of Plaka and enjoy a buzzing nightlife and excellent traditional food at restaurants.
Athens sightseeing involves finding out about the city that is the cradle of Western civilisation, evident in the UNESCO Heritage Site, the Acropolis, which dominates the skyline and the country’s history. It’s a city full of culture and ancient ruins to explore as well as charming fashion design stores and excellent museums.
Why travel to Athens
- Discover the incredible ruins in the city’s landmark, the Acropolis.
- Visit the nearby port of Piraeus, located on a peninsula with three harbours.
- See the incredible Temple of Olympian Zeus – only 15 of its original 104 majestic columns still stand.
- Dine on traditional Greek dishes in authentic tavernas.
- Enjoy the coffee culture like the locals do.
- Shop for bargains and souvenirs in a number of buzzing flea markets.
Let Thompsons Holidays take you on a voyage of discovery, a sightseeing adventure in Athens. A holiday package to Athens will be an unforgettable experience.
Things to do in Athens
The fascinating city of Athens is far more than just the base from which to explore the breathtaking Greek islands. Enjoy a city break full of exciting things to do, historic places to visit and some of the best food you’ll taste in Greece. Immerse yourself in thousands of years of history as you explore the ancient ruins in the UNESCO-listed Acropolis, enjoy an unmatched nightlife in the Plaka below, the old part of the city with charming cobbled streets and excellent traditional tavernas, bars and clubs. Shop for bargains in the flea markets and fabulous leather goods in the modern part of town. And don’t forget to look out for the weirdly dressed Evzones in Syntagma Square en route to unearth more history in Athens’ famous National Archaeological Museum.
Things to do in Athens
- Explore the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio.
- Travel back in time when you visit the Acropolis Museum.
- Laze on glorious beaches on the Athens Riviera.
- Shop for souvenirs in the famous flea market in Monastiraki.
- Climb to the top of Lykavittos Hill for the best city view.
- Explore nearby Piraeus, the country’s main port.
- Enjoy a drink in a rooftop bar with magnificent views.
- Take a city walking tour to enjoy incredible street art and find hidden gems.
- In Syntagma Square, see the traditionally dressed Evzones who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- Discover the Panathinaikos Stadium, where the first Olympic Games were held.
- Explore the National Archaeological Museum, one of the world’s leading museums.
In a city bursting with ancient history, try to take it slow to absorb as much of the ancient treasures as you can, to get to know the friendly locals who live in the city, their lifestyle and their glorious food. Explore Athens on a holiday package with Thompsons Holidays.
Know before you go...
When is the best time to visit?
- The best time to visit Athens is in Spring to early Summer (March to May) and autumn (September to November). There are fewer crowds during these periods.
- The summer high season (late June to early September) experiences very high temperatures.
- Low season is winter, from November to March.
Getting there & getting around
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Athens direct is approximately 9 hours, 30 minutes.
- Athens has an excellent transport system that includes taxis, public buses and trains.
- Depending on when you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear and beachwear if relevant. Choose items that can be layered.
- Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
- Comfortable walking shoes, sandals.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat, swimsuits and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!