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5 Hidden Gems to Visit In Athens


by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Chloe M.

Last updated : May 29, 20248 min read

Things To Do

Athens is a city that offers a very different vibe when perceived from the point of view of a local. For one, the city’s beauty lies not only in its historical landmarks, but also in its culture and traditions. Of course, it is essential for first-timers to visit the popular attractions such as the Acropolis; but once you’ve exhausted all customary landmark trips and have had enough of the seething crowds, the city is capable of unlocking unrevealed adventures and endless ecstasy if you let it. 


Our local guides have given us the inside scoop of the best hidden gems around Athens. From nondescript bars and beautiful hidden gardens, to unique villages and unfrequented museums, here are 5 hidden gems we suggest you visit on your next trip to the land of the gods. 


Psiri - The Ether of Every Gourmand

Jean Housen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


In the small neighborhood of Psiri lies a vivid and lively gastronome’s heaven in the form of Melanthiou Street. Here you can enjoy amazing cuisine and authentic Greek coffee from a variety of hole-in-the-wall establishments. The area also gets plus points for being two-wheel friendly, with enough space to park your bike or bicycle and grab some coffee and a chat. You can even have your bike fixed for cheap while you browse through the local cafés and stores lining the cobblestone street. 


Another diamond in a sea of glass is Protogenous Street. This street is often overlooked by tourists but well-loved by locals. It is here where you will see the coming together of hipster fashion and the local art scene. The nightlife on Protogenous is simply charged with positive electricity, meaning you are sure to have a grand few days (and nights, of course). 


Travel Tip: Psiri is a lovely neighborhood, but we advise you to visit with a local, especially if you are new to the area. Our guides can suggest the best bars and cafés for a superb afternoon in this quaint district. 


Diomidous Botanical Garden


A recess from the busy streets of Athens is best spent in the company of Mother Nature. In the suburbs of Chaidari, just 5 miles (about 8 km) away from the city center, you will find one of Europe’s largest botanical gardens. Plunge into Diomidous Botanical Garden and enter an enchanting world of flora. Spend a day traipsing through the thousands of hectares of protected land hosting ecosystems mimicking that of different regions of the world. 


The botanical garden is of course a lovely place to relax, but it is also a great place for the aspiring historian. Curious about Apollo’s laurel, profusely mentioned in Greek mythology? Or maybe you’d like to learn more about Jesus’s crown of thorns. The garden allows you to learn about significant plants symbolic throughout history. 


Travel Tip: You can take the buses that head to Koumoundourou. The garden is open from 08:00 – 14:00 on weekdays, and 10:00 – 15:00 on weekends and holidays. Watch out, as on some holidays, the botanical garden may be closed. 


Anafiotika - The Hidden Isle of Plaka

northernsky7007, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The quiet sanctuary of Anafiotika is hidden in plain sight in the village of Plaka at the foot of the Acropolis. Anafiotika is a Cycladic island in a sea of Greek architecture. It is a mouthpiece of the people of Anafi, a tiny island home to carpenters and builders renowned for their masonry. During the time of King Otto, workers from the island of Anafi were relocated to the now Anafiotika in order to refurbish the king’s palace. Today, the neighborhood exudes a uniqueness unbeknownst to most tourists. 


As the sun sets, a climb up the stairs among the iconic white houses of Anafiotika will prove fruitful. Here you can enjoy a glorious view of Mount Lycabettus and the Athens cityscape. Take a remembrance photo by the windows, evoking the boldest of colors as you walk past the red-roofed houses of the district. At night, the area abounds with life as the small tavernas open their arms to tired locals and expectant tourists alike. 


Travel Tip: Plaka is also home to two amazing Byzantine churches; namely, the Church of Agios Georgou tou Vracho and the Church of Agios Symeon, both featuring historic frescoes and rocks from Acropolis hill. 


Athens’ Hidden Bars - An Unforgettable Night Out

Grigorios Komninellis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


After days of shopping, sightseeing, and circumnavigating the twisty thoroughfares of Athens, a delicious digestif in an exclusive bar is the classic crowning stroke of a day well-spent. Athens consists of not only a collection of unique bars - it is a supreme example of the coming together of ancient and contemporary life. 


Take for example The Art Foundation (TAF), camouflaged by an unsuspecting doorway in the middle of Monastiraki Market. Here you will find a courtyard surrounded by its pièce de résistance - the accents and remains of a neoclassical building. TAF is great for a calm nightcap, but if you are in search of some nightlife, head on over to Boiler, a club with no entry fee and all the best music.


The outside is as lively as the inside, and the rooftop holds a lovely surprise for grassroots artists. It is here where international creators can showcase their work live to a myriad of people. 


Travel Tip: Pace your days! If you have time, we suggest you space out your night and day plans. Remember that in Greece dinner starts late (as in 21:00 onwards), so partying ends even later. 


Akadimia Platonos - The Refuge of the Philosopher

Naples National Archaeological Museum, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons


You’ve already battled through the crowds in the early hours of the morning to experience the Parthenon in peace and quiet, but a lust for more adventure can only be appeased by yet another crusade. Hundreds of years ago, in the district of Kolonus, a philosopher with great wisdom and a great many questions pondered the meanings of life and living. 


Akadimia Platonos is the site of the historic Philosophica Academy where philosophers of old argued with the deepest of convictions about happiness, morality, and existence. The park is divided into three sections, itself a great testament to the architecture of the past. After strolling through the greenery and emulating the philosophizing of Greek thinkers, pay a visit to the digital museum to learn more about the life and works of Plato himself. 


Travel Tip: On the weekends, there are some workshops and classes you can take to experience an authentic dialogue and debate akin to those conducted by Plato and his disciples. 



We’ve jumped straight into the action of Athens’ secret spots, a fool-proof way to genuinely enjoy the city as the locals do. In truth, Athens keeps a mass of hidden treasure troves ready to be discovered. To find out more about the city’s less traveled regions, chat with our professional guides to get the most up-to-date insider information. The city of gods awaits. 

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