Even if you’re not travelling on a budget, it’s good to know what activities you can enjoy without spending any money. If your travel destination happens to be Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece, here are 10 recommendations from our local Manos.
1. Enjoy scenic views from Lofos Strefi
“Strefi Hill” is located at the top edge of the Exarhia neighbourhood. It’s covered with trees and has a football field and a basketball court. You can enjoy panoramic views of the city from its peak. A lot of parties are held here during summer, with psychedelic, alternative and rock music. In general, it’s a great place to relax with friends after a long walk around the city.
View from Lofos Strefi. Photo credit: stanjourdan
2. Embros Theatre offers many free events
Embros Theatre is an old newspaper factory that was shut down in 2007. In 2011, it was squatted by theatre groups and locals who needed a cultural hub. It has since been open to everyone and continues to be self-managed, relying on community donations. Events take place here almost every day. Besides plays, there’s a self-managed bar, a chill-out area and exhibition rooms. Many festivals, movie screenings and discussions also take place here, and parties are regularly held on the first floor.
3. Hike at Mount Parnitha
Parnitha is one of the mountains surrounding the Attica Basin. You’ll find hiking trails starting on all sides of this green heaven. Comfortable huts set a few hours apart provide refuge for hikers during bad weather, but they’re also good places for sleeping. You can organise day trips or weekend excursions with your friends. The pine forests’ palpable feeling of emptiness will take your stress away.
Photo credit: Christos Loufopoulos
4. Hang out with locals at Nosotros
Nosotros was established in 2005 and has since become a living democratic organism in the centre of Exarhia. All kinds of activities take place here, always with a focus on direct democracy. Right now Nosotros offers Greek, Spanish and Italian language classes. You can also attend political discussions and yoga classes, or simply enjoy a drink at their café. Various activities and screenings are held on the rooftop during summer. Check the schedule on their website to see what’s coming up.
5. Explore the Vryssaki cultural multiplex
Located on a secluded and picturesque street, Vryssaki features different rooms and floors, each with a different role. Exhibition rooms surround the main courtyard, plus there’s a small library. There’s also a café on the rooftop where you can enjoy great views of ancient monuments in the surrounding areas. New activites are announced every year and you can apply to attend them for free. Yoga, dance and foreign language classes are some of the most popular ones.
6. Climb in the centre of Athens at Filopappou Hill
An extension of Acropolis Hill, Filopappou Hill features a steep cliff that’s great for rock climbing. Experts have fixed all the necessary gear to the rocks, so it’s packed with climbers when the weather is good. It’s suitable for climbers of all levels. If you’re not a climbing fan, you can just grab a beer and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains surrounding Athens and the Port of Piraeus.
Photo credit: Christos Loufopoulos
7. Vrahakia is another good spot to enjoy panoramic views of the city
Vrahakia means small rocks. It’s the top part of Aeropagus Hill and the views are absolutely stunning. From here, you can see how big Athens actually is, including the mountains surrounding the Attica Basin. Climbing up to Vrahakia is a great way to start the day. You can enjoy a coffee and your friends’ company before heading to other attractions. From the other side of Vrahakia, you can see the entrance to the Acropolis, which is located just a few steps away.
8. Movie buffs should head to the University Cinema Club
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has a cinema club in the heart of the city called IRIDA. Whether you’re a student or not, you can watch movies for free and take free cinema classes. The cinema room is quite old and the interior design takes viewers to another era. There’s a weekly schedule (posted outside the cinema room) and you can watch a movie for free almost every day!
9. Visit Monastiraki flea market
Monastiraki is not actually a flea market, but a shopping area. There are many souvenir shops, galleries, clothing boutiques, vintages shops and all kinds of other stores in this area. There are also cafés where you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee and rest for a minute. The area resembles a flea market on Sundays when the shops tend to be closed and people bring out their tables and stuff they’d like to sell. You can access this area via Monastiraki metro station.
Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus
10. Discover Athens at night with a special biking group
Athens is not the safest place for cyclists. The ridiculous number of cars combined with a lack of infrastructure for bikes led to the creation of this cycling group. It’s open to anyone who wants to take a night ride around Athens! Moving around in a group makes cycling safer and much more fun. The members meet every Friday in Asomaton Square, following a different route each time. It’s the best way to enjoy Athens by night and a great way to explore the city’s streets and neighbourhoods. Check their Facebook group for upcoming events and always follow the safety rules.
Photo credit: Antinea
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Opening photo credit: sixtwelve