10 Unusual Things to Do in Athens (Part 2)

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If you’re here, you might’ve read Part 1 of this article. If not, please click here to open the previous article and then come back for a more organized and pleasant reading experience!

6. Indulge in a Traditional Greek Coffee Ritual at a Kafeneio

Athens is renowned for its vibrant cafe culture, but if you really want to experience the traditional Greek way of life, you should seek out a kafeneio – a classic Greek coffee house that has been a staple of the city’s social fabric for generations.

Unlike the sleek, modern cafes that cater to tourists, a kafeneio is a place where locals gather to sip strong, thick Greek coffee, engage in lively conversations, and play traditional card games or backgammon. The atmosphere is often lively and convivial, with the sound of clinking cups and the murmur of animated discussions filling the air.

As you step into a kafeneio, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by the familiar scent of freshly brewed coffee and the warm, welcoming presence of the regulars. Take your time to savor your coffee, engage with the locals, and immerse yourself in the timeless rituals that have defined Greek social life for centuries.

7. Discover the Quirky World of the Athens Polytechnic University Campus

While the Athens Polytechnic University is known for its prestigious academic programs, its campus is also home to a fascinating and unconventional subculture that is well worth exploring. The university grounds are a veritable haven for street art enthusiasts, with vibrant murals, graffiti, and political slogans adorning the walls and buildings.

As you wander through the campus, you’ll be struck by the palpable sense of youthful energy and creative expression. Student-run cafes, bookstores, and cultural centers dot the landscape, offering a glimpse into the vibrant intellectual and artistic life of the university community.

One of the highlights of the Athens Polytechnic campus is the opportunity to attend student-organized events, such as art exhibitions, music performances, and political discussions. These events provide a unique window into the passions and concerns of the city’s younger generation, and offer a refreshingly alternative perspective on Athens’ cultural landscape.

8. Explore the Abandoned Olympic Venues of the 2004 Games

In 2004, Athens hosted the Summer Olympic Games, a landmark event that left a lasting impact on the city’s infrastructure and landscape. While many of the Olympic venues have been repurposed or maintained, a few have been left abandoned, offering a haunting and evocative glimpse into the ephemeral nature of these grand sporting events.

One of the most notable abandoned sites is the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, which was the main stadium and centerpiece of the 2004 Games. Today, the once-vibrant complex stands in a state of eerie disrepair, with weeds growing through the cracked concrete and the echoes of past glory fading into the silence.

Exploring these abandoned Olympic venues can be a thought-provoking experience, as it invites visitors to reflect on the transient nature of global spectacles and the complex legacy they leave behind. While the sites may not be as polished or well-maintained as the city’s more famous attractions, they offer a unique and poignant perspective on Athens’ history and the ongoing challenges of urban development.

9. Indulge in a Traditional Greek Cooking Class

For many visitors to Athens, the city’s rich culinary heritage is one of the main draws. From the iconic souvlaki to the fragrant moussaka, Greek cuisine is a beloved and integral part of the local culture. But why not take your gastronomic experience one step further by immersing yourself in the art of traditional Greek cooking?

Throughout the city, you’ll find a variety of cooking classes and workshops that offer the opportunity to learn from experienced local chefs and home cooks. These classes typically involve hands-on instruction in the preparation of classic Greek dishes, from the perfect tzatziki to the flakiest phyllo pastry.

Beyond just learning the recipes, these cooking classes also provide a deeper insight into the cultural and historical significance of Greek cuisine. You’ll discover the local ingredients, techniques, and traditions that have been passed down through generations, and gain a newfound appreciation for the complexity and richness of this culinary heritage.

Whether you’re a passionate home cook or simply curious about Greek food, a traditional cooking class is a unique and immersive way to connect with the heart and soul of Athenian culture.

10. Explore the Unique Street Art Scene in Psyrri

While the historic city center of Athens is dominated by ancient ruins and neoclassical architecture, the vibrant and eclectic neighborhood of Psyrri offers a completely different perspective on the city’s artistic landscape. This gritty, yet charming district is a hub for street art, with every available surface adorned with colorful murals, bold graffiti, and thought-provoking installations.

As you wander through the winding streets of Psyrri, you’ll be struck by the sheer creativity and diversity of the street art on display. From the intricate, photorealistic murals that depict local icons and scenes to the abstract, expressionistic pieces that challenge the viewer’s perceptions, the art in Psyrri reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage and its vibrant, contemporary spirit.

But the street art in Psyrri is more than just a visual feast – it’s also a powerful medium for social and political commentary. Many of the murals and graffiti pieces tackle issues such as economic inequality, environmental degradation, and the ongoing refugee crisis, offering a unique and thought-provoking perspective on the challenges facing Athens and the wider world.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply curious about the city’s underground culture, a self-guided tour of Psyrri’s street art scene is a must-do activity that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Athens’ multifaceted identity.


Athens is a city that is often overshadowed by its more famous ancient landmarks and monuments, but as this blog post has shown, there is so much more to discover beyond the well-trodden tourist trail. From quirky museums and unconventional cultural experiences to abandoned Olympic venues and vibrant street art scenes, Athens is a city that rewards the curious and adventurous traveler.

By exploring these 10 unusual things to do in Athens, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the city’s rich history, diverse cultural heritage, and contemporary artistic expression. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Athens enthusiast, these offbeat experiences are sure to leave a lasting impression and inspire you to delve even deeper into the many wonders of this captivating Greek capital.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your unconventional adventure in Athens and get ready to uncover the city’s hidden gems!

I'm a musician from Apulia with a big passion for Athens, travelling and digital communication. You can find me on Linkedin or at iunco.jobs@gmail.com!

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