Romantic things to do in Athens

The best of romantic Athens for couples

Rich in history, architecture and traditions, Athens is one of the most picturesque and fascinating places to visit in Greece. Crumbling remnants of ancient temples, foliage-bursting courtyards and poetry recited beneath the moonlight not only give you a flavour of Athens’ vibrant culture, but it’s easily an extremely romantic destination, too. There are seafront promenades to stroll along in nearby Navplio, mezedes to snack on in Plaka and evening visits to the Acropolis, which is beautifully lit-up after dark. In fact, there’s a whole host of romantic things to do in Athens; read the full list below to discover more.

  1. See the Acropolis after dark
  2. Find your truth at the Delphi oracle
  3. Linger in Nafplio
  4. While the evening away in Plaka
  5. Watch a moonlit festival
  6. Snack on mezedes or share a slice of ravani with a view

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. See the Acropolis after dark

One of the most iconic sites in Greece, the crumbling Acropolis marks the focus of ancient Athens. It’s one of the most significant cultural sights in Athens, if not the western world, but getting up close and personal with it affords detailed views of its classical sculpting and architectural detail. Needless to say, it’s one of the most popular places to visit in Athens, but visit in the evening (until 5pm or 8pm) not just to avoid the main swell of tourists, but for the ambience. The Acropolis is lit up beautifully at night, making a visit one of the most atmospheric things to do in Athens.

Best for: Top sights.

Don’t forget: Even if you’re down on ground level, watching the sun set around the Acropolis is just as romantic.

2. Find your truth at the Delphi oracle

This day or overnight trip from Athens is well worth it; three hours west of the city lies Delphi, which was the spiritual centre of the ancient Greek world. It was home to the renowned priestess who sat inside the Temple of Apollo and would enter a trance as the god entered her before uttering oracles. This was where major decisions were made, so it was well-regarded as an important site. Although all that remains today are huge columns, circular foundations and other remnants, it’s oh-so-romantic to take in the atmosphere of this spiritual area, now surrounded by sparse landscape, and think about what you would’ve liked to have asked the priestess yourself.

Best for: Day trips.

Don’t forget: The close-by museum houses artefacts found at the site.

3. Linger in Nafplio

The picturesque port town of Nafplio is worth lingering in, for a day trip or overnight. Churches and mosques grace the streets, while the protected Old Town retains traditional architecture and a local way of life. Couples will enjoy taking it easy here; the travel to and from Athens is about as much as you need to exert yourself. In the evening, join the locals and stroll along the seaside promenade to take in the gentle sea breeze.

Best for: Those looking for quiet ports.

Don’t forget: The archaeological museum showcases local artefacts.

4. While the evening away in Plaka

Wind your way through the narrow streets of Plaka, one of Athens’ most charming areas. You can admire the neoclassical mansions here, such as the University of Athens. Check out the wares for sale that shopkeepers put out on the narrow lanes, and take a turn around the quiet squares before stopping off for dinner. While many places are aimed for tourists, there are a few places where you can simply enjoy one another’s company, at the likes of To Kageneio – the prices aren’t too bad, either, so you can sit back and people-watch at one of the outdoor tables.

Best for: Romantic evenings.

Don’t forget: Visit the Frissiras Museum or the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

5. Watch a moonlit festival

During the summer months, there’s the chance to watch an atmospheric open-air performance at Herodes Atticus. Tickets are fairly pricey, and on the bill includes choral concerts, dances and recitals from world-class performers. This is a fantastic way to soak up the culture of Athens – and bonus points if it’s held under moonlit, the natural glow lighting up the surroundings. It truly tops the list for one of the most romantic things to do in Athens.

Best for: Culture by the moonlit.

Don’t forget: You can venture further afield to the Epidauros Festival, with bus transfer included in the ticket price.

6. Snack on mezedes or share a slice of ravani with a view

One of the most romantic things you can do with your partner during your Athens holidays is to tuck into the local cuisine. Tavernas, psistaraias (grilled-meat establishments) and kafenio (coffee shops) line the streets, and offer an ambience to authentic foods and drinks. Sharing a few small plates of mezedes (appetizers) with your partner can make up a full meal, and is a fun way to get to know the local food scene. If you’ve room for dessert, opt for a slice of honey-soaked sponge cake, otherwise known as ravani. Not only will you and your partner get to taste the same delicious flavours, but you can admire the traditional decor that usually accompanies the establishment; think bright bursts of foliage, painted door frames and handwritten boards. How quaint!

Best for: Foodies.

Don’t forget: Seeing as you’re pretty close to the sea, pay a visit to a psarotavernes (seafood restaurant) for a fresh catch of the day.

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