Hey, I’m Melanie. Since 10 years I travel the world and with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life 💜 Therefore you will find here everything not only about useful travel products, but also about personal travel recommendations & tips!
A Mecca for historically interested people, lovers* of good food and city children – that is Athens, the capital of Greece. In the meantime, a large vegan scene can be found here – eating vegan in Athens, even Greek dishes, is no problem! And of course you must not forget them either: Athens’s sights. They combine history with modernity are a must for fans of architecture and history! In this article I tell you my Athens sights highlights as well as some of my favourite (vegan) Athens restaurants and taverns. What you shouldn’t forget? Comfortable shoes and a good (possibly theft-proof) daypack!
I have to admit, Athens had me on the hook. It has a wonderful city centre, old corners, even older buildings, historically preserved buildings and modern shopping arcades.
But that’s not all, because in Athens food lovers will also get their money’s worth! At least that’s how it went for me and even in four weeks on site I didn’t manage to try through the large selection of vegan cafés and restaurants.
Despite the fact that Athens is a really bustling, busy and crowded city, it also has its own special big city charm that I like to think back to. There’s nothing here that doesn’t exist. Small shops, boutiques and shops everywhere. In between: Food. And in the background or next door: places of interest.
Athens is a great city and a city trip to Athens is definitely more than recommendable! Many travel tips for Athens I have already prepared for you in this article: 11 travel tips for Athens. You’ll find everything you need to know about the best time to travel, how to get there, public transport, a small list of costs for common groceries, hotel recommendations and packing list tips.
In this article I would like to list the Athens sights and my personal highlights. And of course also my favourite restaurants in Athens!
Athens map for sights & tips
Athens is huge in itself and there is much to discover, to eat, to admire and to look at. So for a better overview I have put all my restaurant, bar and café tips as well as my personal highlights on one map: Athens Map (to Google Maps).
Athens Sights and Attractions
Athens has fantastic sights and many cool places all over the city. In order to be well prepared for the sightseeing you should put on good shoes and either a comfortable handbag or a good daypack (if necessary theft-proof).
Florian and I are always on the road with our barefoot shoes. For example, I don’t get back pain anymore with them when we are on the road longer (which was the case with supposedly “normal” shoes). In addition, we never travel without a backpack, because we simply have a water bottle, a jacket or a snack with us. So you are always prepared for everything.
My Athens Highlights
My absolute highlight in Athens was definitely the quarter Monastiraki, where you can rummage through countless flea market stalls and junk shops. From chairs, sideboards, cupboards, lamps, pictures, cutlery, jewellery, crockery and other bells and whistles there is nothing that is not here! Even ship propellers and steering wheels of boats have been accommodated here. A dream to dawdle away time and if necessary to buy one or the other souvenirs!
I was also fascinated by the small alleys and pubs west of Syntagma Square. Life pulsates here, but one or two side streets further on it is much quieter and you can stroll around wonderfully.
An incredibly lively and popular spot is also the quarter around the Municipal Market, where in numerous side streets you will find delicacies shops, carpet dealers, jewellery and art shops and much more are waiting for you!
Or the tourist and scene quarter Plaka with its numerous shops and cafés and restaurants!
Absolutely breathtaking was the view over the city at sunset and night! We could admire and enjoy this every day from our terrace, but a great alternative is Lykabettus Hill. The spot is one of the most popular in Athens, which is why young and old alike meet here. By the way: at the very top there is a restaurant where one can watch the sunset with a delicious meal or a drink.
And of course the Acropolis must not go unmentioned – the landmark of Athens! But I must confess that I had imagined the whole area on the mountain to be somehow more spectacular than it was after all. Nevertheless it was still very impressive and the view from up there to the city is just awesome!
Day Tours & Activities from Athens
In our four weeks we only did one day tour from Athens. And that to Vouliagmeni. This beautiful spot is about 2 hours by bus from Athens and is a great tip if you are looking for some relaxation and less noise!
A tip is the Vouliagmeni Lake, where you can have a wonderful swim. The entrance fee, if I remember correctly, is 12 € per person. The lake is beautifully situated, but if you don’t want to spend the money, on the other side of the road you’ll find beautiful little bays for bathing in the sea!
But sometimes it is just difficult or time-consuming to get to certain places yourself, especially if they are outside and your holiday time is already scarce. But with a guided tour you can easily incorporate this into your travel planning and admire Greek sights a little further away!
Athens Food & Drink
Typical food in Athens is of course meat: Gyros, Souflaki & Co. can be found on almost every corner and there is no shortage of restaurants and cafés – you are spoilt for choice!
A good, reliable source is of course Trip Advisor or Happy Cow for vegans and vegetarians, where you can search for recommended restaurant tips according to your food preferences.
Florian and I have also tried our way through Greek cuisine and exclusively vegetarian-vegan! Yep, that’s of course also possible in a big city like Athens! I am positively surprised by the prices for the food, because you can find local (street) dishes already from 2€.
And of course we were also in one or the other bar or tavern, of which I would like to list my one or two favourite locations.
Popular areas for eating and drinking are generally these here (pssst: These are real Athens insider tips from our landlord!):
- Ano Petralona area (Troon Street, Athens 118 52): Slightly outside the city centre, but still central enough.
- Gazi area (around Persefonis Square, Athens 118 54): It’s also a little off the city centre.
- Kolonaki area (around Skoufa Str and Tsakalof Str): Here we were on the road from time to time.
- Flisvos Marina area at Paleo Faliro 175 61: Lies at the harbour and is great for a (half) day trip to Piraeus in general with a final meal or a drink.
- Zeas Marina area at Piraeus 185 36: It is also located at the harbour and can be combined well with the (half) day trip to Piraeus.
- Glyfada area (around Square Hesperides, Glyfada 166 74): It’s way out of town, south of the coast. Can be combined with a (half) day trip.
Note: You can find all restaurants and cafés listed below in my Google Maps map Athens: to Google Maps.
Athens vegan eat: Restaurants & snack stands (also vegan-friendly)
First of all, a tip: It never hurts to have one or two storage tins with you so that you can have any leftover food packed! That way you’ll do something good for the environment and maybe make some people think about 💜
Don’t miss the small mini-restaurant Vegan Beat. Super nice owners and delicious food!
The vegan Mushroom Gyros and the Seitan Wrap have convinced us in taste! But you’ll also find delicious vegan burgers and desserts – all between two and about five euros.
We had a little chat with the owner and an employee, because the restaurant has only been in existence since mid-2018. Everything is made locally. From the vegan Tzsaziki sauce to the falafel or the meat (which is mainly made from mushrooms).
A clear recommendation from me and definitely have a look!
Oh, that opens my falafel heart! Here you can get fabulous falafel wraps (also with meat) for a few Euros.
The so called Giant-Wrap is really gigantic and I had more than enough – for less than 4€. On request, the Falafel wrap is also available vegan (i.e. without white sauce) – just let the nice cook know.
Don’t be deterred by the long queues of people that sometimes form in front of the entrance – as a rule, the waiters and the food dispensers are relatively jagged. Besides, it’s really worth it!
The Falafellas is a street snack without seats, but there are public seats in the street and it is really nice to just watch all the people while you enjoy eating your wrap.
The Veganaki is a short walk outside the city and is connected to the popular quarter Plaka. Here you’ll find not only an incredibly delicious coffee, but also delicious wraps (try the one with falafel & hummus and the one with vegan zaziki!), salads and soups. The waitresses are very friendly and took a lot of time to explain all the dishes on the menu.
Fancy a kebab, curry or salad? Then Mama Tierra is the right place for you! The restaurant is located near Omonia Square and you should really plan a stop there – the portions are big and the food tastes delicious!
The restaurant is very spartan, but the main thing is that it tastes good!
Athens: Tips for Cafés & Bakeries
Athens’s superlative theme café! The Little Cook is a must if you’re in Athens, because the café decorates the entire interior and exterior, seasonally or on special occasions! When we were there in October, the café was decorated in Halloween, pumpkin, witch and cat style. Also the menu card was graphically adapted – Awesome! The prices for coffee & Co. are a bit more expensive than elsewhere, but in my opinion absolutely justified for the effort, which is done here.
A small, nice vegetarian-vegan café right in downtown Athens, where you can get coffee, cake, tasty meals and snacks. There is also a good selection of vegan options for those who are hungry.
This nice little café is located not far from Monastiraki Square and is therefore a great starting or ending point for exploring the city. The café has vegan milk options for coffee and shakes. We had one cappuccino each, which was not only huge, but also extremely good!
A fabulous patisserie with even more outstanding sweet treats! When I entered the restaurant I always felt as if it were Christmas, because the smell of the sweet treats is simply stunning! Here you will find mainly French and Turkish pastries. You should definitely try these small stuffed mini donuts, which are in the showcase at the entrance and the French cake Mille Fuille (in Greek “Millfei”) made of puff pastry and vanilla cream (so tasty in Greece so far only found at Max Perry!). There are no seats and coffee here, it is a pure bakery to take away the big and small delicacies.
Tip: In order to protect the environment we always have a cloth bag (or the daypack) as well as storage cans and if necessary also our coffee-to-go cups with us on the way, in order to either pack leftovers or spontaneously nevertheless rather take something home with us.
Cool bars & taverns in Athens
There’s really a lot of them! The selection is huge and there is something for every demand and every purse!
My two favourite bars in Athens were the following:
Simply stylish! One of the best jazz bars I’ve been to. It’s small, has a dim atmosphere and is stuffed with big and small jazz and music tricks – top! For a glass of beer, wine or sangria you pay about 5€. For more unusual things like an Old Fashioned also 10€.
Tip: Sit down at the bar – there you’ll always be supplied with fresh (free) water and nuts, while on the other seats self-service is the order of the day.
Cool, stylish location in the centre of Athens! If you have the opportunity, you should definitely take a look at a nightcap here. Recommended: The “Natural Wine” which is produced in the cellar itself or a cocktail, which you can only read from the cocktail card using black light!
Our landlord gave us more tips about cool taverns and bars, which we unfortunately couldn’t all visit:
- Blue Parrot: Leonidou 31, Athens 104 36
- Couleur Locale: Normanou 3, Athens 105 55
- TAF_theartfoundation: Normanou 5, Athens 105 55
- Cain: Anapafseos 22, Athens 116 36
- Bartesera: Kolokotroni 25, Athens 105 62
- Don Kihotis bar: Leof. Al. Papanastasiou 68, Piraeus 185 33
Cool sightseeing tips? Check! Good coffee bars? Check! And a nice bar for the evening? Check! Have you already been to Athens and have further tips about sightseeing or eating vegan in Athens? Or are there any more questions? Then off you go in the comments!
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Hey, I'm Melanie. Tuk Tuk enthusiasts 🚛, coffee lover ☕️, pretzel fan 🥨 and the face behind Backpack up and go.
For more than 10 years I have been travelling the world. I love to search for practical and innovative products and to take a closer look at them for you. And in the future I will focus on more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, services and accommodation - for a greener lifestyle 💚
Because with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life! 💜
Psst: Here you can read more about me!