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Athens is a vibrant city offering many things to do all week, day and night. Sundays, however, have their own unique charm in the Greek capital. The last day of the week is worth a special mention, whether because locals take over the streets from early morning or the city fills with flea markets and live music shows.
Here are a few ideas on what to see and do on a Sunday in Athens to experience the city like a true local.
Flea market in Monastiraki and Avissinias square
On Sundays, flea markets pop up in several neighborhoods around the city. Stores and shopping malls, which are closed on this day, give way to stalls with second-hand items and creations of local artisans.
Even if you don’t like shopping, it is the perfect opportunity to explore a different side of the Athenian shopping scene.
Start from the Monastiraki flea market along Ifaistou street and stop at the adjacent alleys and the scenic Avissinias square.
Here you’ll find items ranging from records, books, and knick-knacks to furniture, utensils, and interior decoration items.
Hone your bargaining skills, blend in with the locals and discover the perfect souvenir to bring back home. The flea market of Monastiraki is open on Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm.
Evzones and the Ceremonial Changing of the Guard
Another must-see Sunday event is the ceremonial Changing of the Guard at Syntagma square.
While seeing the guards (Evzones) dressed in traditional costumes is something you can do even on the weekdays, every Sunday, Evzones wear their official dresses and, accompanied by a band, they march along the Vasilissis Sofias Avenue to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament.
Here at 11 am takes place the traditional ceremony of the Changing of the Guard, which is definitely worth your while.
And if you think it is a bit touristy, you’ll soon notice that it is also a favorite Sunday city excursion for local families with kids.
Stroll through the National Gardens and Zappeion Hall
The National Gardens of Athens are a true oasis in the city’s heart, just a few minutes from Syntagma Square, ideal for a refreshing afternoon walk in the summertime.
Stroll through the gardens’ 7000 trees to discover six ponds, exotic plants, flowers, and colorful animals, as well as a small children’s playground.
Before you leave, spend some time at the enchanting cafe at the entrance of Irodou Attikou Street and pass by the famous neoclassical building that houses the Zappeion Hall.
If you’re visiting in summer, we recommend watching a movie at the Aegli open-air cinema, just a few steps away from Zappeion Hall.
Go Souvenir Hunting
Few visitors realize that the city can offer much more apart from all the archaeological sites and historical monuments.
Souvenir hunting is one of the best things to do on a Sunday in Athens and is truly a uniquely entertaining experience.
From buying “evil eye” talismans in the little shops of Plaka or exploring the famous Aiolou Street and Agiou Markou Street in downtown Athens to browsing through fresh herbs and spices in Evripidou street, we’re certain you’ll have a hard time picking out just one souvenir.
Visit the Panathenaic Stadium
Are you ready to be transported to ancient Athens, witness the glory of a massive marble stadium and feel like a real Olympian athlete? If so, the Panathenaic Stadium should not be missing from your Sunday in Athens bucket list.
The impressive historical monument is one of the most popular attractions in Athens, offering a great opportunity to learn more about the city’s history while being outside in the sun.
And the best part? It’s allowed to jog in the stadium’s tracks from 07:30 am until 09:00
Go for Brunch or a Meze in Downtown Athens
We, Athenians, say: If your Sunday in Athens doesn’t involve coffee, ouzo, and meze, then you’re doing it wrong.
Athens experiences 300 days of sunshine annually, and hopefully, the weather will favor you on your exploration Sunday to fully absorb the city life.
Because on sunny Sundays, you’ll see that around noon, locals hit the outdoor tables at cafes in the hipster neighborhoods of Pagrati or Koukaki to savor a tasteful brunch or choose the more traditional tavern-like places (colloquially: mezedopoleia) in Metaxourgeio or Exarchia for meze.
In some cases, live music comes alongside the greek dishes. Chances are you’ll end up savoring cocktails or raki till the evening. These hangout spots will give you the feeling you are in the most bustling and vibrant city.
Visit a Museum
If we had to name one thing the Greek capital is known for: its remarkable monuments and world-class museums.
Luckily most of them are open on Sundays, so if you opt to add a cultural exploration to your day, the city’s museums are sure to keep you smiling.
Local’s tip: Did you know that all museums in Athens are free every first Sunday of each month from November to March? Check out your options in a complete list of all the museums in Athens right below.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC)
If the weather is too good to spend your Sunday in Athens in a museum hall, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is the perfect alternative.
Situated in the eastern suburbs of Athens, the modern cultural center spans 21 hectares. Featuring elegant buildings and decorated with fountains, SNFCC is an ideal place to take a walk, ride a bike or enjoy an outdoor picnic.
There are several canteens for takeaway food and drink. And if you want to end your day with a romantic dinner with an explicit city view, make sure to book a table at the Delta Restaurant.
- Address: Andrea Syngrou Avenue 364, Kallithea, Athens 176 74
Visit the Acropolis on a Sunday
You probably saw this coming, but we can’t overlook the fact that visiting the Acropolis will always be one of the best things to do in Athens on a Sunday.
We’re sure climbing up Acropolis Hill will be on your list anyway, so why not do it with all the locals on a Sunday?
After you’re done enjoying the Parthenon and the city views from above, head over to Dionysiou Areopagitou street in Thission to browse the stalls of street art vendors and savor a glass of ice-cold espresso.
Dexameni square and Hadrian’s Reservoir in Kolonaki
Another place ideal for a Sunday walk is Dexameni square in Kolonaki. Cozy and lively, the little square in Athens’ high-end neighborhood lures families with kids, groups of friends, and lovebirds from early in the morning.
You’ll see them reading the newspaper on the wooden benches, savoring a filling breakfast at the funky Dexameni cafe, or on their way to Lycabettus hill.
The historic square took its name from Hadrian’s reservoir, which dates back to the 2nd century AD and adorns the place to this day. Make a stop to learn the story of what used to be Athens’s water supply system before choosing your spot for the day.
If you’re visiting Athens in summer, consider watching a movie at the outdoor Cine Dexameni, which sits on top of the square. You can also walk up Lycabettus hill or explore the rest of the Kolonaki area.
Get an Island Vibe in Anafiotika
Lined with tiny, charming white-washed houses that will make you think you just arrived at a small Greek island village, Anafiotika is one of the most impressive hidden gems of the city located on the slope of Acropolis Hill.
Walk on the cobblestoned alleyways alongside stray cats through quaint flower-covered backyards to discover elegant Byzantine churches like the Church of St. George of the Rock, enjoy the views of the city from above and snap astonishing photos to show your friends back home.
When you’re done exploring, head towards the Plaka neighborhood just below Anafiotika for a delicious lunch in one of the popular traditional taverns.
Climb atop Lycabettus Hill
Walking up Lycabettus Hill is one of our favorite things to do on a Sunday in Athens and is undeniably one of the most spectacular outdoor places in the city.
This picturesque hill is the highest point in the city, offering immaculate views over the Acropolis Hill, the Ancient Agora, and the Panathenaic Stadium all the way down to the coastline of Athens and the Saronic Gulf.
On top of Lycabettus Hill, you’ll find the picturesque church of St. George, a lavish restaurant called Orizontes, and a viewing platform, highly recommended for enjoying sunset views.
If the winding path that leads up the hill seems too demanding, you can always hop on the Lycabettus cable car – one of the most unique experiences you can have in Athens.
Watch a Movie at an Open-Air Cinema
Sundays are for movies. And if you’re visiting Athens in late spring or summer, you don’t want to miss out on watching a movie at an outdoor cinema.
Scattered in numerous neighborhoods around the city, outdoor cinemas offer a unique experience as you watch an all-time classic movie while soaking in the urban landscape.
Some of our favorites are Cine Thisio on Apostolou Pavlou Street, Zefyros in Petralona, and Cine Paris on Kithathineon Street.
The Athens Scavengers Market in Elaionas
True bargain hunters should start their Sunday early in the morning with a visit to Elaionas Athens Scavengers Market (“Pazari Rakosyllekton”).
In a huge outdoor area, sellers set their stands or just a piece of clothing stacked with their findings available for sale. Listing what types of items you’ll find here is pointless since there is almost everything, even things you can’t imagine.
You’ll have to be an early bird if you want to find the real gems, as the market’s devotees come here as early as 5 in the morning.
- Address: Agias Annis 30, 122 41 (Take the Metro – Blue Line to Elaionas. When you get out of the station, you can just follow the crowd)
Take in the Views from a Rooftop Bar in Athens
We can’t think of a better way to finish the perfect Sunday in Athens than heading to one of the city’s spectacular rooftop bars for an evening drink.
Plenty of enchanting rooftop terraces throughout the city offer immaculate views over the Acropolis Hill and other popular monuments combined with innovative snacks, refreshing cocktails, live Dj sets, and occasional parties.
A definite thing to do in Athens on a Sunday if you plan a romantic trip or want to mingle with locals and socialize in a relaxed setting.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spending a Sunday in Athens
We get all kinds of questions from travelers on how to spend a Sunday in Athens regarding the opening hours of shops, the habits of the locals, and much more. To make your life easier, we will answer our readers’ most frequently asked questions below.
Is anything open on Sunday in Athens?
Yes. Even though general stores, supermarkets, and shops are normally closed on Sundays, you’ll be glad to know that all cafes, restaurants, tavernas, souvenir shops, and smaller shops in the city’s tourist areas are open every Sunday throughout the year.
Are shops closed on Sunday in Athens?
Shops and stores are normally closed on Sundays, with the exception of a few Sundays each year (usually during Christmas, Easter, and early summer).
Is Athens Central Market closed on Sundays?
Yes. Unfortunately, the Athens Central Market or “Varvakeios” is closed on Sundays.
Is the Acropolis open on Sundays?
Yes, the Acropolis is open to the public on Sundays, from 8 am until 5 pm in the winter and from 8 am to 7 pm in the summer – with the exception of certain public holidays. You can find a detailed guide on the Acropolis here.
Is Sunday a working day in Greece?
With a few exceptions, Sundays are an official national public holiday in Greece.
Is Plaka open on Sundays?
Plaka is one of the busiest tourist places in Athens. As such, shops, restaurants, and cafes in Plaka are known to remain open daily throughout the year.
What do Greeks do on Sundays?
Greeks usually spend their time outside on Sundays, relaxing at alfresco cafes, restaurants, and tavernas, socializing, and enjoying the weather. On rainy days, locals gather at home to have dinner with their families and friends.
Is Athens Good for a weekend?
Athens is a perfect destination for a weekend jam-packed with sightseeing and exciting activities. If you’re planning a city break, this weekend itinerary for Athens will surely come in handy.
How can I get around Athens on a Sunday?
Athens has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, metro, and tram. Taxis are also widely available.
What should I wear when spending a Sunday in Athens?
Athens can be quite hot in the summer, so it’s best to dress in lightweight, breathable clothing. Comfortable shoes are also a must, as a lot of walking is involved in visiting many of the city’s sights.
All in all, spending a Sunday in Athens is an ideal way to get in touch with local culture, mingle with the locals and get to know the Athenian way of life while exploring some of the most iconic spots in the city.
Before you get here, all you need to do is pick a few of our ideas for the best things to do in Athens on a Sunday and start planning the perfect day.
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