Greece is just coming off of a record-shattering summer.
While it can’t be denied that the country’s idyllic islands and resort towns were among the biggest drivers in the unprecedented tourist influx this past season, longer-term trends show that the champion of Greek tourism right now is none other than the stunning capital.
Athens has broken its all-time tourism record this year, surpassing 2019 numbers (the previous record) by over 9%, and if current growth rates are anything to go by, the margin will only increase during these last few months of 2023.
So, let’s take a deeper look at why tourists are flocking to the trendy European capital more than ever:
An Abundance Of Historical Marvels
At this point, Athens has become synonymous with its many world-class historical landmarks.
From the iconic Acropolis, crowned by the Parthenon, to the ancient Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, every stone in Athens whispers tales of ancient gods and philosophers.
Here, tourists will not only be able to witness some of the world’s greatest architectural marvels, but they’ll also get a chance to immerse themselves in the profound cultural and intellectual legacy of ancient Greece.
Now that temperatures in the country are dropping too fast for you to enjoy the Mediterranean getaway of your dreams, you can walk in the footsteps of Plato and Aristotle, which arguably makes for an even more remarkable experience.
Vibrant Cultural Scene
If you’re not one for historical sightseeing expeditions, don’t worry – Athens’ pulsating cultural scene is just as impressive as its extraordinary past.
Between the famed Athens Theater, the Alexandros Soutsos Museum, and the seemingly endless bars, pubs, and restaurants, your itinerary will be filled to the brim.
If you’re looking to experience a truly authentic Greek night out, though, I’d recommend skipping your run-of-the-mill restaurants and clubs and going to a bouzoukia instead.
The term itself originates from the iconic Greek instrument bouzouki, which is a long-necked plucked lute that most resembles a mandolin.
The reason why these establishments take their name from the instrument itself is that they’re known for playing traditional laïkó music for their guests.
Here, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverages while snacking on nuts and other snacks provided by the establishment.
Since you’re in Athens, though, a shot of ouzo is a rite of passage.
If you’re more of a foodie, make sure to end the night by stopping at one of the many street food carts scattered around the city.
Gyros, bougatsas (both sweet and savory), and loukumades are all must-tries.
Suitable For All Types Of Travelers
Athens blends its ancient grandeur with a contemporary, cosmopolitan vibe in a way that not many cities of its caliber can.
Areas like Plaka, Monastiraki, and Kolonaki, for example, offer a perfect fusion of old-world charm and modern elegance, inviting tourists to explore winding cobblestone streets and find the landmarks and activities that speak to them the most.
Whether you want to immerse yourself in Greek history, visit contemporary art galleries, indulge in the scrumptious local cuisine, or take an off-season swim, Athens will provide just what you’re looking for.
After all, it’s hard to have an unpleasant travel experience when going to a destination where locals expect visitors with the type of warmth and hospitality you’d expect from a family member.
Athens’ competitive prices are arguably one of its biggest selling points in the international tourism scene.
While food and accommodation costs in the Greek capital aren’t necessarily low, they’re still far more reasonable than what you’d find in comparable Mediterranean hotspots like Rome.
Most hotels and short-term rentals in the city charge anywhere between $40 and $120 per night.
Getting in and out of Athens has never been easier, and the local airport is currently handling the record-breaking influx of visitors with relative ease.
The city operates on a well-structured metro and bus system, allowing visitors to see all of the iconic landmarks for as low as $1.50 a ride.
If you’re planning on visiting other Greek cities during your stay in Athens, you’ll be glad to hear that most national roads in Greece are pretty new and well-built.
However, there are a lot of toll posts scattered across the country, so make sure to always have some loose change with you if you’re traveling to nearby regions.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com