First time visitors to Athens usually arrive at the Acropolis where the Parthenon takes center stage at the top of the hill. Perhaps the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Ancient Agora. But for anyone looking for a different experience, here are three unique ways to explore the city we recently enjoyed, courtesy of the aptly named Alternative Athens.

Olympic Games Workout

Athens is famous for its ancient history, architecture, democracy and philosophy as well as being synonymous with the Olympics. The city hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has a long association with the ancient and modern Olympics. So what better way to immerse yourself in Athens than on an Olympic-inspired workout tour with a certified sports trainer? On this tour, you will discover the true essence of the Olympics, visiting places connected to real Olympic events along the way. We begin the experience at one of the city’s most beautiful neoclassical landmarks, Zappeian Hall and the first modern purpose-built Olympic facility.

Here, we jog around the building and do some warm-up exercises, before learning about how the Olympics began, what role ancient games played in society, how athletes were trained and what disciplines were involved with the development of the games. started Our next stop was a nearby 19th century gym, where we tried our hand at some early events like the javelin, shot put and long jump. Did you know that the long jump used to be done from a standing start without a run-up?

And then comes the finale – a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium, the only stadium in the world made entirely of marble, which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Here, we had the chance to attend a race and explore the rest of the stadium at our leisure before wrapping up our tour. Remember, it’s not just about winning – competing fairly, respecting your opponents and showing good sportsmanship are all qualities that make a great Olympian!

Everything you need to plan your trip in 2024

Athens Street Art Tour

Art is not limited to museums, and Athens is a prime example of this. The Greek capital is one of the world’s most popular destinations for graffiti artists, and street art has become an integral part of its urban fabric. Walk the streets and you’ll see everything from giant, commissioned murals to sketchy tags. Shop walls, shutters and even people’s homes are not free from graffiti. Even vehicles sometimes suffer a coat of spray paint!

Our tour with Nikos, himself a graphic designer as well as a tour guide, introduced us to the history of graffiti and the development of Athens’ street art scene, one of the most dynamic in Europe, fueled by the Greek financial crisis. . We were drawn by cool neighbors who support and exhibit street art, and we were told the stories between the artists and the artwork.

Take Lokanikos for example; The stray dog ​​became a symbol of resistance during Athens’ economic crisis. He was often found on the front lines during city riots, and his fearless presence captured the hearts of the Greeks. He was seen by many as a symbol of hope and loyalty and has been depicted through street art, with this particular example – found in Siri at the corner of Riga Palamido and Sarri Streets – serving as a poignant reminder of social and political upheaval. . The city suffered.

We addressed other examples such as the war in Ukraine, and train accidents believed to be caused by decades of mismanagement of Greece’s rail industry.

We also saw several examples of work by INO (Apostolos Kyriazis), a street artist widely known for painting black and white images with splashes of blue. His 90-meter long version of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ highlights the social inequality caused by the Greek political system.

This optional tour is one not to be missed, and a truly unique way to explore Athens. It will give you the opportunity to explore cool neighborhoods and gain a deeper understanding of the city’s culture, how people think and some of the issues they hold close to their hearts.

Delicious Athens

They say to have only a light breakfast before this journey; We decided to skip it altogether and definitely didn’t! Greek food is not only central to the local culture, and offers a wonderful way to see a different side of Athens, by indulging in the Greeks’ most passionate pastime… food! We start with some Greek classics – spinach pie and baklava – while learning about culinary techniques and the importance of provenance, before moving on to olive oil and Greek coffee tastings.

Our tour also takes us to the bustling Varvakios market, the largest and most popular fish, meat and vegetable market in all of Athens.

And a mandatory stop at ‘Kostas’ for traditional pork souvlaki served with fresh tomatoes, onions and a sprinkling of paprika, all wrapped in a warm pita. It has been serving souvlaki since 1950 and is one of the places to get a true taste of Athens street food.

We really could have stopped at this point, but there was one last stop on the tour, at a deli, for a selection of delicious Greek mezze. This tour isn’t just about the food, though; It’s a unique way to experience everyday life in Athens and see the city in a different light.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Alternative Athens.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is the editor of the Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years. He is the winner of the Innovation in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ award from WIRED Magazine. Among other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best in luxury” by The Telegraph.

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