Athens, the capital of Greece, is a vibrant and historically rich destination that offers many experiences for travelers. This city has something to offer everyone from its ancient ruins to its modern-day attractions. One of the best ways to explore Athens and its surrounding areas is by renting a car. In this guide, we will take you through the top things to do and see with car rental in Athens, allowing you to make the most of your visit.
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1. Explore the Acropolis
The Jewel of Athens
No trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the Acropolis, the city’s most iconic landmark. You can simply drive to this ancient citadel perched on a rocky outcrop above the city with your rental car. The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, is the highlight of the Acropolis and a marvel of ancient Greek architecture. Be sure to visit early in the morning to beat the crowds and enjoy the breathtaking views of Athens.
2. Wander through Plaka
An Ancient Neighborhood
After visiting the Acropolis, drive to Plaka, one of Athens’ oldest neighborhoods. This charming area is known for its narrow cobblestone streets, neoclassical architecture, and traditional Greek tavernas. Park your rental car and explore the area on foot, discovering quaint shops selling souvenirs, jewelry, and local crafts.
3. Visit the National Archaeological Museum
Unveiling Ancient Treasures
Athens is a rich historical city, and the National Archaeological Museum is the perfect place to delve deeper into its past. Drive by hiring a car rental in Athens to the museum, which houses an impressive collection of ancient Greek artifacts, including sculptures, pottery, and jewelry. Highlights include the Mask of Agamemnon and the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient Greek computer.
4. Drive to Cape Sounion
Sunset at the Temple of Poseidon
Renting a car in Athens allows you to explore beyond the city limits. One must-visit destination is Cape Sounion, about an hour’s drive from Athens. You’ll find the stunning Temple of Poseidon, perched on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea. The sunset views from this ancient temple are simply spectacular and well worth the drive.
5. Discover the Athens Riviera
A Coastal Paradise
You can embark on a scenic drive along the Athens Riviera with your rental car. This picturesque coastal stretch features beautiful beaches, upscale resorts, and charming seaside towns. Make stops to swim in crystal-clear waters, enjoy seafood at seaside tavernas, and enjoy the stunning Mediterranean views.
6. Hike up Mount Lycabettus
Panoramic Views of Athens
For panoramic views of Athens that rival those from the Acropolis, drive to Mount Lycabettus. This hill offers a 360-degree city vista, especially beautiful at sunset and night. You can drive most of the way up, but the final ascent is made on foot or by a funicular railway.
7. Visit the Benaki Museum
A Cultural Gem
The Benaki Museum is a gem in Athens that showcases Greek art and culture through the ages. Drive to this museum, located in a beautiful neoclassical mansion, and explore its diverse collections, which include Byzantine icons, Islamic art, and modern Greek paintings.
8. Day Trip to Delphi
A Journey into Greek Mythology
Delphi, the ancient sanctuary dedicated to the god Apollo, is a UNESCO World Heritage site about two hours from Athens. Renting a car allows you to take a day trip to this mystical place to explore the ruins, visit the Delphi Archaeological Museum, and learn about the famous Oracle of Delphi.
9. Taste Greek Cuisine
You can easily navigate the city to sample authentic Greek cuisine with your rental car. Athens is dotted with traditional tavernas and restaurants serving mouthwatering dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki. Don’t forget to pair your meal with some local wine or ouzo.
10. Stroll through the Ancient Agora
The marketplace of the Ancients
Drive to the Ancient Agora, a historical marketplace that was the heart of ancient Athens. Wander through the well-preserved ruins, including the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos. This site provides valuable insights into daily life in ancient Greece.
11. Visit the Panathenaic Stadium
Car rental in Athens allows you to easily reach the Panathenaic Stadium, Kallimarmaro. This ancient stadium, made entirely of marble, hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Walk in the footsteps of athletes and imagine the cheers of the crowds from bygone eras.
12. Experience Athens by Night
As the sun sets, Athens comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. Drive to neighborhoods like Psiri or Gazi, where you can enjoy live music, dance at trendy clubs, or savor a cocktail at a rooftop bar with breathtaking views of the illuminated city.
Car rental in Athens opens up many possibilities, allowing you to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace. From ancient wonders like the Acropolis to the scenic beauty of Cape Sounion and the coastal splendor of the Athens Riviera, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. So, grab the keys to your rental car and embark on an unforgettable adventure through this historic and captivating city. Athens awaits, ready to share its timeless treasures and modern marvels with you.