Athens is a perfect destination to spend your Christmas. This guide will show you just how to enjoy your Christmas in Athens. A festive atmosphere prevails in the city, which offers you a bunch of exciting activities, from fun plays to traditional Christmas markets.
You can watch light displays, buy souvenirs for your loved ones, and discover local restaurants.
You can feel the Christmas spirit in every corner of Athens during this magical time. The smell of freshly baked melomakarono cookies and christopsomo bread wafts across the narrow streets of Athens, adding to their authentic feel.
If you want to spend your next Christmas season in Athens and don’t know what to do, you need not worry! This post will provide you with all the information you need.
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Is Christmas A Good Time To Visit Athens?
Christmas is a great time to learn about Greek culture and traditions. During the holiday, a festive spirit takes over the historic streets of Athens; the whole city turns into a magical land with decorated streets and vibrant celebrations.
One of the primary reasons to visit Athens during Christmas is the traditional Christmas dishes. Greeks have rich cuisine with tasty desserts and delicious pastries. During Christmas, it is customary to bake traditional bread and cookies, such as christopsomo, vasilopitta, kourabiedes, or melomakarono.
Best Things To Do In Athens During Christmas
Visit The Christmas Markets
Christmas markets are a significant part of cultures that celebrate the holiday – and Greece is no exception. Although Christmas markets in Greece are as big as the ones in other European countries, they still play a vital role in keeping a long-established tradition alive.
The most popular markets are usually in Syntagma and Monastiraki squares. In these markets, you can find exciting souvenirs, traditional Christmas decorations, gifts, and food.
See The Christmas Lights In Syntagma Square
During Christmas, trees, buildings, and streets in Athens are decorated with beautiful lights and ornaments. You can take lots of Instagrammable pictures or admire the magnificent view.
One of the must-see light displays in Athens can be found in Syntagma Square, which usually has a Christmas tree over 18-metre (60 ft.) tall.
Attend Christmas Concerts
During Christmas, Athens is home to various events, including entertaining plays and inspiring concerts. These concerts usually feature traditional Greek music and Christmas carols – known as “Kalanda.”
Visit The Acropolis
Visiting the Acropolis is a rewarding experience for visitors who enjoy history and culture. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Acropolis offers awe-inspiring insights into ancient civilisations. Besides its historical significance, Acropolis offers stunning views of Athens and the surrounding area.
The site is also decorated and illuminated during Christmas, offering visitors an exquisite experience.
Tired Of The Crowds? Visit Korai Square
If you are tired of crowds, you may pay a visit to the Korai Square in Piraeus. Despite being a coastal city with a vibrant culture and rich history, Piraeus is usually less crowded than Athens. Also, the town’s Korai Square is as lively as Syntagma Square in terms of activities.
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What Makes Greek Christmas Markets Special?
We can say what makes Greek Christmas markets so special is its festive atmosphere and jovial spirit. You can find local products, souvenirs, and Christmas décor in these markets.
Those who want to try authentic Greek sweets might also love Christmas markets since no Christmas market is complete without traditional bakeries in Greece. So, your Christmas trip to Greece might be the perfect time to try kourabiedes, melomakarono or baklava.
Another highlight of these markets is the live music and entertainment they offer. Since Christmas markets usually organise various activities, you can participate in, such as traditional Greek carols, dances, and various activities.
Most Special Things To Buy
If you are planning to visit Athens during Christmas and don’t know what the perfect souvenir could be, here are the most special things to buy:
As mentioned earlier, Greek cuisine is rich in sweets and desserts. And if you want to take Athens’ tastiness back home, Greek sweets can be the perfect souvenir.
Christmas Decorations And Souvenirs
If you think sweets are too “short living” and want to buy something that isn’t edible, Christmas is the best time to find souvenirs! During this time, Athens’ stores and malls will have shelves full of fun little decorations and outstanding souvenirs; you can purchase some pieces of these items to surprise your loved ones and immortalise your trip to Athens.
Traditional Greek Products
Traditional olive oils, wines, honey, and jewelry might make perfect souvenirs. Greeks have a long-established culture of winery and oil-making, which means these authentic products may complete your to-buy-in-Greece list.
Best Restaurants In Athens For Christmas Dinner
An unforgettable visit to Athens during a special time of the year deserves a real feast. Here are the best restaurants in Athens that will provide you with the delicious meals you want:
A Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Athens, Botrini’s offers a delectable blend of traditional and modern Greek cuisines. The establishment emphasises the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients, welcoming customers with a glorious atmosphere.
Hytra Restaurant & Bar
This restaurant is on the 6th floor of the Onassis arts centre and offers a stunning view of the Acropolis. The restaurant focuses on traditional Greek cuisine and adds a touch of modernity to the most popular local dishes. You can always prefer Hytra for a fresh and tasty dinner.
The Athenian House
This extraordinary restaurant offers visitors a creative menu of traditional Greek dishes. From the famous Greek mousakka to sweet baklava, in the Athenian House, you can try the most special dishes of Greek cuisine.
Varoulko is another Michelin-starred restaurant that adds a creative touch to traditional Greek dishes. The establishment is known for its delicious seafood and fresh ingredients.
If you are already familiar with traditional Greek dishes, Karamanlidika is the perfect spot to taste different Greek cuisine. The restaurant’s menu is extensive and includes many classic Karamanli dishes, a unique combination of Turkish and Greek cuisine.
Best Hotels To Stay In Athens For Christmas
Some of the best hotels to stay in Athens are as follows:
Grand Bretagne Hotel
Grand Bretagne is a stunning 5-star hotel with a vibrant rooftop bar. The hotel, with its quality service and advantageous location, is one of the most luxurious and popular ones in the area..
King George Hotel
Another 5-star hotel near the most popular attractions with various Christmas packages. If you want an ideal stay for your Christmas trip to Athens, King George Hotel is the way to go..
Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel
Located next to the Acropolis Museum, the hotel offers stunning views of the majestic Acropolis. The establishment has a convenient location where you can get to any major attraction within 10 to 15 minutes..
Attalos Hotel is the best for a more inspiring and traditional Greek experience. The establishment boasts clean rooms that offer wonderful views of Athens. Attalos Hotel boasts a rooftop bar that opens after 5 pm and provides visitors with delicious food and drinks..