Planning your next international getaway?

Then the stunning historical cultural city of Athens should be on your list!

More American travelers are visiting than ever before, and tourist satisfaction in the city has increased considerably in the last 10 years.

Here are 7 reasons why this historic cultural city is soaring in popularity with American travelers:  

A Year-Round Destination 

view of Athens, Greece

Athens isn’t just a summer vacation spot. It is becoming a year-round destination, and American travelers are taking charge of this shift.

In 2023 just over a million U.S. travelers visited Athens which is more than double the number that arrived in the previous record year of 2019.

Many of Athens’ best and most famous attractions, such as the Acropolis and the Panathenaic Stadium, can be enjoyed year-round.

However, many American tourists have shown that they prefer to visit them during the winter months when the temperatures are more manageable, and the crowd levels are much lower.

The Archeological Sites

Woman with photo camera near Hephaistos temple in Agora near Acropolis in Athens, Greece

One of the main reasons to visit Athens is for its stunning archeological sites. The city is the birthplace of democracy and home to some of the greatest examples of classical art and architecture in the world.

The most popular of these archeological sites is the Acropolis, which is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city.

This site is so popular that the government has introduced a daily cap of 20,000 to the site in order to limit the crowds.

83% of leisure visitors to Athens will visit the Acropolis.

Other archeological sites you shouldn’t miss during your time in Athens include the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, the Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

The Delicious Food

Greek Gyros with tzatziki and fried potatoes

Greek food is some of the best in the world.

Fresh salads, delicious souvlaki wraps, and tables loaded with meze dishes mean that every mealtime is an experience in Greece, and a chance to relax and reconnect with family and friends.

Because Athens is the country’s capital you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat. Food prices in Athens are reasonable too, so even budget travelers can enjoy the local cuisine.

As in most countries restaurants are considerably more expensive in the main tourist areas, so we recommend you seek out restaurants catering to locals.

Restaurants packed with locals almost always offer the best value and the best dishes too.

Shop In The Markets

People shopping and buying souvenirs from markets at Plaka region of Athens, Greece.

If you’re shopping for luxury goods, there are better places to visit in Europe. But if you’re looking for gems and quirky pieces, the markets of Athens are well worth exploring.

You can chat with stallholders, look at unusual items, and get a real taste of Athenian culture. Many of these markets are popular with locals as well as tourists.

The markets in Athens are a great place to buy souvenirs while learning about the products and their origin and meaning, often from those who made or produced them.

Excellent Nightlife

Street with various restaurants and bars, locals and tourists enjoy their meal at night on Plaka area,

If you want to party the night away, then Athens is a great place to be. The nightlife here is legendary and for good reason.

Just don’t expect an early night as most bars don’t get the party started until around 10pm when the daily temperatures have cooled, so you’ll be partying until the early hours.

Some of the best nightlife spots in the city include Kavouras bar for live Greek music and the 360 Cocktail Bar above Monastiraki Square, where the drinks are as good as the incredible views of the city.

Beautiful Beaches

Famous Astir Beach in south Athens, Vouliagmeni, Greece

Because Athens has a reputation for being a grimy, urban city, people often don’t realize just how close the city is to the coast. Less than 14 km south of the city center, you will find a beautiful stretch of golden sand beaches with blue-flag-certified clean waters.

The cove of Skalakia Agias Marinas is one of the most beautiful and famous of these.

The beaches of Athens are great place to enjoy water sports such as windsurfing and paddle boarding.

A Gateway To The Greek Islands 

Port Of Piraeus, Athens, On The Mediterranea Coast Of Southern Europe, Greece

Athens is incredible but it is also a noisy, busy city with very little green space.

For this reason many travelers choose to use Athens as a stopover on route to a more relaxing vacation on one of the many Greek islands.

If you land in Athens, you could fly straight back to your preferred island. But most people choose to spend a few days exploring the city and then travel to the Greek islands by ferry. This tends to be not only cheaper but also a more picturesque way to travel.

Piraeus is Athens’s central port, but many ferries also depart from the ports of Rafina and Lavrion.

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