Greek Guide

Athens Nightlife Greece Nightlife Athens

Athens Nightlife Nightlife Activities

When you've finished a day's sightseeing in Athens brace yourself for a hectic nightlife which consists of everything from sex shows and gay bars to classical concerts and Greek folk dancing.

The vast majority of tourists make a beeline for the Plaka district as the sun goes down. The old Turkish quarter is awash with tavernas and fast food souvlaki joints and you'll have to run the gauntlet of pushy waiters who throw themselves into your path, determined to "persuade" you into their particular establishment. Be firm and take the time to check out a few restaurants before you make your choice as standards and prices vary considerably. Some tavernas will offer inducements such as a free carafe of wine (but don't be surprised if it arrives in a battered metal pot).

Greeks tend to sit down to their evening meal relatively late (9 or 10pm) so find yourself a bar with a roof terrace where you can watch the sun go down on the Acropolis while you sip your aperitif. Its changing hues are a truly awe inspiring sight. After you've eaten these roof terraces are a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the sight of the Acropolis lit up by night while listening to some traditional bouzouki music.

Plaka is delightful but crowded, "touristy" and over priced so for the more independent traveller the Monastiraki district is an interesting and affordable option for an evening meal. Lines of tavernas, largely frequented by Greeks rather than tourists, offer good quality fare at exceptionally low prices in the streets around the main square, Plateia Monastirakou. If you head for the more unfashionable areas such as Omonia you'll get a decent meal for even less money but watch out for pickpockets and be prepared to be confronted by prostitutes and some rather unsavoury types late at night.

If you haven't already done it by day, take a trip up Lykavittos Hill, either on foot or via the funicular railway. There's a restaurant at the top giving fabulous views of the city and Acropolis. The tiny chapel of Agios Giorgios, at the summit, is lit up at night and the sight of that alone will make your journey worthwhile. The open air Lykavittos Theatre is used for jazz and rock concerts during the Athens Festival.

The festival, held annually between June and September, is one of Europe's biggest summer festivals and consists of a series of concerts as well as theatrical, opera and dance performances by top Greek and international artists. The focus of the festival is the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, constructed on the Acropolis by a wealthy Roman in the year 161 AD. The theatre is only open to the public during performances.

Athens has a plentiful supply of music bars, rock and jazz venues and discos to choose from. Head for one of the many rembetika clubs to hear this traditional Greek music (a kind of Greek style American blues with the added twist of a bouzouki!). One of the best known clubs is Rembetiki Stoa Athanaton in Sofokleous near the meat market a little way to the north of the Monastiraki flea market. This is the place to go for quality rembetika which purists will enjoy more than the tourist orientated Greek music and folk dancing to be found in the bars and restaurants of the Plaka district.