8. Markets, Ruins and Ancient Athens with a Local
Start your Athens tour by meeting your local guide at Ktozia Square, then head to the Mayor of Athens’ neo-classical building on Athina Street, one of the busiest in Athens. Starting at 9:00 AM when the city’s shops and markets are bustling with Athenians, you’ll see the shop owners get ready for a day of business, just as they have done for the past 2,000 years. You will experience the spirit of Greek life with the same commerce of food that existed thousands of years before, and your local guide will be explaining these practices to you along the way.
On this Athens market tour you’ll dive into the Athenian way of life as your guide leads you through the markets. Here you will find every Mediterranean fruit, vegetable, meat, cheese, and more on offer. Experiencing local produce is one of the best things to do in Athens, and you’ll be able to pick out all the local favorites with the guide to show you the way.
Filled with all these warm colors, tastes, and smells, the next stop is Monastiraki Square. The name of the square derives from the Greek word for monastery, and in the center of the square sits the Pantanassa Monastery. The square is also home to the Adrian Library, an archaic temple constructed in the Corinthian-style, and not far away is the 18th century Tzistarakis Mosque, now a ceramics museum. This Athens tour will point out all these landmarks to you and give you all the information you need to know about them in this cultural hub of the city.
Next, explore the square’s flea market, mingle with merchants, and see ancient monuments as you uncover even more Athens history. Then, you’ll head off to Ifaistou or Pandrossos to discover shops selling all kinds of specialties such as leather sandals, handmade icons, Greek music instruments, and antiques. This is the perfect place to pick up a memento of your Athens travel experience, and the perfect way to get in touch with Athens market culture.
Your tour will take you past ancient Agora next, where merchants traded enthusiastically during Greek and Roman times. You’ll see the lively central neighborhood of Thission, and pass houses from the 17th and 18th centuries along the way, as you make your way to one of Athens’ oldest areas, Plaka. There, you will enjoy a freshly brewed coffee as you chat about all things ancient Greek.
Your Athens tour ends at the entrance of the Acropolis, where you are free to continue on your own personal exploration, or your local guide can give you advice on the best way to get back to your hotel. Don’t forget to ask for tips on what else to see and do during your stay.