From ancient to modern, Athens has many layers to discover and new tours are set on uncovering each one. Unlike a decade ago, there are dozens of ways to ‘walk’ Athens. As the number of travellers to Athens continues to boom, local companies have thought of new ways to show off their city. The result? Close to 200 different types of themed tours that are being offered this summer alone.
“Since we started, the number of people coming to discover Athens has almost tripled. We found out early on that people want to learn about Athens in a fun way, so we designed tours to keep them engaged,” says Despina Savvidou, guide and co-owner of Athens Walking Tours , which is the very first Athens-based company specialising in city walking tours. Savvidou guided that very first tour during the 2004 Olympic Games. Today, her business has grown to employ 30 licensed tour guides who take guests on 30 different themed tours that touch on gastronomy to archaeology.
Other walking tour companies have added to the diversity of options that show off what Athens is about. On the Greek Spirits’ Tasting, Athens Insiders guides take their guests to venues across the city for a taste of traditional Greek spirits including tsipouro, ouzo, masticha and Metaxa brandy. Culinary Backstreets Athens food tours present a keen balance of food and cultural perspectives by local foodies including chefs and food writers. The Street Art Tour by Alternative Athens traverses the central, sometimes dodgy, hipster and graffitied areas of the city for a look at Athens as Europe’s new street art mecca. Discover Greek Culture offers a tour called A Day in the Life of a Young Athenian which lets little ones play games in the Ancient Agora.
Night owls aren’t left out in a city known for its nightlife. The Twilight Athens Tour by Athens Urban Adventures gets guests acquainted with the Athenian culture of drinking and socialising in the city’s latest hotspots. When it comes to which tour is the most popular, Savvidou says the answer is easy. “The Acropolis of Athens tour shows off our stunning landmark that represents Athens and Greece itself, a symbol of democracy owning amazing architectural and historical significance. That bucket-list moment of being there is just one reason why walking tours in Athens cannot be compared to any place else in the world.”