Athens city is the living symbol of Western civilization, associated with ancient ruins and centuries-old cultural heritage. There is a seriousness about it, no doubt, but it also has so much that families who seek a little bit of fun can do. In fact, it is an ideal destination for a family vacation. Its unique blend of educational experiences, vibrant neighborhoods, and enticing attractions are a magnet, offering a plethora of activities that will keep both children and adults entertained. Here are some of the best ideas on what to do in Athens with kids.
Visiting Athens with kids? Here are 8 fun things to do:
1. Watch the Evzones change guard
A unique tradition that has developed through cultural heritage is the changing of the Evzone guards in front of the Parliament in Syntagma Square. The Evzones are an elite group of young men, and the highest honour in early military ranks. Not everyone can make the cut – the Evzones are carefully selected for their build, endurance and integrity simply because it is a tough and high-profile job. It entails standing and remaining absolutely still for hours on end, with the occasional, slow-march which is fascinating to watch. Typically two guards are on duty at any given time, fully dressed in traditional attire of the ‘tsolias’ that includes a 400-pleated ‘foustanela’ skirt that symbolises the 400 years of occupation that Greece experienced from mid-15th century till the Greek War of Independence that broke out in 1821.
2. Escape to the Athens National Gardens
One of the many surprises that Athens throws up is located right in the city center. And if you choose Electra Hotel in central Athens opposite Syntagma Square, you’ll be able to navigate your daily comings and goings with ease. One of these surprises is the National Gardens. A 38-acre oasis, situated between the parliament and the grand Zappeion event hall. Inside this sprawling park, built at the behest of Queen Amalia in 1838, you’ll find a collection of winding paths, trails, ponds and a petting zoo that are ideal for a stroll under the shady palm trees and extensive flora. The petting zoo has ducks, peacocks and turtles amongst others, while several Roman antiquities are scattered around. Further along to the south, the open-air cinema, Aegli-the oldest and most revered-has regular arthouse film screenings. There is also a cafe and a children’s play area where you can stop for a drink and re-energise.
3. Discover the Acropolis and its Marvels
Any list of what to do in Athens, Greece, whether it’s with the kids or not, begins with the iconic Acropolis. As you ascend the ancient hill, your children’s imaginations will soar as they learn about the myths and legends that surround this archaeological wonder. Explore the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion, marveling at the impressive Caryatids and ancient structures. Engaging tour guides can bring the stories to life, making history come alive for the young ones. If your little ones are excited about mythology and ancient Greek heroes, then this is definitely the first one on what to do in Athens with the kids. It may be a good idea to familiarize them with films such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians beforehand to make it even more riveting for them.
4. Journey through Time at the Acropolis Museum
To complement your visit to the Acropolis, head to the Acropolis Museum, a treasure trove of Greek history. This modern museum features a wide range of interactive exhibits and multimedia displays, perfect for engaging young minds. From the impressive Parthenon Gallery to the intriguing archaeological finds, children can immerse themselves in the fascinating world of ancient Greece. There are workshops and storytelling sessions to keep things interesting for waning attention spans. All the while, the unit keeps cohesion and everyone learns something. Mission accomplished! After that, you can meander your way through Anafiotika, a charming, traditional settlement built on the foothills of the Acropolis rock, before heading down to the colourful district of Plaka, where Electra Palace Hotel is conveniently located.
5. Explore the National Archaeological Museum
For kids with a keen interest in archaeology, make a beeline for the National Archaeological Museum as this is the ideal place to foster your children’s love of antiquities. With a whopping 11,000 artifacts in its collection (a lot of which are stored underground), it is the world’s foremost repository of ancient Greek culture and a surefire way to get to grips with it. There you’ll be able to take a close look at the jockey of Artemision, the bronze statue of Zeus and the golden mask of Agamemnon. Interactive displays and audio guides tailored for children ensure an immersive and educational experience.
6. Visit the Interactive Children’s Museums
Let your children’s imagination run wild at the Hellenic Children’s Museum, where learning is transformed into a hands-on adventure, through a variety of exhibits and activities designed to stimulate curiosity and creativity. From role-playing in the mini-supermarket to exploring science experiments, children can engage in play-based learning and develop essential skills. Kids can learn and play simultaneously, with workshops and storytelling, while adults are entertained by cultural events. Admissions for children up to 12 years of age with their adult companions. Similarly, the Museum of Illusions is something both children and parents can enjoy together. Its exhibits are curious, fun and fascinating – some will even baffle the adults too. It is also super centrally located, in Monastiraki, and is a sure win for your time in Athens with kids.
7. Make new friends at Attica Zoo
A mere 20 kilometers from the city center, and headed towards the airport you’ll find a set of kid-friendly experiences that will go down a treat with the little ones. The Attica Zoological Park offers an immersive wildlife experience for young animal enthusiasts that is encased in a 20-hectare compound. Here, young naturalists can see and learn about the natural world. The Zoo keeps penguins, lions, giraffes, elephants and lots more animals, while the interactive exhibits, feeding sessions and shows are a great way for kids to learn while having fun. Educational signage throughout the park adds a dose of knowledge to the fun-filled day. Meanwhile, the petting zoo is where you’ll find friendly farm animals that the kids can pet and get close to. The Athens Zoo is not just a place to admire animals; it also promotes awareness and respect for wildlife, fostering a sense of empathy in young hearts.
8. Splash around at the Aqua Fun Waterpark
Right across from the zoo, the Aquapolis fun water park and its dozen or so slides are where the real fun happens. Needless to say, this may prove to be your children’s favorite place. When the Greek sun is shining, Aquapolis offers a refreshing and exhilarating retreat for families. Children can splash around in the wave pool, glide down exciting slides, and navigate water-filled obstacle courses. The dedicated children’s area ensures that younger visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience with age-appropriate water attractions. Aquapolis also provides sun loungers, umbrellas, and shaded areas, making it a comfortable oasis for families seeking relaxation. With its lively atmosphere, water-based thrills, and ample facilities, this waterpark guarantees endless hours of laughter and excitement for kids of all ages.
In a nutshell, Athens is a captivating destination for families, offering a perfect blend of fun, educational and entertaining experiences. From exploring ancient ruins to immersing themselves in interactive museums, children can engage with Greek history and culture in an exciting way. A trip to Athens with kids promises an enriching adventure that will leave lasting memories for the whole family. Choose your favourite of our three best hotels in Athens center for soaking up the urban charm of this timeless city.