Cheat the Heat in Athens | A traveler’s survival guide to the heat wave
Predictably, the heat has hit Athens again with the force of a thousand flaming souvlaki grills — just another summer in the city. When it’s so hot that major tourist attractions like the Acropolis are shutting down due to the weather, exploring the city may seem like a daunting task. As seasoned Athenians ourselves, we have some tips on how to avoid the heatwave and still enjoy the summer in the city — after all, no matter the temperature, Athens remains absolutely cool. So here they are, our top ways to cheat the heat and learn to love Athens in all her fiery glory:
1. Cover up and chill out
What you wear is the key to moving around the city comfortably in the midst of a heatwave; although it may feel counter intuitive, the more you cover up, the more comfortable you will feel. Opt for thin, light-colored materials that cover most of your body. This will keep you much cooler than exposing your skin to the sun in short shorts and clingy tank tops. If you didn’t come prepared, head down to the flea market by Monastiraki square, where you can buy unique clothing pieces at reasonable prices. Don’t forget a hat, shades and sunscreen to cover whatever’s left over!
2. Juice it Up
This is another obvious one, but hydration is definitely key to avoiding heatstroke. If you have a reusable water bottle make sure to take it with you wherever you go. Even though there aren’t many public water fountains in Athens, servers in any establishment will gladly top you up, even if you don’t order anything else. There are also plenty of juice bars in Athens, where you can pick up refreshing, energy-boosting smoothies and juices. One of our favorites is Join Juice Bar Syntagma; centrally located, they serve the most vibrant, flavorful juices and smoothies this side of Athens. They also have sandwiches and homemade snacks, including vegan options. Eating light meals is also a good way to avoid become lethargic in the heat.
3. A/C is your best friend
Happiness is where the A/C blows. Devote the mornings to indoor activities, like visiting museums, art exhibitions, or even shopping centers. Beyond the obviously unmissable Acropolis museum, we recommend getting your cultural vibes on at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, where there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for adults and children too. If you’re feeling like a shopping spree and meal, head over to the Metro Mall, conveniently connected to downtown Athens via the red metro line.
4. Become a night crawler
Athens is always exciting by night, especially in the summer. Locals come alive after the sun sets, spilling out onto the streets to find the best place to eat, drink and fall in love. There are innumerous rooftop and garden bars to dance or chat the night away, but perhaps our favorite pastime for a summer night is the open air cinema. Every night, there are movie screenings in open air theaters all over Athens, playing old and new films alike. We definitely recommend Cine Thisio or Cine Paris, both with Acropolis views. Watching a film under the stars, the Acropolis lit up and looming majestically in the background, is an experience you can’t put a price on — even though the 8 € ticket tries.
5. Get out
When all the above have ceased to be productive, it’s time to get out. Athens is a city blessed to be close to many gorgeous destinations; within an hour or two, you can be out of the urban heat island and on an actual island, like Aegina, Agistri, Hydra, Poros or Spetses. Alternately, a short drive is enough to get to stunning mainland destinations, such as Nafplion, Cape Sounion, Delphi or Epidaurus. Ask us about our favorite day trips from Athens, and we’ll even organize them for you, with the help of our travel experts.
We hope you find these heat hacks useful, and go forth to enjoy Athens as the cool city it is, all year round!