6 Overlooked Unique Experiences In Athens

The Oldest House in Athens- the Venizelos Mansion

Discover Athens anew with these six experiences that even Athenians miss out on themselves.

Visit the Home of Athens’ Patron Saint

The Oldest House in Athens- the Venizelos Mansion

With original parts that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, the “Oldest House in Athens” in Plaka is where Agia (saint) Filothei grew up and lived.

The two-storey building was renovated only a few years ago and presented to the public the unique opportunity to glimpse how the aristocratic Venizelos-Paleologou and other prestigious Byzantine families of the time lived.

The Oldest House in Athens- the Venizelos Mansion

It has a courtyard and includes a fountain, wine press, olive press, and a screening area where a documentary relating the fascinating life story of Athens’ patron saint and the history of the city at that time is screened.

Despite her privileged upbringing, Saint Filothei lived a turbulent life under Ottoman occupation, using her influence to plot ways to oust the country’s oppressors by secretly talking with diplomats and eminent emissaries (actions that later led to her being murdered by the Turks) as well as offering shelter and practical education to desolate women and children.


Have Your Fortune Read at To Flitzani

To Flitzani

Wondering whether that person will ever ask you out, whether you should quit your job, or when your luck with money will finally change?

Adhering to a long-held Greek tradition of telling one’s fortune by looking at the thick layer of grains gathered at the bottom of a Greek coffee cup, this cafe has expert coffee readers who promise to give you all the answers you seek.

To Flitzani offers fortune-telling packages that include sessions of different timeframes and combinations of coffee and card readings. Appointments must be booked by phone (+30 211 0123120).


Heal at the Salt Cave in Glyfada

Salt Cave in Glyfada

The Salt Cave at Glyfada is more than just a peaceful escape; it’s a health retreat that makes use of the important therapeutic properties of salt.

The cave’s microclimate, rich in negative ions and minerals such as sodium, magnesium and calcium, is believed to benefit the respiratory system, with benefits for conditions such as asthma, allergies and bronchitis.

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of salt air can also improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. In addition, the tranquil atmosphere can help to reduce stress and promote a better night’s sleep.

Salt Cave in Glyfada

A visit here is a serene experience and a step towards natural healing and rejuvenation, especially with regular visits.

You can simply sit and relax and inhale the salt air or book a massage therapy, while yoga and Pilates classes are also offered upon appointment.


Step Down into WWII Darkness at the Underground Nazi Prison

Korai 4

Located in the heart of Athens, Korai 4 offers a reminder of the city’s tragic experiences during World War II, when it was under Nazi and Fascist Occupation. This underground prison, buried beneath an arcade, was the site of brutal interrogations and torture by the Nazis. What’s striking is its ordinariness; the entrance is just a nondescript door.

Inside, the cells and walls remain much as they were, a haunting reminder of the past, and graffiti left by the prisoners still scars the walls, telling stories of resistance and suffering.

Visiting Korai 4 is not just about seeing another historical memorial site; it’s about confronting the tangible remnants of a dark era, an unfiltered connection to the dire and horrifying human cost of war.


Summer Like a Queen at Pyrgos Vasilissis

Pyrgos Vasilissis

Pyrgos Vasilissis in the Ilion neighbourhood, originally Queen Amalia’s summer palace and where she established a model agricultural facility, offers a fantastic opportunity to experience 19th-century Greek neoclassical architecture at its finest in a lush natural setting that makes one feel far from the city.

The sprawling estate has extensive gardens, stables, administrative buildings and the central ‘Queen’s Tower’, where visitors can tour the magnificently restored and maintained historic rooms with their original wall and ceiling paintings, artworks, furnishings and decor.

Pyrgos Vasilissis

Today, the estate also acts as a cultural venue (visits and tours of the tower by appointment only), where there is a winery that offers wine-tasting events as well as parties.


Feel Ancient Holy Vibes in the Thissio Church Cave

Agia Marina Church in Thissio Athens

The church grotto in Thissio is an ancient site located inside the Byzantine-style Agia Marina church, which stands on the Hill of the Nymphs and was built in the late 1920s on top of a post-Byzantine era church.

Since the pre-Christian era, the ancient grotto was used as a place of worship and, at some point in history, even as an aqueduct, is certainly a unique sight to behold. The ambience here is sacred, mystical and tranquil at once, with rays of natural light flooding in through a domed skylight, certainly offering a different experience of the capital’s churches.

It remains a place of worship and liturgies, where baptisms are still held today.

READ MORE: Exploring one of Athens’ Tastiest Neighbourhoods.

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