AIFS Study Abroad Blog

Why Studying Abroad in Athens Belongs on Your Bucket List

Athens, Greece

As Europe’s oldest capital city, Athens has quite a story to tell. Studying abroad in Athens gives you the opportunity to surround yourself with neoclassical architecture, ancient ruins and ravishingly beautiful Mediterranean scenery. Spend a semester, summer or January term having your very own Greek odyssey! 

Here are a few of the many reasons why you’ll love studying abroad in Athens: 

1. You don’t have to be a history buff to love Athens. 

Something about standing beneath the Parthenon (first constructed in 447 BC) leaves everyone awestruck. In Athens, you don’t need to look far to find echoes of the distant past. The Acropolis is perched on a hilltop and is visible from almost everywhere in the city. Modern life and the past mingle and coexist in this Greek city. The Panathenaic Stadium, home to the first modern Olympic games in 1896, is open for jogging every morning. 

2. It’s a metropolis with a leisurely pace of life. 

Follow in the path of Socrates and Plato and take time to “know thyself” when studying abroad. Athens offers all the amenities of a major city but plenty of ways to escape the hustle and bustle. Carve out time for reflection while dining outdoors at a picturesque café or taking a stroll at the National Garden. 

3. Two words: Greek. Food.  

Studying abroad in Athens means you get access to authentic, mouthwatering Greek cuisine. From handmade dolmades to a hearty serving of moussaka, no foodie will leave this city disappointed. Street food like gyros make for a convenient, quick bite on your way to your next adventure. Ready for dessert? A trip to Athens isn’t complete until you’ve tried loukoumades, bite-sized donuts soaked in honey. 

4. The entertainment options are endless. 

Athens has it all! Soak up views of the Parthenon at rooftop bars or watch a movie beneath the stars at one of the city’s many outdoor cinemas. From clubs and gyro stands open until the wee hours of the morning to open-air concerts and cultural festivals, there really is something for everyone. 

5. Street art and flea markets add a fun, quirky vibe to the city. 

Speaking of options, Athens also has a thriving street art scene. You can take a street art tour for a guided experience. The city is also home to eclectic flea markets where you can find souvenirs, vintage clothes, crafts and more.  

6. Witness the changing of the guard  

For a uniquely Athenian experience, catch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Elite guards, known as Evzones, stand perfectly still around the clock at this memorial near the Hellenic Parliament. The Evzones change guard at the top of every hour in a ceremony filled with synchronized, slow motion leg movements.  

7. The sunsets here would even impress Zeus.  

Built on seven hills, Athens offers lots of options for taking in stunning views. Take a funicular to the top of Lycabettus Hill (over 900 feet high!) or climb to the top of Areopagus Hill to watch the sun set over the city.  

8. Dig into history at the National Archaeological Museum.  

The National Archaeological Museum is home to a myriad of artifacts and Greek art, including a prehistoric collection. Be sure to check out the Antikythera mechanism, known as the oldest example of an analog computer! 

9. Day trips to the beach = a breeze 

Known as the Athenian Riveria, the Apollo Coast features approximately 30 miles of coastline dotted with lots of public beaches and coves for you to explore. Take a day trip to Kape beach, where you can swim in the beautiful blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Sounio Beach is a short trip from the city center and can be found right below the Temple of Poseidon.  

10. You can feel like you’re on the Greek Islands without leaving the city.  

The Plaka district, especially the neighborhood of Anafiotika, gives major Greek Island vibes despite being nestled below the Acropolis. One of Athen’s best kept secrets, Anafiotika’s white-washed houses, winding paths, and cats sunbathing in blooming gardens will make you feel like the city is miles away. 

That being said, visiting the actual Greek Islands is still worth the trip. Hydra is car-free and just a ferry ride away from Athens! 

Interested in studying abroad in Athens with AIFS? 

Whether you’re interested in studying abroad in Athens for a semester, summer or during winter break, AIFS has a program option for you. 

Did we forget your favorite part about Athens? Let us know in the comments!  

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