Touring Athens by bike is one of the best ways to get to know the city at your own pace, cycling along less travelled side streets, stopping to admire the view when you feel like it and even bringing your own picnic along to have lunch in a park or a quiet place.
This half-day tour of Athens will take about three to four hours, including a stop for lunch or coffee, and the distance is approximately six to nine kilometers. Don't have your own bike? Bicycles can be found for rent in various places at affordable prices.
Monastiraki Square, one of many sights to see on this bike tour of Athens — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
Start from the Acropolis Museum area and proceed through Plaka, avoiding the more crowded streets like Adrianou and pedaling along the side streets until you reach Monastiraki. On the way, you'll see many interesting archeological sites and monuments: Lysicrates Monument, the Roman Forum, Hadrian's Library and Ancient Agora.
Plaka is the oldest neighborhood of Athens, built at the foot of the Acropolis. It features many neoclassical houses, gardens, tavernas and tourist shops. Ancient monuments stand side by side with Byzantine churches, showing the passage of history over the centuries.
Just after the Roman Forum, stop and enjoy the view that extends over the expanse reaching to Thission and the Athens Observatory. When you have passed Monastiraki, cross over Ermou Street and enter the neighborhood of Psyrri, with its many bars, artisans shops and counter culture hangouts.
View of Athens Observatory from the Ancient Agora — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
Psyrri boasts a special place for cyclists - the Handlebar on Melanthiou Street - where you can also meet other cyclists and exchange impressions. This is an ideal place to stop for a healthy and tasty lunch, with specialties such as kedgeree, eggs Benedict, avocado salad, crumpets, muffins and scones, just to mention a few. The atmosphere is casual and laid-back, and the ambience pleasant, with tables on the sidewalk.
After resting and renewing your energy, pedal on through Psyrri until you reach Keramikos and then straight on through Thission. The wide, pedestrian street is ideal for cycling and winds up by the side of the Acropolis. Itinerant musicians, arts and crafts, second-hand postcards and books line the way.
After passing Thission, you'll find that the road becomes slightly uphill. If you turn right, you can pedal right up Filopappou Hill, which offers a spectacular view reaching to Piraeus. Downhill again brings you to the pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou and finally to your departure point, close to the Acropolis Museum.