ATHENS
The secret to fun-filled holidays
Getting the most out of a modern city that takes you by surprise with its open spaces, vibrant street life and even an adrenaline-filled amusement park is the secret to nailing the “fun factor” in Athens for teens and kids of all ages. (And, yes, that includes adults!)
Getting off on the right foot
First thing’s first, let’s change your perception of Athens. If you were expecting a city of just classics, think again. Take the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre. Completed in 2016, it’s home to the Greek National Opera and National Library. But when it comes to kids and teens, it’s the grounds you’ll be more interested in.

You can kick a ball around or just lounge on the huge expanse of grass. There’s a boating lake and even a music garden. And you can hire a bike by the hour (you can pick up a card or use your mobile phone) and explore the seafront just up from Piraeus.
Where culture comes to life
What about those cultural sites you’re usually dragged around with your family. Well, in Athens, culture come to life in a whole new way. Remember that book you were supposed to read? Well, these classics tell a very different story up close and personal. (There’s even a Percy Jackson tour that follows in the footsteps of the fictional demigod.)

And instead of a night at the theatre, you can admire the skateboarders and buskers on Syntagma Square (leave the grown-ups snapping the Changing of the Guard outside Parliament).

Film watching moves outdoors on summer and autumn nights in open-air cinemas. And you don’t need to go to a stuffy gallery to have your fill of modern art. Some of the street art is so good there are walking tours dedicated to it.

Street food: It’s a wrap
  
Then there’s the street food. When it comes to a souvlaki, everyone has their favourite. A plain kalamaki (chicken or pork on a stick) with lemon and oregano has its place. But it’s when you’re talking wraps that things hot up. Pork or chicken, cubed or shredded (gyro), yogurt or ‘sauce’… tomato, onion, chips and sweet paprika.

Everyone will tell you how they’re supposed to be eaten. But it’s all delicious and there’s even an ‘ecologiki’ version for vegetarians. And it’s only fair we introduce you to the vromiko. Sold in food trucks after midnight, it’s a hotdog bun with anything from tomato, lettuce, cabbage, carrot, caramelised onions, egg, bacon, chicken nuggets, sausage, chips, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard… literally anything goes.

It won’t surprise you that vromiko means ‘dirty’… so wrong that it tastes so right!

Day trips that fill the lungs
While central Athens often steals the show, there are also day trips for the whole family. Just north of Athens is Tatoi, once the estate of the former Greek Royal Family but now a 4,000-hectare escape for Athenians. A rolling forest of Aleppo pine, cypress, poplar, plane, beech and other trees is perfect for lung-filling hikes and bike rides, and afternoon-long picnics. Walking past the deserted former Royal Palace and its outbuildings is a must.

Or you could head east and spend the day at the Attica Zoological Park, which started life as a bird park in 2003 and has evolved into an impressive 20-hectare habitat for more than 2,000 animals from 300 species of land and marine mammals, reptiles and birds. The zoo runs a strong environmental programme, allowing you to fully enjoy the enclosures (Greek Fauna, African Savannah, Monkey Forest, Cheetah Land…).

Putting the fun in the family day out
And the fun finds its peak – quite literally in the case of some of the more daring rides – at Allou! Fun Park, Greece’s largest amusement park. Or more accurately, two parks – Allou! (for older kids, teens and parents!) and Kidom (the ‘Kingdom of Children’).

Where do we begin? Straight in with the adrenaline-inducing 360 VR X-Treme (a case of fasten your seatbelt and put on your virtual reality mask). Or any of a wide range of looping, dropping and hooping rides.

Or the experiential 7D Zone where you don’t just watch a movie, you become part of it (smoke literally leaves the screen, snow falls and smells match what you see).

Or perhaps a mystery solving option: The Volcano Island, where participants are marooned on a tropical island in the year 1867 and have to and solve riddles and survive trials (mental and physical) in order to escape.

Just the start of what to expect.
ATHENS
The secret to fun-filled holidays
Whether you’re finding new ways to plug in to the modern vibe of an ancient city or being swept off your feet (figuratively or metaphorically – or both!) at an amusement park, Athens knows how to lay on the fun for everyone.
ATHENS
Long Live Life
Rightfully proud of its past, Athens has a firm grip on the present and a glint in its eye for the future.