Greece has earned a reputation in not only Europe, but across the globe, for its crazy island summer nightlife, but don't be fooled, the nightlife in Athens can rival just about any of its island resort counterparts. Athens boasts a hectic nightlife consisting of everything from sex shows and gay bars to traditional Greek music and dancing and classical concerts.
Taking an afternoon nap to rest up for the evening's activities is a good idea, as most parties don't really get going until well after dinner, which can be as late as 10pm in the summertime. The old Turkish quarter, known as the Plaka district, is a great place to start as tavernas and fast-food souvlaki joints bustle and diners sip on aperitifs on rooftop terraces overlooking the Acropolis to the sounds of violins, concertinas and bouzouki playing traditional urban Greek music like Rembetika and Smyrneika. Many tavernas have lively music and dancing.
After dinner, head to one of the many music bars, clubs, and rock and jazz venues in the city. Clubbing in Athens is expensive, with many large venues charging entrance of €10-20, and upwards of €10 per drink. For a less touristy option, head to the area around the port of Pireaus and explore the clubs and bars on offer here, but bear in mind that the port district can get a bit dodgy after dark.
Parafono, in the centre of Athens, is a live-music club dedicated to jazz and blues and a great place to watch a gig, while Sundays are dedicated to country, rock and acoustic jam. In the distance the red chimneys of Technopolis attract bourgeois bohemians who flock to jazz and comedy festivals in this former industrial area.
One of the most unique and breathtaking venues for a live concert is the theatre on Mount Lycavettos, which has hosted many world-famous artists. Visitors will find classical music programmes at the Megaron Mousikis Concert Hall, Olympia Theater, and the Pallas Theater. For traditional Greek theatre and dancing, head to the Athens Centre or the Dora Stratou Folk Dance Theater.
Grab a copy of the International Herald Tribune for its daily Kathimerini cultural and entertainment listings, or the monthly Now in Athens, which has comprehensive lists of clubs, restaurants, theatre, and more.
Our Travel Expert
Gianns was born and raised in Athens and has always felt a strong urge to travel. He loves discovering new places and cultures and never tires of exploring Athens.
Become our Athens Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Athens travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Athens or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.