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Are you in Athens this Christmas and do you need inspiration for your Christmas family outings? Here are some of my favourite things to do in Athens this Christmas with kids, all tried and tested by me and my little travellers. Stay tuned to the blog because this list will be constantly updated!
Enjoy Athens City by Foot
The Municipality of Athens launched a Christmas 2019 program called “Adopt your city”, aiming for more street lighting and a brighter, happier, more hospitable Athens.
Christmas Light Festival at the City of Athens
Athens is being lit not only by the municipality this year, but also by all those who want to adopt their street, sidewalks or neighbourhoods. Residents, associations, businesses etc everyone can light his or her neighbourhood! Go and have a look because they have succeeded, the city is brighter than ever!
Being so festive, a walk around the city center is a great thing to do with young kids. Watch the colourful decorations at Syntagma Square and the Christmas projections on the Parliament Building.
Walk through Ermou street towards Psiri and admire twinkling lights everywhere. Don’t miss Little KooK Cafe, an attraction on its own!
Join a Christmas Walking Food Tour for Families
Love to walk around the city, see the Acropolis, festive Plaka and indulge in yummy food at the same time? Consider booking a Christmas food tour for families. During a Christmas Food Tour, you and your kids will be guided by a local foodie. While learning more about the city and seeing world-famous monuments, you will also make food stops at traditional shops and taverns.
The tour includes roast chestnuts, melomakarona cookie and other Christmas pastries, desserts, drinks, but also local cheeses, meze and so forth. A Christmas family food tour in Athens combines a festive stroll through the city with indulging on the very best of the season. If you live in Athens, this is a chance to see the city from a different perspective. If you are visiting Athens for the first time, you will learn a lot about the city and its (ancient) history and gastronomy. For more information and booking, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on social media.
Not in the mood to walk through the city but still want to admire the festive atmosphere? Take a ride on the Athens Happy Train. This is a toy-like street train (no rails but wheels). It starts its sightseeing tour every 30 minutes from the Syntagma Square and crosses the historic city heart, old neighbourhoods and the Acropolis hill, a great way to join the festivities in a relaxing way.
Older kids may also enjoy the tour bus in Athens. I find these tourist site-seeing buses a great way to discover any city, especially in sunny Athens where you can usually sit outside.
I recommend the Athens Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. This tour goes along three different routes. You’ll travel on an open-top, double-decker bus as you take in the many important sights and attractions of the city. The tour takes around 90 minutes and encompasses central Athens, commencing at Syntagma Square and leave every 15 minutes. For bookings and more information about prices, please click here.
Program City of Athens: www.adaf.gr/news/christmas-light-festival-at-city-of-athens/ and christmasinathens.gr
See a Christmas performance
Each year, there is a good choice of family holiday theatre, ballets and other Christmas performances in the Athens Concert Hall. Find the program in English at their website. In the Tae Kwon Do Centre in the sea side suburb of Palaio Faliro, families with young kids can enjoy a Holiday on Ice skating performance themed Frozen this year. My most enjoyable outing for Christmas is always a classic ballet. Last year we watch the Nutcracker at the Christmas Theatre. This year, they are doing it again as well as classic orchestra performances, musical, acrobats, and more. Have a look at the program via this link: christmastheater.gr
Visit a Christmas Theme Park
Need more action? In the Christmas Factory in Gkazi near the city center, kids can visit Santa’s Toy Factory, write him a letter at the Santa post office or participate in Christmas crafts workshops or cooking baking. The big wheel is our favourite each year. Christmas Factory is here again from 30 November until 5 January 2020.
The Santa Claus Kingdom in Peania (outside the city center) is an enormous indoor play park of 13.000 m2 including a roller-skating, ice skating, race cars, bouncy castles and more. Very suitable for the little ones too because of the soft play areas. My kids loved the trampolines and the slides.
With older kids, head over to festive Allou! Fun Park, the largest in Greece. Feel their heart race on a 40-metre drop, enjoy panoramic views of Athens from the “Panorama” Ferris wheel and take a trip to the stars in the “Star Flyer” or ride the sky at speeds of up to 30km/h with your hands and feet hanging in the air! Find more information and entrance prices here.
Christmas Buffet with Family
One of the traditional things to do in Athens during Christmas with kids is to enjoy a meal together. But eating out with kids during the holidays can be a challenge. Children cannot sit long at the table. Luckily, several major hotels offer Family Christmas lunches with entertainment for the little ones. St. George Lycabettus Boutique hotel offers a festive Family Christmas Buffet at Le Grand Balcon with Christmas activities for the kids. New Year’s Day will be celebrated with a Brunch Buffet with a kids Christmas movie at the screening room. For more information on the holiday program visit the website or call for reservations at 210-7416191.
Attica Zoological Park
At Attica Zoological Park, organizes Christmas activities during the holidays too including arts and crafts and educational tours. Did you know that the Athens Zoo has more than 350 animal species, and half of these species are endangered? The zoo hosts exotic animals and one section of the park is dedicated to Greek fauna, where the brown bear is the stand-out attraction.
Little Kook Cafe
Little KooK Themed Café cannot be missed in a list of things to do during Christmas in Athens with kids. The abundantly decorated fairy tale café is definitely worth your visit! Your kids will love the fairytale cakes and crêpes and the theatrical performances of the staff. I wrote a separate blog post about Little Cook Themed Café in Athens here. Did you know that Little KooK opened a new venue? It is called King’s Theatre and is a wine – and cocktail bar!
Visit a shopping mall
For a low budget option (that is if you do not get tempted by the stores) with lots of festive atmospheres, you can opt for one of the shopping malls in Athens. All of them organize free Christmas activities for children. Do you want to meet Santa and prefer to be indoors with easy parking options, changing room facilities and a safe place for your little ones to run around? I love going to a mall at Christmas, especially with babies! Golden Hall in Marousi suburb has set up a little Christmas village with games and crafts for kids.
Events at Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is one of the largest and most complete cultural centres that exists in Athens. This year the cultural center organizes opera, ballet, reading sessions, light installations and many other family and child-friendly events throughout December 2019.
Did you know that there is a free-of-charge ice rink too?! Check out the program on the website and don’t miss a walk around its beautiful park decorated with tons of Christmas lights (below photos).
Ice skating rinks are very popular during Christmas and there are several around Athens such as at the ICE ARENA at Athens Concert Hall, the ICE ARENA at Athens Heart Mall and the free of charge floating ice rink in the SNFCC Christmas World. This year, ice skating at SNFCC is located at the start of the Canal, in front of the Visitors Center from November 30 till February 2 from 10.00 p.m to 22.00 a.m.
Guide for Top things to do in Athens with Kids
For more inspiration and a full list, of tried and tested things to do in Athens with kids, head over to the ultimate 2019 Athens with Kids Guide! For a winter holiday close to Athens or a bit further out, have a look at my list of family friendly ski resorts and winter destinations in Greece!