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Athens Bucket List: 20 Best Things to do in Athens, Greece

Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities and it is filled with archaeological treasures. The Acropolis and Parthenon are the big draw for first-time visitors, but the city is littered with ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Visiting Athens is like taking a step back in time, a wonderful history lesson that is great for all ages. Whether you have one, two, or more days in this city, here are the best things to do in Athens.

Table of Contents

Interesting Facts About Athens

Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities with a history spanning 3,400 years.

Athens is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. The first known democracy was established in Athens in the 6th century BC under the guidance of Cleisthenes, an Athenian leader.

Plato is a famous Athenian philosopher who is credited with starting the first institution for higher education in the western world. Plato was also the teacher of Aristotle, who is known as the “Father of Western Philosophy.”

The goddess Athena is the patron of Athens. Athena and Poseidon competed for patronage of Athens. During their battle, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up. Athena hit the ground with a rock and an olive tree grew in this spot. Both of these sites are honored with temples built on the Acropolis.

Despite the vast number of ancient archeological sites in Athens, only two of these are UNSECO World Heritage Sites: the Acropolis and the Daphni Monastery.

Athens is considered to be the hottest city in Europe. The average high temperature during the summer months is 34°C (94°F). Athens also has the highest recorded temperature in Europe at 48°C (118°F) in July 1977. So, if you plan to visit Athens in June, July, or August, be prepared for hot, dry weather.

Best Things to do in Athens

I do my best to keep the hours of operation and pricing up to date for each attraction, however, these can change at any time. I recommend getting updated hours and pricing for your dates of travel. The link to the official website is provided for each site.

1. The Acropolis

Rising up from the center of Athens is the Acropolis, a fortified limestone plateau that is topped with the Parthenon and several other historical monuments. This is ancient, iconic Greece, the place where philosophers questioned the universe, democracy and freedom of speech were born, and temples were built to honor the gods.

The term “acropolis” refers to the fortified hill. Sitting on and around this hill are several very important sites. The Parthenon is the most famous, but there is also the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Theater of Dionysus.

Parthenon

Parthenon | Best Things to Do in Athens

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticus | Best Things to Do in Athens

Erechtheion

Erechtheion | Best Things to Do in Athens

Acropolis Slopes

Overlooking the Theater of Dionysus and the Acropolis Museum from the Acropolis.

The Acropolis is the most popular place to visit in Athens, so expect big crowds, especially midday. The best time to visit the Acropolis is at opening time and the last two hours before closing. In order to skip the ticket lines, purchase your tickets online in advance or buy a combination ticket at one of the less popular sites and then visit to the Acropolis.

Acropolis Ticket Cost: €20 April 1 to October 31; €10 November 1 to March 31

Combination tickets include a visit to the Acropolis as well as six other historical sites: the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Keramiekos, and the Aristotle’s School. The cost is €30 and well worth it if you plan to visit the Acropolis and at least two of the other sites.

Tours of the Acropolis: If you want to visit the Acropolis with a guide, this small group tour offers skip-the-line access to the Acropolis. You can upgrade the tour to a private tour add on a food tour in the Old Town after your visit to the Acropolis.

For a detailed article on how to visit the Acropolis, skip the lines, and avoid the crowds, read our article How to Visit the Acropolis and Parthenon.

2. The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is an archeological museum that houses the artifacts found on the Acropolis and the surrounding slopes.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum | Best Things to Do in Athens

This museum is located near the Acropolis. Lines can be long so it is best to purchase your tickets online in advance (tickets for the Acropolis Museum are sold separately from the Acropolis).

Cost: €10 April 1 to October 31; €5 November 1 to March 31
Hours: The Acropolis Museum is open daily. Hours vary by season. From April 1 to October 31, the museum opens at 8 am and closes between 4 pm and 8 pm, depending on the day of the week.
Website: For updated hours, pricing, and holidays, and to purchase your tickets in advance, visit the official website.

3. Ancient Agora & Temple of Hephaestus

The Ancient Agora is an archaeological site located near the Acropolis. For 5,000 years, this area was used as a marketplace, gathering place, and residential area. The ground of this large site is littered with the ruins of buildings and walkways. However, there are two important places to visit (the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos).

Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora Athens

The Temple of Hephaestus is one of the best-preserved Greek temples. It was constructed in the 5th century BC to honor the god Hephaestus, the patron god of fire, metal working, and craftsmanship.

Temple of Hephaestus

Temple of Hephaestus | Best Things to Do in Athens

Ancient Agora and Acropolis

The view of the Ancient Agora and Acropolis from the Temple of Hephaestus.

The Stoa of Attalos is a building that was reconstructed in the 1950’s and houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora.

Cost: €10 summer months, €5 winter months, included on the combination ticket with the Acropolis (€30)
Hours: 8 am to 8 pm daily; get updated hours here

4. Roman Agora

Located just a short distance away from the Ancient Agora is the Roman Agora. This market and collection of buildings was built in the first century BC during the rule of Julius and Augustus Caesar. The main entrance is through the Gate of Athena. The Tower of the Winds is considered to be the world’s first meteorological center, featuring a sundial, water clock, and wind vane.

Roman Agora

Cost: €8 summer months, €4 winter months, included on the combination ticket with the Acropolis (€30)
Hours: 8 am to 8 pm; get updated hours here

5. Hadrian’s Library

Hadrian’s Library was constructed in 132 AD under the rule of Roman Emperor Hadrian. It was built to house rolls of papyrus books.

Hadrians Library

Hadrian’s Library | Best Things to Do in Athens

Cost: €6, included on the combination ticket with the Acropolis (€30)
Hours: 8 am to 8 pm; get updated hours here

6. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Construction on the temple of Olympian Zeus began in the 6th century BC. It was built to honor Zeus and was planned to be the greatest temple in the ancient world. When finished, it was one of the largest ever of the ancient temples, with 104 unusually tall columns, each 17.25 meters tall. Not long after its completion in the 2nd century AD, it was pillaged by a barbarian invasion. Even though only fifteen of the original columns still stand, it is easy to recognize its grandeur.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens | Best things to do in Athens

Cost: €6, included on the combination ticket with the Acropolis (€30)
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm; get updated hours here

7. Kerameikos

Kerameikos is an area of Athens that served as potter’s quarters and an ancient cemetery. A visit here is quick and you can walk among the excavations.

Kerameikos Athens

Kerameikos | Best Things to Do in Athens

Kerameikos | Best things to do in Athens

Cost: €8, included on the combination ticket with the Acropolis (€30)
Hours: 8 am to 8 pm; get updated hours here

PRO TRAVEL TIP: For €30, you can purchase a combination ticket that gets you admission to the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Aristotle’s Lyceum. If you plan to visit the Acropolis and two additional sites, the ticket pays for itself. But the real bonus is that the combination ticket allows you to skip the ticket line at each of these sites (except at your first site, where you purchase the ticket).

Consider visiting one of these archaeological sites first, purchase the combination ticket, and then use this to bypass the ticket line at the Acropolis. Kerameikos was the least crowded site during our visit so this is great place to visit first to purchase your combination ticket.

8. National Archaeological Museum

This museum is the largest archeological museum in Greece and houses one of the greatest collections of artifacts of Greek antiquity.

Archaeological Museum

Getting Here: Closest metro stations are Omonia and Victoria stations. We took the metro to Omonia station and then it was a 10-minute walk to the museum.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you have plans to visit the Greek islands and you used Ferry Hopper to book your tickets, you can visit the Ferry Hopper office while walking from Omonia station to the museum. Picking up your tickets from the office in Athens is much faster than waiting in line at the port to pick them up.

Cost: €12 April 1 to October 31; €6 November 1 to March 31
Hours: April 1 to October 31: Tuesday 1:00 pm to 8 pm; Wednesday through Monday 8 am to 8 pm; reduced hours November 1 to March 31
Website: get updated hours and pricing on the official website
Skip-the-line Ticket: You can purchase a skip-the-line ticket here.

9. Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum houses Greek works of art from prehistory to modern time, as well as an extensive collection of Asian art. The Benaki family donated their house and their enormous collection of art and artifacts to Greece.

Visit the official website for hours and entrance fees.

10. Plaka

Plaka is a neighborhood in Athens that stretches from the Acropolis to Syntagma Square. This is one of the best spots in Athens to go shopping. Ermou Street is a pedestrian street lined with popular stores like H&M, Sephora and Mango. The older and more interesting streets are located closer to the Acropolis. The Anafiotika area is a charming, older section of Plaka with narrow, photogenic streets and shops.

Plaka | Best things to do in Athens

Plaka | Best Things to Do in Athens

11. Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

Located on Ermou Street in Plaka, this is one of the oldest churches in Athens. This Greek Orthodox church was built in the 11th century. It looks out of place, sitting among modern buildings and popular chain stores, as the city of Athens has grown up around it.

Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

Church of Panagia Kapnikarea | Best Things to Do in Athens

12. Monastiraki Square

This is a bustling, busy spot in Athens. It’s located in the heart of Athens, near Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora, and just a short walk from the Acropolis.

Monastiraki Square | Best things to do in Athens

In this square is a Greek Orthodox church, a mosque, a metro station, the pillars of Hadrian’s Library, and a jumble of shops. On Sundays, a flea market dominates the square.

13. Take in the View from a Rooftop Bar

Numerous hotels offer rooftop restaurants, bars, and even swimming pools, which offer stunning views of the Acropolis.

Our favorite rooftop restaurant was A for Athens . From here, look out over busy Monastiraki Square, the Ancient Agora, and of course, the Acropolis.

Best View of Athens | Best things to do in Athens

View from A for Athens rooftop bar | Best Things to Do in Athens

From the rooftop restaurant at the Athens Gate Hotel , you get 360° views over Athens. Not only do you get a gorgeous view of the Acropolis but you can also look out over the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Mount Lycabettus.

Athens Gate Restaurant

Athens Gate Hotel | Best Things to Do in Athens

Finally, the Hotel Grande Bretagne has a rooftop restaurant with views over Syntagma Square and the Acropolis.

Hotel Grande Bretagne

There are also numerous hotels that offer rooms and rooftop bars with amazing views of the Acropolis. Read our post about where to stay in Athens to learn more.

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14. Areopagus Hill

Areopagus Hill, also known as Mars Hill, is a spot to get one of the most iconic views of the Acropolis.

Areopagus Hill View

Areopagus Hill View | Best Things to Do in Athens

But this is more than a nice place to snap a photo. There is a lot of history and legend here. According to Greek mythology, this hill got its name from Ares, the god of war, who was tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Alirrothios. In ancient times, this was a meeting place where philosophy and law were discussed. It is also the location where the Apostle Paul gave one of his most important speeches.

Areopagus Hill is located very close to the main entrance into the Acropolis, so go here before or after you tour the Acropolis.

15. Philopappos Hill

Located just southwest of the Acropolis, Philopappos Hill (also spelled Filopappou Hill) is a hilly park laced with walking trails. The most popular viewpoint is located at the Monument of Philopappos, but you can also follow the other trails for a slightly different perspective of the Acropolis.

Acropolis Athens | Best things to do in Athens

16. Mount Lycabettus

For a sprawling view of Athens and the Acropolis, walk or take the Lycabettus Cable Car to the peak of Mount Lycabettus. From here, you get to see just how big this city is, with the Acropolis proudly rising up in the center from the low, white buildings. In the sunlight, this city literally sparkles.

Athens Greece | Best things to do in Athens

View from Mount Lycabettus | Best Things to Do in Athens

Getting Here: Unless you take a taxi right to the Lycabettus Cable Car station, expect to do some walking, and a lot of that will be uphill. The closest metro stops are Panepistimio and Evangelismos. From here, it will be an uphill walk to the cable car station. Or, you can choose to walk all of the way to the top on a paved trail that switchbacks its way up the hill. It’s about a 15-minute walk up this paved trail to the summit.

Cost: Free

17. Visit Psyrri

Psyrri (aka Psyri, Psiri, Psirri) is a funky, trendy little neighborhood not far from Monastiraki. We liked this neighborhood so much that we visited it twice. Filled with great restaurants, unique bars, a vibrant nightlife, and small boutique shops, this is a very cool spot to go out for dinner and drinks.

Psyrri Athens

Psyrri | Best Things to Do in Athens

Psyrri Athens | Best things to do in Athens

Grab a coffee or spoon sweets at Kalimeres . Go wine tasting at the Cinque Wine & Deli Bar . Have dinner at Lithos Tavern , a cozy restaurant that serves traditional Greek and Mediterranean food.

This is a cool spot in Athens and a great place to take a break from temples, ruins, and museums.

If you only have a half day in Athens and want to see the highlights, this private tour includes a visit to the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, Plaka, and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

18. Varvakeios Central Market

The Varvakeios Market is another great spot to take a break from museums and ancient historical sites. There are different sections to the market and we ended up wandering down a long hallway filled with meat vendors and their products.

Athens Market | Best things to do in Athens

Varvakeios Market | Best Things to do in Athens

However, there is more than beef and lamb for sale at the market. There are also sections where you can buy fruit, vegetables, spices, seafood, and more.

The market is closed on Sunday.

19. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Located in Syntagma Square near the Hellenic Parliament Building, this is a war memorial that is dedicated to the Greek soldiers who died in war. The tomb is guarded by an Evzone soldier dressed in traditional uniform.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Athens | Best things to do in Athens

Every hour there is a changing of the guard. However, the most elaborate display takes place at 11 am on Sunday when a group of soldiers march to the tomb.

20. Panathenaic Stadium

This is a historic stadium and a lot of big events have occurred here. First of all, it dates back to 330 BC. In 144 AD, it was reconstructed in marble by Herodes Atticus. In 1896, it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics. Then, in 2004, it was used as an Olympic venue. It is the site of the finish line for the Athens Classic Marathon.

Tyler Kara Tim Athens | Best things to do in Athens

Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium | Best Things to Do in Athens

Cost: €5
Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.

Best Things to do in Athens on a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the walking route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.

If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Learn more about the walking route and how to plan your trip to Athens in our article 2 Days in Athens: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit.

Getting Around Athens

To get between Athens and the airport, you can take a bus, the metro, or a taxi. You can also book a private transfer in advance.

Almost everything on this list is within walking distance of the Acropolis. If you stay in the city center and don’t mind a lot of walking, you can see almost everything in Athens without using the bus, metro, or taxis.

If you want to limit your walking, you can use the fast, easy to use metro to hop around Athens. There are conveniently placed stations around the Acropolis at Syntagma Square (Syntagma Station), near the Acropolis Museum (Acropoli Station), at Monastiraki Square (Monastiraki Station), and near the Ancient Agora (Thissio Station). We took the metro to Omonia Station to visit the National Archaeological Museum (but you can also use Victoria Station).

Before our trip to Athens, I installed the Athens Sbwy app onto my phone. This is a free but very basic map of the metro system in Athens. It comes in handy if you plan to use the metro a lot, especially if you also plan to take the metro to the airport or Piraeus port.

You can purchase individual metro tickets for each journey (a good idea if you only plan to use the metro once or twice). You can also purchase a paper ticket that is good for five journeys on the metro. If you plan to stay 3 days or longer in Athens, consider purchasing the 3-day tourist ticket. Click here for an article that explains all of your options.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Athens?

We spent two full days in Athens and it was the perfect amount of time for us. It was a very busy two days but we visited everything in this article with the exception of the Benaki Museum.

One full day gives you enough time to visit the Acropolis and several more places. If you only have one day, I also recommend visiting the Acropolis Museum, several of the sites on the combination ticket (the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Agora, etc), explore Plaka, and have dinner or a drink at a rooftop restaurant.

With two days you have enough time to visit everything on this list. You can even get to the Benaki Museum, we skipped it simply because we were on museum/historical site overload.

Three days lets you visit Athens at a more leisurely pace, visit more museums, take a day trip, and go shopping.

Where to Eat in Athens

Smak. This was our favorite restaurant in Athens. Smak is a “street food” restaurant that serves pizza and peinirli (a boat-shaped Greek pizza). The food is fresh, delicious, and cheap. You can get dinner here for less than €5 per person. It’s located just off of Ermou Street in Plaka.

Smak

Feyrouz. This is another great, cheap eat in Athens. Dine on traditional Lebanese food and don’t miss the soups that you drink right out of a cup.

Lebanese food

A for Athens. Not only is the view over Athens incredible, but the food is great and so are the drinks.

Lithos Tavern. Located in the Psyrri neighborhood, this Greek tavern gets rave reviews.

Indian Haveli. The spot to go for Indian food. On Trip Advisor, it’s one of the highest rated restaurants in Athens.

Athens Gate Hotel. This hotel has a rooftop restaurant with one of the best views of the Acropolis. We ate dinner here and honestly, we thought the food was mediocre, especially for the price. However, dessert was amazing. I think this would be a great spot for drinks and sunset views of the Acropolis.

Where to Stay in Athens

Want a hotel room with a view of the Acropolis? How about a hotel that has a rooftop pool with amazing views over Athens? Whether you want to splurge on a luxury hotel or stay in hostel with glowing reviews, get recommendations in our article Where to Stay in Athens: Best Hotels for Your Budget.

A Few More Ideas for Things to Do in Athens

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Athens, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Greece

THE ACROPOLIS: Learn how to plan your visit and skip the lines in our Guide to the Acropolis. We also have an article about 9 great spots to get the Best Views of the Acropolis.

ATHENS: Plan your visit to Athens with our 2 Days in Athens Itinerary.

GREECE ITINERARY: Learn how to visit Athens, Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos in our 10 Day Greece Itinerary.

THINGS TO DO IN SANTORINI: For a full list of things to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Santorini. We also have detailed guides on How to Walk from Fira to Oia and the Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Oia.

NAXOS: Learn how to plan your visit to Naxos in our article Best Things to Do in Naxos. We also have information on hiking to Mount Zas, how to hike to Apano Kastro, and a detailed guide to hiking the Village Trail to Melanes, Myli, and the Kouroi.

GREECE TRAVEL ADVICE: First time in Greece? Here are essential things to know about Greece, from SIM cards to booking the ferries to renting a car.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe. You can also get more travel ideas in our 10 Days in Europe itinerary guide, which has 10 great itineraries for your next trip to Europe.

Planning a trip to Greece? Read all of our articles in our Greece Travel Guide.

Best Things to do in Athens

Athens Greece Travel Guide

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Top 10 Things to Do in Athens Greece

Athens, Greece is a dream travel destination for many. It is a destination that brings together all types of travelers from all over the world. Whether you’re a backpacker or a history buff, you’ll find that Athens has plenty to offer when it comes to tourism, culture, and adventure. Once the crux of a powerful empire, Athens is now Greece’s capital city. It is still home to many historical buildings such as the Parthenon and the Acropolis, but it has since grown to be far more than just ancient history. Athens, Greece is perfect for all types of tourists, as it combines that deep historical significance with the hustle and bustle of a modern capital city. With so much to do and see, you truly can’t go wrong with a trip to Greece’s capital, and while your itinerary can easily fill up fast, these are the top 10 places you can’t miss when you visit Athens, Greece.

1: The Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens with the Parthenon

A visit to the Acropolis is a must-do during your time in Athens. After all, it’s one of the places that makes Athens, Greece famous. The Acropolis is the perfect place for any traveler, whether you’re interested in history or culture. This ancient site is actually a citadel that is located on a hill overlooking the capital city of Athens. This is where you will find what remains of many of the famous ancient buildings that make Greece, Greece, such as the Parthenon. The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which represents the best of ancient Greek architecture.

Visiting the Acropolis is incredibly accessible and easy to do, but you do have to purchase a ticket when you arrive. There are two different ticket options, one that only admits you to the Acropolis and Parthenon, and one that can get you in here and other archaeological sites in the area, known as a combination ticket. Depending on your travel style, and what else you want to do and see in Athens, consider purchasing the combination ticket so that you can see more! There is also an option to purchase your tickets online before arriving, if you know what day you plan on visiting, and certain days are free admission.

At the Acropolis, there is plenty to see and experience. You’ll have the chance to visit the Temple of Athena Nike, Propylaea, the famous Parthenon, and more, so this will be an all-day excursion. Make the most of it, take in the beautiful architecture, and spend a day exploring ancient ruins—but don’t forget your walking shoes and sunblock, visiting the Acropolis is an outdoor activity!

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2: The National Archaeological museum

The National Archaelogical Museum of Athens

Once you’ve been inspired by the ancient structures at the Acropolis, you might be itching to learn more about ancient Greek art and architecture. The National Archaeological Museum is one of the most notable things to do in Athens, Greece, and is known as one of the most important museums in the world holding artifacts from ancient Greece. The National Archaeological Museum has been around since the late 1800s, housing and commemorating Greek antiquities for the beauty and history they possess. This is also the largest Archaeological Museum in Greece, meaning it’ll be easy to get lost in here for a day marveling at Greece’s extensive history.

The museum has both winter and summer hours and rates for visiting and is only open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so make sure you plan ahead. The National Archaeological Museum can be accessed by most public transport and is accessible for people with disabilities. As you make your way through the museum, you’ll be able to make your way through history: from prehistoric antiquities to sculpture and metalwork. You also won’t only find Greek art and architecture here—the museum houses art from Egypt and Cyprus as well, so you’ll be able to gain a full understanding of ancient art from this part of the world, its history, and its impact on modern life.

3: Plaka

The picturesque Plaka area in Athens

If you’re spending your Greek vacation in Athens, you simply have to spend a day exploring Plaka. Plaka is a historical neighborhood in Athens, Greece located just below the Acropolis. Here, you’ll truly feel like you’ve gone back in time a little bit, or perhaps, that you’ve entered a beautiful fantasy world. Plaka is lined with cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, and small tavernas. In Plaka, you’ll be able to get most of your souvenir shopping done, as the streets are lined with shops selling everything you could possibly want, from clothes to ceramics.

Plaka is located in Athens, Greece, just a few blocks away from Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square, meaning you can easily access Plaka from both public transport and the airport. Like many of the attractions in Athens, Plaka’s shops have both winter and summer hours, and close earlier in the winter, so plan on getting your shopping in during the day. Plaka truly is one of the most important, must-see places in Athens, and is great for people traveling solo—it is easily one of the safest areas of Athens to explore! So, throw on your walking shoes and grab your wallet—Plaka’s cobblestone streets are waiting for you!

4: Mount Lycabettus

View of the city of Athens on top of Mount Lycabettus

For the adventurer, Mount Lycabettus is here to combine your love for nature with views of the city during your trip to Athens, Greece. Mount Lycabettus stands at about 300 meters above sea level. Covered in pine trees, this towering mountain has two peaks, which are home to the Chapel of St. George, a restaurant, and a theatre. This is the highest point in Athens, and will give you the absolute best views of the city, no matter what time of day you decide to climb the mountain.

The climb to the top of Mount Lycabettus may be a challenging one, especially in the summer months, as there is no shade. The city also offers a funicular railway to help you reach the top as well, so that you can still get the beautiful view without walking in the sun to reach the top of the mountain. The entire walk can take anywhere from a half an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your personal fitness level. If walking just isn’t your thing, there is also an option to take a cable car to the top, but you simply can’t beat climbing to the highest peak in Athens! And if you’re a budget traveler, you’re in luck! The walk up Mount Lycabettus is free!

5: Panathenaic Stadium

The all marble Panathenaic stadium in Athens

During your visit to Athens, Greece, you definitely can’t miss a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium. Its historical significance is a huge reason to visit, but it’s also a unique piece of architecture in Athens, Greece. The only stadium in the world built completely out of marble, the Panathenaic Stadium was originally used to host games during the celebration of the Great Panathenaia. This place was specifically significant during Roman times when Athens was no longer a city that held any political power.

For tourists, the Panathenaic Stadium is conveniently located in downtown Athens. You can access the stadium via most public transportation, or by walking. While there is a small admission fee to enter the Panathenaic Stadium, it’s the perfect outing for families because kids under six get free admission!

Tourists often have fun running around the stadium, right where ancient athletes once competed. It is advised that you check the weather before planning a morning jog around the stadium—in the summer, the stadium’s marble makes the area very hot, and in the winter, wet weather can make the steps slippery, so plan accordingly!

During your visit to the Panathenaic Stadium, you can’t miss taking a picture from the upper tier of Stand 21, where you can see the stadium, as well as other historical and architectural landmarks, such as the Parthenon, all at once. Another great photo op is of the podium with the stadium in the backdrop—your friends and family back home will be amazed at the view!

6: ODEON OF HERODES ATTICUS

The ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Another beautiful architectural site not to be missed during your trip to Athens, Greece is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Located on the southwest side of the Acropolis, this Roman theater was renovated in 1950, so you’ll be able to witness it similarly to how it looked in ancient times. In ancient Greece, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus was a musical theater used for shows, and could seat up to 5,000 people. Today, concerts are still held here, although the theater was originally built in 161 CE.

A visit to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is not included in the general Acropolis admission. To access the theater, you will enter via the Dionyssiou Areopagitou Street, which is the walkway specifically built to connect each of Athens’ most famous sites. Generally, you cannot enter the theater unless you are there to view a show or concert. If concerts aren’t your thing, or you didn’t get tickets, don’t worry! You can still see the Odeon from above if you climb to the top of the Acropolis!

7: Philopappos Monument

View of the Acropolis from the the Philopappos Hill

The Philopappos Monument and hill is easily one of the most interesting things to do in Athens, Greece during your Greek vacation. This monument is actually an ancient Greek mausoleum, which was created in dedication to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos. A prince of the Kingdom of Commagene, his monument was placed on the Mouseion Hill, just south of the famous Acropolis. Recent studies have found that architectural parts of the Philopappos Monument were used in the creation and building of the Parthenon, but today, only a mere two sides of the Philopappos Monument remain to be viewed by modern tourists. Nearly all of it has been destroyed since ancient times, making it one of the most important sites to visit during your time in Athens, Greece.

Visiting the Philopappos Monument is simply a must-do during your Greek vacation. While public transport can get you close to the monument, you do have to do a bit of walking to actually see what you came for. Taking the metro to Petralona Station will get you about 25 minutes from the hill, which is a short walk to do for a site as amazing as this.

8: Ancient Agora

The Ancient Agora in Athens

During your time in Athens, Greece, you definitely can’t miss a visit to the Ancient Agora. If you’re truly trying to get a sense of Greek culture, and ancient Greek history, this is a place that simply has to be on your itinerary. The Ancient Agora is part of Classical Athens, and is known to be the best example of an ancient Greek Agora still available for viewing today. An agora, as used in ancient Greece, was a public meeting place, meaning this was one of the largest social centers of ancient Athens. Today, you can access the Ancient Agora by heading to the northwest side of the Acropolis. It is surrounded by both the Areopagus and Agoraios Kolonos, two of the hills in the area, the latter also known as Market Hill.

Visiting the Ancient Agora is one of the most accessible tourist attractions in Athens. Unlike many of the ancient monuments in the area, the Ancient Agora is open daily, from 8AM to 3PM. Admission can be bought either as a single ticket for just the Agora, or as a combination ticket that would get you into other ancient monuments such as the Acropolis.

9: Monastiraki

The famous Monastiraki shopping area under the Acropolis of Athens

When you travel through Athens, Greece, you have to pay a visit to Monastiraki. Monastiraki means “small monastery,” and is a historic neighborhood in Athens known for being home to many iconic landmarks. This is where you’ll find a couple of the places on this list, including the Ancient Agora, as well as others, such as the Stoa for Attalos and Hadrian’s Library. If you’re looking to get some souvenir shopping done, you’re in luck—Monastiraki is also the site of an extensive Sunday flea market selling everything from handmade shoes to souvenir shirts. Of course, there are plenty of shops open all week, but only on Sundays will you find people selling their handmade goods out on the streets. This historic neighborhood is perfect for the traveler looking to experience all things Greek. Only in Monastiraki will you be able to visit the shops, and witness the unique architecture of traditional tavernas and views of the Acropolis.

This is a place of historical significance. With plenty of ancient landmarks to visit, you simply can’t ignore the neighborhood’s rich history as a transportation hub for the city that blossomed with the historic Monastiraki Station. In Monastiraki, you’ll find yourself wandering through plenty of historic sites, from the mosque of Tzistarakis Aga to the Temple of Zeus, and the Monastery of Pantanassa. You’ll also be welcomed by plenty of museums to explore, including the Greek Museum of Folk Arts. It’s easy to wander through Monastiraki all day, walking by the river and exploring centuries-old architecture. This is a local hub—so you won’t have to worry about tourist traps!

10: Kolonaki

Have a cup of Greek coffee in Kolonaki Athens

For your last must-visit spot in Athens, Greece, you definitely have to add Kolonaki to your trip itinerary. Kolonaki is another beautiful neighborhood in Athens, Greece, and yet it is completely different from the other historic neighborhoods on this list. This is a higher-fashion neighborhood perfect for the traveler who’s ready to shop. Kolonaki is home to designer boutiques, international labels, and galleries. A visit here will turn your Greek vacation into a luxury one as you explore fine dining, trendy bars, and live music, from jazz to DJs. This is also the perfect place to start your trek up Mount Lycabettus.

A visit to Kolonaki is sure to add some fun to your Greek itinerary. Here, you can visit the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cyclandic Art, and the Byzantine Museum. You also can’t miss the National Park on Irodou Attikou Street, where you can watch the changing of the guard at the Presidential Mansion. These spots are ones that will add rich history, culture, and art to your Greek itinerary, making for the perfect addition to any Greek vacation.

CONCLUSION

A vacation to Athens, Greece is one many travelers dream about. From the stunning architecture to the rich history, there is plenty to see and enjoy during a trip to Athens. You could easily spend more than a week here, taking in every nook and cranny this ancient city has to offer. Hidden gems are tucked away in historic neighborhoods, and so are fancy restaurants, flea markets, and lots of ancient architecture. The Acropolis sits overlooking the city along with other centuries old buildings. Climb to the top of Mount Lycabettus and take in the view of the city. There are endless options when it comes to Athens, Greece for any type of traveler, so what are you waiting for? Book that plane ticket, and get ready to explore what’s left of ancient Greece.

RELATED TOURS

The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis

Athens and Sounion Tour

If this is your first time in Athens, Greece and want to experience the must see attractions, then this full day private tour is for you. Visit the magnificent Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Plaka area and many more. Take a beautiful ride along the Athens coast line to visit the temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.

Best Places to visit in Athens

Remains of Hadrian's Library

10 Must-See Places to Visit in Athens for First-Timers

The Greek capital city of Athens is one of the most culturally and historically rich places on the entire planet; it lies at the heart of the ancient world, and a large portion of the ruins and remains are still standing and accessible to this day. Athens is completely magical, and there is no shortage of things to do here, or places to visit, regardless of your interests; no matter how many days you are spending in Athens, whether it be 2 days or 3 days, you will be stunned by the huge array of attractions that are on offer. Here are some of the best places to visit in Athens:

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1. Acropolis & Slopes

The Acropolis Athens

Perhaps the most iconic and famous landmark to visit in Athens is the almighty Acropolis, which towers dominantly over the city; it is one of the most notable archaeological sites in the world and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Throughout the centuries, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has served many functions, such as a citadel, a home to the mythical Greek gods, as well as a residence to kings.

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The slopes of the Acropolis are also a popular attraction, and have a huge amount of history; for example, the South Slope of the Acropolis has immense cultural, spiritual, and religious importance, and dates back to the Neolithic period.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus - Historical sites Athens

One of the highlights of the Slopes is the Theatre of Dionysus, which is the most ancient theatre in the entire world; many famous Greek poets, such as Euripides and Sophocles performed here. Additionally, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is another great place to visit on the southwest side of the Acropolis; it is an impressive open-air theatre that is incredibly well-preserved.

If you are thinking of taking a guided tour of the Acropolis, the two below are my favorite’s:

A small group guide tour of the Acropolis with skip the line tickets. This tour is great as it starts at 8:30 am and lasts 2 hours. This way you avoid the heat of the day and also the cruise ship passengers.

Another great option is the Athens Mythology Highlights tour. This tour combines a guided visit to the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Ancient Agora, which are 3 of the most important monuments in Athens. The entrance fee of €30 is extra and apart from the mentioned sites includes some more that you can visit on the following days. See the details of the combined ticket below. This is my favorite tour in Athens as it combines history and mythology.

Opening Hours: Open daily 8 am-7 pm Summer and 8.30 am-5 pm Winter

Closed: 1 January, 25 March, 1 May, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, 25 December, 26 December

Basic Acropolis Tickets: €20 from April 1 st – October 31 st and €10 from November 1 st – March 31 st Includes Acropolis and the Slopes

Combined Tickets: €30. The combined ticket includes entrance to the Acropolis and the North and South Slopes of the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, Museum of Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Kermakeikos, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion – for 5 days, it’s the ticket that will save you money in the long run

Free Admission Days: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, the last weekend of September, 28 October, every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st.

2. Acropolis Museum

Acropolis museum

In accompaniment to the Acropolis is the Acropolis Museum, which is nestled at the food of the southern slope of the landmark, and houses some of the surviving gems of the ancient world.

The museum is modern, light, and incredibly impressive, and holds a huge collection of artifacts; the museum houses items that cover the Archaic period all the way to the Roman era, though the majority of the museum is centered on the Acropolis of the 5 th century BC.

Acropolis Museum

What is charming about this museum, is that you are able to see the Acropolis itself, through the enormous floor-to-ceiling windows; a trip to the Acropolis Museum is a must-see attraction in Athens.

Here are some great options for visiting the Acropolis Museum:

Opening Hours: Winter(1st of November – 31st of March): Monday to Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Friday 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, Summer (1st of April – 31st of October): Monday: 08:00 am – 4.00 pm, Friday 8:00 am – 10:00 pm, Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday & Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Closed: 1 January, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December, 26 December

Reduced Hours: Good Friday 12:00 – 6:00 pm, Easter Saturday 08:00 am – 3:00 pm, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Tickets: Full: €10, Reduced: €5 from April 1 st – October 31 st and Full €5, Reduced: €3 from November 1 st – March 31 st

Free Admission: 6 March, 25 March, 18 May, 28 October

3. National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum Athens

Famous for being the larger museum in the whole of Greece, and one of the most significant and important in the entire world, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses vast collections of artifacts from a variety of different time periods.

The origins of this museum date back to the 19th century, where its primary function was that of receiving excavations from Attica and other parts of Greece. Today, this museum is a very popular tourist attraction that houses a fascinating selection of unique Greek artifacts, many of which date to prehistoric times; the building itself is also gorgeous and is built in the neoclassical architectural style, dating back to the end of the 19 th century.

Opening Hours: Winter (November 1st – March 31st) Tuesday 1:00 pm – 8 pm. Wednesday – Monday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Summer (April 1st – October 31st) 12:30 pm – 8 pm. Wednesday – Monday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Tickets: €6 Winter (November 1st – March 31st), €12 Summer (April 1st – October 31st) €12

There is also a combined ticket available that costs €15 valid for 3 days that includes entrance to the Archaeological Museum, the Epigraphic Museum, the Numismatic Museum, and the Byzantine and Christian Museum.

Free Admission: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, last weekend of September, 28 October, every first Sunday of each month from November 1 st until March 31 st

Check here for more interesting museums in Athens.

4. Plaka Neighbourhood & Anafiotika

Anafiotika Athens

Athens has a string of different neighbourhoods, that each offer their own unique charms and attractions, but arguably, one of the best and the most popular, is the Plaka neighbourhood; this is the oldest section of the city, and has an array of quirky shops, bars, restaurants and cafes, and a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere.

Nestled beneath the Acropolis, Plaka is in the heart of the city, and is very popular with tourists; it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling around, absorbing the sites and sounds of the area.

Plaka Athens

Another charming neighborhood of Athens is Anafiotika; with its string of small white and blue buildings, and its picturesque streets and features, this feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city center; much of Anafiotika was constructed in the mid-19 th century, and it is a wonderful place to visit to soak up some more recent history.

5. Monastiraki Square & Flea Market

Monastiraki square

Monastiraki is a central Athenian neighborhood, that is equally popular with locals and tourists alike; every Sunday, a fantastic Flea Market takes place, where a huge number of vendors come to sell their items, whether it be junk or totally unusual and unique antiques. It is a brilliant place to visit, and simply stroll around and take in the vibrant hustle and bustle.

Antique Shop Monastiraki

Also make sure to make a stop at Monastiraki Square, which lies at the heart of the neighborhood; here, there are a string of delicious restaurants, and many people come here to relax and hang out with friends; it is a great place to people-watch and absorb the atmosphere.

You might also like: The best squares to visit in Athens.

6. Syntagma Square & Changing of the Guard

The change of the Guards - Free things to do in Athens

Syntagma Square is one of the most famous and popular squares in the entire city of Athens; it is often at the top of the list of attractions for tourists. It is also known as Constitution Square, and it is famous for being the site in which the Athenians stood up to King Otto of Greece, in 1843.

This Square holds many famous buildings, such as the Hellenic Parliament, and in front of this is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At the Parliament Building in Syntagma Square, the Changing of the Guard also occurs; this is a fantastic sight to see, on Sundays at 11:00 am, where you can witness traditional outfits and the famous cultural ceremony.

7. Ancient Agora

View of Acropolis and ancient Agora of Athens,

Ancient Agora is the historic heart of ancient Athens, and it was the hub of social, political, and commercial activity during its prime; over the centuries, Agora had a variety of functions, ranging from a residential area to a burial ground.

During the 19th and early 20th century, the Greek Archaeological Society excavated the site, and it has been a hugely popular tourist attraction in recent years. Some of the highlights of Ancient Agora include the Stoa of Attalos, which is a large and beautiful building, that was built in approximately 150 BC; it reflects the designs of the Hellenistic period in Athens, and is now the home to the Ancient Agora Museum.

Another highlight of Ancient Agora is the Temple of Hephaistos or Hephaestus; this temple is incredibly well-preserved and it was built to honor the god Hephaestus, who was the son of Zeus and Hera.

Ancient Agora

Opening Hours: Daily 8 am-7 pm Summer, 8 am-5 pm Winter

Closed: 1 January, 25 March, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December, 26 December

Tickets: Full €10, Reduced €5

Combined Tickets: €30. The combined ticket includes entrance to the Acropolis and the North and South Slopes of the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, Museum of Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Kermakeikos, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion – for 5 days

Free Admission Days: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, the last weekend of September, 28 October, every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st.

8. Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro)

Another top site to see in Athens in the Panathenaic Stadium; is believed to have initially been constructed in the 4 th century BC, with the purpose of hosting events, most of which related to celebrating the wonderful metropolis.

Over the centuries in which the Panathenaic Stadium has existed, it has witnessed many changes, such as having been abandoned on several occasions, reconstructed and renovated; it was heavily repaired during the 19 th century and it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896.

Opening Hours: March – October 08:00 am – 7:00 pm, November – February 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tickets: Full 5€, Reduced (students and visitors over 65-year-old) 2,50€, free for Visitors with disabilities and person accompanying them and for children under 6 years of age

9. Olympieion: Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Gate

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Olympieion in Athens was originally constructed centuries ago, with building work most likely beginning in around 174 BC; the Olympieion is also known as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and it was completed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the year 131 CE.

It is built in the traditional Greek style, consisting of enormous columns, making it one of the largest buildings of the ancient world; it is today an incredibly popular tourist attraction and is a must-see sight in Athens.

Nearby lies Hadrian’s Gate, which is a monumental and important landmark. That resembles a Roman triumphal arch; it is the gateway to the magnificent Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Opening Hours: March – October 08:00 am – 7:00 pm. November – February 08:00 am- 5:00 pm

Closed: 1 January, 25 March, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December, 26 December

Tickets: Full: €8, Reduced €4

Combined Tickets: €30. The combined ticket includes entrance to the Acropolis and the North and South Slopes of the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, Museum of Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Kermakeikos, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion – for 5 days

Free Admission Days: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, the last weekend of September, 28 October, every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st.

10. Temple of Poseidon in Sounio

Temple of Poseidon Sounio

Situated on the spectacular Cape Sounion, and towering above the scenic Aegean Sea, lies the fantastic Temple of Poseidon; though this is around 70 kilometers outside of Athens, it makes for a great day trip.

The temple was originally constructed between the years 444 and 440 BC, and it is believed to have been designed by Ictinus, who also constructed the Temple of Hephaestus, in Ancient Agora.

This temple is dedicated to the God of the Sea, Poseidon, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations outside of the center of the city; there is so much to learn and discover at this site.

A visit to the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio is a must especially at the time of sunset. The easiest way to get there is by a guided tour. I personally recommend this half-day Sounio sunset tour from Athens

Opening Hours: Summer 9:00 am – sunset, Winter 9:30 am – Sunset

Reduced Hours: Good Friday: 12.00-18.00, Holy Saturday: 08.00-17.00

Closed: 1 January, 25 March, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December, 26 December

Tickets: Full €10, Reduced: €5

Free Admission Days: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, the last weekend of September, 28 October, every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st.

Athens is a spectacular metropolis that caters to every type of interest, from those who adore history and culture, to those who are fascinated by modernity; regardless of how long you are visiting the city, you will return home with unforgettable memories.

Source https://www.earthtrekkers.com/best-things-to-do-in-athens-greece/

Source https://discoverathens.com/greece/top-10-things-athens/

Source https://athensandbeyond.com/best-places-to-visit-in-athens/

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