22 Best Things To Do In Athens

If you're looking for an exciting vacation destination with a mix of culture, history, and entertainment, then Athens is a great choice. Located in the heart of Greece, Athens is a vibrant city with plenty to discover. From ancient ruins and historical sites to amazing cuisine and nightlife hotspots, there are countless things to do in Athens. Whether you have a few days to visit Athens, or a few weeks to explore the city, this article will help you discover the best things to do in Athens.

1. Acropolis

Acropolis

The Acropolis is an iconic ancient archaeological site that has been standing since 5th century B.C. and continues to be a symbol of the Greek culture today. The architecture found within this complex is some of the most impressive examples of Ancient Greek art and sculpture found anywhere in the world. From the Parthenon to the Theatre of Dionysus, each structure was carefully planned and built to showcase the beauty of Greece's Classical period architecture.

The main structure onsite is known as The Parthenon, which was constructed between 447-432 BC as an offering to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. It stands on top a rocky hilltop overlooking Athens and its surrounding countryside like a sentinel watching over its people below.

Accommodation: Best Hotels In Athens

2. Parthenon

Parthenon

Being one of the best things to do and see during your trip to Athens, the Parthenon is one of the most iconic symbols of Ancient Greece. Built between 447 and 438 BC, it was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. At its peak, the temple hosted a giant gold-and-ivory statue of Athena as well as many smaller statues honoring various gods and goddesses.

The Parthenon's exterior walls were covered in marble sculptures known as metopes to depict scenes from mythology such as Zeus' battle with giants or centaurs attacking Lapiths. Inside, more sculptures honored gods such as Poseidon and Apollo along with Athena herself. These elaborate decorations made the Parthenon an impressive sight that has captivated visitors over centuries

Recommended reading: Best Places To Visit In Greece

3. Acropolis Museum

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The Acropolis Museum is an impressive display of Athenian history and culture. Located on the south slope of the Acropolis hill, this modern and spacious structure houses a vast collection of artifacts from the Greek Golden Age. Visitors can explore permanent exhibitions such as the Parthenon Gallery, where one can find archaeological findings from the ancient temples, sculptures and other cultural relics that date back to 5th century BC.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum frequently hosts temporary exhibitions which showcase a wide range of items related to Greek art and history. The museum also offers guided tours for visitors who wish to learn more about Greece’s rich heritage and gain deeper insight into its traditional culture. Moreover, there are several interactive activities available which cater towards children, making it a great place for families looking for an enjoyable educational experience when you visit the Acropolis.

Contact:

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0900 0900

4. Erechtheion

Erechtheion

The Erechtheion is one of the most iconic monuments of Ancient Athens. Located on the Acropolis, it was built during the 5th century BC and dedicated to both Poseidon and Athena. This Ionian building is unique for its distinct architecture comprised of two separate porches and an inner chamber that is thought to have once held a cult statue of Athena.

The Erechtheion is best known for its porch of Caryatids which consists of six female figures carved from marble that support the roof beam in place of traditional columns. These carvings are said to be named after Karyai, a group of maidens who celebrated Athena in song and dance.

5. National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

As one of Europe’s largest archaeological museums, the National Archaeological Museum is world renowned, and houses a vast collection of ancient Greek artifacts. From pottery to sculptures, it offers visitors one of the best places to gain an insight into the country's past. A visit to the museum is a must for any traveler who wishes to take in some of Greece's most iconic relics during your stay in Athens.

The permanent exhibition includes over 11,000 objects from all over Greece, spanning several millennia. It showcases an array of archeological finds such as steles, vases, coins and other items from prehistoric times all the way up until late antiquity. The museum also contains sections dedicated to Egyptian art and culture as well as Islamic art from the Middle East.

Contact:

Address: 28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece

Phone: +30 21 3214 4800

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6. Temple of Hephaestus

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus is an ancient temple located in the Athenian Agora. Dating back to around 450 B.C., this temple stands as a testament to classical Greek architecture and engineering practices. The structure of the temple consists of two main parts; a porch with six columns and an inner chamber. This chamber is supported by eighteen Ionic style columns, each standing over nine meters tall, making it one of the most remarkable examples of ancient Greek architecture still in existence today.

In addition to its impressive physical features, the Temple of Hephaestus was also used for religious worship and housed many important artifacts throughout its long history. It was dedicated to the god Hephaestus who, according to legend, crafted Zeus’ thunderbolts from his forge on this very site.

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7. Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art

One of the most impressive places to visit in Athens is the Museum of Cycladic Art. This stunning museum in Athens can be found on Neophytou Douka Street and it focuses on showcasing prehistoric artifacts from the Cycladic Islands.

The collection includes sculptures, paintings, as well as jewelry and utensils from this ancient civilization. It's an excellent destination for those interested in Greek history, who want to learn more about a culture that was once so prominent in the region.

The museum also boasts a variety of educational programs and activities such as lectures, seminars, workshops, art classes and guided tours around its exhibits.

Contact:

Address: Neofitou Douka 4, Athina 106 74, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0722 8321

8. Temple of Athena Nike

Temple of Athena Nike

The Temple of Athena Nike is a small temple that was built in 420 BC and dedicated to the goddess Athena Nike as a dedication to Athenian victory over the Persians. The temple stands at just 13m tall with four ionic columns and two porches; one at each end of the temple.

It is believed that this structure was part of an even bigger complex as there were once stairs leading up to it, however these have since been eroded away.

The architecture of the temple features intricate details such as a relief sculpture on its frieze where Nike, the winged goddess, is depicted victorious over her enemies. This sculpture symbolizes the Athenians’ triumph during their time in power.

Contact:

Address: Acropolis, Dionysiou Areopagitou, Athina 105 58, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0321 4172

9. Plaka

Plaka neighborhood in Athens

Plaka is a beautiful neighborhood in Athens that has been around since ancient times. It is an enchanting place full of winding cobblestone streets and small, family-owned shops that make it a great place to explore. There are plenty of souvenir and craft shops along with Greek restaurants offering traditional cuisine as well as outdoor cafes to relax with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Plaka is Anafiotika, which features white buildings adorned with bougainvillea flowers and balconies filled with pots overflowing with bright colored geraniums.

10. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion, is an ancient Greek temple located in the heart of Athens was built by King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria and dedicated to Zeus, the king of gods in Greek mythology.

The construction began in 174 BC and took more than 600 years to be completed. The temple was massive when it was finished at 104 feet (32m) tall and 228 feet (69m) long. It included a total of 104 Corinthian columns with each column measuring 36 feet (11 m).

Unfortunately, many parts have been destroyed over time due to earthquakes and wars. Today, only 15 columns are still standing but it still offers breathtaking views for visitors who come from all over the world.

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11. Benaki Museum

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum is a must-see destination for travelers to Athens. It's the oldest private museum in Greece and was founded by Antonis Benakis in 1930. The museum houses collections from a variety of cultures and time periods including Greek art from prehistory to modern times, Islamic and Chinese art, as well as artifacts from ancient Egypt, Rome and Byzantium. It also features an impressive collection of manuscripts and rare books.

Guests can marvel at the variety of works on display; whether exploring the neoclassical building that houses the main collection or visiting one of its many branches scattered throughout Athens. Each branch offers its own unique experience, such as the Byzantine Collection which contains over 5400 items including icons, sculptures and ecclesiastical textiles.

Contact:

Address: Koumpari 1, Athina 106 74, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0367 1000

12. Ancient Agora of Athens

Ancient Agora of Athens

The Ancient Agora of Athens is a historical site located in the heart of the city, and one of the most beautiful things to see in Athens. It has been an integral part of Athenian life since ancient times and served as a social and commercial center for many years. The Agora was built around 500 BC and played host to a number of important monuments, such as the Temple of Hephaestus, which still stands today.

This site also served as a marketplace where people could come together to exchange goods, services and ideas. In addition to its role in commerce, it was also used for political meetings and assemblies, religious ceremonies and festivals.

The remains of the Ancient Agora are an amazing testament to the great civilization that inhabited this area thousands of years ago. Visitors today can still explore what once stood here through archaeological excavations that have uncovered artifacts such as pottery shards, coins, jewelry and statues.

Contact:

Address: Adrianoy 24, Athina 105 55, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0321 0185

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13. Museum of the Ancient Agora

Museum of the Ancient Agora

The Museum of the Ancient Agora, established in 1931, houses artifacts from the prehistoric period all the way through to late antiquity from excavations conducted at the site since then. Here visitors to Athens can find an array of sculptures and other pieces that historically depict daily life during this time period. Many of these artifacts are symbolic representations of gods and goddesses, offering insight into Greek mythology as well as a broad cultural landscape.

In terms of what's available for viewing, there are a few main draws. One is a large selection of pottery artifacts used in everyday life ranging from bottles and drinking cups to ceramic figurines and cooking vessels.

14. Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium is an iconic landmark in Athens. It was first built in 330 BC as a form of tribute for the goddess Athena and has been renovated multiple times since then. The stadium has a capacity of 50,000 people and its seating is made entirely out of marble. This incredible structure boasts a long and significant history as it served as the venue for many ancient athletics events such as chariot races, athletic sports, music contests and religious ceremonies.

Today, the Panathenaic Stadium remains one of the major destinations in Athens. Every four years, the Olympic flame ceremoniously lit at the Temple of Hera is brought to the stadium by relay runners who pass through each region of Greece before arriving at its destination.

Contact:

Address: Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina 116 35, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0752 2984

15. Mount Lycabettus

Mount Lycabettus

Mount Lycabettus is a prominent hill located in the center of Athens. Rising nearly 300 meters above sea level, it provides an impressive view of Athens and its surroundings. As a popular destination among locals and tourists, Mount Lycabettus’s peak can be accessed via cable car or by foot along one of several trails.

The mountain has been known since antiquity, with archaeological evidence indicating that cult activities once took place there. Today, visitors to Mount Lycabettus are likely to find many religious buildings scattered throughout the area.

The Chapel of Saint Ioannis stands atop a peak on the northeastern side of the mountain and offers breathtaking views over Athens and beyond. As one ascends closer towards the summit on foot, they will pass by two small chapels dedicated to Agios Giorgos and Agia Triada.

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16. Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a beautiful stone theater located on the south slope side of the Acropolis. This ancient theatre was built in 161 AD by Herodes Atticus and has been used to host a variety of performances throughout its long history. Today, it is still one of the most popular venues for music concerts and theatrical performances. It has an impressive capacity of 5,000 people and despite its age, the acoustics are still highly praised by both artists and audiences alike.

The Odeon's architecture consists mostly of Pentelic marble with a few Doric elements scattered around. This combination makes for an awe-inspiring sight, creating an atmosphere that immerses all who experience it into an ancient world.

Contact:

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou, Athina 105 55, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0324 1807

17. Philopappos Monument

Philopappos Monument

The Philopappos Monument in Athens, is an impressive structure that has a deep and significant history. Built in 114 AD as a tribute to Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappos also known as "Philopappos," the monument stands tall at 25 meters high and boasts spectacular views of the Acropolis.

The structure itself is made up of two parts; the first part is a column which stands on top of three steps made from Proconnesian marble. The second part-a rounded capital decorated with elaborate carvings illustrating scenes from Greek mythology-sits atop the column.

Philopappos was a Roman citizen who was known for his philanthropy towards Athens during his lifetime, hence why he was honored with such an impressive monument upon his death.

18. Byzantine and Christian Museum

Byzantine and Christian Museum

One of the most interesting places to visit in Athens is the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Since it opened its doors in 1914, this museum has been a window into Greek history and culture, displaying religious artifacts from early Christian and Byzantine periods. Among the many items that have been collected here over the years are sculptures, icons, mosaics, manuscripts, ceramics, jewelry and coins.

Art lovers will be amazed by the sheer number of pieces that can be found here; there are more than 25000 objects on display spread across seven galleries. From ancient sculptures depicting gods and goddesses to detailed mosaics from churches throughout Greece. The museum also holds regular events such as lectures and concerts. It’s an ideal spot in Athens for those interested in learning about Greek culture or just admiring some of its finest works of art.

Contact:

Address: Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 22, Athina 106 75, Greece

Phone: +30 21 3213 9517

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19. Kapnikarea

Kapnikarea church in Athens

Kapnikarea is a Byzantine church located in downtown Athens. Built in the 11th century, it stands as one of the most significant cultural monuments from that era. The church is named after Kapnikarea, which means “temple covered with a canopy” in Greek and is recognized as one of the oldest churches still standing today.

The architecture of this historic monument reflects its originality and has attracted many visitors over time. Inside the walls, one can find intricately detailed frescoes and ancient artifacts including pottery and coins from different historical periods dating back to Ancient Greece.

20. Areopagus

Areopagus hill

Areopagus is an iconic site of great historical significance. It was a rocky outcrop situated near the Acropolis and it played an important role in the city's past. It had its origins as a court to try homicide cases, but later on it became the venue for high level political deliberations.

The Athenian Assembly met there to discuss vital matters pertaining to the governance of Athens, including legislation and foreign policy. It was also used as a tribunal where issues arising between citizens were brought up for judgement.

The Areopagus has been associated with ancient Greek myths too; according to one legend, it was where Zeus tried Ares, god of war, for murder. Another story suggests that this spot is where Athena presented Theseus with weapons and instructions before he set off on his journey against Minotaur.

21. Theatre of Dionysus

Theatre of Dionysus

The Theatre of Dionysus is considered one of the most important ancient sites in the world. It was first constructed around 550 BC, and it is regarded as the birthplace of European theatre; all plays performed here were dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine. The theatre was situated on the south slope of the Acropolis hill overlooking Athens and could accommodate up to 17,000 spectators.

The structure itself was immense: it had three tiers including a small central stage with seats that curved upwards at either side allowing for good visibility from anywhere in the audience. The Dionysian festivals which took place here revolved around music and dance performances accompanied by singing choruses that were often composed by famous authors such as Sophocles or Aeschylus.

Contact:

Address: Mitseon 25, Athina 117 42, Greece

Phone: +30 21 0322 4625

22. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-Athens

Standing proudly since 1941, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most important monuments in all of Greece. It was built to honor those who had fallen during World War II, and it stands as a reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom. The monument is located at Syntagma Square, near the House of Parliament in Athens.

The tomb consists of an eternal flame burning inside an urn that sits atop a marble pedestal with four draped flags representing each branch of the Greek Armed Forces: Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard. Every hour there is an evocative changing of the guard ceremony which brings together soldiers from all four branches who march in unison to honor those who had served their country before them.

Contact:

Address: Leof. Vasilisis Amalias 133, Athina 105 57, Greece

Best Flights To Athens

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Athens. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Athens.

FAQ

Q: Does Athens have a beach?

A: The answer is yes! Despite being an urban metropolis, Athens boasts several stunning beaches that are perfect for those seeking a refreshing seaside escape.

One of the most popular options is the sandy haven of Vouliagmeni Beach. Located just 25 kilometers south of Athens city center, this picturesque beach offers crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views.

Q: Is Athens expensive for tourists?

A: Firstly, accommodation in Athens can range from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels overlooking iconic landmarks like the Acropolis. Visitors on a tight budget have plenty of affordable options available, particularly in neighborhoods such as Plaka or Monastiraki. Additionally, exploring the city's culinary scene need not break the bank either. Local tavernas and street food stalls offer delicious Greek dishes at reasonable prices for those seeking an authentic dining experience.

Q: Is it safe to walk in Athens at night?

A: Generally speaking, walking around Athens at night can be safe if you exercise caution and follow some basic guidelines. Firstly, stick to well-lit areas that are popular with both locals and tourists. The main tourist areas such as Plaka, Monastiraki, and Syntagma Square tend to have a heavier police presence and are generally considered safer.

It's also advisable to stay on busy streets where there are people around rather than taking shortcuts through deserted areas or dimly lit alleyways. Additionally, avoid flaunting valuable items like expensive jewelry or large amounts of cash that might attract unwanted attention.

Q: Is Athens fun at night?

A: Athens boasts numerous hip neighborhoods where you can wander through narrow streets filled with lively bars and cafes. In areas like Psirri and Gazi, you will find an array of stylish venues offering unique cocktails, live DJ sets, and international music genres. If dancing is your thing, head to the vibrant neighborhood of Kolonaki or the famous area of Plaka where nightclubs cater to diverse tastes - from techno beats to Latin rhythms.

Q: How far is Athens airport from the city center?

A: Located approximately 20 kilometers east of downtown Athens, Athes airport offers convenient access to travelers from around the world. To reach the city center from Athens Airport, there are several transportation options available. The most popular choice is taking a taxi, which typically takes around 30 minutes and costs about 35 euros. Alternatively, you can opt for public transportation by using the Metro Line 3 (Blue Line). This direct train service connects the airport with Syntagma Square in central Athens and operates every day from 6:30 am until 11:30 pm.

Q: What food is Athens famous for?

A: One such dish is souvlaki, a quintessentially Greek street food that has become a staple in the city. Souvlaki consists of skewered pieces of meat (usually pork or chicken) cooked over an open flame and served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions, and fries. The combination of juicy meat marinated with herbs and spices alongside the creamy tanginess of tzatziki creates an explosion of flavors in every bite.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ATHENS

Book Your Hotel In Athens

You can book your hotel in Athens with Booking.com as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hotel, they also return the cheapest rates for accommodations like guesthouses and apartments.

Book Your Flight To Athens

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Athens. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you get the best rates.

Need a Rental Car In Athens?

Here is a budget-friendly car rental resource. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest car rentals in Athens here.

Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Athens?

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable option to get to and from the airport in Athens, here you will find all the answers to book your next airport transfer in Athens.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Athens without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

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