Athens
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Top attractions in Athens

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Top 10 things to do in Athens

Once the heart of a civilization more advanced than any to come for centuries, visiting Athens reveals just how far mankind can go when holding art and wisdom above waging war. Here are the best things to see and do in Greece's proud and passionate capital.

Monastiraki

The Old Town market district Monastiraki is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Though cheap souvenirs dominate its storefronts, there's plenty on offer for sophisticated tastes too!

Parthenon

More than the ruins of an old temple, the Parthenon is an icon of Western civilization, making it the site of Athens' most essential tours!

Acropolis of Athens

Many of Ancient Athens' most important buildings were erected in the Acropolis to protect them from invasion. Ruins they may be, but most still look pretty good for their age!

Erechtheion

Built on the site where legend tells Poseidon and Athena competed to be the city's patron god, the Erechtheion was actually considered more holy than the Parthenon in its time!

Acropolis Museum

Of course, the Acropolis is now mostly in ruin – a monument to Athens' former glory – but almost 4,000 objects excavated from the area can be seen at the Acropolis Museum!

Photo: Xuan Che @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Widely considered to be one of the best museums in the world, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens boasts many of Greece's most important artifacts, from the prehistoric age to Late Antiquity.

Syntagma Square

Named after the Greek Constitution of 1844, the grand Syntagma Square at the foot of the Old Royal Palace has been the epicenter of Greek politics ever since!

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

In ruins, but once considered the epitome of Doric architecture, the important temple Olympieion was home to the gold Statue of Zeus – one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Temple of Athena Nike

Nike is the Ancient Greek word for victory, and the prominently placed Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis was built to aid the Athenian Empire's wars against Sparta. It didn't work!

Plaka

This historic district at the foot of the Acropolis is also known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods." Plaka is a great place to wander around and maybe even see an archaeological dig!

Planning Your Athens Visit

Where to stay?

If sightseeing around the Acropolis is your main concern, Plaka is probably the best place to stay. Despite being a highly recommended tourist spot in itself, its streets are pleasantly quiet. The main attractions can also be reached easily from the Monastiraki area, which ought to appeal more to those attracted to Athens' lively street life.

How many days?

How long to spend in Athens depends on how much of it you want to see, of course, but with most of its historic landmarks situated at the Acropolis, you could cover its archaeological sites, best restaurants, and most popular markets in 3 days.

How to get around?

The city is served by buses and electric trolleys that must be waved down at the blue (bus) and yellow (trolley) stops. Tickets are cheap, but then so are taxi fares. Athens also recently opened a sleek new Metro network. Construction was greatly delayed because they couldn't dig for 5 minutes without hitting undiscovered antiquities!

Good to know

  • Language
    Greek
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +30
  • Best time to visit
    Athens is most pleasant during the spring and fall, when the temperatures are warm and the tourist traffic is at a minimum.

Things to Do in Athens

Top Attractions in Athens

Cities in Greece

Other Sightseeing Options in Athens

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What people are saying about Athens

Classy guide and stimulating tour of Athens cool street art. Thumbs up

Brilliant guide. Great knowledge and references. She had nice pace, delivery and personality and led a thoroughly enjoyable tour. Many thanks.

Athens 3-Hour Street Art Tour Reviewed by Cathal, 09/18/2018

If you are in Athens, you have to do this tour.

We had a fantastic trip to Meteora. The pictures that you see online do not do justice to the area. You have to be there in person to appreciate it. The 5-hour train trip each way is a little rugged but it was well worth the experience. Our guide Chris did a great job is showing us as much as he could in the little time he had. If you go to Greece, you must go to Meteora.

From Athens: Full-Day Meteora Trip by Train Reviewed by Bill, 09/18/2018

Fun, invigorating tour. Highly recommend!

This tour was truly amazing! The pace was easy and the route was mostly without traffic. It was a great way to see Athens from a different perspective. Danae, our tour guide was absolutely wonderful. She made sure we all stayed together and stayed safe. She gave us a lot of interesting facts along the way as well as wonderful traditional Greek ice cream and cookies half way through the tour. My husband and I truly enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see Athens’s sites and get some exercise at the same time!

Athens: 3.5-Hour Morning Bike Tour Reviewed by Teresa, 09/16/2018

Full of wonderful information! Highly recommend!

This tour is perfect for an overview of Athens's history! It was full of interesting information and well organized. Annie, our tour guide was fabulous!!! She not only gave us the facts but also a lot of the myth and culture that is Greece! Truly enjoyed it! Thank you Annie, you were wonderful! Would definitely recommend this tour.

Amazing way to spend an evening in Athens-good food & great experience

My husband and I loved learning about Greek food and how to make some delicious dishes. The chef who taught us was amazing and not only did she teach us about the food but also about her home town of Athens, the people of Greece and the wonderful culture here. It was such a neat experience to work in a professional kitchen and watch as food was made around us as we learned to prepare a three course Greek meal. Would highly recommend this experience!