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

Engaging and informative 5-hour tour of Athens!

We toured Athens on May 13th, my father's 60th birthday. The tour was thorough and engaging. Our favorite part of the tour was our guide Chrysoula! She was charming and informative. Her passion for the history of Athens is truly evident.

Fantastic experience - team onboard did a great job and amboat

We were 16 people on board and were amazed about the size and amenities onboard. It was a really impressive boat and felt like we were the first ones onboard as the boat was so new. The owner and staff were adorable and really made us feel welcomed from the first second we stepped onboard. It was very spacious boat where we all felt very comfortable. We were really spoiled on board with the all the drinks that we wanted as well as with great sandwiches. In addition, we were surprised with fresh strawberries. The staff was really so sweet and attentative. Really taking care of us from picking us up to making sure we got home. We really enjoyed being on board and did the half day tour. We should have done a full day tour so that we could have gone to another great destination. This is something I would recommend to others.

Private Yacht Cruise on the Athens Riviera Reviewed by Patricia, 05/14/2018

This was a highlight of our time in Athens!

Our guide, Dorella, was so sweet and knowledgable. We had a great day, ate delicious foods and learned so much about Greek foods, and how various dishes have evolved. If you have time, this is the best thing to do to become familiarized with the area and the cuisine!

The Original Athens Food Tour Reviewed by Marcy, 05/11/2018

Great Trip - kind of wish there was more time.

Great Trip - very informative with tons of good information. Only bad thing is when your the last stop home that makes it very inconvenient to get home 2 hours after they said they would.

Delphi Day Trip from Athens Reviewed by Aaron, 05/06/2018

By all means, do a tour to understand the collection

Guide Chris was very well informed, very welcoming, friendly, engaging. Kept the group together and did a superb job managing everyone. I can’t imagine enjoying the museum half as much if I’d done it without a guide.