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Things to do in

Athens

A bucket-list must. Pair visits to the Acropolis' top with walks through the Greek Capital's grungy underbelly.

Our most recommended things to do in Athens

Athens: Acropolis Guided Tour with Entry Ticket

1. Athens: Acropolis Guided Tour with Entry Ticket

Enjoy skip-the-ticket line access and discover the cradle of Western civilization on a guided visit to the Acropolis. Choose from either a shared or private guided experience and indulge in tasty Greek treats when you upgrade to include a street food tour in Athen's old town. At the start of the tour, meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Greek delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Let your guide take you onto Pnyx Hill, which is the actual birthplace of democracy. Continue to immerse yourself in Ancient Greek history on a 50-minute tour of the world-famous Acropolis in Athens. Admire the stunning architecture of the Parthenon Temple, learn the importance of the Erechtheion Temple, and hear myths and stories about ancient Athens. After your guided tour, you have the option to stay on the hill to explore further at your own pace and enjoy the view over the city and up to the Aegean Sea. Your guide will show you a different route towards the south exit so that you also see the Altar of Asclepius and the Theater of Dionysus, the birthplace of theater drama. Upgrade and extend your tour by adding a Greek street food experience. Follow your guide to explore additional areas of the Acropolis hill and the south slope. Afterward, walk into the Old Town for a guided tasting of popular Greek street foods.

Athens: Acropolis and 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket

2. Athens: Acropolis and 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket

Save time and money during your time in Athens with a pre-booked combo ticket that gives you skip-the-line access to 7 of Athens' top archaeological sites. Enjoy savings of up to 50% and avoid the long lines of tourists at the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Temple of Zeus, Aristotle's School, Hadrian's Library, and Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery. Marvel at the Parthenon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, standing on Acropolis Hill, and immerse yourself in this impressive structure's 2500 years of rich history. Whilst there, visit the Ancient Agora that lies on the north-western slopes of the Acropolis. Learn more about this former artistic, spiritual, and commercial center. Just north of the Acropolis, explore the site of the Roman Agora, which was once the focus of public life in Athens. You can also enjoy access to the renowned Hadrian's Library and Temple of Olympian Zeus in the Olympion Site, as well as Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery that stretches to the banks of the Eridanos River and the nearby Lyceum.

Athens: Acropolis Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket with Audio Tour

3. Athens: Acropolis Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket with Audio Tour

Visit the Acropolis, perhaps Greece's most important landmark and one of the world's most-visited sites. Book this skip-the-ticket-line ticket to avoid the long wait at the ticket office. Get the most out of the experience with an audio guide on your phone and uncover the history of the city. Receive your e-ticket by email and check your voucher for instructions on how to download your audio guide. Then, with your phone and headphones in hand, go directly to the South Entrance, close to the Acropolis metro station, and scan your ticket at the ticket-validating machines. Put on your headphones and open the app on your phone to begin your tour. Listen as professional, licensed guides, and experts on storytelling present you with historical information and narrate original handpicked stories. Take as much time as you need. Walk into the Theater of Dionysus and then, see the UNESCO-listed Parthenon Temple, which is dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Visit the Propylaea, the temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheion, and see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Wander around all sides of the hill and get some marvelous views of the capital of Greece. See the surrounding mountains and the blue Aegean sea which surrounds Athens. 

Athens: Acropolis & Top Attractions Tickets with Audio Guide

4. Athens: Acropolis & Top Attractions Tickets with Audio Guide

Explore the ancient Acropolis at your own pace with skip-the-line e-tickets. Choose to upgrade your experience with optional combo tickets to the city's top archaeological attractions and museums, including Acropolis Museum, Ancient Agora, Kerameikos, Olympieion, Roman Forum, Hadrian's Library, Aristotle's Lyceum, and the National Archaeological Museum. You can select the ticket-only option or the ticket with audio option to access up to 6 captivating audio tours on your smartphone. Uncover the history of the city as well as a number of fascinating sites that shaped contemporary Athens on a self-guided audio walking tour. After booking, simply download your ticket and audio tours on your phone with the link sent to you. Once you enter each attraction, put on your headphones and discover the sites through the power of storytelling and learn historical information and uncommon anecdotes from ancient times.

Athens: Acropolis and Museum Entry Tickets with Audio Guide

5. Athens: Acropolis and Museum Entry Tickets with Audio Guide

Visit the breathtaking Acropolis with a pre-booked admission ticket. Discover one of the most famous and most visited monuments in the world of antiquity. Stroll up to the UNESCO-listed site that served as the ancient citadel, and discover the buildings at your own pace. Receive your ticket to your e-mail along with instructions to download your audio tour and go directly to the South Entrance, close to the Acropolis metro station. Scan your ticket at the ticket-validating machines, put on your headphones and listen to our professional, licensed guides present you with historical information and narrate original handpicked stories. You have as much time as you need. The entrance ticket includes also access to the Propylae, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, and Erechtheion with its Porch of Maidens. After exploring the ruins, visit the Acropolis Museum which contains some of the important works of contemporary architecture and priceless findings from the Acropolis monuments. With your audio guide, see the main attractions such as votives, artifacts of everyday life, statues from the archaic period, Caryatids, and of course the majestic Parthenon hall with the metopes, the pediments, and the frieze.

Acropolis: Guided Walking Tour with Entrance Ticket

6. Acropolis: Guided Walking Tour with Entrance Ticket

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets to the foothills of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Acropolis of Athens, an ancient citadel and one of the world’s most revealing archaeological sites. Head for the south slope of the Acropolis to avoid the main crowds. Pick up your tickets and make your way inside to see the ancient treasures that await Visit the Theatre of Dionysus, a 5th-century amphitheater regarded as the birthplace of the performing arts. Hear about its history and imagine it filled with the theatergoers of Ancient Greece. Stop at the Dionysus Sanctuary, dedicated to the Greek god of wine and fertility. Once inside the Acropolis, get up close with important sights like the Propylaea gateway, Erechtheion, Temple of Athena Nike, and Parthenon. Learn the history of these fascinating ruins from your guide. Once at the summit of the sacred hill, take in the sweeping panoramas of Athens. Learn about the excavations, and get an insight into the citadel’s ruins. Hear about surrounding monuments, such as Mars Hill and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.  Your tour concludes at the summit of the Acropolis, leaving you free to continue exploring the site on your own. You can choose between an early morning, morning or afternoon guided tour.

Athens: Sunset Trip to Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon

7. Athens: Sunset Trip to Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon

With a guide, experience the Athens Riviera and uncover the history behind each turn. Witness the sun melt over the Aegean Sea on Cape Sounion and see the Temple of Poseidon. Depart Athens by bus from Halandri Metro station and reach Cape Sounion in time for the mesmerizing sunset. Learn about Sounion’s past and present from your archaeologist guide. Explore the Temple of Poseidon, one of the most important temples in Greece. See the signatures on the temple marble left by famous authors who visited, including the Romantic poet Lord Byron. Watch the sunset over the clear waters of the Aegean Sea. After, a short stop at the magical Lake Vouliagmeni, a unique natural treasure on the Athenian Riviera.

Athens: Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour with Entry Tickets

8. Athens: Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour with Entry Tickets

Travel back in time on an informative and fun tour of the Acropolis of Athens. Guided by a field expert and licensed tour guide, discover the UNESCO World Heritage site through a journey into history, mythology, and storytelling. Continue with a visit to the Acropolis Museum, which has been ranked as one of the top museums in the world. All the original surviving masterpieces from the temples of the Acropolis are displayed with the use of natural light. Excavations are also visible under glass floors and walkways. Visit Acropolis hill. See the Dionysus Theater, where famous ancient dramas and tragedies were first performed. Walk around the stunning Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the sanctuary of the healing god Asclepius. On the top of the hill, visit the Propylea Temple of Nike and the Erechtheion Temple. See the Parthenon, which is the symbol of democracy and western civilization. Dating back to the 5th-century, these monuments are testimonials of the glorious ancient Athens and the Golden Age of Pericles. At the Acropolis Museum, explore the ground floor where exhibited artifacts reveal facets of the Athenian daily life. Get to know wedding customs, children's favorite toys, healing techniques, and religious practices. On the first floor, stand at a breathing distance from the mysterious archaic statues of the 6th century, which once adorned the Acropolis. Be fascinated as you walk next to the Caryatids and huge pieces of the Acropolis entrance. On the final floor, next to the breathtaking view of the Acropolis, admire the original unique concept and artistic excellence Parthenon frieze.

From Athens: Full-Day Rail Tour to Meteora w/ Hermit Caves

9. From Athens: Full-Day Rail Tour to Meteora w/ Hermit Caves

Travel by train through the countryside on a day trip from Athens to the Meteora monasteries and Hermit caves, with the option to upgrade to first-class tickets. Take a scenic drive from Kalambaka and visit 3 of the monasteries atop their rock pinnacles along with the caves of Badovas with a guide. Catch the train to Kalambaka in the morning from the Athens railway station and enjoy a trip that will give you the chance to admire the beauty of the countryside. Arrive in Kalambaka by noon, a small town built at the foot of the majestic grey rocks, and crowded by the Meteora monasteries. Meet your driver and board a VIP Mercedes minibus to transfer to the UNESCO-listed clifftop monasteries of Meteora. Travel through a landscape of green valleys until you reach the rock formations. Visit 3 active monasteries over the next 5 hours (entrance fees not included). Next, discover the caves of Badovas, where the last of the hermit monks of Meteora lived more than 2 centuries ago. Stop for frame-worthy photos at each site, learn the stories and legends, and enjoy great views from the most panoramic spots. At the end of the day, be driven back to Kalambaka. Enjoy an hour of free time to walk in the town’s center or to have a light lunch (at your expense) before hopping on the return train to Athens.

From Athens: Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon Sunset Tour

10. From Athens: Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon Sunset Tour

Visit the scenic coastal views of Cape Sounion on a guided tour from Athens with hotel transfers. Travel along south Attica’s shoreline roads to reach the ancient Temple of Poseidon. Get panoramic vistas of the Aegean and explore the ruins of this temple before catching a beautiful sunset. Start your day with pickup at your accommodation in Athens. Enjoy a comfortable 50-minute drive along the coastal roads of Attica in an air-conditioned minivan and admire the idyllic beaches and small villages that pass by. Arrive at Cape Sounion and make your way to the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, dedicated to the Greek god of the sea, and embark on a guided tour of this historic landmark. Learn about the mythology linked to the temple before having time to relax and take in the panoramic views over the Aegean. Continue to one of Cape Sounion's blue flag beaches to admire the sunset or swim in the paradisical Aegean Sea. After the tour, travel in comfort back to your accommodation in Athens.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Athens

Thomas Dowson is the founder of Archaeology Travel, a website for those seeking adventures in archaeology and history. As a professional archaeologist Thomas enjoys visiting archaeological and historical sites around the world. And sharing these experiences so that others can explore the world’s pasts more deeply. On his blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Athens.

What should I do on my first trip to Athens?

Perhaps an obvious suggestion, but really no one should miss the Acropolis, and the Acropolis Museum. Find a guide, in whatever form, that will help you see more of this ancient citadel than the Acropolis of the 5th century BC. As spectacular as these ancient monuments are, there is more to the Acropolis than the Parthenon and Erechtheion.

What are some hidden gems to see in Athens?

Besides the Acropolis, and the other 5 well known ancient sites, there are many ruins dotted about the city. One of my favourites is in view of the Tower of the Winds. Just beyond the Roman Agora is a doorway that was once the entrance to an Ottoman era theological school, and then a prison. Very little of Ottoman Athens survives today, much of it destroyed deliberately - such as the mosque on the Acropolis. Little remnants like these add a lot to the story of Athens.

How much time should I spend in Athens?

Not surprisingly most people come to Athens to see the ancient sites. For this, three or four days will not only give you enough time to see most of these plus a day trip to Delphi and/or an afternoon trip to Sounion to watch the sunset. But, I strongly recommend adding a day or two to explore beyond the historical centre of Athens. Each neighbourhood has its own character: visit the Central Varvakios Market in Psirri or go in search of street art in Exarchia.

What food is Athens known for?

Athens is great for walking. And if anything goes well with walking it is street food. Gyros and souvlaki are my go to choices while exploring the city on foot. A gyros is a pita bread filled with shaved meat cooked on a rotisserie. Souvlaki on the other hand is diced meat on a stick cooked on a hot plate. Add a good tzatziki sauce to either and for me that is heaven in your hands. Vegetarian versions made using grilled cheese are just as good!

What is the best way to get around Athens?

Central Athens is easy to get about on foot. Here are all the main attractions and lots of good hotels. For those who want to stay a bit further out, there is a good metro system. Whether you arrive by air or sea, the metro also serves both the airport and the port.

What are the best months to visit Athens?

Having been visiting Athens for over 20 years, my favourite times of the year are the beginning of May and the beginning of October. In May the city is gearing up for summer and not yet crowded, and the Jacaranda trees are in bloom. In October the summer crowds have left, and it is not too hot.

What is neighborhood Exarchia known for?

Most visitors to Athens will only experience the Exarchia neighbourhood through the National Archaeological Museum. The streets might not look as inviting as in other areas, but this is definitely an area to explore, particularly if you like graffiti and street art. Exarchia is also known as the riot area of Athens, being the site of some major street riots in the history of Athenian politics.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

As many of the historical attractions are in the Monastiraki and Plaka areas, there are also many restaurants serving the usual Greek cuisine for tourists. A better area in my opinion, and not far from the centre of Athens, is Psirri. I was introduced to this area on a food walking tour of Athens. Besides the central market area, you will find some great restaurants, bars and cafes, filled with local Athenians as well as a few visitors.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The southern slopes of Lycabettus Hill, between Syntagma and Evangelismos metro stations, is Kolonaki - one of the most upmarket areas of central Athens. Kolonaki is perfect for high-end shopping. A more affordable shopping experience can be found on the streets running between Syntagma and Monastiraki Squares.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Athens?

Given how popular a tourist destination Athens is, there is a good choice of accommodation in most areas of the city to suit all budgets. When it comes to choosing one of these areas, I keep coming back to central Athens. For me, nothing beats a hotel with a view of the Acropolis.

What are the best annual events in Athens? 

The beautifully preserved Herodes Atticus Theatre just below the Acropolis, provides a truly evocative setting for the annual Greek Festival. On offer is a varied programme of dance and music from June to August.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Athens? 

For anyone who enjoys hiking, Athens has a number of green spaces that provide the perfect opportunity to get some outdoor activity while on holiday. And with spectacular views. Closer to the city centre is Filopappou Hill, a vast area with many walking routes through ancient ruins. For those feeling a bit more energetic, climb Lycabettus Hill - the tallest of the seven hills.

What are the best beaches around Athens? 

Although there are sandy beaches from the port of Piraeus to Cape Sounion, those closer to the port are probably not top of anyone’s list. And of course nothing could beat swimming in clear blue waters below the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. But the most popular beaches with easiest access from Athens can be found in the Kavouri-Vouliagmeni area.

Other Sightseeing Options in Athens

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What people are saying about Athens

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 23,420 reviews

Very well organised Athens walking tour. Early meeting time to avoid heat and crowds. Well paced with shady stops and water-bottle refill points. Very clear and informative guide. The second part of the tour was a short walk followed by a visit to the new Acropolis museum. At the end of the tour there is a very good cafe/restaurant inside the museum and we chose to stay longer to soak up as much of this amazing site (and the excavations beneath) as time would allow.

We had a great tour with Theadora! She was very knowledgeable and made sure to give us time for photos. Wonderful tour of the Acropolis. Would definitely recommend this tour.

Transport on time, modern air conditioned coach, knowledgeable guide, decent lunch and good sights to see. Enjoyed the tour.

Easy to download and to retrieve when you reach the venue. The audio prompts as you walk to each area. Works great.

Wonderful and extremely interesting tour! Our guide was funny and obviously loved her job.