Top attractions in Athens
Top sights 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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 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.
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!
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- 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
We stopped at two wineries, Mylonas and Papagiannakos, and they were both very good, with great wines and nice people. We particularly enjoyed Papagiannakos, and ended up buying some of their wine to take back to our hotel. The sommelier, Stefanos, was very generous with his time, his knowledge, and his good humour, and that all made for a very enjoyable tour and tasting. Lunch by the seaside was nice too, and we got to know our tour guide (Spyros) better... he gave us a recommendation for a wine bar in Athens (Oinoscent) which we enjoyed visiting as well, and followed up by sending us more information about Greek wine once we were home. This tour was top notch.
We had done a cooking class in another part of Greece earlier in our trip, and we were really looking forward to this one. It did not disappoint! Our hostess was friendly and down to earth, and we enjoyed both her teachings and our conversations with her. The visit to the market was really interesting, and we got to explore a side of Athens we would have missed if not for this class. But learning how to make moussaka was the highlight. We will definitely put that lesson to use from time to time at home.
Great way to spend an afternoon with good weather. The trip to Sounion was recommended to us several times, it's definitely worth it. The bus was small, but we only had a group of 8, which was perfect. Made some interesting stops along the way. The guide was really friendly and knowledgeable, very approachable for questions without being pedantic.
Ana was a wonderful guide. Arrived exactly on time and was very friendly. Tasted a great array of: yoghurt/honey, cheese, cured meats, olives, coffee, and walked around fresh produce markets. The highlights were the piping hot cheese/filo pastry pie and the lovely meze lunch at the end :)
Very enjoyable and easy e-bike tour. George our guide was caring, knowledgeable and a great tour leader to introduce us to central Athens. Stopping to tell us about different places, he pitched it just right, giving enough but not too much info and with a good sense of humour.