Athens is the capital and biggest city of Greece. It is considered one of the world’s oldest cities with its 6.000 year history. It offers visitors a unique experience of witnessing monuments of the antiquity. A visitor can do an archaeological tour of ancient Athens through the 3 km pedestrian zone which leads to all the major archaeological sites.
Heading to Athens for just 48 hours? You can check a great itinerary here.
Top archaeological sites to see in Athens, Greece
This walk through ancient Athens will take you to:
- Olympieion, which includes the temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman baths classical houses and a section of the ancient city’s fortification wall.
- Hadrian’s Arch, the symbolic gate of the city of Athens, it was built in 131 AD on the northwestern perimeter of Zeus temple, in honor of Emperor Hadrian.
- Dionyssiou Areopagitou Str, is a very impressive street with neoclassical buildings on the one side, the Parthenon and other significant monuments at the other.
- The Ancient theatre of Dionysos, is the most ancient theatre of the world. In this theatre many famous poets of the 5th century BC like Aristophanes and Sophocles saw premiere performance on their plays.
- The Stoa of Eumenes, was built on the 2nd century BC by the king Eumenes II. It is situated above the Dionysos theatre and it was used to provide shelter from the rain and sun to the theatre audience.
- The Odeion of Herodes Atticus, was built in 161 AD by Herodes Tiberius Claudius Atticus, a wealty teacher and philosopher in memory of his wife Regilla. The 5000 seat theatre is now used, as in ancient times, to host organized cultural events.
- The Acropolis is the symbol of Athens. The monuments on the Sacred Rock include:
The Propylaea, which is the actual entrance of the Acropolis.
The Temple of Athena Victory. It was built in 420 BC in commemoration of the victory of the Greeks against the Persians.
The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. It was built of Pentelic marble by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates.
The Erechtheion, is the most holy place of Acropolis where goddess Athena planted the olive tree.
The Caryatids, the figures of maidens supporting the balcony of the south side of the temple are copies. Five of the six can be seen in the Acropolis museum and the sixth is on display at the British Museum in London.
- The Areios Pagos, is the most ancient court of law of the world.After the 6th century this square was the location of the assembly of the people of ancient Athens.
- The Ancient Agora. The archaeological area of Ancient Agora consists of many monuments including the Temple of Hephaistos, which is the best preserved temple of antiquity. The monument of the Eponymous Heroes, Poikile Stoa, The Stoa of Attalus, the Basileios Stoa and the Odeion of Agrippa. The Ancient Agora was the commercial, political, cultural and religious centre of the time.
- The Roman Agora, is located in the Plaka area. The most important sights include the Kyrristus Clock and the Tower of the Winds.
- Hadrian’s Library. It was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian and was used to store papyruses and books. The entrance to the archaeological site is on 3 Areos str.
Athens is full of archaeological sites. If you cover the above you will have seen the most important sites of ancient Athens. Note that you will probably need half a day to view all. Please wear comfortable and not slippery shoes. I have seen a lot of people falling especially on the Acropolis because they were wearing the most inappropriate shoes.
Read more things to do in Athens by Jet Settera.
Admission tickets to Athens archaeological sites
There is a special ticket package for visiting most of ancient Athens monuments costing 30 € full and 15 € reduced which is valid for Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora, North slope of Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis. The ticket is valid for5 days.
Free admission days
- 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
- 5 June (International Enviroment Day)
- 18 April (International Monuments Day)
- 18 May (International Museums Day)
- The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
- Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
- 28 October
Reduced admission for:
- Greek citizens and citizens of other Member – States of the European Union aged over 65 years old by showing their ID card or passport.
- Students of Higher Education Institutes and equivalent Schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID
Free admission for:
- Escorting teachers during the visits of schools and institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education and of military schools.
- Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card
- Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS
- Persons possessing a free admission card
- The escorting teachers of schools and institutions of elementary, middle school, high school, university and graduate level education during their visits
- The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities.
- The employees of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Archaeological Receipts Fund, upon presentation of their service ID card
- Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age
Athens is a place full of history, everywhere you turn your head you will see an ancient ruin. If you are a fan of history and archaeology Athens is the place to visit.
Have you ever been to Athens? Have you seen any archaeological sites?