Athens the capital of Greece is a city with many points of interest; rich history, good shopping, tasty food and an amazing nightlife. So if you are visiting Athens and you are wondering what to see and do I have made this comprehensive list of the top 30 things to do and see in Athens Greece. I hope you find them interesting and helpful.
- What to see in Athens – Greece:
- Top thing to do and see in Athens 1: Visit Parthenon and the Ancient Sites
- 2: Acropolis Museum
- 3: National Archaeological Museum
- 4: Watch the Change of the Guards
- 5: Have a picnic at the National Gardens
- 6: Visit the Panathenaic Stadium
- 7: Buy souvenirs from Monastiraki
- 8: Climb the Philopappou Hill
- 9: See a performance at Dora’s Stratou theatre
- Top thing to do and see in Athens 10: Stroll the paved streets of Plaka
- 11: Visit Anafiotika, an island in the centre of Athens.
- 12: Walk along Panepistimiou Avenue from Syntagma to Omonia square.
- 13: Visit the Ottoman monuments
- 14: Visit Varvakeios Central Market.
- 15: Climb the Lycabettus hill
- 16: See a performance at Odeion of Herodes Atticus
- 17: Take the train and visit Piraeus, Athens major port.
- 18: Try an escape game
- 19: Visit the Attica Zoological Park
- Top thing to do and see in Athens 20: Outlet shopping in Spata
- 21: Go shopping in downtown Athens
- 22: Make a day trip to Sounio
- 23: Cruise to 3 nearby islands
- 24: Swim at Lake Vouliagmeni
- 25: Relax in a Hammam
- 26: Taste local products and wine in a Wine bar
- 27: Try Street Food
- 28: Enjoy your coffee or drink with a view
- 29: Watch a movie in an open-air cinema
- Top thing to do and see in Athens 30: Admire the Street Art
- Where to stay in Athens, Greece
What to see in Athens – Greece:
Top thing to do and see in Athens 1: Visit Parthenon and the Ancient Sites
You can buy a combined ticket for 30 € that entitles you with entrance to the following archaeological sites: 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. With just one ticket you will see most important points of interest of Athens.
2: Acropolis Museum
Acropolis museum is considered one of the most important museums in Greece. It houses more than 3.000 artifacts from the Acropolis. After your visit, you can grab a lunch or coffee at the museum’s restaurant with breathtaking views of the Acropolis.
3: National Archaeological Museum
It is the largest museum in Greece with more than 20.000 exhibits covering a vast period of history from the beginnings of Prehistory to Late Antiquity.
4: Watch the Change of the Guards
In front of the Parliament at Syntagma square lies the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. It is guarded around the clock by two men wearing traditional uniform called Evzones. Every hour takes place the ceremony of the Changing of the Guards.
5: Have a picnic at the National Gardens
The National Gardens are located behind the Parliament. It is an area with lush greenery, offering an oasis in the centre of Athens. It is an ideal place to relax and have a snack.
6: Visit the Panathenaic Stadium
The first Modern Olympic Games were held there making the stadium a monument of significant importance. It is the only stadium in the world made from white marble and has a capacity of 60.000 spectators.
7: Buy souvenirs from Monastiraki
Head to Monastiraki district just under the Acropolis. Wander around the flea market and buy souvenirs and gifts for your friends.
8: Climb the Philopappou Hill
Philopappou hill is a beautiful park with great views of the Acropolis. There you can discover the Philopappou monument, handmade cobbled roads and the church of Ayios Demetrios Loumbardiaris, a 16th-century basilica with great murals. The area of Philopappou Hill has been designated a Scheduled and Protected Monument of the Global Cultural Heritage.
9: See a performance at Dora’s Stratou theatre
The group of Dora’s Stratou theatre consists of 75 dancers, musicians and singers. The dancers wear traditional Greek costumes of various regions of the country and perform songs and dances from all the periods of the Greek history. The show lasts 90 minutes and tickets cost 15 euros for adults.
Top thing to do and see in Athens 10: Stroll the paved streets of Plaka
Located at the foot of Acropolis, it’s the oldest neighbourhood of Athens. Plaka is a picturesque neighbourhood with the narrow streets, neoclassical houses, shops, restaurants and ruins from the Roman era.
11: Visit Anafiotika, an island in the centre of Athens.
Anafiotika is located in the upper area of Plaka, just under the Acropolis. It is a beautiful area constructed by builders from the Aegean island of Anafi.
For more information check my post about Anafiotika.
12: Walk along Panepistimiou Avenue from Syntagma to Omonia square.
Along Panepistimiou Street you will find a number of the most important public buildings of the city. Some of these buildings include the Athens Academy, the University, the National Library, the Arsakeion Mansion and many more.
For more information, you can check my post here.
13: Visit the Ottoman monuments
There are a lot of buildings that were preserved from the time that Athens was conquered by the Ottomans (1456 – March 1833). Some of them are the Mosques located in Monastiraki Square, the Hamam (Turkish Baths) which is now home to a museum and many cultural events.
14: Visit Varvakeios Central Market.
In a rectangular building in the heart of Athens, you will find the city’s central market with many food stalls selling meat, fish, vegetables and groceries.
15: Climb the Lycabettus hill
Lycabettus hill can be reached either by car, simply follow the only road. On foot through the many footpaths and by the funicular. At the top there is an open air theatre that hosts a lot of cultural events in the summer. If you find yourself in Athens at this time of year watching a performance from up there is a unique experience. You can also visit the church of Ayios Georgios enjoy your coffee in the café or have dinner in Orizodes restaurant. Most importantly enjoy the incredible view of the city.
16: See a performance at Odeion of Herodes Atticus
The 5.000 seat theatre is a venue for concerts of the Athens Festival during the summer months. For more information and performances visit www.greekfestival.gr.
17: Take the train and visit Piraeus, Athens major port.
You can take the train from Monastiraki or Omonia station and head to Piraeus. Near to the port you can walk along marina Zeas where the cruise ships stop and have lunch or coffee in one of the waterfront restaurants and cafes. You can also visit Microlimano popular for its nightlife and Kastella, an elegant neighbourhood with incredible views to the surrounding areas.
18: Try an escape game
There are a lot of escape rooms around Athens at the moment. You and your friends can book one of the many and spend an hour solving riddles and finally escaping the room. There is also a Greek-related room in Athens Clue called the Lost Statues of Knossos which is currently my favorite one.
19: Visit the Attica Zoological Park
With or without kids the Attica Zoological Park located near Athens airport deserves your visit. In a vast area of 200 acres the park accommodates more than 2000 animals and 300 species. Don’t miss the educational programme with the dolphins.
Top thing to do and see in Athens 20: Outlet shopping in Spata
In Spata area close to the airport and the zoological park there the Mc Arthur Glenn Athens designer outlet. It is a big mall with many shops, restaurants, cafes, playgrounds and cinema. The easiest way to get there is by public transport. The closest metro station is Doukissis Plakedias. From there you can either take the bus 319 or take the free shuttle.
21: Go shopping in downtown Athens
The major shopping areas in downtown Athens are Ermou Street opposite Syntagma square and Kolonaki a 10-minute walk from Syntagma. In Ermou street one can find a great variety of shops selling from women’s clothing to accessorize and home ware. Kolonaki on the other hand, is considered a posh neighbourhood with designer boutiques and expensive jewellery shops.
22: Make a day trip to Sounio
Sounio is located just 1 hour away from the city of Athens. Apart from the lovely beaches in the area where you can have a swim in the summer, it is famous for its archaeological site. At Sounio you can visit the temple of Poseidon the god of the sea, from where you can admire one of the most beautiful sunsets. Sounio is a very popular day trip from Athens.
Check here my day trip to Sounio.
If you are looking for guided tours. I suggest the following:
- A full day trip to Sounio including lake Vouliagmeni 8 hours.
- If you don’t have a lot of time you can book the half day sunset tour to Sounio it leaves at around 5 pm and lasts approx 4 hours or
- this half-day afternoon tour to Sounio that leaves around 3 pm and lasts approx 4 hours.
23: Cruise to 3 nearby islands
From the port of Piraeus you can catch one of the many ships that make daily excursions to 3 islands of the Saronic Gulf. The beautiful islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina. While on board you will have the chance to enjoy a beautiful buffet and live entertainment.
24: Swim at Lake Vouliagmeni
The lake is located in the suburb of Athens called Vouliagmeni just 25 km from the centre of Athens. It is famous for its therapeutic waters that maintain a 24 degrees Celsius temperature year round. Apart from swimming you there is a café on site along with a playground for the children.
25: Relax in a Hammam
After all that walk you have done in order to discover the city, the best thing to do is find a place to relax and pamper yourself. Hammam is the perfect place to do it. It is located in the centre of Athens and offers services like hammam baths, massage and beauty treatments.
Read about my experience here.
26: Taste local products and wine in a Wine bar
The best way to taste the real Greece is through one of the many wine bars. There you will have the chance to meet locals and taste traditional products and wine from around Greece.
27: Try Street Food
Trying one of the many street food available in Athens is something you shouldn’t miss. There is a big variety from the traditional Greek souvlaki and the koulouri to oriental choices like Indian souvlaki and falafels
Read here about my experience on Street Food in Athens.
28: Enjoy your coffee or drink with a view
There are many rooftop bars and cafes in the city offering panoramic views of the Acropolis and the city of Athens. You could try the café at the Acropolis museum or the rooftop of A for Athens hotel in Monastiraki square.
Read here the best places to enjoy your drink with a view.
29: Watch a movie in an open-air cinema
There are a couple of open-air cinemas that operate during the summer months in the centre of Athens some of them offering incredible views of the city and the Acropolis like Cine Thisio.
Top thing to do and see in Athens 30: Admire the Street Art
In the last couple of years Athens has been filled with remarkable Street Art. You can discover it either by yourselves in the streets around Monastiraki and Psiri area or by a guided tour.
Where to stay in Athens, Greece
Here are my picks for the best accommodations in Athens, Greece:
Athens is usually fully booked from April to November so book early for the best hotels and prices.
Budget Hotels in Athens
Here are my suggestions on budget accommodation in Athens (please avoid staying in areas like Metaxourgio, Omonia, Patission, Larissis Train Station and Vathis Square although they are cheaper).
Attalos Hotel offers simple air-conditioned rooms with free wi-fi just 100m away from Monastiraki square.
Evripides Hotel is located near Monastiraki square, close to all the city’s attractions. It offers simple air-conditioned rooms with free wi-fi.
Adam’s Hotel is centrally located in Plaka district just 400m from the Acropolis. It offers old fashioned rooms with air-condition, TV, free Wi-Fi and a fridge.
Arethusa Hotel is centrally located next to Plaka and 50 m away from Syntagma square with direct connections by metro to the airport. It offers simple, old fashioned rooms with air-condition, TV, free Wi-Fi, and a fridge.
Mid-Range Hotels in Athens
Titania Hotel is centrally located 5 minutes on foot from Syntagma Hotel. It offers renovated air-conditioned room with free wi-fi and great views of the Acropolis from its rooftop terrace.
Best Western Amazon Hotel is centrally located between Syntagma square and Plaka. It offers air-conditioned rooms and free wi-fi.
360 degrees is located in Monastiraki square at the heart of the historic district. It offers modern rooms with all the amenities; air-condtion, TV, free-wifi and buffet breakfast with vegan options. Other hotel amenities include a rooftop bar-restaurant with breathtaking views of the Acropolis.
Boutique Hotels in Athens
Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel is located in a restored neoclassical building close to the Acropolis Museum. It offers charming rooms with free Wi-Fi and eco-friendly mattresses.
Fresh Hotel offers stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi access at the heart of Athens. The rooftop bar offers amazing views of the Acropolis.
Herodion Hotel offers elegant rooms next to the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum. Its rooms offer all the modern amenities you would expect from a 4-star hotel. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar that offers panoramic views of the Acropolis.
5 Star Hotels in Athens
Hilton Athens offers luxurious rooms and suites, the biggest swimming in Athens and a great rooftop bar with Acropolis views.
St George Lycabettus Hotel is located in upmarket Kolonaki square and offers spacious rooms with breathtaking views of the Acropolis. It is also a very family friendly hotel.
You can also check my post on Free things to do in Athens
You can easily realise after reading this list that Greece’s capital Athens, has many points of interest. Have you visited Athens Greece? Have you done any of the above? What was your favourite attraction in Athens? Do you have something else to propose? I am more than happy to listen to your reviews and ideas.
Tip: Never travel to Greece without a travel insurance. Get a free quote today.
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