Top things to do in Athens

Things to do in Athens the Parthenon
The Parthenon Athens

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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

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.

Things to do in Athens the Parthenon
The Parthenon Athens

 

Top thing to do and see in 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

A good way to save money and time on your visit to Athens is to buy the Athens City Pass  For more information: Athens City Pass

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Top things to do in Athens Change of the Guards
Change of the Guards

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Top thing to do in Athens National Gardens Athens
National Gardens Athens

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Flea Market in Monastiraki
Flea Market in Monastiraki

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Philopappou Hill Monument
Philopappou Hill Monument

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Athens City Pass

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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Top thing to do in Athens Anafiotica area in Athens
Anafiotica area in Athens

 

Top thing to do in Athens 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.

Top thing to do in Athens The National Library at Panepistimiou Steet
The National Library at Panepistimiou Steet

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Varvakios Central Market
Varvakios Central Market

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Attica Zoological Park
Attica Zoological Park

 

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.

outlet shopping mall
outlet shopping mall

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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 in Sounio.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Read my experience on the one -day cruise to 3 islands

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Lake Vouliagmeni
View of Lake Vouliagmeni from above

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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.

Stand selling koulouria in Athens
Stand selling koulouria in Athens

 

Top thing to do and see 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.

 

Top thing to do and see in Athens 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 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.

Street Art
Street Art

Where to stay in Athens, Greece

HotelsCombined is a great website to check out to find the most cost-effective accommodation option for you in Athens. It will tell you which hotel booking site has the best price. Here are my picks for the best accommodations in Athens, Greece:

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).

Mid-Range Hotels in Athens

Boutique Hotels in Athens

5 Star Hotels in Athens

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.

Athens City Pass

 

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26 Comments

  • You’re very lucky to live in such a beautiful city with so many things to do! I have book marked this page for when I visit! 🙂

  • Don’t expect to see zebra and giraffe’s on a post about the top things to see in Athens when there is so much world history in the city 🙂

  • wow! A lot has changed since I was last in Athens. I will be there in August so filing this post away for reference. Good stuff listed here!

  • Athens has been on our list for so long, it just got relegated to the someday file. Reading your comprehensive list has made me realise it’s time to action this someday plan!

  • What are your thoughts on Syriza? I think their Finance Minister should be dismissed immediately. The man is gambling with his country’s future as if it is a political problem, instead of one of basic calculus. I really hope the country doesn’t start drifting towards dictatorships which could possibly bail them out – yes, I’m talking about Russia.

    • Although it is not the place to talk about politics, I am against Syriza, I really can’t understand what they are trying to do.

  • haha, the guards have super funny shoes! The photo just cracked me up, their look is a bit ridiculous 😀

    Regarding Athens, though, I’ve been wanting to go there since forever – specifically for Parthenon, actually, but its great to see that there’s bunch of other things I can do in the city! Thanks for giving my some future tips)

  • What a great list! i have been putting Athens off with my son because he would get too bored, but looks like some great things on this that he would find interesting.

  • I was really pleased to read these suggestions and recall that I did almost all of them while I was in Greece 🙂 The one thing I didn’t do was the escape room – those are becoming increasingly rampant around the globe! 🙂

  • Reading this I realise I need to go back to Athens and do a lot more. So much in this city, I only touched the sides when I was there for a few days. The historic sites are fantastic and I loved the bars and restaurants in Monastiraki. Thanks for some great recommendations

    • I am happy you enjoyed your time in Athens. Even I that live in Athens I am discovering new things every day!

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