What to see in Athens: top 20 places to see
Athens is the ancient cultural center of Greece and simply a very beautiful and distinctive city. Today in our guide to Athens we will tell you about its most interesting places that will turn your Athens vacation into an unforgettable magical fairy tale when visiting the sights .
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Athens is an antique city, so start your acquaintance with the most “bearded” sights. One such place to visit is the Plaka district. The oldest historical district of the city rests under the shadow of the no less ancient hill – the Acropolis. The labyrinths of narrow, shady streets covered with greenery and flowers, weave into a bizarre pattern, taking you back in time, slowing down time. Wander amongst the old traditional Greek houses and then wander into one of the hospitable little tavernas to experience Grecian hospitality.
After a walk around Plaka, don’t be lazy to go up to the Acropolis. Everyone must know this flat-topped rock topped with a classic Greek temple. In the past it was decorated with many temples and sculptures, but today only the temple of Nika Apteros, the Erechtheion and the famous Parthenon remain of all this splendor.
The hill offers a beautiful view of the city, as if scattered below, and its temples are a great place to explore the culture and history of Ancient Greece.
The Acropolis is open daily from 08:00 to 15:00, the ticket costs €12 (full). For young people under 18 years old admission is free (proof of age required). The Acropolis is free to visit on March 6, June 5, April 18 and May 18 (public holidays), the last weekend in September and every first Sunday from November 1 to March 31.
And those who are ready to delve deeper into the history of ancient sites are sure to enjoy a tour of the historic center of Athens.
Want to see Athens from above? Nothing could be easier! Just climb the Areopagus Hill at the northwestern end of the Acropolis. Once the center of social life in Athens, the Hill of Ares (as its name is translated) is now a tourist attraction with its spectacular views of the city!
The Areopagus can be reached by metro (Thissia station on line 1 and Monastiraki on line 3).
Athens Archaeological Museum
Greece in general and Athens in particular can rightly be considered one big open-air museum. Yet to explore the rich architectural and sculptural heritage of Hellas, you should visit the Archaeological Museum of Athens. There are more than 20,000 exhibits from different eras, from early civilizations to antiquity. Ancient ceramics, figurines, housewares, bronzes, jewelry – you can’t list everything. So take your time and go to the unexplored places!
The Archaeological Museum is located at 44 Patissión Street.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 08:00 to 15:00, Monday from 13:30 to 20:00. Tickets cost €7 (full), €3 for students and free for anyone under 19.
Your introduction to the culture and history of Greece would be incomplete if you did not include the Benaki Museum in your “tourist list”. Yes, it is dedicated to archaeology (why should it be surprising if Greece is famous for archaeological finds?). But its rich collection will not leave you indifferent, because the artifacts presented here cover a time period starting from the Paleolithic period!
And then, in the museum you can see not only the heritage of Greek culture, but also Andean, Islamic and Chinese. Sculptures, paintings, icons, jewelry and utensils will immerse you in a bygone era and reveal the charm of ancient times.
Museum works: Wed, Fri. – from 09:00 to 17:00; Thu. – from 09:00 to 24:00 and Sun. – From 09:00 to 15:00. The museum is closed on mondays, Tuesdays and holidays.
Fee for admission is €7. Every Thursday and May 18 (Museum Day) admission is free.
You can get to the museum by bus №022, 060, 200, 203, 204, 211, 222 – 224, 235. Or by trolleybus № 3, 7, 8, 13.
There is nothing more desirable for a tired tourist than to rest in peace and quiet. In Athens, the best place for this is the National Garden. To find it is easy: the garden is located near Syntagma Square, just behind the Parliament building.
The shady alleys keep you cool while the pond keeps you cool. In addition there are ancient ruins, remnants of columns and ancient mosaics. There is a mini-zoo and a botanical museum, so you won’t be bored.
Museum of Greek Folk Art
Greece is not only a place of ancient statues and temples, as it may seem. To get to know this country better, you should visit the Museum of Greek Folk Art. That’s where all the color of folk crafts are collected! Here you will find products of wood, metal and clay, richly decorated with carvings and incrustations, and a hall devoted to traditional carnival costumes. There is also an exhibition of silverware and weapons, and you can see puppets of the national theater Karagiosis, depicting scenes from everyday life in Athens.
The museum is located at Kydathinaion Str., 17, Plaka. Opening hours are from 08:00 to 15:00. The ticket costs €2.
Please note: due to the fact that the museum plans to move the exhibition to a new building, it is possible to change the opening times / days.
Theater of Dionysus
Many people have heard about the famous Greek amphitheaters, but few know that the oldest of them is located in Athens. The theater of Dionysus was founded in V century BC! Here the productions of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Aristophanes were staged, and the theater could seat 17 thousand spectators.
Today the favorite entertainment of tourists is to check the fantastic acoustics of the theater: if one person stays in the orchestra and speaks, and the other person goes up to the top row, he will hear every single word. Don’t be lazy to check it out for yourself!
The theater is located on Arepagitu Street. You can get here by metro (red line, Acropolis station). The theater is open daily from 08:30 to 18:00.
Agios Elefterios Cathedral
The Agios Eleftherios Cathedral can be overlooked. And you should. This little church of XII century is considered one of the most beautiful in the city. The exquisite marble construction with intricate carvings on the walls evokes a feeling of amazing peace and tranquility.
From Syntagma Square take bus no. 025-027 (from Syntagma stop to the Metropolis stop). The church will be directly across the street.
Museum of Cycladic Art
Another must-visit for those who can’t imagine their life without new knowledge. At the Museum of Cycladic Art you will learn about the life and culture of the civilizations that inhabited the Aegean and Cypriot coasts. Especially interesting is the collection of figures depicting scenes of ancient life: hunting, family scenes, everyday activities, etc. You can also see the rarest Cypriot antiques: works of gold and silver, bronze and glass of amazing work.
The main collection is located at 4 Neophytou Douka, while temporary exhibitions take place at the Stafatos Mansion (Vassilissis Sophias/Herodotou 1).
Tower of the Winds.
In fact, the tower with such a romantic name has a quite prosaic purpose – today it houses a meteorological station. But it is still worth a visit: the tower has a hydraulic clock that tells the time according to the sun, and the structure itself is a living monument of architecture (built in the I century BC). Particularly interesting are the friezes of the tower, depicting the gods of wind. Under their figures you can see the markings of the dial, as the tower was used as a giant clock.
It is located in the Plaka area, not far from the Agora square. A ticket to see the tower together with the Agora costs €3.
One can get to Plaka from Athens center by bus #025 or by metro (Monastiraki station).
Museum of the Kerameikos area
The Kerameik Museum is called so for a reason. Potters and sculptors have lived and worked in the neighborhood of the same name since ancient times, and many interesting finds were later made here.
The museum has the largest collection of statues, sculpture groups and compositions from the ancient period. And in the museum’s courtyard you’ll find the gem of the collection – a statue of Dionysius the Bull (340 BC). And of course – an abundance of ancient pottery, jewelry and household items.
The museum is located on Ermu Street 148. In winter the museum is open from 08:30 to 15:00, in summer from 08:00 to 19:30. Ticket price – €2.
Odeon of Herodes the Attic.
Greece has long been famous for its love of music: that’s why the famous amphitheaters were so popular in Hellas. One of them is still in use today.
The Odeon, the amphitheater on the southern slope of the Agora, is an ancient venue for musical events that has retained its functions to this day. This majestic structure is beautifully preserved, and today serves as the central cultural scene of Athens and . Festivals, concerts, and theatrical productions take place here (for example, the annual Athens Festival is held from May to October).
You can get to the amphitheater on foot along Dionysios Areopagitus Street or by bus #230 (the stop is right in front of the Odeon). You can visit the Odeon only if a concert or festival is held there, so you have to buy a ticket to the event itself at the Odeon box office or the official Athens Festival offices.
Temple of Hephaestus
Athens is firmly associated with graceful ancient temples, but it’s a mistake to think they all look the same. Each temple is unique in its own way, and you can verify this only by visiting it yourself.
For that we advise you to visit the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best preserved temples of Ancient Greece. To enter the ancient shrine you can buy a comprehensive Acropolis ticket (€12) which includes other sights such as the Agora, the Temple of Zeus or the Hadrian Library. But you can also get in for free: from November to March, entrance to the temple is free every Sunday.
The temple can be reached by bus number 227 or by metro (stop St. Thisiou). The temple is open daily from 08:00 to 18:00.
Port of Piraeus
Greece would not be Greece without the sea, because the whole history of the country is closely intertwined with this powerful element. So don’t deny yourself the pleasure of a walk to the port of Piraeus in Athens. Take a walking tour of the port of Piraeus and it shares not only the sea air and magnificent views, but also its interesting history and notes on modern life. The view from the promenade is magical: scatterings of white houses against a background of blue sky and azure sea will enchant you at first sight!
To get here you can take the metro (green line ends right by the port) or bus (from Omonia Square take #049 or from Syntagma take #040 and get off at Kotzia Square).
If you want to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Athens, don’t you? Be sure to visit the Monastiraki Market, the oldest marketplace in the city. Today it is a vast flea market where everyone can find something to their liking and find something to do while visiting Athens. Every day from 8:00 a.m. a colorful act called “Greek trade” unfolds here. Even if you’re not planning to buy anything, be sure to wander among the vendors, watching the lively haggling, soaking up the atmosphere of real Athenian life.
The Monastiraki Market is located at 28 Hephaesta Street. It is open every day: antiques from 08:00 to 15:00, the whole market till late evening.
Temple of Erechtheion
While on the Acropolis, don’t miss your chance to visit the temple of Erechtheion, where the ancients worshipped Poseidon and Athena. Today there is not much left of its former splendor, but the temple still retains its grandeur and beauty and is worth a visit. Especially worth seeing are the statues of the caryatid maidens that adorn one of the porticoes.
The temple is located on the Acropolis, so you can get here by the same route, for example, by taking the metro to Monastiraki station. And if you buy a comprehensive 4-day ticket to visit the Acropolis grounds, you can see the neighboring sights as well. And on May 18 (Museum Day), admission here, like in the museums of Athens, is free.
Buy your Acropolis Museum ticket online here.
If you are a romantic “by vocation,” we know one interesting place in Athens that you will definitely love! We’re talking about Cape Sounion. What’s the point of driving a whole hour from Athens for a cape?
Well, you can meet the inexpressible beauty of sunsets at the ruins of the temple of Poseidon, the access to which is open every day without restrictions. And before you return to Athens, make your deepest wish, they say it will come true.
You can get to Cape Sunion by bus. From Athens, find the Victoria metro station and from there walk along 28 October Street to the intersection of Avenida Patission and Alexandras. There find the Attica area stop (KTEL Attikis). You want the beige and orange bus that runs in the southern Attica area.
Perhaps the most colorful and expansive panorama of Athens can be seen from here, the Likavitos (or Likabet) Hill, the highest point on the outskirts of the city. In addition to the impressive view, the top is home to St. George’s Chapel and the open-air theater, which hosts music performances and concerts.
The funicular railway (open from 08:45 to 00:45 in summer and from 08:45 to 00:15 in winter) takes you up the hill. You can get to the hill itself by metro, line 3, station Megaro Moussikis.
Ilias Lalounis Jewelry Museum
Do you want to know what jewelry was in fashion in Greece at different times? Nothing could be easier! Check out the Ilias Lalounis Jewellery Museum and see for yourself.
The museum’s collection has more than 4,000 pieces: jewelry, decorative objects made of precious metals and small sculptures. This is not all that can be seen there – the permanent exhibition includes pieces by the museum’s founder, jeweler Ilias Lalaunis, while the temporary exhibition tells the history of jewellery making all over the world.
Museum address: 12 Kallisperi Street. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 09:00 to 15:00. On Sunday from 11:00 to 16:00. The ticket costs €5, for students, seniors and groups (more than 10 people) €4.
Charming vacation in Athens
Most people associate Athens with Greek mythology and ancient buildings like the Parthenon. However, it is not the only thing you should focus on when thinking about a trip to this exotic place. Greece is quite popular as a tourist country and therefore many popular attractions are always crowded with tourists. Luckily, this absolutely does not interfere with an interesting and informative vacation.
Spellbinding vacation in Athens
You can start with the famous architectural antique sights, which have been preserved in whole or in part and still impress with their grandeur. It is not worth concentrating on any one attraction. It is worth to give them all the same amount of time, then the experience will not be dull and one-size-fits-all. After all, some you can admire, and others cause philosophical reflections on the meaning of life.
Spellbinding vacation in Athens
After all, you should enjoy Greek cuisine . The love of local delicious food is incredibly infectious and will conquer even the most inveterate fan of dieting. However, do not worry, because all the food is so harmonious and balanced, and therefore will not affect the figure. Special preference is given to seafood, which is skillfully combined with cheese and olives. The menus in the local taverns are varied, so that any traveler can get a gastronomic ecstasy .
Greek appetizers charming vacation in Athens
Complement the delicious gastronomic delights with a natural ice cream, which is considered so delicious that it’s almost impossible to refuse an extra serving. As a “dessert” it is recommended to try the local brandy ouzo in Plaka. For those who have already enjoyed it, don’t hesitate to try it again at the famous local winery “Brettos”.
Charming vacation in Athens
Given that the Greek cuisine is very rich in spices, leaving should buy a nice souvenir of fragrant spices in the best specialized store “Bahar”. It presents not only a huge variety and excellent quality, but also a nice price . If you want to enjoy the water treatments, you should not go to the sea, but to the local mineral lake Vuliagmeni, which, moreover, is relatively short distance away. Due to the mineral waters this place is considered a natural spa resort. However, if you want to try it, you should remember that the water should not last more than 20 minutes.
Spellbinding vacation in Athens
You can get there both by personal transport and by public transport. Enjoy the panoramic views from Wolf’s Mountain, which is visible from almost anywhere in Athens. There are many legends surrounding it, but nowadays it’s a great place for seclusion and enjoying the scenery.
Spellbinding vacation in Athens
When it comes to souvenirs, the Monastiraki flea market is worth a trip. This place is colorful in itself, so there is sure to find something that will remind you of the vacation and a great time. The main thing is not to focus on one thing, and to be free in your choice and desires.