Things to do in Athens
The city of Athens is home to some of the most important historical and archaeological sites in Greece. It is a city that has thousands of years of history, and provides visitors with a stunning array of magnificent attractions and sights to see. There are so many interesting places to see and things to do in the city that you'll never find yourself without something to do.
The most famous attraction in Athens is of course the Acropolis. This dominating feature of the city is the jewel in the crown, and attracts millions of visitors each year who come to see firsthand the majestic Parthenon temple, the Erechtheion, the Propylaea and the temple of Athena Nike all found on the top of Acropolis.
The southern slope of the Acropolis is also home to many fascinating features such as the Theatre of Dionysos, the Odeion of Herodes Atticus and Stoa of Eumenes. There is so much to learn at this historic locations, and you’ll be well advised to spend at least a day on and around the Acropolis, so that you can truly experience this simply stunning part of the city, which helped shape the Western World many thousands of years ago.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the New Acropolis Museum, which is located to the south-east of the Acropolis, where you can see some wonderful exhibits from the Parthenon and other structures on the Acropolis. This is one of the most unique museums in Athens and one that everyone should try and visit.
A short distance from the Acropolis Museum, about a 5 minute walk eastwards, is the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. This temple was the largest in all of Athens, and the remaining columns offer a glimpse into just how impressive the temple would have been during its heyday. Hadrian’s Arch is located right next to site, so you’ll easily be able to stop and take a look while on your way to the entrance to the archaeological site.
Across the road from the entrance to the Temple of Olympian Zeus are the National Gardens and Zappeion. These gardens are very beautiful and during the hot summer months provide some much needed shade out of the burning summer sun.
Following the main road towards the east along Zappeion is the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. A little to the south of the stadium, about 10 minutes walk, is the First Cemetery of Athens.
From Zappeion and the National Gardens, if you head north, you will reach the main central square of Syntagma, which is where the Parliament Building is located, where you can see the traditional Greek soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This square is the main central point of Athens, and the Metro station here is one of the busiest in the city.
Just a short distance from the entrance to the Acropolis are the three hills – Filopappou Hill (also known as the Hill of the Muses), the Pnyx and the Hill of the Nympths. Also close by is the site of the Ancient Agora, one of the most popular places to visit, and home to the Temple of Hephaistos, the best preserved Doric temple in Greece.
To the east of the Ancient Agora is the smaller Roman Agora, where you can see the impress Tower of the Winds. Just a block to the north of the Ancient Agora is Hadrian’s Library and the Monastiraki Square.
Heading west along the streets of Monastiraki, you will reach Thissio. A short distance to the north-west from here is the site of Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery of Athens, and one of the most important archaeological sites of the city. This is actually an attraction that many visitors don’t visit, due to it being slightly out of the way, and a short distance from other attractions. It is however a highly recommended place to visit.
You will find lots of small museums scattered all around the area of Monastriki and Plaka such as the Folklore Museum in Monastiraki Square, and the Athens University Museum.
The great thing about the centre of Athens is that it is filled with so many sights and places to visit. You can spend days visiting the many attractions in the city, and learn so much about the history and culture of ancient Athens.
The majority of the archaeological sites in Athens require a ticket. You can buy them individually at each archaeological site, but if you are planning on visiting the main ones, then you should get the Multi Ticket which costs 30 Euros and allows you access to the sites of the Acropolis and the north and south slopes, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Kerameikos Cemetery, Hadrian’s Library and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
The multi ticket is valid for 5 consecutive days, and is the perfect choice if you are in Athens for a few days and want to visit various attractions. The multi ticket does not include entrance to any of the museums in Athens. During the winter season (1 November to 31 March), individual tickets to the archaeological sites are available at a reduced fee ( usually 50% cheaper than the standard fee ), so you might find that it is more economical to purchase individual tickets during the winter months, rather than the multi ticket, which will work out more expensive.
Another popular way to visit the sites in Athens, as well as some other places out of the city centre, are with one of the various tour buses that operate in the city. These buses (usually open-top double-decker buses) operate on a hop-on hop-off basis, so you can use them to travel around various locations in the city, and visit specific sites that you are interested in.
Athens really is one of the most unique and historic cities in the world. It was the birthplace of democracy and helped shape the Western World. Visitors will be rewarded with a unique selection of fascinating ancient sites, beautiful museums and lots of places where you can enjoy something to eat or drink. The city is one that really needs to be explored to be fully appreciated.
Below you will find information about some of the main tourist attractions in Athens. Simply choose the ones you are interested in and read more about them. For information about the Acropolis and Parthenon, please head over to that separate section of our website.
Sights in Athens
- Ancient Agora
- Areopagus ( Hill of Ares )
- Filopappou Hill
- First Cemetery of Athens
- Hadrian's Arch
- Hadrian's Library
- Hill of the Nymphs
- Kerameikos Cemetery
- Lycabettus Hill
- Lysicrates Monument
- National Gardens
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Roman Agora
- Syntagma Square
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Tower of the Winds