Things to do in
Athens

A bucket-list must. Pair visits to the Acropolis' top with walks through the Greek Capital's grungy underbelly.

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Our most recommended things to do in Athens

Athens: Delphi Guided Day Trip with Pickup & Optional Lunch

1. Athens: Delphi Guided Day Trip with Pickup & Optional Lunch

Explore the most famous sights of ancient Greece on this day trip to magical Delphi. Spend an entire day learning about the oracle and discovering ancient ruins including the amphitheater and the Temple of Apoll. Your tour departs from Athens, from where you will travel to Delphi, located on the spur of Mount Parnassus, making a short rest stop outside the town of Levadia. Arrive in Delphi, and visit the famous theater, where you will enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, and get an insight into the world of the Ancient Greeks. Visit the Temple of Apollo, the center of Ancient Greece, and best-known for its famous oracle. Tour the Museum of Delphi, home to a unique bronze Charioteer, the Naxian Sphinx, and the Statue of Antinoos, providing an amazing insight into Ancient Greek culture and history. After a lunch break, visit Athena Pronaia Sanctuary, the most photographed spot in Delphi. Then, head back to Athens via the beautiful mountain village of Arachova, situated on the hills of the Parnassus Mountains, where the tour will stop for a short photo opportunity.

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Athens: Acropolis and 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket

2. Athens: Acropolis and 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket

Save time and money during your time in Athens with a pre-booked combo ticket that gives you skip-the-line access to 7 of Athens' top archaeological sites. Enjoy savings of up to 50% and avoid the long lines of tourists at the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Temple of Zeus, Aristotle's School, Hadrian's Library, and Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery. Marvel at the Parthenon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, standing on Acropolis Hill, and immerse yourself in this impressive structure's 2500 years of rich history. Whilst there, visit the Ancient Agora that lies on the north-western slopes of the Acropolis. Learn more about this former artistic, spiritual, and commercial center. Just north of the Acropolis, explore the site of the Roman Agora, which was once the focus of public life in Athens. You can also enjoy access to the renowned Hadrian's Library and Temple of Olympian Zeus in the Olympion Site, as well as Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery that stretches to the banks of the Eridanos River and the nearby Lyceum.

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From Athens: Full-Day Bus Trip to Delphi & Arachova

3. From Athens: Full-Day Bus Trip to Delphi & Arachova

Meet your guide at the Halandri Metro Station and journey to Delphi via bus. As you drive towards Delphi, you’ll see the sacred site emerge from two terraced rocks known as Fedriades.  Discover what the ancient Greeks called “the navel of the earth.” Visit the Oracle of Delphi, the holiest site in ancient Greece. For centuries, great figures of ancient history such as Alexander the Great and Cicero sought out the high priestess of Delphi’s divine prophecy. The Oracle would sit upon a tripod above a massive chasm. As she burned barley meal and laurel she would enter a divine trance and then serve as a medium to the god Apollo. Drink water from the sacred Castalia spring. Explore the archaeological museum of Delphi, and see artifacts from the Archaic through the Roman era, including the Sphinx of the Naxians, the Iniohos, and the statue of Antinoos. Afterward, enjoy a delicious homemade lunch at a nearby restaurant. Before returning to Athens, see the picturesque village of Arachova nestled in the foothills of Mt. Parnassus.

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Athens: Sunset Trip to Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon

4. Athens: Sunset Trip to Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon

With a guide, experience the Athens Riviera and uncover the history behind each turn. Witness the sun melt over the Aegean Sea on Cape Sounion and see the Temple of Poseidon. Depart Athens by bus from Halandri Metro station and reach Cape Sounion in time for the mesmerizing sunset. Learn about Sounion’s past and present from your archaeologist guide. Explore the Temple of Poseidon, one of the most important temples in Greece. See the signatures on the temple marble left by famous authors who visited, including the Romantic poet Lord Byron. Watch the sunset over the clear waters of the Aegean Sea. After, discover the Athens Riviera. Stroll along the promenade past waterfront cafes and see where Athenians come to escape the city.

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From Athens: Full-Day Meteora Trip by Train

5. From Athens: Full-Day Meteora Trip by Train

Redeem your e-ticket for the 7:20 AM departure from Athens and travel to Kalambaka on your own. Sit back and admire the beautiful landscapes along the way. The train ride takes about 4 hours and it is recommended that you bring your own food and drinks. Upon arrival in Kalambaka at approximately 11:30 AM, meet your guide at the train station and start your 5-hour, customized, panoramic Meteora tour. See all 6 monasteries of the stunning rock formation over 5 hours. Look inside 3 of the UNESCO World Heritage monuments for a glimpse behind their imposing walls. Stop to take photos from locations that only the locals know about. Get dropped off at Kalambaka Train Station, to make the 5:15 PM departure for Athens, scheduled to arrive at 9:30 PM.

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Acropolis: Guided Walking Tour with Entrance Ticket

6. Acropolis: Guided Walking Tour with Entrance Ticket

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets to the foothills of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Acropolis of Athens, an ancient citadel and one of the world’s most revealing archaeological sites. Head for the south slope of the Acropolis to avoid the main crowds. Pick up your tickets and make your way inside to see the ancient treasures that await Visit the Theatre of Dionysus, a 5th-century amphitheater regarded as the birthplace of the performing arts. Hear about its history and imagine it filled with the theatergoers of Ancient Greece. Stop at the Dionysus Sanctuary, dedicated to the Greek god of wine and fertility. Once inside the Acropolis, get up close with important sights like the Propylaea gateway, Erechtheion, Temple of Athena Nike, and Parthenon. Learn the history of these fascinating ruins from your guide. Once at the summit of the sacred hill, take in the sweeping panoramas of Athens. Learn about the excavations, and get an insight into the citadel’s ruins. Hear about surrounding monuments, such as Mars Hill and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.  Your tour concludes at the summit of the Acropolis, leaving you free to continue exploring the site on your own. You can choose between an early morning, morning or afternoon guided tour.

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Athens: 4-Hour Cooking Class with Market Visit

7. Athens: 4-Hour Cooking Class with Market Visit

Discover how to make traditional Greek food on a 4-hour cooking class, including a tour of a local market. Start your day at meeting point, where you’ll meet the chef. Then head to the market to pick up some ingredients and discover hidden places to eat, drink, and shop in the area. Your cook will show you some of the more interesting and unique products on offer, and give you tips on how to use them. Back at the cooking studio, you’ll be shown how to prepare the food and enjoy a hands-on experience making various dishes yourself. The course has been designed to be simple enough for any cook, no matter the skill level.  When the cooking class is over, you can sit down with your classmates and chef to taste what you have created. Wine and soft drinks are served with the meal. Your cook will also give you access to our recipes, so that you'll be able to make these dishes again at home.

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Full-day Tour of the Saronic Islands from Athens

8. Full-day Tour of the Saronic Islands from Athens

After a morning transfer by bus from Athens to the port, you’ll be welcomed on board a luxurious cruise ship and invited to one of its spacious open decks. From the deck you’ll have a great vantage point for enjoying views of the Greek coast. The first stop is the island of Poros, the smallest of the 3 islands you’ll visit on the tour. It’s separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strait. Have ample time to explore the island and once you’re on board again you’ll be served a delicious lunch as the ship sail towards Hydra. Take in the stunning views as you enter the port of Hydra and see the cove that at one time served as a shelter for pirates. From the open decks, marvel at the dramatic landscapes of this island. There will be time for you to explore the narrow, stone-paved streets of the island on foot, or by saddled donkey, which is the traditional mode of transportation. If you choose to go by foot, you can walk along the old seaside promenade and perhaps stop at some of the small shops. When you return to the ship, the captain heads for Aegina which is the largest of the 3 islands on the tour. Apart from its beautiful harbor, there are numerous interesting sites that you’ll have a chance to discover on your own. Alternatively, you can join an excursion to the Temple of Aphaia at an additional cost. Return to your cruise-boat and enjoy your one-hour sail back to the port. Disembark and finish your trip (if option selected) in Athens.

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Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion Tour: From Athens

9. Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion Tour: From Athens

The tour begins with a breathtaking drive along the scenic coastal road. During this relaxing ride you’ll enjoy splendid views of the Saronic Gulf while passing through some of Athen's most beautiful suburbs; Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, and Varkiza. Arrive at Cape Sounion, a historic and beautiful area of Greece. The steep cliffs offer a breathtaking, panoramic view, and on a clear day you can look out to some of Greece's beautiful isles. In addition to the views, look forward to visiting the 5th-century B.C. Temple of Poseidon. God of the Sea, Poseidon was second only to Zeus in Greek mythology. Made of white marble, the columns still stand today as a reminder of the Athenian Empire. The trip will conclude with a relaxing drive back to Athens after having experienced the sights and architecture of ancient Greece.

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Argolis: Full-Day Tour in Mycenae, Epidaurus & Nafplio

10. Argolis: Full-Day Tour in Mycenae, Epidaurus & Nafplio

Leave by the coastal road along the Saronic Gulf to the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean Sea with the Ionian Sea. Drive to Mycenae, the Homeric city of Atreides, the city "rich in gold" of the ancient poets. Visit the Lion's Gate, the Cyclopean walls, the royal tombs, and so forth.  Depart for Nafplio through the fertile plain of Argolis, the picturesque town nestling at the foot of a cliff crowned by the mighty ramparts of the Palamidi Fortress. Find numerous interesting spots of attractions all over Argolis.  Leave for Epidauros, to visit the 4th-century BC theatre famous for its astonishing acoustics. Return to Athens by the National Road connecting Epidauros with Corinth. Enjoy lunch in Mycenae.

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Frequently asked questions about Athens

What top attractions are a must-see in Athens?

Planning Your Visit

  • Where to stay?

    If sightseeing around the Acropolis is your main concern, Plaka is probably the best place to stay. Despite being a highly recommended tourist spot in itself, its streets are pleasantly quiet. The main attractions can also be reached easily from the Monastiraki area, which ought to appeal more to those attracted to Athens' lively street life.

  • How many days?

    How long to spend in Athens depends on how much of it you want to see, of course, but with most of its historic landmarks situated at the Acropolis, you could cover its archaeological sites, best restaurants, and most popular markets in 3 days.

  • How to get around?

    The city is served by buses and electric trolleys that must be waved down at the blue (bus) and yellow (trolley) stops. Tickets are cheap, but then so are taxi fares. Athens also recently opened a sleek new Metro network. Construction was greatly delayed because they couldn't dig for 5 minutes without hitting undiscovered antiquities!

Good to know

  • Language
    Greek
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +30
  • Best time to visit
    Athens is most pleasant during the spring and fall, when the temperatures are warm and the tourist traffic is at a minimum.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Athens

Thomas Dowson is the founder of Archaeology Travel, a website for those seeking adventures in archaeology and history. As a professional archaeologist Thomas enjoys visiting archaeological and historical sites around the world. And sharing these experiences so that others can explore the world’s pasts more deeply. On his blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Athens.

What should I do on my first trip to Athens?

Perhaps an obvious suggestion, but really no one should miss the Acropolis, and the Acropolis Museum. Find a guide, in whatever form, that will help you see more of this ancient citadel than the Acropolis of the 5th century BC. As spectacular as these ancient monuments are, there is more to the Acropolis than the Parthenon and Erechtheion.

What are some hidden gems to see in Athens?

Besides the Acropolis, and the other 5 well known ancient sites, there are many ruins dotted about the city. One of my favourites is in view of the Tower of the Winds. Just beyond the Roman Agora is a doorway that was once the entrance to an Ottoman era theological school, and then a prison. Very little of Ottoman Athens survives today, much of it destroyed deliberately - such as the mosque on the Acropolis. Little remnants like these add a lot to the story of Athens.

How much time should I spend in Athens?

Not surprisingly most people come to Athens to see the ancient sites. For this, three or four days will not only give you enough time to see most of these plus a day trip to Delphi and/or an afternoon trip to Sounion to watch the sunset. But, I strongly recommend adding a day or two to explore beyond the historical centre of Athens. Each neighbourhood has its own character: visit the Central Varvakios Market in Psirri or go in search of street art in Exarchia.

What food is Athens known for?

Athens is great for walking. And if anything goes well with walking it is street food. Gyros and souvlaki are my go to choices while exploring the city on foot. A gyros is a pita bread filled with shaved meat cooked on a rotisserie. Souvlaki on the other hand is diced meat on a stick cooked on a hot plate. Add a good tzatziki sauce to either and for me that is heaven in your hands. Vegetarian versions made using grilled cheese are just as good!

What is the best way to get around Athens?

Central Athens is easy to get about on foot. Here are all the main attractions and lots of good hotels. For those who want to stay a bit further out, there is a good metro system. Whether you arrive by air or sea, the metro also serves both the airport and the port.

What are the best months to visit Athens?

Having been visiting Athens for over 20 years, my favourite times of the year are the beginning of May and the beginning of October. In May the city is gearing up for summer and not yet crowded, and the Jacaranda trees are in bloom. In October the summer crowds have left, and it is not too hot.

What is neighborhood Exarchia known for?

Most visitors to Athens will only experience the Exarchia neighbourhood through the National Archaeological Museum. The streets might not look as inviting as in other areas, but this is definitely an area to explore, particularly if you like graffiti and street art. Exarchia is also known as the riot area of Athens, being the site of some major street riots in the history of Athenian politics.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

As many of the historical attractions are in the Monastiraki and Plaka areas, there are also many restaurants serving the usual Greek cuisine for tourists. A better area in my opinion, and not far from the centre of Athens, is Psirri. I was introduced to this area on a food walking tour of Athens. Besides the central market area, you will find some great restaurants, bars and cafes, filled with local Athenians as well as a few visitors.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The southern slopes of Lycabettus Hill, between Syntagma and Evangelismos metro stations, is Kolonaki - one of the most upmarket areas of central Athens. Kolonaki is perfect for high-end shopping. A more affordable shopping experience can be found on the streets running between Syntagma and Monastiraki Squares.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Athens?

Given how popular a tourist destination Athens is, there is a good choice of accommodation in most areas of the city to suit all budgets. When it comes to choosing one of these areas, I keep coming back to central Athens. For me, nothing beats a hotel with a view of the Acropolis.

What are the best annual events in Athens? 

The beautifully preserved Herodes Atticus Theatre just below the Acropolis, provides a truly evocative setting for the annual Greek Festival. On offer is a varied programme of dance and music from June to August.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Athens? 

For anyone who enjoys hiking, Athens has a number of green spaces that provide the perfect opportunity to get some outdoor activity while on holiday. And with spectacular views. Closer to the city centre is Filopappou Hill, a vast area with many walking routes through ancient ruins. For those feeling a bit more energetic, climb Lycabettus Hill - the tallest of the seven hills.

What are the best beaches around Athens? 

Although there are sandy beaches from the port of Piraeus to Cape Sounion, those closer to the port are probably not top of anyone’s list. And of course nothing could beat swimming in clear blue waters below the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. But the most popular beaches with easiest access from Athens can be found in the Kavouri-Vouliagmeni area.

Other Sightseeing Options in Athens

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What people are saying about Athens

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 21,848 reviews

The scenery was beautiful! Tour guide was very knowledgeable and enjoyable. Please note: there are MANY stairs involved in reaching some of the monasteries, so if you have knee issues you will only be able to easily access one of the monasteries. It did not ruin the experience for me- it is still great! Also, I would recommend staying the night- the town looked adorable.

The tour is simply amazing and had been more memorable with an able guide like Natasha who is highly knowledgeable and really enjoys the work she does. Our family was highly impressed with her kind nature and passionately responding to every question and almost felt we were been transported to the antiquity.

Our guide was incredibly smart and knowledgeable -- his knowledge spanned history and continents. He should really teach a course, we would certainly enroll in it. We were very impressed by the exceptionally high quality of the tour guide's commentary.

Our family, including 3 college-aged students, participated. Lots of fun, one of our highlights while in Athens. Instructors were great, even our non-cooks in the family really enjoyed.

An interesting excursion, optimally in time for 1 day from Athens! Great guide Christa, answered all questions and was very welcoming, thank you!