Top attractions in Athens
Once the heart of a civilization more advanced than any to come for centuries, visiting Athens reveals just how far mankind can go when holding art and wisdom above waging war. Here are the best things to see and do in Greece's proud and passionate capital.
The Old Town market district Monastiraki is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Though cheap souvenirs dominate its storefronts, there's plenty on offer for sophisticated tastes too!
More than the ruins of an old temple, the Parthenon is an icon of Western civilization, making it the site of Athens' most essential tours!
Many of Ancient Athens' most important buildings were erected in the Acropolis to protect them from invasion. Ruins they may be, but most still look pretty good for their age!
Built on the site where legend tells Poseidon and Athena competed to be the city's patron god, the Erechtheion was actually considered more holy than the Parthenon in its time!
Of course, the Acropolis is now mostly in ruin – a monument to Athens' former glory – but almost 4,000 objects excavated from the area can be seen at the Acropolis Museum!
Widely considered to be one of the best museums in the world, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens boasts many of Greece's most important artifacts, from the prehistoric age to Late Antiquity.
Named after the Greek Constitution of 1844, the grand Syntagma Square at the foot of the Old Royal Palace has been the epicenter of Greek politics ever since!
In ruins, but once considered the epitome of Doric architecture, the important temple Olympieion was home to the gold Statue of Zeus – one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Nike is the Ancient Greek word for victory, and the prominently placed Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis was built to aid the Athenian Empire's wars against Sparta. It didn't work!
This historic district at the foot of the Acropolis is also known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods." Plaka is a great place to wander around and maybe even see an archaeological dig!
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 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.
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!
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- 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.
Things to Do in Athens
Top Attractions in Athens
Cities in Greece
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What people are saying about Athens
Our guide and initial greeters were kind, knowledgable and concerned for our experience. They met us in the Metro station as promised and found a place nearby for us to use the toilet at the last minute, offered cold water, warned us of pickpockets etc. The guide was informative, made time for personal requests, and showed particular concern for w/1 couple w/medical issues. The only disappointing thing was that in trying to meet personal requests/questions we ended up w/only 10 mins to explore on our own at the Acropolis top. It also seemed like the facility closed earlier than normal, but I'm not sure why. It worked out fine and is worth the money and time to see this amazing historical site.
Our guide led us through paths which were not too difficult for those who do not cycle routinely. His commentary was informative, interesting and contained surprises: he got us to a certain corner to see the parade of the changing of the guard without the crowds. I just loved his offer to photograph tour members at iconic sites such as with the Acropolis in background. At the end of our tour, he capped it off with several small but traditional Greek gifts, as it was my birthday...he helped make it memorable!
The tour guide Sophia was knowledgeable and very professional in keeping a bus load of people of different cultures very satisfied. I suggest the quiet time between Delfi and Meteora to have some very low, and relaxing background music. The driver was also very professional and all in all my friend and I had an excellent trip.
We had a wonderful tour of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and passionate. It was amazing how much distance we covered without even realizing it! October was the ideal time to go because there was much less of a crowd and the weather was amazing. Five stars!
Gary, our guide (archeologist) shared many interesting stories and facts. She adders quality to the trip. The stop we made at the ancient theater, the silverwashery was a very pleasant and educational surprise. Nice stop at the Harbour. the tempel of Poseidon is Beautiful and the sun set phenomenal.