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
We had fun, but we’re a little underwhelmed for the high cost. Our guide was lovely, and a lot is out of their control - the Acropolis is so busy and tour members can be tardy, which probably impacted how much time they had to speak. We enjoyed the Mythology, and it sets the tour apart from all the historical information you can get at the Acropolis museum. However, we really would have liked the myths to be supplemented with a bit more history (ie: the temple/sanctuary was built this date following this event, by this ruler, before or after this other monument. The reason it was put here: here’s the myth). We wouldn’t be as fussy and would have given 5 stars if it wasn’t so pricey. But still very enjoyable and a great supplement to the pure historical/archeological information at the Museum.
The bus was great and it was wonderful that the upper deck was covered on some of the buses. The drivers were very helpful. The only problem we had was that we booked three different routes and when we checked in they told us we were only eligible for two routes. I showed them my ticket which clearly showed three and they told me again no, it was only two. I wanted to go to the beaches and to the lake but they said that was not included even though it was on the ticket I got through your website.
The information was good but it needed more pictures of what we should be seeing. They had multiple entries where they were talking about a specific spot or statue and I could not find it for the life of me , and I know most of them aren't there anymore but I couldn't find where it should be . Also all of the information was from the construction and building and nothing after so we didn't even tell us why there was no roof . Still, the information was interesting and I did enjoy it 4 out of 5
We did this tour sept 7th 2019. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable (Fotini) and professional. It’s organized in a way to optimize your time to see the key highlights of the acropolis and surrounding without waisting lineups and avoiding crowds. Transportation extremely comfortable. We were a group of 4 (two adults and two children), perfect for family. Highly recommend it.
Kimon, our guide, took us from top to bottom on a hot and windy day. He kept all the information flowing, answered any questions and the group moving at a good pace in the heat whilst still ensuring everyone was in shade where possible. One of the best walking tours we have done..