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Things to do in Athens

Things to do in  Athens

Welcome to Athens

Athens is a historic wonderland that welcomes millions of visitors each year. The Acropolis, with its hilltop ruins and the Parthenon, is indisputably Athens’ top draw. The city's also the gateway to the island of Hydra and ancient Delphi. But don't be deceived by the Greek capital's antique status as the cradle of Western Civilization—it also boasts some of Europe’s best cuisine and nightlife.

Top 15 attractions in Athens

#1
Acropolis

Acropolis

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An archaeological wonder, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the world's most instantly recognizable landmarks, the Acropolis is the star attraction of ancient Athens. Dramatically perched on a jagged clifftop—the so-called sacred rock of Athens—the ruins overlook the modern city and date back to as early as 510 BC.More
#2
Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Odeio Irodou Attikou)

Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Odeio Irodou Attikou)

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Sitting on the southern slopes of the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus dates back to 161 BC and holds up to 5,000 spectators. Though it fell into ruin over the millennia, the theater was restored in the 1950s and is today a popular open-air venue thanks to its spectacular setting.More
#3
Acropolis Museum (Museo Akropoleos)

Acropolis Museum (Museo Akropoleos)

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An Athenian landmark and feat of contemporary architecture, the Acropolis Museum sits at the base of the Acropolis, with the ruins of an ancient settlement visible through its floor. The collection runs from pre-classical times to the Roman era, but fifth-century BC treasures are the focus, especially the Parthenon Frieze sculptures.More
#4
Temple of Olympian Zeus (Naós tou Olympíou Diós)

Temple of Olympian Zeus (Naós tou Olympíou Diós)

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Athenian rulers began construction of the Temple of Olympian Zeus (Naós tou Olympíou Diós) in the sixth century BC. By the time Roman Emperor Hadrian completed it 600 years later, it was the largest temple in Greece, and its statue of Zeus—king of the gods of Mt. Olympus—was one of the largest in the world. The temple began to fall into ruin shortly after it was finished; today only 15 of its original 104 columns still stand and much of its marble has been recycled or stolen for other temples. Nonetheless, what remains is a truly impressive sight to see.More
#5
Delphi

Delphi

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Delphi, with its remarkably preserved ruins dotted along the southern slopes of Mount Parnassus, is one of Greece’s most famous archaeological site. Dating back to the seventh century BC, the ancient city of Delphi is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to sites such as the Sacred Way, Stoa of the Athenians, polygonal wall, monument of Platea, and Temple of Apollo.More
#6
Meteora

Meteora

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The towering vertical cliffs of Meteora have provided a protected place to pursue spiritual contemplation for centuries. The first hermit monks lived up in caves, but eventually 24 Byzantine monasteries were built (six function today) atop the imposing rock. Part natural wonder, part manmade marvel, the dramatic site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular attraction in Greece.More
#7
Olympic Stadium (OAKA)

Olympic Stadium (OAKA)

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Originally built in the 1980s for the European Athletics Championships, the Olympic Stadium (officially the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens “Spiros Louis” or OAKA) was remodeled by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava for the 2004 Olympics. The largest stadium in Greece, with 70,000 seats, the Olympic Stadium hosts events and concerts by major international acts such as U2 and Lady Gaga.More
#8
Parthenon

Parthenon

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The star of Athens postcards and arguably the most impressive of all the city’s ancient ruins, the Parthenon stands proud atop the sacred rock of Acropolis, high above the modern city.Built between 447 and 432 BC, the temple was dedicated to Greek goddess Athena and originally housed her cult image, a giant ivory and gold-plated statue by Fidias. The restored temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a striking reminder of the glory of Ancient Greece with its grand marble façade, classic Doric columns, and elaborate sculptural friezes. The site also serves as a fascinating chronicle of Athens’ history.More
#9
Plaka

Plaka

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Built around the ruins of the ancient agora, Plaka is among the oldest residential areas in Athens and was considered the Turkish quarter during Ottoman rule. Much of it burned down during a fire in 1884, exposing many ancient sites below the neighborhood, and archaeological research has been carried out in the area ever since.More
#10
Academy of Athens (Akadimía Athinón)

Academy of Athens (Akadimía Athinón)

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One of a trio of Neoclassical buildings known as the Athenian Trilogy, the 19th-century Academy of Athens (Akadimía Athinón was founded during the post-independence re-flowering of Greek culture and is home to the national institutes for sciences, philosophy, fine arts, and humanities—following a tradition first established by Plato.More
#11
Agora of Athens

Agora of Athens

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The Agora was the political and social heart of the ancient city of Athens, and the ruins of this civic center and marketplace are among the most important archaeological sites in today’s capital. Explore this cradle of Greek democracy, including the Temple of Hephaestus and Stoa of Attalos.More
#12
Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion

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The sheer cliffs, sweeping views, epic sunsets, and photogenic ruins of Cape Sounion (also written Cape Sounio) form one of the most popular Athens day trips. Built in 444 BC, the Temple of Poseidon with its elegant white-marble columns is the star of the show, but there’s a small beach on-site and a wealth of dining options nearby.More
#13
Erechtheion

Erechtheion

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One of the most remarkable ancient ruins in the UNESCO-listed Acropolis, the Erechtheion is best known for its ornate Porch of the Caryatids, supported by marble statues of six virgins. Dating from the 5th century BC, the temple marks the spot where it was said that Poseidon and Athena fought for control of the fledgling city of Athens. More
#14
Syntagma Square (Plateia Syntagmatos)

Syntagma Square (Plateia Syntagmatos)

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Also known as Constitution Square, Syntagma Square (Plateia Syntagmatos) is a huge public plaza stretching out in front of Athens’ parliament building. Gleaming with white marble and beautiful statues, it’s a great place for people watching. Many of the city's most important streets begin here, including Ermou Street and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue.More
#15
Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

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Dramatically situated on the coastal cliffs of Cape Sounion, overlooking the Aegean Sea, the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most evocative sites of ancient Greece and a top visitor attraction. The magnificent monument dates back to 444 BC, but today, all that remains is a series of gleaming white marble columns, standing proudly atop the cape.More

Trip ideas

Top Parks and Gardens in Athens

Top Parks and Gardens in Athens

How to Spend 3 Days in Athens

How to Spend 3 Days in Athens

Must-See Museums in Athens

Must-See Museums in Athens

Top activities in Athens

Meteora Day Trip by Train from Athens
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Half Day Athens Private Tailor-Made City Tour (Skip the line of Acropolis)
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Gourmet Food Walking Tour in Athens
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Luxury Catamaran Cruise from Athens with Traditional Greek Meal and BBQ
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Athens Full Day Private Tour

Athens Full Day Private Tour

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Dinner in the Sky Athens
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Dinner in the Sky Athens

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Athens

star-5
Fantastic! So much knowledge
jason_H, Aug 2022
Athens Sunset Bike Tour
Was the best way to see Athens !
star-5
Great service
Latoya_P, Aug 2022
Athens Private Transfer: Piraeus Cruise Port to Central Athens
He provided recommendations on where to visit while in Athens.
star-5
Top G
Jesse_P, Aug 2022
Best of Athens Half Day Private Tour
Sebastian is Top G when it comes to showing everything you need to see in Athens, I recommend Top G to anyone who wants to explore Athens
star-5
Great experience! Just be aware of what is and isn't included in the price.
Jeremy_C, Aug 2022
3 Islands 1 Day from Athens: Hydra - Poros - Aegina, No Transfer
It was a wonderful way to see a few Greek islands while staying in Athens!
star-5
Delicious and Informative
Kristen_D, Aug 2022
Small-Group Athens Food Walk
It was a great way to see Athens on foot, and get acquainted with the city.
star-5
Great Experience
Carlos_P, Aug 2022
The Highlights of Athens Private Shore Excursion 8 Hours
Christo was very knowledge about the history of the and also able to accommodate our requests about sites that we want to visit, providing great feedback on our choices and proposing alternatives.
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Food tour for the teens
Lisa_C, Aug 2022
The 10 Tastings of Athens With Locals: Private Food Tour
It was a great and filling way to see a part of the city we would not have otherwise.
star-5
Amazing experience a must...
Brittney_H, Jul 2022
Athens 4-Hour Cooking Class with Central Market Visit
The market trip was nice to see and learn about the food was incredible and the home chef that lead the day was personable and made us all laugh and enjoy the day
star-5
Great family fun!
AngelaFuste, Jul 2022
Athens Electric Bike Tour
We even go to see the changing of the guard during our excursion.
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Wonderful trip with great crew
Yulia_K, Jul 2022
All Day Cruise -3 Islands to Agistri,Moni, Aegina with lunch and drinks included
Highly recommend to anyone who wants to see wonderful islands near Athens.
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Best food tour in Athens
Brett_D, Jul 2022
Small-Group Greek Traditional Food Tour around Athens with Tastings
Prepare to visit places off the beaten path and enjoy wonderful experiences.
star-5
So much food!
Laura_B, Jul 2022
Cape Sounion Private Sunset Tour From Athens With Seaside Dinner
The guide spoke English and shared with us many things about Athens.
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A fun smart tour guide who knows his Greek History.
Louise_K, Jul 2022
Skip the Line Acropolis of Athens and Acropolis Museum Tour
A huge time saver and so great not to have to stand there in the Athens summer heat.
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Worth It!
Tiffani_B, Jul 2022
Best of Athens City Segway Tour
Both Vanna and Kostas are well knowledgeable of the city the history and the social aspects allowing for the tour to provide a well-rounded view of everything that you need to see and know an Athens city center in two hours!
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Great day tour
Vivian_M, Jul 2022
Best of Athens Half Day Private Tour
Very good way to see the highlights of Athens.
star-5
5 stars.
Jason_M, Jul 2022
Athens Greece Full Day private tour
I highly recommend the tour for anyone that wants an intimate tour that provides everything you need to see in Athens in 1 day.
star-5
Fantastic
Samantha_W, Jul 2022
Athens Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
But spectacular to see done a tour with Viator before in Barcelona and once again didn’t disappoint we definitely recommend.
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Come hungry!!!!
Alyson_M, Jul 2022
Small-Group Food Tour and Wine Tasting in Athens by Night
Tiama (our tour guide) was energetic, knowledgeable and made us fall in love with Athens!
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Great guide and awesome sites!
Ellen_F, Jul 2022
Athens Electric Bike Tour
The bikes were user friendly with a bit of practice and they were a great way to see the sites in Athens, even on a very hot day!
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Great tour…guide very...
CONSTANCE_P, Jul 2022
Athens Full Day Tour with Lunch
Highly recommended for first timers to Athens wanting to see the city
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All about Athens

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
EEST (UTC +2)
Country Code
+30
Language(s)
Greek

A local’s pocket guide to Athens

Maria-Venetia Kyritsi

Maria-Venetia divides her time between the UK and Greece. Her ultimate dream is to own an eco- and pet-friendly small boutique hotel in Milos, the island she comes from.

The first thing you should do in Athens is...

download the Beat taxi app. Taxis are pretty cheap and a great way to discover less touristy areas such as Chalandri, Kifissia, Mikrolimano, and Glyfada.

A perfect Saturday in Athens...

starts with brunch at the Underdog café and a stroll along Dionysiou Areopagitou to Monastiraki’s flea market. Grab lunch at Nolan and a real Greek coffee at Kapnikarea before heading to Psyrri for Athens' best nightlife.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Acropolis. That and the nearby museum are definitely unmissable.

To discover the "real" Athens...

visit Anafiotika, a place that time forgot. Not only does it look and feel like you’re on a Greek island, you’ll get amazing views of the Acropolis.

For the best view of the city...

take the cable car to the top of Lycabettus Hill before sunset for a fab view of all the ancient monuments lighting up.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Athens is an ugly city, worth skipping over in favor of the islands. In fact, the capital has endless museums and archaeological sites, some of the best food in Greece, and unparalleled nightlife.

People Also Ask

What Athens is famous for?

Known as the birthplace of Western civilization, Athens is replete with antiquities, many dating from its 5th-century BC “Golden Age.” Must-visits include the UNESCO-protected Acropolis, home of the Parthenon and other temples; and numerous other archaeological relics and museums, all clustered near its central Syntagma Square and old Plaka district.

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How many days in Athens do you need?

Three days is recommended. Spend the first covering crowd-pullers like the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, and the Changing of the Guard at the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb. Then, over the next two days, explore the New Acropolis Museum, shop and eat in old Plaka, and visit Cape Sounion’s clifftop Temple of Poseidon.

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Why is Athens a tourist attraction?

Athens draws tourists largely for its ancient treasures. The city is crowned by the Acropolis—a hilltop of temples from the 5th century BC. After that, there’s still a long list to check through, from the ancient Agora and Hadrian’s Arch to the charismatic Plaka quarter and lovely Syntagma Square.

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What should I not miss in Athens?

Head first for the Acropolis, once the fulcrum of the ancient Greek empire. Must-sees here include the spectacular Parthenon, Temple of the Athena Nike, and Erechtheion; each a vision of gleaming marble. Also not-to-be-missed is the statue-stuffed New Acropolis Musem, and Athens’ Changing of the Guard ceremony, performed by pom-pom-shoed soldiers.

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What do people do for fun in Athens?

Athenians love fun, so it’s easy to find. Enjoy the relaxed vibe in Plaka’s cafés and squares, join locals over Greek coffee, and dance to bouzoukis (lutes) at open-till-late tavernas. Don’t miss Athens’ nightlife, either: hit Monastiraki’s clubs, catch an outdoor movie, or visit one of the city’s glam rooftop bars.

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Is Athens touristy?

Yes, especially around signature sites like the Acropolis and Syntagma Square, which draw sightseers year-round. Yet, it’s easy to find a quieter Athens. Escape the tourist buzz in Anafiotika’s whitewashed houses and geranium-potted lanes; in the galleries and cafés of hip Kypseli, and at lower-profile establishments like the airy Cycladic Art Museum.

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