20 things to see and do in Athens

Are you going to visit the capital of Greece and don’t know where to start? In this post we tell you 20 things to see and do in Athens, maybe not many but sure they are enough to leave you speechless.

In the map at the end of the post are indicated the things that we consider essential, so that you do not waste time if you have a few days to visit Athens.

Athens is a vibrant city, capital of a country considered the cradle of western civilization and culture is how much less amazing to imagine what it had to be at the time.

It is true that today we can only contemplate the ruins of what once was, but still not stop being an amazing city, if you are passionate about Greek history and mythology I have no doubt that you will enjoy a lot visiting Athens!

Here we go with the 20 things to do in Athens!

20 things to see and do in Athens

#1. The Acropolis of Athens, an essential place

The world-famous Acropolis of Athens, I don’t think it needs too much of a presentation.

We recommend you to visit it first thing in the morning, just open the doors! It is one of the essential visits to do in Athens and nobody wants to miss it, you can imagine how it is when the tourists start arriving from the cruises.

The best way is to enter through access 1 and exit through access 2, so you can climb the Areópago hill (or Ares hill) when you leave as we did. Besides, it’s not so hot at first light, then it’s a sun of justice.

To see the Erecteon, the Dionysus Theatre, the Odeon of Herod the Attic and the Parthenon up close is very impressive!

What to visit in Athens – Erecteon on the Acropolis

Remember to wear comfortable shoes and if you go in summer to bring water and a hat, inside the Acropolis do not sell water.

If you want to know more about the history of the Acropolis you can do a guided tour in Spanish.

ACROPOLIS HOURS: Open every day of the year from 08:00 to 20:00 at night.

ACCESS 1:

ADDRESS: 13 Dionysiou Areopagitou.
HOW TO GET THERE: The entrance is right next to the Tourist Information Office, 200 metres from the Red Line metro stop “Acropolis”.

ACCESS 2:

ADDRESS: Right next to the Aeropagus mountain.
HOW TO GET THERE: Walking from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street or from Theorias Street, you have the address marked on the map at the end of the post.
Map of the Acropolis of Athens

2. The Plaka district

Known as the neighborhood of the Gods, for us it has become our favorite neighborhood in Athens.

It has a lot of restaurants, shops and most points of interest such as the lantern monument of Lisícrates of 335 BC, the Arch of Hadrian, and the Acropolis are just a step away.

We finally chose this neighborhood to stay (after a bad experience in the neighborhood of Omonia), we stayed in the hotel Home & Poetry, 5 minutes from the Acropolis, very recommendable!

3. The Temple of Olympic Zeus

Also known as the Olympion, when finished in the second century measured 96 by 40 meters and consisted of 104 Corinthian columns, each 17 meters high, of which have survived only 16 columns.

In the photos the height of the columns is not appreciated, and once in the enclosure it is not difficult to imagine the magnitude of this building at the time.

ZEUS TEMPLE HOURS: Open every day of the year from 08:00 to 20:00 at night. PRICE: 6€, included in the combined ticket. Vasilissis Olgas HOW TO GET HERE: “Acropolis” metro stop on the Red Line,

4. Walking in the Roman Agora

To walk along the Roman Agora is to walk along what was an old Roman square two thousand years ago.

Inside you can see the Athena Gate Arquegetis, 11 BC, the Fethiye Mosque built after the Ottoman invasion in 1456 and the Tower of Winds.

ROMAN AGORA TIME: Open from 08:00 to 20:00 every day of the yearPRICE: 6€, included in the combined ticketDIRECTION: Access via Polignotou street.HOW TO ARRIVE: Metro stop “Monastiraki” on the green and blue line.

Roman Agora in Athens

5. Visit the Athens Agora

Here was the center of the ancient city of Athens, you can walk among the ruins of old public buildings and imagine how life was one day there.

In the Agora of Athens is the temple of Hephaestus one of the best preserved of all Greece, also has a museum that you can visit with the same entrance.

ÁGORA ATENAS TIME: Open from 08:00 to 20:00 every day of the yearPRICE: 8€, included in the combined ticket.ADDRESS: Access via Adrianou street.HOW TO ARRIVE: Metro stop “Thissio” on the Green line. or metro stop “Monastiraki” on the green and blue line.

Hephaestus Temple in the Agora of Athens

6. Panathinaikó Stadium

It dates from 329 BC and was the place where the first Olympic Games of our era were held in 1896. A spectacular marble construction with a capacity for 45,000 people, which is said to be fast!

It is built on another old wooden stadium where sports competitions were held in honor of the goddess Athena every 4 years, just like our Olympics today.

The ticket costs 3€ and you get a free audio guide in Spanish.

7. Plaza Síntagma and the change of guard

The square Sintagma is always full of life, meeting place of the people there and also of numerous tourists who come every hour at the point to see the change of guard.

Next to the monument of the unknown soldier, they carry out the change of guard every day at every hour sharp.

If it coincides with a Sunday in Athens, the change of guard at 11:00 is different from the rest and they say, much more spectacular.

GUARD CHANGE TIME: Every hour on the dot, every day, ADDRESS: Plaza Síntagma, the change of Guard is made at the foot of the building of the Council of Helenos.HOW TO ARRIVE: Metro Red and Blue lines, Syntagma stop.

Change of guard at the Plaza Sintagma in Athens

8. Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum was opened in 2009 and is housed in a huge modern building, very close to one of the entrances to the Acropolis.

At the entrance you will see the remains of ancient Athens discovered in the excavations of the site where the museum is now located, soon to be accessible as part of the museum.

Inside it houses a large collection of works from ancient Greece and also models of what was once the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

The entrance fee is 10€, and the pieces you will see inside are unique. Still, if you’ve recently been to the British Museum in London, it may not seem like much.

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM HOURS: Open every day of the year at 08:00 and closed on Mondays at 16:00, Fridays at 22:00 and the rest of the days at 20:00.ADDRESS: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15 HOW TO ARRIVE: It is very close to the Acropolis on foot. You can also arrive with the red line of the metro stop “Acropolis”.

Next to the caryatids at the Acropolis Museum

9. Go up to the MS Roof Garden terrace

Contemplating the life of Monstirakis Square from above, with incredible views of the Acropolis while having an iced coffee or juice, is a must to do in Athens, in our opinion!

Looking for terraces with great views in Athens, we found this one that we thought was amazing! You could already see it in our Instagram stories, and you can see it now in our featured stories titled “Greece”.

Don’t miss it!

Things to do in Athens – Go up to the MS Roof Garden terrace

10. Watch the sunset from the Areopago or Colina de Ares

After visiting the Acropolis, we went up to see the impressive views from this small mountain and our last night of the trip we reserved it to see the sunset from this very recommendable point!

We relaxed sitting on the stones, with the acropolis on our backs illuminated with that orange shade of sunset, the city at our feet and the sun saying goodbye on the horizon, it was magical to end our journey in Greece.

Don’t miss it! For us it is one of the essential things to do in Athens.

Watch the sunset from the Areopagus, a must to do in Athens

11. Mount Licabeto or Lycabettus, the highest point in Athens

From one viewpoint of the city we go to another, Mount Lycabettus is the highest point of Athens and its panoramic well worthwhile.

Upstairs there is a cafeteria, some restaurants and the chapel of San Jorge.

We liked the sunset very much, but if you are only going to spend one night in Athens we recommend the sunset in the Areopagus.

HOW TO GET TO THE CIMA: You can get there with the funicular that crosses the mountain inside, or if you go by car you can park on the top that has parking. FUNICULAR ADDRESS: Aristippou 1 HOUR OF THE FUNICULAR: Open every day from 9:00 to 2:30 amPRICE OF THE FUNICULAR: 7€ up and down or 5€ one way.

Sunset from Monte Licabeto, Athens

12. Climb the hill where the Filopapos monument is located

From here there is also a good view of Athens and the Acropolis, but to get there you have to do a little trekking.

Above is the monument Filopapos, a funerary monument built in honor of Julio Antíoco Filopapo, last prince of the kingdom of Comagene.

On the way up the hill we can also visit the prison of Socrátes, where the philosopher was imprisoned and they tell us that he spent his last hours of life.

They say that from here there is a wonderful view of the Acropolis, we lacked time to go.

13. Hallucinating with Greek architecture

Adriano’s Library, they also called it the library of the 100 columns, although not all of them are preserved now.
Hadrian’s Arch, 2000 years old, is located in the external part of the temple of Zeus, in its time separated the old city from the new. As dusk approaches, the sun’s rays give it a spectacular tone.
The lantern monument of Lisícrates from 335 B.C in the Plaka district.

14. Eating a gyros is one of the essential things to do in Athens.

More than in Athens, it is a must if you step on Greece! The Greek food has conquered us completely, to enter directly in our TOP 5 of best gastronomies of the world.

And one of those culinary specialties are the gyros, kebab style that we know around here, there served on a plate accompanied by salad or wrapped in pita bread, whatever it is irresistibly good!

Of all those who tried on the trip to the Greek islands and Athens, the best of all was in “The Greco’s Project” in the Monastiraki square in Athens, we ate marvellously, super abundant rations and very good! if you are going you will tell us!

Try the gyros in Athens

#15. Walk through the neighborhood of Monastiraki

Monastiraki is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Athens, it’s also a great place to stay.

We advise you to go for a walk in the bazaars of the surroundings and finish in its lively square where is the Tzistarakis Mosque and the small monastery that gives name to the district.

Monastiraki neighbourhood, one of the things to see in Athens

#16. Kerameikos and its museum

Known as the potters’ quarter of the time, a part of it became the largest cemetery in all of Athens.

What I don’t understand is how being one of the biggest in Athens was buried and fell into oblivion, it wasn’t until many years later that archaeological excavations began to discover the largest necropolis in the city.

Today you can visit the remains of this ancient cemetery.

#17. Buy and haggle in the Flea Market

The Flea Market reminded us of the bazaars we could see in Istanbul or Marrakech, here you will find handcrafted soaps, antique coins, second-hand objects and of course many souvenir shops where you can buy the famous Greek eye!

Greek eye or Turkish eye in Athens

#18. Make an excursion from Athens

If you have days on your visit to Athens, you might consider a day trip to a nearby place, for example:

– Day Cruise to Hidra, Poros and Engina

– Excursion to Meteora Monasteries. Very recommendable! We were left with the desire, but we lacked days.

– Excursion to Delphi, an ideal place to get to know Greek mythology and history.

#19. Make a free tour of Athens

It’s an excellent way to get to know the city better, with a Spanish-speaking guide who tells you all the ins and outs of the city.

Although it is called “free” the truth is that at the end of the tour the guides expect you to give them a tip, yes, depending on how well you explained it, the number of people or what we liked in general, we can give one thing or another.

It is normal not to give less than 10€ per person.

→ Book a free tour of Athens here.

#Visit the National Archaeological Museum

If you have enough time, you can not miss the National Archaeological Museum, is the largest in Greece and one of the most important archaeological museums in the world.

They say it contains the richest collection of objects from ancient Greece, so we have no doubt that it has to be impressive.

Open every day from 8:00 to 20:00 except on Tuesdays when it opens at 12:30 and closes at 20:00, entry costs 10€.

Map with all the things to see and do in Athens

We have indicated with stars the things to do in Athens that we consider essential.

We have also indicated where the entrances to the tourist places are, Google does not indicate it too well and we had to give more than a detour by Athens looking for the entrances.

Accommodation in Athens

If you accompany us by Instagram you will remember what happened to us in Athens, we had taken the hotel in a horrible area and we had to look for another one as soon as we arrived.

So that this does not happen to you, remember not to stay near the Plaza Omonia, the neighborhood has become a drug area that is better not to step if we do not want to encounter things or situations that are not pleasant.

Be careful! Because there are still many hotels open in the area.

Our recommendations for accommodation in Athens are the Plaka district, the surroundings of the Sintagma square and the Monastiraki district, these areas are perfect.

We stay at the HOME & POETRY hotel in Plaka, one step from the famous Adrianou street full of restaurants and Greek souvenirs, and less than 5 minutes walk from one of the entrances to the Acropolis.

Views from the terrace of our hotel Home & Poetry in Athens

And so much for our post with all the things you can visit in Athens!

As I said at the beginning, if you have little time it is better to go directly to the essential things to do in Athens, and if you have hours to visit the rest.

We hope you enjoy Athens as much as we do! If you have any questions, just leave us a comment below!

And if you are planning to visit the Greek islands don’t miss the post on how to plan a trip to the Greek islands on your own.

Other links of interest for your trip to Athens:

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