Athens is an amazing city that attracts curious travelers from all over the world. Tourists have an amazing opportunity to enjoy its splendor. Not sure what to see in Athens? We have compiled a list of the most interesting places of this ancient city. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of seeing the sights of Athens, of which there are many.
Study the descriptions carefully to make the best itinerary. And remember - a visit to the ancient city will in any case be unforgettable, but guides in Athens will make it informative and competently organized, saving you from having to think about how to get to the next attraction.
The Acropolis is rightly called the city’s oldest architectural monument and one of the most recognizable landmarks of Greece. It has the appearance of a hill rising 156 m. It has a flat top on which are scattered various landmarks of historical significance.
The hill was first developed in the 5th century BC. A few decades later, temples appeared on it. Most of the antiquities preserved since then had to be moved to the Louvre and the British Museum. However, there are still exhibits that continue to be preserved in the Acropolis. On the hill itself there are now modern statues that keep a close eye on the life of the city.
On the hill tourists can see the Parthenon, the Niki Apteros and the Erechtheion. Other equally famous temples have also become part of the Acropolis, which is a must-see for those who don’t know what to visit in Athens.
Official website: http://odysseus.culture
When traveling in Athens, the New Acropolis Museum is a must-see. It holds more than 14 thousand unique exhibits. This structure was built on the site of important archaeological excavations. Every visitor to this attraction in Athens has a view of them, because the floors (as well as the ceilings) in the museum are made entirely of durable glass.
All found antiquities are left in the New Museum. Its most interesting exhibit is the Parthenon Hall. Here visitors can see not only copies, but also the originals of the sculptures that were once considered the main decorations of the Acropolis.
The only thing that can upset the tourists, who managed to get into the New Museum, is the ban on photographing the exhibits. Such an opportunity is not available even for money.
Official website: https://issuu.com/theacropolismuseum
The ancient Agora is easy to find if you turn northwest from the Acropolis. This place once served as a marketplace. It was also considered the political and cultural center of the city. For the development of this landmark of Athens was allocated more than 10 hectares of land. Nowadays, fairs are regularly held there. Even if a traveler has already planned what to see in Athens, it is worth including the Agora, where tourists can diversify their leisure time.
In the Agora, not much has survived. There are only the foundations of old buildings. Often there are archeologists working in these parts in the hope to find something interesting.
Here are the remains of a colonnade that belonged to King Attalus. There is also another interesting monument, the temple of Hephaestus. On the south side near the Agora is the rock of the Areopagus.
Official site: http://odysseus.culture.gr
There is a lot of attention on this landmark in Athens. The Temple of Zeus, though not preserved in its original form to this day, continues to fascinate residents and visitors to the city. On a huge area still majestically lie the ruins of what was once the Olympaeum.
The temple was revered by the peoples who believed in Zeus as the supreme god. The place fell into decay after the active spread of Christianity. The building began to deteriorate rapidly, with many people pulling it apart.
At this time of the temple remained 15 indestructible columns. The sixteenth is lying nearby. She was unable to resist the strongest hurricane that struck the city in 1852.
Not all tourists know what to visit in Athens. Fortunately, there are so many interesting places in the city, thanks to which this problem solves itself. Among the main decorations of Athens is the Panathinaikos Stadium. It is located in the heart of the Greek capital next to the National Garden. This place is the oldest stadium in the world. The structure is built of white marble. In 1896 the first Olympic Games were held here, which became part of modern history.
In ancient times, the Panathenaic Games were held in the stadium. It was also the site for religious celebrations. The major reconstruction of the stadium had been decided immediately after its discovery during the excavations. All the work was done at the expense of Evangelis Zappas, a well-known patron of the arts. Greek competitions were held in the stadium with his support.
Panathinaikos is used not only for sporting events. It also often hosts various exhibitions that focus on Greek culture.
Official website: http://www.panathenaicstadium
Tourists are wondering what to visit in Athens to make pleasant memories of the city for a long time. For that purpose, the Byzantine Museum is ideal. It is housed in the Villa of the Duchess de Plezance. In the building itself there is a place for a unique museum collection. Its decoration are the icons of the Cretan school of icon painting. Most of the exhibits of the museum are in good condition.
In front of the building where the Byzantine Museum is located, there are orange trees and many flowers. The courtyard of the villa is decorated with a fountain that has been recreated from a painting on a mosaic from the monastery of Daphne.
Official website: http://www.byzantinemuseum
Those who don’t know what to see in Athens should definitely go to the Hephaisteion. It can be found on the northwest side of the Ancient Agora. For many centuries the temple had the appearance of an orthodox church. Afterwards it was recognized as a national historical monument, and a museum was set up in it. Only in the last century the sanctuary managed to restore its original appearance.
The temple of Hephaestus was better preserved than others. It was built of durable marble. For a long time, archaeologists and historians were convinced that Hephaisteion was built in honor of Theseus. All because his images were on the walls of this landmark of Athens. But when statues of Hephaestus and Athena were found inside the building, the experts changed their opinion.
Next to the temple there is a souvenir shop, where travelers can buy themselves a funny thing to remember their visit to this majestic place.
The National Archaeological Museum is the largest in Greece. It was specially created to store valuable artifacts that were discovered by archaeologists during excavations two centuries ago. As time passed, this attraction of Athens began to store other equally important exhibits brought from different cities of Greece.
The museum has more than 11,000 unique exhibits that range from prehistoric times to late Antiquity. The building itself is divided into five main exhibits, each differing from the other by the antiquity of the exhibits and the theme. Each of these is available for viewing by all tourists who wish to visit.
Official website: http://www.namuseum.gr
In the Agora is the Church of the Holy Apostles of Solakis. It was built back in the 10th century. This church is rightly recognized as the oldest existing Christian church in Athens.
This place has a special significance for the local residents. All because it is the only monument in the Agora, which managed to be preserved in its original form until today. So it can be considered, if we do not take into account the temple of Hephaestus.
The church is distinguished by its original construction. It looks like a cross-shaped structure with four massive columns supporting a huge dome. This attraction of Athens also has vestibules (pronaos). One of them had to be enlarged over time to accommodate the sarcophagus in the building. There is an opinion that the sepulchre of the temple was built especially for the patron of the arts, who sponsored the construction.
Syntagma is often referred to as Constitution Square. This is the first place to go for tourists who haven’t figured out what to see in Athens. All travelers get to this place, as it is located in the heart of the city.
The square has its own attraction. On its territory there is a unique monument dedicated to the unknown soldier. Here you can also see members of the National Guard, who perform the duties of the guard. They are all dressed in the national military uniform of Greece. Every hour there is a changing of the guard - this event is very liked by tourists, because it has the appearance of a colorful performance.
Monument to the Unknown Soldier at Syntagma was opened in 1932. This event occurred during the celebration of the Independence Day of Greece. On the monument, craftsmen inscribed the winged words that were once spoken by Pericles.
For those who are not visiting the Greek capital for the first time, and tourists who have more than a couple of days to explore the city, we offer options for where else to go. Excursions in Athens can be ordered on the spot or in advance, focusing on your financial capabilities and requirements for the guide and itinerary.
Among the largest buildings housing ancient exhibits is the Nicolas P. Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art. The museum opened in 1986, thanks to a collection of ancient Greek art that had long belonged to one of Greece’s most influential families.
The collection began collecting back in the 1960s. Nicholas and Dolly, the owners of the expensive pieces, got permission from the Greek government to do so. The collection included very rare relics, thanks to which it quickly attracted the attention of scientists. After Nicholas’s death, it was given to the government. Then it was decided to create a museum based on these exhibits.
The main collection of the attraction in Athens is divided into three parts, which differ from each other in their direction. The museum was created to introduce people to the ancient culture of Cyprus and the Aegean Sea. Today, lectures and seminars are held within the walls of this building. People come here to take part in fascinating projects and research.
Official website: https://www.cycladic.gr/en
In the center of the city you can see a luxurious park, which is noted in guidebooks as the National Garden. Many people call it the Royal Garden. All because the garden was planted in honor of Queen Amalia. This event took place in 1939. The attention of travelers in this park attracts not only picturesque nature and dozens of amazing plants. Among them, ancient columns and mosaics, which have slightly lost their original appearance, are well positioned. To the south of this attraction in Athens are busts of talented poets who made Greece famous.
Lush trees and shrubs of the garden surround the Parliament building on almost all sides. Next to it, sentries are constantly on guard.
The National Garden boasts more than 15 thousand different species of plants. For the park is constantly tended, so he does not lose its attractive appearance. The garden even has a live corner. Visitors to this place can freely watch the birds and animals through a mesh fence.
Official website: https://www.cityofathens.gr/en/
To the east of the city sits the monastery of Kesariani, hidden from view by a high fence of stone. This ancient Orthodox shrine is on the list of places to visit for those who have not yet decided what to see in Athens.
The exact date of the foundation of the monastery is not known to anyone. Archaeologists suggest that it could have been built in the 11th century. The shrine now remains the property of the Orthodox Church. For a long time the monastery was considered the most important cultural and religious center for the Greeks. In the modern world, it has also been given the title of the most interesting architectural monument belonging to the Middle Ages.
The structure takes the form of a cross-shaped temple whose dome is supported by four Ionic columns. They are the remains of a sanctuary that existed in this place in antiquity.
Official site: http://odysseus.culture.gr
In 132 BC, Emperor Hadrian issued a decree to build the library, which today is an important historical monument of Greece. It is located to the north of the Acropolis.
Once the Hadrian’s Library was fully constructed it came to be called one of the most beautiful structures in Athens. The building had an inner courtyard in which there was a luxurious swimming pool. Its perimeter was surrounded by a vast number of columns.
In this attraction of Athens thousands of valuable books were kept. Also in the library, special rooms were built in advance that served as reading rooms and classrooms for reading academic lectures. Next to the library, during the heyday of the Ottoman Empire, there was a market square. There were several churches which have not survived to this day.
Official website: http://odysseus.culture.gr
In the Athenian Agora is another interesting landmark, the Stoa Attalos. The structure was built and presented as a costly gift to the people of Athens on behalf of King Attalos, who was educated here. In his honor the building was named after him.
The monument is very big and different from the other buildings which are situated in the territory of Athens. It occupies an area of 115x20 m. Limestone and marble were used as the building material.
Different orders of architecture were used in the creation of the monument. The colonnade outside is in Doric order, while the inside is Ionic.
The Herulian tribe destroyed the structure in 267. Its rebuilding was not begun until 1950. The Rockefeller family paid all the costs of this work. Since that time the structure has served as the Agora Museum.
The Parthenon is an ancient temple which can safely be assigned the status of the main symbol of Athens and Greece as a whole. Together with the other buildings of the Acropolis in Athens, it is part of the World Heritage List. Standing proud on the very summit of the Acropolis, the Parthenon is visible from every part of the city. The idea of erecting the sanctuary came about 2.5 thousand years ago to the Athenian reformer Pericles, who commissioned the famous masters of the time to design and build a monumental structure. To build the Parthenon only the best materials were brought from all over the country - snow-white marble, ivory, gold, cypress wood, and the construction involved many thousands of slaves. Of the original structure today only the west wall remains, but even these ruins are a source of pride to the Athenians today and testify to the former greatness of the magnificent temple.
Official site: http://odysseus
You might say you haven’t seen Ancient Greece if you haven’t visited the ruins of at least one of Athens’ ancient monuments. A striking example of ancient Greek architecture is the Erechtheion, one of the main temples in ancient Athens. It was built in the 5th century BC and is considered one of the most valuable architectural monuments of the Greek capital. But unlike other constructions of antiquity the Erechtheion has unusual for those times architecture - it has relatively small size and resembles more a dwelling house than a sanctuary. The asymmetry of its facade is due primarily to the relief of the ground, as well as to the abundance of sanctuaries that were located here in former times. The temple is Ionic in style with the eastern part dedicated to the goddess Athena and the western part to Poseidon. During Byzantine times, there was a Christian chapel within its walls, but in the 17th century it was badly damaged by Venetian troops. The remains of the rubble can be seen today in the Acropolis Museum.
Official website: http://odysseus
Another striking monument of antiquity in Athens located on the southern slope of the Acropolis is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which was built by a noble Athenian in the 2nd century AD. In fact, it is an ancient theater, and the most amazing thing is that this building is still used for its intended purpose - large-scale concerts, plays, and other theatrical productions are regularly held on the open-air stage. The most famous artists are honored to perform on the stage of the Odeon! The Odeon was originally dedicated to Herod Atticus’ dead wife and was intended for music-related events. Its vast auditorium for nearly 5,000 people was carved directly into the rock of the Acropolis; the building itself was large and luxurious, and on either side of the stage were sculptures of members of Herod’s royal court. Nowadays the Odeon hosts an annual music festival, and in the evenings the walls and stage are projected with magnificent lights, creating a fantastic atmosphere.
Official website: http://odysseus.
The ancient capital of Greece beckons lovers of antiquity with its archaeological monuments and unique cultural sites. To get a full idea of the country’s national heritage during a trip, it is worth choosing the most famous cultural monuments of Athens, one of which is the theater of Dionysus, an ancient structure that appeared in the 5th century BC. The whole history of world theater art originated once on this stage - it was here that the works of the greatest representatives of ancient Greek drama and literature - Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes and others - were presented to the audience. The ancient theater once had a seating capacity for over 17 thousand spectators, and the performances unfolded directly under the open sky, since the size of the building did not allow the construction of a roof. The excavations around the theater are still going on today, and new details of the ancient structures are discovered regularly.
At the foot of the Acropolis sits an elegant octagonal structure from the 1st century B.C. - An ancient weather station or Tower of the Winds. Its main purpose for centuries has been to determine the direction of the wind and the time. The 12-metre marble tower is crowned by a conical ceramic roof, and on top there was a weathervane in the shape of a newt, a mythical creature with a stick in his hand, indicating the direction of the wind. All the corners of the tower were oriented strictly to the directions of the world. There used to be a clepsydra inside, a water clock, where time intervals were measured by drops trickling from a special vessel. The tower had another clock for sunny days, which allowed to know the time by the position of the shadow falling on it. Eight bas-reliefs depicting allegories of the winds have survived to this day; by looking at them one could tell what kind of wind was blowing and what to expect from the weather.
A week in Athens is already enough time to get away from the center and go beyond the ancient city walls surrounding old Athens. What to see in seven days of ancient monuments? Just outside the Long Walls is the ancient Kerameikos area that was once home to some of Athens’ finest potters. There was also an ancient cemetery where burials were made until the 16th century. Early burials were huge monuments and entire complexes of underground tombs, equipped under the hills. Over time, these mournful hills stretched in line to form the Holy Way. And on the north side of Kerameikos led the road Dromos to Plato’s Academy - local warriors, heroes and great statesmen were buried here. Excavations of the ancient cemetery and pottery settlement began in the 19th century, and most of the items found today can be viewed in the National Archaeological Museum.
Some lovers of tranquility prefer to go to Athens in the “low season”, free from the influx of tourists - for example, in early spring. What to see in Athens in March when the weather is rainy and chilly, but for now you cannot go for a walk in the open air? One of the best solutions is to visit the Benaki Museum, home to the Antonis Benakis collection. The museum has a huge number of unique and interesting items, most of which are archaeological finds from Paleolithic times. Exhibitions are dedicated not only to Greek culture, but to some other cultures as well, with sculptures, icons, jewelry, paintings, tableware and other exhibits. The building of the complex itself is also a landmark - it is a luxurious 19th century house in the neoclassical style, once owned by the famous businessman Benakis.
Official website: https://www.benaki.
One of the most famous museums in the Greek capital is the Numismatic Museum, which has a valuable collection of ancient medals, coins, scales, valuable stones found as a result of excavations. There are more than half a million exhibits from the 14th century BC to the present. The museum building is a beautiful mansion, once owned by a German archaeologist named Schliemann. The collection, which allows the museum to occupy the first lines in the world rankings, was accumulated within these walls since 1834. The museum’s main hall is named after the former owner of the mansion - beautiful tapestries about the archaeologist’s private life are on display here. On the second floor is an exhibition devoted to research in numismatics, highlighting how valuable coins are made and counterfeited. In the other halls coins, medals and other objects of a similar kind are exhibited directly.
Greece is a great civilization with a rich military history. That’s why a major museum in Athens is dedicated to the art of war, allowing visitors to see with their own eyes the weapons, uniforms and other attributes that have been used in warfare over the centuries, from antiquity to the present day. The idea of creating such a museum appeared in the 60s of last century, when it was decided to perpetuate the memory of all brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the independence of their country. For the placement of the museum complex a site in the center of Athens was chosen, ideally suited for these purposes - there used to be a former military camp. Within the walls of the museum you can see legendary weapons, study on maps the places of the most important battles, assess the advantages and disadvantages of uniforms of different times. In a separate exhibition, located under the open sky, you can see guns, shells and military equipment.
Official site: http://www.warmuseum
The armored cruiser Georgios Averof, which once made Greek naval history famous, is now a museum on the water, moored in an Athens harbor. It was built in 1911 at a considerable cost. However, it was the most modern and powerful ship of its day, armored, fast and well-equipped, with a top speed of 23 knots. The ship took part in many military actions. During the First Balkan War the cruiser underwent the first battles against Turkey and being the best equipped ship in her squadron, she performed an important role in the battles at Cape Elly. During World War I, the Averof was part of the Allied squadron and took part in the hostilities against Germany. In World War II, she defended Allied convoys in the Indian Ocean. She was retired in 1952, and in the 80’s was subject to restoration repairs, after which she was placed in perpetual storage as a museum.
Contrary to popular belief, the best sights in Athens are not only the remains of the former grandeur of ancient structures, but also modern institutions, which include the Athens Academy of Sciences, the largest scientific and research institution in the whole country. It evolved from the oldest academy, founded by Plato himself in the 4th century BC. The new institution was founded in 1926, and its charter divided the Academy’s work into several main areas: the natural sciences, the political sciences, the arts and morals. Today dozens of research centers and research departments are operating under the auspices of the Academy. In 2002 the Academy initiated a foundation for biomedical research. Each year the Academy graduates specialists who have created and are creating works within these walls for nearly a hundred years.
Official website: http://www.academy
In the heart of Athens is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument to all the soldiers who died once in the battles for their country. On one of the walls of the stele are inscribed the names of the nations with which Greece has been at war for three thousand years. This memorial is guarded day and night by the Eusonians, soldiers of the Presidential Guard, who symbolize the courage and bravery of the Greek nation. It should be said that high requirements are imposed on the eusons - they must be in excellent physical shape, at least 1.87 m tall and generally attractive. Eusons are distinguished by their unique shape and peculiar pitch. Every hour, a guard change takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and on Sundays there is a special ceremony - an entire regiment of 120 Guardsmen marching in full dress uniform to the sounds of the orchestra.
Kapnikareia Church and represents one of the oldest Orthodox churches in Athens. It is also one of the most colorful, especially in view of the modern buildings that surround it on all sides. It is located on Ermou, a busy city street where there is noise and bustle, but once inside the church, you get the feeling of being in a completely different dimension - there is an atmosphere of silence and solitude. Despite its small size, Capnicarea is one of the largest Byzantine sanctuaries in the capital. The church was built in the 11th century on the foundations of another ancient temple dedicated to the goddess, but which one? Architecturally it is a cross-dome temple, consisting of 3 main parts. It is worth paying attention to the masonry of its walls, made in the technique of “cloisonné”, when stones and bricks, interspersed in the form of a cross.
Eleven kilometers northwest of Athens is another ancient temple that can be seen directly from the Elefsis highway. The monastery of Daphne can be called the most impressive Byzantine monastery, a true gem of Byzantine creativity. From ancient times there has been an altar to Apollo of Daphne, and the name itself was once derived from the abundant laurels growing here - the Greek word for this plant is “daphne”. The main temple of the monastery, devoted to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is decorated with wonderful Byzantine mosaics from the 11th-12th centuries. In antiquity, the sacred road from Athens to the ancient city of Elephses was also passed by the monastery, where the festivals of spring and harvest were held regularly. The monastery itself was built in the 6th century, and the stones of an ancient pagan sanctuary that once stood on the site were used in its construction.
Official website: http://odysseus
The small, 300-meter-high Likavit hill in the northeastern part of Athens, though not imposing in height, is still the best vantage point from which to enjoy a beautiful panorama of the entire city - here you can see the majestic Acropolis, the Parthenon and even the more distant port of Piraeus from the top. People come here to admire the sunset, to see the flag lowering ceremony, to relax in local restaurants and cafes with excellent views. Likavit has not one but two peaks - on the upper peak there is a temple, on the lower one - a theater. By the way, on the stage of the theater for decades appeared many of the world’s great celebrities. The temple is a chapel of St. George, built at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. No less interesting and the way up the hill - it can be done on the funicular, which carries passengers not above the ground, and on the underground tunnel.
If you’re tired of the standard sightseeing tours of well-known places and don’t like the tourist throngs, it’s time to visit other secret places in Athens - secluded corners of the city where you rarely meet strangers. One of these places is the observation deck on Philopappa Hill, which overlooks the Acropolis, the Argolida Mountains, the Saronic Gulf, Lycavit Hill, the sea, the city quarters, and even the island of Salamis. It’s a picturesque hill, covered with coniferous vegetation, where the very air is filled with aromas of fragrant resin. There are no restaurants or any signs of civilization. At the foot of Philoppa there is a small cave, which in popular consciousness has long been known as Socrates’ prison - it is believed that this is where the famous philosopher spent his last days after his sentence. And the hill owes its name to the great benefactor Philopappus, whose monument tops the hill.
A walk through the central part of Athens near the Acropolis provides an opportunity to see the Temple of Zeus, or rather the remains of the temple’s once-white colonnade, which have survived to this day. On the eastern slope of the Acropolis stretches the oldest district of Plaka, most of whose streets are pedestrian, closed to vehicular traffic, and most of the centuries-old buildings were built on the foundations of earlier, ancient structures. Decades ago, this is where the nightlife was bustling with discos and bars. Not so long ago, the Greek authorities decided to close the places of entertainment and make Plaka a quiet fashionable area and today it coexists with luxury jewelry stores, expensive boutiques and souvenir shops. The neighborhood with the Acropolis makes Plaka a true tourist Mecca, and walking through its narrow streets in the evening allows you to see the area transformed in the light of the mesmerizing illumination.
The place, popular among shopping lovers, is located in the neighborhood of Plaka and is called Monastiraki. It’s easy to find the market - it buzzes with activity at all hours of the day and night, but Sunday is considered the best day, when the rows are filled with art and antiques from private collections, jewelry, medals and other precious things. At other times, there are invariably small stores selling furs, board games, Byzantine icons, valuable figurines, and various souvenir paraphernalia. It is not difficult to guess that the name of the market itself comes from the word “monastery” and somewhere nearby there must be sacred historical sites. In the vicinity is indeed a temple, which was both a Catholic and an Orthodox church, and now these walls are equipped with a shopping space.
The Attica Zoo in Athens, located in the suburbs, has been recognized by the public since it opened in 2000. Originally, it was a large bird farm that housed about 350 species of birds. Later the park expanded, enclosures with cattle appeared - goats, pigs, sheep, horses, and another year later reptiles, African wildlife, primates and large representatives of the feline family were brought in. So the zoo grew to a huge area of 20 hectares, which is inhabited by about 2 thousand specimens of different animals. Today, in addition to the above-mentioned animals, you can find here a rare species of wild asses - Somali, as well as camels, deer, zebras, anteaters, lemurs, macaques and gibbons. There are even marine mammals - seals and dolphins. Guests of the zoo can relax in the cafe located here, and in the local shop you can buy a souvenir.
Official website: https://www.atticapark
The largest, well-equipped Flisvos Marina has been the city’s calling card for years. Today, it boasts three hundred state-of-the-art marinas, most of which are designed for large yachts over 30 meters in length. Located only 6 kilometers from the center, this place is very popular for leisurely walks along the coast and leisurely relaxation in the local restaurants and entertainment complexes. There are a number of stores, walking alleys, and parking for hundreds of cars. Flisvos harbor also serves as a starting point for travel to many historical sites, cultural sites and events, as it is the starting point for a variety of tourist transport. In addition, it is the starting point for travelers by sea, who set sail to explore the nearby Greek islands, of which there are thousands!