25 Best Things To Do In Athens 2024

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Embark on a journey through Europe’s vibrant past and savory culinary delights as you explore Athens, Greece—the continent’s most captivating city. Discover an array of exciting activities and experiences awaiting curious travelers in this historic metropolis!

 Athens, the esteemed capital of Greece, pays homage to the goddess Athena. Revered as the ‘birthplace of democracy’ and the ‘Cradle of Civilization,’ this city was also renowned as the site of the Platonic Academy and the Lyceum of Aristotle.

Boasting a rich history spanning 3400 years, Athens (also known as Athenai) beckons with its plethora of archaeological treasures.

Encompassing temples, ancient remnants, and divine sculptures, Athens seamlessly blends modern edifices with age-old architectural wonders.

Beyond its renowned history and architectural splendors, Athens harbors a trove of hidden gems and offbeat activities often overlooked by visitors.

For those contemplating a sojourn in Athens, allow me to suggest a selection of my cherished unconventional experiences, ensuring memorable adventures regardless of the season of your visit.

Best Things To Do In Athens Guide

1: The Acropolis

The Acropolis

Embarking on a journey to Greece without ascending to the Acropolis would be incomplete. Serving as a paramount destination in Athens and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this fortified citadel, majestically situated atop a hill overlooking the city, stands as an enduring symbol of Greek ingenuity and heritage.

The Acropolis is home to a myriad of ancient ruins, including the renowned Parthenon temple, a tribute to the Greek goddess Athena.

To optimize your visit to the Acropolis while economizing, consider acquiring the Acropolis Combo Ticket, granting entry to various Greek ruins across the city for a period of 5 days.

Allocate at least a few hours, if not a half-day, for exploring the Acropolis hill. With its abundance of sights, extensive staircases, and weathered, slippery rocks, be prepared for an invigorating workout!

2: The Parthenon

The Parthenon

Within the Acropolis complex, the Parthenon merits special recognition. Erected in 447 BCE upon the Acropolis hill, its Doric marble columns tapering towards the apex exemplify the architectural brilliance of ancient Greece.

Honoring the goddess Athena, the Parthenon ruins stand as an essential daytime destination in Athens, while their illuminated columns present a striking spectacle when viewed from afar at night.

Due to potential crowding, I suggest an early morning visit, right upon the opening of the Acropolis, or during the final hours before closing, to fully appreciate this historic site.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

3: Odeon Of Herodes Atticus

Odeon Of Herodes Atticus

Nestled on the southwestern slope of the Acropolis in Athens, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an ancient theater with a storied past, having hosted performances by luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Nana Mouskouri, Pavarotti, and Andrea Bocelli.

Constructed by Herodes Atticus in 161 AD as a tribute to his late wife, this steep-sloped amphitheater once boasted a cedar roof and accommodated up to 5000 spectators for musical concerts until its destruction in 267 AD.

Following its restoration in the 1950s, the Odeon has served as a revered venue for numerous acclaimed concerts. If your travels coincide with a performance here, I wholeheartedly recommend attending for an unforgettable experience!

4: Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum

Established to showcase ancient artifacts from the Acropolis ruins, the Acropolis Museum, situated on the southern slopes of the Acropolis, commenced operations in 2009. A mere 400 meters from the Parthenon, a trip to this museum conveniently complements a visit to the Acropolis.

Housing a collection of over 4250 objects, the museum supplants its predecessor, which occupied the Acropolis summit from 1874 until the 1950s. A highlight of the museum experience is the subterranean level, offering a glimpse into the excavation site of an ancient Athenian neighborhood, replete with streets, houses, and shops dating back to 3000 B.C.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

5: Ancient Agora & Temple Of Hephaestus

Ancient Agora & Temple Of Hephaestus

In ancient Greek cities, the Agora served as the central square—a bustling hub where citizens convened to engage in political discourse, celebrate marriages, and participate in religious ceremonies. Over time, it evolved into a vibrant marketplace, offering goods, food, pottery, and religious relics.

Adjacent to the Athenian Agora stands the remarkably well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus, a Doric structure constructed between 449 and 415 BC under the patronage of Pericles. Dedicated to Hephaestus, the deity associated with craftsmanship, fire, and metalwork, this temple stands as a testament to ancient Greek architecture.

Another notable site nearby is the Stoa, which houses the Museum of Ancient Agora. This museum showcases a diverse array of artifacts spanning Athenian, Byzantine, and Turkish history, offering visitors a comprehensive glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.

6: The Roman Agora

The Roman Agora

Situated eastward of the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora was erected at a later period, encroaching upon the grounds of its predecessor. Access to this site was traditionally granted through the well-preserved Gate of Athena Archegetis, which still stands today. At the northern edge of the agora lies the 17th-century Fethiye Mosque.

Within the agora stands the impressive Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes, commonly known as the Tower of the Winds. Rising 12 meters tall, this structure is believed to have served as one of the earliest meteorological stations globally. Referred to as Areides, the tower boasts a water clock, various sundials, and historically featured a Triton weather vane.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

7: Varvakios Central Market

Varvakios Central Market

The Varvakios Central Market in Athens, also known as the Varvakios Agora or Dimotiki Agora, distinguishes itself from the Central market where food trucks gather. For enthusiasts of public markets, this vibrant hub offers a plethora of delights, including fresh fish, meat, produce, street food, souvenirs, and specialty stores dedicated to olives or spices.

Renowned for its diverse selection, affordability, and quality, this market is a preferred source of ingredients for many local restaurants. The bustling fish market alone caters to up to 5,000 customers daily and sustains employment for over 400 individuals!

8: Run Around The Panathenaic Stadium

Run Around The Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium was erected for the inaugural modern Olympic Games in 1896, occupying the same grounds as an ancient stadium where athletes once competed in track events in the nude.

While the ancient stadium, constructed in 335 BC, boasted a capacity of 60,000 spectators, the present-day Olympic Stadium accommodates 45,000 spectators across 47 tiers.

We gleefully circled the track with our son Dylan, imagining ourselves as Olympic contenders. For a panoramic view of its grandeur, visitors can ascend to the stadium’s summit, and there’s even a tri-level medal podium where one can capture memorable photographs.

Inside the stadium, a small museum delves into Olympic history, showcasing torches from past games and providing insights into the event’s evolution.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

9: Explore The Plaka Neighborhood

Explore The Plaka Neighborhood

Adorned with charmingly painted historic homes, the Plaka district of Athens beckons with cozy taverns offering authentic Greek cuisine. Meander through its labyrinthine alleys, where you can explore cultural gems like the Library of Hadrian and the Kapnikaréa Church, or indulge in some retail therapy along the bustling Ermou Street.

Venture into the adjacent Anafiotika quarter for picturesque photo opportunities or unwind with a refreshing drink amidst the vibrant ambiance of the renowned Restaurant Staircase on Mnisikleous Street.

10: National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum

Established in the 19th century, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens stands as Greece’s largest archaeological repository. Housed within a Neo-classical edifice crafted by L. Lange, the museum boasts an impressive collection of over 11,000 artifacts spanning five permanent exhibitions.

From prehistoric antiquities originating from Mycenaean, Neolithic, and Cycladic regions to Greek ceramics dating back to the 11th century BC, as well as Egyptian relics dating back to 5000 BC, marble Cycladic figurines, and gold artifacts from the Mycenaean era, the museum offers a captivating journey through ancient civilizations.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

11: Hike Mount Lycabettus

Hike Mount Lycabettus

Dominating the Athenian skyline, the cretaceous limestone hill known as Lykavittos or Mount Lycabettus ascends 300 meters above sea level. Cloaked in pine trees, the hill offers an ideal setting for a leisurely hike to its summit, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas of Athens.

For those preferring a more relaxed ascent, the Lycabettus Funicular provides a convenient ride to the top, where visitors can explore the Chapel of St. George before unwinding at the nearby restaurant while soaking in the stunning views.

12: Athens Stray Cat Spotting

Athens Stray Cat Spotting

Similar to Istanbul in Turkey, Athens is teeming with stray cats. Embraced by local shop owners and residents who offer food and water, these feline denizens roam the city freely.

As avid cat enthusiasts, we found this abundance of strays to be a delightful surprise! Throughout our exploration of the city, we kept a keen eye out for these furry friends and even carried dry cat food to share with them.

A notable hotspot for encountering stray cats is the vicinity surrounding the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in the Plaka neighborhood.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

13: Hadrian’s Arch

Hadrian’s Arch

Hadrian’s Arch stands as a magnificent edifice situated along one of Athens’ primary thoroughfares. Erected in 131 BC, the arch commemorates the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and expresses gratitude for his contributions to the city.

Resplendent with Roman-style architectural motifs, the arch is conveniently located within walking distance from Syntagma Square, nestled between the towering rock of the Acropolis and the grandeur of the temple of Olympian Zeus.

14: Hike Up Philopappou Hill

Hike Up Philopappou Hill

Designated as an archaeological park in 1955-56, the sprawling 173-acre Philopappou Hill (also known as Filopappou Hill) serves as a sanctuary for indigenous avian species such as the Athenian owl and peregrine falcon. Renowned for its panoramic vistas of Athens, the hill’s elevated vantage point offers unparalleled perspectives of the city, perhaps explaining its allure to the avian inhabitants.

Within the park’s expanse lie notable landmarks including the Hill of the Nymphs, the Pnyx, and the Mouseion Hill (also referred to as the Hill of the Muses), which houses the Philopappou Mausoleum or Monument.

The Philopappou Mausoleum stands as a tribute to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince of the Kingdom of Commagene who lived from 65 to 116 AD. His passing elicited profound sorrow among the citizens of Athens and the imperial family, cementing his legacy within the hearts of the populace.

Tucked away within a wooded enclave of the park lies the 12th-century Church of Demetrius Loumbardiaris, offering a tranquil retreat for those seeking a peaceful and contemplative visit.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

15: Temple Of Olympian Zeus

Temple Of Olympian Zeus

The partially ruined Temple of Olympian Zeus is conveniently situated within walking distance from the heart of Athens. At its zenith, the temple boasted an impressive array of 104 columns, each towering to a height of 17 meters.

However, in 267 AD, the temple suffered extensive damage during an assault on Athens. Subsequently, the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II banned the worship of ancient Greek and Roman deities within its sacred confines. Over time, citizens dismantled the temple’s exquisite marble for the construction of churches, residences, and various other edifices.

16: Panagia Kapnikarea Church

Panagia Kapnikarea Church

As one of Athens’ most ancient churches, the Panagia Kapnikarea Church stands as a Byzantine gem. Constructed in the 11th century atop the remnants of a Greek temple, this revered sanctuary, nestled on Ermou Street near Monastiraki, is dedicated to the assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Radiating a serene ambiance, the church is adorned with mosaic-covered walls and adorned with religious artworks, illuminated by lamps that lend an intimate glow, evoking a sense of timeless spirituality.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

17: Stuff Yourself With Greek Food

Stuff Yourself With Greek Food

If you were to seek recommendations from locals for the finest dining spots in Athens, you’d likely receive a plethora of diverse suggestions. The city boasts an abundance of exceptional tavernas and eateries, each with its own unique charm and culinary delights.

Be sure to explore the culinary offerings along the Mnisikleous Restaurant Staircase, or venture into the lively tavernas scattered throughout the charming neighborhoods of Plaka or Psiri Quarter. For a satisfying lunch experience, consider dining at Old Ithaki, a delightful spot adjacent to the Athens Cathedral that we frequented during our visits.

For those craving a luxurious dining experience with a captivating city view, the rooftop bar at the Grand Bretagne Hotel is an excellent choice. Indulge in a refreshing cocktail while basking in the breathtaking sunset over the enchanting city of Athens.

18: Museum Of Cycladic Art

Founded in 1986 by ship owner Nikolas Goulandris and his wife Dolly Goulandris, the Museum of Cycladic Art is situated in the Kolonaki Quarter.

This distinguished institution showcases a rich collection of over 3000 art pieces originating from the Cyclades, as well as Ancient Greek and Cypriot art. Predominantly sourced from Nikolas’ personal collection, these artifacts predominantly date back to the 4th to 6th century BC.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

19: Monastiraki Square & Flea Market

Monastiraki Square & Flea Market

Nestled on the northern periphery of the Acropolis, this 19th-century neighborhood pulsates with vibrant commerce. Street vendors and quaint shops offer an array of trinkets, souvenirs, clothing, and specialty items, catering to the influx of tourists. When in need of respite, numerous casual eateries provide savory bites to recharge.

Adjacent to several renowned landmarks, Monastiraki Flea Market, located in Monastiraki Square, serves as an idyllic destination for souvenir shopping, featuring handmade footwear and artisanal products.

For a refreshing perspective of the bustling square and the city beyond, ascend to the rooftop bar A For Athens. Here, indulge in a tantalizing cocktail while soaking in the panoramic vista from above.

20: Explore Athens’ Psiri Quarter

Explore Athens’ Psiri Quarter

The Psiri Quarter (also spelled Psyrri or Psirri) stands out as a vibrant and artistic enclave in Athens, boasting a lively nightlife scene. Here, you’ll encounter a plethora of restaurants, bars, cafes, tavernas, and vibrant street art. As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Psiri was once notorious for its crime, but has undergone significant gentrification in recent years.

A must-visit spot in Psiri is the enchanting Little Kook Magic Cafe. This whimsical coffee and cake establishment is adorned with decorations straight out of a children’s fairy tale book, featuring a delightful array of animals, storybook characters, colorful flowers, dragons, fairies, and an umbrella-covered side street—a picture-perfect location for your Instagram feed!

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

21: Sunset On Areopagus Hill

Sunset On Areopagus Hill

Areopagus Hill, also referred to as “Mars Hill,” is a prominent rocky outcrop situated near the entrance of the Acropolis. Ascend the stairs to its summit for breathtaking views of the Acropolis from a unique vantage point, along with panoramic vistas of Athens itself.

In antiquity, this hill served as a gathering spot for philosophical and legal discussions, and notably hosted a famous speech by St. Paul the Apostle. Sunset draws visitors seeking to bask in the serene ambiance and captivating scenery atop this historic site.

22: The Prison Of Socrates

The Prison Of Socrates

A cavernous structure carved into the Hill of Muses has long been speculated to have served as the prison where the ancient philosopher Socrates was held prior to his execution, although this remains uncertain.

The teachings of Socrates were deemed subversive in Athens, believed to contribute to a decline in moral values across Greece. The fledgling Athenian democracy feared that citizens would flout established laws and neglect their civic responsibilities, potentially destabilizing the political order.

Consequently, Socrates was incarcerated and ultimately sentenced to death by poison hemlock in 399 BC. Additionally, during World War II, this structure was utilized as a hiding place for antiquities from the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

23: Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens

Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens holds a prestigious status as the primary church of the city. It was built using materials salvaged from over 70 abandoned or dilapidated churches. Inside, visitors can admire remarkable frescoes, icons, and a towering 24-meter-high dome.

Adjacent to the grand cathedral stands a smaller counterpart, the Church of St. Eleftherios, affectionately known as the “Little Mitropoli.” Dating back to the 12th century and dedicated to Agios Eleftherios, this charming church is adorned with 90 relief scenes, adding to its historical and artistic allure.

24: Changing Of The Guard

Changing Of The Guard

Honoring the memory of Greece’s fallen soldiers from past wars, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is situated prominently in front of the Greek Parliament Building. Every hour, visitors can witness the solemn changing of the presidential honor guard.

This revered site draws a sizable crowd as it offers a free and deeply meaningful experience in Athens. The Tomb, referred to as a cenotaph, remains empty by Ancient Greek tradition.

On Sundays at 11 am, a truly remarkable ceremony unfolds, featuring a gathering of Evzones (presidential guards) in front of the Parliament, showcasing a display of honor and reverence on a grand scale.

“If you’re eager to plan this incredible tour, give us a call at +91 981-150-2655 to discuss your dream adventure: Talk to us!” 

25: Hadrian’s Library

Hadrian’s Library

Hadrian’s Library served as more than just a repository of books; it encompassed music and lecture halls as well. Designed akin to a conventional Roman forum, it featured a central courtyard adorned with a pool and surrounded by a grand total of 100 columns.

During Roman times, this structure served as the focal point of civic life in Athens, while the nearby Roman Agora functioned as the principal marketplace. Despite his reign as Roman emperor from 117 to 138, Hadrian held a deep affection for the city of Athens, leading him to undertake ambitious projects such as the construction of this renowned library.

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