The cradle of Western civilization, boasting a rich history dating back over 3,000 years, Athens is home to iconic landmarks like the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon.
Athens is the city where democracy started. Over 2,500 years ago, people here began to rule themselves, shaping the world as we know it. When you visit, you’ll walk the very same streets where these big ideas first originated.
Beyond its historic marvels, Athens offers a vibrant culinary scene with mouthwatering Greek cuisine and innovative gastronomic experiences.
Things to Book Before You Leave Home
Few things are more frustrating on vacation than missing out on that amazing hotel or tour because it is sold out. Here are our top things to book before your vacation.
🔱 Most Popular Tours in Athens:
1. Athens Acropolis Skip the Line Tour -my top pick
2. Athens Acropolis and Musem Skip the Line Tour
3. Athens Street Food Tour -don’t eat breakfast before
🛏️Where to Stay in Athens:
1. AthensWas -stylish boutique hotel
2. The Stanley Hotel -great value with a rooftop bar and pool
The city is also a fantastic destination for boutique accommodation enthusiasts, from luxury suites overlooking the Acropolis to Athens hotels with pools, where you can relax after a day filled with sightseeing.
In this post, you’ll find the best things to do in Athens is, so that you can pack your trip with exciting activities!
Let’s dive in.
27 Best Things to Do in Athens Greece
Table of Contents
- 27 Best Things to Do in Athens Greece
- #1 Take A Food Tour
- #2 Have Your Dinner In The Sky
- #3 Marvel At The Ancient Monuments Of Acropolis
- #4 Learn About Ancient Greece At The Acropolis Museum
- #5 Get An Island Feel In Anafiotika
- #6 Shop For Souvenirs In Monastiraki
- #7 Pop into Hadrian’s Library
- #8 Have A Drink At A Rooftop Bar
- #9 Watch Changing Of The Guards
- #10 Climb Lycabettus Hill
- #11 Dine Al Fresco In Plaka
- #12 Watch A Movie At Cine Paris
- #13 Visit The Jewish Museum Of Greece
- #14 Take A Segway Tour
- #15 Have A Drink In Psyri
- #16 Eat A Pita Gyros
- #17 Visit The War Museum Of Athens
- #18 Relax At The National Gardens
- #19 Visit The Ancient Agora
- #20 Gorge On Leukomades
- #21 Visit Panathenaic Stadium
- #22 Explore The National Museum Of Contemporary Art
- #23 Check Out Athens Central Market
- #24 Chill On The Beach
- #25 Visit The Temple Of Poseidon
- #26 Take A Day Trip To Delphi
- #27 Take A Day Trip To Meteora
- Boutique Hotels in Athens
- Athens Attractions in Conclusion
Do you love trying out different cuisines on your travels? If so, then you should definitely go on a food tour in Athens! Sampling the local foods is the best way of getting to know a new place, and Athens, with its delicious Greek cuisine, couldn’t be a more perfect destination.
From koulóuria, the sesame bread rings that are a staple of Greek breakfasts, to pita gyros, the famous Greek wrap filled with veggies and meat, your taste buds will be treated to a culinary feast. Alongside the tastings, you’ll gain insights into the cultural significance of the foods and their place in Greek life.
#2 Have Your Dinner In The Sky
If you’re into fine dining, you should definitely try Dinner in the Sky Athens – the most unique dinner experience you can possibly have.
Dinner in the Sky is a seven-course meal accompanied by free-flowing wine. But what’s special about it? Well, the fact that the dinner table is suspended 40 meters in the air by a huge crane, and you are strapped securely to your seat.
But what really makes it special is the view. There’s nothing quite like seeing Athens from up high while tucking into a top-notch dinner. It was, hands down, the most fun activity I did in Athens!
You cannot visit Athens without visiting the Acropolis hill above the city, dominating its skyline.
The Acropolis is a symbol of the grandeur and sophistication of ancient Greek civilization, and it’s one of the world’s most important heritage sites. The structures on the Acropolis were built in the 5th century BC during the golden age of Athens under the leadership of Pericles. Amongst them, the most famous building is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the city’s patron – goddess Athena.
The Acropolis is super busy all year round, so arrive early for the best experience. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and protect yourself from the Mediterranean sun.
Don’t end your Acropolis adventure just yet! After the Acropolis, head over to the Acropolis Museum, located next door.
This museum is home to countless treasures unearthed from the Acropolis site. You’ll journey through history, seeing sculptures, artifacts, and even a full-scale Parthenon model. The glass floor reveals excavations beneath, making it feel like you’re walking directly over history.
Don’t forget to grab a coffee at the museum terrace with clear views of the Acropolis.
#5 Get An Island Feel In Anafiotika
Anafiotika is a hidden gem nestled at the northern slope of the Acropolis. This charming little residential neighborhood is part of the historic area known as Plaka, and it’s one of the most picturesque places to visit in Athens!
The neighborhood is renowned for its white-washed houses that seem to transport you straight to a Cycladic island, a feel further enhanced by the tiny, curved alleys that snake their way through the area.
Visit Anafiotika after the Acropolis and have lunch in one of its picturesque cafes!
#6 Shop For Souvenirs In Monastiraki
Monastiraki is a vibrant neighborhood in the center of Athens, known for its bustling flea market and eclectic mix of shops. This lively area is a treasure trove for those seeking unique souvenirs, from handmade crafts and typical Greek products to local food such as spices and hand-made soaps.
The alleys around Monastiraki Square are packed with street stalls, designer boutiques, and jewelry stores, making it a paradise for shoppers. So, if you’re looking for a Greek souvenir from your trip or a special gift, Monastiraki is the place to go.
#7 Pop into Hadrian’s Library
Nestled between Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis, this historic site was constructed by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 132. It’s not just a library; the complex also includes ruins of music and lecture rooms, showcasing the intellectual pursuits of its era.
Though in ruins now, the structure still carries the grandeur of the past, and despite being located in the heart of the bustling city, it provides a tranquil space for history enthusiasts.
You might enjoy reading some of my other articles about Greece:
–Movies Set In Greece
–7 Day Greece Itinerary
–10 Day Greece Itinerary
–Things to do in Thessaloniki
–Facts about Greece
#8 Have A Drink At A Rooftop Bar
Grab a drink at A for Athens, a cool rooftop bar near Monastiraki Square. It’s a great spot to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
You can sit back, enjoy your favourite cocktail, and enjoy the stunning view of the Acropolis and the bustling plaza below. The vibe here is relaxed and friendly, making it an ideal place to chill out and soak in the city’s atmosphere. But, if you’re a part of a larger group, book a table in advance, as this place tends to be very popular.
#9 Watch Changing Of The Guards
Watching the changing of the guards is one of the essential things to do in Athens, no matter how long your trip is. The spectacle occurs every hour on the dot at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located off Syntagma Square below the Hellenic Parliament, and provides a small glimpse into Greek culture and heritage.
The guards, known as Evzones, are dressed in traditional uniforms, complete with pleated kilts, pom-pom shoes, and tasseled fezzes, representing different historical periods.
#10 Climb Lycabettus Hill
Are you looking for the best viewpoint and a place to come for sunset in Athens? Lycabettus Hill, located in the upmarket neighborhood of Kolonaki, is the place to be.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can hike to the top in about half an hour or, if you’d rather save your energy, take the funicular.
Once you’re at the top, there’s this cute little chapel painted white and blue and a bar where you can grab a drink and chill out.
You also get an incredible 360-degree view of Athens and all its landmarks from the top of the hill. And as the sun goes down and the city lights start to twinkle, the view here is truly magical.
#11 Dine Al Fresco In Plaka
After a busy day exploring, head to Plaka for dinner. This historic neighborhood is right at the bottom of the Acropolis and boasts great views, especially when the monument is lit at night.
Plaka is a lively area filled with shops and Greek tavernas, such as Taverna Saita, giving you a taste of local cuisine. And there’s often live music around, which adds to the whole vibe.
#12 Watch A Movie At Cine Paris
If you want a unique experience in Athens at night, don’t miss watching a movie at Cine Paris. Nestled in the heart of the charming Plaka neighborhood, this rooftop garden cinema is a gem. It’s not just about the films here, but also about the atmosphere.
So grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show with the Acropolis as your backdrop. It’s one of the best things to do in this vibrant city at night.
#13 Visit The Jewish Museum Of Greece
Looking for a deep dive into history while in Athens? Visit The Jewish Museum of Greece. This compact yet captivating three-story exhibition offers a wealth of knowledge about the Grecian Jewish community, spanning thousands of years.
You’ll be intrigued by the diverse traditions of Romaniote and Sephardi Jews and the everyday life artifacts that tell their stories. The museum’s modern design beautifully showcases this rich history, from fascinating tales of pre and post-Holocaust times to a reconstructed sanctuary.
If you’re short on time and are up for a unique way to see the city, take a segway tour of Athens. Exploring Athens on foot can be super tiring, but using a segway as a mode of transport can make sightseeing more effortless.
Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden a Segway before. They’re pretty easy to handle, and they make getting around Athens a fun experience. In just a few hours, you’ll see iconic spots like the Acropolis and Plaka district and learn interesting facts from the tour leader.
#15 Have A Drink In Psyri
Visiting the hipster neighborhood of Psiri is one of the top things to do in Athens, and there’s no better way to spend an evening in this area than with a drink or two!
As you explore the colorful alleys of Psiri, you’ll find many bars and tavernas, each with its own character. The atmosphere in most of these places is laid-back and friendly, making it a great spot to hang out and experience the authentic local culture.
One of my favourite spots in Psyri is the Frogs Bar, where you can sample some of the fantastic local craft beer.
#16 Eat A Pita Gyros
When you’re in Athens, ensure you have pita gyros at least once! It’s a pocket-sized sandwich wrap filled with meat, falafel, or halloumi (for vegetarians), tzatziki, and fresh veggies, and it’s one of the most popular street foods here.
You can find pita gyros just about everywhere in Athens. I recommend Tylixto near Monastiraki Square, where I returned several times during my stay in Athens, and each time, the gyros were super delicious!
#17 Visit The War Museum Of Athens
The War Museum of Athens near Plaka is a must-visit if military history piques your interest. This museum takes you on a journey from the battles of ancient Greeks through the world wars and into more recent conflicts.
Outside, you’ll find an armoured military vehicle, four Hellenic Air Force jets, and two missiles. Allocate at least two hours to appreciate the depth and detail of the displays fully. And for just €6 per adult, it’s excellent value.
#18 Relax At The National Gardens
Commissioned by the first queen of Greece – Queen Amalia, the National Gardens are a peaceful oasis right in the middle of the busy city. The gardens cover 16 hectares of land, and here you can find hundreds of different species of plants.
The gardens are located behind Syntagma Square. Don’t miss out on a small pond home to a colony of adorable turtles when visiting.
#19 Visit The Ancient Agora
Ancient Agora of Athens is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It was the centre of political, public and social life in ancient Athens, and it’s also where Socrates would teach his pupils each day.
You’ll find ruins from several landmarks at the site, including the Temple to Hephaestus, a 5th-century Stoa, a Byzantine church, and a few ancient wells. Unlike the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora is not as popular, so you can visit it anytime.
#20 Gorge On Leukomades
Don’t leave Athens without trying the famous Greek doughnuts – loukoumades. This classic sweet treat is made of fried dough covered in honey and sprinkled with nuts, sometimes cinnamon or chocolate.
And the best place to eat them is at the historic dessert shop – Krinos located in Psiri, which has been making them since 1923.
#21 Visit Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is considered one of the oldest stadiums in the world, with a history dating back to the 4th century BCE.
It has an impressive size that can accommodate fifty thousand spectators, and it’s the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble.
The stadium hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and today, it still hosts various running events, such as the Athens Classic Marathon. You can either visit the stadium independently or take a guided tour if you’d like to learn more about its history.
#22 Explore The National Museum Of Contemporary Art
Immerse yourself in a world of creativity at The National Museum of Contemporary Art. Housed in a revamped brewery, this museum is filled with extraordinary art from across the globe. You’ll find everything from thought-provoking paintings to video installations. And with ever-changing exhibits, there’s always something new to stir your imagination.
One of my favorite parts? The detailed descriptions next to each piece offer a glimpse into the artist’s vision.
After exploring the museum, treat yourself to a break at the rooftop cafe. Trust me, the sweeping views of Athens are just as captivating as the art!
#23 Check Out Athens Central Market
If you want a unique shopping experience, head to the Athens Central Market. This bustling market is packed with stalls overflowing with fresh produce, spices, and ingredients – it’s an absolute paradise for foodies!
From cheeses to olives to grains to fruits and veggies, the array of colors and variety here will make your head spin! And the best part? You can sample and taste everything before you buy – make sure to bring enough cash.
For a real treat, walk around with an iced frappe in your hand and take in the sights and sounds of Athens!
#24 Chill On The Beach
If you’re staying in Athens a little longer and have a spare day, visit one of the nearby beaches. My personal favorite is the Sounion Beach, located just a 30-minute drive from the city. Spend some relaxing time on the beach and then visit the magnificent Temple of Poseidon located nearby.
You can rent a car or, if you prefer a hassle-free day trip, book an organised tour.
#25 Visit The Temple Of Poseidon
As mentioned above, the Temple of Poseidon is another must-visit site while in Athens. Located on top of a rocky cliff 65 meters above sea level at Sounion Cape, the temple was built in the 5th century BCE and dedicated to Poseidon, God of the Sea, according to Greek mythology.
You’ll get an awe-inspiring view of the Aegean Sea and the nearby Saronic Gulf from here. It’s a breathtaking spot to watch the sunset!
If you’re into ancient Greek ruins and history, visit Delphi, located approximately two hours from Athens.
Did you know that ancient Greeks believed Delphi to be the center of the world? For over a thousand years, people traveled there to get advice from Pythia, the priestess of the god Apollo. The ruins of Delphi are located on a mountain slope and offer great views of the valley below. There’s also a museum on-site, which houses a lot of ancient artifacts from the temple.
Despite its remote location, visiting Meteora monasteries is one of the most popular day trips from Athens.
Meteora is a truly unique place in Greece, home to an extraordinary group of historic monasteries perched atop towering rock formations.
There are six monasteries that you can visit today: The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, Holy Monastery of Varlaam, Holy Monastery of Rousanou, Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas, St. Stephen Monastery, and St. Nicholas Anapausas Monastery. Each monastery has its own charm and offers different views of the stunning surroundings.
Whether you’re religious or not, visiting Meteora is a memorable experience.
Boutique Hotels in Athens
Stay close to the Acropolis in the very stylish AthensWas boutique hotel. The AthensWas boutique hotel has fantastic views of the Acropolis (ask for a room on one of the higher floors) – particularly from the terrace – and it is in an excellent neighborhood with loads of great restaurants and shops.
If you love fantastic interiors, then check out the New Hotel. And this Athens boutique hotel has a spa complete with a hammam, jacuzzi, and treatment room. Even the standard rooms are large at 20 to 23 square meters and they have a pillow menu.
The Stanley Hotel has a fantastic location next to Metaxourgeio Station, making it easy to get everywhere in Athens. They also have a great rooftop pool and bar with views of the Acropolis. The rooms are a little on the small side, but you won’t spend much time in them with that view on the rooftop.
Athens Attractions in Conclusion
Athens, Greece, stands as a testament to millennia of history, offering visitors a rich tapestry of ancient ruins, vibrant neighborhoods, and world-class museums. From marveling at the iconic Acropolis to wandering the bustling streets of Plaka, the city presents a unique blend of the past and present, providing travelers with an experience that transcends time.
A journey to Athens promises not just sights, but a deep connection to the roots of Western civilization.
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This guest post was written by Mal. Mal is a travel blogger and owner of RawMalRoams and WhereToStayBali. She divides her time between living in Bali and exploring the world. Apart from traveling, she is also an avid surfer and passionate photographer.