What to see in Athens: 10 Things to do and itineraries from 1 3 5 days

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Athens is there cradle of Mediterranean civilization: art, philosophy, history, but above all politics and democracy were born and developed in the capital of Greece. Unfortunately, the recent events of this great nation are known, especially its economic and financial difficulties, to which experts have referred to speak of the decline of Western civilization. Could it all have an end where it all started? We cannot be sure, but we are sure that Athens conveys the "weight of history" to anyone who visits it. It's a city that offers a lot, either at an archaeological level, both in terms of the sea, entertainment and good food.

So here are our tips on 10 things to see absolutely at the Greek capital.


  1. The Acropolis
  2. The Acropolis Museum
  3. The Temple of Olympian Zeus
  4. Plaka neighborhood
  5. Syntagma square
  6. The Agora
  7. Monastiraki
  8. National archeologic museum
  9. Byzantine and Christian Museum
  10. Piraeus (port of Athens)
  11. 5 things to do in Athens
  12. User questions and comments

1 - The Acropolis

Keep a full day at your disposal to visit the Acropolis of Athens, a Unesco heritage site and one of the symbols of the city. It is a fortress 156 meters above sea level which, with breathtaking beauty, overlooks Athens. At the Acropolis you can visit archaeological remains dating back to the period between the second and fifth centuries BC. Among the unmissable buildings it is possible to mention the Parthenon, the temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Propylaea, the theater of Dionysus. Given the elevated position, it is also possible to enjoy a 360 ° panoramic view of the whole city.

  • Metro line 2, Acropoli stop - Get directions
  • open every day from 8:00 to 18:30, usually extended in summer and on full moon nights
  • The entrance ticket costs € 12,00, with the same ticket you can visit the Agora, the Theater of Dionysus, the Ceramics, the Roman Agora and the Temple of Zeus. The Acropolis museum is not included (the ticket costs € 10,00)

Don't give up on a guided tour: given the importance of the site, it would be a shame to visit it independently, unless you are an expert in Greek history. But to fully appreciate its beauty and importance, you cannot give up on a guided tour. Several options are available, we recommend the priority entrance to the Acropolis with a guided tour or the combined Acropolis + historic center tour.

2 - The Acropolis Museum

If you haven't had enough while visiting the Acropolis, you can choose to also include a tour of the Museum. All the material collected during the excavations has been cataloged and is now on display at this permanent exhibition. The visit will allow you to understand more deeply the history of the various finds, as well as that of the territory, where domination and more or less propitious eras have followed one another. The structure is modern and futuristic, with really interesting videos and multimedia contents.

There are different solutions to visit the Museum, from the simple entrance ticket with priority access to the combined Acropolis + Museum ticket.

  • 28is Oktovriou 44, Metro lines 1 or 2, Omonia stop - Get directions
  • open every day from 8: 00 to 20: 00
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

3 - The Temple of Olympian Zeus

As evidence of the great archaeological wealth of the city, you can meet the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the heart of Athens, about 500 meters from the Acropolis, near Syntagma square and in the Plaka district. Unfortunately, these are only a few remains of what was once a majestic temple dedicated to the father of all gods, but it remains nonetheless the largest in all of Greece.

The Temple can be visited by paying the single ticket, however it is much better to buy the cumulative ticket which includes the whole Acropolis area.

  • corner between Amalias and Vasilissi Olgas, Metro line 2 or 3, Syntagma stop - Get directions
  • open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 to 15:00
  • admission € 3,00, or you can purchase the cumulative ticket in combination with the Acropolis

See the city from above: the skyline of Athens is one of the most spectacular in the world, thanks to temples and ancient buildings that emerge among the houses. There are several places where you can admire the city from above: A for Athens Cocktail Bar offers a spectacular view of the Acropolis, another excellent alternative is the Roof garden by Ziller. Finally, we also mention the Galaxy Bar of the Hilton Hotel, although generally more crowded than the other two.

4 - Plaka neighborhood

It is a very popular district with tourists since one of the oldest and most characteristic of Athens. Almost completely closed to traffic, it is located near the Acropolis and Syntagma Square. Here you will find a great offer of bars, restaurants and taverns, but also souvenir shops where you can get lost in search of the perfect souvenir. Of course, food is also king, but it is often possible to combine lunch or dinner with live music.

  • Metro line 2 or 3, Syntagma stop - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free, free visit

Traditional music in Athens: one of the most unique experiences you can try in Athens is to have dinner in a typical tavern and then attend a live music show by Rembetika (Greek blues). Psyri is a centrally located neighborhood, one of the liveliest in Athens. It is one of the richest areas of typical inns where you can eat well and attend Rembetika concerts. Recommended places include To Souvlaki Stou Psyiri, Oinopoleion or Taverna Tou Psyri

5 - Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) is the center of modern Athens and it is here that the Parliament Building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are located. Just in front of the Unknown Soldier takes place the changing of the guard by the Greek guards, the Euzoni, dressed in the particular uniform characterized by the fustanella (kilt) and the slippers with the iconic pom poms. It is a particularly characteristic experience that we suggest you do not miss.

The square is one of the focal points of the center of Athens.

  • Metro line 2 or 3, Syntagma stop - Get directions
  • square that can always be visited. The Changing of the Guard takes place every hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Free, free visit

Changing of the Guard with great fanfare: as already mentioned, the changing of the guard takes place every day, however on Sundays around 10:00 a special ceremony takes place which includes parade dresses and military band. If you have the opportunity, we recommend that you visit the square on this occasion.

6 - The Agora

It is located at the foot of the Acropolis and is an area of ​​approximately 12 hectares. In antiquity he played the role of political, administrative and social theater of the city and it is here that the death sentence of the famous philosopher Socrates was decreed. After a period of decline it was definitively recovered thanks to serious restoration work on the monuments present (including the Temple of Hephaestus) in the s. The works were partly financed and organized from the American Institute of Classical Studies, to which the Rockefeller family also contributed. Also for the Agora it is worth buying a tour with an expert local guide and priority entrance.

  • Metro lines 1 and 3, Monastiraki stop - Get directions
  • open every day from 8:00 to 18:00 during the winter period, from 8:00 to 19:00 in summer
  • the ticket for the Agora alone costs € 4,00, or you can buy the cumulative ticket in combination with the Acropolis

7 - Monastiraki

The neighborhood bordering Plaka is Monastiraki, where the famous is located flea market. Unlike the neighboring district, this one has a more popular character, especially during the weekends, when numerous stalls are set up. In the Monastiraki district there are also the two cathedrals, the small Mikri Metropoli and the large Megali Metropoli. As evidence of the coexistence of various cultures there is also the Tzistarakis mosque, evidence of Ottoman rule both in Athens and in the rest of the country.
Finally, Monastiraki square is also home to the Hadrian's Library, an archaic temple built in the Corinthian style.

The neighborhood is included in the interesting guided tour of Athens markets and ruins, which we recommend to all those who intend to admire the topical places of Athens by getting in touch with the popular tradition of the city.

  • Metro lines 1 and 3, Monastiraki stop - Get directions
  • Always visitable
  • Free, free visit

8 - National Archaeological Museum

In a land rich in historical testimonies like Greece, a great National Archaeological Museum could not be missing. In addition to being the largest museum in all of Greece, it is also one of the most important in the world. Inside there are sculptures, statues and vases with other finds belonging to the period of time between the Mycenaean and Roman empires. Don't miss the sumptuous funeral mask of Agamemnon, the bronze of Poseidon and the head of Zeus.

  • 28is Oktovriou 44, Metro line 1, Victoria stop - Get directions
  • open every day from 8:00 to 20:00, closed on December 25th and 26th, January 1st, March 25th, Orthodox Easter Sunday and May 1st.
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

9 - Byzantine and Christian Museum

In this museum there are over 3.000 relics dating back to a period of time between the rd and th centuries. Visiting it it is possible to admire valuable icons, frescoes, finely illuminated manuscripts, ceramics and fabrics, but also paintings and mosaics. It is one of the most important Byzantine art collections on the planet.

In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also offers two grandiose reconstructions of ancient churches, specifically a Christian basilica from the th century and a Byzantine church from the th century.

  • Leoforos Vasilissis Sofias 22, Metro line 3, Evangelismos stop - Get directions
  • open every day from 8: 00 to 20: 00
  • full € 4,00, reduced € 2,00

10 - Piraeus (port of Athens)

It is a great harbor that welcomes cruise ships but also commercial cargo from ports all over Europe. This is the largest port on the continent by number of passengers and a visit is recommended especially if you land in Greece by sea.

The Port can be visited on board a tourist bus, it is in fact one of the stops on the hop on hop off bus which also includes the main areas of the city center and the Riviera.

  • Metro line 1, Piraeus stop - Get directions
  • Always visitable
  • Free, free visit

Piraeus "strategic port": Piraeus is one of the best things in Athens! It is a strategic hub for all major ferry lines leading to the Aegean islands. With a short crossing (sometimes even less than an hour) you can reach dozens of islands, including the Saronic Islands, for a complete holiday capable of combining history, culture and relaxation by the sea.

5 things to do in Athens

  1. Cruise to the Saronic Islands: Greece is synonymous with the sea, so don't miss a beautiful 1 day cruise to the islands of Agistri, Moni and Aegina departing from Athens
  2. Tour to Meteora: take some of your time for a memorable 2-day excursion to Meteora, where you can admire the 6 monasteries perched on the giant rocks
  3. Visit to the Temple of Poseidon with Sunset at Cape Sounion: it is a fantastic organized tour including transport, visit to the temple and sunset excursion to Cape Sounion beach.
  4. Excursion to the surroundings among natural wonders: from Mount Lycabettus to Lake Vouliagmeni, without forgetting the Pentelikon Waterfall
  5. Take a photo at the Dromeas: also known as "runner" is a glass and iron sculpture about 9 meters high located in a small square on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, near the Hilton Hotel

Plan your stay in Athens

Residences, even mid-range hotels and hostels are easy to find in Athens. The solutions for the living room are comfortable and economical, the simple but clean accommodations, a little more modest than Italian standards. To find an accommodation with the minimum services it is recommended to choose at least a 3 star hotel, possibly in the neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Plaka, or around Omonia and Syntagma square.

  • starting from € 43,98 - compare flights
  • Hotel and b & b from € 37,00 per night -

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