Visiting the capital is probably on every itinerary while traveling in Greece. It is a big and busy city. It has its own atmosphere and many great places to see.
Here, we tell you about our top 8 things to do and see in Athens.
1. The Acropolis
Visit the archaeological site of Acropolis. Of course, this is number 1. It is as impressive as we had imagined. You get a good feeling of the importance of this site in ancient times. We recommend to get there early. It will get crowded (and hot in summer) soon!
There are two different tickets. One is only for the Acropolis for 20 Euro. The second one includes six interesting ancient spots more in Athens (but not the new Acropolis museum!) for only 10 Euro more. We recommend this if you have enough time to visit (at least a few) of the other spots.
2. More archaeology
Make use of the extended Acropolis ticket. It includes (Greek) Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Kerameikos Cemetery, Hadrian’s Library and the Olympieon. These sites are mostly inside the city center, some are smaller and you actually can see everything from the fence. But e.g. Ancient Agora has also a really nice museum onsite (fee included). And you can spend some relaxing moments walking around on these sites. They are usually not crowded.
3. Pnyx at Filopappou Hill by night
Walk up the this hill by night and enjoy the view to the illuminated Acropolis. Maybe you are lucky and you can listen to a concert taking place in the Theater, on a bench on top of the hill.
4. District of Anafiotika
Stroll along the streets in Anafiotika. It is part of the the district of Plaka just under the Acropolis but overseen easily. It is small and very beautiful: the houses are white and blue like on the some Greek islands. The small gardens are full of pink flowers. The atmosphere is relaxed and very quite. Cats are strolling around. It has more a village feeling to walk the streets and small paths there. Do not miss the so called “narrowest street” in Athens.
5. Local bar life
Have a beer in the district of Monastiraki or Psiri with their relaxing bars. Or hang out in one of the hipster cafes on Platia merkuri. We recommend the Café Cosmogonia. They serve good beer, some pub food, and Ouzo for reasonable prices.
6. Guard change at Syntagma Square
Watch your clock and be at the Syntagma Square for the Guard change in front of the Helenic Parliament. Members of the elite Evzones light infantry unit provide a 24-hour honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is more a touristic spectacle at every full hour nowadays. But you will not see a smile on the soldiers faces. They do their (kind of funny) traditional change with visible respect.
7. Mount Lycabettus
Enjoy the breathtaking view over the huge city up to the sea from the famous Mount Lycabettus, from the top of Athens’ highest point at 300 m above sea level. You can take the funicular up to the top (for around 4 € one-way) – or walk up the path to the top.
8. Panathenaic Stadium
Run one round in the historical Panathenaic Stadium. It dates back to 330 BC and was rebuilt several times. In recent history, it got famous for hosting the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. First, you can take an interesting audio guide tour around the stadium and its catacombs. Then enjoy the view from the up most seat row down to the ambitious runners on the field. Entrance fee: 5 €.
There are many highly recommended museums in Athens. Number one might be the Archaeological Museum. We spared this for our next trip to this lively city!
If you like to get the GPS coordinates of these sites, visit our Greece travel guide main page and zoom into Athens!
Do you think, we missed something important? What are your secret tips for visiting Athens? Just leave a comment!
Continue reading our Greece travel guide!