12 Best Tourist Attractions Destination in Athens. A symbol of Western Civilization at its most magnificent, Athens boasts an illustrious history spanning over 3,000 years. The city was the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, and Sophocles during the classical antiquity.


A symbol of Western Civilization at its most magnificent, Athens boasts an illustrious history spanning over 3,000 years. The city was the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, and Sophocles during the classical antiquity. Athens today is a busy and modern capital city, more than just a relic of its glorious past. A completely different holiday experience from the idyllic Greek islands, Athens is capable of feeling hectic and crowded but offsets incredible cultural attractions. The Acropolis is one of the most amazing ancient ruins in the world, and the exceptional archeological museums of the city display fascinating uncovered artifacts at local sites. Other hidden charms waiting to be discovered are the beautiful Byzantine churches found throughout the city and the village-like neighborhoods north of the Acropolis. In the narrow pedestrian streets of the Plaka district, lined with quaint bougainvillea-draped houses and inviting restaurant terraces, tourists will enjoy getting lost.

01. The Acropolis

The Acropolis

Few world views compare to the Acropolis of Athens, with its temple of Parthenon perched high on a rocky crag watching over centuries of civilization. The Acropolis was the center of the ancient city, a reminder of the glory of ancient Athens, and functioned as a citadel in its protected hilltop location. The most emblematic building is the Parthenon, the largest temple dating from 447 BC to 338 BC in the classical antiquity period. The temple is an amazing sight with its monumental rows of Doric columns and amazing sculptural details. Reliefs depict the birth of the goddess Athena in the frieze on the east side. Other ruins of the Acropolis include the Erechtheion, a complex of ancient sanctuaries built between 421 BC and 395 BC. The most famous feature of the Erechtheion complex is the Porch of the Caryatids, with six statues of maidens in place of Doric columns.

Also be sure to visit the Acropolis Museum at 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, under the hilltop of the Acropolis. This museum includes one of the world's most valuable collections of ancient Greek art. Two interesting neighborhoods, Plaka and Anafiotika, are also nearby, charming areas where you can stop for a meal and walk around the picturesque streets.

02. National Archaeology Museum

National Archaeology Museum

Athens ' National Archeological Museum, founded in the 19th century, is Greece's largest archeological museum and one of the world's largest antiquity museums. The museum is housed in a stunning Neoclassical building with an exhibition space of 8,000 square meters. Five permanent collections with over 11,000 exhibits are on display, offering a comprehensive overview of Greek civilization from prehistory to late antiquity through the classical period. The Prehistoric Collection covers the sixth millennium BC to 1050 BC (Neolithic, Cycladic, and Mycenaean periods) and presents findings from Thera's prehistoric settlement. The Sculpture Collection displays ancient Greek sculptures, including rare masterpieces, from the sixth century BC to the fifth century BC. The collection of Vase and Decorative Objects presents ancient Greek pottery from the 11th century BC until the Roman Classic period. The collection of Stathatos features minor objects from a variety of historical periods. The Metallurgy Collection displays exquisite small statues and figurines sculpted from metals.

03. Byzantine Museum

Byzantine Museum

This interesting museum provides fascinating insights into Greek history's Byzantine period. Housed in a palace built in the 19th century for the Duchesse de Plaisance, Charles-François Lebrun's wife of France, the museum exhibits a precious collection of Byzantine art. The Byzantine Empire was the heritage of the eastern half of the Roman Empire after it fell; in religion and Greek speaking, the expansive empire was officially Orthodox Christian. The Byzantine Empire ruled the land of what is now the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor from the third century to the fifteenth century. Religious art has been highly valued during this time. Byzantine artists created masterpieces of detailed, glittering mosaics and gilded icons.

The Byzantine Museum, with more than 25,000 artifacts on display, is a treasury of Byzantine religious artifacts as well as early Christian, medieval and post-Byzantine artifacts. Sculptures, paintings, icons, textiles and mosaics are included in the collection. Highlights are the architectural fragments of early Christian basilicas and Byzantine churches, as well as the reproduction of a fountain depicted at Dafní Monastery. The courtyard of the museum features a splendid fragment of a fifth-century mosaic floor.

04. Agora: Ruins of the Ancient Marketplace

Agora: Ruins of the Ancient Marketplace

The ancient Agora in ancient Athens was the marketplace and the center of daily life. For an impressive distant view of the Agora, head to the Acropolis ' north wall or the Areopagus roads. The northern gate off Adrianoú Street (near Saint Philip Church) is the best place to enter the Agora. The Greek word "Agora" means "gathering and orating," indicating that this site was a public-speaking location. The Agora, as well as the Agora tou Dimou, a civic decision-making group, was a place of administration and commerce. Also held here were athletic events and theater performances. One of the Agora's most interesting features is the 18-meter-long Royal Stoa, Archon Basileus ' seat, which took over the earlier kings ' cultic functions. This BC stoa of the sixth century may have been the scene of the trial of Socrates in 399 BC.
Tourists can take an enjoyable walk from the Agora along the footpath leading up to the Agora Hill (Kolonos Agoraios). There is an amazing sight on the top of the hill at 24 Andrianou Street, the Temple of Hephaistos. This BC Doric temple of the fifth century is one of the best preserved ancient Greek temples due to its conversion into a Christian church that saved it from destruction. The temple was designed on a classic plan with six rows of 13 columns, and on the Parthenon the Ionic friezes seem to be modeled. Only 16 meters from the Roman Agora is the site of Hadrian's ancient library, a complex of buildings founded after 132 AD by Emperor Hadrian.

05. Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art

The Museum of Cycladic Art was established by the Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris Foundation in the Kolonáki quarter in 1986. Nikolas P. Goulandris, the shipowner, was a well-known patron of Athens ' arts and cultural life. The collection of Goulandris itself forms the core of the exhibits of the museum. The permanent collection of the museum is housed in a sleek modern building with a marble and glass façade. The collection represents ancient Greek art, ancient Cycladic art (the Aegean Sea islands surrounding Delos Island near Mykonos), and Cypriot art (from Cyprus Island) from the fourth century BC to the sixth century AD. Many of the displayed artifacts date back to the sixth century BC. The elegant Stathatos Mansion of the 19th century, accessible from the main building by a passageway from the atrium, holds temporary exhibits.

06. Church of the Holy Apostles

Church of the Holy Apostles

The Church of the Holy Apostles was the only building left standing on the site of the ancient Agora when this whole quarter of Athens was demolished to dig the archeological site of the Agora. Built in the 10th century, over a nymphaion (sacred spring) stands the church. The exterior is characterized by its ashlar masonry and its ornamental inscriptions of Kufic (a style of Arabic script). The church has a dome supported on four columns, typical of Byzantine architecture, and the apse and transepts feature semicircular conches. Original frescoes depicting Christ Pantocrator (Ruler of All), John the Baptist, adorable little cherubim, and archangels adorn the interior of the dome. Much of the original 11th-century iconostasis (wall of icons and religious paintings) has also been well preserved.

07. Panaghia Kapnikaréa Church

Panaghia Kapnikaréa Church

The Panaghia Kapnikaréa Church is a delightful place to visit, with a little square opening onto Ermoú Street. The intervention of King Ludwig I of Bavaria saved this beautiful little church from demolition in the 19th century. The church is a beautiful example of Byzantine 11th-century architecture. Domed cruciform churches like this one were typical during this period. The church was enhanced in the 12th century with a graceful portico entrance and a narthex with four pediments (built on the west end). Inside, the church is decorated with paintings from the 19th century created in Middle Byzantine iconographic style.

08. Olympieion: Temple of Olympian Zeus

Olympieion: Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Olympiaion was the largest temple in ancient Greece, dedicated to Zeus. Although the Parthenon is better preserved, an even more monumental structure in its day was the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The temple dates back to the sixth century BC but was not finished by Emperor Hadrian until the second century AD. The great impression this temple made in its complete form is easy to imagine. The grandiose sanctuary was once supported by more than a hundred huge marble columns. Only 15 columns remain standing, and there is another surviving column on the ground, but the monumental presence of the ruins gives a sense of the original building's massive size. The gigantic structure was an appropriate shrine for Zeus, the most all-powerful God of the ancient Greeks, known as the King of Gods. Nearby, just north of the Olympieion, there is a small park with the ruins of the wall of Themistokles and the ancient Roman baths.

09. Panathenaic Stadium & Olympic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium & Olympic Stadium

The largest building in Ancient Athens, the Panathenaic Stadium, can accommodate 60,000 spectators. Built in the Herodes Atticus era around 335 BC, the venue hosted the Panathenaic Games where runners competed in races around the track. The 204-meter-long track was designed with four double herms that would turn runners in the races. Around AD 140, Herodes Atticus updated the stadium with new marble seats. The structure that tourists see today is a replica of the original stadium that was reconstructed for the 1896 Olympic Games. This modern-era Olympic Stadium was created in the identical fashion as the Panathenaic Stadium, with 47 tiers of seating and a rounded southeast end.

10. The Charming Neighborhoods of Pláka and Anafiotika

The Charming Neighborhoods of Pláka and Anafiotika

Between the northern slopes of the Acropolis and Ermoú Street, there are two important archeological sites in the picturesque Pláka neighborhood on Pepopida Street: the Roman Agora of the 1st century BC and the Hadrian Library of the 2nd century. However, this historic area's main attraction is its charming village atmosphere. Narrow pedestrian streets and quarter Pláka's cheerful little squares are lined with beautiful pastel-painted houses trimmed with bougainvillea. Historic churches, such as the Metamórfosis Church in the southwest and the Kapnikaréa Church in the north, are tucked away in the quiet corners of the neighborhood. The picturesque setting invites you to take pleasant walks.

There are plenty of authentic Greek restaurants with inviting terrace seats in the Plaka quarter. The area is renowned for its Mnisikleous Street Staircase Restaurant. Many of the restaurants look attractive, but most of them are tourist traps (with aggressive hosts baiting passengers for entry) and should be avoided. Consult a guidebook or ask a local for recommendations before choosing a restaurant in this area, or try the quieter hidden streets on the hillside that hide cute little cafes and tavernas. Anafiotika, another atmospheric village-like neighborhood where tourists can enjoy traditional Greek food, is also nestled in the slopes north of the Acropolis. The winding medieval streets of this Anafiotika are also a delight to explore.

11. Changing of the Guard at Syntagma Square

Changing of the Guard at Syntagma Square

Watching the Guard Change at Syntagma Square is an exciting and memorable experience for many tourists. The Presidential Guard soldiers stand 24 hours a day, year round, in front of the Hellenic Parliament on Syntagma Square. The guards are wearing traditional costumes with folded skirts, leg tassels and pompom shoes. The Guard Change takes place daily at 11 am in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Monument. This monument honors anonymous soldiers who have passed away fighting for the country. The monument features a marble relief imitating an ancient times warrior grave stele.

12. Saint Demetrius Loumbardiaris Chapel

Saint Demetrius Loumbardiaris Chapel

This tiny Byzantine chapel of the 12th century offers tourists an enchanting spiritual experience in a green setting on Philopappou Hill. Because of the ancient belief that divinity protected the gates, the chapel was built at the Diateichisma Gate. The chapel has a single-aisle vaulted basilica shape inside, and the walls are decorated with frescoes dating back to 1732. The chapel's name "Loumbardiaris" is linked to the legend that the church was saved by a miracle around 1650 when the Acropolis ' Turkish commander, Yusuf, bombed the church. Architect D restored the church in the 1960s. Pikionis. Pikionis Another highlight of visiting Philopappou Hill is the chance to take in spectacular views of the Parthenon from this location.

Where to Stay in Athens for Sightseeing

The best place to stay in Athens is near the neighborhoods of the Plaka Acropolis or Anafiotika. This will put you at the center of the action and walking distance from the Acropolis, Roman Agora, Hadrian Library, and Syntagma Square. Both neighborhoods are picturesque and picturesque, with narrow pedestrian streets, lots of restaurants and interesting shops. Some high-quality hotels in convenient locations are as follows:
·        Luxury Hotels: Within walking distance from the Temple of Olympian Zeus and many good restaurants, the boutique AVA Hotel Athens offers quaint and cozy suites with kitchenettes. The O&B Athens Boutique Hotel is a 10-minute walk to the Acropolis and features modern rooms and a spectacular rooftop patio with amazing views. The elegant Grande Bretagne Hotel, with a well-regarded rooftop restaurant, is set in a prime location that it has occupied since 1874.
·        Mid-Range Hotels: The appropriately named Plaka Hotel offers good rooms in a great location, and the rooftop patio has views to the Acropolis. Free coffee and tea are on offer all day long. The Hermes Hotel in the Plaka is newly renovated and just a two-minute walk to the attractions of Syntagma Square. On a quiet side street, the Central Hotel has also been recently renovated and offers modern, comfortable rooms and a hot breakfast. It's a 15-minute walk from the Acropolis, and the view from the rooftop patio is quite spectacular.
·        Budget Hotels: The Hotel Acropolis House is a good value option close to all the attractions. Basic but comfortable rooms are on offer, and the shops of the pedestrian-only Ermou Street are a short stroll away. The Kimon Athens Hotel features small but well-appointed rooms and is a two-minute walk from Syntagma Square. The Hotel Metropolis has been recently renovated and provides rooms with balconies, some facing the Acropolis.

Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Athens

·        See the Sights: For maximum sightseeing flexibility and value, it's hard to beat the City Sightseeing Athens Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Accompanied by an audio commentary, you can cruise around Athens in an open-top double decker bus, hopping on and off at any of the 14 stops to spend more time at your favorite attractions, such as the Acropolis or the Plaka. If you only have a few hours to see the highlights of Athens, the Athens Half-Day Sightseeing Tour blends both the city's ancient and modern attractions. An expert guide takes you to see top sites such as the Tomb of the Unknown, the Acropolis, and the Pantheon. This 3.5-hour tour includes admission to the Acropolis of Athens and the Acropolis Museum (optional), hotel pickup, and free Wi-Fi on the coach.
·        Delphi Day Trip: If you want to complement your Athens tour by exploring historic monuments further afield, consider the Delphi Day Trip. This full-day tour takes you to this World Heritage-listed archaeological site to see the Temple of Apollo and the Delphi Archeological Museum. On your way home, you have a chance to explore the picturesque towns of Arachova and Levadia. Included in the tour are hotel pickup and drop-off at select hotels, free Wi-Fi, and entrance fees.
·        Mycenae and Epidaurus Day Trip: Stunning scenery and hilltop ruins are the highlights of the Mycenae and Epidaurus Day Trip. This full-day guided adventure includes a beautiful drive along the Saronic Gulf and into the Peloponnese to see the hilltop ruins of Mycenae as well as a visit to Epidaurus, the birthplace of Apollo's son, and the picturesque town of Nauplia. Also included are entrance fees, a professional guide, free Wi-Fi on the coach, and a map.

·        Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon Day Trip: See one of Athens' most famous monuments on the Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon Half-Day Trip. Traveling in an air-conditioned coach, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic drive to Cape Sounion to see the remains of the clifftop Temple of Poseidon, overlooking the sea, while an experienced guide shares information about its history. This four-hour tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off at select hotels, entrance fees, and free Wi-Fi on the coach.

Venturing Beyond Athens: Mythology, History, and the World's Most Beautiful Beaches

Greece's rich history extends far beyond Athens, but the remains of Corinth's Apollo Temple and Delphi's oracle seat are within a day trip's reach. Besides numerous continental attractions, such as the monasteries above Metéora's rock formations, the numerous Greek islands are known for their iconic whitewashed houses with brightly painted shutters, ancient ruins, medieval monasteries, and varied landscapes. Santorini's romantic island (also known as Thíra) is popular with couples and celebrities, renowned for its bright houses that seem to cling to the side of the volcanic cliffs of the island.

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and the southernmost part of Europe, which is large enough to occupy a whole holiday. Heraklion is the main port and capital city on the island, best known for Knossos' Minoan Palace. The city of Rethymnon has several interesting historical attractions west of here, including Turkish mosques and Venetian churches. Farther west, Chania's coastal city was founded almost 5,000 years ago by Minoans as Kydonia's city-state. The island of Delos is a UNESCO-listed site north of Santorini, known in mythology as the birthplace of Apollo. Heraion (Hera's Temple) is also a UNESCO site, located on the far-reaching island of Sámos, less than two kilometers from Turkey's coast. Also strongly influenced by surrounding cultures, the port city of Rhodes Town is a popular cruise stop. On Corfu Island you can find the best beaches in Greece; Corfu Town, its capital city, is a pedestrian-only holiday paradise with Mediterranean charm.

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