Is Athens worth a checkbox on your bucket list? Let me introduce you to the beauty of Athens and discover the top 10 things to do, which make it one of the best European destinations to visit. Everything from exploring sites filled with thousands of years of history, magnificent museums, enjoying the lively nightlife, visiting traditional taverns, and admiring incredible 360° rooftop breathtaking views. We guarantee that by the end of the article, you’ll have Athens listed as one of the top places on your travel list.
1. THE ACROPOLIS AND PARTHENON
The most famous sight of Athens is the Acropolis Hill and the architectural masterpiece of Parthenon. The admission ticket costs €20 but if you happen to travel during the off-season, you may enter the archaeological site for free every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st and the last weekend of September.
2. PHILOPAPPOS HILL
After you visit the Acropolis, climb a short hike to visit Philopappos Hill and marvel at the city from the top. Athens’ breathtaking views and panorama will take your breath away!
3. ANCIENT AGORA OF ATHENS
Do you have a strong passion for history and archaeological finds? Be sure to visit the two Agoras in Athens. The Roman Agora was built between 19 and 11 B.C. with a donation of Julius Caesar and Augustus. The Ancient Agora has played a sacred role in ancient Athens and has served as the political, commercial, administrative, and social activity centre.
A visit to Athens without a stroll in the Plaka District would not be the same! Explore the souvenir shops and walk around the narrow cobblestone streets right in the shadow of the Acropolis.
5. CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Watching the Changing of the Guard is considered one of the highlights of a trip to Athens. Evzones, the Presidential Guard, change positions every hour on the hour, under any weather conditions. The official ceremony takes place at the Presidential Mansion to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, every Sunday at 11 am, all year round.
6. TEMPLE OF POSEIDON
Take a day trip to Cape Sounion, visit the archaeological site of Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. The sacred cape of the Athenians is a place you do not want to miss. If you travel in the summer season, make sure to hop off to Saronida Beach! The soft sandy beach and crystal clear waters make it an ideal destination for a swim break.
7. ATHENS MUSEUMS
Discover the rich history the city offers by visiting some of the historic cultural sights. Some of these sights include the new Acropolis museum and the National Archaeological Museum which is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world. You can visit the Byzantine and Christian Museum and Benaki Museums as well. The Benaki remains in Koumpari Street and a second branch sits in Pireos Street.
8. ATHENS NEOCLASSICAL ARCHITECTURAL LANDMARKS
Get your camera ready to photograph the stunning architecture of the emblematic neoclassical buildings of the National Gallery, Academia, National Library, the National and Kapodistrian University. These are all sights you won’t want to miss!
9. LYCABETTUS HILL
The highest point of the city center of Athens, rising 277 meters, offers a stunning view of the entire city and stands on the top of Lycabettus Mountain! Climb to Lycabettus Hill to get the most breathtaking view of the city! It will take you thirty minutes to walk up the hill and the Chapel of St George if you start from Syntagma Square. If you prefer taking the cable car, rides operate 365 days a year. The starting point is at the end of Plutarch Street on its junction with Aristippou Street.
10. VARVAKEIOS MARKET
Mingle with the locals and know a little more about the greek culture and food. Visit Varvakeios, the city’s largest food market. Explore the abundance of the food market and eat your way through! A colorful market where you will find fresh fish and meat, pastourmas and pastrami, cheese, dry fruits, spices, pepper, saffron, fresh fruits, tea, greek camomile, mint, tilio, eggs, and olives.
You can jump off the beaten path and explore Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre and Park too. SNFCC stands as a cultural and environmental centre. It’s open to the public and features one of the largest green areas in Athens, covering 21 hectares. Free activities and events are organized daily all year round via the SNFCC portal. Free of charge guided tours involve the new headquarters for the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera, the interior and exterior public space of SNFCC, and Stavros Niarchos Park.
This is just a short guide on how to have a great time in Athens, but there is so much more to discover in this great city with its rich culture and historical significance!