15+ Best Things to Do in Athens, Greece

15+ Best Things to Do in Athens, Greece

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Looking for things to do in Athens, Greece! Welcome, my Europe-loving friend, you’re in the right place! Only have a weekend or two days in Athens? Don’t fret! You can get most of the city’s must-do’s done in a short amount of time!

I visited Athens for a few days last summer, and absolutely LOVED my time in the city, despite others telling me they weren’t the fondest of the area. Along with my friend Chrissy from Travel Passionate, who actually lives in Athens and couldn’t be more qualified to share this information (!!!), we’re here to prove to you just how fascinating and worth while this Greek capital city really is.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Athens, one of the oldest cities in the world, the city of Gods, the cradle of Western civilization, and the intellectual beacon of the ancient world is the historical capital of Europe with a population of over 4.5 million people.  It is one of the longest inhabited cities dating back 3000 years, and it is home to some of the most important cultural, historical, and architectural attractions in the world. And with all this history, you can bet there’s tons of historical things to do in Athens. All the streets in Athens lead to fascinating monuments, and every monument takes you through a journey back in time as you walk the same streets Sophocles used to walk in and be in the same places Socrates used to teach.

However, Athens isn’t just about its historical ruins and its ancient sites. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of history and modernity that will mesmerise you; historical buildings sit right next to clubbing districts, large glass museums sit atop ancient ruins, and graffiti-covered walls are right next to marble columns.

Athens is the perfect city for all types of travelers, and you’ll enjoy not only its historical monuments, but its quirky neighbourhoods with taverns, restaurants, cafes, museums, and galleries. Here are the top 15 things you need to see in Athens! But first, a bit of information about the city!

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Athens Pre-Travel Guide:

When to go:

By Month

The summer months (June, July, and August) are the peak tourist seasons for Athens when flocks of tourists from all over the world come to visit, prices are inflated, and it’s much more crowded than normal.

The best months to visit are from mid-April to mid-June, or from September to mid-October. Those shoulder months enjoy the perfect weather with fewer tourists and lower prices in general.

By Festivals

  • Athens and Epidaurus Festivals: Takes place during the summer months and celebrates music, art, theatre and culture in the theatre of Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
  • Athens International Film Festival: September to October
  • Athens Carnival: January to February

How to Get Around:

There are many ways to get around in Athens that are all equally as convenient. You can try the tram with a 1.40 EUR ticket for unlimited travel for 90 minutes that connects the city with the south coast.

You can also navigate around easily with a taxi; there are two types. The radio taxis which are specifically called and reserved, or the street taxis which you wave in the streets.

You can also explore most of the places on foot – since most of the monuments mentioned below are relatively close, that way you will get a more authentic experience by immersing yourself in the street culture.

There are also bus stops all around Athens with tickets that cost 1.40 euro each, and the underground system which is reliable but can sometimes get extremely hot and crowded in the summer months.

Important Things to Pack:

Regardless of what you pack, there are a few essentials that you need to make sure that you have while doing all the things to do in Athens below:

  • Sunglasses are an essential all year long, even during the winter.
  • Make sure you have appropriate, comfortable footwear, as a lot of the sites you will be visiting will require you to walk around or hike a little bit.
  • Make sure you have UV sunscreen with high SPF; the sun is strong in the summer months!
  • Pack your camera for unforgettable pictures! Don’t forget the charger and an extra memory card.
  • A mixture of casual wear, and formal/party dresses.
  • Make sure you have a jacket with you, even in the summer months, as temperatures at night can become quite cold.
  • A shoulder bag
  • Your passport (of course!)
  • Swimsuits

Where to Stay:

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Plaka: The oldest part of Athens, a beautiful picturesque neighbourhood, is also the most popular area to stay for tourists.

Psiri and Monastiraki: Both neighborhoods are famous for their incredible nightlife, and they are convenient for sight-seeing due to their proximity to all the main attractions.

Syntagma Square: A lot of hotels are there, and is reachable on foot from most of the tourist attractions.

Kolonaki: If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, this is the neighbourhood to stay. It’s perfect for shopping designer clothes, and it’s quite posh.

Koukaki and Exarchia: Both are “bohemian” and “edgy” neighbourhoods and are better options for young travelers and backpackers.

Glyfada and Vouliagmeni: You can stay by one of the coastal suburbs and still be able to visit the centre via tram –giving you a blend of a beach holiday and a historical one!

And finally, the best things to do in Athens below!

15+ Best Things to do in Athens:

1.    The Acropolis

You’ll first see it from a distant hill, majestically crowning a dramatic limestone crag and standing high above Athens, reminiscent of Athens’ incredibly rich history. The term acropolis directly translates to “upper city”, and it was the city’s main religious centre, and the most sacred buildings are on the Acropolis. It is one of the most important ancient ruins in the world, and you’ll be able to explore the massive place where people used to live as early as 5,000 B.C and even seek refuge in. You’ll be able to check out the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Hephaistos, and of course – the most famous of them all, the Parthenon.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

2.    The Parthenon

The Parthenon crows the highest point of the Acropolis and is one of the most magnificent temples in the ancient world that was built in 438 BC. It was dedicated to the goddess Athena. The interior of the Parthenon is off-limits; however, you can still walk around the exterior and marvel at the scale and details of the monument – after all, this temple was converted to a church and then a mosque and then a tourist attraction, so there’s plenty to see and learn about it.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

3.    The Temple of Zeus

The Temple of Zeus, also known as the Olympeion, was built back then to honour Zeus, the God of the Gods, and the father of all Olympian Gods. The temple took over 700 years to build and mainly consisted of 104 Corinthian columns (each 1 m high with a base diameter of 1.7m). However, today, only 15 of these remain, still making the temple the perfect place for history and mythology buffs. You can check out the columns, the remains of ancient houses, the giant ivory and gold statue Zeus, the remains of the city walls and the Roman bath.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

4.    National Archeological Museum

This is without any competition, one of the greatest museums in the world, with some of the most important and significant artifacts from Greece and its surrounding countries. Over thirty rooms, more than 11,000 pieces of art, statues, sculptures, paintings, and artistic highlights from every period of ancient civilisation from the Neolithic time, to Egyptian, to Roman and much more. A must-do in Athens!

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Everything in the museum is arranged in chronological order, thus making the entire larger vision an easier one to grasp.

Some of the things you can see there include:

  • Poseidon sculpture
  • Gold mask of Agamemnon
  • Antiquities from Greece
  • The massive stone Kouros statue.
  • The Egyptian section with sarcophagi, amulets, jewellery pieces, reconstruction models, and mummies.
  • The Mycenaean Antiquities

5.    The Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephasteus

The ancient Agora was the heart of Ancient Athens, a lively marketplace, a civic centre, a commercial hub, and the focal point where administrative, commercial, political, and social activities take place. In fact, the word Agora directly translates to “gather and orate”. You can have a pleasant walk along the footpath that leads up the Agora Hill, and check the Temple of Hephaistos, or the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles, and walk in the same place Socrates and Plato used to teach in and where Saint Paul sought out converts. The Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved ancient temple in Greece. You can enjoy the views of the Agora, or the well-preserved columns that remain from 450 B.C.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

6.    Plaka

Plaka is the oldest district in Athens, and one of the most attractive areas of Athens. It was built under the slopes of the Acropolis, therefore, attracting all visitors to Athens to explore its neoclassical buildings, its pedestrian streets, and the red-tiled houses, and its narrow alleys. It’s the perfect place to go to experience authentic Greek culture, and just roam around. You can check out the restaurants and have an authentic gastronomic experience, cool down at one of the taverns, see the gardens, go shopping, or visit the attractions.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Some museums you can visit in Plaka:

  • The Museum of Greek Folk Art
  • The Athens University Museum
  • The Museum of Musical Instruments
  • Museum of Folk Art and Tradition

7.  Astir Beach

Spend a day lounging by the best beach that Athens has to offer. It is the place to be and situated at the high-end Vouliagmeni area on the Athens Rivera. It’s a private beach that offers incredible facilities, and it’s a place where you enjoy the transparent turquoise water, relax on a sun bed, drink cocktails, jet ski, or attend a party!

8.   Lycabettus Hill

Standing 277 meters above sea level, Lycabettus Hill is the highest point in Athens and is the best way to spend your morning or late afternoon – and also a great spot to experience the sunset. You’ll be met with a 360-degree panorama of all of Athens where you’ll be able to see the lit-up Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium and the Ancient Agora all at the same time; it will be a reminder of the grandeur of the city and will offer you an unparalleled experience. To get there, you need to either climb for 20 minutes or take the cable car. You can also check out the Greek church of St George, the open-air amphitheatre, and Orizontes, a restaurant with good food and great views. One of the best things to do in Athens, by far!

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

9.    The National Gardens

It’s always nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and the National Gardens are the perfect place for that. 24 hectares await you filled with vegetation, rare plants, birds, and even a library. Benches are lining the tree-covered paths, 7000 trees, 40,000 bushes, and over 519 species of plants in general.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Things to see in the National Gardens:

Apart from walking around and taking in nature around you, you can also check out these attractions:

  • The Zappeion Hall which was built in 1888 and is used for cultural, and political events.
  • The Sundial in the middle of the main entrance – you can check your hand’s shadow and try to tell the time based on the position of the sun.
  • The conservatory where plants are cultivated before they are planted in the garden.
  • A Children’s Library.

10.    The Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium is one of the attractions you absolutely must visit in Athens. It is the largest stadium in Athens with an ability to accommodate over 70,000 spectators and is a great example of how Greece has managed to blend modernity with antiquity –  even though the stadium was constructed around 335 B.C, it is still used today, and even housed the Olympic Games in 1896.

The whole stadium is made of marble and is considered one of the architectural wonders of the world. From there you will be able to take a photograph of the Acropolis, Filopappos Hill, the National Gardens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Lycabettus Hill, all in the one picture.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

11.    The Benaki Museum

It is Greece’s oldest private museum and is also one of the best museums in Athens with a diverse collection of artefacts and exhibitions. The museum is housed in a building created by Anastasios Metaxas, the same architect who helped in the restoration of the Panathenaic Stadium.

There are over 20,000 items on display in 36 rooms, all chronologically ordered. Start your journey from the ground floor upward so that you can see the evolution from prehistory to the modern Greek state.

Things to see:

  • Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery
  • Childhood, toys, and games – a collection of over 15,000 toys, games, and childhood items that originates from Greece, Africa, Europe, and the East
  • Coptic Art – a wealthy group of textiles, metalwork and woodcarving.
  • Chinese art
  • Islamic Art

12.    The Acropolis Museum

This museum is also one of the most important, not only in Greece but the world as well – and one of the most important things to do in Athens! A museum solely devoted to the Parthenon and its surrounding temples – the Acropolis Museum is a magnificent building with an incredible sense of space and light, high ceilings, glass walkways, and panoramic views of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. You’ll find all types of artefacts found in and around the Acropolis, and you’ll get incredible views of the city!

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Things to see:

  • Top floor has a 15-minute video that introduces the Parthenon sculptures.
  • The statues from the Temple of Athena Nika and the Erechtheion.
  • The Acropolis Slopes – featuring objects found in the sanctuaries and settlements around the Acropolis.
  • The Archaic period with statues, and sculptural figures.

13.    Explore Psiri neighborhood

Psiri, a historical and picturesque district of Athens, is an area filled with live music, café-bars, incredible nightlife, and galleries all side by side.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

14.    Visit the markets in Monastiraki

Monastiraki is a neighborhood on the fringe of Agora and the Roman forum. Although the flea markets there are open every day – you shouldn’t miss out the Sunday market. You’ll also find restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

15.   Visit Syntagma Square

This central square is what keeps the city going, and it’s the main transport hub. You can check out the War Memorial of the Unknown Soldiers, the Benaki Museum, The City of Athens Museum, and the Parliament Building where the Changing of the Guards takes place every hour.

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

16.    Take a short day trip to the Temple of Poseidon

After you’ve done all of these things to do in Athens, a day trip is in order! And The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is one of the most convenient day trips you can do out of Athens! You can get there by bus, an organised tour, a private taxi or by car.

The temple was built in 444 B.C and was dedicated to the god of Sea, Poseidon. It’s made entirely of marble – making the columns gleam in the sunlight and turn into blankets of blues, reds and oranges as the sun descends into the sea.

Don’t forget to look for the column where Lord Byron carved his name!

Looking for the best things to do in Athens, Greece? Even with just a weekend in Athens, you can get so many of the must-do's in Athens done! Two days in Athens is enough time to see the highlights!

Have you been to Greece before? What were your favorite things to do in Athens?!

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