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Top Things To See In Athens

From the Ancient Agora and the Theatre of Dionysus to bustling Syntagma Square and the monument where Byron penned his poems, there are plenty of fascinating things to see in Athens. The classical city is nothing less than an open-air museum where visitors can bear witness to some of mankind’s greatest treasures, enjoy a Greek coffee in the shadow of Parliament, or pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir from the Monastiraki Flea Market. To make planning a trip easier, we’ve put together a guide to some of Athens’s most notable sites; just click through the 360° views to embark on your own personal tour of the city.

Acropolis
  • Acropolis
  • If you’re putting together a list of things to do in Athens, the Acropolis should sit firmly at the top. Not only does this ancient attraction provide a fascinating tour through Greek history and lore, its location atop a rocky outcrop provides some of the best views of the classical city – especially in the golden late-afternoon light of summer. Take in the remains of the Theatre of Dionysus and the ruined Ancient Agora, and then ascend the summit to reach the Parthenon, the country’s most famous temple. Make sure to leave time for the Acropolis Museum, which showcases the remains of an ancient Athens neighbourhood.
  • If you’re putting together a list of things to do in Athens, the Acropolis should sit firmly at the top. Not only does this ancient attraction provide a fascinating tour through Greek history and lore, its location atop a rocky outcrop provides some of the best views of the classical city – especially in the golden late-afternoon light of summer. Take in the remains of the Theatre of Dionysus and the ruined Ancient Agora, and then ascend the summit to reach the Parthenon, the country’s most famous temple. Make sure to leave time for the Acropolis Museum, which showcases the remains of an ancient Athens neighbourhood.
  • Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Small-Group Walking Tour
Syntagma Square
  • Syntagma Square
  • For visitors trying to decide what to do in Athens, a trip to centrally located Syntagma Square is an unbeatable way to kick start the day. Also known as Constitution Square, this bustling plaza is peppered with cafes and restaurants serving classic Greek breakfasts, and it’s a great spot to relax with a Greek frappé and a slice of koulouri sesame-seed bread. The Old Royal Palace, home of the Greek Parliament, is a local landmark which offers guided tours in English on Fridays and Mondays, while a stroll down Ermou Street leads to the popular Monastiraki Flea Market, a great place to bag a souvenir.
  • For visitors trying to decide what to do in Athens, a trip to centrally located Syntagma Square is an unbeatable way to kick start the day. Also known as Constitution Square, this bustling plaza is peppered with cafes and restaurants serving classic Greek breakfasts, and it’s a great spot to relax with a Greek frappé and a slice of koulouri sesame-seed bread. The Old Royal Palace, home of the Greek Parliament, is a local landmark which offers guided tours in English on Fridays and Mondays, while a stroll down Ermou Street leads to the popular Monastiraki Flea Market, a great place to bag a souvenir.
  • Small Group Athens by Night Walking Tour with Starters
Ancient Agora
  • Ancient Agora
  • The Ancient Agora is one of the most notable sites on the slopes of the Acropolis, and is an ideal jumping-off point for a tour of classical Athens. The Agora was the centre of social life in ancient times, and the excavated ruins give visitors ghostly glimpses of concerts halls, theatres and arcades. Most of the ruins provide nothing more than tantalising hints of the buildings once occupied by some of history’s most famous figures, but the Temple of Hephaestus is amazingly well preserved, and was used as a church until 1834. The Stoa of Attalos, meanwhile, is the Agora’s most photogenic site, mostly due to its recent reconstruction.
  • The Ancient Agora is one of the most notable sites on the slopes of the Acropolis, and is an ideal jumping-off point for a tour of classical Athens. The Agora was the centre of social life in ancient times, and the excavated ruins give visitors ghostly glimpses of concerts halls, theatres and arcades. Most of the ruins provide nothing more than tantalising hints of the buildings once occupied by some of history’s most famous figures, but the Temple of Hephaestus is amazingly well preserved, and was used as a church until 1834. The Stoa of Attalos, meanwhile, is the Agora’s most photogenic site, mostly due to its recent reconstruction.
  • Walking Tour of the Acropolis, Ancient Agora & Stoa of Attalos Museum
Zeus Temple
  • Zeus Temple
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus is located close enough to the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora that it’s easy enough to visit all three at once, and while the Temple is not quite as spectacular as it was in the 6th century (only a few columns are still standing), the building has such a fascinating history that it deserves a spot on any list of things to see in Athens. After taking in the Temple, visitors can check out the Arch of Hadrian, which was erected as a city gate in the 1st century, and the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, where the poet Byron reputedly wrote “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”.
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus is located close enough to the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora that it’s easy enough to visit all three at once, and while the Temple is not quite as spectacular as it was in the 6th century (only a few columns are still standing), the building has such a fascinating history that it deserves a spot on any list of things to see in Athens. After taking in the Temple, visitors can check out the Arch of Hadrian, which was erected as a city gate in the 1st century, and the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, where the poet Byron reputedly wrote “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”.
  • Highlights of Greek Mythology Tour
Monastiraki Square
  • Monastiraki Square
  • A short stroll from the Old Royal Palace, quaint Monastiraki Square is a popular hub for local life, as well as the home of some of Athens’s busiest souks. Its name translates as “little monastery” in reference to the 15th-century Church of the Pantanassa that shadows the square, and the surrounding neighbourhood is one of the city’s biggest draws for shoppers. Pandrossou Street is packed with nearly 100 shops, selling everything from kitschy souvenirs and high-end gold jewellery to worry beads and vintage vinyl. On Sundays the square turns into a flea market where the souks are supplemented by locals selling handmade goods and antiques.<
  • A short stroll from the Old Royal Palace, quaint Monastiraki Square is a popular hub for local life, as well as the home of some of Athens’s busiest souks. Its name translates as “little monastery” in reference to the 15th-century Church of the Pantanassa that shadows the square, and the surrounding neighbourhood is one of the city’s biggest draws for shoppers. Pandrossou Street is packed with nearly 100 shops, selling everything from kitschy souvenirs and high-end gold jewellery to worry beads and vintage vinyl. On Sundays the square turns into a flea market where the souks are supplemented by locals selling handmade goods and antiques.<
  • Guide to Exploring Monastiraki Flea Market
Acropolis Museum
  • Acropolis Museum
  • Minimalist and ultra-modern, the New Acropolis Museum provides a stunning contrast to the ancient ruins of Greece’s most famous hillside. The sleek museum was completed in 2009 and is spread across three levels that mimic the surrounding landscape, allowing visitors to feel as if they’re walking through time as they discover treasures from the Roman and Archaic eras. The lower level features a glass floor displaying the ruins of an excavated traditional village, while the top of the museum houses the Parthenon Gallery and its famous frieze. On weekends, the museum offers 3D videos covering the history of the Acropolis.
  • Minimalist and ultra-modern, the New Acropolis Museum provides a stunning contrast to the ancient ruins of Greece’s most famous hillside. The sleek museum was completed in 2009 and is spread across three levels that mimic the surrounding landscape, allowing visitors to feel as if they’re walking through time as they discover treasures from the Roman and Archaic eras. The lower level features a glass floor displaying the ruins of an excavated traditional village, while the top of the museum houses the Parthenon Gallery and its famous frieze. On weekends, the museum offers 3D videos covering the history of the Acropolis.
  • Private Athens Tour with Acropolis Museum
National Archaeological Museum of Athens
  • National Archaeological Museum of Athens
  • While the Acropolis Museum offers a breathtaking peek at objects discovered upon the iconic hill, it’s arguably the National Archaeological Museum of Athens that offers the most expansive look at Greek antiquities. The straightforward nature of the building belies the wealth of treasures inside, and the museum offers an especially impressive display of Mycenaean art. The museum’s best-known piece is the Mask of Agamemnon, but visitors should also make sure not to miss the bronze Statue of Poseidon, dating from the 5th century BC, and the Antikythira Mechanism, an enigmatic device that remains one of antiquity’s most intriguing mysteries.
  • While the Acropolis Museum offers a breathtaking peek at objects discovered upon the iconic hill, it’s arguably the National Archaeological Museum of Athens that offers the most expansive look at Greek antiquities. The straightforward nature of the building belies the wealth of treasures inside, and the museum offers an especially impressive display of Mycenaean art. The museum’s best-known piece is the Mask of Agamemnon, but visitors should also make sure not to miss the bronze Statue of Poseidon, dating from the 5th century BC, and the Antikythira Mechanism, an enigmatic device that remains one of antiquity’s most intriguing mysteries.
  • Shore Excursion: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Erechtheion
  • Erechtheion
  • Perched on the north side of the Acropolis, the Erechtheion is often overlooked by visitors heading determinedly for the Parthenon, but the elegant 5th-century temple deserves more than a passing glance. The building was the original home of the Elgin Marbles, which were later transported to Scotland by Lord Elgin, and five of the original Caryatids now rest at the New Acropolis Museum. But despite the relocation of its most famous treasures, the Erechtheion columns are still a marvel, and copies of the original statues now occupy the Porch of the Caryatids. You can take a 360° voyage by clicking above to get a a sneak preview of this striking temple.
  • Perched on the north side of the Acropolis, the Erechtheion is often overlooked by visitors heading determinedly for the Parthenon, but the elegant 5th-century temple deserves more than a passing glance. The building was the original home of the Elgin Marbles, which were later transported to Scotland by Lord Elgin, and five of the original Caryatids now rest at the New Acropolis Museum. But despite the relocation of its most famous treasures, the Erechtheion columns are still a marvel, and copies of the original statues now occupy the Porch of the Caryatids. You can take a 360° voyage by clicking above to get a a sneak preview of this striking temple.
  • Discover Hotels Near Erechtheion
Hephaisteion
  • Hephaisteion
  • Hephaisteion, or the Temple of Hephaestus, is one of Athens’s most impressive buildings. The remarkably well-preserved temple dates from 450 BC, and was used as a church up until the 19th century. Lord Byron is buried inside the temple’s naos, but unfortunately the interior is closed to the public. The temple’s exterior offers its own charms, though, as it’s marked by Ionic friezes showing Theseus, the Centaurs and the Lapiths. Hephaisteion’s location on the Kolonos Agoraios puts it within walking distance of the Agora and the Stoa of Attalos, making for a pleasant stroll through history.
  • Hephaisteion, or the Temple of Hephaestus, is one of Athens’s most impressive buildings. The remarkably well-preserved temple dates from 450 BC, and was used as a church up until the 19th century. Lord Byron is buried inside the temple’s naos, but unfortunately the interior is closed to the public. The temple’s exterior offers its own charms, though, as it’s marked by Ionic friezes showing Theseus, the Centaurs and the Lapiths. Hephaisteion’s location on the Kolonos Agoraios puts it within walking distance of the Agora and the Stoa of Attalos, making for a pleasant stroll through history.
  • Guide to Exploring Temple of Hephaestos

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