My Top 20 Things to do in Athens, Greece

Are you thinking of visiting Athens? Or maybe you’re looking for some travel inspo? Regardless, you don’t have to go far! I know you’ll find my top 20 things to do in Athens very helpful! There is so much to do and see in Athens, so it can be difficult to prioritise. However, you can always go back and visit again! Most importantly, the locals make Athens such an interesting place to visit.

Well, I couldn’t pick just 10 things, I needed to share 20! Because of this, my post ended up being quite long. So I have done my best to be brief in my suggestions to make you want to visit without overloading you with TOO much information. Athens is a busy city, full of locals going about their everyday life and tourists eager to learn about the amazing history. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I visited Greece without a plan or an Itinerary and was overloaded with ideas once I got there. My top 20 things to do in Athens came from me reflecting on my trip and the activities that really stood out to me.

In no particular order, here are 20 great things to do in Athens!

1. The Acropolis of Athens

Well, after The Acropolis, there is no particular order. The Acropolis was my top must-see thing to do in Athens. It is a UNESCO site, an ancient citadel known by many as the ‘high city’ or sacred rock. When there, you will discover the remains of many ancient buildings and breathtaking architecture. Once at the top, the views of Athens are so incredible. Plus, it’s home to the amazing Parthenon! We waited for 30 minutes to avoid people in our photo, and this was the best we could do.

The Acropolis Greece

PS: I use Get Your Guide to book all my attractions and booking the Acropolis and 6 other Athens attractions was so easy! (Don’t worry, the link will open in a new tab so you won’t lose your place on this post).

2. Parthenon

Constructed in honour of Athena, the Parthenon is the main structure on the Acropolis of Athens. It was certainly the largest of the temples and has beautiful markings around the outside. Apparently, it once held artwork by the greatest artists of the time. We spent a good hour looking at the detail of the structure and you could easily stay longer.

3. Theatre of Dionysos & Odeion of Herodes Atticus

Theatre of Dionysos

This amphitheatre is beautifully preserved! The seats were carved out of the rock that surrounds them. Our tour guide said that at one point around 5,500 people could sit comfortably to enjoy the performances. I am a sucker for a beautiful theatre! The only way to see this amazing structure from a reasonable distance is from the Acropolis, so keep that in mind!

4. Monastiraki

Near Monastiraki

At the bottom of the Acropolis, you’ll come to the Monastiraki. Here you will find many stores and a huge flea market. It is great for the culture, shopping and a quick snack, too!

Helpful tip: Beware of pickpockets!

5. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Before being partially destroyed by an Earthquake, the Temple of Zeus was larger than the Parthenon. We read that some of the structure was taken apart to be used as building materials. It would have been incredible to see it in its full glory! As is, you still feel like a tiny ant next to it!

6. Plaka

Once you’ve digested the amazing architecture and history from the above-listed places, you will undoubtedly have worked up an appetite! Therefore you’ll definitely want to check out Plaka. It’s Athen’s old town and filled with cobblestone streets and red-tiled roofs (I’m such a sucker for cobblestone streets!!). This is a tourist hot spot and can get busy, but don’t let that put you off because the charm alone is worth it. There are so many great cafés and outdoor restaurants and it’s great for shopping, too! Just make sure you go down all the side streets and don’t just stick to the main road. From Plaka, you can also visit many surrounding museums- if that’s your sort of thing. I regret not taking pictures here, but I was so engulfed by the beauty that I simply forgot!

Helpful Tip: Beware of pickpockets!

Athens Square

7. The National Garden

This garden was beautiful! Full of trees, birds, blooming flowers, enchanting pathways and old ancient ruins. As soon as you walk in there is an overwhelming smell of eucalyptus trees! If you are visiting in the summer, you need to plan a picnic on the grounds.

8. Hadrian’s Arch

Athens Arch

At first glance, Hadrian’s Arch could be mistaken for any old arch. However, it is said that this arch significantly divided old Athens and new Athens. There are two different inscriptions on either side of the arch. One side read “This is the city of Hadrian and not Theseus” and the other side reads “This is Athens the ancient city of Theseus”. I wonder what was going on there!

9. Ancient Agora

This was once the heart of Athens. There is so much to see and discover in the Ancient Agora. Make sure you go to the restored Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles, built in 1000 AD. Along with the Temple of Haephestus, it is the only building in the Agora to survive intact. Wow!

Fun fact: The ancient Agora is one of the few ancient places in the world that has a train go straight through it! Agora means marketplace and at one point, this was a buzzing marketplace and a hotspot for many visitors.

Helpful Tip: If you have already visited the Acropolis, you can use your ticket to get into the Agora!

Agora

10. Roman Agora

The Roman Agora was not as big as the Ancient Agora but it is still a great archaeological site worth visiting. Over the years, houses were built on top of it. As a result of this, when the site was excavated many artefacts from different periods were found under houses and ruins. The most famous building in the Roman Agora is the Tower of the Winds. You can learn more about it the Agoras here.

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Continue reading for 10 more activities!

11. Kerameikos

Firstly, you have to visit an ancient cemetery when in Athens. Secondly, people say that I’m obsessed with cemeteries. I wouldn’t say that, but I do love paying my respects. I always find it fascinating when the date is hundreds of years ago. Lastly, in the cemetery, you will see Athens ruins of the city walls and gates and can choose to go to the Kerameikos Museum.

12. Philopappos Hill

I never turn down a good hike or a nice walk and you shouldn’t either! Once you get to the top of the hill you will take in beautiful views of the sea and of the Acropolis below!

13. The Acropolis Museum

Acropolis view

Love, love, loved this Museum! As you walk up, you can’t help but look down at your feet and to the glass floor below, where you see old excavated grounds. There are so many sculptures, artefacts, building materials, and presentations. Honestly, there is so much to see here. Additionally, there is an evening gig where you can enjoy dinner in the Museum and see the views of the Acropolis lit up in the evening.

Museum Floor

14. Panathenaic Stadium

Hello Olympic Games! This stadium, constructed in 330 BC has been home to many different ‘Games’. Starting with the Panathenaic Games, modern Olympic Games, Intercalated Games, FIBA, Sports, Music performances, etc. Read all about it when you visit and pick up a leaflet!

15. Syntagma Square

Now called Constitution Square. We sat and had lunch in the square while people-watching, of course! The well-photographed Parliament Building is here, which was formerly the Royal Palace! If you visit Athens at the weekend, be sure to come to the Square at 11 on a Sunday for the changing of the Guard.

16. National Archaelogical Museum 

Love Archeology and historical findings? Then you definitely need to visit the Athens National Archaeological Museum. Fun fact: In WW2 the museum’s collection was boxed up and buried underground!

17. Mount Lycabettus

Pack your hiking boots! Or, at least good comfortable footwear. We loved hiking to the top of this mountain to take in the beautiful views of Athens. In fact, it was one of our most enjoyable things to do in Athens, but doing so in flip flops was VERY painful. You can pack a snack and eat at the observation deck or enjoy lunch at the restaurant at the top of the mountain.

Athens

18. Temple of Poseidon

The Temple of Poseidon was recommended to us by many and we were so glad we listened. It is a very popular tourist destination, so I don’t recommend going midday, as we did, because it gets very busy. There are many columns still standing after all this time. When you’re there, don’t forget to look out at the Aegean Sea.

19. Kaisarianu Monastery

Looking for some respite from the sun? This Monastery would be good to visit! It is hidden away in the trees. The Monastery was dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary and built-in that location because of the water supply. There is a courtyard where you can see the mill and where the Monk’s used to stay.

20. Monastery of Daphni

If you love mosaics, then you won’t regret visiting the Monastery of Daphni. It’s filled with them! It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the beautiful mosaics that are there.

Of course, if you can squeeze it in, definitely do a food tour! Sadly, we ran out of time, but if I ever visit Athens again, I will definitely be booking a food tour for my first day there.

You can read all about my blog post on my Top 10 Greek Foods that will make your mouth water here.

Fave foods Athens

So, have you packed your bags yet? Athens needs to be on your bucket list this year. There are so many things to do in Athens, and locals to meet that enhance your trip! Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to grab my free carry on checklist!

Have you been to Athens? Is there anything you would add to my list of the top 20 things to do in Athens? Or take off? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for more Greek inspo? Check out my guest blog post on TravelInsightpedia called ‘Greek Street Food: The Best 6 You Have to Try’

PS: I also wrote a fun 4-day Itinerary to Hvar, Croatia if you want to visit another place full of history! You can read my 4 Day Itinerary to Hvar here or check out my Ultimate Travel Guide to Hvar here!

Love,

T x

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4 Comments

  1. Marlene Hitchcox
    21 March 2021 / 1:26 PM

    That was wonderful. We do have Greek night every couple of weeks but I would love to try all these dishes there. Hopefully when we visit you we can take a week and go somewhere in Greece.

    • 21 March 2021 / 3:36 PM

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Marlene. Greek night is a staple in our house, too! We will definitely plan a trip to Greece when you are here. 🙂

  2. 14 September 2021 / 7:23 PM

    This is a great list! I cannot wait to go back to Athens and check out some of these places I didn’t have time to see on my last visit!

    • 15 September 2021 / 7:04 PM

      Thank you, Michelle! I’m so glad you found it helpful. There are some real hidden gems in Athens, that’s for sure!

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