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13 must-see attractions of Athens

The capital of Greece invites you to explore it and learn about all the hidden secrets of its history, through many activities and sites. Athens will leave nobody indifferent, as there is always something to see and do. From 1the Acropolis to Kifissia, and from the ancient to the modern, Athens is one of the best once-in-a-lifetime destinations! The capital of culture, the city that birthed democracy, science and fine arts, opens its arms and welcomes you.

Discover the most important attractions of Athens

The Acropolis

The Acropolis is the most significant ancient monument of the western world and among the five most important of world history. The top of the rock of Acropolis has been adorned, for 2,500 years, by the imposing presence of the Parthenon. The temple of Parthenon has exquisite architecture, while awe is the only feeling that one is bound to experience while standing in front of the living history of our world. On the Sacred Rock you will also see finds that date back to 3,500 BC, such as the Erechtheion, the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Monument of Agrippa and more. Finally, from the Parthenon you have the chance to gaze at the wonderful view of the entire basin.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Every day 08:00-17:00 (30 minutes before closing).
Cost: Standard ticket 20€, Reduced 10€, Free for Children >18, Unemployed (Standard Combo for all public archaeological sites: 30€, Reduced 15€).

 The know-it-all says: Every year around 7 million people visit the Parthenon!

The Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum is one of the main points of interest, not only in Athens, but the entire Greece. Built under the shadow of the imposing Parthenon, it is today one of the best and most modern museums in the whole world. The artificial and natural light, in combination with the setting of the exhibits, offer the visitor a wonderful journey to one of the most important civilizations of Antiquity. The Acropolis Museum hosts exhibits across more than 14,000m², among which the ones that stand out the most are the Caryatids and the Parthenon Frieze. The building’s architecture and the hundreds of years old statues, fill the visitor with images and knowledge.

Note: It is important to book a tour so that you know what you are looking at.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Check the hours here.
Cost: General entrance 5€, Free for Unemploeyd, Students, Children >18.

 The know-it-all says: The white marble statues were once painted with vivid colors!

Plaka-Anafiotika

Welcome to the oldest –possibly- neighborhood of Europe, the beautiful Plaka. In the most picturesque area of Athens, with the low houses and the bougainvilleas, time seems to have stopped. The area is an oasis inside the chaos of the metropolis with its dozens of narrow alleys inviting you to get lost in the magic of old Athens. To a time when laternas, the milkman and the newspaper delivery boy were the only things that raised db levels! In the shadow of the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis you will also find a neighborhood that is the extension of Plaka, the Anafiotika. Through narrow, uphill cobbled roads and the Cycladic scenery, you will take a quick trip to…the Aegean.

Important: Escape the crowds and get lost inside the picturesque streets of the area. The quiet and colors will captivate you!

Suggested visit time: 4-5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: The neighborhood was built following the architectural style of Cyclades!

Hellenic Parliament

The former Palace of Otto and George has been the temple of Hellenic democracy during the last few decades. The building is accessible for individual visitors, with tours in many areas. In front of the Hellenic Parliament stands one of the most important attractions in Athens, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There you have the chance to watch the change of guard by the Evzones, which has no reason to envy the one at the Buckingham Palace. The change of guard takes place every hour, for all 24 hours of day, and lasts for about 15 minutes.

Important: Do not miss the change of guard on Sunday at 11 in the morning, when 120 Evzones create a one-of-a-kind spectacle! !

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Tour every Sunday 12:00 (upon reservation), Change of Guard daily, every one hour.
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: The construction of the palace cost 100,000 pounds, which were given by Louis from his personal fund as an interest-free loan!

Syntagma Square

The Syntagma Square is located in the heart of modern Athens, in front of the Hellenic Parliament. The large size, strategic location and beautiful structure render it a reference point for Athenians and tourists alike. The square hosts all the large gatherings, protests and demonstrations, while many historic moments (positive and not) have been written there, from the time it was constructed. The Syntagma Square is the busiest square in the entire country, while it is also the starting point for some of the most important streets of the city. Sit on a marble ledge and gaze at the people who pass by non-stop, even at night.

Suggested visit time: 30 minutes-1 hour
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: It is one of the 100 largest squares in the world!

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is the crown jewel of the capital, as it is probably the most beautiful building in Athens. The impeccable architecture, the organization, cleanliness and the view from the lush green terrace, make it an ideal destination for any time and season. It has a court, fountains, public computer areas, a library, a playground, an opera, café and restaurant. The Foundation, apart from the immense contribution to significant social issues, also offers daily tours around the building and park, as well as dozens of Free events. Get information about the events and reserve your spot HERE.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Every day 06:00-00:00 (More info HERE)
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: The energy canopy produces electric power of up to 2GWh per year!

Lycabettus

Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens, as it looks over the city from a height of 277 meters. At the top of the hill is the church of Saint Georgios, where you can take a few breaths or enjoy some quick coffee. Lycabettus offers unique, panoramic images of Athens, with the best location being, of course, the one facing the Acropolis and the port of Piraeus. The best time is before the sunset, when the capital is painted with all the colors of the sky, until it gets dressed in black and starts preparing for her evening outing.

Important: The climb up is very steep! Prefer to go up using the cable car and climb down on foot. The lovely landscape with the dense vegetation will fill you with images and fresh air.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Cable car: 7.5€ round-trip & 5€ single-trip ticket

 The know-it-all says: Athenians called it Lycabettus because they believed it was inhabited by wolves (λύκος, spelled lycos, in Greek)! (one of the versions)

National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum is one of the most important museums worldwide. The home of Hellenic history hosts more than 11,000(!) exhibits, the ones standing out the most being the statue of Zeus, Poseidon of Artemision, the golden mask of Agamemnon, the Adolescent and the Antikythera mechanism. The newly renovated museum has a functional and friendly image, while the exhibits are presented in an impeccable way and smooth flow. Before you go, make sure to have some coffee in its wonderful garden, accompanied by finds and mosaics, away from the intensity and noise of bustling Athens.

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Monday 13:00-20:00 & Tuesday-Sunday 09:00-16:00. Check the varying schedule HERE
Cost: General entrance 5€.

 The know-it-all says: It hosts exhibits that are older than 8,000 years!

Monastiraki

Monastiraki was, is and will always be the heart of Athens, its living history inside a few square meters. The old neighborhood may have lost the innocence and security of the past, yet it remains lively, spirited and commercial. Monastiraki is a timeless meeting point for Athenians, as well as a place of trade, with influence from the East. Apart from the newly renovated square, we also find the Avissinias Square, which hosts the antiques flea market every Sunday. In the streets around the squares you will find small shops with souvenirs, beads and jewelry, street sellers, antique stores and taverns. Visit it day and night.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: It got its name by the small chapel at the edge of the square, which is called Panagia Pantanassa and used to operate as a women’s monastery!

Ermou-Psyrri

Welcome to the most commercial street of Athens. The cobbled Ermou Street reminds something of Budapest’s Vaci Utca. It is busy all days of the week, but on weekends it is literally packed, with street artists entertaining the passers-by. On the intersecting streets there are lots of shops for coffee, snacks and food, so you can catch a few breaths (shopping is such a hard sport!). Just a stone’s throw away, we come across the picturesque neighborhood of Psyrri. Low apartment buildings, narrow streets, taverns, ouzo-shops and cafés keep it alive throughout the whole day and especially the night.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: Psyrri was a hangout for high-level figures such as Kings and ministers, as well as for plain workers!

Street Food-Kalamaki

Athens, like Thessaloniki, loves street food and the proof is the thousands of fast food establishments. Factors like the city’s fast pace, the soft spot for tasty-unhealthy delicacies and the low cost have landed fast food joints in the…stomachs of the locals. The easy and fast options of Street Food include hot dogs, gyros, sandwiches, burgers, tortillas, pizza, filled koulouri, crepes and more. But the one that has a special place in the hearts of Athenians is the kalamaki, a.k.a. souvlaki. The popular fast food delicacy consists of kalamaki, tomato, onion and yoghurt wrapped inside an oil-free pita. Enjoy.

Cost: 2 to 3.5€ for a pita wrap.

 The know-it-all says: It has its origins in the Aegean…Meat used to be grilled on skewers in Santorini 6,500 years ago!

Street Art in Athens

Athens hosts some of the best graffiti, while it is among the 5 best cities for street art in the world! A few of its most important pieces are the owl, Plato’s portrait, the eye, “Loukanikos”, the caged man and more. The only thing you ought to do is organize a nice plan and start your walk at Athens’ artistic neighborhoods. Another artwork that adorns the capital since 1988 is Dromeas. The 8-meter tall modern statue is located opposite of the National Library and looks like a runner in motion.

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: Dromeas is the most famous sculpture of modern Greece!

Athens Walking Tours

It is the most organized and easy way to get to know Athens and learn about its past, as well as contemporary history. Athens Walking Tours cover every taste with tours about culture, food, history, mythology and many attractions (40 options). Tours take place at morning-afternoon hours and include popular locations of the capital, such as the Acropolis and its museum, the Ancient Agora, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Parliament, the old town and more. There are also complete packages of 1-2-3-4 days so you can also meet Mycenae, Ancient Olympia, Poros, Hydra, Delphi and Meteora. Tours are carried out by experienced, certified guides, in small groups, while the skip line option makes your life easier.

Note: The tours are performed in English.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-6 hours (depending on the tour).
Open: Every day
Cost: 29-69€ (depending on the tour).

 The know-it-all says: The Acropolis of Athens is not the highest point in the city!

 


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