Athens is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. You could say that it is because of their unique architecture, prominent art and history, and vibrant new wave culture. From its deep-seated classical background now comes a modern influence brought about by young Athenians, creating a whole new energy in the city.
Based on how we’ve known it for the longest time, Athens is a city filled with ruins and historical monuments. What we didn’t notice is that in the last few years, the city has evolved with hidden gems of modern establishments. Younger generations of locals have started bringing in design collectives, pop-up restaurants, and guesthouses.
In this travel guide, you will find the must-visit places and activities you have to experience in Athens to make the most out of your trip. We have got you covered from touring the prominent historical landmarks, to learning about the creative contemporary side of the city.
The Acropolis is easily the most important attraction in the city. It is an ancient citadel located on top of a hill that overlooks the entire city. The Acropolis is comprised of multiple structures from the fifth century before Christ. They are now partly in ruins, yet the grandiose remains the same.
The most famous attraction inside the Acropolis is the Parthenon. It used to be a temple dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and the city’s patron. Other structures you should visit in the Acropolis include the Athena Nike Temple, the Herodes Theater, Erechtheum, and Propylaea.
Spend a few hours in the Acropolis especially if it’s your first time to visit Greece. It is also advisable to take a tour group if you would like to know more about the stories behind each structure. The experience becomes deeper as you hear about its deep-seated history.
The Acropolis Museum is modern glass building that stands out on the south side of the Acropolis. It is recognized as one of the best museums in the world. The museum stands alongside historical landmarks such as the Parthenon and the Acropolis Hills. The stunning view of this area perfectly depicts the marriage of classic and contemporary Athens.
The Acropolis Museum houses more than 4,000 relics from various archaeological sites. If you are looking for a more modern experience in touring and learning about Athens, the Acropolis Museum is perfect for you.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus was once the largest temple in Greece where Athenians worshiped the head of the Olympian gods. At present day, only a few pillars stand. However, they still stand tall and proud with the impressive detail made by the masterful craftsmanship of the Greeks.
The Panathenaic Stadium is the only stadium in the world that is made of marble. Standing on top of the stadium shows its grandness and the magnificence of how artistically it was built. It represents how rich Athens is and how they have been valuing physical sport for centuries. The Panathenaic Stadium is where the Olympics was held in 2004.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The changing of guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the main tourist attractions in Athens. It is a well-choreographed tradition that happens every hour, daily. There is a grander performance of the guard change ritual on Sundays, which you may want to see.
Lycabettus Hills is the highest point in the center of the city. It is the best viewpoint of Athens where you can see the Acropolis. At the top there is a restaurant, a chapel, and an amphitheater. Take the drive up the hill to appreciate the stunning views and the fresh air. It is perfect if you want to take a pause and unwind away from the crowded tourist spots.
Psiri is not on the typical Athens itinerary because it’s a low-key neighborhood that features a lot of street art. And we mean A LOT. Upon every turn, you will find yourself gushing over huge wall murals and creative installations. It is quite different from the Athens that you have been expecting after touring all those historical monuments.
Psiri offers a unique, hip vibe, sprawling with cafes, restaurants, and bars. The atmosphere is refreshing and the neighborhood is very charming. This area gives that authentic vibe, compared to the other touristy neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki.
The rooftop bars of Monastiraki Square has the best views of the Acropolis. Who doesn’t want a cold drink while watching the sun go down in one of the most beautiful cities in the world? With the Parthenon in the background, the sky changes its color during that magic hour. It is a priceless moment that you will surely cherish.
There are a few bars to choose from and because it is a famous spot, quite a lot of tourists and locals flock the area. Best to beat the crowd and go a bit early to secure a table with a good view.