Athens, the capital of Greece, is a city with a rich history, a vibrant culture, and an unparalleled energy. With its iconic landmarks, delicious cuisine, and bustling nightlife, Athens offers a perfect blend of ancient and modern attractions that can satisfy any traveller’s interests.
Explore the Acropolis and the Parthenon
The Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is Athens’s most famous and iconic landmark. Located on a hill overlooking the city, the Acropolis is a collection of ancient ruins, including the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
The Parthenon, built in the 5th century BCE, is one of the world’s most famous and recognizable buildings. This ancient temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena and was the centre of the Athenian empire. Today, it symbolises Greek culture and civilization, attracting millions of visitors annually.
To explore the Acropolis and the Parthenon, you can take a guided tour or explore independently. The site is open every day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Visit the Acropolis Museum
After exploring the Acropolis and the Parthenon, you can visit the Acropolis Museum, located at the foot of the hill. This modern museum houses a collection of artefacts and sculptures from the Acropolis, including the famous Caryatids and the statues of young women that once held up the Erechtheion.
The museum also features a glass floor that reveals the excavations underneath, giving visitors a glimpse into the city’s ancient past.
Explore the Ancient Agora
The Ancient Agora, which was once the centre of Athenian political and social life, is a sprawling archaeological site that is home to several ancient ruins, including the Temple of Hephaestus, the Stoa of Attalos, and the Church of the Holy Apostles.
The Ancient Agora was once a bustling marketplace where Athenians gathered to trade goods, discuss politics, and socialize. Today, it is a popular destination for visitors who want to explore the city’s ancient history and learn more about the everyday life of the ancient Athenians.
Visit the National Archeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum in the city centre is one of the most important museums in Greece and the world. The museum houses a vast collection of artefacts and sculptures from ancient Greece, including the famous Mask of Agamemnon, the Antikythera mechanism, and the bronze statue of Zeus/Poseidon.
The museum also features a collection of frescoes, pottery, and jewellery, giving visitors a comprehensive view of ancient Greek art and culture.
Walk up Mouth Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens and offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding areas. Visitors can hike to the top of the mountain or take a cable car for a more relaxed experience. At the top is a chapel dedicated to Saint George, as well as a restaurant and cafe.
The best time to visit Mount Lycabettus is during sunset, with stunning views. It is also a great place to visit in the evening when the city lights up and the temperature cools.
Take a stroll in Plaka
Plaka is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Athens and is known for its narrow streets, traditional architecture, and charming atmosphere. Visitors can wander the winding alleys and discover small cafes, shops, and restaurants.
Plaka is also home to several museums, including the Museum of Greek Folk Art, the Museum of Greek Popular Instruments.
Enjoy the food
Athens is known for its delicious food and drink, and plenty of options exist. Some of the must-try dishes include souvlaki, moussaka, and spanakopita. For a sweet treat, try baklava or loukoumades, honey-soaked doughnut holes.
In addition to the traditional Greek cuisine, Athens also has a thriving coffee and cocktail scene. Visit a local cafe to try a Greek coffee or frappe, or head to a rooftop bar for a refreshing cocktail with a view.
Shop at the central market and Monastiraki Flea Market
The Athens Central Market, also known as the Varvakios Market, is a bustling indoor market in the city’s centre. It is a great place to experience the sights and sounds of Athens and sample some of the local produce, including fresh seafood, meat, and vegetables.
The Monastiraki Flea Market is a vibrant open-air market in the Monastiraki neighbourhood of Athens. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists and offers a wide range of products, including antiques, souvenirs, clothing, and jewellery.
Relax in the National Garden
The National Garden is a large public park in the centre of Athens. It was created in the 19th century and covers an area of 38 acres. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, admire the numerous statues and fountains, and relax on the benches.
Attend a performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Attending a performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Athens. The ancient amphitheatre is located on the south slope of the Acropolis and was built in the 2nd century AD by Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Roman senator. The venue has been restored and is still used for concerts and plays today.
One of the most memorable aspects of attending a performance at the Odeon is the stunning backdrop of the Acropolis. As the sun sets and the sky turns pink and orange, the ancient ruins are illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
It’s worth noting that the seating at the Odeon is all stone, so sitting on for an extended period can be uncomfortable. It’s recommended to bring a cushion or blanket to sit on. Additionally, it can get quite chilly in the evenings, so bringing a jacket or sweater is a good idea.