Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Athens (Greece)
Athens: a mighty city in Ancient Greece, a significant one in modern Greece. With a long history, starting thousands of years ago, no wonder Athens possesses so many historical sites that have attracted millions of visitors.
After the Economic Depression hit Greece in 2010, you may probably wonder if Athens is worth visiting. The answer is: YES! You will still be able to discover lots of fascinating things to see in Athens. There are loads of exciting things to do in Athens.
Since it’s decorated with plenty of historical buildings, Athens tourism always manages to attract plenty of tourists each year. The cool to warm weather has made it pleasant to go sightseeing in Rhodes.
If you are thinking of having a trip to Athens, hopefully, this Athens travel guide providing the information of what to do in Athens will help you decide whether Athens is worth visiting or not.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Athens
- 1.1 Make Way to The World’s Most Significant Acropolis
- 1.2 Explore The Very Heart of Athens
- 1.3 Take A Stroll in The Charming Historical Neighborhood
- 1.4 Let Your Kids Explore
- 1.5 Dance Your Troubles Away
- 1.6 Watch Movies Under The Stars
- 1.7 Soothe Your Soul in The Beautiful Nature
- 1.8 Head to The Marina
- 1.9 Join An Excursion
- 1.10 Fill Your Stomach
- 2 Practical information and Athens travel tips
- 3 Where to stay in Athens?
- 4 Short on time? Go sightseeing in Athens on a tour!
Experiences and top things to do in Athens
Make Way to The World’s Most Significant Acropolis
With evidence found in the site, proving that the area has been inhabited since the fourth millennium BC, the Acropolis of Athens has become one of the oldest citadels in the world. Nevertheless, the constructions for this acropolis’ most remarkable buildings did not start until the 5th century BC.
It was Pericles who initiated and supervised these projects. Thanks to this Athens general, Athens tourism is loaded with plenty of fantastic Athens landmarks that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including this Athens Acropolis.
Situated on the top of an elevated rocky outcrop in Athens, The Acropolis has an essential role in the history of Ancient Greece, and you can see why as you visit this Athens tourist attraction.
There are plenty of majestic ancient buildings with mind-blowing architecture found here. One of them is Parthenon, a temple dedicated to honoring the Greek Goddess, Athena, which many Athens travel guides consider as the crown of this historical site.
Other notable buildings in this Athens point of interest are the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.
On the southeastern slope of the Acropolis, you can find one of the most educative places to visit in Athens, The Acropolis Museum. This museum is established to preserve and showcase all the artifacts found in the Acropolis. Up to the present day, there are approximately more than four thousand objects kept in this Athens museum.
Explore The Very Heart of Athens
In the center of Athens lies a square called Monastiraki that has become one of the liveliest Athens points of interest. There are several landmarks of Athens found in this neighborhood.
The Tzisdarakis Mosque that was built in 1759 is one of the ancient sites that can be found here. This mosque also serves as a crafts museum, showcasing collections of pottery from Greece, Cyprus, Ottoman, and Turkey.
Monastiraki is also a famous shopping area. There are hundreds of shops lining here, selling almost anything, including souvenirs for tourists and antiques. On Sundays, you will also find more sellers here using tables or carpets placed on the Monastiraki Square for displaying their merchandise.
Take A Stroll in The Charming Historical Neighborhood
In the slope of Acropolis, you will find Plaka, one of the best Athens tourist attractions. This charming historic neighborhood is one of the most scenic points of interest to go sightseeing in Athens. The labyrinth is lined with neoclassical buildings that will fascinate you.
Not only great for sightseeing and casual stroll, but Plaka is also one of the best places to visit in Athens since this area is packed with plenty of interesting museums. You can find out more about the history of Athens in Museum of The History of Athens University. Or, if music interests you, you should visit Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments.
Let Your Kids Explore
Still located in Plaka neighborhood, you will find another fascinating museum that is dedicated to children. The museum is called Hellenic Children’s Museum.
Founded in 1987, the purpose of this Athens museum is to give a chance for children to explore as many things as possible, giving them the best ways to learn. Your kids can learn how to cook and bake in the Kitchen.
The Market has several tiny shops, giving chances for the kids to role-play activities. There is a room dedicated to babies and toddlers that is filled with toys suitable for children that age.
There are still some other unusual rooms that your kids will love, including a bubble room where they can play with soap and water, trying to make bubbles.
If you visit Athens with your kids, you should take them here. Hellenic Children’s Museum is undoubtedly one of the best family-friendly Athens tourist attractions.
Dance Your Troubles Away
Dancing has been admitted as one of the best ways to reduce our stress level, and what can be more fun than learning traditional Greek dance during your trip to Athens? This activity can be one of the most exciting things to do in Athens.
Several places in Athens offer Greek dance lessons to tourists. The most famous place where you can take up Greek dance lesson is the Dora Stratou Theater. This theater is situated opposite one of the most impressive Athens points of interest, the Acropolis of Athens. Here, you can see entertaining performances by talented Greek dancers. Public and private dancing classes are available here.
You will also find some tours in Athens offering dinner and dancing packages. During this kind of Athens tours, you will be served some fantastic traditional Greek cuisine, and you are invited to join their celebratory dance afterward.
Watch Movies Under The Stars
If you take a trip to Athens during the summer, one the best Athens things to do is watching movies in open-air cinemas. What can be more romantic than watching a movie under the blanket of a starry sky? Athens has several amazing outdoor cinemas that you can visit.
Cine Thisseion is the oldest operating open-air cinema in Athens. Located near the Acropolis, Cine Thisseion is the locals’ favorite spot to spend their summer nights.
Another impressive open-air cinema in Athens is Cine Paris. You should go to the Plaka region to get to this Athens outdoor cinema. Opens from May to September, this cinema mostly play contemporary movies.
Soothe Your Soul in The Beautiful Nature
If you are longing for an oasis to get away from the crowded Athens tourist attraction, it means you need to go to Athens National Garden. Located in the center of the city, National Garden provides you 15.5 hectares of lush greenery with breathtaking landscape.
Constructed under the order of Queen Amalia, this garden was formerly named the Royal Garden. Not only decorated with beautiful plants, but the park also houses some ancient ruins and busts of influential people.
Inside the National Garden, you will find Botanical Museum. If you travel to Athens with your kids, they can read some books in the garden’s library or play in the children’s playground.
The National Garden opens from sunset to sunrise every day.
Head to The Marina
If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of the sea, try to go to Flisvos, a beautiful marina in Athens. Recently renovated, the Flisvos marina has become one of the most iconic places to visit in Athens.
You can enjoy a casual walk here, and watch amazing yachts docking here, making it a perfect spot to go sightseeing in Athens. The marina is most beautiful at nights during which this Athens points of interest is decoratively lit.
You can have romantic dinners here as there are some fantastic restaurants available in Flisvos marina. There are also some cafes and ice cream parlor that you can visit here.
Flisvos Marina is also one of the best kid-friendly Athens tourist attractions because children can play safely in the marina playground.
Join An Excursion
Participating in an excursion program is one of the most entertaining ideas for your what to do in Athens list.
There are lots of enjoyable tours in Athens that you can choose, from cultural tours to yachting excursions, from only several hours tours to several days tours from Athens.
While browsing for available tours in Athens, do not forget to check what the prices have included, so you will be able to prepare all the things needed for the excursion.
Fill Your Stomach
As the capital city of Greece, Athens has an interesting culinary scene. There are plenty of dining places to visit in Athens selling many kinds of food. Since you are in Athens, trying authentic Greek food is one of the best things to do in Athens.
To get traditional Greek food in an authentic setting, try to dine in a taverna. Tis Theatrou to Steki is one of the best tavernas that you can visit in Athens.
You can also get a table at Diporto, an old restaurant in downtown Athens which has been serving Greek food since 1887.
Please notice that many restaurants in Athens are closed on Mondays. Some Athens restaurants do not accept credit cards, so make sure you bring enough cash to pay for your meal.
Practical information and Athens travel tips
Why should you visit Athens?
The historic city of Athens still attracts many tourists to explore many many years old historical places. Athens is the capital city of Greece and a must-visit destination in Europe for history, art, culture, and old architect lovers around. Many beautiful landmarks from the fifth century will take you back to the Roman era when ancient Greece used to be the powerful empire in the world. There are many top class museums to explore in Athens. You’ll also love to shop for handmade souvenirs and stylish clothing from many local fashion boutique houses. There are also many trendy cafes, restaurants, and bars to have food and drinks.
When is the best time to visit Athens?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season and you can expect big tourist crowds around this time of the year
- July to August is too hot
- May, the beginning of summer is the good time to visit
- You can witness Athens and Epidaurus Festival during this time
- The average temperature is 30°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- September to November is the best time to enjoy your trip in Athens
- The weather is warm
- Towards the end of autumn and the beginning of winter starts to be a bit rainier
- Hotel room rates and airfare dropped during this time
- Expect a fewer crowd of tourists
- Winter (December to February)
- The weather is mild cold and sometimes rainy
- You can also expect snowfall
- The temperature rarely goes down below -5°C
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- Spring (March to April)
- March is the perfect time to visit Athens
- The weather starts to be warmer
- Trees are starting to bloom and there’s more sunshine
- Hotel room rates and airfare dropped this time
- You can enjoy the religious event Easter during this time
Do you need a visa for Athens?
Greece is part of the Schengen area and citizens of EU group of countries can freely enter while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days. You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Athens?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.