The Highlights of Athens
As the capital of Greece and the birthplace of Western civilization, Athens has a long and rich history. Athens is one of the oldest and most culturally significant cities in the world.
Today, the city is home to some of the most iconic ancient ruins, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Zeus. The rich culture across all corners of the city has made this a popular destination for history-buffs and sun-seekers alike.
Athens is also a great place to enjoy traditional Greek cuisine, marvel at the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, and experience the vibrant nightlife. Whether you're interested in exploring its ancient past or simply enjoying its modern charms, Athens is a must-visit destination.
Here are some of the highlights that you simply can’t miss on your next trip to Athens.
Explore the ruins of the Acropolis
If Athens is famous for anything, it would be the ancient Greek ruins. No visit to Athens is complete without exploring the ruins of the Acropolis.
Located above the city, this ancient citadel has been a symbol of the city for centuries, and it offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Athens.
The Acropolis is home to some of the most iconic buildings in Greece, including the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. It was also the site of many important historical events, such as the Peloponnesian War and the Persian Wars.
Make sure to pack your walking shoes. Because you could spend hours exploring these ancient ruins and soak in the incredible history of Athens and ancient Greece.
The Acropolis is also a great place to enjoy panoramic views of the city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Acropolis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Athens–an absolute must-do on any trip to Greece.
Get lost in the local museums
It’s no surprise that Athens is home to some of the most renowned museums in the world.
The Acropolis MuseumLink opens in a new tab, for example, houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Acropolis archeological site, including the Parthenon frieze.
The Archaeological MuseumLink opens in a new tab of Athens is another must-see. The museum hosts a vast array of Greek and Roman sculptures, vases, and jewelry. With its vast array of exhibits, the National Archaeological Museum is one of the largest museums in Europe and is certain to dazzle and educate visitors of all ages.
Other popular museums include the Benaki MuseumLink opens in a new tab, which showcases the city's Byzantine and Ottoman history, and the Museum of Cycladic Art, focusing on Aegean and Cyprus cultures.
The museums of Athens are perfect for rainy days or even just beating the heat in the summer months.
Climb to the top of Mount Lycabettus
If you're looking for an incredible view of Athens, there's no better place to start than Mount Lycabettus. With views of the Acropolis across to the Mediterranean sea, Lycabettus hill is the perfect sunset or sunrise destination.
Towering over the city of Athens, at 300 meters tall, Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in the city. There are a few ways to get to the top.
The first option is to grab your hiking shoes and hike to the top. There's a path that leads all the way to the top and will take most visitors under an hour.
Another option is the Lycabettus Funicular railway, which will get you to the top in less than 5 minutes.
Once you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. You can see all of Athens stretching out before you, from the Acropolis to the Parthenon. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Aegean Sea in the distance.
Gather at the Ancient Agora of Athens
In ancient Greece, agoras served as a gathering place for people to meet, socialize, and conduct business. One of the best examples is the Ancient Agora just outside of the Acropolis.
Like the Acropolis, the Agora is an important archaeological site.
When visiting the Ancient Agora, make sure to take some time to explore the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best-preserved temples from the Classical period.
Another can’t-miss spot is the Stoa of Attalos. Reconstructed in 1956, walking through this magnificent, covered walkway is a great way to appreciate the architecture and Greek history. The Stoa of Attalos is also home to the Agora Museum.
Spend a night on the town
Athens is known for its bustling nightlife, so you know you’re in for a good time. Get to know the locals and enjoy everything Athens has to offer with a night out.
Whether you're looking for a lively bar scene or a quiet place to enjoy a meal and some drinks, you'll find plenty of options in Athens. And if you're looking to keep the party going all night, there are plenty of clubs and late-night venues to choose from.
Stroll the local markets and squares
Athens is a shopper's paradise, with an array of markets and squares offering everything from bargains on local produce to designer fashion.
The Athens Central Market is the ideal place to pick up fresh produce and traditional Greek delicacies. From fishmongers and butchers, to local coffee you’ll want to take some time exploring everything Central Market has to offer.
Afterward, head over to Monastiraki Square for the perfect spot for people-watching and browsing souvenirs to take home with you. Or Avysinias Square for an incredible selection of unique and cultural goods, from pottery to antiques.
For those who want to shop like a local, head to the Kotzia Flea Market, where you can find everything from vintage clothes to antique furniture. Make sure to leave room in your suitcase, you’re almost guaranteed to find something to take home from Athens.
Indulge in Greek and Mediterranean flavors
Sure, when you think of Greek food, the first thing that probably comes to your mind might be souvlaki. But from fine dining to street foods, the traditional Greek food options throughout Athens are plentiful.
Athens is known for its cuisine that comes from the various cultures that have inhabited the city throughout its long history. In addition to Greek eats, you’ll also find many Turkish and Italian influences as you travel and dine through Athens.
Some of the most famous Greek dishes you’ll want to try in Athens include kalamarakia (fried squid), dolma (stuffed vine leaves), and moussaka (a casserole made with eggplant and ground lamb).
Don’t forget to enjoy a traditional Greek mezze–a traditional meal of small plates designed to share with family or friends.
If you're looking for something sweet, be sure to try baklava, a dessert made with phyllo dough, nuts, and honey.
Shop the streets of Ermou
The cobblestone street of Ermou is one of the most popular and famous shopping streets in the city. This picturesque street located in the Plaka neighborhood is worth a visit alone.
From high-end shops selling designer clothes, shoes, and accessories to local Greek shops, you could spend hours browsing the stores or exploring the local architecture. Ermou Street is the perfect place whether you’re taking part in some serious shopping or just window shopping.
Need a break? There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, whether you want a quick snack from a street vendor or a sit-down meal at a local taverna.
Escape to the beach
No trip to Greece is complete without spending some time at the beach.
While the city of Athens is full of things to see and do, sometimes it's nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy some time near the crystal blue Mediterranean waters.
Luckily, there are plenty of great sandy beaches near Athens that are perfect for a day trip. Whether you're looking for a place to relax and soak up the sun or you want to get active with some swimming, you'll find everything you need within the Greater Athens area.
Popular beaches nearby include Vouliagmeni Beach and Voula Beach. In the summer months, beach clubs can often be busy–so make sure to book in advance.
And then there’s the many wonderful islandsLink opens in a new tab, easily accessible via boat from Athens.
Enjoy your next trip to Athens
It’s no surprise that Athens is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. From the unique culture to the incredible food, a trip to Athens should be at the top of your bucket list.
Whether you love history or want to party it up with the locals–there’s something for everyone in the city of Athens.
Ready to take off to Athens? PLAY can take you there. Start planning your trip to Athens today.