Many people visit Athens briefly on the way to a Greek island cruise, but the Greek capital itself has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained for much longer. Athens is featured in our best cities to visit in Europe post. Here are a few of the most popular things to do in Athens:
Probably the most well-known sight of Athens, you really can’t leave without visiting the Acropolis and the other famous buildings it includes, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena. Just a couple of years ago they opened the long-awaited Acropolis Museum nearby, in a modern but somehow suitable building, and combining the two gives you a better understanding of the importance of these ruins.
Parthenon at the Acropolis by Tilemahos Efthimidais
National Archaeological Museum
I’m pretty sure most people go to Athens expecting to see a few ancient things, so what better place to check out than the National Archaeological Museum? It’s a world-standard museum featuring Greek artifacts ranging from the prehistoric era through to late antiquity.
The Ancient Agora
Yes, more very old stuff, the Ancient Agora is a collection of of ruins of buildings from ancient times and includes Temple of Hephaestus which they say is one of the best examples of an ancient Greek temple. The Agora was, long long ago, the heart of Athens and these days it’s a particularly pleasant outing because there’s plenty of greenery scattered throughout the ruins.
Right in the middle of Athens, the Syntagma Square might already be quite familiar to you from the TV news when protests take place in Greece; it’s home to the Greek parliament house as well as the occasional protest, and you can watch a changing of the guard outside parliament every hour. One nice bonus at Syntagma Square is that there is high-speed free wireless internet access for everyone there!
Parliament building by wallyg
Speaking of squares, you can’t miss the Plaka either. Close to the Acropolis, the Plaka area is the historical part of Athens with narrow winding streets and plenty of old buildings, and heaps of atmosphere. This is a great place to go for a meal or a drink, especially at a typical Greek taverna.
Oldest bar in the Plaka by Rich Holeton
You can reach the top of Lycabettus Hill, the highest part of the city of Athens, either by funicular railway or taking an interesting, rambling walk. The views over Athens and to the Parthenon – complete with the sea in the background – are definitely photo-worthy.
View from Lycabettus Hill by tet_sy
Think of Athens and you can’t help but think of the Olympics, and Panathinaiko Stadium is a big part of where it all began. It’s built entirely of white marble and is really an impressive sight, and still gets used to day – but sometimes for events that the 1896 Olympians certainly wouldn’t have imagined like Metallica concerts!
Panathinaiko Stadium by nrares
Where to Stay in Athens
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