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Best things to do in Athens

Discover the city according to locals. Find the best things to do, places to eat, and get priceless advice from the people who live here.

History Museum
“the new Acropolis Museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis. The new Museum offers all the amenities expected in an international museum of the 21st century. After crossing the ground floor lobby towards the turn styles of the Museum, the first collection lies before the visitor. An ascending, wide glass-floored gallery houses finds from the slopes of the Acropolis. The occasionally transparent floor provides a view of the archaeological excavation, while its upward slope alludes to the ascent to the Acropolis. The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis houses finds from the sanctuaries that were founded on the slopes of the Acropolis, as well as objects that Athenians used in everyday life from all historic periods. On the left hand side, finds from some of the key sanctuaries of the slopes are exhibited. On the right hand side, finds from the smaller sanctuaries and settlements that developed on the slopes of the Hill are displayed. In antiquity, the slopes of the Sacred Rock constituted the transition zone between the city and its most famous sanctuary. This was the area where official and popular cults, as well as large and small sanctuaries existed alongside private houses. An ancient Athenian neighbourhood is incorporated in a unique way in the Acropolis Museum architecture as yet another exhibit which converses with the masterpieces of the ancient Greek civilization presented in its galleries. Nesting on the gentle south slope of the rock, it houses life and human activities from the 4th millennium BC until the 12th cent. AD. Streets, residences, baths, workshops and tombs compose the complex image of archaeological remains. Amongst them those of late antiquity are the best preserved. Summer season hours (1 April - 31 October) Monday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (last admission: 3:30 p.m.) Tuesday - Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (last admission: 7:30 p.m.) Friday 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (last admission: 9:30 p.m.) Winter season hours (1 November - 31 March) Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (last admission: 4:30 p.m.) Friday 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (last admission: 9:30 p.m.) Saturday - Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (last admission: 7:30 p.m.)”
433 locals recommend
Hill
“Historic place with traits of ancient Greece everywhere. The Parthenon. Many tourist shops, cafeterias, restaurants and sightseeings. ”
344 locals recommend
History Museum
“The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest museum in Greece and is housed in a neoclassical 19th-century building. It’s one of the most interesting museums to visit, packed with more than 11,000 exhibits showcasing Greek civilisation from the beginnings of pre-history to late antiquity. ”
270 locals recommend
Park
“You can get a break between visiting historical places of Athens, A lot of high trees to protect you from the sun.”
276 locals recommend
Track Stadium
“The stadium of the first modern Olympics. It's the finish line of the Athen's Classic Marathon. ”
225 locals recommend
Neighbourhood
“Plaka is without a doubt one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Athens, with its narrow streets, lovely neoclassical buildings, small cafes, traditional tavernas, souvenir shops and ancient ruins in almost every corner. Plaka is in the heart of the center of Athens, just under the Acropolis hill, yet has a totally different air than the rest of the city center, creating a feeling of nostalgia of the old Athens. Even though it is very commercial and popular with tourists, it is the ideal place to enjoy a nice walk, as there are plenty of things to do and see, while strolling around its small pedestrian streets. In this post, you will find suggestions on how to spend a day and what to do and see in Plaka neighborhood in Athens! Plaka is considered the area that developed around the ancient Agora of Athens and is the oldest district in Athens, as it has been continuously inhabited for around three thousand years. Thus, Plaka has a long history and has played an important part in Athenian life, with many famous people having walked along its streets, from Pericles and Alexander the Great to Lord Elgin and Lord Byron, while many well-known Greek writers, actors and artists have lived here, like Giorgos Seferis, Kostis Palamas and Melina Merkouri to name a few. When Athens was under the Ottoman rule, Plaka was the known as the "Turkish quarter of Athens" with many historical buildings dating back to this period like the Fethiye Mosque and the Madrasa Islamic school on Pelopida street. During 1884 a large part of Plaka burned down due to a fire, giving the opportunity for extensive archaeological work in the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s library, while excavations in the area have been conducted ever since. Of course, major part of your visit to Plaka will be archaeology, which will be visible to you as you stroll around. The Roman Agora, built between 19-11 BC as an expansion of the ancient Agora to the East, from donations of Julius Caesar and Augustus, cannot go unnoticeable. There are many interesting structures and buildings in the archaeological site, like the Fethiye Mosque, the Agoranomion and the Tower of the Winds, a 12-meter-tall clocktower designed by the astronomer Andronikos of Cyrrhos, considered the first ever meteorological station, and worked as a sundial, telling the time of the day by the position of the Sun in the sky, a waterclock (with water coming down from the Acropolis) and a wind vane (in antiquity a Triton-shaped weathervane topped the structure). Furthermore, opposite the church of Ayia Aikaterini in Plaka, you can stop by the Choragic Monument of Lysikrates, accessible and free to everyone. Lysikrates was a wealthy patron of theatrical plays performed in the theater of Dionysus. He built this monument to commemorate the first prize he won in 335/334 BC. In 1658 a French Capuchin monastery was built on this site, where Lord Byron also stayed during his second visit to Greece. In 1818 the first tomatoes ever in Greece were planted in the monastery’s garden! As far as shopping is concerned, Plaka is your souvenir shop paradise. Especially on Adrianou street you will find all kinds of souvenir shops, with Greek local products, jewellery stores, t-shirt shops, you name it. Even though there are also the typical tacky touristic items, you can also find some good quality Greek products and souvenirs, mentioned in our list. In Elaias Gi (Adrianou 122) and Evonon (Adrianou 124) you can find a big selection of good quality Greek olive oil. There is no better tasting extra virgin olive oil than the one produced in Greece, and I am not prejudiced because I am Greek. In these shops you will also find olive tree-based products, like soaps, kitchenware and other nice items. If you want to purchase ouzo, then on Adrianou 120 you will find the shop of Mr. Agelos, who has a huge variety of different brands of ouzo, some of them being difficult to find elsewhere. You will also find many jewellery shops, some of them being artist-owned with stunning handmade pieces, like Byzantino, where they make their own gold jewellery. ”
279 locals recommend
Historic Site
“The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a former colossal temple at the center of the Greek capital Athens. It was dedicated to "Olympian" Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods. ”
136 locals recommend
Historic Site
“Located on the northwest side of the Acropolis lies Ancient Agora. It is home to various monuments such as Stoa Poikile, Temple of Hephaestus, Mitroo, Tholos, Stoa of Attalos, Vouleftirion and the Altar of the Twelve Gods.”
109 locals recommend
Liquor Store
“If you start at the top of Syntagma Square and walk down the steps and past the fountain, at the bottom of the square is the beginning of Ermou Street, a paradise for those who live to shop. ”
191 locals recommend
Other Great Outdoors
“Also called the Hill of the Muses, Filopappou Hill – along with the hills of the Pnyx and the Nymphs – is a somewhat wild, pine-shaded spot that's good for a stroll, especially at sunset. The hill also gives some of the best vantage points for photographing the Acropolis, and views to the Saronic Gulf.”
134 locals recommend
Historic Site
“The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization.”
94 locals recommend
Museum
“The Benaki Museum, established and endowed in 1930 by Antonis Benakis in memory of his father Emmanuel Benakis, is housed in the Benakis family mansion in downtown Athens, Greece. The museum houses Greek works of art from the prehistorical to the modern times, an extensive collection of Asian art, hosts periodic exhibitions and maintains a state-of-the-art restoration and conservation workshop. Although the museum initially housed a collection that included Islamic art, Chinese porcelain and exhibits on toys, its 2000 re-opening led to the creation of satellite museums that focused on specific collections, allowing the main museum to focus on Greek culture over the span of the country's history.”
143 locals recommend
Other Great Outdoors
“Climb up this hill. You can do it either on foot or using the comfortable cable car built inside. At the top, you will find a small but very important church and you can enjoy a 360 ° panorama”
195 locals recommend
Plaza
“Monastiraki is full of shops and restaurants of every kind. Always busy with lots of people. Ideal place for tourists.”
119 locals recommend
Neighbourhood
“There aren’t many places which showcase so perfectly the multi-layered mix of cultures which we call Greek civilization, like Monastiraki square. It is situated north of Plaka, the traditional neighborhood under the Acropolis, and right next to the busy junction of two central streets, Ermou and Athinas. Standing in the middle of the square and looking around, you immediately perceive the diversity of the buildings which are visible. On one side you have the Ottoman-era mosque of Tzistarakis and on the other, the orthodox church of the “Dormition of the Virgin Mary of Athens”. The pillars of Hadrian’s Library, built in the 2nd century A.D., can be seen through and next to the arches of the Mosque, while – directly above them – the imposing Acropolis dominates the backdrop. Several neoclassical buildings which surround the square or line Athinas street, including the Metro Station, add yet another era to the list of the ones already represented in this limited space. In other words, you are standing in the middle of a miniature architectural representation of the melting pot of cultures that have passed from this land, which stands on the crossroads of three continents. Monastirakis' shops Despite the imposing historic buildings, the modern city still manages to shout its presence through the noise that comes from the busy shops and the people who crowd the square on a daily basis. Here you can find souvlaki places and Greek taverns, traditional “kafeneio” and modern cafés, Chinese-made souvenirs next to genuine Greek art pieces and shops that sell both real antiques of all kinds, as well as cheap imitations or even cheesy, fake ancient Greek hoplite helmets. Peddlers of various foods and snacks compete for premium spots and fill the air with smells of roasted chestnuts or fresh, pungent fruit, depending on the season. On one corner you might find youngsters beat-boxing and break-dancing, while on another, the sound of bouzouki from a tavern’s resident band tempts passers-by to start dancing the Zorba. Every other day a different street-performance act takes place and countless roaming buskers pass from here, covering all styles of music, from folk to jazz. Another characteristic feature of Monastiraki is the antiques- and flea- market which operates in the streets around and including Ermou and Ifestou and on Abyssinia square. Ages-old army surplus stores filled with all kinds of second-hand equipment, along with relics like old swords and broken guns, Nazi helmets and old war-medals of various kinds have been waiting here for as long I can remember. The range of things which can be sold or bought here is impressively wide; old books and magazines, vinyl records and cd’s, furniture, hand-made musical instruments of all kinds, leather bags or sandals, trendy clothing, souvenirs, collectibles and many more things you don’t really need – but possibly want to own – can keep you browsing for hours. Just don’t buy that “This is Sparta!” t-shirt, because you know my friend, this is not Sparta. To be accurate this is the exact opposite of Sparta… this is Athens! All in all, Monastiraki is one of few places in Athens that manages to convey this eternal city’s complex and multi-faceted character, as it encompasses social, gastronomic and historic elements in a generous bouquet that extends chronologically back to the ancient times. ”
168 locals recommend
Historic Site
“A Roman 161 A.D. build open air theater, by the athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla, that hosts plays and concerts from June till September each year.”
99 locals recommend