Top 10 Things to Do in Athens [with Tickets & Insider Tips]

Athens is brimming with history and unique activities, offering visitors an array of experiences to relish. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking a fun and exciting vacation, the Greek capital caters to all.

Given the variety of sights and activities, planning a trip can be quite overwhelming. That's why we've compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Athens, along with some sightseeing tips. From exploring ancient ruins that reflect the splendor of Ancient Greece to savoring mouthwatering local cuisine, Athens promises an unforgettable adventure....

So, let's dive in and discover the must-sees of Athens! But first, let’s take a look at some sightseeing tips!

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Sightseeing Tips

Planning, Transport & Passes

100 Things to do in Athens from Athens Tourist Information

1. City Pass for Athens

If you're visiting Athens and want to make the most of your time and budget, you might consider getting a city pass. A great option is the Athens Pass, which offers a comprehensive sightseeing package with skip-the-line access to top archaeological sites like the Acropolis, Agora, Olympieion, and more.

It also includes a skip-the-line ticket to the Acropolis Museum and an interactive audio guide app for your smartphone. In addition, the Athens Pass offers a 10% discount at many other attractions in the city, including the Hop-on Hop-off Bus, Hard Rock Cafe Athens, Benaki Museum, and the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology.

2. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Athens

Another valuable sightseeing tip we recommend for visitors to Athens is taking a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. This way, you can comfortably explore the city's main attractions and get an excellent overview of the major landmarks of Athens in a single day. On these tours, you can hop on and off as you please, exploring the sites that interest you the most while enjoying the comfort of an air-conditioned double-decker bus.

The "Athens, Piraeus, and Coastline: Blue Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour" is the top choice for travelers exploring Athens on their own pace. The 1-day ticket covers four bus routes and includes a free day to explore Athens. Thanks to audio commentaries in 16 languages, you can learn a lot about Athens' rich history and culture as you ride.

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3. More Insider Tips

When is the best time to travel? What is the easiest way to get to the city from the airport or Piraeus cruise port? What is the best part of town to stay in Athens? Are there special tickets for public transport for travelers?

Which hotels are recommended? Our guide to planning a trip to Athens answers all these questions.

Top 10 Things to Do

Ancient Ruins, Squares, Trips & Culture

1. Acropolis with Parthenon

Acropolis at Sunset Athens Tourist Information

There are only few places in the world that can compare to the majesty of the Acropolis in Athens, which is why it's at the top of our list of the top 10 things to do in Athens. The Parthenon, arguably the most famous symbol of Greece, dominates the scenery on this hill that captivates visitors as an open-air museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The impressive architecture and intricate sculptures of the Parthenon are truly awe-inspiring. But the Acropolis has even more to offer, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Dionysus Theater. As you climb to the top of the hill, you'll be greeted by an unforgettable panoramic view of Athens. A visit to the Acropolis is an experience not to be missed, offering a glimpse into the rich history of Ancient Greece.

  • Learn all about the history and sights in the Acropolis, as well as useful details about tickets and tours in our dedicated guide about the Acropolis.

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2. Acropolis Museum

Next on our list is the Acropolis Museum, located just a short walk from the Acropolis itself. This world-class museum is a modern masterpiece of design and architecture, and it houses some of the most important artifacts from Ancient Greece, including statues, sculptures, and other treasures from the Acropolis.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Parthenon Hall, with the world-famous Parthenon Frieze. The museum also boasts archaic sculptures, relics of the Temple of Athena Nike, as well as a range of multimedia exhibits and interactive displays that bring ancient Greek history to life in exciting new ways. With its outstanding views of the Acropolis and its stunning collection of ancient artifacts, the Acropolis Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Greek history and culture.

  • For more information about the exhibition, check out our complete guide to the Acropolis Museum.

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3. Syntagma Square with Greek Parliament

Whether you're interested in shopping, politics, or just want to experience the energy of Athens, Syntagma Square is a must-visit. Located in the heart of Athens, the main square of the city is a popular meeting place, which is known for its historical and political significance. One of the main highlights is the Greek Parliament building, where visitors can witness the traditional changing of the guard of the Evzones that takes place in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour.

Shoppers, on the other hand, will love the famous Ermou shopping mile. The square is surrounded by some of the most luxurious hotels, cafes, and bars in Athens, making it a perfect spot for people-watching and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Don't forget to take a stroll through the National Garden, which offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of the bustling city.

4. Ancient Agora of Athens

Agora Athens Tourist Information

Immerse yourself in the ancient history of Greece with a visit to the Agora of Athens. This 2000-year-old marketplace, located in the shadow of the Acropolis, was once the center of political, commercial, and social activity in Athens. Wander through the ruins of temples, law courts, and public buildings, and imagine the bustling crowds and lively conversations that once filled this historic space.

The most impressive structure in the Agora is the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Greece, dedicated to the god of blacksmithing. The Agora also features the Stoa of Attalos, a restored ancient portico that now houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora with ancient artifacts.

  • Learn more about the sights and history of this iconic monument in our comprehensive guide about the Ancient Agora of Athens.

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5. Monastiraki

Monastiraki District Athens Tourist Information

Let’s continue our list with Monastiraki, a lively and colorful neighborhood in Athens that will leave you captivated with its bustling energy. This area, full of character and charm, is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the authentic side of Athens. Its narrow streets are lined with shops, cafes, clubs, bars, and taverns, and therefore a popular spot to explore the nightlife scene.

The bustling Monastiraki Flea Market is one of the biggest attractions here, where you can find everything from antiques to souvenirs. Other attractions are the impressive Hadrian's Library, the Tzistarakis Mosque and the Byzantine Church of the Pantanassa.

6. Olympieion

Olympieion Athens Tourist Information

The Olympieion, also known as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, is an impressive ancient temple built in honor of Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods. It is located southeast of the Acropolis and is one of the most important temples of the ancient world. It was built in the 2nd century BC but was not completed until the 2nd century AD, under the Roman Empire. 

Visitors can marvel at the remains of the temple, with 15 of the original 104 majestic Corinthian columns still standing today. Despite the temple's current state, its sheer size and scale are awe-inspiring, giving an impression of the grandeur and power of ancient Athens when standing in its shadow. Plus, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Acropolis from the temple complex, making it a great spot for unique photos with the Acropolis in the background.

  • Read further information about the history of this monument in our complete guide to the Olympieion

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7. Greek Food

This one should not be missing on our Top 10 Things to Do list, as Greek food is an integral part of the country's culture. Sampling the diverse flavors of Greek cuisine, one of the Mediterranean cuisines with influences from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, is a culinary experience not to be missed in Athens.

From traditional tavernas serving classic dishes like moussaka and grilled seafood to trendy restaurants and street food, Athens offers an abundance of options for foodies. Be sure to try the famous Greek salad, souvlaki, loukoumades, and ouzo or Greek wine. Explore the bustling Central Market in Athens and taste local pastries, spices, and cheeses. A food tour is an excellent way to discover the best spots and learn about the origins of the dishes you taste.

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8. Plaka

The picturesque Plaka neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis is one of the oldest parts of Athens. With its narrow cobblestone streets, neoclassical buildings and colorful houses, it is a popular destination for tourists who want to soak up the city's unique flair.

But what really sets Plaka apart is its lively ambiance, with numerous cafes, restaurants and bars that make it popular with locals and tourists alike. After strolling through the winding streets and browsing through the souvenir shops and boutiques, be sure to sit down in one of the cozy eateries and enjoy the views of the historic city from above while sampling delicious Greek specialties.

9. National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum is the largest of its kind in Greece and the most visited museum in Athens. The museum's vast collection spans over 5,000 years of history and includes over 11,000 exhibits from various parts of Greece.

As you wander through the halls, you'll feel transported back in time to the height of Greek civilization, marveling at masterful works of art, exquisite sculptures, intricate pottery, and fascinating artifacts while gaining a deeper understanding of the daily lives and cultural practices of the ancient Greeks. Don't miss this must-visit museum for a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Greece.

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10. Lycabettus Hill

Lykabettus Hill Athens Tourist Information

Lycabettus Hill is known as the ultimate viewpoint in Athens. From its height of 277 meters, it offers a sweeping 360-degree panorama of the city, sites like the Acropolis, the Olympieion, and the nearby city of Piraeus. The view is especially breathtaking at sunset, however, it can get very packed at that time.

You can reach the famous viewpoint in the center of Athens either in a 30-minute walk or quite comfortably by cable car. Besides the fantastic view, there is an open-air theater, a church and several restaurants and cafés.

Bonus: Day Trips from Athens

Hydra Island Athens Tourist Information

Travelers who want to discover more of Greece's fascinating history and natural wonders should definitely plan a day trip from Athens. From ancient archaeological sites like the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion to picturesque islands and beaches, there are a variety of wonderful destinations within easy reach of Athens. 

One of the most popular day trips is to the nearby Delphi, which features the famous Temple of Apollo and was known as the "navel of the world" in ancient times. Other popular excursions include exploring the six monasteries of Meteora or embarking on a full day cruise to the Saronic islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina to soak up the beauty of the Aegean Sea.

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