25 Best Things to Do in Athens: Your 2024 Guide!

A group of people standing in front of the parthenon.

Are you looking for the top things to do in Athens, Greece?

Great! I have been to Athens on vacation many times, and as a geek for ancient Greece, plus loads of research, I am here to tell you I have gathered the most exciting and memorable things to do in the Greek capital for a memorable vacation!

I have 25 activities lined up for you that I know you will love! At the end, I added a bonus with 3 cool food tours in the city. If you want to know where to stay there, see our section below with the best places for each budget!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

If you don’t have much time to read the whole article and need to book some tours and hotels fast, here you have the top 3 things to do in Athens and 3 top hotels!

Here are the main things to book in advance:

And here are the best hotels: Gatsby Athens (luxury), LUX&EASY Athens Downtown (mid-range), Rastoni Athens Suites (budget)

1. Explore ancient ruins at the Acropolis

A group of people standing on the steps of an ancient building.

Marvel at the iconic Acropolis! One of the must-stops when visiting Athens is the Acropolis. This is one of the most important archaeological sites in Athens. And one of the most important ones in Western Civilization.

The hill of the Acropolis beholds Greek culture and ancient history from more than 3300 years ago! All the main ancient temples we see today were built after the victory of Greece in the Greco-Persian wars.

You can book your tour to all the below parts of the Acropolis here!

1.1 Parthenon

The Parthenon is the most iconic monument of the ancient city of Athens. As well as one of the most important buildings in the world. It is an ancient temple dedicated to Athena, the city’s patron goddess.

1.2 The Temple of Athena Nike

Another beautiful Ionic temple of classical architecture. At the top of the building, we can see carved scenes of gods and battles. This temple symbolized peace and harmony in the ancient city of Greece.

1.3 The Erechtheion

The ruins of a temple in greece.

Yes, you guessed, this one was another temple for Athena, the goddess. But this one is much more than that. It also holds an area for Poseidon. This temple has the Caryatid, which are the 6 marble sculptures holding the building. These are some of the most recognizable features of the temple.

On one of the sides, we can see an olive tree. This is the sacred olive tree, Athena’s offering to Athenias during a contest with Poseidon.

1.4 Theatre of Dionysus

This theater is located at the bottom of the Acropolis. It is an ancient Greek theater dedicated to the god Dionysus. All the plays of tragedy, comedy, and satyr in this theater were in honor of the god.

The ancient Greeks even had a festival in his honor, the ”City Dionysia” which was 5 days dedicated to drama and plays for Dionysus!

1.5 Propylaia

The Propylaia in acropolis, greece.

This is the entrance, the gates to the Acropolis. They symbolize the entrance to a religious land.

You can buy the ticket on the official site or at the ticket office.

If you want to make the best of your visit to the Acropolis, I suggest you book a guided archaeological site tour! I’ve found an amazing one that includes the entrance ticket and the guided tour. If you wish, you can select a private tour option.

NOTE: From November to March, entrance is free on the first Sunday of the month.

PRICE: Acropolis Hill from €20 per person, guided tour from €60 per person

Book your Acropolis tour

2. Discover the famous New Acropolis Museum

A line of statues in a museum.

The Acropolis Museum is another absolute MUST during your trip to Athens! This museum exhibits ancient treasures from the slopes of the Acropolis, which include music venues and homes.

You can find elements from the Acropolis’s early history, when it was a citadel, in a religious area dedicated to Athena.

You can also find sculptures from Archaic times and sculptures found in the Parthenon. And if you wish, you can see the excavation under the museum!

The Acropolis Museum is probably one of the most beautiful modern buildings in the city center and is only a short walk to Acropolis Hill.

To skip the line ticket, I highly recommend you get the ticket online. Alternatively, you can purchase an audio-guided tour with the entrance ticket.

PRICE: guided audio tour from €20 per person, museum ticket from €15 per person

Book your museum audio guide

3. Visit the archaeological site of Hadrian’s Library

Hadrian’s-Library athens, greece.

This beautiful library was built by the Roman emperor Hadrian during one of his visits in 132 A.C. The library was also used as an art gallery, a reading room, and a place to worship the emperor.

This Greek antiquity was the largest library in Athens back in the day!

This archaeological site is located on the north side of the Acropolis. And the Roman Agora is just a couple of minutes walk away.

You can buy your Hadrian’s Library ticket onsite or online.

PRICE: from €6 per person

4. Wander through the charming streets of Plaka and Monastiraki

people walking down a steep stairway in the old town of athens.

Both of these neighborhoods are just behind Acropolis Hill! Nothing is better than descending the Acropolis with stunning views of the area and sitting on a restaurant terrace to savor traditional food or Greek coffee in cute coffee shops!

Did you know Adrianou, the pedestrian street in Plaka, is said to be the oldest street in Athens?

Plaka is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Athens. In this area, you can savor traditional Greek cuisine, and there are many family-run restaurants and bars.

For example, Restaurant Scholarhio (map) and Electra Roof Garden, a rooftop bar (map). You’ll also find lots of arts and crafts stores in this area!

Plaka borders Monastiraki, where you can find many of the city’s main landmarks, for example, the Greek Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and the Roman Agora! You can also savor traditional cuisine in the lively Monastiraki Square!

5. Marvel at the Olympic Panathenaic Stadium

The acropolis stadium in athens, greece.

This marble stadium dates back to the ancient world in 330 BC. Back then, it was also used for Olympic competitions. In 1896, it was reopened and rebuilt as an Olympic stadium for the first modern Olympic games!

Did you know that in Ancient Greece, only male athletes were allowed to compete, and they used to do it completely naked?

This stunning Olympic Stadium is located just behind Athens National Garden (map).

If you want to create unique memories and do something special instead of just visiting the site, I highly recommend you book this 2-hour tour that will make you feel like an ancient Greek athlete! Apart from working out and racing in the modern Olympics, you’ll also learn about the history of the stadium.

PRICE: from €5 per person for an entrance ticket €60 per person for a race at the stadium

Book an Olympic game race

6. See the Ancient Agora

A temple in the middle of a forest with mountains in the background.

This is another essential site to visit in Athens. Gardens and trees surround the ancient agora, and inside it, you can see many monuments, such as the temple of Hephaestus. The agora was built in the VI century and served as a meeting place for the Athenians, recreational activities, and discussion of political matters.

PRO TIP: When you visit, try to do it with time since it will take you a while to see everything here, and depending on the season, it closes soon.

NOTE: You need to buy the entrance tickets onsite.

PRICE: from €10 per person

7. Enjoy a performance at Herodes Atticus Theater

A view of an ancient theatre in the city of athens.

Relish a theatrical show at Odeon of Herodes Atticus! What better activity than enjoying an evening with classical music under the stars? This magnificent theater was built by Herodes Atticus during Roman times in 116 A.D.

Did you know the theater was built in memory of Herodes Atticus’ wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla?

You can’t visit the theater if you are not watching a concert. If there are no performances when you visit, you can still see the theater from above at the Acropolis Hill! You can check the calendar of events at Herodes Atticus Theater here.

SHOW PRICES: from €25 per person

8. Wander the ancient Roman Agora

A group of pillars in front of a tower.

The Roman Agora was built in Roman times in the 1st B.C. Julius Caesar and Augustus gave donations to this market, Although the agoras used to be a place to gather and discuss political matters. The Roman agora used to be a market and trading area.

When you visit the Agora, stop by the Mosque Museum inside the archaeological site; they usually have interesting changing exhibitions!

You can purchase the tickets on the official site here.

PRICE: from €8 per person

9. Stroll around the Temple of Olympian Zeus

A group of pillars in front of a blue sky.

This site is located a few steps from the Acropoli metro station (map). There are many restaurants in the area, so have a bite to each before you go! Before getting to the temple, you will pass by Hadrian’s Arch, situated in the middle of the street – a fun photo op!

I was super excited to visit this one, and I am sure you will too if you love Greek mythology! The spaces look very mythical; you have the ruins, and in the back, you have the mountains, and on the other side, the Acropolis.

If you visit during the summer months, it will be open until late. If you visit during the winter like me, it’s better to go early to walk around! You can buy the tickets online here.

PRICE: from €10 per person

10. Explore Philopappos Hill

A view of the city of athens from the top of a hill.

Experience sunset views from Philopappos Hill! I loved hiking around this hill, and it was so cool to see Athens from a different point of view! This hill has amazing views of the city and the Acropolis and many monuments along its path. You can find the hill here.

One of the most famous monuments at Philopappos Hill is the prison of Socrates. It’s been said that is where Socrates was imprisoned until the day he was forced to drink poison.

Another must-stop on the hill is Philopappos Monument, an ancient Greek tomb erected for Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene. If you turn around from this point, you will see incredible views of the Acropolis!

PRICE: free

11. Enjoy panoramic views from Mount Lycabettus

A group of people standing on a hill overlooking a city.

Hike up Lycabettus Hill for movie-like views! This mountain is around 40 minutes from the Acropolis, but totally worth it! The neighborhood surrounding it is beautiful, and you will encounter many cats on your way to the top of the mountain!

The views from the top are amazing, and when the sun starts setting, many visitors gather around to see the stunning views! On your way down, you can stop by Prasini Tenta (map) for a drink with even more lovely views!

PRICE: free

12. Dive into the National Archaeological Museum

The front of a building in greece.

Discover Greek history at the National Archaeological Museum!

Did you know this is the largest museum in Greece and one of the most incredible museums in the world?

The collections in this museum include art pieces from ancient Greece up to the Roman era. It is truly one of the most powerful collections in the world regarding Greek history.

To make it a memorable experience, I recommend this private guided museum tour. With the tour, you will gain a deeper understanding of history, and the tour guide will be there just for you and your questions!

PRICE: from €150 for the private guided tour for a group of up to 6, from €6 for the entrance ticket

Book your private guided tour

13. Dive into history at the Museum of Cycladic Art

An ornate building with a flag on top.

You must stop by the Museum of Cycladic Art during your visit to one of the world’s oldest cities. They have the world’s biggest and most complete Cycladic Art collection. The vast collection of pieces dates from prehistoric times to Byzantine times.

There are audiovisual and 3D models in the museum to complete the exhibitions at the gallery, which makes it even more interesting. Visiting this museum offers a great chance to comprehend socio-political history and development.

You can skip the lines by buying your museum ticket here.

PRICE: from €10 per person

14. Attend a traditional Greek dance show

Engage in a traditional Greek dance! One of the best things about traveling is getting to experience another culture. And what better way to do it than by attending a traditional dance show!

Did you know the Kalamatianos dance acquired its name in the 19th century, allegedly because of the town of Kalamata? Before that, it was called Syrtos O Peloponisos.

At Dora Stratou Theater, which is located on Philopappos Hill, you can attend shows and see the traditional dance with artists wearing traditional local costumes.

PRICE: from €40 per person

Book your folk show

15. Dive into local art at the Benaki Museum

The building where the museum is located.

Something super cool about this museum is that it has 5 different museums integrated into it. I think you’ll LOVE the Museum of Greek Culture, where you can see Ancient Greek and Roman art!

138 Pireos, the newest museum, features photographic and architectural Greek archives. Then you have the Museum of Islamic Art, the Ghika Gallery, the Toy Museum, and the Patrick & Joan Leigh Fermor House.

You can get your Benaki Museum tickets online here.

PRICE: from €10 per person

16. Witness the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square

Three men in military uniforms standing on steps.

Syntagma Square is the main central square in Athens and an important meeting place in the city, as well as a connecting place to different areas of the city center. For example, it is halfway from the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill.

In this square, you can find the Hellenic Parliament and the monument to the unknown soldier. This monument is dedicated to all the Greek soldiers who died at war.

Every day, on the hour, you can see the ceremony of the official change of guards in front of the Hellenic Parliament, which is really fun to watch!

PRICE: free

17. Go on an exciting historical bike tour of Athens

A group of people standing in a square with bicycles.

How exciting would it be to explore the entire city and its main landmarks and monuments on a bike tour? I know, it is a unique experience! This tour will last around 3 or 5 hours, depending on what you choose when booking.

One of the cool things is that you don’t need to be an experienced biker to join the tour! It’s also only available for up to 12 people, making it the perfect opportunity to learn about rich Greek history! The tour doesn’t go inside any of the historical sites, but you’ll have so much fun whizzing around the city!

PRICE: from €40 per person

Book your bike tour

18. Relish the serenity at the National Gardens

An aerial view of the national gardens in athens, greece.

The National Garden (map) is in the middle of the city. You can visit it after watching the guards change in Syntagma or the Panathenaic Stadium.

Did you know the National Garden used to be called Royal Garde since it was only for the use of the Royal Family? This changed in 1975 when the garden opened to the public and democracy was re-established. 

Visit the gardens and take the time to relax and get away from all the busy streets of Athens. This garden is the perfect place to refresh and watch the day go by!

PRICE: free

19. Opt for a cruise along the Athens Riviera

A group of people standing on the deck of a boat.

Want to have a city break and visit a Greek island? Then what better than going on a cruise along the Aegean Sea? During this cruise, you will spend the whole day at sea while visiting the most stunning Greek Islands.

This amazing cruise lasts around 10 hours and takes you to Aegina, Moni, and Agistri Islands. On the Islands, you can practice water sports and see some archeological sites. During the tour, you will get a traditional lunch and drinks, so it’s well worth the price!

PRICE: from €140 per person

Book your island cruise

20. Explore Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery

A view of the ancient ruins in crete, greece.

Located on Ermou Street (map), this is an unmissable site in the city. This cemetery used to be the largest one in Ancient Greece. It is the resting place of Pericles (politician and general who led the Greco-Persian wars) and Cleisthenes (founder of Athenian democracy).

Did you know the cemetery is called Kerameikos for the potters who used to live in the area? They had workshops along the Eridanos River that used to be in the area.

Get your Kerameikos ticket online and skip the lines!

PRICE: from €10 per person

21. Discover Byzantine art at the Byzantine Museum

A large white building with arches in the courtyard.

This museum was founded in 1917 and is located only a few minutes from Evangelismos station. The museum has a great collection of 25000 pieces, including manuscripts, wall paintings, and icons that date from the 3rd century A.C!

A visit to this museum is a great chance to see religious pieces of the Byzantine, Medieval, and later periods in an attempt to comprehend history.

You can purchase the ticket entrance at the museum.

PRICE: from €10 per person

22. Marvel at the contemporary art at EMST

A red building with a sign that says emst.

What about visiting a museum of contemporary art? After seeing all this classical art, it would be super cool to see what the current generation of Greek artists are doing!

The museum exhibits contemporary pieces by Greek and International artists. They have permanent collections from 3D art, architecture, and design to photography and media!

Tickets are available at the ticket office in the Museum.

PRICE: from €10 per person

23. Take a day trip to the Temple of Poseidon

A little girl is sitting on a rock in front of a temple.

This day trip looks incredible! If you want to make your trip glorious, book it! This tour will take you to Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon and the Thorikos Theater.

The tour will last around 5 hours, and you will be accompanied by an archeologist guide. Who will share their knowledge with you about Greek history and let you in on all the insider information!

One of the most beautiful things about this trip will be seeing the Temple of Poseidon when the sun sets and reflects on the sea. Completely magnificent!

PRICE: from €40 per person

Book your day trip tour

24. Discover artifacts at the Numismatic Museum

The building where the museum is located.

This museum looks super interesting! It is one of the oldest state museums in Greece, and it opened simultaneously as The National Archaeological Museum. This museum exhibits coins, medals, micro sculptures, and miniature art from the 14th century B.C. until modern days!

The ticket entrance for this museum needs to be purchased at the ticket office (map).

PRICE: from €10 per person

25. Join an evening tour of Athens’ landmarks

The parthenon is lit up at night.

We all know cities get a bit more special by night! Imagine walking around Plaka with the Acropolis shining bright under the stars!

And what would make it even more special? A private tour that takes you to all the hidden gems of the city while you learn from your tour guide! The tour includes pick up and drop off from your accommodation but doesn’t include entrance tickets to the ancient sites.

PRICE: from €140 per person

Book your private night tour

🏛️ Best museum:The National Archaeological Museum
🎢 Top paid attraction:Acropolis Hill
🚶🏽‍♂️ Best free activity:Philopappos Hill
👧 Best family attraction:Olympic Stadium Workout
🕺 Nightlife:Kolokotroni Street
🥟 Must try food:Spanakopita

BONUS: Best food tours in Athens

Okay, let’s be honest: trying local food is one of the nicest things about traveling! That is why I have 3 fun and unique food tours that will make you feel like you are in food heaven!

A glass of white wine on a table with a view of the acropolis.
  • Relish local wines at a Greek wine tasting – Whether you want to surprise someone special or have a solo date in Athens. This Greek wine-tasting tour will make your jaw drop! You will try 5 different types of Greek wine, together with local cheese. Your sommelier will make sure to explain to you the grape processes and the history of Greek wine! (from €50)
  • Engage in a Greek cooking class – This tour is literally everything. If you want to have a real food experience in Athens, take this tour. Everything will start in the central market, where, together with your guide and chef, you will pick the ingredients you will use to cook! You will prepare 5 dishes, from spanakopita to dolmades! (from €70)
  • Savor Athens with a food walking tour – This walking tour will take you around the city, sampling around 9 different dishes. You will also sip wine and try the traditional Greek coffee! This tour is great for trying food, learning about its history, and seeing off-the-beaten-path hidden gems of Athens! (from €70)

Where to stay in Athens

If you are looking for accommodation for your trip to Athens, don’t worry, I have your back! I have gathered your options for all budgets!

If you want to learn more about the area of the city, our comprehensive Athens area guide will help you decide on a neighborhood!

collage of 3 images with: bedroom, jacuzzi and a restaurant

Luxury (from €400 per night): Gatsby Athens – Wow! This hotel looks so trendy and modern! The interior design is a delight and comes with great amenities. There is a roof terrace where you can relax while having breakfast, 2 onsite restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, and a hip bar where you can sip fruity drinks. The hotel comes with a spa and wellness center offering massages. Plus, there is a paid shuttle service available for Athens airport!

Mid Range (from €200 per night): LUX&EASY Athens Downtown – This hotel is a 12-minute drive to the center of Athens, so you’ll have easy access to explore the city. The property offers luxurious apartments that will make you feel pampered! I highly recommend the suite with a private garden and an outdoor jacuzzi.

Budget (from €90 per night): Rastoni Athens Suites – This property is in the middle of Athens. All the main attractions will be only a few minutes from the property. The apartments look super cozy and homey. All the apartments have a kitchenette, and some come with a private balcony.

FAQs about things to do in Athens

where to stay in athens

🇬🇷 Is Athens worth visiting?

YES! Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is beautiful, full of history, and the home of incredible ruins and monuments! It also offers incredible cuisine, street art, and beautiful nature.

📅 How long should I spend in Athens?

I would suggest you spend at least 4 days in Athens. The city is huge, and most archaeological sites take a lot of time to see!

🌄 When is the best time to visit Athens?

Anytime! During the summer, prices for the attractions are higher, and you need to be ready for the heat. During the winter, attractions are cheaper, but you need to travel prepared for the cold. I traveled at the beginning of January, and it was very cold!

🚶 What is the best way to get around Athens?

Athens is a walkable city if you are staying in a central area. If not, you can use the public transport system which is really simple to use!

Conclusion

A woman wearing a scarf in front of the parthenon.

That is a wrap for today, my lovely people! Those were the top things to do in Athens. I have covered a wide range of options, from museums and archaeological sites to day trips!

Plus, I added a great bonus for foodies with wine, food, and cooking tours! In the end, I added a where to stay section with 3 incredible hotels!

Which one of these activities are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments!

Until the next one,

Daniela


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collage of 2 images with the parthenon and 2 local guards dressed in a traditional uniform

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