11 Things to Do in Athens

Athens was once the heart of Ancient Greece, but it hasn’t lost its connection to the past. That rich history still saturates the Greek capital. Wherever you go, you will see dusty ruins from long, long ago. But there are a lot more things to do in Athens than just look at temples. Athens is also a bustling metropolitan area that hasn’t lost touch with the present. You’ll find many bars, clubs, restaurants, museums, and galleries to keep you entertained.

Actually, now that I think about it, there are so many things to do in Athens. When you have limited time, it can be hard to decide where to go. So let me share my list to save you the trouble.

The Acropolis

No trip to Athens is complete without a trip to the Acropolis. Dedicated to the goddess Athena, the Parthenon is the crown jewel of this ancient citadel. I bet it’s the first thing you think of when you think of Greece. But don’t forget to see the Propylea, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erectheion while there. The entire Acropolis is a wonder to behold. Don’t miss an inch of it.

Pro tip: watch your footing. The path to the Acropolis is steep, and the steps are slippery. So try to contain your excitement and be careful until you reach the flat summit.

The National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum has one of the largest and most historical collections of any museum.

If you’re still in the mood for history, head on down to the National Archaeological Museum. It is the largest museum in Greece, and one of the best in the world. Here you’ll find the richest collection of Greek artifacts dating from prehistory to late antiquity.

While there are plenty of sculptures to marvel at, I think the museum is also a great opportunity to learn about history. The Parthenon is a beautiful wonder of the world, but it doesn’t come with a lesson. The National Archaeological Museum is a more educational environment, so you can truly picture yourself back in Ancient Greece.

The Temple of Poseidon

The Temple of Poseidon is an ancient place of worship with a gorgeous view of the sea.

Although there are a lot more temples, this is the last one I am including on my list of things to do in Athens. You should check out the others, but this one is special to me because of the view. As you might expect, the Temple of Poseidon is located on the sea. That gives you the opportunity to enjoy a taste of history and the salty, sea air.

This is an amazing place to take pictures. The temple and the water are both super photogenic. But they’re even better together, especially at sunset!


Plaka is a historic neighborhood with labyrinthine paths and cool graffiti.

One of the best things to do in Athens is walk around Plaka. Plaka is a historical neighborhood not far from the Acropolis. It features quaint, maze-like streets and small, pedestrian squares. Here you can buy souvenirs and admire the old, stone buildings. If you get lost like me, you’ll stumble on graffiti-covered walls, where past meets present.


Monastiraki is a busy neighborhood in Athens with plenty of cafes, stalls, and ancient ruins.

Close by is another must-see neighborhood: Monastiraki. The pedestrian streets of Monastiraki are busy at all times of the day. They are filled with charming cafes and bustling stalls with merchants clamoring for your attention. By the metro station is the Flea Market, a great spot to buy souvenirs of the traditional and touristy variety.

Monastiraki also offers great views. At its center is a small but beautiful monastery church. And all around the neighborhood you’ll see remnants of historical areas, such as the Greek and Roman agoras. It’s a cool feeling when you realize the ancients were shopping in this same area thousands of years ago.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art

If you haven’t gotten your daily dose of culture, head on down to the National Museum of Contemporary Art. While in Athens, you spend so much time thinking about the past. So you should take the time to focus on the present. At this museum, you’ll find an amazing collection of Greek and international artwork. Check out what new and beautiful masterpieces they’ve gathered. It’s a great reflection of the current Greek psyche.

The National Gardens

Little ducky go quack as he look for a snack.

One of my favorite things to do in Athens is take a stroll through the National Gardens. It’s a shady, green oasis that gives you refuge from the city and the hot, summer sun. Trees, flowers, picnic benches, fountains, duck ponds. You name it. It’s in there. There’s even a small zoo to visit as well.

Lycabettus Hill

Lycabettus Hill is one of the best places in Athens to take photos.

Let’s be honest. Part of the travel experience is taking photos, and the best place for it in Athens is Lycabettus Hill. Lycabettus is the highest point in the Greek capital. From here, you can see the whole city and all the way to the sea.

If you’re feeling lazy, you can take a funicular to the top. But the funicular travels through an enclosed tunnel so you won’t get to see anything on the way up or down. So if you want a view and a workout, take the hike up. Just stay hydrated if you go during the summer. The hot sun will test your endurance.

Varvakios Agora

Varvakios Agora is the place to go in Athens for fresh meat, fish, and vegetables.

When you’re in Athens, you absolutely need to sample the local cuisine. Restaurants and cafes are a great way to do this. But an even better way is to visit a local market. Varvakios Agora is one the oldest and largest markets in all of Greece. It has been a commercial hub for centuries. Here you can find fresh fish, meat, vegetables, and more.

Cine Paris

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Athens, look for Cine Paris. It’s an open-air cinema, where you can watch your favorite movies under the stars. There’s a concession stand for various cocktails and snacks, so you won’t go hungry. Oh, and you’ve got a view of the Acropolis. Just come early or you won’t get a good seat.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC)

The SNFCC is a cultural hub with free access to numerous events.

The SNFCC is a public space that offers free access to a wide array of cultural, educational, athletic, and recreational activities and events. Here you will also find the Greek National Opera, the National Library of Greece, and the Stavros Niarchos Park, which is one of the largest green areas in Athens. Whether it’s the architecture, the events, or the contributions to the community, there’s a lot to admire about the SNFCC. So take some time out of your busy schedule to see what they have planned.

Things to Do Outside of Athens

Although there are tons of amazing things to do in Athens, the rest of Greece has exciting attractions as well. If you want my advice, I recommend heading to Santorini. The romantic island features breathtaking beaches and some of the best luxury hotels in the world. Santorini is the stuff of dreams.


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