Athens, Greece has some of the largest collection of Greek ruins and artifacts and is the primary destination for people visiting the country. This city has a lot of history here. However, outside the ruins and the beautiful Plaka, I tend to find Athens is a city filled with graffiti and trash. I love the history, I love the chaos, I love the Greeks, I just don’t love the city. Even the folks I know from Athens try to get away. Yet, a city that’s thousands of years old is going to have a lot to do and this travel guide can help you plan your trip around the city. I enjoy walking through the ruins but I wouldn’t spend more than three days here.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Athens
1. The Acropolis
2. Visit the historic Parthenon
3. Go to The National Archaeological Museum
4. Hike to the top of Lycabettus
5. Explore The Agora
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Relax in Kifissias Park
This park is a great way to spend the day. Bring your own wine and local bread, cheese, meat, and enjoy some good people watching.
2. Agora-Athens Central Market
Come early to watch the produce and fish being unloaded or visit between 7am and 1 pm with the majority of the Athenian shoppers. A walk through the market will make you wish you weren’t traveling and had a kitchen so you could cook some of this amazing food.
3. Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
This makes for a great afternoon trip from Athens. It’s a great spot to see the sunset and the temple’s very well preserved. Unlike the temples in Athens, it is not under restoration and not nearly as crowded. The bus there costs about 13 EUR and takes about an hour and a half.
4. Visit the Kanellopoulos Museum
On the northern slope of the Acropolis, resides this mansion, built in 1884. There is an impressive collection of jewelry, weapons, clay-and-stone vases, various figurines, and more items that once belonged the Kanellopoulos family. It was recently refurbished and expanded in 2008. Admission is 2 EUR and it’s open daily from 8am-3pm except on Mondays (also, there are reduced hours in the winter).
5. See the Tower of the Winds
Originally built by Andronicus in the 1st century BC, it once functioned as a sundial, a weather vane, a compass, and a water clock. It is a very neat piece of history.
6. Witness the Easter Vigil
If you happen to be in Athens during Easter weekend, you won’t be able to miss the stunning vigil procession. Every year, hundreds of people make their way down the hill—all bearing lit candles. It’s a really beautiful sight and a great photo opportunity.
7. Hike in Parnitha National Park
The landscape of Greece is really breathtaking—particularly throughout Athens and the surrounding area. Within this national park, there are several caves, gorges, and springs to see. There are a number of well-marked paths so a guide isn’t really necessary.
8. Stroll through Anafiotika
This is a 19th-century neighborhood on the northern side of the acropolis hill. It lies above Plaka, near the entrance to the Agora, but has none of the hustle and bustle of the city center. Take a walk, enjoy the flowers and the whitewashed walls.
9. Temple of Olympian Zeus
This temple is massive and took over 700 years to construct (dating back to the sixth century). There are a number of Corinthian columns still standing, though many have fallen. It’s quite an impressive sight. Admission is 2 EUR (it’s free if you already have admission to the Acropolis).