The attractions of Athens are mainly ancient remnants of the city’s rich past. The number of monuments, historical places and interesting ancient objects is really large here. After all, the capital of Greece is the cradle of our civilization and the place where democracy was born. However, it has much more to offer visitors.
The attractions in Athens also include numerous viewpoints from which you can admire the panorama of the city, or the opportunity to relax on the city beach. Even the weather here is good for most of the year, which only helps to explore new places.
Attractions in Athens
However, Athens also has a different, much more modern side to it. In the capital of Greece, there are many places that represent the present-day face of European metropolises. Therefore, not only lovers of ancient monuments and museums with ancient collections will find there, but also people who like to spend time in cafes and bars, where local delicacies are served, and those who appreciate nightlife.
It is also worth noting that Athens will not be liked by everyone, because it is certainly not one of the most well-kept capitals in Europe, but with so many monuments and historical attractions important to humanity, it is a place worth visiting at least once.
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Athens can be visited by walking, because the distances between the most popular monuments are not that long. You can always use public transport, which includes bus and tram lines as well as the metro. Interestingly, many of the metro stations in Athens have artifacts found during their construction. Therefore, when traveling by it, we have the opportunity to experience prehistory for free.
You need at least two or three days to visit Athens if you want to see only the most important places. A visit to the National Archaeological Museum alone takes at least a few hours. So, a weekend trip to the capital of Greece will definitely be a nice and interesting trip, but to delve deeper into all the attractions that this city offers, we will need more time. You can always leave a few places of interest to us to visit them during the next trip to Athens.
The best time to come to the Greek capital is spring or later autumn. Unfortunately, summer temperatures in Athens are very high, which are definitely not conducive to sightseeing. It’s better to go here in April or May, when the weather is warm and tolerable, or only after mid-September or at the beginning of October, when the heatwave is gone for good. If someone wants to travel on a budget to Athens, lower prices and smaller crowds can be expected from around November to March. Then the temperatures should not be lower than 15 degrees.
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Monuments in Athens
Let’s start visiting Athens from the beginning, i.e. from the biggest monuments.
The largest and most important monument in Athens is the Acropolis. A symbol not only of the capital of Greece, but of the entire country. The entire historic building was located here on a hill overlooking the town at an altitude of 157 meters above sea level. The Acropolis is one of the most valuable monuments of antiquity at the time when our civilization was being formed.
The first temple was erected here in the 6th century BCE. Today, you can visit everything that is left of ancient buildings that have resisted many unfavorable circumstances, such as the forces of nature. This temple complex, situated on the Acropolis hill in Athens, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The largest temple on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, which was built in the 5th century BC. It was built in the Doric style in honor of the goddess Athena. The whole structure consisted of 85 columns, which were to give the illusion of the perfect symmetry of this building. Another temple on the Acropolis is the Erechtheum, which was dedicated to Poseidon and Athena. Its most characteristic element is the portico in the shape of six women’s columns that support the ceiling.
Another interesting ancient remnant on the Acropolis is Propylaea, a kind of great gate with columns that was supposed to lead to more important temples. When visiting the Acropolis hill, it is also worth paying attention to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is a kind of smaller theater with a partial roof. This facility was built in 161 AD, but its roof, unfortunately, has not survived to this day. In turn, the Dionysus Theater on the Acropolis is definitely a larger facility of this type. It was established in the 6th century BC and it was here that the famous Dionysia took place. The local theater stage also staged plays by such famous writers as Sophocles and Euripides.
In addition to the above-mentioned buildings, there are also other interesting objects within the borders of the Acropolis, such as the Temple of Athena Nike, Asclepius, Hekatompedon, or the Pinacoteca. It is also worth adding that it is worth starting your visit to the Acropolis in the morning, because it can get too hot here at noon.
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Another very important and interesting monument in Athens is the Ancient Agora. Its creation also dates back to the 6th century BCE. It served as the ancient market around which the whole life of the inhabitants of this city revolved. It was in the agora that public buildings, libraries and temples were located.
The temple of Hephaestus, which is one of the best-preserved ancient structures in Athens, attracts the most attention here. It is also worth paying attention to the Stoa Attalos, which now houses the Agora Museum, and the slightly less exposed Hadrian’s Library.
Temple of Olympion Zeus
A notable monument in Athens is also the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It is the largest religious building in Greece, and its construction took up to 700 years. The whole had 108 columns made in the Corinthian style, of which only literally individual pieces have survived to this day.
The inhabitants themselves caused the most damage here, when in the Middle Ages they used marble from the temple to build their houses. Near the temple of Olympian Zeus there is the Hardian Arch, which symbolically separated Greek Athens from Roman Athens.
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Tourist attractions in Athens
We already have the most important monuments behind us, so it’s time for more tourist attractions in Atrnach.
One of the attractions that complements the visit to the most famous hill in Athens is the Acropolis Museum. Located in a modern building made of glass, concrete and steel, it has to offer tourists, distributed over four floors, a lot of artifacts and finds, excavated on the spot. Interesting films and models of the Acropolis from centuries ago and almost four thousand other exhibits related to it await visitors here.
The most impressive, however, is the glass floor under which you can see a portion of the excavations. In addition, there are various more sensitive remains of acropolis buildings that would be destroyed if exposed to the outside. And so you can see the reconstructed frieze of the Parthenon or the original Caryatids. On one of the floors there is also a cafe overlooking the famous hill.
Another attraction for tourists in Athens is Syntagma Square, which is one of the oldest places of this type. He once witnessed many events important for Greece, including the signing of the first constitution in 1843 (hence its name, syntagma in Greek). It is at Syntagma Square that the Parliament building is located, which is located in the 19th century neoclassical old royal palace. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in front of it.
This monument commemorates the soldiers who died in the struggles for the country’s independence. In front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the presidential guard – Ewzones – is on guard. It is precisely their guards that take turns when crowds of tourists come to Syntagma Square. This ceremony takes place at the full hour every day, but in the most solemn edition it takes place on Sunday at 11 am. The guards, dressed in ornate costumes, make original sublime steps, exchanging places.
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is also a big tourist attraction in Athens. It is the most important institution in Greece when it comes to ancient Greek art collections. It is housed in a neoclassical building from the 19th century and offers visitors over 20,000 exhibits.
The entire National Archaeological Museum is divided into individual sections and so we have collections: prehistory, sculpture, ceramics, art of ancient Egypt and the ancient Middle East. Here you can see, among others, the statue of Poseidon from Artemision, as well as the Horseman from Artemision, the sculpture of Nike from Delos and the famous golden Mask of Agamemnon. In the museum, it is worth paying attention to age-old ceramics, jewelery and original frescoes.
What’s worth seeing in Athens?
What else is worth seeing and visiting in Athens? There were monuments and tourist attractions. It’s time for other places.
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One of the places worth seeing in Athens is the National Garden. Located in the city center (just behind the Parliament), the park is one of the prettiest in the Greek capital. This place can be used for relaxation after a day of sightseeing, or as a shelter from the scorching sun.In the National Garden you can walk along alleys among palm trees and other exotic plants, or just sit on the benches.
The park was founded by King Otto I’s wife, Amelia, in the 19th century. On over 15 hectares, there is a playground, a pond with turtles and a mini zoo. In addition, the Zappeion, built in connection with the first modern Olympic Games (now an exhibition and conference center) and the botanical garden are located within the borders of the National Garden.
In Athens, the Areopagus Hill is also worth seeing. It is located right next to the Acropolis and looks more like a large rock. Its name comes from Ares – the god of war. The Areopagus hill was once a meeting place for the ancient aristocracy who held their meeting here.
It is also worth knowing that it is from this hill of St. Paul gave a biblical sermon. However, the Areopagus is most often treated as an ideal vantage point for the nearby Acropolis, against which tourists are happy to take souvenir photos.
Another place worth seeing in Athens is Plaka, which is one of the oldest districts of this city. Considered one of the most atmospheric and interesting parts of the Greek capital. It is on Plaka that you can stroll among winding, narrow streets with bright houses and towering tenement houses, or take a seat in one of the local, cozy pubs and bars.
The Anafiotika estate, which was built by workers from the island of Anafii, is of particular interest in this district. This is where you can move to the Cyclades for a while. There are white houses with blue shutters, all surrounded by plants and colorful flower pots. Plaka is a car-free district of Athens, so it has become one of the most popular places to walk, even after dark.
Interesting places in Athens
What interesting places are worth seeing and visiting in Athens? More attractions and monuments.
An interesting place in Athens is definitely the Panathenian Stadium. It was here that the first modern Olympic Games took place. The Panathenian Stadium was erected exactly where the first of its kind stood in antiquity. It is entirely made of white marble and can seat up to 80,000 people.
On site, apart from the stadium itself, you can also visit a small museum with various exhibits related to the Olympic Games – medals, photos, cups and torches carrying the Olympic fire. Apart from sports events, the Panathenian Stadium also hosts other cultural events and concerts.
Another interesting place in the capital of Greece is Kerameikos, the ancient district of Athens. At one time it was inhabited by craftsmen who made pottery. In addition, as it turned out during the excavations, there was also an Athenian necropolis here. Currently, you can admire the discovered fragments of tombstones and the avenues leading around them.
The Kerameikos Cemetery was supposed to operate here from the 8th until the 1st century BC. Currently, the entire area is included in the created archaeological park, while the most valuable finds are placed in a small museum. You can see steles and tombstones from ancient times.
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An interesting and popular place among tourists in Athens is also Filopappou Hill. This is another vantage point from which there is a panorama of the entire city and the Acropolis. At the top of Filopappou Hill is the statue of Philopappos, who was the Roman consul and benefactor of Athens.
In addition, climbing to the very top, we pass the prison of Socrates, where the famous philosopher spent the last days of his life, as well as the ruins of old fortifications and the temple of the Muses.
Also check out the official website of the city of Athens.
Athens tourist attractions map
On our map you will find exactly all the monuments, interesting places and tourist attractions in Athens:
What monuments, tourist attractions and interesting places, apart from those mentioned, do you think are worth seeing and visiting? We are waiting for your opinions on the forum.