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Tourist Places in Athens

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best tourist places in Athens

Like every city around Europe, Athens has some areas that are particularly popular among tourists. Either because they are of great historical significance or because they just are exceptionally charming, these places attract the tourist crowds throughout the whole year. Even if you prefer to explore the city’s alternative neighborhoods, these tourist places in Athens simply can’t be missing from your to-do list.

The Acropolis

The Acropolis is by far the most popular landmark in the Greek capital and one of the most well-known all over the world.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the sacred rock is filled with hordes of tourists every time of the year.

Acropolis is a reason on its own to add Athens to your ‘places to visit’ list as it is one of the most notable sights worldwide.

And the long queues stretching in front of the Acropolis’ entrance prove that every tourist in Athens makes sure to visit the 5th-century building.

You can explore the Acropolis on your own or buy the special €39 ticket and book a 30-minute tour with a professional guide.

View of the Acropolis Athens
View of the Acropolis Athens. Pic: Wikipedia Commons

The Acropolis Museum

Inaugurated in 2009, the new Acropolis Museum rejuvenated the city’s cultural scene.

The modern-design building, which nowadays houses the invaluable monuments of the Acropolis spans for 25,000 square meters, which makes it 10 times bigger than the old Acropolis museum.

Artifacts that once adorned the Parthenon and other ancient temples are displayed in the museum’s 14,000-square-meter exhibition space through a glass-floored gallery, digital applications, and three-dimensional exhibits.

acropolis museum
The Acropolis Museum in Athens. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Philoppapos Hill

Set in the center of Athens, just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis, Philoppapos Hill has its own historical significance.

Its name derives from a monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene but the reason it’s is widely-known is that it includes the Pnyx Hill.

View of the Acropolis and the Areopagus from the Philopappos Hill
View of the Acropolis and the Areopagus from the Philopappos Hill. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Here ancient Greeks used to gather and take important decisions about political and social matters and thus is considered one of the first places that democracy was born.

Other important sites found in Philippapos Hill is the Hill of the Muses, the Hill of the Nymphs and two carved caves known as “Socrates Prison.”

The historic sites in combination with the breathtaking view from the top of the hill, make Philopappos Hill one of the most popular tourist places in Athens.

Athens and Piraeus from Philopappos Hill
Athens and Piraeus view from Philopappos Hill. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Monastiraki

The neighborhood of Monastiraki and especially Monastiraki Square is usually packed with tourists taking a stroll around Athens’ city center.

Here you’ll find Hadrian’s Library, a traditional ceramics museum housed in a former Turkish mosque and a small Byzantine church.

The area brims with souvenir shops and second-hand stores while flea markets take place every Sunday.

Ifestou is the most popular street in Monastiraki lined up with shoe and clothing shops, vinyl stores as well as stands filled with knick-knacks.

monastiraki in athens
Monastiraki Square in Athens.

Plaka and Anafiotika

Being by far the most scenic neighborhood in Athens boasting neoclassical buildings and car-free cobblestone alleys, Plaka couldn’t but be one of the top tourist places in Athens.

Nestled in the feet of the Acropolis, Plaka still preserves the authentic atmosphere the city had back in the 60s and 50s.

Local taverns, cozy cafés, and bars have popped up all over the area making it the ideal place for a pitstop while sightseeing.

Street view in Plaka, Athens
Street view in Plaka, Athens. Image courtesy by Αλεξανδρος Σπινουλας from flickr.com

Part of the Plaka neighborhood is the picturesque Anafiotika.

Here the scenery resembles the one you’ll find in a traditional Cycladic island offering the perfect backdrop for a relaxed walk away from the city’s noise.

anafiotika in athens
Anafiotika: Great way to get lost. pic: Wikipedia Commons

Syntagma Square

Situated in the heart of the city center in front of the 19th century Old Royal Palace, home to the Greek Parliament, Syntagma Square is one of the most known places the Greek capital.

Its name translates to “Constitution Square” and it derives from the Constitution that the first King of Greece, Otto was obliged to concede after Athenian citizens and soldiers demonstrated in front of the palace in 1843.

Syntagma Square in Athens
Syntagma Square in Athens. Image courtesy by JD Lasica from flickr.com

Nowadays, Syntagma Square is still a gathering place when protests burst but most of the time it’s a peaceful square filled with parents with kids, street performers and food stalls with local delicacies.

Every Sunday at 11 am Syntagma Square gets packed with locals and tourists gathering to watch the Evzones wearing the official traditional customers doing the official ceremony of the Changing of the Guards.

Presidential Guard on Syntagma Square
The Greek Presidential Guard or Evzones changing the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Syntagma Square, Athens. Image courtesy by Luc.T from flickr.com

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an impressive stone theater beautifully set in the slopes of Acropolis.

Built by the Roman citizen Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla in 161 AD, the spectacular structure has been the main venue for hundreds of events that have taken place over the centuries.

Even though the original building was destroyed in  267 AD it was still used for several performances and music concerts and in the 1950s it went under full renovation.

Ever since it has been hosting the Athens and Epidaurus Festival as well as other theatrical plays and concerts.

Even if there isn’t an event to attend while visiting Athens it is still worth visiting the majestic Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus theatre is one of the must see attractions in Athens and considered one of the best open air theatres in the world. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus or as it is widely known the Columns of the Olympian Zeus is situated in the center of Athens.

A historic site whose construction began in the 6th century BC and was completed around 638 years later around the 2nd century AD, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is considered one of the most significant tourist places in the Greek capital.

The initial structure consisted of 104 colossal columns but after an invasion in 267 AD, the temple was destroyed and nowadays has only 16 columns left.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus. Image courtesy by Kevin Poh from flickr.com

Ancient Agora and Temple of Hephaestus

The Ancient Agora is located in the center of Athens and is the place where Athenian citizens used to gather and discuss the city’s social and political issues, couldn’t be missing from a list with the best tourist places in Athens.

Set in the feet of the Acropolis, the ruins at the ancient site that once was a meeting point for important historical figures such as Sophocles and Protagoras bear testimony to the place’s great historical significance.

Ancient Agora of Athens
The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis. Pic: Wikipedia Commons

Just above the Ancient Agora stands the Temple of Hephaestus, which is considered the best-preserved Greek ancient temple.

The remarkable building was designed by the renowned architect Iktinus and was built around 450 B.C.

Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved ancient temple in Greece.
Image courtesy by BillBl from flickr.com

Panathenaic Stadium

Being the only stadium worldwide built entirely by marble, the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) is nothing less than impressive.

In 144 AD Herodes Atticus rebuilt the stadium that the Athenian statesman Lykourgos had constructed on the site in 330 BC, creating the breathtaking Panathenaic Stadium with a capacity of 50,000 seats.

Over the centuries, after the rise of Christianity in Greece, the stadium was abandoned only to revive at the end of the 19th century when it hosted the Zappas Olympics.

When it was decided that Athens should be the city the first modern Olympic Games would take place, the Panathenaic Stadium went under renovation and was fully repaired to host the great event in 1896.

In the 20th century, the glorious stadium hosted a great number of athletic events and was the finishing line of the Marathon race during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

The Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium and in the distance Mount Lycabettus. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

In every corner around Athens, there is a place bearing witness to the city’s glorious past and rich history attracting travelers from all over the world. These are the most renowned tourist places in Athens, that will help you get a proper taste of the Greek culture.

So, check when is the best time to visit Athens, and book your flights!

 

 

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Quick Info
  • Get there by: Metro & Bus
  • What to See: Attractions & Museums
  • What to Do: Explore some of the best tourist places
  • Do you have to walk: Yes
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Best Travel Info is an independed Athens travel guide that pays its own way. Our writers never take freebies or discounts, so you can always trust what you read on the site.

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