Updated: October 11, 2016
The 10 Best Things To Do in Athens, Greece
If you only have time to do one thing in Athens then see the Acropolis (the hill) and the Parthenon (the largest building on the Acropolis). In summer it has long opening hours (8am to 8pm) making it easy to visit on a tight schedule.
This relatively new museum is a highlight of an Athens visit. It’s a short walk from the Acropolis (head south down the hill, the plaka and monastiraki are to the north) so the 2 sites are easy to visit together.
3. The National Archaeological Museum
The single best museum in Greece and loaded with archaeological treasures. Unfortunately it’s one of the few main attractions that is not an easy walk from the Plaka/Acropolis area so you’ll need to take a taxi (5 minutes), metro (10 minutes, get out at Omonia station), or walk (about 25 minutes from the Plaka or Syntagma Square).
4. Plaka and Monastiraki
A fun lively atmosphere that is filled with historical sites like the Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and Stoa of Attalos. A great area to wander, shop, eat, and sightsee.
5. Temple of Olympian Zeus
The famous Arch of Hadrian is on the same site and it’s only a 5 minute walk from the Acropolis Museum making it an easy stop in the central area.
6. Lycabettus Hill
This hill sits across Syntagma Square from the Acropolis Hill and provides great views of the Parthenon and central Athens. There’s a funicular (tram) to help you to the top or climb the whole way.
7. Athens Central Market
A wonderful lively slice of modern Athens. Meats, olives, feta, olive oil, fruits, vegetables – you name it, it’s here.
8. National Gardens
Sitting just behind Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament buildings this is relaxing break from the chaos of busy Athens.
9. Cape Sounio
This is an 80 minute drive southeast of Athens but worth the trip if you have 3 days or more in the capital (any less and I think you’re time is better spent in central Athens).
10. Gyros and Souvlaki
Athens is loaded with great food and restaurants but nothing beats an authentic gyro from a local shop. There’s a strip of good gyro places very close to Monastiraki station, but if you have time Kavouras in the Exarcheia neighborhood (and not far from the The National Archaeological Museum) is worth seeking out.
The Best Tours & Day Trips in Athens
1. Delphi Day Trip from Athens – Hotel pickup and transportation to one of the top historical sites in Greece. Tour guide and lunch included.
2. Half-Day Athens Food Tour – Highly recommended! Fun tour of the best food and restaurants in Athens. Also, a stop at the Central Market – a highlight of modern Athens.
3. Athens Highlights Walking Tour – Guided tour of Historical Athens including the Acropolis, Parthenon, Erection, Propylaia, Nike Temple, Dionysus Sanctuary, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Ancient Agora.
4. Ancient Corinth & the Corinth Canal – Half-day tour of the Corinth Canal with a few other interesting stops along the way.
5. Aegina, Poros, & Hydra 3-Island Cruise – This is a great tour of 3 wonderful islands a short boat ride from Athens. Hotel pickup included. Highly recommended!
6. Mycenae, Nafplion, & Epidaurus – Visit some of the highlights of ancient Greece on this super-interesting Peloponnese tour.
7. Explore Ancient Greece 4-Day Tour – Awesome tour that visits Epdiaurus, Nafplio, Mycenae, Olympia, Delphi, and the Meteora (my favorite of them all).
8. Get Your Guide – Great website for tours, day trips, and big discounts.