The Best Archaeological Sites in Athens

GreeceAthens › Best Archaeological Sites
by Santorini Dave • Updated: September 20, 2022

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Ruins of a large ancient marble temple against a blue sky

The Erechtheion is one of the many stunning structures atop the Athens Acropolis.

Top Athens Archaeological Tours and Tickets:
Athens Pass Combo Ticket (7 archaeological sites + Acropolis Museum. No tour.)
Athens Mythology Highlights Tour (Guided tour of Acropolis, Ancient Agora, and Temple of Olympian Zeus)
Mythology Tour for Families (Kid-centered tour of the Acropolis and Ancient Agora)
Skip the line ticket for Acropolis (no tour)
Skip the line ticket for Acropolis Museum (no tour)
Acropolis Tour (small group)
Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour (small group)
Acropolis Tour (private)
Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour (private)
Workout at the Panathenaic Stadium (small group or private)
Daily Life in Ancient Athens (private; Kerameikos, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Monastiraki & Plaka neighborhoods)

Good to Know:
• State-run archaeological sites in Athens are closed to the public on the following dates: January 1, March 25, May 1, Orthodox Easter Sunday, and December 25 & 26.
• Most sites offer reduced (half-price) admission fees to all visitors from November 1 to March 30.
• Free entry dates for Athens archaeological sites: March 6 (in memory of Melina Mercouri), April 18 (International Monuments Day), May 18 (International Museums Day), the last weekend of September (European Heritage Days), October 28, and the first Sunday of the month from November through March.
• The Athens Pass combo ticket includes admission to all sites on this page excluding the Panathenaic Stadium, as well as skip-the-line tickets for the Acropolis Museum.

8 Best Archaeological Sites in Athens

1. The Acropolis

The ancient marble temple ruins of the Athens Acropolis, set against a blue sky
The Acropolis of Athens is the top archaeological attraction in all of Greece and an absolute must-do on any first-time trip to Athens. We highly recommend taking a guided tour to get the most out of your trip. A visit to the Acropolis is best paired with a visit to the incredible Acropolis Museum, located a short walk away. Better yet, take a guided tour of both.

The Acropolis (from the Greek words akro, meaning “high” and polis, meaning “city”) is not a structure, but rather the large hill on which the ancient structures sit. Along with the famous Parthenon temple, a ticket to the Acropolis and its slopes allows visitors access to the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion temple, the Odeon of Herodeion Atticus (theater), and Propylaea (Acropolis gate). The Acropolis temples date back to the 5th century BC, are crafted out of marble, and are dedicated to the goddess Athena, mythological patroness of the city and the goddess of wisdom, arts, literature, and war. • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer hours (April 1 to October 31) are 8am to 7:30pm with last entry at 7pm. Winter hours (November 1 to March 31) are 8am to 5pm with last entrance at 4:30pm.
  • Admission: Full: €20, Reduced: €10; skip-the-line ticket, Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Acropoli

2. The Ancient Agora

View over the ancient agora in athens, with the acropolis in the background
The Ancient Agora is a sprawling archaeological site located at the northeast foot of the Acropolis. It was the center of Ancient Athenian commerce, politics, and culture. There are three main structures in the Ancient Agora of Athens: the Stoa of Attalos (a faithfully-reconstructed Hellenistic marketplace that now houses a great little museum), the Temple of Hephaestus (picturesque ruins dating back to 460 BC), and the Byzantine Church of Agioi Apostoloi (one of the oldest in the city). The Ancient Agora of Athens is not to be confused with the Roman Agora, which is situated about 100 meters to the west (see below). • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer (April to October) 8am – 8pm; last entrance to the site at 7:40pm. Winter (November to March) 8am – 5pm; last entrance to the site at 4:40pm.
  • Admission: Full: 10€, Reduced: 5€. Ticket prices include admission to the Museum of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Included in the Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki, Thissio

3. Panathenaic Stadium

View across a marble stadium from the top row of stands
This beautiful stadium dates back to 330 BC. It was the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and the only stadium in the world built entirely out of marble. During Olympic Games years, the stadium is the hand-off point for the Olympic flame to its new host country, after traveling throughout Greece from its starting location in Ancient Olympia. Visitors to the stadium have full access to the stadium’s track, stands, vaulted underground passageway, and the small but interesting Olympic Games Museum that houses memorabilia from past Olympic games. Daily runs are held every morning from 7:30am to 9:00am. • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. 8am to 7pm March to October; 8am to 5pm November to February.
  • Admission: General admission fee: 10€. Reduced fee: 5€ for seniors over 65 and students. Free admission for children under 6 and for visitors with disabilities and persons accompanying them.
  • Nearest Metro: Syntagma, Evangelismos

4. The Roman Agora

Ancient marble pillars casting long shadows at dusk
The Roman Agora was built to replace the Ancient Agora (see above) as the commercial center of Athens in the 1st century BC; it was commissioned by Caesar Augustus and expanded in the 2nd century by the emperor Hadrian. The agora’s three prominent structures are the imposing Gate of Athena Archegetis (built in 11 BC), the Tower of the Winds (an ancient clock tower and the world’s first weather station), and the Fetiye Mosque, which is still used today for cultural exhibitions. Located only 220 meters from Monastiraki Square. • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer (April to October) 8am – 8pm; last entrance to the site at 7:40pm. Winter (November to March) 8am – 5pm; last entrance to the site at 4:40pm.
  • Admission: Full: 8€, Reduced 4€. Included in the Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki

5. Kerameikos

The ancient Sacred Way and Street of the Tombs, the road from Athens to Eleusis, in the ruins of Kerameikos, the Athenian cemetery, in Athens, Greece, with the monument to Dionysis in view.
An often-overlooked site, Kerameikos is an ancient Athenian neighborhood and cemetery that dates back to the Bronze Age (2700-2000 BC). Clay deposits from the Iridanos River drew potters and vase painters to the area (Kerameikos means pottery), and for a while it was the main production center of the famous Attic vases. Bisected in 578 BC by the Themistoclean Wall, the section remaining outside the city limits was converted to Ancient Greece’s most prominent cemetery – used most heavily from the 4th century BC until around the sixth century AD. Ancient streets here are lined with decorated funerary monuments, mostly of prominent Athenian families, and a small museum holds treasures excavated from the area. A perfect stop for travelers feeling overcrowded; the site’s vast footprint (around eleven acres) and slightly off-the-beaten-track location mean that visitors often feel as though they have the whole place to themselves.

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer (April to October) 8am – 8pm; last entrance to the site at 7:40pm. Winter (November to March) 8am – 5pm; last entrance to the site at 4:40pm.
  • Admission: Full: €8, Reduced: €4. Includes entrance to the museum. Included in the Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Thissio

6. Hadrian’s Library

Marble Corinthian Pillars next to a Byzantine church with a domed roof
This ancient structure near Monastiraki Square was built in 132 AD by the Roman emperor Hadrian. In its day it acted as a civic center, containing not only a library but also music and lecture auditoriums. Also on the site are the ruins of two early churches – including what is believed to be the oldest Christian church in Athens. • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer (April to October) 8am – 8pm; last entrance to the site at 7:40pm. Winter (November to March) 8am – 5pm; last entrance to the site at 4:40pm.
  • Admission: Full: €6, Reduced: €3. Included in the Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki

7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

View across a grassy field to the pillars of an ancient ruined temple
A towering temple dedicated to the god Zeus, and the largest feature of the Olympeion archaeological site. Dating back to the 6th century BC, the temple was the largest ever to be built in Greece, and featured 104 enormous columns. Today only 16 columns remain, including one toppled by wind in 1852. Located adjacent to the National Garden in central Athens, the Olympeion complex also includes the ruins of Roman baths, Classical residences, a 5th-century basilica, and a portion of the ancient city’s fortification wall. • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer (April to October) 8am – 8pm; last entrance to the site at 7:40pm. Winter (November to March) 8am – 5pm; last entrance to the site at 4:40pm.
  • Admission: Full: €8, Reduced: €4. Included in the Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Acropoli

8. Aristotle’s Lyceum

A grassy field with areas dug up for an archaeological excavation
Not as visually thrilling as other sites listed here, the Lyceum is impressive mostly for its important historical significance. Once a temple and then an ancient gymnasium and civic center, the site is best known as the home for the Peripatetic School of Philosophy, built by the philosopher Aristotle in 335 BC. Other famous philosophers who taught there were Isocrates, Plato (a teacher of Aristotle), and Socrates. It’s a great spot for a quiet walk and philosophical rumination, located near the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens’ Kolonaki neighborhood. • Full Review

  • Hours: Open daily. Summer (April to October) 8am – 8pm; last entrance to the site at 7:40pm. Winter (November to March) 8am – 5pm; last entrance to the site at 4:40pm.
  • Admission: Full: €4, Reduced: €2. Included in the Athens Pass combo ticket.
  • Nearest Metro: Evangelismos

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