Things to do and see in Athens

13 June 2021

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Friendly disclaimer! We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to visit.

The name Athens evokes the glories of a bygone classical era that once set the base of western civilisation. One of Europe’s ancient capitals, Athens has undergone significant change in recent years but continues to harbour an old soul in the heart of its modern metropolis. Athens is where antiquity meets the future, and its labyrinthine streets lead to all kinds of historical wonders.

Plaka

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Plaka feels like a small village, at the very heart of the vibrant Greek capital. You will most likely walk through the neighbourhood on your way to or from the Acropolis, but do not stop at this. Plaka has a soul of its own, and its small streets, flowery corners and pretty stairs brim with uncountable coffee shops.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Plaka, Athens

National Archaeological Museum

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The National Archaeological Museum, in Exarchia, is home to Ancient Greece’s most spectacular pieces. One room contains Schliemann’s finds from Mycenae, another has the famous frescoes from Santorini on display. There is also a fine collection of idols from the Cyclades and ceramics.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Patission St. 44, Athens
  • Website: www.namuseum.gr/en
  • Timings: November 1st – March 31st: Tuesday 13:00 – 20:00. Wednesday – Monday 9:00 – 16:00. April 1st – October 31st: Tuesday 12:30 – 20:00. Wednesday – Monday 8:00 – 20:00.
  • Cost: Free entrance for visitors under 18.

The Acropolis and its surroundings

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The Parthenon, the temple of Athena, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the major attraction of Athens. The Erechteion displays the statues of the female Caryatids, though the original statues have been replaced by copies due to air pollution.

On the southern slopes of the Acropolis lies the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a Roman theatre with room for as many as 5.000 spectators. It is used during the annual Athens Festival for world-class ballet and music performances. The Theatre of Dionysus lies beside Herodes Atticus, and almost all the tragedies and comedies of Ancient Greece were written for this theatre.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Acropolis, Athens
  • Timings: Monday – Sunday 8:00 – 20:00.

Roman Agora

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In antiquity, the Agora played a major role as both a marketplace and a political centre. The Agora is dominated by the Stoa of Attalus and the Theseion, or Hephaisteion, dedicated to the God of metalworking and also to Theseus, one of the heroes of Greek mythology.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Roman Agora, Athens
  • Timings: Monday – Sunday 8:00 – 17:00.

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

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Benaki is a history museum with Greek art and objects from the Stone Age right up to the War of Independence against the Turks. It lays its pieces over three floors and apart from seasonal exhibitions, the museum offers events, courses and publications to educate audiences of all ages. The annexed cafe-restaurant welcomes you in a relaxed ambience where to enjoy dinners, lunches or breaks before exploring the museum.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave. 1, Athens
  • Website: www.benaki.gr
  • Timings: Friday & Saturday 10:00 – 18:00. Thursday 10:00 – 0:00. Sunday 10:00 – 16:00. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.


Mount Lycabettus

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Mount Lycabettus lies right in the centre of Athens, rising 277 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Getting yourself up to this altitude gives you an exquisite 360-degree view over Athens, the Aegean sea and the ships in Piraeus. When the sky is clear, you can see all the way to the mountains in Peloponnese. As well as views, there is also a chic cafe-restaurant, a 19th century Chapel and an amphitheatre to be enjoyed.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Mount Lycabettus, Athens

The Acropolis Museum

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Well worth visiting and right at the foot of the Acropolis lies the new Acropolis Museum. Brief presentations by Museum Archaeologists-Hosts are held in Greek and English every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The museum restaurant offers panoramic views of the Acropolis and a 700 square meter public terrace commanding a breathtaking view of the historic hills of Athens.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Dionysiou Areopagitou St. 15, Athens
  • Website: www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en
  • Timings: November 1st – 31st of March: Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 17:00. Friday 9:00 – 22:00. Saturday – Sunday 9:00 – 20:00. April 1st – 31st of October: Monday 8:00 – 16:00. Tuesday – Sunday 8:00 – 20:00. Friday 8:00 – 22:00.

Temple of Hephaestus

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The Temple of Hephaestus is a well-preserved ancient Greek temple built in 450 BC, dedicated to the God Hephaestus, the protector of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. This may be one of the most well-preserved temples, not only in Greece but in all of Europe.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Thissio, Athens

The Erechtheion

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Erechtheion is said to have been a great king during the Archaic Period, and legend has it he is buried nearby. The temple is built on a slope which creates an interesting architectural anomaly: there is a 3-meter difference between the north-west side and the south-east side.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Acropolis, Athens



Museum of Cycladic Art

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The Museum of Cycladic Art contains more than 3,000 artefacts of Cycladic, Ancient Greek and Cypriot art pieces, on display over four floors. This is an interesting museum to visit in order to get a greater understanding of this colourful culture.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Neophytou Douka St. 4, Athens
  • Website: www.cycladic.gr/en
  • Timings: Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10:00 – 17:00. Thursday 10:00 – 20:00. Sunday 11:00 – 17:00. Closed on Tuesdays.

The Panathenaic Stadium

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The Panathenaic Stadium was built in 330 BC and renovated for the 1896 Olympic Games. It is the world’s oldest stadium which is still in use, and the only one in the world entirely built in white marble. It is from here that the Olympic Flame is delivered to all the Olympic games.

 

Useful Info:

Megaron Concert Hall

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The Megaron, Athens’ Concert Hall, was inaugurated in 1991 and it now houses four halls offering a variety of musical performances. It is famous for its top-notch spectacles and an impressive acoustic.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Vasilissis Sofias & Kokkali, Athens
  • Website: www.megaron.gr
  • Timings: Monday – Friday 10:00 – 20:30. Saturday 10:00 – 14:00 & 17:00 – 20:30. Sunday 18:00 – 20:30.

Temple of Athena Nike

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Temple of Athena Nike is located on the southwest corner of the Acropolis. It is one of the earliest pieces from the Ionic order, one of Greece’s three classical architectures. Celebrating Athena “The Victorious”, it is anchored in Greek mythology.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Acropolis, Athens

Philopappos Hill

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For a nice walk or picnic a bit outside the busy streets and squares of Athens centre, you can head to Philopappos Hill. It offers a great view over the city and maybe the best view of the Acropolis, just far enough to embrace it all while avoiding the tourists crowd and close enough to see the beauty of its architecture.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Philopappos Hill, Thisseio, Athens

Cine Paris

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Located right beneath the Acropolis, this open-air cinema operating on a roof reopened in 1986 after being closed for almost 20 years. Named in honour of its creator (a Greek hairdresser who lived in Paris) it truly is an exceptional spot to catch a movie.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Kidathinaion St. 22, Plaka, Athens
  • Website: www.cineparis.gr
  • Timings: May – October: Monday – Sunday 6:30 – 1:00.

Monastiraki

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Monastiraki, right under the Acropolis, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Athens and considered the heart of the city. Nowadays, it houses the local “Flea Market” as well as shops, cafes, eateries and tourist stores. It is one of the nicest areas to walk in while also one of the most crowded.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Monastiraki, Athens

Glyfada and the seaside

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Breath in the maritime air around Glyfada, a pretty beach town with many restaurants, shops, bars and cafes, accessible from Athens by bus and tram. In Glyfada and further on the Athens Riviera you will find many beaches, ideal for swimming or sunbathing.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Glyfada, Athens

Old Monastery of Daphni

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The Old Daphni Monastery was originally founded and built at the end of the 6th century, to the west of today’s Athens. Surrounded by defence mechanisms, the monastery was extended with additional construction over time. The interior holds detailed mosaics and the complex is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is worth the little detour by public transport.

 

Useful Info:

  • Location: Iera Odos, Athens
  • Website: odysseus.culture.gr/h/2/eh251.jsp?obj_id=1514
  • Timings: Wednesday – Sunday 8:00 – 15:30.
  • Cost: Free Admission.
  • How to reach: Metro line 3 to Agia Marina Station – from there – Bus lines 01, 811, 865, 836, 866 or 876 to stop Psyciatreio/Moni Dafniou
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