10 Best Things To Do in Athens

Culture, history and gastronomy just a ferry ride away from the best beaches in Europe. Sounds good, doesn't it? Welcome to Athens!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

10 Best Things To Do in Athens

The Parthenon of Athens | ©Arthur Yeti

The capital of Greece is an ideal destination for cultural tourism without giving up rest, beautiful landscapes or paradisiacal islands. These are the top 10 experiences you can't miss on your trip to Athens.

1. Visit the Acropolis

The Acropolis| ©Mauricio Muñoz
The Acropolis| ©Mauricio Muñoz

The Acropolis of Athens is crowned by the Parthenon and its remains are located on top of a mountain that is visible from virtually anywhere in the city center. Entrance to the Acropolis gives you access to see all the remains of the city including monuments such as:

  • The Parthenon.
  • The Propylaea building.
  • The temple of Athena Nike.
  • The Erechtheion temple.

You can tour the Acropolis on your own, but my recommendation is that you hire a guided tour to fully enjoy all the culture and significance of the archaeological site.

In any case, if you want to go on your own, it is advisable to buy tickets to the Acropolis online and with attenuation to avoid the long queues that form at the ticket office.

Book tickets to the Acropolis

2. Take a guided tour of the city

Syntagma Square| ©axelina2000
Syntagma Square| ©axelina2000

Athenian culture does not end with a visit to the Acropolis. In the city center there are s ights that are also a must-see:

  • The Temple of Zeus.
  • The National Garden.
  • The Panathinaikó stadium.
  • Hadrian's Arch.
  • Syntagma Square.

The best way to locate these and other places of relevance and learn about their history is to take a guided tour of Athens. The real value of this activity is in the explanations of the guide, so when choosing one option or another, always make sure that it is a local and expert guide who accompanies you during the tour.

Book a guided tour of Athens

3. Join an excursion in the surroundings

Discover the beauty of Meteora| ©Georgios Kaleadis
Discover the beauty of Meteora| ©Georgios Kaleadis

Near Athens there are places of great cultural interest that can be visited with an organized tour. What is essential is to have a specialized guide during the tour and a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to enjoy the experience.


It is a city located two hours from the Greek capital and its ruins are one of the most important archaeological centers of the country.

Depending on the time you have available, you can choose between two different options:


The name means "rock in the air" and honors the landscape that you will find there, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in Greece. The monasteries of Meteora are one of the main attractions of this island located near Delphi for which there are several excursions available from Athens:

The Peloponnese

Linked to Athens by the Corinth Canal, this peninsula is a must for lovers of ancient history. It is home to places of cultural interest such as Mycenae, Nafplio or Epidaurus that do not disappoint the traveler. It can be seen on a day trip from Athens.


On the mythical island of the windmills you can spend a dream day in a fully organized and guided visit so that you only have to worry about enjoying this jewel of the Aegean Sea. As with the other cities, an excursion is one of the best ways to get to Mykonos from Athens:

Cape Sunio

Another must on your trip to Athens is the spectacular Cape Sunio. There you will see the Temple of Poseidon at the top of the cliff and, if your visit coincides with sunset, you will be able to see one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world:

Book an excursion from Athens

4. Tour the city by sightseeing bus

Sightseeing bus through the streets of Athens| ©Vassilis
Sightseeing bus through the streets of Athens| ©Vassilis

The city of Athens has magnificent sites, although in the summer months the heat prevents you from enjoying them comfortably. Booking a seat on the Athens sightseeing bus is a way to tour the city without getting tired while enjoying panoramic views and audio commentary that will help you connect with the city's monuments and its history.

You can purchase a ticket that is valid for 24 or 72 hours depending on how long you will be in Athens. This is ideal for travelers who have a short time in the city and don't want to miss out on a general overview of the city.

For those who enjoy doing a little exercise while getting to know the city, there is no better plan than taking a bike tour of Athens, can you imagine contemplating the ancient Greek monuments with an expert guide while pedaling?

Book the Athens tourist bus

5. Take a cruise in the Greek Islands

Hydra| ©Despina Galani
Hydra| ©Despina Galani

Even if you will only be in Athens for a short time, you will have the opportunity to visit other islands in Greece on a full-day excursion. By taking a Greek Islands tour, you'll see three islands, each of which offers authentic landscapes that will give you a more complete picture of the country.

  • Hydra stands out for its stone houses and panoramic views from the top of the hill.
  • Poros is a small island with a picturesque harbor that you will love to photograph.
  • In Aegina, known for its temples, you can add a guided visit to the Temple of Aphaea, dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphaia, when you make your reservation.

Book an excursion to the Greek Islands

6. Stroll through the Plaka district

Stroll through the Plaka neighborhood| ©psyberartist
Stroll through the Plaka neighborhood| ©psyberartist

It is one of the most authentic neighborhoods of Athens and the favorite of many travelers who visit it. It is located at the foot of the Acropolis and its main attraction is that its streets and architecture retain the charm of traditional Greece. In many of the guided tours of Athens is an essential stop.

A tip: when you visit the neighborhood skip the most touristy streets and wander as much as you can. Once you finish touring Plaka, walk to the neighboring neighborhood of Anafiotica, where the earthen facades and labyrinthine streets give way to white and blue houses worthy of a postcard. In addition, I recommend a night walk through its streets: its Greek music shows in the taverns will not leave you indifferent.

If you want to know more about this neighborhood, visit our article where you can see the best things to do in Plaka.

Book a guided tour of Athens

7. Taste the local food

Taste the traditional Greek moussaka| ©Shadowgate
Taste the traditional Greek moussaka| ©Shadowgate

You may or may not become a fan of Greek cuisine after your trip, but what is certain is that you cannot leave Athens without tasting some of its specialties. Greece has more dishes besides the famous yogurt (which you can also order) and some of the most popular ones are:

  • Moussaka: a kind of vegetable lasagna.
  • Gyro: shredded meat served inside a pita bread.
  • Feta Me Meli: baked feta cheese wrapped in filo pastry
  • Souvlaki: a skewer with pork, chicken or lamb served with vegetables and pita bread.
  • Tzatziki: an appetizer made with yogurt, garlic, olive oil and fresh dill.
  • Greek salad: in case you don't know the ingredients, it includes tomatoes, olives, cucumber and feta cheese.

Without a doubt, booking a gastronomic tour of Athens is one of the best ways to taste all its specialties.

Book a gastronomic tour in Athens

8. Enjoy the sights of the city

Views of Athens from Filopappou Hill| ©Larry Koester
Views of Athens from Filopappou Hill| ©Larry Koester

It seems that if you do not contemplate a city from above you have not seen it at all and, perhaps unconsciously, there are many of us who go during our travels looking for viewpoints on our way. In Athens there are several and they are ideal for watching the sunset and the views of the illuminated Acropolis. I recommend two:

  • Lycabettus Hill. The most famous viewpoint in Athens is located two km from the center and you can go up on foot or by funicular. The views of the illuminated Pantheon are breathtaking.
  • Filopappou Hill. Located south of the city, although the climb may require some effort, the trees surrounding the path will provide shade as you make your way to the top. Watching the sunset there is worth the fatigue of the climb.

Book a guided tour of Athens

9. Go shopping in the Monastiraki district

Monastiraki neighborhood| ©Manu
Monastiraki neighborhood| ©Manu

It is a Turkish-influenced neighborhood full of mosques, traditional restaurants, stores and bustle. It is essential to take a walk there during your visit and stop to look at the details that you will find in their stores and food stalls. There are also two very interesting places to visit: the tower of the winds and Hadrian's library. Do not leave the neighborhood without eating in some of its restaurants.

Book the tourist bus of Athens

10. Visit the Roman Agora and the Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora with the temple of Hephaestus in the background| ©Larry
Ancient Agora with the temple of Hephaestus in the background| ©Larry

Agora means square or assembly, two concepts that in ancient Greece were closely linked because it was precisely in the squares of the cities where all the inhabitants of the city met to trade and discuss political issues. If you want to take a trip back in time, visiting these two squares during your stay in Athens is a must: - In the Ancient Agora is one of the best preserved buildings in Greece: the temple of Hephaestus (it will remind you a bit of the Parthenon), open to the public during the morning. Other points of interest near this square are the Odeon of Agrippa, the Panathenaic Way or the Stoa of Attalus.

  • The Roman Agora, meanwhile, is located near the neighborhood of Monastiraki and some of its corners will remind you of the Forum of Rome. It was built between 19 BC and 11 BC by Emperor Augustus. You can visit it every day from 8 am to 5 pm.

By the way, if you take a bike tour of Athens, you can follow a secret path in the Agora that will lead you to the birth of democracy.

Book a bike tour in Athens

Some tips for your trip to Athens

Touring by Bike| ©UrbanCyclist
Touring by Bike| ©UrbanCyclist

Once you have confirmed your Athens airport transfers it is always a good idea to organize your trip according to the time you have available. Athens has a lot to see and do. So to help you with the organization, we leave you a list of travel guides with the best plans distributed by days:

If you are wondering when is the best time to visit the Greek capital, whether you visit it in winter or in summer, you will have options for all tastes. From January to December, passing through the Christmas season, Athens has great plans for you, so a getaway to get to know its incredible history and nature is always a great idea.