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What to See in Athens Greece – 12 Unmissable Highlights and Attractions

Is Athens worth visiting? What to see in Athens in one day? These are some of the questions we are asked most often by visitors who want to add Athens to their itinerary.

Athens is a city filled with history, culture, and friendly locals. It’s also one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean, thanks to its impressive architectural heritage, thriving nightlife, and mouthwatering traditional cuisine. We recommend adding at least one day to spend in Athens at the start or end of your trip if you’re visiting Greece.

You can wander around the picturesque Plaka, explore the mesmerizing Acropolis, or spend the day at one of the nearby Saronic islands lounging on the beach.

Here’s our list of what to see in Athens and our recommendations for the best Athens city highlights and attractions.

We Know Transfers can arrange private tours in Athens for you and your group so you explore at your own leisure. Ask us about our ready-made Athens city tour packages or contact us to discuss a custom option for specific spots you wish to visit. 

What to see in Athens – The Best of the Best

What to see in Athens - Plaka

Stroll around Plaka and Anafiotika

Plaka is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens and a must-visit for all. The historic area of Anafiotika is part of Plaka and right under the slopes of the Acropolis, with a distinctive Cycladic feel to it that surprises and enchants everyone that visits.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: You can walk, get lost, grab coffee or lunch and practice your photography skills.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma Square: 10-minute walk (500 m)

What to see in Athens - Acropolis

Visit the Acropolis (and Acropolis Museum)

Without a doubt, the Acropolis is the most iconic sight of Athens. To avoid the crowds and intense heat during the summertime, you can visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Don’t miss a visit to the Acropolis Museum, considered one of the finest in the world.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: Purchase a combo ticket for both the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. You may also wish to hire an experienced local guide to make the most of your experience.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma Square: 15-minute walk to the Museum. 20-25 minute walk to Acropolis entrance.

What to see in Athens - Hadrian's Library

Walk around Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library

The Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library are well worth visiting for those who want to see more than just the Acropolis.

The Roman Agora is the main square of ancient Athens and was the center of the city’s political life for centuries. Right opposite the Agora, the famous library built in 132 AD is where important literary works were once housed.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: you can purchase a ticket or walk around the outside area. The flea markets around Monastiraki are perfect for shopping.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธDistance from Syntagma Square: 12-minute walk (800m)

What to see in Athens - Odeon Herodes Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

One of the most impressive open-air theatres in the world, located right under the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built in 161 AD by Roman senator Herodes Atticus for his wife, Regalia.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: you can only visit the theatre when you purchase a ticket for a music or theatre performance, usually between May and September. Alternatively, you can view it from above when you enter the Acropolis.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธDistance from Syntagma: 20-minute walk (1.4 km)

What to see in Athens - Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square and Parliament

In addition to being a convenient meeting point, Syntagma Square is one of the best places to visit in Athens to see the famous changing of the guards. You will also be able to spot and photograph the Hellenic Parliament Building.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: Just walk up to the square. The guard change takes place every hour. If you can time your visit accordingly, on Sundays at 11:00 am, there is a more official ceremony

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: you are there!

What to see in Athens - Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium is one of the greatest attractions in Athens. The stadium was built in 566 BC and has been used for many important events throughout history, including the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and the Panathenaic Games.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: Purchase a ticket to enter inside and make sure to walk to the top rows for the best view.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 16-minute walk (1.3km)

What to see in Athens - Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Another imposing landmark to not miss in Athens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, has been standing there for centuries, with the first constructions taking place in 520 BC. Fifteen of the original columns are still standing.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: purchase a ticket or make use of your Athens City Pass to access the grounds.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 10-minute walk (750m)

What to see in Athens - Zappeion

Explore the National Gardens and Zappeion

Covering an area of more than 15 hectares, the National Gardens are a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with more than 500 types of plant species. The park was created between 1838 and 1840 and commissioned by Queen Amalia. Initially only open to the royal family, the gardens are now accessible from multiple entrances. You can also visit the Zappeion building, constructed specifically for the Olympic Games of 1896.

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: This will be an enjoyable walk for the whole family. Start and finish wherever you like.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 5-10 minutes, depending on where you enter.

Hike (or drive) to the top of Lycabettus Hill

A favorite spot for locals, Lycabettus Hill offers one of the best and most romantic spots with panoramic views of downtown Athens. Make sure to bring extra water and sunscreen if you attempt the hike during the summer.

๐Ÿ‘‰How to visit: There are options to walk, drive to the car park and then do a short walk or take the cable car.

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 10-minute walk to the entrance and 20-50-minute walk to the top, depending on fitness level.

What to see in Athens - Dimotiki Agora

Shop at Varvakios Agora 

Varvakios Agora is one of the biggest and most well-known food markets in the center of Athens. Here you can find meat, fish, fruits, spices, cheeses, and plenty of other vendors selling their produce. Perfect if you are looking to get acquainted with Greek cuisine or grab a couple of gifts for your friends back home, straight from the source! 

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: Simply walk in and start shopping. The market opens early in the morning until midday. 

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 16-minute walk 

The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) 

Located in a 1,800 square meters building that used to house the former FIX Brewery in the trendy neighborhood of Koukaki, the National Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-see for visitors interested in new media and industrial design. The collection includes more than 1000 works of contemporary art, with a permanent collection of 172 works by Greek and foreign artists, including Ilya Kabakov, Stephen Antonakos, and Gary Hill. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: The Museum is not open on Mondays. Estimate about 1-2 hours, depending on how much time you wish to spend on each exhibit. 

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 24-minute walk (1.9 km) but best to drive

What to see in Athens - Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Foundation

Enjoy a cold drink or concert at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre 

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre is a cultural hub near the waterfront at Faliro Bay, about 4km from Athens. Most areas around the park are open for visitors to visit and explore. There are plenty of walks, a manmade river in front of the National Library of Greece, and cafes where you can enjoy a refreshing beverage. 

๐Ÿ‘‰ How to visit: You can grab a taxi, private transfer, or use public transportation. 

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™‚๏ธ Distance from Syntagma: 20-minute drive (12.5 km) 

What to see in Athens – How do I see all of these attractions in one day? 

If you only have limited time in the capital, you will no doubt want to make the most of it and see as many of the best places in Athens. A private transfer tour is an excellent option to avoid delays and arrive at each destination relaxed. We can also provide a licensed tour guide that will be able to share more in-depth details at each spot and while driving around Athens. 

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Contact us today to learn more about our services.