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Welcome to Athens, the capital city of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world! Discover the surviving artwork and ruins of Classical Greece, often considered the birthplace of Western civilization and democracy. In addition to classical art and architecture, the city is a great place to discover Greek food and culture, and it’s the ideal base for day trips around mainland Greece and some of its islands.
Anneliese O'MalleyBy Anneliese O'Malley

The Top 9 Things to Do in Athens

The top tourist attractions in Athens include several important archaeological and historical sites, but there’s more to the capital of Greece than marble ruins and museums. You can use the city as a base for cruises in the Aegean sea, you can explore local food and wine, or you can visit the area’s glorious beaches. We’ve created a mini travel guide that lists the best things to do in Athens.


The Acropolis is Athens’ best-known attraction and is an absolute must-see for every visitor. This complex of temples and public buildings was constructed during the golden years of Classical Athens when the city was at its richest and full of artists at their peak. The complex contains the Parthenon, a huge temple to Athena, the Erechtheion, a temple to Poseidon, and the temple of Athena Nike. From the top of the hill, you’ll also get an amazing view of the city below. Visitors should also consider stopping at the Acropolis Museum, where you’ll see several of the original marble statues and friezes that decorated the buildings of the Acropolis.
Sailing in Athens

Cruises & Sailing

Piraeus, the port of Athens, is Europe’s largest passenger port. However, you can explore the Mediterranean whether you’re onboard a huge cruise liner or not, with boat tours and sailing expeditions departing from the city daily. Visit some of the small islands near the city, such as Hydra, Poros, and Aegina, or just enjoy a trip along the Attic coastline with the chance to snorkel, scuba dive, or eat a delicious meal cooked by your guides.
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Visit a Market in Athens

Discover Greek Food

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world, and it’s also extremely delicious, featuring fresh local produce such as olives, feta cheese, dates, and pine nuts. Go on a walking tour of a local market, bounce between restaurants on a food tour, or take a cooking class to learn how to make dishes like spanakopita, moussaka, or meat dishes like souvlaki.
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National Archaeological Museum

Learn about Ancient Greece in a Museum

In addition to archaeological sites, there are several museums that house the treasures of Ancient Greece. The National Archaeological Museum is home to one of the world’s largest and most important collections of ancient art from Bronze Age Greece, Mycenae, and Egypt. Highlights include the Mask of Agamemnon, a bronze statue of Poseidon, the Jockey of Atemision, and several decorated vases. The Museum of Cycladic Art is also worth a visit if you’re interested in the distinctive prehistoric artwork from the Cycladic islands. In addition to ancient art, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions from international modern and contemporary artists such as Picasso and Ai Weiwei.
National Archaeological Museum
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Museum of Cycladic Art
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Take a Day Trip to Delphi

Take a Day Trip

Athens is wonderful, but there’s far more to discover on the rest of Greece’s mainland if you’re willing to travel for a few hours. One of the most impressive sites is Delphi on Mount Parnassus, where the ancient oracle used to give out advice to those who sought her help. Alternatively, there are several trips to Cape Sounion where you can visit the ruined Temple of Poseidon which is perched on an impressive cliff overlooking the sea. Trips to Sounion are especially popular at sunset when you can take some of the most stunning pictures of the scenery before returning to Athens.
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Temple of Olympian Zeus

See Some More Ruins

If you thought that the only significant archaeological sights in Athens were on the Acropolis, you’d be wrong. If you’re interested in the history of Ancient Greek society then you should definitely plan a visit to the Ancient Agora of Athens, where the business of commerce and politics took place or the Panathenaic Stadium, which was used for the Panathenaic Games and later some events at the modern Olympic Games in 1896, 1906, and 2004. You can also visit the impressive remains of the Temple of Olympian Zeus which was briefly the largest temple in Greece (before its destruction by barbarians in 267 AD) and housed one of the largest religious statues in the ancient world.
Ancient Agora of Athens
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Panathenaic Stadium
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Temple of Olympian Zeus
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Hop-On Hop-Off Athens | Flickr: dronepicr CC BY 2.0

Hop-On Hop-Off to the Beach

While the Greek islands are famous for their sandy beach oases, the area around Athens also provides plenty of opportunities for travelers who want to relax by the sea. In summer, Athens’ popular hop-on hop-off bus providers add an extra route just for those who want to get from the city center to the beach, helping you to add an element of sunshine and sand to your city break. And if you’re visiting in winter then you might still want to take advantage of the audio commentary and heated interior of the hop-on hop-off bus services as you travel from attraction to attraction.
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Bikes in Athens | Flickr: EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK CC BY 2.0

Discover Athens by Bike

Plenty of Athens’ most popular and most important attractions can be seen from the street, so a tour by bike can help you to see almost everything in a single morning or afternoon. For less experienced cyclists or those who worry about keeping up with a fast group, tours on e-bikes are also available, and for those who don’t like cycling around cities, consider a tour along the coast with an expert guide to show you the way.
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Attica Zoological Park

This zoo in Athens is a great family-friendly activity for those who are visiting the city with children. Featuring over 2,000 animals from 400 species, visitors can enjoy spotting big cats like lions and tigers, chimpanzees, dolphins, and walk-through enclosures featuring a range of animals. Make sure to check feeding times to learn even more about the animal inhabitants.
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Anneliese O'Malley
Written byAnneliese O'MalleyAnneliese is a former Londoner, keen traveler, and total word nerd. As a Content Management Specialist she knows the TicketLens inventory inside out and curates, matches, and writes about the most interesting attractions worldwide.
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