Curious about what to do in Athens? Discover history, wine bars, coffee culture, street food, spice shops and hilltop views that get you contemplating life’s bigger questions. All in an afternoon’s stroll. Let’s take a walk together and explore all the best things to do in Athens.
1. Experience Acropolis & Go Sightseeing
There’s a reason why the Acropolis features as the no1 on almost every list of the what to do in Athens. Being not only a distinguished monument of the world and eternal landmark of Athens, the magnificent Parthenon -sitting atop our Sacred Rock- was dedicated to the goddess Athena, thus the name of the city! Visit the historic hill to learn about its remarkable history since the 5th century BC or so called the Golden Era of Pericles. Wander around the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Theater of Dionysus, to end up in the Acropolis Museum specially designed to illuminate the antiquities originally found on the hill.
Tip: The best time to visit the Acropolis is at opening time and during the last two hours before closing.
Follow in the footsteps of Greek philosophers in the heart of ancient Athens’ civic life and the birthplace of democracy and freedom of speech, the Agora (a must among what to see in Athens). Find yourself in the stately Stoa of Attalos and the Temple of Hephaistos, the best preserved ancient temple of Greece.
2. Dig into Greek food
Do you need a break now for some tasty bites? One of the best things to do in Athens is certainly to indulge into Greek cuisine. The city is going through a gastronomic revolution right now, after the years of the financial crisis. It’s not important if you’re a foodie or not (yet) because after you discover what Athens has to offer as a culinary destination it will definitely win you over and you’ll become an enthusiast! From delicious Greek street food like souvlaki to creative ways of transforming Greek traditional dishes into new “gastronomic miracles” using modern techniques, Athens is here to amaze…
Want to grab some street food with the locals while walking around the city? Check out our Athens Street Food Tour – Day & Night. One of the best things to do in Athens on a budget, super friendly for kids & families.
3. Visit Athens’ Central Market
Nothing can compete with the vibrant atmosphere of Athens’ central market, a living “monument” operating non stop for almost 150 years. What to do in Athens if not experience it like a local? Coming here is a great opportunity to uncover the true taste of Greece as a curious traveler while staying away from tourist traps. Get a sense of the local life and immerse yourself in the daily rituals of Athenians. Let them introduce you to their favourite playground with a game of sights, sounds, aromas and flavours, that can offer to you a huge source of culinary inspiration.
4. Dive in the Athenian Riviera
Did you know that in Greece the bright sunlight of the Mediterranean sun keeps shining 300 days a year? You’re in the right place if you want to recharge your energy. What if we told you here it’s easy to enjoy both the city’s vibes and also some beach time on the same day?
Tip: Still wondering what to do in Athens? Go for a swim! Beaches in Greece are best for swimming and sunbathing from late May to early October.
Well, the Athens Riviera has been the secret of Athenians for several years but now is the time for the world to know more. A series of beaches, restaurants and bars run all the way down the Athens coastline – from Paleo Faliro and Piraeus port through the suburbs of the south: Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza, all the way down to the tip of Attica at Cape Sounion.
Do you want to go to this amazing place where summer is celebrated all year long? Join us on our Athens Riviera experience if you want to know more on what to see in Athens and enjoy Greek wine along with a premium olive oil or honey tasting in a local farm to finish off with freshly caught fish and seafood by the waterfront.
5. Climb up the hills of Athens
The list of what to do in Athens continues with our idyllic hills! For walkers, hikers or nature lovers, Athens’ hills offer a great opportunity to view the city from above and appreciate its green spaces. Right under the Acropolis lies Areopagus Hill providing a unique clarity and peace of mind while you find yourself relaxing on the rocks. Beyond that rises the so-called Hill of the Nymphs, a noticeable mound where now stands the National Observatory of Athens.
We also recommend you walk up to the impressive hill of the Muses also known respectively as the Pnyx and Philopappos Hills. In ancient times, on those hills, Athenians were treated to persuasive speeches delivered by historical figures like Themistocles, Demosthenes and others advocating new laws, military actions or sometimes conducting cases of accusations of citizens.
Still wondering what to do in Athens? If you are interested in enjoying a panoramic view of Athens, you must visit Lycabettus Hill. The famous landmark visible from everywhere inside the valley of Athens, Lycabettus is crowned by the chapel of Saint George , while on its southern slopes are multiple sights, including the ruins of the outstanding reservoir of Roman times (“dexameni”).
6. Enjoy the Greek island experience
Right next to Athens, about an hour or two by boat you’ll find charming fishing harbours and plenty tavernas by the seaside. On Aegina, Hydra, Poros and Spetses the fast pace of modern life slows down. The Argosaronic islands are easy to reach and quite reasonably priced, while each of them has its own rich history and culture, culinary treasures and amazing landscapes waiting to be explored by you and among the best things to do in Athens all year long.
Do you feel like celebrating local tastes and enjoying the charms of a beautiful Greek island? Join us on our day trip to Aegina for a unique culinary experience, just an hour away from the city.
Experience Greek hospitality while you find yourselves in a Greek “symposium” – a word that is as old as Greece itself – that literally means “drinking with friends”. Go on and treat yourself with delicious traditional cuisine combined with pristine nature, fascinating culture and heartwarming stories from locals who ’ve lived there for generations.
7. Discover Art and Museums
Our beloved capital is the city of museums. What to see in Athens? First and foremost, the extraordinary Acropolis Museum, specifically designed to illuminate the antiquities originally found on the Acropolis or discovered during its foundation period.
Is ancient history your thing? Then you must not miss the National Archaeological Museum, one of the most important places in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. Up next, Benaki Museum of Greek Culture offers wide-ranging journeys of different historical eras in an elegant former neoclassical house. Another great option among what to see in Athens is the National Historical Museum. Quite a historical one indeed since it was founded in 1882 in the Old Parliament House, making it one of the oldest of its kind.
Are you a modern art enthusiast wondering what to do in Athens? We got you covered; The National Gallery’s collections comprise more than 20,000 treasures of Modern Greek art such as painting, sculpture, and others and the National Museum of Contemporary Art hosts various interesting exhibitions, activities and events throughout the year.
8. Go on a night out in the city
What to do in Athens if not experience its exciting nightlife! Music and fun times are always just around the corner here. It’s part of the Greek way of living to always enjoy drinks slowly, with our friends or family and share small plates (the so-called meze) over several hours.
Greeks are used to going to bed only after the sun rises during early morning hours; Therefore, Athens is a city full of bars, cafes, and clubs that cover up for all moods and styles. The nightlife scene of Athens has now evolved into a world class affair offering hot spots of international fame. Do you need to relax with chill music and enjoy creative cocktails with a spectacular view? Maybe you need to blow off steam while dancing at a party where celebrity DJs play their music all night long. What about enjoying a delightful Greek wine selected out of our 200 indigenous varieties? That’s definitely one of the best things to do in Athens!
9. Wander around Athens’ Neighbourhoods
Still wondering what to do in Athens? Athenians like to socialise; outdoors or indoors, in bars or in restaurants that usually follow the character of each neighbourhood.
Go on an adventure with us in the busiest new faces around Athens. Pay a visit to Keramikos and Gazi district, which is known for its many clubs and vibrant nightlife. In downtown Athens, you can easily find Monastiraki and Thissio areas with amazing rooftop bars and fine dining restaurants, ideal for couples.
Right under the Acropolis, stroll around the quaint neighbourhood of Plaka and discover a tiny little district called Anafiotika, which looks exactly like a Cycladic island in the heart of Athens. Next to it, Koukaki welcomes us with elegant wine bars, sidewalk cafes and traditional old tavernas. Want something more off-the-beaten path? Pangrati is the option for you if you are looking to mingle with the locals in a cool neighbourhood behind the Panathenaic Stadium.
10. Go for shopping
Lastly, before you leave the Greek capital, offer yourself a memorable gift to keep the memories alive or bring a special Greek souvenir to your favourite people back home. As you wander around the city, you won’t be able to resist the family-run boutiques and little souvenir shops selling authentic objects. Stroll the Athens’ Flea Market next to Monastiraki Square and buy yourself a pair of handmade Greek sandals or pick an amazing piece of Greek jewellery inspired by ancient designs with a modern touch of creativity.
Greece is well-known for its top quality local products in affordable prices, so don’t leave without purchasing a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, a jar of exquisite honey or a pack of herbal tea from the mountains!
Need more inspiration ? Read our article on the top 5 Greek products to bring back home from Athens.