Top 10 things to do in Athens

Trip_blog
26 Jul, 2021

Few cities in the world can offer historical heritage - not to mention romance - in quite the same way as Athens. This city is practically an open-air museum, every step offering spectacular insights of the great civilizations that inhabited these lands thousands of years ago. If you like ancient history and classical art - not to mention Mediterranean hospitality - spending your holidays in the Greek capital is one of the best decisions you can make. Book your flights to Athens and hotel as soon as possible, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy these top 10 superb things to do in Athens, Greece (if we do say so ourselves).

Contents

1. Acropolis
2. The Hymettus Mountains
3. Philopappos Monument
4. National Garden of Athens
5. National Archaeological Museum of Athens
6. Temple of Poseidon
7. Vouliagmeni Beach
8. Agora of Athens
9. Syntagma Square
10. Byzantine Monastery of Daphni

Top 10 things to do in Athens

1. Acropolis

Whatever you do on your Greek vacation, you can't go home without visiting this iconic landmark that stands tall among the rolling hills of Athens - the Acropolis will allow you to truly experience the greatness of the Greco-Roman world. Although the Parthenon is one of the most famous monuments, it is only one of the long lists of temples, sanctuaries and theatres that nestle within this site of historical wonder. Keen archeology fans will also get to see the 2000-year-old Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the breath-taking Porch of the Caryatids.

Top 10 things to do in Athens

2. The Hymettus Mountains

Fancy escaping the busy streets of Athens? Head to the eastern border of the city, where you can lose yourself in a stunning natural backdrop that is the Hymettus Mountain range. If you want to do a bit of exercise, the winding 16 km-long range is the ideal place to go for a leisurely hike or practice climbing - proof that you can both go on vacation and keep fit.

Stop to drink in the Athens scenery from its viewpoints and discovering hidden gems such as the Kaisariani Monastery, a small sanctuary with some truly spectacular frescoes in the middle of the forest.

3. Philopappos Monument

One of the wonderful peculiarities of Athens is that it has several hills distributed in different parts of the city from which you will have impressive panoramic views. In addition to climbing Mount Lycabettus and the sacred mount of the Acropolis, the Philopappos Monument, atop Mouseion Hill, is well worth a leisurely walk - not only for its views, but for all the monuments it can boast. Don’t be in a hurry to reach the top, because as well as the monument itself you can visit the 12th century church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, and the so-called Prison of Socrates - a kind of mysterious cave with various theories about its origin (but did it really house the famous philosopher?).

4. National Garden of Athens

The National Garden of Athens, together with the Pedion Areos Park, is one of the largest landscaped enclosures in the city. In this oasis in the middle of the city, you can take a walk under the shade of its lush trees, rest by its beautiful pond and visit the botanical museum to see all kinds of native plants. To take advantage of the visit, you can continue the walk through the gardens of the Zappeion, with its stunning fountain and numerous statues, then amble across Vasilissis Olgas street to visit the Temple of Zeus, another of the essential monuments of Athens.

5. National Archaeological Museum of Athens

To continue your deep-dive into the art and history of old Greece, you have to make sure you visit the Archaeological Museum of Athens. Among its more than 60 rooms, spread over two floors, you will find ancient pieces that will transport you to another era. Admire objects from the Cycladic and Mycenaean civilizations, sculptures recovered from the countless archaeological sites across the country, or vessels illustrated from the 2nd to 4th century B.C. Highly recommended for all museum - not to mention archeology, history and art - lovers!

6. Temple of Poseidon

Even though we technically must leave Athens - 70 km to be precise - you won't regret taking the short excursion to the southernmost tip of the Attica region to visit the Temple of Poseidon, one of the true monuments to the Golden Age of Athens.

Located at Cape Sunio, just over an hour’s drive from the center of Athens, the columns of this icon from the 5th century BC stand on a small peak, where you will have spectacular views of the Saronic Gulf. Watching the sunset from this enclave is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

7. Vouliagmeni Beach

Although the Greek islands are the most popular destination to enjoy the country's beaches, the west coast of Athens is a great option for a dip during your Greek getaway. After the popular beaches of Faliro, Alimos and Glyfada, which can be reached comfortably by tram from the center of Athens, we find the exclusive beach of Vouliagmeni, a paradisaic haven surrounded by calm waters. Nearby you will find upscale restaurants, a marina, and the Vouliagmeni Suites Athens, a fabulous 4-star hotel with a pool and sea views.

8. Agora of Athens

Alongside the Acropolis, one of the other outstanding sites in the city is the Agora of Athens, a large enclosure that served as a political, religious, and commercial center centuries ago. Two of the most remarkable monuments are the Temple of Aphrodite Urania and the Hephaestion, but the Stoa of Attalos, the building that today houses the Agora Museum, is our top tip. Its collection includes Athenian sculptures, small but precious objects found in excavations in the area, and a variety of historical pieces related to the democratic and legislative system of classical Greece. Fascinating, no?

Top 10 things to do in Athens

9. Syntagma Square

Without a doubt, one of the places that you cannot miss during your holiday in Greece is Syntagma Square. This sprawling central architectural delight lies in front of the Greek parliament, and is famous for hosting the changing of the guard every hour, when the Presidential Guard perform a unique ceremony to pay homage to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After experiencing the event, take the opportunity to drink in the sights of the popular Plaka neighborhood, or stroll through the lively shopping streets of the center to Monastiraki Square - another of the many must-sees of Athens.

10. Byzantine Monastery of Daphni

Lying 11 km north-west of Athens, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed monastery is yet another slice of history. Take the opportunity to see original Byzantine art and - although some areas have been damaged over time - you can book a visit to see the colorful frescoes and mosaics that decorate the walls and interior domes. Fun fact: this 11th-century monastery was built on the site of a sanctuary, originally built in honor of the god Apollo.

Along with all this ancient beauty, the comparatively low number of tourists, its location next to a wooded area and the tranquility of its outer cloister, this could be a golden opportunity to harness some inner peace.