Explore Athens: 11 Unique Things to Do and Iconic Landmarks

Discover the heart and soul of Greece through its vibrant capital. Athens, a city where history is alive in every corner, offers a treasure trove of landmarks and unique experiences waiting to be explored. From the ancient grandeur of the Acropolis to the charming streets of Plaka, this guide uncovers the top tourist attractions in Athens, Greece, ensuring you don’t miss out on what this historic city has to offer.

Whether you’re looking to delve into the rich tapestry of Greek culture or find those hidden gems scattered around the city, our comprehensive map of tourist attractions in Athens, Greece, will be your perfect companion. Join us as we journey through Athens’ landmarks and uncover the most unique things to do in this enchanting city.

Map of tourist attractions in Athens, Greece

1. Dive into history at the Acropolis and Parthenon, where Athens’ heart beats

Experience the grandeur of the Parthenon, a pinnacle among Athens landmarks, and step back in time to ancient Greece
Where history stands tall and proud – the majestic Parthenon awaits.

The Acropolis and Parthenon stand as monumental Athens landmarks, encapsulating the zenith of Athens’ historical and cultural panorama. This ancient complex, crowned by the renowned Parthenon, offers a unique glimpse into what human ingenuity can achieve in the realm of freedom.

Stemming from the Golden Age of Athens, or the Age of Pericles in the 5th century B.C., the Acropolis is a testament to an era that saw remarkable advancements not just in economic terms, but culturally and politically as well. Every corner of the Acropolis reflects the principles that laid the foundation for Western civilization and the values our society cherishes today.

Discover the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a historic theater offering unique cultural experiences in Athens
Echoes of ancient performances still resonate here, inviting you for an unforgettable show
Capture the breathtaking perspective of the Parthenon from the Odeon Herodes Atticus.
A view like no other: the Parthenon as seen from the ancient Odeon

2. Wander through the Acropolis Museum for a peek into ancient wonders

Explore ancient treasures at the Acropolis Museum and learn about its storied past
It is quite noticeable the fact that from the central entrance, you can see the hill of Acropol mirrored on the museum’s windows!

The Acropolis Museum is a world-class state-of-the-art museum with the scope to demonstrate all the findings of the Parthenon area from the Mycenaean era to the Early Christian era. The Acropolis Museum has 14.000 square meters of exhibition collections and is part of the efforts to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece from the British Museum.

Earning the title of the 6th best museum in the world and ranking 4th in Europe, it’s highly recommended to explore this museum with a guide to fully appreciate its treasures. Luckily, finding a knowledgeable guide is easy, thanks to a wide selection of guided tours available on the GetYourGuide website. These guided tours not only offer insightful commentary and historical context that enrich your visit but also ensure you don’t miss any of the museum’s must-see exhibits.

3. Stand in awe at the Temple of Zeus, an unmissable landmark in Athens.

Visit the Temple of Zeus, a monumental Athens landmark that showcases the city's rich mythology and history.
Stand in the shadow of the gods at the awe-inspiring Temple of Zeus

At the heart of Athens, amidst its historic Athens landmarks, lies the ruins of what was once the largest temple in ancient Greece, dedicated to Zeus. This monumental site, which began construction in the 6th century BC under the reign of the tyrant Peisistratos, offers a glimpse into the city’s glorious past.

Aristotle, in his discussions on political philosophy, referenced the Temple of Zeus as a testament to how tyrannical rulers would engage the populace in massive construction projects. These endeavors were not just feats of engineering and devotion but also strategic distractions, keeping citizens too busy and drained to question or resist their rulers’ authority.

You can find the address on the map of tourist attractions in Athens, Greece, which features a detailed guide to exploring the city’s most celebrated spots, such as the Temple of Zeus.

4. Stroll around the Ancient Agora and Temple of Hephaestus, stepping back in time.

Stroll through the Ancient Agora and imagine the bustling marketplace of antiquity.
Wander where philosophers once debated – the Ancient Agora invites your curiosity

The Ancient Agora or Forum is a big complex of archeology interest. It consists of many temples dedicated to the 12 Gods, Stoas, and the museum of the Ancient Agora in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos. Stoa is called a path that is covered to protect the people in the market from sun or rain and was intended for use in public places.

The highlight of the Ancient Agora is the Temple of Hephaestus or Thesium which may be the best well-preserved Greek temple as it remains in excellent condition. As happened also with the Pantheon in Rome, it was maintained probably because of the different uses during the centuries as a temple of God Hephaestus, Christian Orthodox Church, and Museum.

Join Kate in exploring the Temple of Hephaestus, an exquisite example of ancient Greek architecture
The Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best-preserved Athens landmarks, offers a glimpse into the architectural genius of the past
Perfection in stone – the Temple of Hephaestus stands as a testament to ancient craftsmanship
Discover the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, a hub of ancient commerce
troll through history’s hallways at the stately Stoa of Attalos.

5. Experience the glory of ancient sports at the Kalimarmaro / Panathenaic Stadium.

Marble Marvel: The Panathenaic Stadium’s Legacy

Experience the historic Kalimarmaro, the marble stadium that hosted the 1896 Olympics, a pinnacle among Athens' tourist attractions.
It is pretty admirable the fact that 100% of the stadium is made of marble!

The Kalimarmaro Stadium, also known as the Panathenaic, is among the most ancient Athens landmarks and stadiums in the world. Completed in the 6th century B.C., it stands out because it’s entirely built of Pentelic marble. This historic venue proudly hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, marking a significant moment in sports history.

When you visit, you’ll receive a radio headset that plays a recorded guide. The stadium is marked with numbers that match the guide’s narration. As you listen, you’re taken on a journey from the ancient competitions held in honor of Goddess Athena to the inception of the modern Olympics and various athletic events hosted there. This immersive experience makes it easier to imagine the grandeur of past and present athletic triumphs.

Follow Kate's journey through Kalimarmaro
ate steps into history at Kalimarmaro, feeling the Olympic spirit alive and well.

A Journey Through Olympic History

Venturing beneath the surface, you’ll embark on a journey through time, showcased by an extraordinary collection featuring Olympic Torches from every tournament held to date.

Uncover hidden treasures in the underground museum of Kalimarmaro,
Beneath the surface lies history – explore the underground museum at Kalimarmaro.

It is believed that Panathenaic Stadium holds also the world record for the most fans in a basketball game in the final between AEK and Slavia Prague in the European Cup final in 1968. They counted 80.000 seated people and 40.000 standing numbers that are enormous even for a football game.

Guiness world record award for the most fans in a basketball game to Panathenaic Kalimarmaro stadium
The atmosphere for a basketball game with 80000 probably was amazing!

You can find the address on the map of tourist attractions in Athens, Greece as Kallimarmaro!

6. Hunt for treasures in Ermou and Monastiraki

Exploring Ermou Street is one of the unique things to do in Athens. Built in 1833, this historical pathway stretches 1.5 kilometers from the Greek Parliament. Despite being among the priciest streets in Europe and globally, Ermou offers a variety of multinational shops with deals to be found, especially when sales are on.

Just north of Ermou, Monastiraki weaves a different story. Named after the Church of the Pantanassa, it’s a place where the past meets the present. While it once buzzed with antique stores, now tourist shops dominate. Yet, with a bit of searching, treasures like rare books, coins, vinyl records, antique cameras, and even comics can still be discovered, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Athenian culture and history.

7. Catch a breathtaking sunset from Lycabettus Hill, a moment you won’t forget

Sunset view from Lykavitos Hill captures the timeless beauty of Athens landmarks, including the Acropolis, in a single, awe-inspiring image. Find this spot using our map of tourist attractions in athens greece
A breathtaking sunset view from Lykavitos Hill, frames the timeless Acropolis, one of the most iconic Athens landmarks

Climbing or driving to Lycabettus Hill is one of the most unique things to do in Athens. Standing at 227 meters above sea level, it may not seem very high, but the view from the top is breathtaking. You can see a panoramic view of Athens stretching out below you. At the summit, there’s a quaint church dedicated to Saint George and a cozy coffee shop, perfect for enjoying the scenery.

For an unforgettable experience, time your visit to coincide with the sunset. You have several options to reach the top: by car, by foot for the adventurous, or by the more leisurely cable car, which costs only 7€. Plus, with your ticket, you’ll enjoy a discount at the restaurant located at the top. The journey, no matter how you choose to undertake it, promises a memorable addition to your Athens adventure.

You can find the address on the map of tourist attractions in Athens, Greece, which features a detailed guide to exploring the city’s most celebrated spots, such as Likavitos!

8. Meander down Dionysiou Areopagitou Street and catch a film under the stars.

Dionysiou Areopagitou Street is located on the north side of Acropolis Hill. According to history, the name of the street is after the first Athenian who converted to Christianity after Apostolos Paul’s preaching. Especially in sprint and summer is one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Greece full of music, classical buildings, and modern terrace coffee shops that offer a great view of the Parthenon.

Last but not least, just 300 meters North of Areopagitou Street you will find the best open cinema in the world, Thision. Endorsed by CNN, BBC Culture, and BBC World among many others will give you an experience to remember while you will enjoy movies, old, classic, and new as never before! It is among the unique things to do not only in Athens but globally!

Find the cinema here

9. Sip a coffee in Plaka and lose yourself in the charming Anafiotika

Plaka, nestled in the heart of Athens, stands as a living museum, offering a glimpse into the city’s appearance a century ago. With its buildings all protected and preserved, this neighborhood is a vibrant blend of coffee shops, restaurants, taverns, and shops, alongside historic homes once occupied by notable Athenians. It’s one of those unique things to do in Athens, where every corner and cobblestone street tells a story, inviting visitors to step back in time.

Meander through Plaka street for shopping to historical exploration
Winding streets with stories to tell – Plaka, the heart of Athens

Just a stone’s throw from the Acropolis, you’ll stumble upon the enchanting Anafiotika area. This hidden gem, inspired by Cycladic architecture, was brought to life by settlers from the island of Anafi, who came to Athens seeking work.

Wandering through Anafiotika, with its narrow pathways and whitewashed houses, you’ll be instantly transported to a Greek island oasis, where it feels like summer all year round, even in the heart of winter. This seamless blend of urban and island life makes exploring Plaka and Anafiotika a must-do for anyone looking to experience the diverse and rich tapestry of Athens.

Indulge in the quaint charm of Yiasemi in Plaka, a delightful spot that embodies the spirit of Athens
Yiasemi: Enjoying a coffee is among the unique things to do in Athens and in Greece in general

You can find the address on the map of tourist attractions in Athens, Greece, which features a detailed guide to exploring the city’s most celebrated spots, such as the Perfect brunch spot inside Plaka. It is not only Yasemi! You can freely explore the area!

10. Relish a meal in Mikrolimano, where the sea whispers stories of old

Discovering Mikrolimano, also known as Fanari, Akti Koumoundourou, or Tourkolimano, is among the unique things to do in Athens that shouldn’t be missed. This picturesque spot, nestled by the sea, offers an exceptional dining experience whether you’re in the mood for fresh fish or succulent meat. Each name of the area carries with it stories from different times, adding layers of history to your visit.

The ambiance in Mikrolimano is unmatched, with its charming setting providing the perfect backdrop for enjoying quality food and local recipes. While the prices strike a balance between affordability and value, ensuring that you can savor the flavors without breaking the bank, the true wealth of this place lies in its scenic beauty and the culinary delights that await. Whether you’re seeking a taste of traditional Greek cuisine or just a peaceful spot by the water, Mikrolimano is a destination that offers both in abundance.

Savor the tastes of Athens at Lahmatzun, a renowned restaurant in Mikrolimano, and enjoy dining with a view
Lahmatzun: a culinary journey by the sea in picturesque Mikrolimano.

11. Sneak away to Sounio for a day, where the city’s buzz fades into serene views

Venture beyond Athens to the Poseidon Temple in Sounio, a breathtaking Athens landmark offering stunning sunset views and a rich historical backdrop.
Poseidon Temple in Sounio

Just a short drive from Athens, about an hour and 54 kilometers away, lies Sounio, home to the magnificent Temple of Poseidon. Though not within the city limits, this spot is a must-visit for anyone interested in the rich tapestry of Athens landmarks and history. Sounio sits at the southern tip of the Attica peninsula, a strategic point that has overseen the sea routes to Athens for centuries. Its significance was even noted by Homer, with the current temple structure dating back to the 5th century BC.

Poseidoin Kate in marveling at the Poseidon Temple in Sounio, a testament to the grandeur of ancient Greece
Poseidon temple in Sounio

Visiting the Temple of Poseidon at sunset is an experience like no other, offering breathtaking views that capture the essence of ancient Greece. For those without personal transport, there’s no need to worry—numerous agencies offer tours to this historic site. The journey to Sounio allows you to step outside the bustling city and immerse yourself in the serene beauty and profound historical importance of one of the most iconic landmarks near Athens.

Witness the spectacular intersection of sky and sea from the Poseidon Temple in Sounio
It is Poseidon’s temple so for sure his “house” would have a great view of the sea!

“The name of Athens – alone – is rebuilding the city and Athens will remain the capital of Greece for the whole world, even if another will be declared”
Leo von Klenze

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