Greece is one of my favorite places I’ve traveled. I love it there because of the kind people, the incredible food, the culture of enjoying life, and of course the rich history. And there epicenter of history in Greece is Athens. When you’re in Athens you have the chance to step back in time and imagine what it was like to be here thousands of years ago during the development of western civilization. Admittedly, Athens has failed to achieve comparable levels of success in recent times and the modern areas of the city feature mostly graffiti-covered buildings. But the historic value of Athens remains and is well worth a visit, to stand at the site of those great cultural achievements. When you’re visiting, be sure to visit these top 10 things to see in Athens!
Things to See in Athens
1 | Parthenon
The most famous symbol of ancient Athens, the Parthenon sits atop a hill as part of the Acropolis complex. The Parthenon was a temple dedicated to the patron goddess of Athens, Athena. It has been undergoing a major restoration project, which obstructs your view of the Parthenon. It was going on when I visited five years ago and still continues today!
2 | Theatre of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus is also part of the Acropolis complex and can be seen on the walk up to the Parthenon. It’s built into the side of the hill and features a half circle of stadium seating. It was the main theatre venue during ancient times.
3 | Lykavittos Hill
Hiking up Lykavittos Hill is one of my favorite things in Athens because it’s the highest point and it gives you a view over the city of the Acropolis. It’s a decent hike up, takes about an hour, but you can also take the funicular and ride up. At the top there’s a restaurant, which is a great spot to eat and watch the sunset!
4 | Acropolis Museum
Greece invested a lot of time and effort into building a really world class museum to showcase the archaeological findings from the Acropolis and all of Athens. This contemporary museum offers an informative experience for visitors, which complements nicely a visit to the Acropolis itself.
5 | Hadrian’s Library
At the foot of the Acropolis is Hadrian’s Library. Bordered by 100 columns, it held literature, music, a theatre, and lecture rooms. Check it out on your way from Acropolis to Monastiraki Square.
6 | Monastiraki Square
With great views up at the Acropolis and a selection of alfresco dining options, Monastiraki Square is always bustling with activity. Definitely stop here for your fix of souvlaki and gyros and tzatziki sauce and everything delicious for a proper Greek dinner. At sunset you should also go up to one of the rooftop bars at the square, either the 360° or A bar.
7 | Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Zeus is a ruined temple, some of whose columns have toppled over since its use in ancient times. The temple’s ruins lie untouched now in a park in the center of Athens and remain a symbol of the enormous temple that once stood here.
8 | Greek Parliament
Next to the beautiful National Gardens, at Syntagma Square, is the Greek Parliament building. Besides visiting the building, be sure to come here during the changing of the guard ceremony on Sunday morning at 11am.
9 | Ancient Agora
The ancient agora was the center of culture and commerce during ancient times in Athens. Visit this giant complex of ruins to get an idea of how life was back then.
10 | Roman Agora
The Roman agora was used after the Romans invaded Athens, and this complex is located near Monastiraki Square. You can’t enter the ruins but you can look in through the Gate of Athena Archegetis at the columns and tower.
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