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The list of the most popular tourist places in Athens might actually be a bit more extensive than you would imagine. Like every city around Europe, Athens has some areas and attractions that are particularly popular among tourists.
However, what is particular in Athens is the fact that these places are extremely diverse. Famous tourist places in Athens range from museums and archaeological spaces to hip shopping districts and sandy beaches.
Either because they are of great historical significance or because they just are exceptionally charming, these places attract tourist crowds throughout the whole year.
Before you head out to explore the city and its wonders, make sure to check this list of the most popular tourist places and attractions in Athens that simply can’t be missing from your to-do list.
We also include information on how to get to every place we suggest, (by metro, foot, tram, or bus) and of course some options on where to stay near them.
This is a long and detailed article so if you’re in a hurry, use the links below to navigate straight to what you’re looking for.
What Should I Visit in Athens?
Since many of our readers ask us this question quite often, let’s start with this.
Athens teems with fascinating museums and archaeology parks, neighborhoods with vibrant nightlife and sandy beaches, gigantic monuments, and charming small streets.
In order for you to get an idea of what this magnificent city is all about, we recommend that you visit all kinds of attractions and tourist places instead of just sticking to a certain kind.
That way, you’ll be able to experience the city as locals do and we’re sure that you’ll be coming back for more.
Below you will find a rundown of the most popular tourist places in Athens that will help you make up your mind and choose the ones that best suit your tastes in order to make your next visit to Athens unforgettable.
What Attractions Should I Not Miss in Athens?
That is one very difficult question to answer. It’s hard to pick only a few of all the tourist places and attractions Athens has to offer.
Having said that, if your time in Athens is limited and there is no way to visit more than a few stops, we strongly recommend you first to book a hotel near Acropolis and then, before anything else visit:
- the Acropolis
- the Acropolis Museum
- Syntagma Square
- and the Panathenaic Stadium
These are among the most famous attractions of Athens and will surely leave you with a complete experience of Athens, even if you only have a couple of days for your visit.
The Acropolis is by far the most popular landmark in the Greek capital and one of the most well-known all over the world. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the sacred rock is filled with hordes of tourists every time of the year.
Acropolis is a reason on its own to add Athens to your ‘places to visit‘ list as it is one of the most notable sights worldwide.
And the long queues stretching in front of the Acropolis’ entrance prove that every tourist in Athens makes sure to visit the 5th-century building.
How to get to the Acropolis
- By metro: The Acropolis Metro Station (red line) is just a few minutes away from the entrance of Acropolis Hill.
- By foot: Acropolis is only about 10 minutes away from Syntagma Square and Plaka.
- By bus: There are several buses connecting Acropolis to several areas of Athens. The bus lines 230, 040, A2, A3, and B2 all have stops at Makrigiani, very close to Acropolis. If you are departing from Piraeus, get on bus X80.
Where to stay near the Acropolis
Naturally, there are plenty of hotels near Acropolis to choose from. However, not all of them are worth your while.
Our top picks include the Coco-Mat Hotel Athens for its impeccable design, the all-time classic Hotel Grande Bretagne for its luxurious amenities, and the famous King George for its amazing rooftop terrace.
If you’re looking for an Acropolis view hotel check our detailed article right below.
The Acropolis Museum
Inaugurated in 2009, the new Acropolis Museum rejuvenated the city’s cultural scene.
The modern design building, which nowadays houses the invaluable monuments of the Acropolis spans 25,000 square meters, which makes it 10 times bigger than the old Acropolis museum.
Artifacts that once adorned the Parthenon and other ancient temples are displayed in the museum’s 14,000-square-meter exhibition space through a glass-floored gallery, digital applications, and three-dimensional exhibits.
How to get to the Acropolis Museum
- By metro: Get off at the Acropolis Metro Station (red line) and you will be able to see the museum right after you exit.
- By foot: The Acropolis museum is very close to Plaka, Koukaki, and Syntagma Square.
- By bus: Any of the following buses will get you just a minute away from the Acropolis museum: A2, A3, B2, 040, 230. If you are traveling from Piraeus, take bus X80.
Where to stay near the Acropolis Museum
Located in the popular tourist area of Plaka, Acropolis Museum is surrounded by numerous hotels. And though competition might be fierce, we have tested and selected a chosen few for our readers.
Firstly, the Electra Metropolis, a stellar five-star resort with an amazing location right next to Syntagma Square. Secondly, Divani Palace Acropolis boasts an amazing rooftop terrace with a view of the Parthenon.
Last but not least, the Athens Gate Hotel which is located just across from the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Set in the center of Athens, just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis, Philopappos Hill has its own historical significance.
Its name derives from a monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene but the reason it’s widely-known is that it includes the Pnyx Hill.
Here ancient Greeks used to gather and take important decisions about political and social matters and thus it’s considered one of the first places that democracy was born.
Other important sites found in Philipappos Hill is the Hill of the Muses, the Hill of the Nymphs, and two carved caves known as “Socrates Prison.”
The historic sites in combination with the breathtaking view from the top of the hill, make Philopappos Hill one of the top 10 attractions in Athens.
How to get to Philoppapos Hill
- By metro: You can reach Philopappos Hill by walking around 20 minutes from the Thisseio metro station (green line) or the Acropolis metro station (red line).
- By foot: Philopappos Hill is quite close to the neighborhoods of Plaka, Koukaki, Thissio, and Petralona.
- By bus: Get on bus 230 and get off at the stop called Apheteria.
Where to stay near Philopappos Hill
Philopappos Hill is surrounded by some of the most popular tourist areas of Athens like Plaka, Makrygianni, and Thisseio. As such, the options for hotels near the hill are more than a few.
If you’re looking to stay near Philopappos Hill, we highly recommend Phidias Hotel for a budget-friendly stay, the Acropolis View Hotel for its stunning Parthenon view, or Herodion Hotel to enjoy the alfresco rooftop cafe.
The neighborhood of Monastiraki and especially Monastiraki Square is usually packed with tourists taking a stroll around Athens’ city center.
Here you’ll find Hadrian’s Library, a traditional ceramics museum housed in a former Turkish mosque and a small Byzantine church. The area brims with souvenir shops and second-hand stores while flea markets take place every Sunday.
Ifestou is the most popular street in Monastiraki lined up with shoe and clothing shops, vinyl stores as well as stands filled with knick-knacks.
How to get to Monastiraki
- By metro: Monastiraki has its own metro station (green line) right on Monastiraki Square.
- By foot: Monastiraki Square is only a few minutes away from Syntagma, Thisseio, and Keramikos.
Where to stay near Monastiraki
Hotels near Monastiraki are way more than a few. Luckily for you, we have selected some choices that will actually give you your money’s worth.
Pick Athens Utopia Ermou if you want to stay a breath away from the famous shopping street, Athenaeum Eridanus Luxury Hotel if you want a touch of luxury for your vacation, or Elia Ermou Athens Hotel if you want to enjoy a magnificent view of the Acropolis.
Plaka and Anafiotika
Being by far the most scenic neighborhood in Athens boasting neoclassical buildings and car-free cobblestone alleys, Plaka couldn’t but be one of the top tourist places in Athens.
Nestled in the feet of the Acropolis, Plaka still preserves the authentic atmosphere the city had back in the 60s and 50s.
Local taverns, cozy cafés, and bars have popped up all over the area making it the ideal place for a pitstop while sightseeing.
Part of the Plaka neighborhood is the picturesque Anafiotika. Here the scenery resembles the one you’ll find on a traditional Cycladic island offering the perfect backdrop for a relaxed walk away from the city’s noise.
How to get to Plaka and Anafiotika
- By metro: Both Plaka and Anafiotika are quite close to several metro stations. You can use any of these: Monastiraki metro station (green line), Syntagma metro station (red and blue line), or Acropolis metro station (red line).
- By foot: Plaka and the area of Anafiotika are very close to Syntagma Square. It will only take about 10 minutes to walk from one to the other.
Where to stay near Plaka and Anafiotika
Plaka is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Athens among international travelers. And Anafiotika, in turn, is the most popular area in Plaka.
If you’re looking for a hotel in Plaka, we recommend that you choose Best Western Plus Amazon Hotel for its exceptional location, Plaka Hotel for the lovely view of the Parthenon, or Electra Metropolis for a truly luxurious stay.
Situated in the heart of the city center in front of the 19th century Old Royal Palace, home to the Greek Parliament, Syntagma Square is one of the most known places in the Greek capital.
Its name translates to “Constitution Square” and it derives from the Constitution that the first King of Greece, Otto was obliged to concede after Athenian citizens and soldiers demonstrated in front of the palace in 1843.
Nowadays, Syntagma Square is still a gathering place when protests burst but most of the time it’s a peaceful square filled with parents with kids, street performers, and food stalls with local delicacies.
Every Sunday at 11 am Syntagma Square gets packed with locals and tourists gathering to watch the Evzones wearing the official traditional customers doing the official ceremony of the Changing of the Guards.
How to get to Syntagma Square
- By metro: Syntagma has a metro station between Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament building. It serves two different metro lines (blue and red).
- By foot: Syntagma is the most central spot in Athens. You can easily reach it on foot starting by Plaka, Koukaki, Monastiraki, Exarcheia, and Thisseio.
Where to stay near Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square and the area that surrounds it teem with hotels of all kinds. However, Syntagma is most well-known for being home to some of the most impressive luxury hotels in Athens.
Hotel Grande Bretagne is an exceptional choice for your stay and probably the most famous hotel in Athens.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an impressive stone theater beautifully set on the slopes of Acropolis.
Built by the Roman citizen Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla in 161 AD, the spectacular structure has been the main venue for hundreds of events that have taken place over the centuries.
Even though the original building was destroyed in 267 AD it was still used for several performances and music concerts and in the 1950s it went under full renovation.
Ever since it has been hosting the Athens and Epidaurus Festival as well as other theatrical plays and concerts.
Even if there isn’t an event or festival to attend while visiting Athens it is still worth visiting the majestic Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
How to get to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- By metro: You can either use the Acropolis metro station (red line) or the Syntagma metro station (blue and red line).
- By foot: You can reach the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on foot from Syntagma, Monastiraki, Thisseio, and Koukaki within less than 20 minutes.
Where to stay near the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
There are plenty of hotels located near the Odeon of Herodes Atticus that are popular among tourists.
Last but not least, The Athens Gate Hotel is perfect if you’re looking for a privileged location right next to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus or as it is widely known the Columns of the Olympian Zeus is situated in the center of Athens.
A historic site whose construction began in the 6th century BC and was completed around 638 years later around the 2nd century AD, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is considered one of the most significant tourist places in the Greek capital.
The initial structure consisted of 104 colossal columns but after an invasion in 267 AD, the temple was destroyed and nowadays has only 16 columns left.
How to get to the Temple of Olympian Zeus
- By metro: The Temple of Olympian Zeus is only a few minutes away from the metro station of Syntagma (red and blue line) and the metro station of Acropolis (red line).
- By foot: With just a small walk, you can reach the Temple of Olympian Zeus from Syntagma, Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thisseio.
Where to stay near the Temple of Olympian Zeus
Located in the heart of the city center and close to the most popular attractions of Athens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is surrounded by numerous hotels.
The most popular among them are the Athens Gate Hotel that is situated right next to the famous monument, the AthensWas Design Hotel that offers a wonderful view of the Acropolis, and the Metropolis Hotel that features a beautiful neoclassical design.
Ancient Agora and Temple of Hephaestus
The Ancient Agora is located in the center of Athens and is the place where Athenian citizens used to gather and discuss the city’s social and political issues, which couldn’t be missing from a list of the best tourist places and attractions in Athens.
Set in the feet of the Acropolis, the ruins at the ancient site that once was a meeting point for important historical figures such as Sophocles and Protagoras bear testimony to the place’s great historical significance.
Just above the Ancient Agora stands the Temple of Hephaestus, which is considered the best-preserved Greek ancient temple.
The remarkable building was designed by the renowned architect Iktinus and was built around 450 B.C.
How to get to the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus
- By metro: Both the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus are located nearby the metro station of Monastiraki (green and blue line) and the metro station of Thisseio (green line).
- By foot: You can reach the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus in a few minutes from Plaka, Syntagma, Monastiraki, Thisseio, and Koukaki.
- By bus: You can get to the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus with buses 025, 026, 027, and 227 from Syntagma or with bus 035 from Omonoia Square.
Where to stay near Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus
Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus are two of the most prominent attractions in the city center of Athens. Hence, your nearby accommodation options are plenty.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly hotel, we highly suggest having a look at Hotel Thissio.
Being the only stadium worldwide built entirely by marble, the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro) is nothing less than impressive.
In 144 AD Herodes Atticus rebuilt the stadium that the Athenian statesman Lykourgos had constructed on the site in 330 BC, creating the breathtaking Panathenaic Stadium with a capacity of 50,000 seats.
Over the centuries, after the rise of Christianity in Greece, the stadium was abandoned only to revive at the end of the 19th century when it hosted the Zappas Olympics.
When it was decided that Athens should be the city the first modern Olympic Games would take place, the Panathenaic Stadium went under renovation and was fully repaired to host the great event in 1896.
In the 20th century, the glorious stadium hosted a great number of athletic events and was the finishing line of the Marathon race during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
How to get to Panathenaic Stadium
- By metro: Panathenaic Stadium is located around 10 minutes away from both the Acropolis metro station (red line) and Syntagma metro station (red and blue line).
- By bus: There is a bus stop right outside the Panathenaic Stadium. To get there, get on bus 209 from Syntagma Square or 500 from Evangelismos metro station.
Where to stay near Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is situated very close to all the popular attractions of Athens like the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. And this means that you will have absolutely no trouble finding a hotel nearby.
Check out Niche Hotel Athens if you’re looking for luxurious rooms with modern design, InnAthens if you are looking for a more budget-friendly boutique hotel experience or the Acropolian Spirit Boutique Hotel for a romantic gastronomy experience at its rooftop restaurant.
The peak of Lycabettus Hill is the highest point of the city of Athens and an excellent place to take in the view.
On a clear day, you can actually see as far as the Saronic Gulf and the port of Piraeus from the top of the hill. It’s also ideal for a relaxing hike or even a picnic with a marvelous view of the Acropolis.
There are several paths that lead up to the hill as well as a cable car that runs up and down approximately every half an hour.
How to get to Lycabettus Hill
- By metro: You can get off at the Evangelismos metro station (blue line) and then walk around 15 minutes up the hill.
- By bus: Take bus number 060 that departs from the Panepistimio metro station (red line).
Where to stay near Lycabettus Hill
Lycabettus Hill is located a bit farther away than the rest of the popular tourist places in Athens like Syntagma and Monastiraki. Nevertheless, finding a hotel near Lycabettus Hill will not be a difficult task.
Finally, have a look at the Golden Age Athens Hotel for a blend of high-end amenities and charming design.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Commissioned and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and designed by famous architect Renzo Piano, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is one of the latest additions to the list of the most popular tourist places and attractions in Athens.
The impressive building complex is home to the National Library and the National Opera and encompasses charming outdoor spaces with a small artificial lake and lush green gardens.
Located on the outskirts of the city, right next to Faliro Bay, it’s an ideal choice for a relaxing afternoon walk.
How to get to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
- By bus: There are several buses that reach the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center from all around the city. Take bus B2 if you are departing from the metro stations of Syngrou-Fix (red line), Panepistimio (red line), or Syntagma (red and blue line). If you are departing from Piraeus, get on the X80 bus.
Where to stay near the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Staying at a hotel near the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a great way to see a different side of Athens, as the modern complex is located a bit outside the city center.
In fact, there are quite a few exceptional accommodation options in the surrounding area.
Book your stay at Athens Marriott Hotel to indulge in their trademark world-class services, Atlantic Hotel to enjoy the modern decoration, or Nestorion Hotel if you are looking for a cheaper alternative.
The National Garden and Zappeion Hall
Situated right next to Syntagma square and the Greek Parliament building, both the National Garden and Zappeion Hall are attractions you can not afford to miss on your visit to Athens.
The National Garden -or the erstwhile Royal Garden- boasts an astonishing 37 acres of lavish green scenery with several paths running through trees and ponds, hidden in plain sight right in the center of Athens.
If you walk right next to the National Garden, you’ll come across an impressive building called Zappeion Hall, an exhibition hall that first opened its doors in the late 19th century and which is still hosting various events and ceremonies.
How to get to the National Garden and Zappeion Hall
- By metro: The entrance to the National Gardens is right next to the Greek Parliament building and the metro station of Syntagma (blue line)
- By foot: You can get to both the National Garden and Zappeion Hall on foot from Syntagma, Plaka, Monastiraki, Koukaki, and Pangrati.
Where to stay near the National Garden and Zappeion Hall
The National Garden and the Zappeion Hall are located very close to Syntagma Square and thus are very close to some of the city’s finest hotels.
If you want to stay near these popular attractions, we highly recommend Elia Ermou Athens Hotel that boasts a magnificent view of the Acropolis, Arethusa Hotel that provides real value-for-money services and facilities as well as The Pinnacle Athens for a luxurious stay in absolute privacy.
The Athens Riviera
With so many attractions spread throughout the city, you might actually forget about the fact that there are actually quite a few beautiful beaches in Athens.
The best place to get an idea of what Athens has to offer in terms of sandy coasts and sunny weather is the so-called Athenian Riviera, the coastline that spans from the upscale neighborhood of Glyfada all the way down to Vouliagmeni.
There, you’ll find charming alfresco cafes, gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels, and the famous Vouliagmeni Lake.
How to get to the Athenian Riviera
- By bus: You can take bus A3 from the metro stations of Syntagma (red and blue line), Panepistimio (red line), or Syngrou-Fix (red line).
- By tram: You can catch the tram from Syntagma Square. It goes all the way down to Voula in approximately half an hour.
Where to stay near the Athenian Riviera
Staying at a hotel near the Athenian Riviera on your Athens vacation is an exceptional idea, especially if you want to enjoy the sandy coastline and the upscale restaurants that are located in the area.
Also nearby you’ll find Four Seasons Astir Palace, the famous extravagant five-star hotel, the charming Azur Hotel to enjoy high-quality services, as well as The Margi hotel that combines excellent services with luxurious amenities.
Flisvos Marina is located in Palaio Faliro and it’s one of the most famous tourist places in Athens.
Many travelers choose to leave the city’s center for a relaxing walk by the sea at Flisvos Marina; the view is all but disappointing.
Lined with impressive luxurious megayachts, fashion boutiques, and high-end restaurants, Flisvos Marina will have you believe that you have just discovered a miniature version of Côte d’Azur, just a few minutes away from downtown Athens.
How to get to Flisvos Marina
- By bus: Take the B2 bus from the metro stations of Syntagma (red and blue line), Syngrou-Fix (red line), or Panepistimio (red line).
- By tram: Get on the tram at Neos Kosmos metro station (red line) and get off at the Trokadero stop.
Where to stay near Flisvos Marina
Hotels near Flisvos Marina are ideal for those that want to experience the beauty of Athens while at the same time staying away from all the hustle and bustle of the city’s busy city center.
If that sounds like an appealing scenario, make sure to check out Coral Hotel Athens which offers wonderful seaside views, Poseidon Athens Hotel for a room that overlooks the beach, or the Homz Studios Faliro if you are looking for accommodation on the cheaper side.
Tips, Questions and Answers on Tourist Places and Attractions in Athens
In this section, we will present you with local tips and suggestions about the tourist places and attractions in Athens and the best ways to experience them, as well as answers to the most frequently asked questions by our readers and people who have or will travel to Athens.
Where is the best area to stay in Athens?
This depends to a large extent on what kind of vacation you would like to have and what your interests are. The most popular areas in Athens among international travelers are Plaka, Syntagma, Koukaki, and Kolonaki.
How many days is enough in Athens?
If you are only interested in visiting the main attractions and strolling through the most famous neighborhoods, then 2 or 3 days will be enough. On the other hand, if you want to get the full experience, we recommend that you choose to stay in Athens for at least a week.
Is Athens dangerous for tourists?
In general, Athens is considered to be a very safe city for international travelers and even for solo female travel. Nevertheless, like any other European capital, petty theft is not uncommon in tourist places. As long as you take care of your belongings and take the standard safety precautions as you would in any other place, there is absolutely no reason to worry.
Is Athens dangerous at night?
The short answer is no. Athens is fairly safe, even during nighttime, especially the parts of the city that are frequented by tourists like Monastiraki, Syntagma, and Psirri. However, there are some parts of the city that we suggest you avoid at night, mainly the area around Omonoia Square and the area around the main railway station (Larissis Station).
Where should you not stay in Athens?
We recommend that you avoid choosing to stay in a hotel around Omonoia, Exarcheia, or Metaxourgeio as these areas have limited public transportation options and can be a bit unnerving to walk around at night. We suggest that you opt for any of the famous tourist areas instead like Syntagma, Koukaki, Thisseio, or Plaka.
Is Athens expensive?
Athens is relatively cheap compared to other major European destinations. The good thing is that Athens is very large in size and hence offers plenty of choices for accommodation, eating out and nightlife, so you will definitely have options to fit your budget.
Is Athens walkable?
Yes. Athens is a very walkable city and most of its main attractions are in close proximity to each other. Unless you want to visit the suburbs -and chances are that you won’t- you can rest assured that you will be able to walk the historic city center from end to end without any problems.
In every corner around Athens, there is a place bearing witness to the city’s glorious past and rich history attracting travelers from all over the world.
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