Athens is a sprawling city established among seven historic hills and surrounded by remarkable mountains. There are a lot of interesting things to do and see in this city. In this post, we will give you a list of the best places to visit in Athens, Greece.
Best Places to Visit in Athens
There’s nothing we can tell you that hasn’t been saying many times about Athens’ ancient citadel.
The Acropolis is on an abrupt rocky outcrop above the city and has world-renowned Classical landmarks that people spend whole lifetimes waiting to see in the flesh.
The pinnacle of these is of course the Parthenon, but The Propylea, the Erectheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike are indispensable, and you can skip the queues and get enthralling inside facts and titbits about ancient Greek democracy and philosophy with a registered guide.
The going is steep and slippery on timeworn marble, until you reach the flat summit, and be prepared for cranes and scaffolding, which are an understandable necessity for a World Heritage Site.
The Parthenon is the most famous building in Athens and all of Greece. It stands majestically at the top of the Acropolis and is considered the epitome of Doric architecture, the simplest of Greek architectural styles.
The temple was built to honor the goddess Athena Parthenos, the patron of Athens, to thank her for protecting the city during the Persian Wars. Situated on the site of a former temple to Athena, the Parthenon was considered completed in 438 BC, when Athens was at its peak. The symbol of ancient Greece, the Parthenon is decorated with sculptures that are considered outstanding examples of Greek art.
One of the best places to visit in Athens is the Plaka District, which resides under the Acropolis and spreads out to Syntagma. This village is almost like an island within the city, and it’s the perfect way to experience authentic Greek culture.
The area is quite private and boasts truly unique scenery with several cafes, ancient trees, green leaf canopies, and stone walkways. The area is well-known for its food, boutique shops, and cafes. Along Kydathineon Street, visitors find the Jewish Museum, Folk-Art Museum, and Saita Taverna, which serves delicious bakalairo and other grilled meats.
4. Acropolis Museum
The work of Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, the Acropolis Museum in on the southeast slope and was unveiled in 2009 to present the many thousands of artifacts discovered on the archaeological site of the Acropolis.
Smartly oriented to give you constant views of the Parthenon, the museum is built over ancient ruins and much of the ground floor has glass panels and open spaces, showing the foundations below.
On three levels visitors are sent on a chronological trip through the centuries, starting with the hill’s archaic discoveries in a large trapezoidal hall that also has findings from the Erechtheion, the Propylaea gateway, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
After this, you go up to wonder at the marbles from the frieze (including metopes) and the pediments of the Parthenon in a hall with the same dimensions, column spacing, and orientation as the temple.
On the north side of the Acropolis is a temple to Athena and Poseidon, built in the Ionic Order from 421 to 406 BC. After antiquity this monument had all sorts of uses, as a Byzantine church, a palace in the Frankish period, and much later a residence for the Ottoman commander’s harem.
The thing you have to see, and the Erechtheion’s defining image, is the southern Porch of the Maidens.
This has six magnificent caryatids supporting its roof, carved by Callimachus or Alcamenes.
The current caryatids are casts, and five of the originals are now in the Acropolis museum and a sixth is at the British Museum.
6. Ancient Agora
It was also a place to meet others and talk about politics, business, current events, and the nature of the universe and the divine. The ancient Greek democracy can actually be traced to this ancient spot. It’s a wonderful area to look at the cultural beginnings of Athens.
Overlooking the Ancient Agora from its elevated position on the hill of Agoraios Kolonos, the Temple of Hephaistos was built in the 5th century BC. Similar in style but smaller than the Parthenon, the temple consists of 34 Doric columns that support a still partially intact roof. It is the best-preserved temple in all of Greece thanks to its conversion into a church in the 7th century.