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Best Things To Do in Athens

From ancient monuments and medieval churches to world-class museums and high-end boutiques, it's hard to get bored in Athens. One of the main reasons to visit is to roam the Acropolis and Ancient Agora, exploring their stunning ruins, including the Parthenon, Erechtheion and the Temple of Hephaestus. But you also want to save time for the exhibits housed at the National Archaeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum, as well as Plaka's historic streets. Depending on when you visit, you may even be able to take in a theatrical performance at the Herod Atticus Odeon.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Athens

As its name suggests, the Acropolis Museum – which resides in central Athens' Makrigianni district – houses various archaeological findings from the Acropolis. Key exhibits include a relief of Athena Nike, several carved statues from Erechtheion and a gallery with various Parthenon artifacts.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Acropolis Museum
As its name suggests, the Acropolis Museum – which resides in central Athens' Makrigianni district – houses various archaeological findings from the Acropolis. Key exhibits include a relief of Athena Nike, several carved statues from Erechtheion and a gallery with various Parthenon artifacts.
... more

#2
Plaka Free

#2 in Athens

Free
The beautiful, historical neighborhood of Plaka, located under the Acropolis, is largely residential. Still, its assortment of restaurants and cafes keep it swarming with tourists each summer. You can also shop, especially if you're looking to bring home some gold jewelry.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Plaka
The beautiful, historical neighborhood of Plaka, located under the Acropolis, is largely residential. Still, its assortment of restaurants and cafes keep it swarming with tourists each summer. You can also shop, especially if you're looking to bring home some gold jewelry.
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#3

#3 in Athens

An impressive example of ancient Greek architecture, the Parthenon is a cultural landmark like no other. It once served as a treasury and at another point housed a Christian church. Now, the Parthenon is a must-see sight and the unchallenged highlight of visiting the Acropolis (and for some, Greece in general).
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Monuments and Memorials Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Parthenon
An impressive example of ancient Greek architecture, the Parthenon is a cultural landmark like no other. It once served as a treasury and at another point housed a Christian church. Now, the Parthenon is a must-see sight and the unchallenged highlight of visiting the Acropolis (and for some, Greece in general).
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#4

#4 in Athens

While there are many more acropoleis (the plural of "acropolis," in case you're wondering) in Greece, it's this one in central Athens that garners the most attention. In fact, it's routinely referred to simply as "The Acropolis." The site is an elevated, flat-topped rock with an assortment of monuments and ruins built between 510 and 400 B.C., including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Acropolis
While there are many more acropoleis (the plural of "acropolis," in case you're wondering) in Greece, it's this one in central Athens that garners the most attention. In fact, it's routinely referred to simply as "The Acropolis." The site is an elevated, flat-topped rock with an assortment of monuments and ruins built between 510 and 400 B.C., including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.
... more

#5

#5 in Athens

Located just north of the Parthenon within the Acropolis complex, the Erechtheion was constructed between 421 and 406 B.C. as a place for Athenians to worship Erechtheus, the mythical king of Athens, and various Greek gods. Though smaller than the Parthenon, this structure features a frieze made of Eleusinian gray stone, multiple sculptures (known as caryatids) and other unique details, making it one of the Acropolis' most eye-catching buildings.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Erechtheion
Located just north of the Parthenon within the Acropolis complex, the Erechtheion was constructed between 421 and 406 B.C. as a place for Athenians to worship Erechtheus, the mythical king of Athens, and various Greek gods. Though smaller than the Parthenon, this structure features a frieze made of Eleusinian gray stone, multiple sculptures (known as caryatids) and other unique details, making it one of the Acropolis' most eye-catching buildings.
... more

#6

#6 in Athens

The agoras of the ancient Greek city-states were open areas for people to assemble for anything from military purposes to political or commercial ones. Ancient Agora is the most popular of its kind, thanks in part to its historical significance. Socrates used to lecture here, and it was also here that Saint Paul sought out converts for the then-fledgling religion known as Christianity.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Ancient Agora
The agoras of the ancient Greek city-states were open areas for people to assemble for anything from military purposes to political or commercial ones. Ancient Agora is the most popular of its kind, thanks in part to its historical significance. Socrates used to lecture here, and it was also here that Saint Paul sought out converts for the then-fledgling religion known as Christianity.
... more

#7

#7 in Athens

One of central Athens' best preserved ruins is the Temple of Hephaestus. Nestled within Ancient Agora, this site was built between 460 and 420 B.C. and once served as a Christian church. Eventually, the building was transformed into an archaeological museum before undergoing excavations in 1930 and later opening to tourists.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Temple of Hephaestus
One of central Athens' best preserved ruins is the Temple of Hephaestus. Nestled within Ancient Agora, this site was built between 460 and 420 B.C. and once served as a Christian church. Eventually, the building was transformed into an archaeological museum before undergoing excavations in 1930 and later opening to tourists.
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#8

#8 in Athens

The Benaki Museum focuses on Greek art, from prehistory to the modern age. Its campus features several contemporary and historic buildings that house everything from Islamic art to art studios affiliated with Yannis Pappas and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, two well-known Greek artists. Facilities like restrooms, restaurants, gift shops and a library are available as well.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Benaki Museum
The Benaki Museum focuses on Greek art, from prehistory to the modern age. Its campus features several contemporary and historic buildings that house everything from Islamic art to art studios affiliated with Yannis Pappas and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, two well-known Greek artists. Facilities like restrooms, restaurants, gift shops and a library are available as well.
... more
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#9

#9 in Athens

Situated on the south slope of the Acropolis, the Herod Atticus Odeon was named after Tiberius Claudius Herod Atticus, a wealthy Athenian who sponsored the building of this ancient outdoor auditorium between A.D. 160 and 174. Historically, the venue hosted a variety of music festivals, but today, the locale serves as the site for many theater, music and art festivals, including the Athens & Epidaurus Festival.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Herod Atticus Odeon
Situated on the south slope of the Acropolis, the Herod Atticus Odeon was named after Tiberius Claudius Herod Atticus, a wealthy Athenian who sponsored the building of this ancient outdoor auditorium between A.D. 160 and 174. Historically, the venue hosted a variety of music festivals, but today, the locale serves as the site for many theater, music and art festivals, including the Athens & Epidaurus Festival.
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#10

#10 in Athens

Founded in 1986 as a place to display Aegean and Cypriot artifacts owned by Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris, two Athenians interested in preserving Greek culture, the Museum of Cycladic Art features various sculptures, jewelry, pottery and weapons. Permanent collections are housed in the Main Building, while temporary exhibits are showcased at the adjacent Stathatos Mansion.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Museum of Cycladic Art
Founded in 1986 as a place to display Aegean and Cypriot artifacts owned by Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris, two Athenians interested in preserving Greek culture, the Museum of Cycladic Art features various sculptures, jewelry, pottery and weapons. Permanent collections are housed in the Main Building, while temporary exhibits are showcased at the adjacent Stathatos Mansion.
... more

#11

#11 in Athens

The National Archaeological Museum contains some of the most revered artifacts of Greece, dating back to 6000 B.C., and is considered one of the world's best museums for ancient Greek art.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum contains some of the most revered artifacts of Greece, dating back to 6000 B.C., and is considered one of the world's best museums for ancient Greek art.
... more
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