The Bourtzi Fortress, a Venetian castle off the coast of the Old Town of Nafplio. Photograph: DP/Pizzatravel
WHAT to do in Athens
There are endless possibilities and things to do in Athens to suit a wide range of interests but as always it comes down to that precious commodity called time. We’ve compiled and curated the very best of what to do and things to see including, attractions, museums, shopping and other leisurely activities for you to get the most out of your visit to Athens. So get your walking shoes on, pack some sunscreen and get ready to explore this fascinating metropolis.
It goes without saying that you really must see the Acropolis and set aside at least half a day to do so. It is unlikely that you will get to see all of the Athens attractions in one visit, particularly if you want to go at a reasonable pace, smell the roses and enjoy the modern side of Athens as well.
Things to do in Athens: museums
You can read about Athens museums in our ‘Museums’ category. History buffs will have an absolute field day particularly when it comes to the Acropolis Museum. Ranked as one of the best museums in the world, the collections from the Greek Bronze era to the Roman and Byzantine periods are truly exceptional. It’s a good idea to attend the museum before you go to the Acropolis, as it will put a great deal of what you will see in and around the Parthenon into perspective. Museum guides are also available in several languages.
Things to do in Athens: shopping
For those wanting to squeeze in some shopping therapy, we have divided our shopping category into two. In our ‘Where to Shop’ category, we provide a curated list of shops that are first and foremost Athenian. You will find stylish Greek fashion labels and independent designers. If you’re looking for a special keepsake to take home and remember Greece by, our ‘Souvenirs’ category features authentic Greek gifts that are lovingly made in Greece.
Things to do in Athens: leisure & experiences
We’re all for site seeing and exploring but somewhere in your trip you may just want to relax and enjoy the city as the locals do. In our ‘Leisure’ category, we’ve listed some stand out places to go and relax including one of the oldest places to sip a coffee in Athens, along with the best place to spend the day swimming. If you want to meet some locals and find out more about the city, its culture and history, we’ve selected some of the best-structured day tours.
Nafplio, a romantic departure close to Athens
Napflio, also known as Anapli, is the main port in the Eastern Peloponnese and one of the most picturesque cities in Greece. According to mythology, it was built by Poseidon’s son, Nafplios, who named the city after himself. “Napoli di Romania” as the Venetians used to call it, maintains its history, local colour and traditions…
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
One of the legendary sites that sits beneath the slopes of the Acropolis on the southwest side, is the stunning open-air theatre, Odeon of Herodes Atticus. When Pausanias, the Greek traveller and geographer from the second century AD, visited Athens during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, he described the Odeon theatre as “the finest building…
The Ancient Agora
The open plateau of the Ancient Agora provided a place for the citizens of ancient Athens to meet, bond and deliberate on the issues of the day, hence the use of the word “agora”, that derives from the verb “αγείρω” which means to congregate. This ancient city with its court of law, gymnasium, temples and…
The Acropolis Museum
Officially opened in 2009, the Acropolis Museum has been consistently rated as one of the best museums in the world. Devoted to the Parthenon and its surrounding temples, it is cleverly perched above Athens like a luminous box and the perfect sanctuary for the ancient artefacts that were found in and around the Acropolis.
7 things you must see at the National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is the largest museum in Greece with some of the greatest collections of antiquities in the world. The museum was established in 1829 to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece and has operated from its neo-classical home in Athens since 1889. There are over 11,000 exhibits dating as far back as the Neolithic…
8 things you didn’t know about the Acropolis
The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most famous and influential landmarks in history. The naturally fortified site houses the greatest architectural influence of modern civilisation and symbolises the birthplace of democracy. Whilst there is evidence that the Acropolis was inhabited as far back as 3,500BC, it was Pericles, the democratic leader of Athens in…