Temple Olympian Zeus Athens
The massive marble columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Photograph: Why Athens

Athens Attractions

It was in the 5th Century BC when Athens had its renaissance; a time when arts, science and philosophy prospered. Athens has a recorded history spanning 3,400 years and has been inhabited since the 11th Millennium BC. With ruins and archaeological sites dating back thousands of years, the crown jewel of Athens has always been the rock that towers proudly above the city. Once you climb to the top, you will see what all the fuss is about. Its temples are the most influential buildings in Western architecture.

Beyond the Acropolis, other Athens attractions include the Agora which was once the heart and soul of the city for 1,200 years. It was the centre for all civic activities and where Socrates once addressed his public. Above all, it was where democracy was born and reigned. Here you can get up close to the ruins whilst you wonder around the grounds and get a sense of what life was like thousands of years ago.

Getting around Athens tourist attractions

Entrance fees to sites and attractions in Athens are very low, particularly in comparison to other tourist attractions around Europe, despite several price hikes over the years. The historical centre of the city was converted into a three kilometre pedestrian zone in time for the 2004 Olympic games, making it extremely easy to access the major archaeological sites by foot. If you’re keen to cover the walk in one day, you should start at the temple of Olympian Zeus and head to Hadrian’s Arch. From here you can walk along Dionyssiou Areopagitou Street, where you will pass by the ancient open Theatre of Dionyssos, where the ancient plays of Sophocles and Euripides were originally performed. Another impressive theatre nearby is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Today, it is the official and modern day venue of the Athens Festival held in the summer months. From here, you’re set to climb the sacred rock of the Acropolis which does require some effort, so be sure you are well hydrated.

  • Mt Lycabettus Hill Athens

    Lycabettus Hill

    Standing 277 meters above sea level, Lycabettus Hill (sometimes spelt Lykavitos) is the highest point of Athens. Although a beautiful walk up via a circular path, it will be a test of endurance and a challenge in summer. A funicular or cliff railway can take you to the top of the hill and proves to…

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  • Selfie Athens Odeon Herodes

    Athens by selfie – capturing the sites and landmarks of Athens

    The “selfie” phenomenon is in full swing in Athens at all the major sites around town. There’s really no better way to boost your social media cred than with the “look where I am” selfie, to make your friends and family back home that tiny bit envious. So get your selfies sticks at the ready,…

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  • What to see in Athens, WhyAthens.com

    The Acropolis

    As you would expect, the Acropolis has the final word of what to see in Athens. The temples on the sacred rock are considered the most important monuments in Western civilisation and have influenced architecture more than anything else since. From the top, its mesmerising view has been a source of inspiration for many foreign travellers,…

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  • Ancient Agora, WhyAthens.com

    Ancient Agora

    The ancient Agora is a lovely place to wander around amid the scattered ruins and greenery and is never as busy as the Acropolis. A large square on the northwest slope of the Acropolis, it was the heart of ancient Athens, where social and religious activities, commerce, outdoor theatrical performances were held.  Above all, it was…

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  • Greek Guards Why Athens Guide

    Changing of the Greek Guards

    Greek guards or “Evzones” are members of the Presidential Guard found outside the Hellenic Parliament. They have become synonymous with the city of Athens and were originally founded in 1868 as a regiment of the Greek army. It is a high honour for a soldier to be selected to join the Evzones. They guard the…

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