Quite simply, there is no shortage of things to do in Athens. There are effectively two sides to Athens as it is to be found today—the ancient side and the modern side. In terms of the former, vacationers can select things to do in Athens from the long list of ruins and museums that relate to the city during classical times. This was an influential state and a city made famous by its philosophical learning and artistic output. Names such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, and Aeschylus go hand in hand with ancient Athens, and there is an abundance of archaeological attractions in Athens. In terms of the modern side, meanwhile, Athens is a rambunctious city that focuses on fun and learning, with vibrant districts such as Kolonaki and Omonoia offering the vacationer much in terms of dining, entertainment and nightlife. When planning your Athens sightseeing trips, you will find plenty of things to see.
The Acropolis is an elevated rock with a flat top that houses architectural marvels from the classical period such as the Parthenon, the Erectheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Propylaea. The Parthenon—considered the pinnacle of the Doric architectural style—is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. The Erectheion, meanwhile, is dedicated to the Greek hero Erechtheus. The Acropolis is by far the most well-known of the attractions in Athens. A word of warning, however—it can get hot up there on the hill in the summer, so don’t forget to take sunscreen.
Plaka is one of the districts in Athens that proves a steady favorite with tourists. Automobiles are barred from most streets here, which, along with the many restaurants and cafes, makes it a very pleasant area for pedestrians. One highlight here is the Plaka flea market, which is located along Ifaistou Street. Every Sunday morning, a bazaar of sorts is held at the western corner of the same street. These are colorful affairs and, alongside the record shops and old bookstores of the area, proffer the best opportunity to pick up something of genuine interest while shopping in Athens. The restaurants here are also among the major attractions in Athens.
Kolonaki is a posh district located in central Athens along the slopes of the Lycabettus. It is known for its upmarket shopping locations, such as Voukourestiou Street, and numerous museums including the Greek National Gallery and the Benaki Museum, which has the finest collection of art from various periods of Greek history. Kolonaki should be included in your Athens sightseeing trip if you want to experience the more fashionable part of the city. It’s also a good Plan B in terms of things to do in Athens in case you feel overwhelmed by the numerous visits to archaeological sites, as the nightlife options here includes some of the city’s very best.
The Athenian Agora became the center of the government of ancient Athens under Pesistratus. It was a large open space with several buildings located around it such as the Mint, the Tholos, the Heliaia, the Temple of Aphrodite Urania, and the Temple of Hephaestus. The ruins of these buildings are still visible, making for excellent sightseeing exploration
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
While the Temple of Zeus is the feature of thousands of postcards sent the world over, visitors should remember that what remains today is a far cry from the structure’s former glory. Of the hundred Corinthian columns of the Temple, which took nearly 700 years to erect, only fifteen remain. Still, this is an awesome site, and it ranks high on all lists of things to do in Athens. The Arch of Hadrian is also located near the temple; constructed in 135 AD, it served as a gateway between the ancient city of Athens and the newly constructed Roman part of Athens.
Kerameikos served as the burial ground for ancient Athens. Fascinating and well-illuminated by an accompanying museum, the ruins of Karameikos should feature in your list of Athens sightseeing if only because they are often overlooked by tourists.