If you are in Athens for some days and you are looking to see what you should see then this is the right post for you! I gathered the best things to do in Athens.
Athens is regarded as a symbol of Western Civilization and it features a great history which stretches back to over 3,000 years. The city more than just a relic of its rich past, it is a vibrant and modern capital city of Greece. It is filled with iconic monuments, ruins, museums, and cultural attractions that you can visit. Some of the best things to do in Athens are listed below.
1. Explore the Acropolis
The Acropolis is one of the best things to do in Athens. It features a Parthenon temple which sits high on a rocky crag. The Acropolis is the center of the ancient city of Athens and it was used as a citadel in the hilltop location.
The highlight of the Acropolis is the Parthenon which is the largest temple of the classical antiquity era and it dates from 447BC to 338 BC. The temple features monumental rows of Doric columns with magnificent sculptural details.Another ruin not to miss at the Acropolis is the Erechtheion which is a complex of ancient sanctuaries and was built between 421BC and 395BC. The popularly known feature in the Erechtheion complex is the Porch of the Caryatids which features six statues of maidens instead of Doric columns.
2. Go sightseeing at the National Archaeological Museum
This is another great spot to go if you want to learn about the ancient art. The museum is considered to be among the largest and the richest in the world.
The galleries are filled to the brim with a wide range of exhibits from scholars for generations. You should make sure you do not miss the finds from the Antikythera wreck which was identified in 1900 and it is filled with artifacts that date back to the 4th century. Some of the best collections here are the Atikythera Mechanism and contemplative Philosopher’s Head.
You should also make sure you explore the Mask of Agamemnon which is a gold funerary mask from the 16th BC. Some of the other highlights not to miss is the Bronze Age frescoes from the islands of Santorini, Thera, and the Jockey of Artemision.
3. Explore the ancient Agora of Athens
The Agora was the center of classical Athens and it was reserved for trade and public gatherings. It is definitely a must of the things to do in Athens and it is located in the southeast of the Acropolis and the south of the Agoraios Kolonos hill.
The Agora is filled with a plethora of sites such as the ruins of over 30 buildings and monuments that you can explore. You can either wander around the Agora or you can hire a guide so that you can get an insight into the history of the ruins as you walk past them.
4. Go sightseeing at the Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis museum is located on the southeast slope of the Acropolis and it was established in 2009. The museum houses over thousands of artifacts that were discovered in the archaeological site of the Acropolis. The museum was constructed over the ancient ruins and the ground floor has glass panel and open spaces that show the foundations bellow. The museum has three levels which give tourists the chance to step back into the past.
Did you find where you will stay in Athens? If not check here, Where to stay in Athens
5. Visit the Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus is among the popular summit in Athens. If you are looking for adventure, you can go hiking to the peak or go on a funicular ride to the summit. The mountain is located in the northeast of the city center and this cretaceous limestone rises to about 300m. The lower slopes are surrounded with pine trees which become sparse as you visit the rocky summit. Once you get to the peak, you are going to enjoy mind-blowing views of the city and you will see iconic attractions like Acropolis, Piraeus Coast, the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
6. Explore the Panathenaic Stadium & Olympic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is the only stadium in the world that it is built entirely of marble and it has the capacity of 45,000 spectators.
Did you know that the stadium was built about 335 BC during the era of Herodes Atticus and it hosted the Panathenaic Games? Around 140 Ad, the stadium was renovated with new marble seating by Herodes Atticus. The building now is a replica of the original stadium and was constructed for the Olympic Games of 1895. The stadium was constructed in the same fashion as the Panathenaic Stadium as it features 47 tiers of seating with a rounded southeast end.
The Olympic Stadium became famous in the Olympics of 2004 in Athens which was renovated for that purpose. It was opened around 1982 and its capacity is ~75.000 people. Now is the home of two well-known football teams in Athens, Panathinaikos, and AEK.
7. Experience the change of guard ceremony at Syntagma Square
This is a thrilling and memorable experience that you must not miss and exclude it from your things to do in Athens. The Soldiers of the Presidential Guard stands guard in front of the Hellenic Parliament on Syntagma Square 24 hours a day. The changing of the guards occurs every hour and it takes place in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument but if you want to see the special ceremony then plan to go at 11 am daily.
A bit more story behind the guards, their duty is an hour and they have to do it 3 times in a total of every 48 hours. Those guards are actually soldiers, going to the army is mandatory in Greece so this is the way that they fulfill their military obligations.
In between that hour of the duty, they have to stay perfectly still and not even stare or turn their heads to other directions. Those two guards are working in pairs and they are trained that way in order to be able to align with each other and to fulfill their duty to perfection.
That’s the must things to do in Athens that I gathered for you, hope you liked them and please share with me your experiences and any other things that you did and you think that I should add. Have fun and safe travels!