The world’s most ancient capital. Full of ancient temples, museums and splendid monuments, Athens is a mixture of grace and a long history that dates back to the Neolithic Age. No one can deny that the city’s values as well as civilization are universally acknowledged and remain significant till today. Athens brings together the best of ancient and modern Greece. With Acropolis being its signature, the capital combines social and cultural life with its ancient landmarks. Its historic center has been converted into one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe, leading to the most important archaeological sites of the city. Known for its mixture of ancient history and exhilarating social life, Athens is a contemporary metropolis and our guide will help you explore it!
Cost of Living:
When to Visit
March – May Less crowded than summer, this is the best time to visit. Pleasant temperatures in combination with cheap accommodation and flights make Athens an ideal spring destination.
June – August Summer crowds and high prices. The Athens Epidaurus Festival and the August Full Moon Festival take place, with an abundance of cultural events held at historic venues such as the Acropolis. In June the Rockwave Festival welcomes international bands and musicians in Malakasa.
September – November Warm weather and good prices; an excellent, relaxing time to visit Athens.
The ancient temples on the “Sacred Rock” of Athens are marked as universal symbols of the ancient Greek civilization. They were constructed under the reign of Perikles during the so called Golden Age of Athens, the late 5 th century BC. The influence of these ancient masterpieces with the different orders and styles on the world’s architecture, art and culture is undeniable. The greatest sanctuary of this area is undoubtedly the Parthenon, dedicated primarily to the city’s patron, the goddess Athena. At the entrance of the Acropolis there is an impressive gateway called the Propylaea. Other important breathtaking buildings on the hill are the Erechtheum, the Theater of Dionysus and a few meters away there is the reconstructed Odeon of Herodes Atticus, where many Greek or international performances take place nowadays. The Acropolis is the most accurate reflection of the wealth, power and magnificence of Athens at the Golden Age of Perikles.
Summer 08:00AM-08:00PM daily
Winter 08:00AM-05:00PM daily
Price: €20/students €10
It is advisable to visit Acropolis early in the morning in order to avoid the heat and the tour buses. Also, there’s no need lining up at the main entrance especially if it’s crowded. There is another entrance in the back side that nobody knows about. Using this faster and more efficient entrance will definitely save you precious time.
The Hellenic Parliament Building is facing Syntagma Square and it once served as the Royal Palace for King Otto. It was completed in 1843 and it has housed the Parliament since 1934. Debates take place here and they are viewable via Internet. If you want, you can visit the library of the building.
English language guided tours are held every Friday and Monday at 3:00pm, during June, July and September. Each 1hr and 30min long guided tour is free of charge and offers visitors the opportunity to discover the Assembly Hall, as well as to learn about Modern Greek history, the form of government in Greece, parliamentary procedures and the history of the Hellenic Parliament building. English language guided tours for schools, student groups or other groups of visitors are held from Monday to Friday (09:00AM-08:00PM) throughout the year, except August. The Main Library of the Parliament Building is open to public during weekdays 09:00AM-02:00PM and 05:30PM-08:30PM and Saturdays 09:00AM-02:00PM. For more information about the visits enter here
Carved in a wall on Syntagma Square by sculptor Fokion Rok, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a war memorial. It is dedicated to the soldiers that were killed during war. The tomb is guarded by the Evzones
Evzones is the name of the elite ceremonial unit that guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Specifically, they are soldiers selected from the Greek army wearing short white skirts, red caps and red pompommed shoes. This traditional uniform is called fustanella and it has become a representative image of the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners. The Guard changes every hour and it is like a slow dance, very interesting to watch.
What makes this metro station so special is the fact that it operates as a museum at the same time! When the city was being excavated in order to extend the metro, archaeologists discovered a number of items that had been here since the Classical times. You can admire the collection of these items at the station as well as the two cemeteries that were discovered here.
Covered by pine trees at its base, Lykavittos Hill is a known tourist attraction. Due to the 19 th century Church of St. George, the theater and the restaurant situated on the hill, it is a great place to spend some time to relax and enjoy the breathtaking view of the city. In order to get here, you can use the funicular that climbs the hill. The railway station can be found at Aristipou Street.
Taxis operate a 24-hour service and the taxi drivers can sometimes be rude. They are obliged to provide you with a receipt, but this rarely happens unless you ask for one. If you think you are overcharged you can demand a receipt which will include the taxi’s ID or license plate number with the cost and the points of departure and arrival. You can download Taxibeat App. to your phone and book a taxi with a driver that speaks English at no extra cost.
Located at the Exarcheia area in central Athens, The National Archaeological Museum is considered one of the most important museums in the world. This neo-classical building is home to famous and influential works from prehistory to late antiquity. Specifically, it displays collections with objects from the Neolithic and Bronze era influenced by the Cycladic, the Mycenean, the Stathatos and the Egyptian art. Due to the huge variety of artifacts, we advise you to visit the museum twice!
The visiting hours may change. For further information visit the official website https://www.namuseum.gr/
Established in 1930, the museum is actually housed in the Benakis family mansion. The artworks displayed in the Benaki Museum include Greek paintings, handicrafts and paintings. These collections give us an idea of how Greek history evolved since the Stone Age. It is advisable that you visit the museum twice because it is impossible to explore the whole museum just in one go.
10:00AM-Midnight Thursday & Saturday
Price: €9/reduced ticket €7
For more information call at +30 210 367 1000 or visit www.benaki.gr.
The Acropolis Museum was founded to exhibit all the important finds from the Sacred Rock and its foothills. Designed by architect Bernard Tschumi, the archaeological museum opened to the public in 2009. This all-glass museum is home to significant marble sculptures and artifacts that once decorated Parthenon. The museum is built oven an extensive archaeological site which the visitors can view due to the transparent glass on the floor. You should not miss the chance to admire these masterpieces that prove how great Greece had been during the 5 th century BC!
Summer Season (1 April-31 October):
Tuesday-Thursday & Weekends 08:00AM-08:00PM
Winter Season (1 November-31 March):
Closed: 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25-26 December
The Café and Restaurant operate during Museum opening hours. Every Friday the Restaurant on the second floor operates until 12 midnight. If you need more information please check the official site https://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en.
The metro itineraries start at 05:00AM on line 1 and 06.30AM on lines 2 and 3. They end at 11:30PM. On Friday and Saturday nights, they extend to 02:30AM. For more information about the itineraries please check https://www.stasy.gr/index.php?id=67&L=1
The most famous Athenian shopping street is located at the center of the city. This one and a half kilometer-long road mostly consists of a pedestrian zone and a wide range of fashion shops. Considered as one of the top five expensive streets in Europe, Ermou is the ideal place for shopping lovers! The variety of fashion boutiques, department stores, antique shops and Sunday’s flea market can satisfy all kinds of customers. In a small square on the east section of the Street, there is one of the oldest churches in Athens, the Byzantine Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea.
One of the main shopping districts in the heart of Athens, Monastiraki Square is named in turn for the church that is located within the square. Specifically, it is a flea market neighborhood, home to a variety of souvenir shops, clothing boutiques and other stores where you can buy anything, from shoes and clothes to second hand records and tradition Greek music instruments. You can also see here Tzistaraki Mosque, Andrianos Libraryand Pantanassas Byzantine Church. You should definitely visit this exciting area and explore the unique mixture of eras and cultures!
Kolonaki is the area located between the Panepistimiou Street and Mount Lycabettus and its central neighborhood is one of the oldest districts in the city. It is a great place to visit if you want to spend an exciting day shopping or watching people while drinking a coffee. Kolonaki is a wealthy and upcoming district. It includes a number of high-fashion boutiques, art galleries, shoe emporiums and luxury brands. Apart from shopping, you must experience Kolonaki’s night life and visit one of the numerous bars, ouzeries and tavernas located here.
The place where Democracy was born, the place where Socrates preached his philosophy. Located to the northwest of the Acropolis, the Agora is one of the ancient marketplaces of Athens founded in the 6th century BC. It was the center for all kinds of happenings related to politics, religion, art, philosophy and athletics. It is a relaxing place to take a walk or drink a coffee.
Open: 08:00AM-03:00PM daily
Price: €8/reduced ticket €4
If you need more information on the site please visit www.culture.gr.
Considered as Athens’ commercial center until the 10 th century, this ancient marketplace is located at Monastiraki. It was founded by Julius Caesar in 51 BC and it replaced theAgora in the first century AD. Many events were taking place at this area, such as elections, trials and gladiatorial matches. Don’t miss the chance to visit this impressive site and also admire the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal marble clocktower built by Syrian astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus in 50 BC.
Roman Forum & Tower of the Winds (unified ticket)
Price: €6/Students €3
Thiseio is a traditional neighborhood in downtown Athens, northwest of the Acropolis. In the area there is the Synagogue in the Agora of Athens and the Odeon Athenaeum dedicated to Maria Callas. Thiseio is surrounded by hills and historical sites which are within a walking distance such as Kerameikos Archaeological Museum, the National Observatory of Athens, Acropolis of Athens and many more. Known for its nightlife, this area is home to a number of cafés and bars that attract people especially during summer.
Located in the center of the city, this monument was dedicated to Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian Gods. It was constructed in the 6th century BC but it was looted during a barbarian invasion in the 3rd century AD. It was never repaired since then; however sixteen of the original gigantic columns remain today. The Temple of Olympian Zeus continues to be part of a significant archaeological site of Greece.
Open: 08:00AM-08:00PM daily
Price: €6/Reduced ticket €3
Kerameikos is located to the northwest of the Acropolis and ancient Athens’ outer walls run through this part of the city. It was also a significant cemetery where respected politicians and heroes were buried. This archaeological site is named after the potters who settled in the area in around 3000 BC.
Open: 08:00AM-08:00PM daily
Price: €8/reduced ticket €4
If you need further information visit https://odysseus.culture.gr/
A quirky neighborhood that lies in northern east side of the Acropolis hill. The first houses were built in the 1800s by tradesmen who moved to Athens from the Cycladic island of Anafi. Influenced by the typical Cycladic architecture, the houses consist of white walls and small places, usually with the presence of bougainvillea flowers. What will mostly impress you here are the small streets that often end up to ladders where you sit and enjoy the breathtaking city view especially at night. Anafiotika is definitely a must-visit and its scenic houses and streets will make you feel like you are in another era! Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a coffee at one of the plenty cafés hidden in these wonderful alleys.
Gazi is undoubtedly one of the most famous entertainment districts of Athens. Located next to Kerameikos and close to the Acropolis, it surrounds the old Athens gasworks which has been turned into an industrial and cultural museum. Full of restaurants, cafés, bars, music and art, Gazi attracts numerous people every day. It is also home to Τechnopolis, an industrial museum and an important cultural venue dedicated to the memory of the great Greek composer Manos Hatzidakis. It hosts a variety of exhibitions, seminars, music concerts and other cultural activities every year.
This area is widely known for its exciting nightlife! Psiri used to have a bad reputation in the past, but now it has become one of the fashionable destinations in Athens for entertainment and accommodation. Visit this gentrified neighborhood and enjoy the numerous restaurants, live music taverns and bars that attract plenty of visitors. The central square of the area is called Heroes Square (Plateia Iroon).
It is a coastal district where some of the most astonishing yachts in the Mediterranean dock. Don’t miss the opportunity to have dinner at one of the outstanding restaurants with the amazing sea view! There are also some cafés, bars and high end shops where you can pleasantly spend your time. For more information about this area please visit https://www.flisvosmarina.com/en-us/.
A cosmopolitan destination for all hours of the day, Mikrolimano is a circular bay located in Piraeus. Famous for its dining and entertainment options, it is full of fish taverns and restaurants. You can enjoy the fresh fish that local fishermen have brought to the restaurant from their daily catch. There is also the option of just sitting on the wooden decks and enjoy the music while gazing at the amazing sea view.
The Greeks love it when they hear foreigners trying to speak their language. So, instead of saying “good morning” use “kalimera” and instead of “thank you” say “efharisto”. You will see a huge smile on their face and they will definitely be willing to help you at anything!