Top 24 Things To Do In Athens, Greece - Updated 2021

things to do in athens
Connor
Connor
Updated

Be warned, if you dislike history then don’t waste your time reading this article. You’re only one sentence in, two including this one. Now, if you think visiting an ancient city where many say western civilization began sounds interesting, then read on. Because there is probably no place in the world where you will find such a rich, pivotal history in world affairs still intact. A history that proved fundamental in changing the course of the West. You can walk among the ruins where men first decided the best way to govern society was through democracy. You can stand where they stood as they voted with their hand and voice. And that is special. As for accommodation, there are plenty of options - from the top hotels with a view of Acropolis to the best Airbnb Plus homes in Athens. Explore this magnificent city and read on to know more about the best things to do in Athens, Greece.

1. Go on a sunset trip to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon (from USD 47.11)

things to do in athens | go on a sunset trip to cape sounion and the temple of poseidon

This tour will make you feel as if you have been transported into The Odyssey, Homer’s epic poem. The first leg of this activity will see you enjoying the sight of the sun sinking in the Aegean Sea. From there, you will head over to the Temple of Poseidon, considered as one of the most significant religious structures in ancient Greece. Besides seeing the ruins of the ancient temple, you can also see graffiti on the marble, left by famous authors, including some attributed to Lord Byron, who is considered as one of the greatest English poets. The last part of the trip is a stroll along the Athens Riviera. The tour is hosted by an archeologist who will tell stories about the sites visited and the culture of ancient Greece.

Athens: Sunset Trip to Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon

Duration: 5 hour

361 reviews

2. Catch a performance at the Athens Concert Hall

Athens Concert Hall by Nea Peloponnisos
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Νέα Πελοπόννησος–... used under CC BY 2.0

Not all of the attractions in Athens date back to ancient times. One of the more contemporary attractions in the city is the Megaron Mousikis, otherwise known as the Athens Concert Hall. Built in 1991, the establishment features two concert halls, as well as two smaller spaces for smaller productions and activities. Performances will differ depending on the season but expect a classic opera to be staged during winter and a concert in the gardens to be organized during summers. The Music Library of Greece can be found in the Athens Concert Hall.

Athens Concert Hall

Address: Leof. Vasilissis Sofias, Athina 115 21, Greece

Website: Athens Concert Hall

3. Go on a morning bike tour around Athens (from USD 42.28)

things to do in athens | go on a morning bike tour around athens

This tour takes guests on a leisurely cycling tour to see the top tourist attractions in the city. Included in the itinerary of this activity, which runs for approximately 3.5 hours, are the Panathenaic Stadium, the Presidential Mansion, the Roman Agora, the National Observatory of Athens, the National Gardens, and the ancient burial site of Kerameikos Cemetery. The tour will also see you traversing historical neighborhoods such as Thission and Plaka. Do be aware that the tour does not include entrance charges to the sites. However, time will be devoted to taking photographs in each site, and for the guide to give information about the stop.

Athens: Morning Bike Tour

Duration: 3.5 hour

233 reviews

4. Learn how to make authentic Greek cuisine in a cooking class (from USD 72.0)

Who doesn’t love Greek/Mediterranean cuisine? This activity, which takes about four hours, gives guests the opportunity to learn how to prepare a three-course meal. The lesson starts with a trip to the Central Food Market, where the host will provide you with tips on how to buy ingredients to make the tastiest dishes. At the end of the class, recipes of the food you have prepared will be provided to all those who joined. This means that you can prepare the dishes easily even when you’re already back home.

Athens Half-Day Small-Group Traditional Greek Cooking Class

Duration: 4 hours

10 reviews

5. Learn the art of wine tasting and pairing (from USD 54.0)

If you have always wanted to develop your wine-tasting and pairing skills, sign up for this class. This intimate class is one that Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, will surely be proud of. Guests will be presented with five different kinds of Greek wines, each of which is produced in a different wine region using different varieties of grapes, and be taught what would work best with them: cheeses, cold cuts, olives, and/or breadsticks. Even as your tastebuds savor the various flavors, you will also be taken on a figurative journey through the history of winemaking in Greece.

Best rated Acropolis Wine Tasting

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

9 reviews

6. Learn about the evolution of Greek art at the Benaki Museum

Athens, Benaki Museum 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Palickap used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located in the downtown area of Athens, Benaki Museum features art pieces from the different periods of Greece’s history, from prehistoric times to works from the 20th century. There are also other artifacts, including jewelry, embroidery, ceramics, and costumes on display. Originally, Islamic art was also featured in the museum, but these have been moved to an extension of the Benaki Museum in the Kerameikos district.

Benaki Museum

Address: Koumpari 1, Athina 106 74, Greece

Website: Benaki Museum

7. Attend a pottery workshop (from USD 76.0)

This activity provides a fantastic opportunity for travelers to make a unique souvenir made using their own hands. The activity starts with a lesson on ancient Greek art, specifically ceramics and sculptures. After this orientation, you will then be given the opportunity to choose what type of ceramic you want to create and design. Beginners or those who have absolutely no experience in pottery making need not worry because the instructors are available to give you instructions on how you can produce a product that you will be proud of displaying. Once done, you can choose to have your output - which will be baked by the organizer - shipped to either your hotel in Athens or to your home.

Athens Pottery Workshop: Make Your Own Souvenir

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

8. Have dinner in the sky (from USD 166.0)

This activity allows guests to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Athens as they feast on a six-course meal. You can choose between two options: sunset dinner or city lights dinner. Whichever option you select, you will be treated to an aerial dining experience where you will be suspended in the air, with the table slowly rotating so you get to enjoy views of the city from different angles. Unlimited wine, beer, and soft drinks are served with the food. The entire experience runs for approximately 1.5 hours. Do make sure to inform the host of any dietary requirements or concerns prior to booking so that these can be factored in when the meal is prepared. Be aware that this dinner experience follows a smart casual dress code, so dress accordingly.

Dinner in the Sky Athens

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

10 reviews

9. Go on an Athens pub crawl (from USD 29.0)

Want to enjoy the best of the nightlife in Athens but don’t know where to start? Instead of worrying about what to include in your itinerary, join this pub crawl tour instead and get the chance to visit three of the best bars in the city. The first bar on the list is either a rooftop bar that provides you with fantastic views of the city (if you’re joining the tour on a Friday or a Saturday) or a popular cocktail bar (if you join the tour between Sunday and Thursday). The second destination on the itinerary features an open bar setup that will allow you to enjoy unlimited beer or sangria for an hour. The final stop is a bar and club where you can have fun dancing and enjoying the beat of the music. This club is open until 5:30 am, so you can literally dance the night away on the last leg of the tour.

The Original Pub Crawl - Athens Drunk Tour

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

1 review

10. Enjoy the best of Greek cuisine on a food tour (from USD 62.0)

This walking tour brings guests to sample the best of Greek cuisines, from well-known dishes such as koulouri, bougatsa, and loukoumades to more obscure offerings that travelers may not be able to find without the help of a local. The tour includes a visit to Varvakeios Market, where participants will get to learn about the herbs and spices typically used in Greek cuisine. The tour is about 3.5 hours long and features around eight stops where guests can have their fill of the tastiest Greek food offerings. If possible, try to skip breakfast on the day of your tour so that you will have plenty of space in your stomach for all of the treats you will be enjoying.

Athens Small-Group Culinary Walking Tour with Tastings

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

10 reviews

11. Go rooftop bar hopping with locals (from USD 55.0)

This experience will make you feel as though you are bar hopping with some good friends while enjoying fantastic views of the city. The tour brings travelers to three of the top rooftop bars of Athens. The host is not just knowledgeable about where to bring her guests around the city, she also provides excellent drink recommendations and can suggest local brews and drinks if you’re unfamiliar with the bars’ offerings. She hares fun anecdotes and stories to make you feel at ease and enjoy the experience.

Rooftop bar hopping with local friends

Duration: 3.5 hours

126 reviews

12. Learn the art of reading a coffee cup (from USD 31.0)

learn the art of reading a coffee cup

Greek mythology is awash with stories involving prophecies and predictions. You can experience a version of this activity while allowing you to indulge your love for coffee at the same time. The host will first prepare the coffee for her guests, although you will be more than welcome to learn from her how to make authentic Greek coffee. Once the coffee has been drunk, the cups will then be turned upside down and left to rest for a short period of time. During this lull, the host will provide some information about the art and history of coffee cup reading. Once the cups cool, the host will then provide her guests with instructions on how to read the shapes and patterns that form from the grounds. At the end of the activity, you will be given a hand-written guide on how to interpret patterns, as well as some tips on how to make the perfect cup of Greek coffee. Bring an open mind with you when you join this activity.

Learn the Art of Reading a Coffee-Cup

Duration: 2 hours

23 reviews

13. Examine the artifacts at the Acropolis Museum

Athens Acropolis Museum Pediment apotheosis Herakles 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ad Meskens used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Acropolis Museum, as the name suggests, houses the ancient artifacts of the Acropolis. This building is actually the third incarnation of the museum and it is called the New Acropolis Museum: the artifacts had to be transferred twice as more artifacts were found so that the pieces can be housed under one roof. Currently, there are over 4,000 pieces on display, and there’s space allotted in the event that the Elgin Marbles are returned to Greece. The building was designed to resemble the architecture of the Parthenon, and the interiors - and the exhibits - have been arranged such that these will mirror how the buildings and structures in the Acropolis were arranged.

Acropolis Museum

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece

Website: Acropolis Museum

14. Visit the Parthenon

The Parthenon Athens
Source: Photo by user Steve Swayne used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re wondering what to see in Athens, then the Parthenon should be at the top of your list. Built in 447 BC, the Parthenon was a wonder of the ancient world, and is now one of the modern. Dedicated to the Goddess Athena, it is the most important surviving building of classical Greece and is a symbol of democracy and western civilization. It’s amazing that it has held up for over two millennia. To walk among the Doric columns and the surrounding ruins is not an opportunity you want to miss. If you are going to Athens, this is a must-see.

The Parthenon

Website: The Parthenon

15. Wander the authentic Plaka neighborhood

Plaka (Athens, Greece)
Source: Photo by user psyberartist used under CC BY 2.0

If you happen to stumble upon the Plaka district when roaming Athens, then you will immediately register a difference. The Plaka neighborhood holds the oldest neighborhoods in Athens. The neoclassical buildings are painted bright colors and hanging flowers adorn their walls. There are many cafes and shops; the area caters to tourists. The neighborhood is known as the ‘Neighborhood of Gods’ since it lies below the Acropolis. It is a great place to spend a few hours and buy gifts for your friends and family back home.

Plaka district

Address: Plaka, Athens 105 58, Greece

Website: Plaka district

16. Explore the Temple of Hephaestus

Hephaistos Temple
Source: Photo by user Storeye used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Those wondering what to do in Athens can consider exploring the Temple of Hephaestus. It is perhaps the most intact landmark from Greek antiquity in Athens. It is located on the Agora of Athens and is surrounded by well-kept lawns and shrubs. It’s a great place to take a stroll and admire ancient Greek architecture. For those who weren’t a Greek mythology nerd like I was growing up, Hephaestus is the god of metal working, craftsmanship, and fire. Just one question now. Is it a coincidence that the God of craftsmanship’s temple is in spectacular shape, by far the temple in best shape, or not?

Temple of Hephaestus

Address: Athens 105 55, Greece

Website: Temple of Hephaestus

17. Check out the ruins of Ancient Greek civilization at the National Archaeological Museum

0028MAN-Room3
Source: Photo by user Tetraktys used under CC BY-SA 3.0

History buffs, come one, come all. If the weather looks foreboding take refuge in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. The museum holds some of the rarest Greek treasures in the world, ranging from prehistory to late antiquity. As you walk through the rooms, just by observing their sculptures, tools, and bones, you will witness the rise and fall of Greek epochs. The museum is sleek and elegant and offers an array of rotating exhibitions. The Odysseus and Ithaca exhibitions are recommended!

National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Address: 28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece

Website: National Archaeological Museum of Athens

18. Scale Mount Lycabettus for a great view of Athens, and a great sunset view

Mount Lycabettus
Source: Photo by user Pieter Cornelissen used under CC BY 2.0

Have you ever wished that you could just go to the middle of a city and have a perfect view of it in all directions? Meet Mount Lycabettus. You can’t take an elevator up for this view, but the hike is more than worth it. Scaling Mount Lycabettus is one of the most fun things to do in Athens, Greece. From the top you have an unimpeded view of all that is Athens. I recommend going here one of your first days in Athens so you have a good mental image of the city in your head as you explore it. The top has an open-air amphitheater where the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Radiohead, and James Brown have played.

Mount Lycabettus

Website: Mount Lycabettus

19. Don’t miss the Temple of the Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus
Source: Photo by user Kevin Poh used under CC BY 2.0

One of the best things to do in Athens is to visit the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. If you’re the superstitious sort, it’s probably wise to pay your respects at the temple. Started in the 6th-century BC and completed in the 2nd-century AD, the temple originally had 104 colossal columns. Today, 16 still stand. That may not sound like much of a temple, and admittedly it isn’t. But these ancient columns are worth seeing just by the virtue of how large they are. You will probably not find anything like them in Greece.

The Temple of the Olympian Zeus

Address: Athens 105 57, Greece

Website: The Temple of the Olympian Zeus

20. Get lost in the National Garden of Athens

National Garden (Athens, Greece)
Source: Photo by user Tilemahos Efthimi... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If I was a kid, this is where I would play tag. The National Garden is 38 acres (15 hectares) of trimmed grass, tunnels covered with vegetation, and open spaces of fountains, statues, and trees. Not to mention it has a duck pond, botanical museum, cafe, children’s library, and playground. There’s much to see and enjoy in this calm, peaceful refuge away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The National Garden of Athens

Address: Amalias 1, Αμαλίας 1, Athina 105 57, Greece

Website: The National Garden of Athens

21. Go for a run at Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium
Source: Pikrepo

Panathenaic Stadium has the distinction of being the only one in world that is made entirely out of marble. Originally built in 330 BCE for the Panathenaic Games, it has been rebuilt many times since then. In present times, it is used to host various marathons and sports events, including the final stop for the Olympic torch handover ceremony. Visitors can take a tour of this stadium, go for a run on the track and even strike a pose at the original winner’s podium.

Panathenaic Stadium

Address: Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina 116 35, Greece

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 5.6 USD

22. Shop at Monastiraki Flea Market

Monastiraki
Source: Photo by Flickr user Weekend Wayfarers used under CC BY 2.0

Take some time off sightseeing and stroll through Monastiraki Flea Market. This eclectic market consists of rows of cramped shops selling all manner of goods, including souvenirs, army surplus, clothing, jewelry, art, home decor objects, trinkets, and more. Consisting of many alleys lined with shops and stalls selling secondhand items, this flea market is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Historic excavation sites surround this market and it is the perfect place to spend a few hours in the city.

Monastiraki Flea Market

Address: Ifestou 2, Athina 105 55, Greece

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 6pm; Sun: 10am - 6pm

23. Take an astronomy tour at the National Observatory of Athens

Athens observatory
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gsk-en12 used under CC0

One of the oldest research institutes in Greece and entire southern Europe, National Observatory of Athens is a great place to visit in Athens. It has two visitor centers, but the one at Thissio, opposite Acropolis is the most popular one. It houses the Doridis telescope through which you can observe the beautiful sky of Athens during a guided astronomy tour. You can sign up for a special night sky astronomy tour and spend an evening learning about the stars and planets at National Observatory of Athens.

National Observatory of Athens

Address: Lofos Nymphon - Thissio, PO Box 20048 - 11810, Athens

Website: National Observatory of Athens

Opening hours: 9am - 2pm (daily)

Price: 5.6 USD

24. Enjoy a Greek cooking class with a rooftop dinner (from USD 98.0)

No trip to Greece is complete with sampling some authentic and delicious Greek food. Go one step further and take a Greek food cooking class in Athens. In this tour, you will prepare a three-course meal consisting of traditional Greek dishes like spinach phyllo pastries, tzatziki, and more. A local chef will share authentic recipes with you and afterwards, you will make your way to the rooftop for a scrumptious dinner accompanied by a glass of wine and a gorgeous Acropolis view.

Athens Greek Cooking Class with Rooftop Dinner, Acropolis View

Duration: 4 hours

10 reviews

Athens awaits

Now, these are only a few things you can do in the capital of Greece, the cradle of western civilization. When you go to these destinations, ask staff there what other popular attractions are around. Athens is a large city, and if archaeology, museums, and gardens aren’t your cup of tea, climb to the top of Mount Lycabettus and see what is out there for yourself!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Keyboard Jocking, Globe Trotting, Dostoevsky reading, and Budapest Lovin' writer set out to earn a buck and experience the world while I'm at it too.

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