Exploring Athens Beyond the Acropolis: 6 Must-Visit Places
You absolutely cannot skip a visit to the Acropolis when in Athens! This historic fortress atop a hill, adorned by the legendary Parthenon, is undeniably one of the world’s most renowned tourist attractions. It’s a symbol of the lasting impact that Ancient Greek culture has had on the world. But don’t be fooled into thinking that Athens has nothing else to offer beyond this marvelous site. We’re here to help guide you through your Athens adventure with six more must-visit places to see after you’ve explored the Acropolis on day one. Get ready for an epic journey!
Looking for some ancient Greek history? Look no further than the Panathenaic Stadium. This stunning stadium is a perfect replica of the ancient stadium built in 330 BC, with a U-shaped layout that can seat up to 50,000 spectators. The stadium was originally encased in beautiful marble by Roman Senator Herodes Atticus in 130 BC and still boasts the same luxurious material today. Fun fact: it’s the only stadium in the world to be built entirely from marble! Originally constructed for the 1896 Athens Olympics, the stadium hosted archery events and was used as the finish line for the marathon events in the 2004 Olympics. Take a stroll through the stadium and enjoy breathtaking views of the Acropolis and National Garden from the highest tiers. Feeling sporty? Go for a jog around the stadium in the morning, just make sure you fill in a declaration form beforehand.
Forget the archaeological sites for a moment and immerse yourself in the beauty of Athens’ Plaka district. This charming area is one of the best places to visit in Athens, with its narrow alleys and streets adorned with beautiful flowers. Located close to the Acropolis, Plaka is home to a variety of local shops selling everything from ceramics to jewelry. And don’t forget about the food scene! There are plenty of specialty food shops selling delicious Greek delicacies like gyros and olives. Built on the original residential area of ancient Athens, there are plenty of archaeological sites to spot as you wander through the area. Plus, if you’re looking for some contemporary dining and nightlife, Plaka has got you covered.
While the Acropolis may steal the show, Mount Lycabettus is a must-visit hill in Athens. Standing at 300 meters tall and covered in pine trees, this limestone peak offers stunning views of the city from the summit. You can climb the hill on foot for free (although it’s a fairly steep 60-minute hike) or take the funicular railway if you prefer. For the best experience, visit at sunset to enjoy the incredible views while also avoiding the stifling summer heat. Keep an eye out for the Greek tortoises that call the hill home and don’t forget to grab a bite at the restaurant located at the summit. While the Acropolis may be the star of the show, Mount Lycabettus is definitely worth a visit.
National Archaeological Museum
Athens is a city that boasts over 70 public museums, and while it may take months to visit them all (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration), there’s one that simply cannot be missed: the National Archaeological Museum. Not only is it one of the largest museums in Athens, but it also houses an extensive collection of artifacts from Greece’s rich history. If you’re looking for the ultimate museum experience, then this is definitely the place to be!
The National Archaeological Museum is a treasure trove of fascinating exhibits that are sure to captivate your imagination. Among its notable collections are the golden 16th century Mask of Agamemnon, which is truly a sight to behold, and the world-famous Antikythera mechanism, the oldest known analog computer in the world. Additionally, the museum boasts one of the best collections of Egyptian art in existence, making it a must-visit destination for any art enthusiast.
In a country as steeped in history as Greece, the National Archaeological Museum stands out as a true gem. With its incredible array of artifacts and exhibits, it offers visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this fascinating country. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable museum experience in Athens, then make sure you stop by the National Archaeological Museum – you won’t regret it!
Ancient Agora of Athens
This central public square served as the bustling hub of commercial, social, political, and spiritual activity in Ancient Greek city-states. The Athens Agora is the best-preserved agora around, dating all the way back to the 6th century BC. Once you arrive, prepare to be transported back in time as you take in the ruins of over 30 buildings, including the awe-inspiring Temple of Hephaestus – one of the most complete ancient temples in Greece! Don’t forget to check out the Stoa of Attalos, a beautifully reconstructed covered walkway that now serves as the Museum of the Ancient Agora. Our top tip for making the most of your visit? Plan to spend at least half a day here – grab a map and get ready to explore! With so much history to discover and sights to see, you won’t want to rush through this incredible piece of ancient Greek culture.
Changing of the Guard at the Parliament Building
The Parliament Building in Athens is a sight to behold, especially during the Changing of the Guard ceremony. While the ceremony actually takes place every hour throughout the week, the official event occurs at 11 am on Sundays, complete with more guards and grand customs. The guards, dressed in their iconic uniforms, march in perfect unison and make for a spectacular weekend attraction. And let’s not forget about the Parliament Building itself, a stunning architectural feat built in the 1830s that’s illuminated at night.
To experience all that Athens has to offer, why not book one of our Greece tours or island-hopping journeys? They either begin or end in the capital city, ensuring you get to see the best places to visit in Athens firsthand. If you’re short on time, our Athens city tours is an excellent option that covers all the major sights.