Athens things to do

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The Parthenon

Price guide: Mid-range
#1/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Best for First-time visitors -
Expert overall rating:5.0 (out of 5)

Landmark of a nation and timeless symbol of classical civilisation.

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#2/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Best for Chilling out -
Expert overall rating:5.0 (out of 5)

Pretend to be Plato as you stroll among the city’s ancient landmarks.

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#4/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Best for History -
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

All the treasures of the Acropolis under one (highly controversial) roof.

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Benaki Museum

Price guide: Mid-range
#5/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

Greek folk culture through the ages, from embroideries to icons.

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Kerameikos

Price guide: Budget
#6/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

The ancient cemetery where Pericles delivered his funeral oration.

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Athenian Agora

Price guide: Budget
#7/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

Explore the shopping mall where democracy was born.

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#8/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

The most exhaustive collection of ancient Greek art in the world.

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#9/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Best for Culture -
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

World class design and architecture exhibitions in a fabulous purpose-built space.

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#10/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Iconic art from Byzantium and beyond.

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Museum of Cycladic Art

Price guide: Mid-range
#11/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Enigmatic figurines from the Greek islands.

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#14/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

Seat of the first modern Olympics in 1896.

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#15/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

Cutting edge art in an old sock factory in the suburbs.

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The Breeder

Price guide: Free
#17/20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Best for Posing -
Expert overall rating:4.3 (out of 5)

Trendsetting gallery in up-and-coming Metaxourgio.

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The main attraction in Athens is obviously its antiquities. You don't necessarily need to traipse around endless archaeological sights to enjoy them – you'll literally stumble upon fallen columns and half-excavated sites as you wander around. But it's absolutely worthwhile spending a day or two really investigating some of the ancient landmarks. Preferably, do this in the company of a guide – they should really does bring the ancient world to life. Be sure to buy a €12 pass that gives you access to all the major archaeological sites if you plan to visit more than one. 

Be warned: most archaeological sites still close at 3pm in winter. So go early to avoid disappointment. Many museums are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Athens isn't the most family-friendly of cities. Parks are scarce and pavements that you can navigate with a pushchair even scarcer. The beaches are obviously a bonus for kids, but you might have trouble finding a spare sunbed at weekends during the summer. In general, the best and cleanest beaches (by far) are those not accessible by public transport. So it's worth hiring a car if you plan to hit the seaside.

How I’ve picked my things to do: 

Athens is a curious mish-mash of the ancient and resolutely modern. So I've picked a selection of sites that combine a taste of history and a flavour of the city's contemporary scene. Of course, the conviviality everyday life is as much a part of the capital's laidback appeal. For more on the city's café culture, nightlife and vibrant arts scene, check out my insider tips in those sections.

Set focus

Athens is a curious mish-mash of the ancient and resolutely modern. So I've picked a selection of sites that combine a taste of history and a flavour of the city's contemporary scene. Of course, the conviviality everyday life is as much a part of the capital's laidback appeal. For more on the city's café culture, nightlife and vibrant arts scene, check out my insider tips in those sections.