Things to do in Athens
Ranked among the world's most significant historical sites, the Acropolis looms over Athens in all its architectural glory. Dating back to between 400 and 500BC, the Acropolis is one of the most famous destinations in the world. It features significant ruins like the Parthenon, but it also symbolises the rich history and advanced culture of Ancient Greece, along with offering spectacular views of Athens and the Aegean Sea.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Once a colossal temple that was one of the largest in Greece, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is now marked by only 16 remaining columns. Over 600 years in the making, the temple also once housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world and is considered among Athens' most famous ruins. It is situated in the centre of Athens, southeast of the Acropolis.
Athens - Temple of Olympian Zeus
Home to the first ever modern Olympics in 1896, the Panathenaic Stadium hosted sporting events for centuries before it became an Olympic icon. The stadium dates back to around 330BC, but has been reconstructed and rebuilt over time to accommodate around 50,000 spectators. To date, it's hosted the Olympics on three occasions, and it's located near the Acropolis.
Athens - Panathenaic Stadium
Theatre of Dionysus
Widely considered the origin point for all European theatre, the Theatre of Dionysus holds special significance for the culture of Greece. Throughout its lengthy history, the area was constantly rebuilt and improved, but it's thought the Theatre of Dionysus dates back to around the 6th century BC, when theatre was first being created. Today, the theatre is best viewed from the Acropolis.
Athens - Theatre of Dionysus
Temple of Poseidon
Almost 70km southeast of Athens is the culturally significant Temple of Poseidon, which pays homage to Ancient Greece's God of the Sea. Overlooking the Aegean, the ruins of the temple stand on the southernmost tips of the Attica Peninsula and offer a spectacular vantage point for sunsets over the water. The region itself, known as Sounion, was also considered strategically important to Athens.
Athens - Temple of Poseidon
Ancient Agora was the central point of old-world Athens, and home to political, commercial, judicial and society activity. This former city heart features a wealth of notable monuments and excavations that provide a unique insight into the ancient culture and lifestyle of Greece. The Agora, which roughly translates to “gathering place” is located to the northwest of the Acropolis.
Athens - Ancient Agora
Housed in a beautiful Neo-Classical building near the National Gardens, the Benaki Museum features a collection of art and exhibitions that span Greek history. The original works and building were donated to the Greek people by the Benakis family, and have been added to over time to incorporate over 100,000 pieces. There are also additional satellite museums accommodating toys, Islamic art, and archives.
Byzantine and Christian Museum
As one of the most important collections of Byzantine art in the world, the Byzantine and Christian Museum is home to rare collections of pictures, scriptures, pottery, fabrics and artefacts that date back to 3AD. Over 25,000 works are held within the museum's care, collected from all over the Greek world and encompassing the Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, Post-Byzantine, and later periods.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art offers a fascinating insight into the Islamic influence within Greek culture. This museum incorporates two buildings and spans four floors, featuring artefacts, jewellery, scientific instruments, military regalia, and manuscripts. The works were donated as part of the Benakis family collection of items sourced from Egypt, Persia and Iran, and span the 7th to 19th centuries.
National Archaeological Museum Athens
Considered one of the greatest museums in the world, the National Archaeological Museum Athens houses a vast collection of artefacts from locations all over Greece. Originally established to secure archaeological finds excavated in Athens in the 19th Century, it expanded to accommodate the most significant finds of the nation. It's now home to sculptures, pottery, and items dating back to the late prehistoric period.
Athens - National Archaeological Museum
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus offers a unique and authentic insight into ancient Greek performance and culture. This outdoor concert arena dates back to the 2nd century and was the third odeon to be constructed in ancient Athens. Now it accommodates live music and theatre performances from its spectacular position on the south slope of the Acropolis.
Athens - Odean of Herodes Atticus
Museum of Cycladic Art
The Museum of Cycladic Art features over 3,000 artefacts offering a window into the ancient civilisations of the Cycladic Islands. Originally the private collection of shipping magnate Nicholas Goulandris and his wife Dolly, it contains items dating back to 3200BC. Perhaps the most spectacular element of the museum is the semi-abstract Cycladic figurines that later inspired Cubist art and even the works of Picasso.