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Is Athens worth visiting?

Whether you’ll be passing through the Greek capital en route to somewhere else or are thinking of booking a long weekend away, the burning question is this. Is Athens worth visiting?

The short answer is absolutely, unequivocally, yes! How could any city 30 centuries in the making be otherwise? Not to mention the delicious Greek food, the vibrant markets, the thriving nightlife scene, and the warm welcome extended by the locals. 

Then of course there’s the world famous Acropolis, which everyone should see at least once in a lifetime. This ancient monumental complex overlooks the city from its hilltop position, and is the most complete Greek citadel on earth. 

But there’s more to Athens than the Acropolis. Including the port of Piraeus, the Plaka and Psiri neighbourhoods, the National Archaeological Museum, Panathenaic Stadium, Lycabettus Hill, Monastiraki Square, nearby beaches like Edem, and more. 

Read on to discover why you need to add Athens to your bucket list!

Is Athens worth visiting to see sights such as the Acropolis?
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The Acropolis is the number one tourist attraction in Athens. Perched on a rocky site overlooking the city, the name actually refers to the entire UNESCO World Heritage Site, which comprises a series of ancient relics. 

The best-known is the Parthenon. This is the iconic temple you’ll have seen so many pictures of. Supported by fluted pillars, the impressive monument was constructed in honour of Athena, a Greek goddess of wisdom, reason, war, and crafts. 

Other things to see at the Acropolis include the striking Propylaea, which served as the entrance to the complex; the beautiful, classical Erechtheion, also known as the Temple of Athena Polias; and the Temple of Athena Nike. The stone-built Odeon of Herodes Atticus is also one of the finest open-air Roman theatres on the planet. 

Another reason to visit the Acropolis are the stunning city views from the elevated site! As the Acropolis is always mega-popular, pre-booking a timed entry ticket is the way to go. This is delivered by email and includes optional audio guides. 

Click here to book your Acropolis entry ticket

This world-class museum was created to house all the fascinating finds of the Acropolis site. It’s packed with archaeological treasures dating from the Bronze Age in Greece to Roman and Byzantine times.

The museum is nestled at the base of the ancient Acropolis, giving visitors great views. There are some glass walls and floors. Also at the museum is a cafe with an outdoor terrace, a couple of gift shops, and a reading room. 

Again, you can save time waiting in line by pre-booking your Acropolis museum tickets. Optional audio guides are also included. 

Click here to book your Acropolis museum entry ticket

If history and archaeology float your boat, then don’t miss the biggest museum in Greece. This one showcases finds from all over the land, and covers from prehistory to the present day. 

Click here to book your National Archaeological Museum ticket

The ancient Agora of Athens, or Greek Agora, lies northwest of the Acropolis, and is the best-preserved example of its kind. An Agora was a central area, like a marketplace, where people gathered for decision-making, as well as buying and selling. 

You can also find the stunning Temple of Hephaestus here. It was dedicated to the Greek god of blacksmithing. 

Panathenaic Stadium is the world’s only entirely marble stadium. It represents the Olympic Games, which originated in Greece, and the first modern Games were held here in 1896. The stadium dates back way further, though, to 566 BC.

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Charming Plaka is a central Athens neighbourhood well worth exploring. It’s been inhabited since the days of ancient Greece, and the remains of the Roman Agora are situated here. 

The pretty cobbled streets are also lined with appealing boutiques and places to eat. Plaka also borders the Acropolis. 

Visit the Roman Agora while you’re here to see the Tower of the Winds, a marble structure with eight carvings of wind gods around the top. Hadrian’s Library is also located close to the Roman Agora. 

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Psiri is the best part of Athens if you want to sample the local nightlife. It’s particularly busy on weekends. 

You can also find lots of street art on the walls of this district, and the area has a really artsy vibe. 

Views from the Acropolis

Lycabettus Hill is visited by thousands of people per year, who hike or ride to the top of the city’s highest point for panoramic views. You can take a cable car to the summit, or tackle the long climb. This takes up to 90 minutes. 

Alternatively, take the cable car up and walk back down to combine the two. There’s a restaurant at the top for food and drinks. 

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Monastiraki Square is a good place to shop, dine and drink at any time. On Sundays, you can also find the weekly flea market here, for snapping up unique finds. And people watching, of course!

If you love to eat, you’re in for a treat! Athens has an incredible foodie scene to discover. The best way to dive into it is to take a local-led foodie tour. With so many to choose from, here are our favourites. Some include market visits, and all cover tastings. 

Centrally located Omonia Square is one of the city’s oldest, and an important traffic intersection. You can find a metro station and tram stops here, making it a major transport hub. 

There are plenty of shops and places to eat, and you can also find fountains and green spaces. 

Is Athens worth visiting article

The Port of Piraeus is the biggest port in Greece, and also one of Europe’s largest. You can take a walk along the promenade here, visit the museums, and enjoy the coastal vistas from the marina. 

The Athens to Piraeus metro departs from Omonia Square, and the journey to the port takes around half an hour. 

If it isn’t a holiday for you without hitting the beach, then Athens is ideal. Edem beach is the closest to the city, and you can get there quickly by tram. The trip takes about 40 minutes from Omonia Square in Athens.

There are plenty of other beaches within easy reach of Athens, too. 

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If you have the time and want to see beyond the city, there are various day trips from Athens you can book. Here are some of the best choices. 

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If you’re short of time, you may be wondering – could, and should, you do Athens in a day? It is possible! To make the most of every moment, we recommend booking the superb Athens in a Day tour by Walks. 

This includes a crowd-beating Acropolis tour, a visit to the ancient Agora of Athens, Athens Cathedral, and the Changing of the Presidential Guards ceremony. You’ll also see the Roman Agora and Monastiraki Square and more, as well as tucking into a yummy Greek lunch at a local, traditional, family-run restaurant. 

Click here to book the Athens in a Day tour with Walks

The Athens weather in June, July and August can get very hot. This is also the most popular, and therefore most crowded, time to visit the city. The Athens pros and cons in summer may come down to whether or not you like it hot – and can handle crowds!

Spring or autumn are ideal times to visit, if you can travel then. The April weather in Athens, for example, is mild, with around three days of rain per month. In September, the weather in Athens, Greece is warm, but not as hot as summer, with only around a day of rain. 

Is Athens worth visiting in December, January, and February? This is winter, so the city is far more peaceful. This can be a good time to go if you don’t mind colder weather. 

Here are some suggestions regarding where to stay in Athens. Options include booking a hotel in Piraeus, by the port, or in the city centre. 

Athens isn’t an expensive city. In fact, it’s far more affordable than other European cities, including some of the most popular ones in Eastern Europe. Lots of cheap places to eat help to keep prices down. 

Athens is a very walkable city. Getting around on foot is the best way to see the sights, as you’ll experience the local culture as you go. Many locals and visitors never use a car or public transport at all, though you can take trams to popular spots like Piraeus port or Edem beach. 

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So is Athens worth visiting? Heck, yes! For the Acropolis alone, frankly. But then there’s fascinating neighbourhoods, friendly locals, Piraeus port, lively nightlife, nearby beaches, fabulous food, vibrant squares, and many more sites of historic and archaeological significance. 

Really it’s not a question of whether to go to Athens – but when!