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Things to do in Athens

Most of Athens’ top archaeological sites lie in Plaka and Monastiraki, including the temples of the Acropolis, and the crumbling ruins of The Agorá, once Ancient Athens’ administrative and cultural heart. The National Archaeological Museum in Omonia showcases ancient Greek art, while the Byzantine and Christian Museum houses a dazzling display of religious icons.

Acropolis, Athens. Courtesy of Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Photo by Shyamla Eswaran, © Whatsonwhen
1

National Archaeological Museum

Ancient Greek artefacts

Home to the world's finest collection of ancient Greek art, the marble-floored National Archaeological Museum, near Omonia, displays larger-than-life sculptures of heroes from Greek mythology, and intricately crafted gold jewellery and weaponry, including Agamemnon's 3600-year-old death mask.



Cost

€7; concessions €3; children free

Opening Hours

Mon 1.30pm-8pm; Tue-Sun 8.30am-3pm (8am-8pm Apr-Oct)

Address

44, Patission, Athens 10682

Telephone

+30 210 821 7724

Transport

Victoria metro station

Website

National Archaeological Museum Website

Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens. Courtesy of Byzantine and Christian Museum
2

Byzantine & Christian Museum

Greek Orthodox icons

In its underground exhibition space in Kolonaki, the Byzantine and Christian Museum traces the Byzantine Empire from the birth of Christianity to the 1453 fall of Constantinople. Exhibits include solemn icons, religious frescoes, jewellery and ecclesiastical artefacts.



Cost

€4

Opening Hours

Apr-Sep Tue-Sun 8am-7.30pm; Oct-Mar Tue-Sun 8.30am-3pm

Address

22, Vasilissas Sofias, Athens, 10675

Telephone

+30 210 729 4926

Transport

Evangelsimos metro station

Website

Byzantine and Christian Museum Website

Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens. Courtesy of the Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
3

Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art

Ancient minimalist sculptures

In Kolonaki, the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art is revered for its collection of elegant marble figurines. Surprisingly contemporary in style, these enigmatic pieces were placed in burial chambers in the Cycladic islands over 4,000 years ago.



Cost

€7; Mon €3.50; concessions €2.50-€3.50; under 18s free

Opening Hours

Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat 10am-5pm; Thu 10am-8pm; Sun 11am-5pm

Address

4, Neophytou Douka, Kolonaki, Athens, 10674

Telephone

+30 210 722 8321

Transport

Evangelismos metro station

Website

Cycladic Museum Website

Benaki Museum, Athens. Courtesy of Benaki Museum
4

Benaki Museum

Art down the ages

Occupying a neo-classical house in Kolonaki, the Benaki Museum offers a walk through the history of Greek art from 3000 BC up to the 20th century. Laid out in chronological order, exhibits include jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, furniture and costumes.



Cost

€6 (free Thu); concessions free

Opening Hours

Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat 9am-5pm; Thu 9am-midnight; Sun 9am-3pm

Address

1, Koumbari & Vas Sofias, Athens, 10674

Telephone

+30 210 367 1000

Transport

Syntagma metro station

Website

Benaki Museum Website

Museum of Greek Folk Art, Athens. Courtesy of Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
5

Museum of Greek Folk Art

Arts, crafts and costumes

The Museum of Greek Folk Art in Plaka displays costumes, embroidery, jewellery, ceramics, arms and folk theatre artefacts from around Greece. Don't miss the Theofilis Room, decorated with fanciful, 19th-century frescoes from a house on the island of Lesvos.



Cost

€2

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-2pm (Mon from 9am)

Address

17, Kydathinaion, Plaka, Athens, 10558

Telephone

+30 210 321 3018

Transport

Acropolis metro station

Museum of Greek Traditional Instruments, Athens. Courtesy of Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
6

Museum of Greek Traditional Instruments

Sounds of rural Greece

Hidden away in pretty Plaka, the Museum of Greek Traditional Instruments displays 1,200 musical instruments, ranging from gypsy flutes to shepherds' goatskin bagpipes. Exhibits are accompanied by headphones, so visitors can listen to them being played.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Tue, Thu-Sun 10am-2pm; Wed 12pm-6pm

Address

1-3, Diogenous, Aeridon Square, Plaka, Athens, 10558

Telephone

+30 210 3250198

Transport

Monastiraki metro station

Website

Museum of Greek Traditional Instruments Website

Acropolis Museum, Athens. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis
7

Acropolis Museum

Treasures of Ancient Greece

Opened in 2009 at a cost of €130m, the Acropolis Museum is a fittingly grand home for the archaeological riches of ancient Athens. The museum contains precious relics discovered by excavations of the Acropolis, dating as far back as 3000BC.



Cost

€1

Opening Hours

Tues-Sun 8am-8pm

Address

15, Dionysiou Areopagitou, Athens 11742

Telephone

+30 210 9000 900

Transport

Metro: Acropolis

Website

Acropolis Museum Website

Acropolis, Athens. Courtesy of Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
8

The Acropolis

Symbol of Greek heritage

Floodlit by night, the Acropolis is a rocky mound rising above Plaka. It is the birthplace of Athens, and crowned by three ancient temples, the best known being the Parthenon. Its towering columns have withstood the elements for over 2500 years.



Cost

€12 (ticket also valid for the Ancient Agora and Roman Forum)

Opening Hours

Summer daily 8am-8pm; winter daily 8am-3pm

Address

Athens, TKTKT

Telephone

+30 210 9238175

Transport

Acropolis or Monastiraki metro station

Website

Hellenic Ministry of Culture Website

Ancient Agorá, Athens. Courtesy of Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
9

The Agorá

Where Socrates made speeches

In ancient times Athens' political, administrative and cultural heart, today the Ancient Agora in Monastiraki is a green landscape dotted with crumbling ruins. It is here that Socrates and St Paul made their public speeches, and where democracy was born.



Cost

€4 (also covered by Acropolis block ticket)

Opening Hours

Summer daily 8.30am-7.30pm (from 11am Mon); winter daily 8.30am-5pm (from 11am Mon)

Address

24, Adrianou, Monastiraki, Athens, 18540

Telephone

+30 210 3310963

Transport

Monastiraki metro station

Website

Hellenic Ministry of Culture Website

Roman Forum, Athens. Courtesy of the Greek National Tourism Organisation
10

Roman Forum

Greece in Medieval times

From the first century BC, traders met in the Roman Forum - a rectangular courtyard lined with shops. Also on the site in Plaka stands the octangular Tower of the Winds, built in 1BC by Macedonian astronomer Andronikos.



Cost

€2; free for Acropolis ticket-holders (€12; concessions €6)

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 8am-11pm (closed on selected public holidays)

Address

Aiolou & Pelopida Streets, Plaka, Athens 10556

Telephone

+30 210 324 5220

Transport

Monastiraki metro station

Website

Hellenic Ministry of Culture Website

Kapnikarea, Athens. Photo by Jane Foster
11

Kapnikarea

Byzantine spiritual retreat

The 12th-century Byzantine church of Kapnikerea, near Monastiraki, stands in a modern pedestrian shopping street. Built over an ancient temple, its frescoed-walls, solemn icons, incense-filled air and flickering candles offer a spiritual retreat typical of the Greek Orthodox faith.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 8.30am-3pm

Address

Ermou & Kapnikareas, Monastiraki, TKTTK

Transport

Monastiraki metro station

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens. Photo by Heather Sills © Whatsonwhen
12

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Ancient Greek high-rise

Soaring out of Athens' modern-day centre, 15 marble columns remain a jaw-dropping symbol of Ancient Greek know-how. Today's ruins were once part of a much larger temple complex, begun in the 6th century BC and consisting of 104 colossal columns.



Cost

€3; concessions free; free for Acropolis ticket-holders (€12; concessions €6)

Opening Hours

Daily 8.30am-3pm

Address

Parados Vasilissis Olgas, Athens

Telephone

+30 26240 22517

Transport

Acropolis metro station

Website

Hellenic Ministry of Culture Website

National Gardens, Athens. Photo by Jane Foster
13

National Gardens

Escape the urban hubbub

Designed as the grounds of the 19th-century royal palace, now the Parliament, the National Gardens in Syntagma display lush planting, duck ponds, strutting peacocks and a small zoo. With two cafes, it offers a welcome green retreat from urban chaos.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Dawn to dusk

Address

Amalias, Athens, 10557

Telephone

+30 210 721 1178

Transport

Syntagma metro station

Mount Lykavittos, Athens. Courtesy of the Greek National Tourism Organisation
14

Lykavittos

Breathtaking Athenian views

Athens' highest point, 295 metres high, Mount Lykavittos is served by cable car from Kolonaki. Paths zigzag up through pinewoods to the summit, capped by a whitewashed church and cafe. A viewing platform with coin-operated binoculars affords a magnificent panorama.



Cost

Free; access by funicular €3

Opening Hours

24 hours

Address

Kolonaki, Athens, 10676

Transport

Evangelismos metro station

Microlimano, Athens. Courtesy of Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company
15

Microlimano

Pretty fishing harbour

The circular bay of Microlimano in Piraeus, filled with wooden fishing boats and luxurious yachts, is best-known for its seafood restaurants with waterside terraces. Built into the hillside behind it rises the picturesque residential quarter of Kastella.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

Akti Koumoundourou, Piraeus, 18533

Transport

Neo Faliro metro station

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