Sightseeing in Athens

The ancient charm of Athens is undeniable and overly generous. You do not have to search for it; it is there, bare, inviting, overwhelming, transcendent. During your stay in Athens city, here are the top three ancient landmarks to visit that will arm you with the fundamental  knowledge of centuries worth of heritage.

Acropolis & Acropolis Museum

The astonishing Acropolis site, the iconic rock and the emblematic citadel of Athens city that is adorned by the remains of the legendary Parthenon, Propylaea, Erechtheum and Temple of Athena Nike. It can be visited every day from 8am to 5pm, while there are skip the line tickets available for spending less time queuing. It is accessed via the south side of the rock, just a short walk from the Athens Metro at the Acropolis stop, along the most historic pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou.
The Acropolis Museum is located opposite the Acropolis, and has an extensive collection of exhibits that cover a wide range of eras. Estimate a good 3 hours for covering all exhibitions, and be sure to check the opening times beforehand, as they differ slightly depending on the season. There is restaurant cafe that is open during usual opening times except for Fridays, when it closes at midnight, for enjoying some amazing Acropolis views.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Also known as the Herodion amongst locals, this ancient marble theatre is the most impressive, for its design, location and cultural significance throughout the ages. Situated at the foot of the Acropolis rock, it can be admired externally only, unless you are lucky enough to book a ticket for one of the many performances it hosts, most of which run from June to mid October as part of the annual Athens & Epidaurus Festival. Internationally acclaimed musicians, artists and performers take the ancient stage while the moon and the Acropolis frame your evening in a way that will truly move you.

Ancient Agora

Located on the north western side of the Acropolis, it can be accessed from Thissio train station, Monastiraki Metro stop, or by a scenic walk around the perimeter from the south side of the Acropolis. The Ancient Agora of classical Athens includes 20 buildings and structures within its grounds, the most notable of which are the Stoa of Attalos and the Altar of Zeus Agoraios. You will also witness many excavations on the grounds of the Ancient Agora in full display while there are wonderful little cafes and tavernas around the site for enjoying a quick break.

Culture & Art

National Archaeological Museum

It has been called one of the greatest museums in the world, and rightfully so since it contains one of the most thorough collections of ancient artefacts from various locations all over Greece and from across many significant time periods. Very centrally situated in the heart of Athens city, it features many exhibitions pertaining to culture, art and history. Featuring a plethora of sculptures, metalwork, pottery and minor art pieces, it also has some collections relating to the Egyptian civilisation as well as Cypriot antiquities.

Byzantine Museum

For those with a particular interest in Byzantine and Christian culture, the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens hosts an impressive collection of over 2500 items of Byzantine and Christian interest. One of the most important museums of Byzantine Art, there you can admire a variety of artefacts including rare scriptures, manuscripts, pictures, pottery, frescoes, fabrics all the way from the 3rd century AD up until the Late Middle Ages.

Cycladic Art Museum

The Cyclades are the most popular island cluster in Greece. They have been so closely linked together in terms of tradition and appearance that Cycladic Art has emerged as a characteristic of these islands. Discover the unique charm of the Cycladic identity by visiting the sensational Cycladic Art Museum, part of the B&E Goulandris Foundation, which focuses on portraying the ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus too.

Coin Museum

For a lovely tour of the Athens Numismatic gallery, be sure to check out the Coin Museum located on Panepistimiou Street within a splendid three storey mansion of Iliou Melathron, that used to be the residence of archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. It boasts over 600,000 objects to peruse at your leisure while it also has a wonderful cafe amidst an inner courtyard garden that will provide a lovely outing and refreshing break from the city’s concrete urban tapestry.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens

The contemporary art scene finally has a dedicated home to call its own. The recently renovated space that used to be the FIX beer brewery, located in between Syngrou and Kalliroe’s Avenues, is where the National Museum of Contemporary art Athens can be found. Also known locally as the ‘EMST’, it is where you will find the most carefully selected collections of Greek and international contemporary art Athens has to offer. In addition to the permanent collection, the EMST also features periodic exhibitions as well as educational programmes, directing efforts for research and artistic development.

Benaki Museum

The most comprehensive modern art museum Athens can boast about is definitely the Benaki Museum. Established by Antonis Benakis in 1930, in dedication to the memory of his father Emmanuel, Benaki Museum is housed in the family’s mansion on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, opposite the national gardens. It used to feature a wide array of diverse collections relating to both time periods and origin, however, recent efforts have been centered around reinforcing the Greek cultural element, celebrating how it has been shaped by foreign cultures. This resulted in moving most of the non-national collections to other locations and a series of satellite museums came to be.