Things to Do in Athens Greece
Things to Do in Athens Greece
Athens is an amazing place for family vacations. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Greece and was thrilled that we were able to take our family adventure there this year! In Athens we celebrated my BIG birthday – number 50 and our 17th wedding anniversary. So many fun things to do in Athens Greece.
Greece is full of amazing places to visit and Athens is a great place to start!
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Acropolis of Athens
It is easy to get the acropolis and parthenon mixed up. Which one is which? What is the difference? Let’s set the record straight!
Visiting the acropolis of Athens is a MUST see when you visit Athens, but it is also super easy because you can see it from any spot in Athens. The acropolis is really just the hill in the center of town. This rocky outcrop is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and perfect for exploring on family vacations.
On top of the acropolis of Athens you’ll find:
Temple of Athena Nike
This place of worship, created in 420 BCE, is dedicated to the goddess Athena Nike. The world Nike, in Greek, means victory. It once held a statue of Athena Nike what was created without her wings so that “it could never leave the city“.
We visited the acropolis more than once on our trip to Greece. The first time we visited as a part of a tour which gave us a lay of the land. The second visit was at a later time in the day which gave us an entirely different feel. The light was lower in the sky and made the whole place feel warmer.
Read more about the tours we took on our family adventure in Greece.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Acropolis Museum
There are so many treasures in the Acropolis Museum. Things you have dreamt of seeing and have heard of your entire life. You simply MUST visit famous museums when you get the chance!
If you are visiting with the kids ask for the kids’ bag at the front desk. This cool bag contains a scavenger hunt and stickers or you to use during your visit.
Ask about photography. Somethings can be photographed and some things can’t be photographed. Know the difference – ask first.
The number one thing on my list of what to see at the Acropolis museum was the caryatid! These pillars carved to look like women are the REAL columns taken from the Erechthion which is next to the parthenon on top of the acropolis. The ones on the south porch of the Erechthion are a copies. The real caryatids, all but one are in this museum (the other was stolen and is now in the British Museum in London), safe from the weather.
I love the hair! Such detail!
Visiting the Acropolis Information:
15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street
+30 210 9000900
Acropolis Museum Hours: Summer (1 April – 31 October)
Monday 8:00 – 4:00
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 8:00 – 8:00
Friday 8:00 – 10:00
Saturday/ Sunday 8:00 – 8:00
Acropolis Museum Hours Winter (1 November – 31 March)
Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 5:00
Friday 9:00 – 10:00
Saturday/Sunday 9:00 – 8:00
****Last admission 30 minutes before closing. *****Shops close 15 minutes before the museum closes.
General Admission 5 euros
FREE admission: 6 March, 25 March, 18 May and 28 October
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Plaka Athens
Nothing says Greece quite like the Plaka neighborhood in Athens, Greece. The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens and sits in the shadow of the acropolis. Stroll around these picturesque streets and at least once choose a place to eat. I marvel at the amazing use of space as restaurants spill out in the walkways in this pedestrian area. We also did some window shopping and had lots of fun exploring and enjoying the village feel right in the middle of the BIG city of Athens.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – National Archeological Museum
Even if famous museums are not at the top of your list, head to this museum and plan on seeing the most famous museum exhibits. We were absolutely thrilled to see the bronze statue of Zeus, or perhaps Poseidon – the experts don’t agree, and other wonderful ancient pieces of art.
Don’t plan on seeing everything unless you and your group are SERIOUS lovers of ancient antiquity. There is a LOT of ancient antiquities in Athens to love but it is also really easy to become overwhelmed. We like to see the ‘famous’ pieces at each museum as an overview. That way we enjoy the visit without glazing over and this is especially important when visiting museums with kids.
Read more about how to take kids to museums in these related posts:
Things to Do in AThens Greece – Mount Lycabettus
If you are looking for a nice view of Athens, then look no further than Mount Lycabettus which is the highest point in Athens. This offers a lovely view of the city from 277 meters up. Sit in the cafe, have a tea or coffee and enjoy the lovely view. The view is amazing but another fantastic part of this visit is how you get to the top! Don’t worry about climbing up…instead, you’ll take a small tram that travels up the side of the hill.
This is a very hilly part of town. We suggest a taxi!! Head to the corner of Ploutarhiou and Aristippou streets to catch the Lucabettus Funicular to the top!
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Monastiraki
Our first few nights in Athens we stayed just one street over from Monastiraki square. This was our first night in a hostel!
Read here about our family experience in a hostel during our family adventure in Athens!
We just love the Monastiraki area! The views at night of the Parthenon were amazing and it was a great place to get a snack, shop, and people watch. This is where we headed each evening to get a meal and chat about the day.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Anafiotika
This neighborhood is at the base of the acropolis and stepping in makes you feel like you are on a Greek island. The white washed buildings are so beautiful! Squeezing through the narrow passageways makes you feel miles and miles away from the big city of Athens.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Kifissia
Once upon a time, the Kifissia area was where the wealthy of Athens went for the weekends. They build lovely large homes and the area was well off. As large cities often do, Athens grew so much that it now connects to Kifissia. The streets are tree lined and walking around is a treat to see all the large homes and high end shops. We had some fantastic meals there, too, as this was where we were to celebrate my BIG birthday (50!) and our wedding anniversary. We had lots of choices but couldn’t pass up on a Tex Mex restaurant in Athens!
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Dora Stratou Dance Theatre
This long time cultural group of dancers are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Dora Stratou studied regional dances from all over Greek carefully cataloguing them along with the costumes. Here collection of costumes for this theatre group is unrivaled.
We missed the show as the night we planned to go because it was cancelled due to a marathon. I can’t wait to go back to Athens – this will be the top of my list!
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Styntagma Square
Aside from the acropolis, Syntagma Square is an iconic place in Athens. The word syntagma means constitution and this square, at the base of the Old Royal Palace (now a government building), is the place where King Otto granted a constitution to Athens.
Here you’ll see the Evzones and watch them guard the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Ermou Pedestrian Street
This pedestrian streets is a great place for a little window shopping. High end shops mix with stores of local and unusual sights in the windows makes this a fun place to spend a little time wandering. Stroll hand in hand like the locals and enjoy.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Ancient Agora
A guide is perfect to take you to this spot where your imagination is required to ‘see’ what was once a thriving shopping area. Take a few minutes to appreciate the Tower of the Winds. Like many things here in Athens, just casually standing next to modern people, it is almost impossibly old. The gate was actually financed by Julius Caesar. Yes, that Julius Caesar, and it has been standing here since the 1st century AD.
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Museum of Cycladic Art
Anyone interested in day to day life in the classical period of Greece will love this museum. The permanent collections has items for themes like Gods and Heroes, Female Activities and my favorite – Toiletry and Wedding. I’m curious as to why ‘toiletry’ and ‘wedding’ goes together in the same category.
We did not have time to visit this museum even though we were in Athens 4 days. I beg to differ with the people who say you only need spend 1 day in Athens. There is just so much to see!
Museum of Cycladic Art Visit Information:
Neophytou Douka 4
Athens +30 210 72 28 321-3
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
Thursday 10:00 – 20:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Regular Admission – 7 euros
Monday Admission – 3.5 euros
Visitors aged 19 through 26 – 2.5 euros
Visitors aged over 65 years – 3.5 euros
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Byzantine Museum
With more than 25,000 artifacts in the permanent collections, there is so much to cover in this wonderful museum.
The Byzantine is time period of the Roman Empire in the 4th century until ended by the Ottoman Turks.
* Art is one demential with no shadows or depth.
* People were depicted having long, narrow, and solemn faces.
* The art was religious in nature.
Byzantine Museum Visit Information:
22 Vas. Sofias Ave
106 75 Athens
Hours: 08:00 – 20:00 Monday – Sunday
Tickets: Free for those 18 years and younger. Everyone else – 8 euros
Things to Do in Athens Greece – National Gardens
There is something wonderful about an extensive garden in the middle of a big city. It fees like a respite from the world. These lovely gardens are also called, “The Garden of Amalia” after the Queen who created it in 1838. Queen Amalia, wife of King Otto, loved gardening and actually helped with the planting and care during her time living at the palace (now the Greek Parliament building).
The garden is HUGE (38 acres) with 7,000 trees and 40,000 other plants with plants from all over the world. Take the kids for a visit and explore the area, a playground, and the children’s library.
Since you can’t dig a hole in Athens and not find some amazing ancient ruin, here was discovered part of a Roman villa. Take a break from the city life to explore this beautiful garden.
National Gardens Visit Information:
Athina 105 57, Greece
+30 21 0721 5019
Open Year Round
Things to Do in Athens Greece – Subway Station in Syntagama Square
If you are from a young country, like the United States, it is hard to wrap your head around just how old Athens is! One example is how difficult building can be because every time you dig in the dirt here to build something you come across ancient ruins.
So, when Athens decided to create an underground subway system….imagine how MUCH they found when they started digging! There is actually a type of archeologist that is called when ruins are encountered. They have to work fast so that building can commence.
Several of the subway stations in Athens are like museums as the ancient artifacts that were uncovered while building the subway are on display. We didn’t ride the subway during this trip but we did take a visit to the Subway Station in Sytagma Square! It is really interesting to see the past and the present side by side in a slice of day to day life in Athens.
We LOVED our trip to Greece! Read more about family vacations in Athens Greece in these related posts:
Happy Travels, OPA
Natalie, The Educational Tourist