Unlike many European destinations, Greece’s capital city will likely not be the highlight of your visit to the country. The islands that surround mainland Greece offer a wide variety of things to do. In contrast, Athens is a modern city with traffic, motion, and busy metropolitan streets. Still, you should certainly check out Athens’ plentiful historical and cultural landmarks.
Visit Athens’ landmarks: Acropolis & the Parthenon
No matter where you are in Athens, you can see the Acropolis, one of the most significant monuments of the ancient world. The 'Sacred Rock' overlooks a now modern city. The Parthenon, which sits atop Acropolis Hill, means 'the apartment of the virgin' and was built in honor of the goddess Athena. Pass under the Beule Gate and the city’s original entryway, Propylaia, and take in the glory of these ancient monuments.
See some more ancient wonders
Socrates’ favorite place to hang out, the Agora marketplace was the central point of political and social life in ancient Athens. Don’t miss the Temple of Hephaestrus and the Stoa of Attalos. Next, see Greece’s largest temple, the Temple of Zeus, which took nearly 700 years to build. The colossal size and masterful construction will astound you.
Climb up the old town
Around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, the lovely old historical neighborhood of Plaka can be found. Breathe in the neoclassical architecture and quaint labyrinthine streets while you’re visiting the capital of Greece. Several museums are located here.
Just outside of Athens
Not far from Athens is the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, a 3rd century theater, considered to be one of the most beautiful by ancient Greeks. Today, it still is breathtaking. Restored back in the 1950s, it’s also home to the annual Epidaurus Festival and other performances – and can accommodate an audience of 14,000. About 40 miles outside of Athens at Cape Sounion, you’ll find the stunning cliff-top Temple of Poseidon. The magnificent ruins, framed by the Aegean Sea below, are lovely at sunset and tranquil in the early morning.