Best Things to Do in Athens

Athens' Museums and Attractions Help Bring History Alive

Athens is well-known for her ancient history and this is reflected in the museums centered  on this subject, like the Acropolis Museum, the National Archeological Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art. However there are others which specialize in more recent history, like the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum.  Most museums also have an art shop where you can buy souvenirs and a coffee shop or restaurant where you can enjoy a relaxing break with a cool drink or a light meal. Special attention is given to present the marvelous exhibits in an interesting and easy to understand way, aiming at bringing visitors closer to ancient civilization and modern art. Many museums organize special courses for children on weekends, which are very popular with the youngsters, and also events, lectures and educational visits for schools. Athenians are extremely proud of their museums and an average family Sunday outing will probably include a visit, giving pleasure to both parents and children. Most museums are closed on Mondays, so make sure you confirm the opening hours before planning your visit. Vary your itinerary with a visit to the Monastiraki Flea Market, enjoy an oriental steam bath at The Hammam Baths, relax on the beach at Grand Beach Lagonissi, discover Athens with a Segway tour or on the Happy Train


Kids and adults of course will love sightseeing Athens with the bright red Athens Happy Train. This sightseeing tour in the historical center of Athens and the most famous ancient sights and monuments, on the hop-on Athens Happy Train, is an exciting and interesting experience. The Athens Happy Train is a toy-like street train that starts its tour from Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square and follows a route through the historical center of the city, the old neighborhoods and the hill of Acropolis. The tour has a 60-minute duration and includes the Acropolis, Plaka, Temple of Zeus, Thission, Monastiraki Square, Ancient and Roman Market, Zappeion, Panathinaiko Stadium, Theater of Herodes Atticus, Hadrian's Arch and the New Acropolis Museum. From the open-style train carriages, you can hop-on hop-off as you please and see Athens in your own time and pace, in safety and comfort. Hop-off the Athens Happy Train in Monastiraki Square to explore the narrow streets of Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens, or hop-off at the New Acropolis Museum to visit the hill of Acropolis, the Parthenon or the Museum. The Athens Happy Train stops at these points for about fifteen minutes. If you want to spend your time there, you can use the same ticket and hop-on any of the next trains for the next two hours. The Athens Sightseeing Tour with Athens Happy Train, operates all year round. Tours start at 9.00 a.m. until 12.00 p.m. every thirty minutes, every day of the week. All the tours are guided with a hostess or steward on board and commentary in English and Greek.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Favorite with families, an ideal way to see the city

Nelly's expert tip: An enjoyable sightseeing tour of Athens for kids and adults

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Discover the city of Athens with the easy, fun and safe way of a segway tour. From the Acropolis Rock to the first Olympic Stadium, from the flea market of Monastiraki to Pnyka-the birthplace of Democracy and from the Ancient Agora to the National Gardens, get to know the ancient monuments, as well as the modern side one of the most fascinating cities in the Mediterranean. Experienced tour guides will take you to the most important sites, providing information about the mythical and historical past of the city of Athens, together with the insider's view on life and entertainment in the city.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Enjoy Athens with the easy, fun and safe way on wheels

Nelly's expert tip: An interesting and entertaining way to discover the city of Athens

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Outside the City

The Grand Beach at top notch Grand Resort Lagonissi, located in the southern suburbs of Athens on the road to Sounio, is ideal for a one-day holiday in attractive surroundings. The unique beachfront setting and the watersports center are perfect for experiencing a day by the sea with fun also for the kids. Visitors can unwind by the Grand Pier jetty-bar while admiring the waterfront view and enjoying the sea breeze, with soft music, fresh juices and drinks, or dip in the cool swimming pool on the sea. Poseidon Tavern is the perfect spot for casual dining after swimming or sunbathing, with a delicious menu. Grand Beach is open from May until end September and the facilities include a cinema, beach volley court, beach bar, changing rooms and showers, lifeguard and wi fi.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: If you are visiting Athens in summer, dont miss this exceptional beach

Nelly's expert tip: The spectacular view, the luxurious facilities and the attractive setting make this beach unique

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Hammam Baths, situated in the neighborhood of Thission, close to the famous Bath House of the Winds in Plaka, is the authentic hammam in Athens. This simple, contemporary space, is designed like the traditional oriental steam baths. The impressive dome, the round marble bench in the center and the individual basins around, create the atmosphere of an authentic hammam. Here you can relax and let the curative qualities of the steam release all tension in your body. You can enjoy a rejuvenating bath, a deep peeling with the traditional toweling and a wonderfully soothing massage, followed by a cup of warm tea. The space accommodates six persons, and has a separate space with two marble couches for peeling, massage and washing. Tuesdays are reserved only for ladies. Fresh juices and traditional Greek tastes can be served on order. Hammam Baths are open Monday to Friday 12.30-22.00 and on weekends 10.00-22.00 and it is necessary to book an appointment.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Enjoy luxury and relaxation in the authentic oriental steam bath

Nelly's expert tip: Authentic oriental steam bath for the ultimate relaxing experience

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Monastiraki Flea Market
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou

A visit to the Monastiraki flea market in Athens is a must. Situated over a large area from Monastiraki square and metro station down to the end of Ermou street, the flea market is open every day, but on Sundays it is even more interesting to visit, as even more objects are on sale, especially on busy Abyssinias square. The flea market actually consists of shops which are open every day and on Sundays there is the extra bonus of open air improvised stalls. Things to buy range from clothes to old books, stamps, coins, furniture, bric a brac, postcards, memorabilia, decorative objects and more. The prices can vary and bargaining is always necessary. Even just browsing the shops and vendors is great fun.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Visitors to Athens love the Flea Market where many treasures can be discovered

Nelly's expert tip: Browsing through the shops and outdoor stalls with their melee of objects is an ideal way to spend Sunday morning

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The Byzantine and Christian Museum was founded in 1914 and is one of the most important national museums in Greece. The objects which are collected on the premises and are organized in collections are more than 30.000 and date from the 3rd up to the 20th century. The permanent exhibition offers visitors the unique occasion to acquire knowledge and appreciate Byzantine and more recent art through a new museological approach. The first part of the permanent exhibition pertains to the transition from the ancient world to Byzantium, and the second part, with the title "From Byzantium to recent times" presents various sides of the historical period from Byzantium up to recent times (15th-20th century) including many objects which are exhibited for the first time. At the gift shop visitors can buy certified copies of objects from Greek national museums, such as icons, mosaics, murals, engravings, sculptures, jewelry and also original creations. Books, posters, stationary and handmade objects are also available with motifs from the permanent collections of the Museum. The cafe-bistro Ilissia in the cool garden is ideal to enjoy a coffee, dessert or a light snack in an attractive and peaceful environment.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The museum hosts important artworks from the 3rd up to the 20th century

Nelly's expert tip: Byzantine art is spiritually uplifting

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The Benaki Museum, actually consists of three separate museums, each specializing in certain subjects and each with its own unique personality. Visit the oldest and main building on Koubari 1, right opposite the National Park, for the prehistoric, ancient Greek and Roman Art, historic heirlooms, Coptic, Chinese and pre-columbian art. The new building at 138 Pireos str houses the neohellenic architectural archives and many modern art exhibitions are held here. The Islamic art collections can be seen at the building in the Kerameikos district, Agion Asomaton 22, and include objects collected by Antonis Benakis himself in Egypt during the first decades of the 20th century.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Three museums not to be missed, offering an all round experience of Greek culture

Nelly's expert tip: A vist to the Benaki Museums will give you an in depth knowledge of Greek culture, history and art.

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The Museum of Cycladic Art, is a great little gem museum in the heart of Athens, housing one of the most important collections of Cycladic Art in the world, as well as an impressive collection of Ancient Greek and Cypriot Art. Founded in 1986, it houses the collections of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris with more than 3.000 artefacts, from the 4th millennium BC to the 6th century AD. Parallel to its collections, the MCA also develops a dynamic program of special shows, opening up a dialogue between archaeology and contemporary art. Through its exhibitions, educational and public programs the MCA engages a wide audience providing a platform for creativity, learning, participation and inspiration.Exhibitions of modern art also take place at the Cycladic museum. The museum shop offers a wide selection of exclusive gifts and the cafe is ideal for a light snack or coffee.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Collections that amount to more than 3.000 artefacts of Ancient Greek art

Nelly's expert tip: Travel back in time and know more about the important Cycladic culture

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The National Archeological Museum, Patision 44, the largest museum in Greece with more than 11.000 exhibits, offers a panoramic experience of Greek civilization from prehistory to late antiquity. Numerous galleries house five permanent collections, amongst which the sculpture collection with unique masterpieces. At the Museum visitors can see the collection of Prehistoric Antiquities, the Sculptures Collection, which shows the development of ancient Greek sculpture from the seventh to the fifth centuries BC, the Vase and Minor Objects Collection,the Bronze Collection, with many fundamental statues, figurines and minor objects, and the only Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities Collection in Greece, with works dating from the pre-dynastic period (5000 BC) to the Roman conquest.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Prehistoric antiquities, sculptures, unique ancient masterpieces offer a panoramic experience of Greek civilization

Nelly's expert tip: Dont miss this museum which contains extraordinary treasures from ancient times

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The Acropolis Museum , is an absolute must see. Inside the modern exterior visitors can discover the ancient aesthetic wisdom of the Acropolis and feel the atmosphere of ancient Athens. The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, the Archaic Gallery and the Parthenon Gallery display sculptures, inscriptions, finds from sanctuaries, as well as objects used in everyday life. Visitors can also watch conservators working, speak to an archeologist host and acquire small souvenirs from the museum shop. The restaurant on the second floor offers a breath taking view of the Acropolis.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Awarded Museum exclusively about the superb Acropolis treasures, much appreciated by visitors from all over the world

Nelly's expert tip: A remarkable experience for visitors to Athens, who can view the ancient treasures in an ultramodern environment.

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Meet Nelly Paraskevopoulou

Born and bred in Athens, Nelly went on the move after finishing high school and spending some years working in textiles.  For her, Italy was the next chapter. But, after 12 years, it was back...  More About Nelly