A tour of the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
EXPERIENCE

A tour of the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens

Having hosted the original modern Olympic Games in 1896 and been the site of athletic and cultural events in antiquity, the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens is packed with fascinating history and continues to be a part of the daily lives of Athenians
Thrace region-id="pin-13";Macedonia Macedonia Epirus Thessaly Sporades Ionian Islands Western Greece Central Greece Attica Peloponnese Crete Cyclades North Aegean Islands Dodecanese Dodecanese Karpathos Astypalea Tilos Sitia Faistos - Matala Patmos Kastelorizo Kasos Kos Leros Halki Rhodes Symi Sfakia - Loutro Rethymno Elounda - Agios Nikolaos Agia Galini Plakias Hersonissos - Malia Ierapetra Heraklion Chania Nisyros Ikaria Lipsi Tzia - Kea Thasos Samos Lesvos Samothrace Limnos Chios Kalymnos Paros Naxos Zante - Zakynthos Lefkada Corfu Santorini Milos Kythnos Kimolos Serifos Syros Sifnos Koufonisia Ios Kefalonia Mykonos Paxi Ithaca Arta Ioannina Tinos Parga - Sivota Metsovo Anafi Sikinos Folegandros Donousa - Iraklia - Schinoussa Antiparos Zagori Mountainous Arkadia Porto Heli - Ermioni Preveza Amorgos Andros Delos Messolongi Ancient Olympia Aegina Kythira Archea Epidavros Patra Nafplio Kardamyli Kalamata Ilia Corinth Western Messinia Kalavryta Elafonissos Nafpaktos Spetses Poros Hydra Alexandroupolis Pylos Mycenae Monemvasia Loutraki Piraeus Athens Arahova Xanthi Galaxidi Mystra - Sparta Mani Edipsos Karpenisi Delphi Chalkida Karystos Evia Skyros Vergina Alonissos Volos Karditsa Skopelos Skiathos Kastoria Thessaloniki Prespes Agios Athanasios Edessa Serres Veria Larissa - Tempi Elati - Pertouli Trikala Pelion Meteora Drama Ammouliani Mount Athos - Ouranopolis Nymfeo Mount Olympos Katerini Halkidiki Grevena Lake Kerkini Naoussa Kozani Kilkis Kavala Pella Lake Plastira
Duration
1-2 hours
Season
All year round

OVERVIEW

Standing in front of the horseshoe-shaped Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, you can easily imagine the 80,000 spectators at the opening ceremony of the first modern Olympics in 1896, cheering the establishment of the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect through sport. What might be harder to imagine are the 50,000 spectators in the mid-2nd century AD in what was (in shape at least) a similar stadium, revelling in the gladiatorial battles and animal baiting during Athens’ Roman occupation.. 

Both scenes are part of the unique history of this Athens landmark, although the stadium’s Olympic legacy is its defining characteristic and its main reason for visiting. 

Its history goes back to 330 BC when the Athenian statesman Lykourgos built the original limestone stadium on the site of a racecourse to stage the Panathenaic Games (a religious and athletic festival celebrated every four years in honour of the goddess Athena).

It was rebuilt by Athenian benefactor Herodes Atticus by 144 AD (when it was given a 50,000-seat capacity and resumed its place as a major Athens monument) but fell out of use by the 4th century AD, becoming derelict until it was chosen as the host venue for the first modern Olympics. Evangelos Zappas provided the vision and George Averoff (an Egypt-based Greek businessman from Metsovo) the money … and the result was (what is still) the only all-marble stadium in the world. Its other name (Kallimarmaro) means ‘beautiful marble’.  

The real beauty of the Panathenaic Stadium, however, is that it is still part of the daily lives of Athenians, with the surrounding woodland and even the track used as a jogging venue. It’s the finishing line for the annual Athens Marathon and, every four years, holds the Olympic Flame handover ceremony. During the 2004 Athens Olympics, it once again became an Olympic venue, hosting the archery competition.  

For the price of admission, you’ll line up on the running track like those first modern Olympians, pose for a photo on the winner’s podium, visit the on-site museum and walk through the Vaulted Passage and diodos, the underground passage used by ancient athletes entering the stadium.

Read More Read Less

Book your trip

All your holiday planning needs in one place, letting you book direct and benefit from official online rates

Done
Done
Done
Done
Accommodation

Attalos Hotel Athens

Athens

The 3-star Hotel Attalos is located in the historic center of Athens, and has established its own history internationally and is recognized as "Your Home...

Official online rates

Accommodation

Parnon Hotel Athens

Athens

Τhe perfect place to discover Athens by walk is Parnon Hotel. The city of Athens is a major centre of commerce, art, culture, shopping and...

Official online rates

Where is the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens?

  • The Panathenaic Stadium is found below Athens’ National Garden (near the Zappeion Exhibition Hall) on Vasileos Konstantinou Ave, at the start of the neighbourhood of Pangrati. It is a 1.2km walk (15 mins) from Syntagma Square metro station (blue and red line). 

What is the best way to reach central Athens from the airport or port?

  • You can catch a taxi (about €38 during the day) or bus, or hire a car from Athens International Airport, or take the metro directly to the centre (blue line). 
  • There are also taxis (€25 during the day), buses and a metro station (green line) at Piraeus port (change to blue line at Monastiraki). Depending on your ferry gate, it could be a 15-20min walk to the metro station. 
     

When is the best time to visit the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens?

  • The Panathenaic Stadium is open all year round (closed on some national holidays). 
  • Because of the marble, the temperature in the stadium during summer can be very high so it is best to visit in the morning or late afternoon. 

 

What are the opening times of the Panathenaic Stadium and how much are tickets? 

  • March-October: 08:00-19:00 (last ticket sold at 19:00) 
  • November-February: 08:00-17:00 (last ticket sold at 17:00) 
  • Tickets cost €5 (€2.50 reduced) 
  • More information on opening hours & tickets here  
  • Autumn
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Winter
  • Visiting the stadium and museum takes 1-2 hours. 
  • More information on guided tours can be found here.  
  • Included in your ticket is an audio guide (11 languages) and entry to the on-site museum, which includes a "Memories of the Olympic Games: Posters and Torches from 1896 till today” permanent exhibition.  
  • There is a gift shop selling Kallimarmaro-inspired memorabilia and a coffee shop by the entrance. 
  • The Panathenaic Stadium is accessible for people with mobility difficulties, although the seating area has steep steps.  
  • If you want an unforgettable photograph, climb to the upper tier of stand 21, from where you can capture the Acropolis, Filopappou Hill, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Zappeion, National Garden and Lycabettus Hill. 
  • The marble in the Panathenaic Stadium can be slippery so special care is needed, especially in wet weather. Wear comfortable walking or running shoes and avoid wearing high-heels. 
  • The tree-lined area either side of the stadium is ideal for a walk or morning/afternoon jog. To use the running track from 07:30-09:00, you’ll be asked to fill in a form on entering the stadium. 
  • The Panathenaic Stadium backs onto two of Athens’ most interesting neighbourhoods, Pangrati and Mets, with plenty of different styles of food and up-and-coming cafes/bars. 

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY

Please help us preserve the magic of our heritage for future generations by following all the basic rules of visiting archaeological sites.

Use the bins provided (especially for chewing gum, which can damage the marble). If need be, take your rubbish with you.
Amateur photography/filming are permitted in all areas
Use a refillable water bottle to try to minimise your use of plastic.
No pets (other than guide dogs) are allowed in cultural sites.
Smoking is prohibited.
Read More Read Less
YOU NEED TO KNOW ·

See also

You might be interested in
Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Athens

A tour of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens

A tour of the National Gallery of Athens

A tour of the National Gallery of Athens

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

A tour of the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture in Athens

National Museum of Contemporary Art

A tour of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens

The Herodion (as it’s commonly called) is one of the most striking Athens monuments and one of the world’s oldest functioning theatres

The spectacle of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens

It’s worth timing your visit to coincide with the sunset

A visit to the magical Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Athens

A tour of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens

Hiking in Kefalonia’s Mt Ainos National Park

Hiking in Kefalonia’s Mt Ainos National Park

A tour of the National Gallery of Athens

A tour of the National Gallery of Athens

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

A tour of the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture in Athens

National Museum of Contemporary Art

A tour of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens