Seize the opportunity and follow the thread of history that the experience of Athens unravels
The city of Athens is an open air museum of tremendous interest. Every step brings you closer to a piece of its history: world heritage monuments, archaeological museums, art galleries – Athens is overflowing with cultural stimuli.
The first iconic encounter you’ll have with Ancient Greek civilisation is more than enough to convince you; the Acropolis, and the world-renowned Parthenon. Experience the magic of the New Acropolis Museum, one of the best archaeological museums in the world and particularly impressive, not just for its cultural treasures on exhibit, but for the modern architecture and design of its building.
Further down, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus will fascinate you – particularly the fact that a monument of such archaeological significance is still active in the city’s cultural life, as every summer it hosts the Athens Festival, the city’s most important cultural event. Next to it, the Theatre of Dionysus was the most important theatrical venue in ancient Athens in its prime. Continuing your journey through cultural Athens, near the Arch of Hadrian, you’ll see the iconic Temple of Olympian Zeus and then the Panathenaic Stadium - Kallimarmaro (329 BC), which was rebuilt with marble by Herodes Atticus around the 2nd century AD.
Throughout Athens, including the areas in and around the historic centre, from Thiseio to Pnyx Hill, the pedestrian avenue of Dionysios Areopagitou, Plaka and Anafiotika, and Monastiraki, you’ll admire archaeological sites, temples, ancient and Byzantine monuments, as well as magnificent neoclassical buildings of historical and architectural significance. Note the impressive Old Parliament House, which you’ll find crossing the commercial triangle towards Syntagma, then there’s the National Historical Museum, housing a permanent collection dedicated to the history of Modern Greece.
And if you love museums, you’ll have many to discover in Athens. Museums emblematic of the Athenian capital house a wealth of exhibits for your perusal: The list starts with the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Greek Folk Art and of Greek Folk Musical Instruments, the War Museum, the New Benaki Museum, the Numismatic Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. And there are dozens more, such as the National Gallery, the Planetarium, the Foundation of the Hellenic World, as well as galleries and venues in the centre of the city focusing on contemporary art, and all promising to enrich your cultural experiences in Athens. Follow the thread and let yourself get lost in the history on display in its museums.
The Most Popular Cultural Attractions in Athens
- The Parthenon: The most comprehensive architectural creation of Athenian democracy, built during a golden age of prosperity for the city.
- Propylaea: A monumental gateway to the Acropolis built of white Pentelic marble.
- Erechtheion: A building complex from 420 BC, made of Pentelic marble, a unique example of the Ionic order.
- Temple of Athena Nike: A masterpiece of the Classical era, built by Kallikrates in the Ionic order, with a four-column structure.
- New Acropolis Museum: Stunning exhibits and architecture; the complete modern museum.
- National History Museum: Permanent exhibition on the history of modern Greece.
- Museum of Cycladic Art: Superb exhibits from the ancient Aegean civilisations, with an emphasis on the Cycladic period.
- National Archaeological Museum: The biggest in Greece and one of the most important in the world.
- National Gallery: Contains more than 15,000 works.