As you wander around Athens, you’ll unravel a thread of history that tells a unique story of myth and history
The city of Athens is an open-air museum of incomparable 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 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 Acropolis Museum, one of the best archaeological museums in the world – 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 captivate you – particularly the fact that a monument of such archaeological significance is still active in the city’s cultural life, every summer hosting performances of 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 Hadrian’s Gate, you’ll see the iconic Temple of Olympian Zeus and then the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro), originally constructed in the 4th century BC and rebuilt with marble by Herodes Atticus around in the 2nd century AD and later used to stage the first modern Olympics Games in 1896.
Throughout Athens, including the areas in and around the historic centre, from Thiseio to Pnyx Hill, the pedestrianised avenue of Dionysios Areopagitou, Plaka and Anafiotika, and on to 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 Square, 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: The National Archaeological Museum, Museum of Greek Folk Art and Musical Instruments, War Museum, New Benaki Museum, Numismatic Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art and National Museum of Contemporary Art. And there are dozens more, such as the National Gallery, Planetarium, Foundation of the Hellenic World, as well as galleries and venues in the centre of the city focusing on contemporary art – all promising to enrich your cultural experiences in Athens.
All you have to do is follow the thread.
The most popular cultural attractions in Athens
- The Parthenon: The most comprehensive architectural creation of Athenian democracy, built during the city’s Golden Age.
- 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.
- 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.