Athens in detail

Athens is known for

Archaeological Sites

A walk around Athens takes in highlights spread over millennia: from the Neolithic period to the Classical, Roman and Byzantine eras.

Acropolis The star of the show, towering over Athens and thrilling to behold.

Theatre of Dionysos The birthplace of theatre, on the Acropolis’ southern slopes.

Ancient Agora Athens’ civic, political and commercial centre in ancient times, beautifully preserved.

Kerameikos Potters’ quarter turned cemetery, and ceremonial entrance to Athens.

Temple of Olympian Zeus Completed by Roman Emperor Hadrian, Greece’s largest temple took more than 700 years to build.

Panathenaic Stadium Monumental stadium that hosted ancient contests, Roman sacrifices and, more recently, the first modern Olympics.

Tower of the Winds The Roman Agora holds this beautifully carved octagonal tower designed as a time-and-weather station.

Hadrian’s Arch The 2nd-century monument frames ancient columns in one direction and the Acropolis in the other.

Museums

With the embarrassment of riches that is Athens' history, museums are superb showcases of all things Greek.

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture This expansive collection brings together precious works from all over Greece and the Ottoman Empire.

National Archaeological Museum The world’s foremost repository of ancient Greek artefacts in an enormous neoclassical building.

Byzantine & Christian Museum Is it art? Is it religious culture? It’s simply beautiful.

Acropolis Museum Sculptures and other finds from the Acropolis shine in this spacious, superbly designed gem.

Museum of Islamic Art Jaw-droppingly beautiful examples of pottery, jewellery, weaving and more from the Middle East and Asia.

Museum of Cycladic Art Connecting ancient art with modern, featuring the minimalist sculptures that inspired Picasso and Modigliani.

Arts and Culture

The economic crisis has been a blow to most sectors of Greece, but the arts scene has responded with energy.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus Magnificent ancient amphitheatre still used for summer concerts and plays, both classical and contemporary.

Alternative Athens Take a tour of Athens' world-class street art, among other options.

Benaki Museum at 138 Pireos St Rotating exhibits of primarily modern and contemporary art in a cool converted industrial space.

TAF An excellent multiuse space in a cluster of 19th-century buildings with a great courtyard cafe.

National Theatre See drama in its birthplace, with English-language surtitles for many performances.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center A striking contemporary home for the Greek National Opera and library, plus a wonderful park.

Megaron State-of-the-art concert hall presenting a rich winter program of world-class concerts.

Dora Stratou Dance Theatre The folklorist who founded this dance troupe considered it a 'living museum' of Greek tradition.

Nightlife and Music

Athens has a thriving music scene, with a great resurgence in rembetika (bluesy songs from the early 20th century) as well as jazz and rock. In summer most indoor venues close and you'll find live music mainly at festivals and outdoor concerts.

Treno sto Rouf A cool bar and cabaret, plus occasional creative performance, in old rail cars.

Fuzz Club Check the schedule for touring rock bands and other major acts.

O Kavouras Rembetika club in the heart of Exarhia.

Perivoli tou Ouranou Old-style taverna with live music in Plaka.

Akordeon Friendly hosts serve delicious local eats and get the whole taverna dancing with their songs.

Half Note Jazz Club The city’s premier jazz venue.

Afrikana Jazz and world music in a small converted house.

Faust The stage of this small cabaret hosts all kind of strange and wonderful performers.

AN Club One of Athens' longest-running rock venues, with a range of live acts.

Food and Folk Tradition

Varvakios Agora Athens' central food market feeds the senses.

Forget Me Not All locally designed items, especially modern twists on traditional looks.

Korres Greece’s premier natural beauty product company uses many traditional herbal ingredients.

Xylouris Run by a famous Cretan musical family and a font of information on Greek music.

Monastic Art Shop Everything in this store is made by monks on Mt Athos.

Free Stuff

Stavros Niarchos Park Mediterranean garden and park that's beautiful, free and designed to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Museum of Folk Art & Tradition Rambling Plaka mansion with interesting exhibits about the old ways.

Museum of Greek Popular Instruments Not just to look at, but to listen to as well.

Lykavittos Hill Offers the finest panoramas of the city and the Attic basin.

National Garden A delightful shady refuge during summer.

Oldest House in Athens A restored 17th-century home.

Municipal Gallery of Athens Always some beautiful 20th-century paintings on display.

Hill of the Pnyx Beautiful views and a historic site of early democracy.

Athens' First Cemetery Gorgeous neoclassical sculptures adorn the tombs of Athens' elite families.