26 Best Athens Landmarks – Must-See Historical Sites

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Post author Nick

Written by our local expert Nick

Nick is is digital nomad originally from Athens, Greece. You will now find him exploring the Greek islands, Bulgaria and beyond.

Athens is a treasure trove of landmarks, each telling a story from ancient times. This city isn’t just about the most famous Greek landmark, the Parthenon, with its white marble that glows in the Athenian sun. It’s also home to a wealth of other sites, each with its own allure. From the towering Corinthian columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus to hidden corners that have seen centuries roll by, our list dives into it all.

Our team has scoured the Greek capital to bring you a roundup of spots you can’t miss, be it the grandeur of ancient ruins or family-friendly places that bring history to life. And, to make your trip planning a breeze, we’ve included a handy FAQ section that answers all those questions you have about these historical sites.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or just in for some awe-inspiring sights, our guide has got you covered.

Get ready to explore Athens, a city where history is etched in every stone and where ancient tales are just a stroll away. 

Greece Travel Blog_A-Z Guide Of The Best Landmarks In Athens

A pearl on the shores of the Aegean, Athens is a city with awe-inspiring monuments and a rich past.

The earliest human settlement in the area of modern Athens is thought to date back to the 11th century. Its recorded history goes back as far as 3,400 years ago.

So, we can say that Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. Of course, visiting the magnificent city of Athens requires a reliable and well-prepared plan.


Here are the most famous Athens landmarks that you must see, and below is detailed information on each one.

1. The Acropolis Of Athens

2. Acropolis Museum

3. National Archaeological Museum

4. Ancient Agora Of Athens

5. Erechtheion

6. Hadrian’s Library

7. Kerameikos

8. Panagia Kapnikarea Church

9. Panathenaic Stadium

10. Roman Forum Of Athens

11. Theatre Of Dionysus

12. Hadrian’s Arch

13. Odeon Of Herodes Atticus

14. Parthenon

15. Stoa Of Attalos

16. Temple Of Athena Nike

17. Temple Of Hephaestus

18. Temple Of Olympian Zeus

19. Monastiraki

20 Mount Lycabettus

21. Piraeus

22. Plaka

23. Syntagma Square

24. National Gardens

25. Philopappos Hill

26. Vouliagmeni Lake

27. Tomb of the unknown soldier

Let’s embark on this journey through time, shall we?

Archaeological Landmarks In Athens

Athens boasts iconic archaeological landmarks like the Acropolis, Parthenon, and Ancient Agora, preserving its rich history, and it will captivate you with its ancient city allure.

1. The Acropolis Of Athens

Greece With KIds - What to do in Greece with kids - Athens - Parthenon, Akropolis

The Acropolis of Athens is located on a hill in Athens and contains numerous historical buildings. The structure was a significant religious and political center in the late antiquity.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Acropolis should be seen by every history enthusiast. Also, since it’s near significant attractions, you can start your adventure to Athens’ past from the Acropolis.

2. Acropolis Museum

From Ancient Greece to Roman Era, you can see thousands of historical objects in the Acropolis Museum. The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism owns the museum and welcomes over a million visitors annually.

The museum is on the southeastern slope of Acropolis Hill, near the ancient “sacred rock.” The museum offers an unmatched glimpse into the area’s past and an ideal base to discover the rest of Athens. You can get to the famous Parthenon after a ten to fifteen-minute walk.

3. National Archaeological Museum

Those interested in the history of Ancient Greeks can visit the National Archaeological Museum. The establishment was founded in 1829 and is one of the largest museums in Greece, with over 10,000 artifacts. It is in the center of Athens and is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday.

4. Ancient Agora Of AthensAncient Sites iIn Greece - Scenic view of temple of Hephaestus in Ancient Agora, Athens

With its history going back to the 6th century BCE, the ancient Agora of Athens is one of the finest examples of Ancient Greek Agora. We suggest that you stroll through the historic streets of the marketplace and check out the inspiring monuments built by one of the most advanced civilizations of its time.

The Agora has colorful stoas, religious monuments, libraries, and a law court. There are also Roman-era addenda to the Agora, such as a small temple on the south side of the Agora.

5. Erechtheion

A majestic sanctuary, Erechtheion, has unfortunately been overshadowed by the Acropolis and Parthenon’s fame. The structure is located on the north side of the Acropolis and was once dedicated to the goddess Athena. Also, it was the center of the religious cult of Athena and Poseidon-Erecehtheus.

The construction of Erechtheion lasted for fifteen years and finished in 406 BCE. The structure was turned into a three-aisle basilica during the Byzantine period.

When the Franks invaded the city, they used Erechtheion as a palace, and the structure preserved its residence status through the Turkish period.

At Erechtheion, you can witness the majesty of ancient Greek architecture mixed with later Byzantine, Frankish, and Turkish addenda.



6. Hadrian’s Library

Hadrian was known for numerous structures throughout the empire. He might be one of the emperors who commissioned the most buildings and monuments.

Hadrian meld the ancient world by building new arches, temples, walls, and libraries. And one of these libraries, Hadrian’s Library, is in the heart of Athens today.

The building was finished in 132 CE and was supplemented with additional buildings in Athens in the later centuries. Today, there are several churches and structures built between the 5th century CE and the 12th century CE.

7. Kerameikos

Athens, Greece church of Agia Triada Holy Trinity and remains of ancient Kerameikos Quarter

Kerameikos is one of the most significant yet unknown archaeological sites in Athens. It served as a cemetery between the 9th century BCE and the Roman period. Also, since the area had a mass of clay mud, the inner parts of Kerameikos housed the potters’ quarter.

The area had a thriving pottery business; due to the nearby cemetery, most pieces produced by the local potters were funeral-related items. Interestingly, the English word “ceramic” comes from this quarter’s name.

8. Panagia Kapnikarea Church

Church of Panagia Kapnikarea, an ancient church in Athens, Greece

One of the most significant Byzantine-era churches, Panagia Kapnikarea Church, offers a fascinating glimpse into the colorful past of Athens. Here, you can admire the beauty of Byzantine architecture and its intricate mosaics. There are also many nearby cafés and restaurants where we suggest you stop and enjoy a coffee or meal.

9. Panathenaic Stadium

Built during the 5th century BCE, Panathenaic Stadium hosted the Panathenaic games, a religious festival, and an athletic competition.

This stadium was also where the first modern Olympic games took place. Today, the stadium hosts various cultural events throughout the year and provides all who come with many instagrammable pics.

10. Roman Forum Of Athens

Combining the fascinating ancient history ofGreece and Rome, the Roman Forum of Athens is an important attraction built in the first century CE. The forum served as Athens’ commercial and administrative center during the Roman period. Although it’s in ruins today, the forum will give you fascinating insights into Roman history and culture.

11. Theatre Of Dionysus

Theatre of Dionysus - Athens Greece

The Theatre of Dionysus is another famous theatre in Athens. Built on the southern slope of the Acropolis hill, it was originally part of the sanctuary of Dionysus Eleuthereus. The theatre could host up to 15,000 spectators and was used for performances. Today, the theatre is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Western world and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Athens Monuments

Monuments in Athens always captivate travelers with their timeless beauty. The Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Hadrian’s Arch are majestic testaments to ancient Greece’s architectural prowess and cultural heritage.

12. Hadrian’s Arch

A must-see Night view of Hadrian Arch Temple of Olympian Zeus. in front of a historical building at night, showcasing Athens landmarks.

Also known as Hadrian’s Gate, Hadrian’s Arch is a monumental gateway founded in the early 2nd century CE. Emperor Hadrian built the structure as the formal gateway to Athens. The 18-meter-high arch is one of the earliest arches by the Romans and among the most famous commissioned by Hadrian.

Did you know that you can see Hadrian’s Arch for free? If you want a closer look, you can buy a ticket to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which also holds many interesting artifacts that will provide you with fascinating insights.

13. Odeon Of Herodes Atticus

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Athens, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, adorns the southwest slope of the Acropolis. The wealthy Roman senator Herodes Atticus initially built the structure in memory of his wife, Regilla.

The structure could host up to 5,000 spectators and had a cedar wood roof when it was first built. Nevertheless, a fire in the 4th century destroyed it. Odeon of Herodes Atticus was restored in the 1950s to host events, such as concerts, plays, and performances.

14. Parthenon

Archaeological Sites In Greece - Parthenon on Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Parthenon was a temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena. It was built between 447 and 438 BC, during the height of the ancient Greek civilization. The structure has become a symbol of philosophy, Western civilization, and Ancient Greece.

15. Stoa Of Attalos

Built and named after King Attalos II of Pergamon, the Stoa of Attalos is a covered walkway in the Agora of Athens. The building on the Stoa is now used as a museum that holds an exhibit of the Stoa of Attalos.

16. Temple Of Athena Nike

Among Athens’s most popular tourist attractions, the Temple of Athena Nike was built around the mid-5th century BCE. It was built by the architect Callicrates, who was also the architect of many monuments in Athens, including the Parthenon. The temple is adorned with scenes depicting the Persian Wars.

17. Temple Of Hephaestus

Ancient Sites iIn Greece - Scenic view of temple of Hephaestus in Ancient Agora, Athens

The Temple of Hephaestus is a significant Doric temple in the Agora of Athens. The structure, finished in the 5th century BCE, was dedicated to Hephaestus, the god of fire and metalworking. The temple has been considered one of the most well-preserved examples of ancient Greek architecture and was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18. Temple Of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is a gorgeous structure in the heart of Athens. Its construction began in the 6th century BCE yet didn’t finish until the first century CE.

One of the largest temples in the ancient world, the Temple of Olympian Zeus boasted 104 columns. Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed in the 5th century CE, and only a few columns remain.

Can’t Miss Landmarks In Athens

Some of the landmarks in Athens will pop up along your travels, such as the historical Plaka neighborhood and the vibrant Monastiraki Square.

19. Monastiraki

Is Athens safe - Monastiraki Square in Athens, Greece
Monastiraki Square, Athens

Monastiraki is an iconic neighborhood in the heart of Athens known for its restaurants, cafés, and tavernas, where you can enjoy a traditional Greek meal. The area also has a flea market that provides you with various souvenirs and memorabilia shopping ideas. Besides the complex, you can check out the many ruins of well-known structures, such as Hadrian’s Library and the Ancient Agora.

20. Mount Lycabettus

Things To Do In Athens _ Athens Guide - Lycabettus hill in Athens
View Of Lycabettus Hill From Anafiotika

Mount Lycabettus is a limestone hill surrounded by pine trees and residential neighborhoods. Known as one of the highest points in Athens, the mountain is an unforgettable attraction for those who want to discover Athens’s natural beauty.

21. Piraeus

Port of Piraeus Athens, Greece - Ports In Greece

The historic city of Piraeus is a famous port city with cultural and economic significance. In addition to the ruins of ancient temples and buildings, Piraeus is home to many restaurants, cafés, and shopping districts.

A perfect day in Piraeus would start by discovering the city’s historical monuments, then jumping into the local shopping scene and ending the day while enjoying traditional Greek dishes.

22. Plaka

Where To Stay In Athens - Hotels In Athens - Plaka
Plaka, Athens

Plaka is a picturesque small neighborhood in Athens known for its whitewashed houses, narrow streets, and traditional tavernas. It is a wonderful place to take in the authentic Greek atmosphere, explore shops and visit local restaurants.

Plaka also has a historical ambiance. The neighborhood is located just below the Acropolis.

23. Syntagma Square

Greece With KIds - What to do in Greece with kids - Athens - Changing of the guard

Located in front of the Old Royal Palace, Syntagma Square is one of the most significant attractions in Athens. The attraction has cultural and historical importance for Greeks as it symbolizes freedom and a revolutionary spirit.

Syntagma Square offers an authentic experience and is a top spot for a cup of coffee at one of the cafés around the square and seeing the Evzones guard.

Landmarks In Athens That Are Great For Families

Athens offers fantastic landmarks for families to enjoy together—the National Gardens, Philopappos Hill, and many more spots that offer fun-filled adventures for all ages.

24. National Gardens

Wooden bridge across the pond in National garden of Athens

If finished visiting museums and natural monuments, the National Garden of Athens might be a great spot to rest and unwind. The public park is 38 acres large and includes a small zoo which children love.

If you visit Athens in June, you can have an opportunity to attend the music festival “Athens Gardens Festival.” Since entry to the National Garden is free, you can take the kids here without paying a fee.

25. Philopappos Hill

One of the must-see historical sites in Athens, a the Philopappos Monument atop a hill.

A small hill in Athens, Philopappos Hill is a beautiful spot for those wanting a clear view of Athens. The location is particularly favored by walkers, runners, joggers, and urban explorers.

The hill was named after a Commagenean prince, Philopappus, who lived in the 2nd century CE. Visiting the tomb of Philopappus or nearby Nymphs’ Hill and Pnyx Hill might be a great idea for those interested in the city’s history.

26. Vouliagmeni Lake

Vouliagmeni Lake, or Limni Vouliagmenis in Greek, is a natural brackish lake with healing properties. The lake, surrounded by pine trees and a sandy beach, allows you to participate in popular activities, such as swimming or various water sports. Around the lake are several hotels, restaurants, and cafés where we suggest you begin to unwind after a tiring day. It’s also a wonderful spot to have a family picnic.

27. Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

Greece's must-see parliament building in Athens, one of the historical sites in the city.
The Hellenic Parliament building on Syntagma Square

When you’re in Athens, make sure to check out the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s not just any monument; it’s a powerful tribute to all the Greek soldiers who’ve fallen in battle without ever being identified. You’ll find it right in front of the Hellenic Parliament building in Syntagma Square, and trust me, it’s hard to miss.

The tomb itself is pretty striking, with a sculpted figure of a laying soldier. It’s simple yet solemn, and it really makes you stop and think about the sacrifices made in wars. What’s really cool about this spot is the changing of the guard ceremony. The Evzones, guards in traditional uniforms, change every hour with an elaborate routine that’s pretty fascinating to watch. They do this 24/7, rain or shine, which is pretty impressive dedication.

It’s a place that gives you a bit of history and a glimpse into modern Greek traditions all rolled into one. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking to see something uniquely Athenian, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is definitely worth a visit. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for some memorable photos – just remember to be respectful, as it is a solemn military site.


What is Athens famous for?

Athens is famous for its rich history, ancient landmarks, and significant contributions to art, philosophy, and democracy.

What are the most famous ancient Athens landmarks?

Some of the most famous ancient landmarks in Athens include the Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora.

What ancient buildings in Athens still stand?

Athens boasts several ancient buildings that are still standing, such as the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Hephaestus.

What are the most popular Athens famous landmarks?

Some of the most popular Athens famous landmarks include the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum, and Syntagma Square.

What Athens historical sites are good for kids?

Historical sites in Athens that are kid-friendly include the National Archaeological Museum, the Acropolis Museum, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Which Athens landmark should I not miss?

The Acropolis and its iconic Parthenon are must-visit landmarks that should not be missed when in Athens.

Which Athens historical sites are wheelchair accessible?

Several historical sites in Athens, such as the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, and Ancient Agora, have wheelchair accessibility and facilities.

Are all Athens landmarks open in the off-season?

While some landmarks in Athens may have reduced hours during the off-season, many remain open for visitors. It’s best to check specific sites’ schedules before planning your visit.

What Athens monuments are the best to see?

Key Athens monuments to see include the Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Hadrian’s Arch.

Famous Athens landmarks in the city center?

Athens landmarks located in the city center include Syntagma Square, Monastiraki Square, and the Greek Parliament Building.

What famous buildings in Athens are good for photographs?

The Acropolis, Parthenon, and the Temple of Hephaestus are iconic buildings in Athens that make for fantastic photographic subjects.

What is Athens most known for?

Athens is most known for being the birthplace of democracy and its rich history, as well as its ancient landmarks like the Acropolis and Parthenon.

So, now that you have this guide to the Athens landmarks, which ones will you explore first?

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