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Bucket list destination:

Last updated: 18 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: John Malathronas

Beyond the obvious attractions – yes, the Parthenon does live up to the hype – Athens has a multitude of unpredictable charms. There are Byzantine churches beside fashionable bars, outdoor cinemas squeezed between apartment blocks and rock concerts in ancient amphitheatres.

The loud, laidback birthplace of democracy has emerged from a tough decade of economic austerity with a renewed creative energy. And the irrepressible locals still know how to party. Some things here will never change – like 300 days of sunshine a year and a 50-kilometre coastline – and they don’t cost a thing.

Orientation

Athens’ crowning glory is, of course, the Acropolis. Antiquities abound in the surrounding archaeological park, also home to the impressive new Acropolis Museum.

Hugging the eastern and northern slopes of the Acropolis is the neighbourhood of ‘Plaka’, the city’s old town heart. This maze of jasmine-scented alleys and colourful neoclassical houses has been continuously populated since antiquity. Beyond Plaka, the urban sprawl stretches as far as the sea.

The coastal suburbs offer swanky seaside restaurants and well-equipped beaches; Vouliagmeni and Glyfada are two of the most popular, but they are at least thirty minutes’ drive from central Athens, depending on traffic.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Athens Airport Private Arrival Transfer

Athens

Athens Airport Private Arrival Transfer
Travel from Athens International Airport to your Athens city or coastal hotel/Airbnb/apartment with a private transfer. Transfer services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Price: €29

Min age: 0

Rating 4.39 / 5 [896 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Airport Private Departure Transfer

Athens

Athens Airport Private Departure Transfer
Travel from your Athens city or coastal Hotel/apartment/Airbnb to Athens International Airport with a private transfer. Transfer services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Price: €29

Min age: 0

Rating 4.65 / 5 [343 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Bike Tour: E-Bike or Regular Bike+Optional Acropolis Visit

Athens

Athens Bike Tour: E-Bike or Regular Bike+Optional Acropolis Visit
See the sights of Athens in this fun and easy 9km journey by bike. This 3 hour tour cycles at a nice, relaxed pace on quiet streets and narrow paths We make stops at many of the must-see sights of ancient Athens including the Ancient Agora, Roman Forum and the National Gardens.    Gain local insight to the city and enjoy a modern view of Athens without missing the amazing ancient part.

Price: €32

Min age: 12

Rating 4.96 / 5 [1459 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens airport to Athens hotels Private arrival transfer

Athens

Athens airport to Athens hotels Private arrival transfer
Are you searching for the best way to move from Athens International airport to Athens city centre or city hotels/ apartments? Look no further, we provide world-class transfer service in Greece! Book your transfer now and enjoy high standards transfer services in uncompromisingly safe and reliable vehicles with experienced, professional chauffeurs, including: Meet and greet services: Our driver will be waiting for you at the airport arrival hall, holding a sign with your name on it Flight tracking: We track your flight and we will be waiting for you on time

Price: €34

Min age: 0

Rating 4.90 / 5 [361 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens hotels to Athens airport Private departure transfer

Athens

Athens hotels to Athens airport Private departure transfer
Are you searching for the best way to move from Athens city centre or city hotels/ apartments to Athens International airport? Look no further, we provide a world class transfer service in Greece! Book your transfer now and enjoy high standards transfer services in uncompromisingly safe and reliable vehicles with experienced, professional chauffeurs.

Price: €34

Min age: 0

Rating 4.92 / 5 [142 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Scenic Electric Bike Tour

Athens

Athens Scenic Electric Bike Tour
Explore the city of Athens in a convenient way, by using our high quality e-bikes on our Athens Electric Bike Tour. Beat the uphills during this amazing & must do group tour. On this e- bike tour, we will ride around the famous Acropolis and Parthenon. We will explore together all the breathtaking monuments of Athens and pass by all the must-see locations and some off-beaten paths. The electric bikes will guarantee a relaxed and enjoyable ride. We will sweat less and we will see more as we will cycle together next to all the major sights of the historic city center of Athens and enjoy this unique way of sightseeing!

Price: €47

Min age: 12

Rating 4.95 / 5 [392 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Highlights: a Mythological Tour

Athens

Athens Highlights: a Mythological Tour
History & Myth meet in Athens! Discover the greatest landmarks of Athens & their surrounding myths! Enjoy a unique mythological tour, suitable for all ages, that will help you understand how Athens became the mythical city we know today.

Price: €67

Min age: 0

Rating 4.81 / 5 [1559 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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The Acropolis, Athens Walking City Tour and Acropolis Museum

Athens

The Acropolis, Athens Walking City Tour and Acropolis Museum
The Ideal Combination Tour! See the city center including two top sights in just a few hours. At the Acropolis of Athens, you’ll explore the Parthenon which is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Then, you’ll dive deeper into its worldly significance at the Acropolis Museum where marble masterpieces tell a story on their own.  Please be aware that even with our skip-the-ticket-line service, there might be some waiting time required for security checks. This is because visitor numbers can fluctuate unpredictably at the sites throughout the day. The typical waiting time falls within 0 to 10 or 30 minutes, though on rare occasions, it might be longer. 

Price: €67

Min age: 0

Rating 4.77 / 5 [371 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Half Day Athens Sightseeing Tour with Acropolis Museum

Athens

Half Day Athens Sightseeing Tour with Acropolis Museum
This tour gives you an opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. Our expert guides will take you to see the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held in 1896 (short stop). Continue and pass by the Prime Minister's residence (ex Royal Palace) guarded by the Euzones in their colorful uniform, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Hadrian's Arch, the Parliament and the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Academy, the University, the National Library, the Constitution Square (Syntagma). On the Acropolis visit the Architectural Masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally "the harmony between material and spirit", the monument that "puts order in the mind", the Parthenon. Continue and visit the place where at last the statues found their home and admire the wonders of the classical era: The new Acropolis museum.

Price: €83

Min age: 0

Rating 4.03 / 5 [32 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Full Day Tour, Acropolis, Museum & Cape Sounion with Lunch

Athens

Athens Full Day Tour, Acropolis, Museum & Cape Sounion with Lunch
From the Acropolis to Omonia Square, you'll see with this full day trip all the famous sites of ancient and modern Athens. Offering a perfect overview of the modern city, this guided tour will help you get your bearings if this is your first visit to Athens. Enjoy your time and reduce your environmental footprint with this zero-emission tour.

Price: €88

Min age: 0

Rating 4.11 / 5 [136 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Best of Athens City Segway Tour

Athens

Best of Athens City Segway Tour
Athens is brimming with incredible sights to see and when you don’t have much time, they can seem like too many! Now with our Best of Athens Segway Tour, you don’t have to miss out. With this combo semi private tour that covers the Ancient and Modern Athens, you’ll be able to ‘see it all’ and then some! Sights covered include well-known spots such as the Mars hill, the hill of Acropolis, ancient Agora, Panathinaikon stadium. We’ll even have time to visit incredible hidden sights that most visitors miss out on. After that, the only thing left to do would be maybe some shopping!!!!!! If you are looking for a fun, eco-friendly way to discover the best that Athens has to offer in just a few hours – we’re sure you’ll love this Segway Tour! You’ll cover more ground and see more without the effort it would take to cover the same route on foot. All tours depart from and end at our office near the Acropolis museum where a bathroom, free Wifi and water are available to all of our guests.

Price: €95

Min age: 12

Rating 4.94 / 5 [124 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens city Highlights Half Day Private Tour

Athens

Athens city Highlights Half Day Private Tour
Get around Athens’ most-cherished attractions and see the city in comfort on this private, half-day driving tour. Choose what time your small group would like to start, with hotel and port pick-up and drop-off included, and enjoy a professional chauffeur service designed to show off the best of Greece’s ancient history and hospitality. • Take the hassle out of seeing Athens with the freedom of a small, private tour • Drive to the Parthenon where you have free time to visit the Acropolis Museum • See the Hellenic Parliament guards; pass-by Panathenaic and Kalimarmaro stadiums • Enjoy the comfort of an air-conditioned private car with WiFi available onboard

Price: €106

Min age: 0

Rating 4.74 / 5 [79 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens By Night Private Tour

Athens

Athens By Night Private Tour
Athens is transformed in the evening. The monuments are golden against the skyline and the Athenians come out to play in the cool night air. Visit the Acropolis and do a panoramic city tour of the Highlights of Athens or enjoy a panoramic drive in the city, seeing the monuments illuminated in the night (depending on the option you will book), before being taken to a Greek traditional tavern for dinner as pre- discussed by yourself and your driver.

Price: €135

Min age: 1

Rating 4.83 / 5 [118 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Full Day Private Tour

Athens

Athens Full Day Private Tour
If you are a fan of Greek History and Mythology this is your tour! See all the highlights of Athens and learn everything about the iconic sites, visiting the Acropolis (Parthenon), the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus and the New Acropolis museum, in a private day tour that will be flexible and customized to your needs!

Price: €140

Min age: 1

Rating 4.89 / 5 [1161 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Highlights Half Day Private Tour

Athens

Athens Highlights Half Day Private Tour
If you want to visit Athens but have only 5 hours, this is your best option. See the highlights of Athens skipping traffic on a private tour, feeling like a traveler.

Price: €148

Min age: 1

Rating 4.92 / 5 [175 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Full Day Private Tour: Essential Athens Highlights plus Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon

Athens

Full Day Private Tour: Essential Athens Highlights plus Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon
Private flexible tour combining the Highlights of Athens with a coastal road trip to the Sounion peninsula & amazing clifftop Temple of Poseidon as you relax along the way in one of our new full extra Mercedes models with free WiFi & bottled water in the company of a highly experienced, knowledgeable & considerate Tour driver. Visit the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, Olympic Stadium, Parliament & changing of the guards, and after lunch set off along the deep blue colours of the Aegean sea to explore the Temple of Poseidon. Exclusive to your group alone with door to door return transfer to your hotel or cruise ship, this comprehensive and 'go at your own pace' tour aims to provide you with one of the most outstanding experiences of your visit. Choose our hassle-free Lunch option to include a delicious 3-course traditional meal with an Acropolis view in Athens, or by the sea in Sounion; or request an expert licensed guide with pre-purchased Acropolis tickets (extra cost).

Price: €300

Min age: 0

Rating 4.84 / 5 [549 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Private Tour: Athens City Highlights Including the Acropolis of Athens

Athens

Private Tour: Athens City Highlights Including the Acropolis of Athens
Explore Athens with a private guide on a 4-hour tour, and discover the UNESCO-listed Acropolis of Athens, Temple of Zeus, Panathenian Stadium and more! After admiring the downtown city sights, watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Athens National Gardens, and take a walk up the slopes of the city’s famous Acropolis. See the Parthenon and other intriguing monuments, learn about the Greek gods, and visit the Acropolis museum.

Price: €345

Min age: 0

Rating 4.84 / 5 [108 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Half Day Athens Private Tailor-Made City Tour (Skip the line of Acropolis)

Athens

Half Day Athens Private Tailor-Made City Tour (Skip the line of Acropolis)
Whether you want a tour of the highlights of the city of Athens or you want to get under its skin and visit all of the museums and attractions, we can fill the itinerary your way. We offer a customizable private tour that allows you to create an itinerary that perfectly matches your interests and preferences. Our official guide will provide a stress-free travel experience by offering a variety of options for your tour. With our skip-the-line access to the must-see Acropolis, a global symbol of classical spirit and civilization, you won't have to wait in long queues. Additionally, we now offer an extended program that includes an extra three hours of exploration with a visit to the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounio. By choosing the extended option you'll get to enjoy a scenic drive along the Athenian coastline, which includes passing by numerous beaches, a stop at the stunning Lake Vouliagmeni for a photo opportunity and a carte-postale-worthy photo stop next to the temple.

Price: €350

Min age: 0

Rating 4.68 / 5 [113 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens Greece Full Day private tour

Athens

Athens Greece Full Day private tour
Enjoy the Athens City Private Tour with a driver that he will explain all the Greek history to you and answer your questions. From ancient monuments and medieval churches to world-class museums and high-end boutiques, it's hard to get bored in Athens. No visit to Athens is complete without checking out the plethora of historical sites that run throughout the city Highlights. Parthenon, Ancient Agora, Panathenaic Stadium, New Acropolis Museum, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Trilogy Of Athens, Temple Of Zeus, Arch of Hadrian, Lycabettus Hill, Plaka (old historical neighborhood of Athens), Monastiraki Area and the Fleamarket Tour is Private and Flexible.

Price: €455

Min age: 0

Rating 4.90 / 5 [339 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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When to go

Winters are moderate in Athens, but the city is at its best during spring and early autumn, when its cultural and social life moves outdoors for al fresco eating and drinking.

High summer (July and August) can be sweltering and smoggy; suburban beaches are crowded on weekends, but often blissfully empty midweek. August should be avoided when Athens virtually shuts down as residents migrate to the islands en masse.

Getting there and away

The efficient Athens Metro connects Eleftherios Venizelos airport to the city centre every half an hour between 6.30am and 11.30pm. The suburban rail also links directly the airport to the central train station (Larissis) and Piraeus port, the main point of departure for the Greek islands; the metro to Piraeus is cheaper but it involves a change at Monastiraki station. There’s a cheap 24-hour bus service from the airport to Syntagma Square and Piraeus.

Taxis are plentiful: on an airport transfer, make sure the driver charges the flat fare from the airport (more expensive between midnight and 5am), rather than using the meter.

Getting around

The city centre is compact enough to explore on foot. Otherwise, the Athens Metro is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around.

Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive and nowadays are obliged to give you a receipt. Use the Taxi Beat or Taxiplon app to hail or pre-book a cab.

With gridlock traffic, scarce parking, and minimal road signage, driving isn’t recommended. Cycling in Athens is only for the brave.

Most ferries to the islands leave from the gritty port of Piraeus.

Where to stay

The top five-star hotels are clustered around Syntagma Square – it’s bustling and noisy, but smack in the heart of the action, with good transport links. Kolonaki, a chic shopping district walking distance from central Syntagma Square, is a quieter option with more of a local vibe.

Pretty Plaka, a scenic stroll from all the major sites, offers surprisingly few quality hotel options. The seedy streets around Omonia Square are awash with budget hotels, best avoided as the area is unsafe after dark.

Families may prefer the seaside resorts in the southern suburbs of Vouliagmeni or Glyfada, but it’s a long trek to the city centre.

Where to eat or drink

Small, hip bars are dotted around the warren of streets between Syntagma Square and Thisseion stations, as well as the nightlife hubs of Gazi and Psyrri. Pangrati and Koukaki are buzzy downtown neighbourhoods for day-to-night café culture and bar-hopping.

During the summer, nightlife migrates to rooftop bars and the ritzy clubs along the coast. To eat among locals, head to the lively, low-key mezze joints in the residential neighbourhoods of Ano Petralona or Halandri.

Where to shop

International brands and expensive Greek jewellers line pedestrian Voukourestiou Street. Further up the hill is Kolonaki, where designer boutiques are concentrated. Plaka and the Monastiraki flea market teem with souvenir shops, with some fine antiques and handicrafts among the tourist tat. For local colour and flavour, check out the central food market on Athinas Street.

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