The Acropolis is the most important ancient site in the Western world. Crowned by the Parthenon, it stands sentinel over Athens, visible from almost everywhere within the city. Its monuments and sanctuaries of white Pentelic marble gleam in the midday sun and gradually take on a honey hue as the sun sinks, while at night they stand brilliantly illuminated above the city.The Parthenon, Ancient Temple of Athena, the Theater of Dionysos and the Herod Atticus Theater.
2. Acropolis Museum
This dazzling museum at the foot of the Acropolis' southern slope showcases its surviving treasures. The collection covers the Archaic period to the Roman one, but the emphasis is on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC.
Stretching out under the shadow of the Acropolis, Plaka is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited neighbourhoods.
Duck into the side streets here and explore the charmingly narrow old lanes. They’re lined with a hotchpotch of crumbling buildings from various eras, as well as beautiful restored buildings-turned-stately homes. Plaka boasts a wealth of ancient sites, small museums, historic churches and picturesque small squares buzzing with restaurants and cafés.
Clinging to the north slope of the Acropolis, the tiny Anafiotika district is a beautiful, architecturally distinct sub-district of Plaka.
In the mid-1800s, King Otto hired builders from Anafi to build a new palace. In their homes here, they mimicked their island's architecture, all whitewashed cubes, bedecked with bougainvillea and geraniums. The area now is a clutch of about 40 homes, linked by footpaths just wide enough for people and stray cats.
5. Monastiraki Square
This is one of the oldest and busiest areas of the capital, packed with rooftop bars, ancient sights and huge markets.
The Monastiraki metro station is right off the picturesque main square, which also has brilliant views of the Acropolis.
Go shopping at the Monastiraki flea market, squeeze your way through thronging pedestrian alleys, and peruse shops filled with antiques, handmade jewellery and Greek handicrafts.
6. Syntagma Square
In front of Parliament, the traditionally costumed evzones (presidential guards) stand by the tomb and change every hour on the hour.
The evzones uniform of the fustanella (white skirt) and pom-pom shoes is based on the attire worn by the klephts, the mountain fighters of the War of Independence.
look out for the changing of the guard infront of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
7. Lykavittos Hill
The 277m summit of Lykavittos – 'Hill of Wolves', from ancient times, when it was wilder than it is now – gives the finest panoramas of the city and the Attic basin.
Perched on the summit is the little Chapel of Agios Georgios, floodlit like a beacon over the city at night. Walk up the path from the top of Loukianou in Kolonaki, or take the 10-minute funicular railway from the top of Ploutarhou.
Open-air Lykavittos Theatre, northeast of the summit, is a 1960s ampitheatre which hosts concerts and other events in summer. There is a cafe at the top to reward your walk.
8. Ermou Street
If you start at the top of Syntagma Square and walk down the steps and past the fountain, at the bottom of the square is the beginning of Ermou Street, a paradise for those who live to shop. From the Parliament building you can make a straight line that follows Ermou all the way to The Gazi, the old gas works of Athens, now the center of its nightlife. Ermou street is a commercial avenue which has been turned into a pedestrian only street
9. Kolonaki Area
Neighborhood in central Athens situated at an exclusive location, encompassed by Syntagma Square, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue and the southwestern slopes of Lycabettus Hill.
It was named after the ancient old column found in the center of Kolonaki Square.
Kolonaki is a wealthy, chic and upmarket district, and a fashionable meeting area. It includes a number of high-end boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
10. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
This large amphitheatre, part of the Acropolis, was built in AD 161 by wealthy Roman Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Regilla. It was excavated in 1857–58 and completely restored in the 1950s.
When you're visiting the Acropolis site, the path leads west from the top of the Stoa of Eumenes, and you can peer down into the odeon from above. From this vantage, it looks positively intimate, though it seats 5000 people.
11. Temple of Olympian Zeus
You can't miss this temple on two counts: it's a marvellous temple, once the largest in Greece, and it's right in the centre of Athens. Of the temple's 104 original Corinthian columns (17m high with a base diameter of 1.7m), only 15 remain. The fallen column was blown down in a gale in 1852.
Begun in the 6th century BC by Peisistratos, the temple was abandoned for lack of funds. Various other leaders took a stab at completing it, but it was left to Hadrian to finish the job in AD 131, thus taking more than 700 years in total to build.
In typically immodest fashion, Hadrian built not just a colossal statue of Zeus, but an equally large one of himself.
12. Panathenaic Stadium
With its serried rows of white Pentelic marble seats built into a ravine next to Ardettos Hill, this ancient-turned-modern stadium is a draw both for lovers of classical architecture and sports fans who can imagine the roar of the crowds from millennia past.
The stadium – built in the 4th century BC and restored for the first modern Olympic games in 1896 – was first used as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests.
It's said that at Hadrian's inauguration in AD 120, a thousand wild animals were sacrificed in the arena. Later, the seats were rebuilt in marble by Herodes Atticus.
13. Temple of Poseidon
Athens isn’t short on treats for fans of Greek mythology. This is the temple you should visit first.
He may be the god of oceans, but Poseidon's palace stands 60 metres above sea level on Cape Sounio. This marble temple was first built by ancient Athenians to honour Poseidon and guide sailors safely home.
All that remains now is a series of towering columns which look magnificent against a Greek sunset.
The Greek shawarma, a must. try the souvlaki at "Thenasis" in Monastiraki Area)
3. Cheese: feta, manouri, kaseri, graviera
4. Olive oil, olives and olive paste
5. Tsoureki (sweet bread, try the one covered in white chocolate filled with chestnut cream)
In Monastiraki square with spectacular views.
Cafes & Bars:
A for Athens
In Monastiraki square with spectacular views
Catch Bus X95 from Airport or Holiday Inn Athens Attica Airport Hotel into the city to Monastiraki Square
EUR 6 per person (single trip)