Athens, Greece, has no shortage of historic and breathtaking sites to explore. This ancient city — one of the oldest in the world — is loaded with historic sites, which gives visitors a chance not only to learn about the city’s past, but also to understand what makes the Greek capital so mesmerizing.
With half-a-million who call it home, the city is bursting with life and things to experience. From nightlife to shops to beaches and more, Athens has something for everyone. But, if you’re a history buff, this city is the cream of the crop.
Because these little bits of history sites are spread throughout the city, finding a hotel in Athens is the easiest part of your trip planning — anywhere will do.
And now, the sites you’ve got to include in your visit to Athens:
The only UNESCO World Heritage site in Athens, The Acropolis is perhaps the most well-recognized landmark in the city — and perhaps one of the most well-known in the world. Towering above the town, The Acropolis reminds visitors of the mythical Greek Gods of the past. This masterpiece pays homage to Classic Greek architecture and dates back to the fifth century.
A sacred site, climbing up to The Acropolis (it’s a nice walk uphill) also includes ruins of the marble Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion. Be sure to give yourself a moment just to survey the view – a magnificent landscape of the city and on to the Saronic Gulf below.
The Theatre of Dionysus
While exploring the Acropolis, be sure to check out the Theatre of Dionysus, located just below. The remnants of the ancient temple date back to the fourth century when this building served as the theatre for the Greeks.
Arch of Hadrian
This marble arch still stands tall, even though it was built in 131 AD. The Arch of Hadrian was built to honor the Roman Emperor Hardian and served as the border between the ancient Athens and the new Athens.
The ancient courtyard of Agora was built between 19 and 11 BC when it served as the social, political and commercial hub of the city. The Roman Agora has withstood historic events, including the invasion of Herulae in 267 AD, the Byzantine period and later the Turkish occupation.
While not as popular as other historic sites in Athens, Kerameikos is an ancient burial ground that dates back to the third century. Here, you can explore the Street of Tombs, as well as the Sacred Gate and Dipylon Gate — ancient gateways to Athens.
Theatre of Herodes Atticus
Perhaps the most well-preserved of ancient Athens, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus was built in 161 AD. Also known as Odeon, the theatre can set upwards of 5,000 people in its heyday when it was used for performances and festivals. Today, the restored site plays host to performances.
The Temple of Hephaestus
An ancient Greek temple built in the fifth century, and a part of the Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus served as a place of worship for blacksmiths, sculptors and the Greek diety of fire. This attraction is quite well-preserved and is well worth a visit during your stay in Athens.
What other historic sites should be on this list?
Editor’s Note: This post is a part of Hipmunk’s #CityLove project.