Time travel!


Everything you need to see in the historic center of the capital

The sights of Athens are one of the most important reasons to visit it. The most important monuments of Ancient Greek Culture are located mainly in the city center, they are all within walking distance and you can easily access them. Take advantage of our privileged location in the city, as the most important sights of Athens are a few minutes walk from the Athenian View Loft!

The Acropolis

No.1 in a list of Athens landmarks has to be the Acropolis. It’s the city’s Sacred Rock and the cultural trademark of Greece. In fact, little has changed as it was the standout Athens monument in ancient times, especially when with the Parthenon (dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and protector of the city) was added by Pericles in the 5th century BC. You’ll see the Acropolis from so many different vantage points on your walk, and each time you’ll marvel at how the marble changes shade at different times of the day. The Acropolis has witnessed every changing face of Athens since antiquity and she’s still there, a fitting monument to this great city and willing to share her story with everyone who wants to listen.

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Added to the Acropolis complex by the wealthy Roman Herodes Atticus in the 2nd century AD, it’s impossible to contemplate just how many spectators this magnificent theatre has entertained over the years. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is now the centrepiece venue of the annual Athens Festival, seating almost 5,000 people who never fail to be awed by the setting and exceptional acoustics. As you’re walking past this undisputed Athens landmark, consider that it was once completely enclosed by a wooden roof.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

Again, we have Hadrian to thank for another of the standout Athens monuments – particularly as it had taken some seven centuries to build and still wasn’t finished when he arrived. But finish it he did, in 131 AD, with more than 100 Corinthian columns, a colossal statue of Zeus and (inevitably) an equally grand statue of himself. It was the city’s biggest temple and, although only 17 of the columns are still standing, we can still marvel at its scope.

The Panathenaic Stadium

Heading back past Syntagma and through the National Garden, you reach the horseshoe-shaped Panathenaic Stadium – or the Kallimarmaro, as it’s often referred to because of its tiered marble seating. Originally built in the 4th century BC to host the Panathenaic Games, it was restored for the first Modern Olympics, held in Greece in 1896, and is the epic finishing line for the annual Athens Marathon. It is said that a thousand animals were sacrificed in the arena during Hadrian’s inauguration.

Filopappou Monument & Pnyx

Before you continue around the Acropolis, along the pedestrianised Areopagitou St, take the time to walk up the hill just by it. You’ll be in good company. This is where every general and orator worth his salt in ancient Athens (Pericles, Aristides, Demosthenes, Themistocles…) came to address the Democratic Assembly, in an auditorium known as Pnyx. You can still see the speaker’s platform and seating terrace. Nearby is the monument dedicated to the 2nd-century Roman consul Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Filopappos, after whom the hill is named.

The Academy of Athens & National Library

Next up are a couple of more recent additions to historical Athens. Heading past Syntagma Square and on to Penepistimiou Avenue, you find a pair of buildings regarded as perhaps the finest 19th-century neoclassical designs ever created. The Academy of Athens and the National Library are two-thirds of the so-called Athens Trilogy of Danish-born architect Theophil Hansen. They are astonishing in their grandeur and detail – the Academy being a seat of serious scholarly study and the National Library once housing over two million tomes. Take a moment to admire the symmetry of the grand staircases of the National Library and the figures of Athena and Apollo on the pillars flanking the Academy, along with sculptures of the ever-pensive Plato and Socrates below.

The Roman Agora & Hadrian's Library

The Roman Agora was the centre of urban life in Athens during the Roman occupation of Greece. Originally, there was a Doric gateway that greeted citizens to the marketplace and, still with us, is the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal structure built in the 1st century by astronomer Andronicus that served as a sundial, weather vane and compass. Perhaps its most fascinating function, however, was as a water-powered clock. Nearby is Hadrian’s Library, which wasn’t so much a library as a civic forum in Roman times, with a pool and central courtyard surrounded by 100 columns.