Highlights for tourist attractions in Athens include Akropolis and Parthenon, National Archeological Museum, the old parliament house and its national park, Plaka, as well as a day cruise to Aegina, Poros, and Hydra.
Akropolis in Athens is an hill with an even top, rising 150 meters above the water level, from where you can find the UNESCO world heritage listed ancient Greek ruins, of which the most famous is Parthenon.
Parthenon is a temple build for the Greek goddess Athena Parthenos, the city’s protector, which was finished during the 5th century BC.
The temple is the most important landmark remaining from the ancient Greek culture, and the statues within the ruins are widely considered a highlight of ancient Greek art.
Worldwide, Parthenon is also one of the most significant remains, as well as a symbol, of the Athenian concept of democracy, which was born here.
In addition to Parthenon, Akropolis offers, among other things, an ancient temple for Athena, Athena Nike temple.
The area also houses the new museum of Akropolis.
Among the best highlights of tourist attractions in Athens is the National Archeological Museum (www.namuseum.gr), which is considered one of the most important museum’s on the planet, with details such as the world largest collection of artifacts from the ancient Greek culture.
First pieces for the museum’s collection were gathered in 1829, and today (since 1889), the museum is located within a palatial, neo-classical building at Patissio street.
The collections have been divided to different departments, of which the ones worth a closer look include the prehistoric section (with highlights such as the death mask of Agamemnon), sculptures, and a 6,000 piece collection of Egyptian art.
The old parliament house, today containing the national history museum (www.nhmuseum.gr), and the houses national park (on the backside of the structure), are also among the most visited tourist attractions in Athens.
The building was used as an administrative center from 1833, when King Otto held the place as his temporary residence, at the same time when Athens became the country’s capital.
Greek parliament housed the building between 1875-1932, before they moved to the current location, the royal palace.
Museum at the building contains a collection of historical objects from 1453 (when Constantinople was taken over by the Ottomans), up to the events of the Second World War.
Highlights among the artifacts include historical weapons, private belongings from famous persons, and an extensive collection of traditional garments from different regions in Greece.
Behind the old parliament house, there is a magnificent 15.5 hectare public park, a national park, which was originally called “Royal Park”.
The park, a popular place to spend free-time for both tourists and locals alike, contains, among other things, the palace of Zappeion, designed by the Danish-born architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, statues, ancient ruins, and mosaics.
Orders to build the park came from Greek Queen Amalia, who also personally planned parts of the park, and it was completed in 1838.
Plaka, on the other hand, is the oldest city district in Athens, whose streets are closed to motorvehicles, and along which you can find idylllic shops for decorations, memorabilia, and giftshops.
Especially popular purchases from Plaka shops are different types of antiques, hand-painted icons, wood carvings, paintings, unique postcards, and Athens-style jewelry.
The idyllic Plaka distric, located next door to Akropolis, has also many excellent restaurants and cafes, to relax while shopping.
A day cruise to the nearby islands of Aegina, Poros, and Hydra is a popular way to spend a day in Athens, a famous port city that has lived from the sea since its beginning.
Aegina, Poros, and Hydra are the most famous of the nearby islands, and to visit them, there are several tourist tours available.
Of the islands, Aegina, which at one time was an independent city-state, offers as tourist attractions sights such as the ancient temple of Aphaia, Poros, meanwhile, has a magnificent clocktower and panoramic views from top of it, and Hydra is famous as the meeting place for international jet set tourists.
Most of the available day cruises depart from the harbor of Piraeus, located about 8 km from the city center of Athens.