When picturing Greece, we immediately think of floating whitewashed islands, bikinis and golden sand but Athens is ready to change that perception. Swap blue oceans for spectacular ancient ruins and streets paved with old-world culture. A skyline dominated by fifth century BC iconic landmarks awaits you in the city that founded democracy. Here’s a list of the seven most-picture perfect spots in Athens.
Sitting three hundred metres above sea-level, this urban peak is the highest point in the centre of the city. Considered to be one of the most romantic places in Athens, take a stroll along the ridge and capture the sun setting over uninterrupted views of the city and shoreline. Easy enough to get to, climb a set of stairs through the pretty Kolonaki neighbourhood and take the funicular the rest of the way up. Make sure to also have a wander around the tiny Greek Orthodox Agios Georgios church. Rest your legs in the hilltop restaurant and end the day with dinner and a spectacular view of the Acropolis.
Named by UNESCO as the universal symbol of civilisation, this is a must-see when visiting the Greek capital. Possibly the most iconic ancient ruins in the world, the Acropolis was built in 438 BC and boasts incredible panoramic views over the city. The ancient citadel is home to a number of impressive landmarks such as the domineering Parthenon, Erechtheion temple and the Odeon of Herodes theatre. The walk up is pleasant as the large avenues bordering south and west of the site are huge pedestrianised streets flanked with cafes and restaurants. Visit this remarkable ancient civilisation early in the morning to beat the crowds and avoid the scorching midday heat.
Completed much later than the Parthenon but resembling many of its features, these ruins sit in a park-like setting adjoining the National Garden, making for a picture-perfect spot. Another one to add to the list of locations for sunsets, evening time is best to take in the beauty of the temple as you watch the light fade against it with the backdrop of the Acropolis on the hill. The half-ruined temple dedicated to the ruler of the Olympian Gods, Zeus, is right in the centre of the city and made completely of marble. Creating the ideal aesthetic for you Instagram feed, the hexastyle building is well worth a visit.
Be temporarily transported to a typical Greek island in this little secret area of Plaka. Hidden on the north-eastern slope of the Acropolis, the tiny lanes lined with bougainvillea flowers and whitewashed houses take you to Santorini and back in a flash. Built by construction workers from Anafi – close to everyone’s favourite Greek island, the neighbourhood is based on Cycladic architecture meaning you can take that Instagram island shot without even getting on a boat.
Mixing old Greek charm with nuance edgy alternative vibes, visit Exarcheia for a photo of its incredible anarchist street art. The hipster haven is a relaxed residential area with tons of local eateries, live music bars, coffee shops, clubs and vintage hotspots. Scattered throughout the streets, the only way to find the politically charged murals is by inspecting every corner of the district giving you a chance to see what it’s all about. Bursting with spots your camera will love, indulge your inner culture vulture and explore the paths lined with neoclassical, wrought iron-clad buildings.
The main hub and shopping district of Athens is a great first spot to start exploring on your Grecian getaway. The square is home to historical gems such as Hadrian’s Library, the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, the Ancient Agora and Athens’ resident flea market. Paved with mosaic blocks of marble, carved stone and cast iron, the nearby streets are overflowing with local tavernas and restaurants accompanied by stunning Acropolis views. You’ll never be short of photo opportunities in this location!
Known by locals as Kallimarmaro, this is the first and only stadium in the world to be fully constructed out of marble. The multi-purpose, horseshoe shaped space offers the perfect Insta opp, epitomising a trip to Greece with its ties to the Olympic Games. The only stadium to have ever hosted three years of Olympic competition, this is the location from which the iconic Olympic Flame starts its journey to the stadium of that year’s host country. Sprint to the top of the stands to get the best overall view.
Thinking of visiting Athens? Tag us in your photos of the most picture-perfect spots in Athens using the hashtag #ryanairstories, for a chance to be featured on Ryanair’s social media feeds.
Flights to Athens
- Lucy Norris