Rising up from the center of Athens is the Acropolis, a giant chunk of rock topped with the Parthenon and several other historical monuments. This is ancient, iconic Greece, the place where philosophers questioned the universe, democracy and freedom of speech were born, and temples were built to honor the gods.
The Acropolis can be seen from almost anywhere in the city center of Athens, but if you want truly spectacular views of this ancient wonder, there are several great spots to try.
During our stay in Athens, we were on a mission to find the “best view” of the Acropolis. We hopped from hillside to agora to rooftop bar to find the perfect view over Athens, and had a blast doing it.
Our visit to Athens was in mid-April and the weather sure did keep things interesting. We had a bit of everything…clouds, sunny skies, wind, rain, and storms. This stormy weather pattern added a lot of drama to the skies (and our days) and it shows in our photos.
Here are our 9 best views of Athens and the Acropolis, with our favorites listed at the end of this article.
Best Views of Athens
1. Areopagus Hill
Areopagus Hill, also known as Mars Hill, is a spot to get one of the most iconic views of the Acropolis.
This rocky outcropping offers not only a stunning view of the Acropolis but also across the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus.
Areopagus Hill | Best Views of Athens
But this is more than a nice spot to snap a photo. There is a lot of history and legend here. According to Greek mythology, this hill got its name from Ares, the god of war, who was tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son Alirrothios. In ancient times, this was a meeting place where philosophy and law were discussed. It is also the location where the Apostle Paul gave one of his most important speeches.
Areopagus Hill is located very close to the main entrance into the Acropolis, so go here before or after you tour the Acropolis.
2. Philopappos Hill
Located just southwest of the Acropolis, Philopappos Hill (also spelled Filopappou Hill) is a hilly park laced with walking trails. The most popular viewpoint is located at the Monument of Philopappos, but you can also follow the other trails for a slightly different perspective of the Acropolis.
View of the Acropolis from Philopappus Hill | Best Views of Athens
A slightly different perspective of the Acropolis from a trail near the Philopappos Monument | Best Views of Athens
Getting Here: You can walk here from the main entrance of the Acropolis or Areopagus Hill (about 15 minutes).
3. The National Observatory of Athens
This next view technically isn’t located right at the Observatory, but it is very close to here.
From the Philopappos Monument, walk north across the park towards the National Observatory. Before getting to the Observatory, take the path to the right that takes you past the Doridis Refractor to another great viewpoint of the Acropolis. This viewpoint is located near the Doridis Refractor and the Pnyx. Here are the GPS coordinates if you want to find the exact spot: 37° 58′ 20.01″ N 23° 43′ 6.882″ E
View from the National Observatory | Best Views of Athens
Not only do you get to see the Acropolis with Mount Lycabettus in the background, but you can also see Areopagus Hill in the foreground.
4. A for Athens Rooftop Bar
This is one of our favorite viewpoints in Athens, not only because the view is spectacular, but also because you can have lunch or dinner as you enjoy the view.
A for Athens is a hotel and restaurant. On the roof of the hotel is a two-story restaurant and bar. From here, you can look out over Monastiraki Square to the Acropolis. It is much different from the other viewpoints mentioned so far, since you get to see the Acropolis with the city of Athens in the foreground.
View from A for Athens Rooftop Bar | Best Views of Athens
There are two levels to the restaurant. We ate dinner at the lower level, at a table right up against the glass windows. The glass panels can be lowered so you can take photos without a glare (depending on the weather conditions).
The second level is a rooftop bar and it is a lot more open. In my opinion, the view wasn’t as good from up here, since the terrace does not come out to the edge of the building. The edge of the terrace sits several meters back from edge of the building, so it can be difficult to get a photo of the Acropolis and Monastiraki Square without part of the building in the bottom of your photo.
If you like the idea of having dinner here, make a reservation in advance and request a table up against the window on the first level.
By the way, the food is good and the drinks are even better. And you can choose this as your hotel in Athens. We almost did, but chose The Athenian Modern Apartments simply because we wanted a little more space since we were traveling as a family.
5. Hotel Grande Bretagne Rooftop Restaurant
The Hotel Grande Bretagne is a 5-star hotel that is famous for its restaurant that offers views over the Acropolis. However, for all of the hype this view gets, it didn’t live up to our expectations. Yes, it’s a nice view, but we preferred A for Athens and the hills south of the Acropolis as better viewpoints.
View from Hotel Grande Bretagne | Best Views of Athens
In full disclosure we did not eat here. We arrived at the very end of brunch and right before a 2-hour break when the restaurant closes for the day. They permitted me to take a photo, only because we planned to eat here. But I wouldn’t count on just showing up and taking a photo from the terrace. In order to get this photo, you will have to at least order a drink at the bar.
This is one of Athens’ most upscale hotels, so dinner and drinks will not be cheap. So, this view comes with a price tag. Whether or not it is worth it is for you to decide.
Again, it you want a table with a view, make your reservation in advance. Here is the link to the hotel website.
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6. Athens Gate Hotel and Restaurant
I have one more rooftop restaurant recommendation. Athens Gate is a 4-star hotel that is located near the Acropolis Museum. According to Trip Advisor, this restaurant has the 4th best rooftop view in the world (as stated on the Athens Gate website). The photos and the accolades had us very excited for our visit.
We ate dinner here on our last night in Athens. In all honesty, the view is spectacular, but the food, not so much.
With its close proximity to the Acropolis and a great view down the side of the Parthenon, this truly is a remarkable view, as long as you stay seated. When you stand up, you will be looking across a series of unsightly, white buildings, which detract from the overall view. Even so, this is a gorgeous spot to watch the sunset.
Athens Gate Hotel | Best Views of Athens
This restaurant offers 360° views. Not only can you see the Acropolis, but you can also look out over Mount Lycabettus and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
We weren’t impressed with the food and the food is not cheap. If you are on a budget and would like to have this view, come at sunset, have a drink, maybe an appetizer, but don’t skip dessert. Those were amazing!
Make your reservations in advance. I emailed the hotel right from their website and they were quick to respond with our reservation information. Here’s the link.
7. Mount Lycabettus
For a sprawling view of Athens and the Acropolis, walk or take the Lycabettus Cable Car to the peak of Mount Lycabettus. From here, you get to see just how big this city is, with the Acropolis proudly rising up in the center from the low, white buildings. In the sunlight, this city literally sparkles.
View from Mount Lycabettus | Best Views of Athens
Getting Here: Unless you take a taxi right to the Lycabettus Cable Car station, expect to do some walking, and a lot of that will be uphill. The closest metro stops are Panepistimio and Evangelismos. From here, it will be an uphill walk to the cable car station. Or, you can choose to walk all of the way to the top on a paved trail that switchbacks its way up the hill. It’s about a 15-minute walk up this paved trail to the summit.
8. The Acropolis
A visit to Athens would not be complete with a visit to the Acropolis. And since it is located smack in the city center, you get one of the best views of Athens right from this point. Enjoy the view of the Parthenon, over the Ancient Agora, the slopes of the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, and the hills mentioned earlier in this article.
The Parthenon | Best Views of Athens
Here are views of Athens from the Acropolis.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus and off in the distance Philippapos Hill and Monument.
Areopagus Hill (Mars Hill)
In this photo from the Acropolis you can see the Theater of Dionysis, the Acropolis Museum, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
9. From Your Hotel
There are numerous hotels that offer views of the Acropolis. Imagine beginning and ending every day with a view of the Parthenon.
We stayed at The Athenians Modern Apartments and from our balcony we could see the Acropolis. It wasn’t an “amazing” view, but it was pretty sweet being able to see it right from our apartment. In our free time, Kara took advantage of our balcony, plus we liked having a kitchen and living area, since it gave us some more space. From here, we were within walking distance of Syntagma Square, Plaka, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Syntagma metro station was a five-minute walk from the apartment. We stayed in the orange apartment (the deluxe family suite with terrace on Booking.com).
Our view from The Athenians Modern Apartments | Best Views of Athens
Best Views of Athens: On a Map
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Best Views of the Acropolis
If you are short on time or don’t feel like hopping from viewpoint to viewpoint, here are our recommendations to narrow this list down a little bit.
Our Favorite: A for Athens Rooftop Restaurant. Nothing like having a great dinner with an amazing view of the Acropolis.
Best Free View of the Acropolis: Mars Hill (Areopagus Hill) is favorite of many visitors to Athens. We also really liked the view from the Philopappos Monument.
Best Rooftop Bar: A for Athens with Athens Gate as our second choice.
Must-Have Experience: It goes without saying that the Acropolis is not to be missed. Enjoy the views, ooh and ahh at the Parthenon, and enjoy your visit to one of the world’s ancient sites. For the best experience, go first thing in the morning, right before closing, or during a storm (like we did) and keep your fingers crossed that the rain will wash everyone away and the skies will clear.
Is there something we missed? What do you think is the best view of Athens and the Acropolis? Comment below!
More Information for Your Trip to Greece
THE ACROPOLIS: Learn how to plan your visit and skip the lines in our Guide to the Acropolis.
GREECE ITINERARY: Learn how to visit Athens, Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos in our 10 Day Greece Itinerary.
THINGS TO DO IN SANTORINI: For a full list of things to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Santorini. We also have detailed guides on How to Walk from Fira to Oia and the Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Oia.
MYKONOS: Learn about things to do and how to get around Mykonos in our Guide to Mykonos.
Planning a trip to Greece? Read all of our articles in our Greece Travel Guide.
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