Famed for the outstanding Acropolis monument that stands guard over her city, Athens has much to offer the visitor in terms of sightseeing. Any view of this monument will surely take your breath away, especially if you’re lucky enough to be staying in a hotel that offers fantastic Acropolis views. But there are other spots in Athens where you can view the Acropolis, and some are not so well known to the average tourist. I love exploring my adopted city and I’m proud to be able to share with you these amazing spots in Athens to view the Acropolis so you can seek out these hidden gems during your next visit. We’ll start off by examining the best places where food and drink are served, rounded off by some of the best outdoor places.
1. Acropolis Museum Restaurant
The Acropolis Museum is located at the south side of the monument. Opened to the public in 2009, there’s an entrance fee of 10 euros, 5 euros in the winter months. It’s worth a visit in order to learn more about this ancient monument and archeological finds as it was constructed. Indeed, the front of the museum is an exhibition in itself as an ancient excavation site was uncovered during the museum’s construction. It’s now housed under protective glass, allowing a unique view from above as you walk over it. But it’s the Acropolis restaurant on the second floor that commands the best views of the monument.
If it’s breakfast you’re after, head to the cafe on the ground floor. A delicious lunch or dinner is served in their second-floor restaurant. Even better, you don’t need to purchase any entrance ticket; head straight up to enjoy a selection of dishes, all using traditional Greek produce.
Sit inside for commanding views of the Parthenon and Acropolis hill from the floor-to-ceiling windows, or be seated on the extensive covered outdoor terrace. The benefit of this is that it also offers impressive views of the aforementioned glassed-covered excavation at the entrance.
Dinner is served all week, but on a Friday or Saturday night, the restaurant stays open until midnight. This allows the visitor to enjoy a meal and experience the monument lit in all its grandeur. It’s certainly a unique environment.
2. Chocolat Royal, Thissio
Housed in a four-story neoclassical building in the beating heart of Thissio — the neighborhood in central Athens with coffee shops, bars, and restaurants that all have Acropolis views — it’s Chocolat Royal that offers the best.
Each level offers a selection of different gourmet food and wines, but for the best ambiance, either snag a table at one of their cozy balcony snugs or head to the roof terrace. Here you’ll have uninterrupted views of the monument and Lycabettus Hill beyond. It’s especially beautiful at night when you can see the Acropolis lit up in all her glory.
For a more integral experience, sit outside at one of their tables on the pedestrianized street, watch the Athenians stroll past with their families, and soak up the environment.
Pro Tip: They do fantastic brunches such as eggs Benedict, and for those of you with a sweet tooth, you’ll want to order the profiteroles that ooze fresh cream with chocolate topping. Uniquely for an old building, an elevator has been installed, making access easy for everyone.
3. Cafe Avissinia
Monastiraki is considered to be one of Europe’s oldest neighborhoods, with good reason as its history dates back almost 4,000 years. Tucked down a small pedestrianized street, in the heart of Monastiraki just behind the flea market, you’ll find Cafe Avissinia.
Initially opened as a small tea house nearly 40 years ago, over the years it has developed into an authentic Athenian bistro with family recipes passed down through the generations, using locally sourced ingredients.
The first floor offers the best views as it overlooks the Acropolis and Temple of Hephaestus, plus every weekend — except in the months of July and August — you can enjoy live Greek music. It’s also an excellent spot to experience the fireworks over the monument on New Year’s Eve.
Cafe Avissinia is the perfect spot to eat or relax with a cold frappe or sweet tea after a morning of sightseeing before the heat of the day sets in.
4. A For Athens Cocktail Bar
Right in the heart of Monastiraki Square is the A for Athens Hotel and Cocktail Bar. Whilst some of the hotel rooms offer great views of the monument, because it’s in the thick of the action, it can be a somewhat noisy place to base yourself. Having said that, do make sure you take time to head up to their two-story rooftop bar and restaurant. Aside from their extensive menu — which includes offerings for breakfast, brunch, and all the way through to dinner, plus a dizzying array of cocktails and wines— it offers a unique perspective of the Acropolis. You gain a fantastic vantage point of the Acropolis in the foreground, with the neoclassical houses of Plaka scattered beneath, rounded off with the hubbub of Monastiraki Square.
Pro Tip: Eat dinner on the slightly quieter lower level with a table against the glass panel, then head up to the open second level to enjoy a drink. And be sure to reserve in advance.
5. Couleur Locale Athens
A little harder to find, but worth the effort, Couleur Locale is tucked away on the third floor of a “gallery” — Greek for small shopping mall — down a side street within Monastiraki flea market. It’s an all-day bar that lends its name to providing timeless color to the local district with its decoration, considered by the locals as a welcome oasis in the center.
Enjoy breakfast, coffee, and snacks throughout the day, dinner from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and a wide selection of cocktails, spirits, and wines from 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. All this as you’re afforded fantastic Acropolis views at any time of the day or night and in any season.
Pro Tip: It’s frequented by a slightly younger crowd and there are often DJ sets — but don’t let that put you off. The beauty of Greece and the Mediterranean is that there’s very little segregation in where different age groups eat, drink, and mix.
6. Areopagus Hill
Also known as the Hill of Ares, or Mars Hill after the God of War, Areopagus Hill is the ideal outdoor spot to view the Acropolis and beyond to the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus — three views in one. In Greek mythology, it’s reputed to be the place where Ares was put on trial by the Gods for murdering Alirrothios, the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea.
Due to its sweeping views across the city and down to the sea, with the Acropolis as a backdrop, it also became an inspirational place for the ancient Greeks to gather to discuss philosophy and law.
This inspiration continues to this day. Whilst official political meetings don’t take place here anymore, many people gather, particularly at sunset, to gain artistic inspiration, whether that be through painting or photography.
Pro Tip: It’s located right by the main entrance of the Acropolis monument, so you can visit either before or after your Acropolis visit. And it’s free. Be careful, though, as you walk up the marble steps carved out to reach the top. They can get slippery.
7. Mount Hymettus
Hymettus is one of the mountain ranges that surrounds Athens, keeping the city in a bowl. Standing at an elevation of 3,366 feet at its highest point, the beauty of Mount Hymettus — as also explored in this article — is that it has many pine trails to walk or hike through, depending on how strenuous you wish to make your walk. You don’t have to ascend too high in order to be rewarded with a stunning view of the city, and beyond as far as Piraus port and some of the nearby Saronic islands. It’s a rewarding experience to pack a picnic in your backpack, wear sturdy shoes or sandals and head off through the trails. As they open out onto green flower-filled small fields, take a look at the city below and see if you can spot the Acropolis.
Hymettus is higher than the Acropolis hill, so it’s an excellent vantage point to look down on her.
For a view of the Acropolis hill and Parthenon walls from below, head to the unique Anafiotika neighborhood of Plaka. Its quaint cobbled streets and small cubed whitewashed houses resemble a typical Greek island, hence its nickname “Island within a City.” It was built in the 1830s when inhabitants of the Greek island of Anafi were brought over to Athens to build King Otto’s palace. Homesick for their island, they decided to build their homes to resemble their homeland.
As a result, Anafiotika is the perfect spot to soak up this island environment, wander its windy streets up to the monument, and view, from below, the northeastern side of the hill where the Parthenon sits.
Enjoy your time exploring Athens and the different places to view one of the most famous monuments in the world, and, for more inspiration, consider