Athens is beautiful from every angle. Whether you’re obsessed with the tavernas spilling out onto the sidewalks, the ancient ruins dotting all parts of the city center, or the great sunset views from one of the hills in Athens, there are plenty of great places for Athens photography.
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you may be wondering where some of the best Instagram spots in Athens may be. After all, Santorini and Mykonos are old news – everyone’s photographed the same few shots. But Athens is massive and hasn’t quite been hit as hard by the Instagram crowds just yet, so it’s still quite easy to get unique photos here.
Between Stephanie and I, we’ve spent over a month exploring Athens, so we know plenty of offbeat places that aren’t quite on everyone’s typical Athens itinerary, as well as the tried and true spots for Athens Instagram magic.
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Where to Stay in Athens
With only 24 hours in Athens, you’ll want to stay somewhere that isn’t too far from the main attractions and has easy access to the public transportation system. Plaka is one of the best places to stay in Athens for sightseeing. You can check hotels in Plaka here or take a look at these places:
Budget: If you’re looking for a budget hotel in lively Monastiraki, book a stay at Fivos Hotel. Located right by Monastiraki Station, the hotel has free wifi and ensuite bathrooms. Check out prices and availability at Fivos Hotel here.
Mid-range: If you want more traditional accommodation, stay at the Kimons Athens Hotel in Plaka. The rooms are cozy and there’s a roof terrace that guests can enjoy. Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Kimons Athens Hotel here.
Luxury: To enjoy a bit of luxury in Monastiraki, check into the four-star Emporikon Athens Hotel on Agia Irini Square. The rooms are sophisticated and swanky, with a traditional take on comfort. Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Emporikon Athens Hotel here.
Most Instagrammable Places in Athens
Here are our favorite Instagram spots in Athens below, in no particular order!
Mount Lycabettus is one of the most popular places in Athens to get photos of the sunset, and looking above, you can see why. The Acropolis lights up like magic and you even get a pop of sea in the background, with some hills fringing the water.
It’s pretty much the best Instagram spot in Athens, so be sure to reserve one of your nights to be spent watching the sunset from this beautiful mountain. You can take a funicular or a taxi up most of the mountain (the taxi is, surprisingly, the cheaper option).
Another place for a fantastic view of the Acropolis is Monastiraki Square. While the square is gorgeous at ground level, we think it’s even more magical when you get some height.
There are a handful of excellent rooftop bars in Athens; 360 Cocktail Bar in Monastiraki will get you a great view over the Square but also the Acropolis and the colorful buildings of Plaka.
Tavernas of Plaka
Plaka is one of the cutest districts in Greece. While it is quite touristy, it’s still definitely worthwhile to visit Plaka to sit and enjoy some delicious Greek wine and mezes.
It’s a great Athens Instagram spot by day or by night, with cute lanterns and fairy lights adding a magical atmosphere during the night and traditional Greek white walls and doors with intricate details to photograph during the day.
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Want a side of tacos with your Instagram umbrellas? You’re in luck. Until we discovered La Taqueria in Belgrade, Mama Roux had the best tacos in the Balkans (a subject we’ve sadly thoroughly researched).
We highly recommend having a meal here if you have more than a few days planned in Athens and want something other than Greek food – the owner is from San Francisco and knows exactly what ex-pats and long-term travelers miss while they’re abroad. They also have delicious hummus so it’s not all Greek blasphemy.
Either way, the drinks here are excellent so if you want an Instagrammy colorful umbrella photo, take yourself to Mama Roux.
Piraeus Train Station
Who doesn’t love a good train station photo? There’s something so elegant about these buildings, and the train station building in Piraeus is no exception.
Piraeus is Athens’ main port and a good beach destination if you’re looking to escape the heat in Athens in the summer without really having to leave the city. Snapping a photo in the train station on your way to visiting the beach in Piraeus is a great idea for dedicated Instagrammers.
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Erechtheion is part of the Acropolis, making up the Porch of the Caryatids with six gorgeously carved figures making up columns of this beautiful temple. It’s a unique place in the Acropolis and people won’t be crawling all over it the way they will be for the Parthenon.
To get this shot, you’ll want a zoom lens that is capable of capturing detail at this level – we’d recommend at least a 200mm zoom.
Visiting the Acropolis? We recommend booking a Skip the Line ticket to save time.
On the side of the Acropolis, you can find the Herodion, about halfway up the hill. It’s fenced off from the crowds, so it’s quite easy to get a shot without any people in it, which is great as opposed to other Greek theatres and stadiums where people are allowed to access it and crowd the photos.
Palm trees in Athens? Yes, you can find them at the National Garden, one of the best Instagram spots in Athens that’s a bit off the beaten path.
Omonia Street Art
Athens is home to so much great street art! There are several great neighborhoods for street art in Athens – we think Omonia, Exarcheia, and Plaka are the best for street art.
However, the best way to discover street art in Athens is definitely to take a guided tour, where you’ll be shown several of the most interesting and meaningful pieces of street art in the city. Check out the original Athens street art tour here.
Athens Olympic Sports Complex
If you want some interesting geometric backdrops for selfies or more creative travel pics, rather than the classic Athens Instagram spots like the Acropolis, then you definitely should check out the Athens Olympic Sports Complex.
It’s a little out of the way, but it’s so photogenic that it’s definitely worth a detour if you are keen on finding the best photography spots in Athens.
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As we said, Monastiraki has a ton of fantastic street art that is great to explore either independently or on a guided tour. This neighborhood is one of Athens’ more vibrant and unique, with tons of excellent nightlife, bars, cafés, and restaurants, so dedicate some time on your Athens trip to exploring this area.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
A bit apart from the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, this remarkably well-preserved series of columns is pretty much just chilling right off of a busy street in the middle of a park, which is classic Athens – ruins everywhere you look, even in the subway stations!
There won’t be many crowds here compared to the Acropolis, so you’ll have a more enjoyable time getting people-free photos here.
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Kalithea is a bit off the beaten path for most tourists but that’s part of what makes it such a great Athens Instagram spot. It’s a residential neighborhood (with a great Sephora!) and cheap Airbnb prices, but it also has some offbeat charm like this gorgeous rose-pink Greek orthodox church — without the crowds.
We just love the Athens metro – it’s reliable yet grungy, modern yet a bit antiquated with old graffitied cars and hints of Greek ruins in some stations near the Acropolis.
5 Things to Bring with You to Greece
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.
– A physical guidebook, on paper or Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in most of Greece is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places in Greece, especially on the island, where the water tastes like minerals.
We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Santorini roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
– Travel safety items. We think Greece is safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison nor I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.
It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
More Greece Travel Resources
First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a separate guide to tipping in Greece so you know what to give to different servers and staff while you’re here.
Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.
If you know you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Athens in winter.
Check these Athens safety tips for a hassle-free trip. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Don’t Travel to Athens without Travel Insurance
Finally, make sure you always travel to Athens with a valid travel insurance policy. While the city is a very safe place to travel these days, you want to make sure you have your possessions covered if they’re stolen and your medical bills covered if you get sick or injured. This is especially true if you plan on enjoying the city’s nightlife or going to very touristic areas.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
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Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.