Top 5 churches to visit in Athens

The churches from the city of Athens are beautiful historic places, some of them built over ancient Greek temples. Some of them are large and imposing, but most of them are small constructions, crammed between other buildings or… tucked under them! There are many churches to visit in Athens where you can admire Byzantine works of art, but here are my top choices. Make sure you don’t skip seeing them!

For each of the churches to visit in Athens, you may find:

  • the name of the Athens church and perhaps a photo or a video;
  • a short description of the Athens church;
  • visiting information including opening times, address and map location, telephone if available, and details on how to get there using public transport.

Top 5 churches to visit in Athens

1. Agios Nikolaos Ragavas
2. Agia Ekaterini
3. Agios Ioannis Theologos
4. Agia Dynami
5. Church of St. Isidore on Lycabettus Hill

Bonus:
Differences between various places of worship


Agios Nikolaos Ragavas church in Athens

Agios Nikolaos Ragavas

Agios Nikolaos Ragavas is located in Plaka, not far from the Anafiotika area. The church was built in the 11th century and it originally belonged to a Byzantine family called Ragavis, hence the name.

Time and the 1821 Revolution changed the appearance of church Agios Nikolaos Ragavas, though part of the original construction was restored in the 1970s.

Among the churches to visit in Athens, this one is a must for its historic importance in particular. It is supposed to be the first church to ring its bell in celebration of the liberation of Athens from under the Germans, in 1944.

Agios Nikolaos Ragavas
Opening times: Agios Nikolaos Ragavas is open daily between 08.00 and 12.00 and between 17.00 and 20.00.
Address: Prytaneiou 1, Athina 105 58, Greece | See on map
Public transport: Subway lines 1 (Green line) and 3 (Blue line) can take you as far as Monastiraki station. Subway line 2 (Red line) can take you as far as Acropoli station.
Tel. +30 21 0322 8193


Agia Ekaterini church in Athens

Agia Ekaterini

In the same neighborhood with Agios Nikolaos Ragavas, you’ll find the Church of Agia Ekaterini of the Church of St. Catherine. This Greek Orthodox place of worship replaced an old Greek temple dedicated to the mother goddess Artemis.

Even when the gates to Agia Ekaterini are locked, it’s still lovely to admire the construction and the beautiful garden surrounding it from a distance.

The setting is what makes Agia Ekaterini one of the top choices of churches to visit in Athens!

Agia Ekaterini
Opening times: The church of Agia Ekaterini is open daily between 08.00 and 12.00.
Address: Chairefontos 10, Athina 105 58, Greece | See on map
Public transport: Subway line 2 (Red line) can take you to the nearby Acropoli station.
Tel. +30 21 0322 8974


Agios Ioannis Theologos church in Athens

Agios Ioannis Theologos

Also in Plaka, you will find the small church of Agios Ioannis Theologos. It actually belongs to the larger church Agios Nikolaos Ragavas, which is within walking distance.

Agios Ioannis Theologos was raised at the end of the 11th century with a square cross shape of the foundation and an eight-sided Athenian dome. This is the common look of the Greek churches raised in that time.

What makes Agios Ioannis Theologos one of the most interesting churches to visit in Athens are the well-preserved paintings on its interior walls. They date back from the 13th century and are the work of a local artist.

Agios Ioannis Theologos
Opening timesProvide opening times.
Address: Athens 105 57, Greece | See on map
Public transport: Subway lines 2 (Red line) and 3 (Blue line) can take you to the nearby Syntagma stations. Tram lines 1 and 2 can also drop you off at the Syntagma tram station.


Agia Dynami church in Athens

Agia Dynami

This is my favorite among the churches to visit in Athens! Raised in the Byzantine era, the Agia Dynami Church (also known as Holy Power) is a place where pregnant women pray for safe delivery.

When Athens was going through its fast urbanization processes in the 1950s, the municipal government wanted to raise in this very spot the Ministry of Education and Religion. (Currently the building of the Electra Metropolis Hotel.) They found it easy to relocate the people who lived in the area near Syntagma Square. However, the Greek Orthodox Church refused to relocate this little gem of a church, and the city just had to grow around it.

Much like the Christian Orthodox religion, this is a symbol of the resilience of tradition in front of the modern world.

Agia Dynami
Opening timesProvide opening times.
Address: Voulis 31-33, Athina 105 57, Greece | See on map
Public transport: Subway lines 2 (Red line) and 3 (Blue line) can take you to the nearby Syntagma stations. Tram lines 1 and 2 can also drop you off at the Syntagma tram station.


St. Isidore church in Athens, on Lycabettus Hill

Church of St. Isidore on Lycabettus Hill

A visit to St. Isidore comes with a great view of Athens. You can go up on Lycabettus Hill by taking a funicular or by hiking. Either way, you choose to climb to the highest point of Athens, you’re in for a treat!

Church of St. Isidore
Opening times: Provide opening times. 
Address: PΜονοπατι Λυκαβηττου, Athina 114 71, Greece | See on map
Public transport: Subway line 3 (Blue line) can take you as far as the Evangelismos or Megaro stations. From there, you can go on foot on the streets, then up on Lycabettus Hill. To go up the hill, you can also take the funicular.
Tel. +30 21 0363 3282


Differences between various places of worship

Being from Romania, where most of the population is Christian Orthodox, I was very used to the look and scent of the Greek Orthodox Churches, as it felt familiar. Mathieu, however, who comes from a Catholic family, was surprised every time by how small the Greek churches were, how crammed with furniture and icons, and how strong was the incense smell.

To make it less of a shock, I recommend you watch just a few minutes from Mr. Ibrahim and the flowers of the Quran, where Momo learns how to recognize a Catholic church, an Orthodox church, and a mosque just by their scents:

If you have time, you should watch the entire movie or even read the book it was made after: Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran, by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt.



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9 Thoughts to “Top 5 churches to visit in Athens”

  1. Sippin Gypsy

    Old churches, monasteries and cathedrals are some of my favorite spots to see in old cities! This is a great list!

  2. Kemi

    That tiny Orthodox Church is so cute! Glad it stood its ground and let the city develop round it. Very unique architecture these churches have.

  3. Great list- we love architecture and churches tended to have the most advanced, beautiful architecture of their times- so they are great places to visit!

  4. I always love visiting different places of worship on my travels. It’s so interesting to see how they all differ, not to mention the architecture is beautiful!

  5. alison

    I love visiting small churches, they are such a gem and wow 11th century. Amazing they are still standing and in use. So awesome that Athens had to build around the church.

  6. I am always fascinated by the architecture of churches, and so this was very interesting to read. Will be a very helpful resource for planning my Athens trip 🙂

  7. Churches are always on my Visit list when I visit a place. Especially old ones, How could they build so amazing so many years ago?

  8. I’m a weird mix of Catholic and Orthodox because of my parents. It really is different the way they set up the churches. I love icons personally. It’d be so fun to visit these places 🙂

  9. So nice to visit different kind of churches and places of worship when traveling. I love seeing the different architectural styles:)

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