Every runner who makes it across the finish line at the Panathenaic stadium, birthplace of the modern Olympics, is greeted with a hero’s applause—regardless of speed, age, or nationality. Many athletes burst into tears, exhausted and emotional. Witnessing these runners finish the race of their lives at such an epic venue is a memorable experience in itself—not to be missed if you’re in Athens, especially if you’re travelling with kids. There’s music, live commentary and the excitement is at fever-pitch.
Take our advice and head to the stadium around 10-10.30am to secure a seat on the marble tiers. You can soak up the party atmosphere and catch the first victorious runners entering the stadium, usually around 11am. Try for a spot on either side of the stadium entrance or right at the back in the centre, where the actual finish line is.
Some other great vantage points are at the 40km mark, outside the Megaron Athens Concert Hall, or a bit further up Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, outside the Hilton hotel. This is where the runners really need you to cheer them on for their final burst of endurance. There’s a grassy pocket across the road from the Hilton that makes a symbolic spectator’s choice. It’s right next to Dromeas (The Runner), a 12-metre tall glass and iron sculpture by local artist Costas Varotsos.
Instagram addicts should head a little further out of the city centre to the Katehaki pedestrian bridge at the 37.5km mark, where you can snap a dramatic aerial view of the colourful stream of runners as they pass below (the closest metro station is Ethniki Amyna).