Spend the perfect 2 days in Athens using this ideal travel itinerary for first time visitors. A genuine and realistic guide by a local on what to do in Athens in 2 days.
Athens – The birthplace of democracy, and cradle of Western civilization. I also call it home.
I've been living here in Athens for just over five years now, and have enjoyed discovering its landmarks and monuments, its creativity and energy.
During this time, I've personally visited all the major historic sites in Athens, nearly 80 museums, dozens of art galleries, and discovered cool areas with street art.
When family and friends come over, I of course offer to show them all the best places to visit in Athens. As a result, I've created this sightseeing itinerary for Athens based on the same one I used when my brother, nephew, and niece visited a couple of years ago.
It's a first-time visitors guide designed to show the highlights of the historic center of Athens at a nice easy pace. It also suggests some key museums to see, where to sample the best Greek cuisine, and reveals some of the creative underbelly of contemporary Athens.
If you are researching what to see and do in 48 hours in Athens, hopefully you'll find it useful too!
Two Days in Athens is enough… just
Many people traveling to Greece tend to stay in Athens for just a couple of days before moving on to visit the Greek islands. In fact, I noticed that the Athens- Santorini – Mykonos itinerary over 7 days is a popular one for first time visitors.
It made sense then to create an Athens city break itinerary for 2 days. Of course, if you can stay longer in Athens it would be great as you'd experience a lot more.
2 days in Athens is enough time though to see all the essential highlights, landmarks and attractions.
Things to do in Athens
What is there to see in Athens then? Well, the ancient ruins and monuments are top of most people's list when visiting for 2 days in Athens. These include:
- The Acropolis and Parthenon – UNESCO World Heritage Site and city icon.
- The Ancient Agora – The ancient market center of Athens with rebuilt Stoa.
- Monastiraki Square – A hub of activity, and where to buy souvenirs in Athens.
- The Temple of Zeus – Monumental stone columns with Acropolis view.
- Panathenaic Stadium – Reconstructed sporting stadium and birthplace of modern Olympic Games.
- The Acropolis Museum – One of the best museums in Greece.
There are also off the beaten path areas in modern Athens where you can get a feel for it's artistic, and sometimes edgy contemporary side. Then there's the street art, coffee culture, museums, and food scene to consider.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be! This Athens itinerary gives you a taste of it all. You can either follow it step by step, or pick out the parts you find most interesting to create your own schedule.
At the end of this Athens guide, I'll also give you some other travel blog posts to check out that will help you plan your trip .
Athens 2 Day Itinerary
An easy to follow itinerary for sightseeing in Athens. You can use the links below to jump to specific sections that interest you the most, or read through from top to bottom.
- Day 1 in Athens
- Day 2 in Athens
Day 1 in Athens
A few notes before we leap into the first day in Athens:
An early start is recommended both in summer (so you can have a nice long lunch in the heat of the day) and in winter (as site opening hours are shorter).
You should also keep in mind that daylight can end at 20.30 during the summer in Athens, but hours earlier in winter.
Additionally, the best way to see Athens is on foot, so a bit of walking is required. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat for the sun, and have a bottle of water to hand. Ok, let's begin!
Syntagma Square and Changing of the Guards
Most people spending 48 hours in Athens choose to stay in the historic center. You can either walk or take a metro to the starting point at Syntagma Square in central Athens.
Buy a koulouri or two from the seller opposite the metro entrance, and take a look at the square. This is where the majority of the political protests and demonstrations take place, but on most days it's just a normal central square!
Take an obligatory photo by the fountain, and then walk up the stairs for photos of the Parliament Building. Cross the road, and find a good position to see the changing of the guards in front of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is positioned just in front of the Athens Parliament Building. This is guarded day and night, by two Evzone guards. On the hour, every hour, the guards change and is a one-of-a-kind spectacle not to be missed!
We were there at 11.00 on a Wednesday. On Sundays at the same time, the ceremony is a hugely elaborate affair. If you have 2 days in Athens, and one day is a Sunday, be sure to plan your day around this!
Botanical Gardens and Zappion
When the Evzone guard changing ceremony has finished, head up to the National Garden. A rare area of greenery in the city center, it was originally known as the Royal Gardens, and is home to over 500 species of trees and bushes.
You'll also pass a building known as the Zappion on the way through to the Panathenaic. The Zappion is a grand looking neo-classical building that today holds some events and exhibitions.
Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
The walk from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier takes five or ten minutes depending how long you spend in the Gardens and Zappeion. You'll cross a busy road, and then see the stadium.
If you are into sports like my family are, you'll want to go inside the Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. There's a small museum with memorabilia, and you can also walk out on the track
You can get decent enough photos from the outside without paying to go in. Note, if you do go inside the stadium, you should allow to add on about a half hour to your itinerary.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Some people decide not to include the Temple of Zeus on their 2 days in Athens things to see list, but I think that's a mistake.
To me, it is one of the more impressive temples in Athens. It may not be complete, some of the repair work may be questionable, but the sheer size of the columns is amazing.
Additionally, you get a good view of both the temple and the Acropolis in the background if you choose your angle wisely!
By visiting here first, you get the opportunity to buy the combined ticket for archaeological spaces in Athens with very minimal queues. It's far better to do this than join a massive line for tickets at the Acropolis!
This is located just outside of the Temple of Zeus, and is on the walking route to the Acropolis. The Arch was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and remarkably it has survived through to this day.
This Athens attraction is really just a quick pit-stop here before crossing the road. If you get the camera angle right, you can see the Acropolis on the hill behind it.
Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
Although you would reach the Acropolis Museum before the Acropolis, you might prefer to visit the Acropolis first. It really depends on the time of day and crowds. Whatever you do, you want to avoid being on top of the Acropolis in the midday heat – even in spring and autumn – as it's just too hot.
The highlight of many people's city break in Athens, and for good reason. Its imposing form still dominates the central city, and it was the real heart of Ancient Athens. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see in Athens.
Depending on the time of year, there may be two entrances operating to the Acropolis complex. If open, it's better to take the lower entrance, which gives access to the lower slopes, and includes the Theatre of Dionysus, and the Odeion of Herodes Attikus. If you already have your combined ticket, you'll get in much quicker.
The Odeion of Herodes Atticus is actually my favourite part of the Acropolis complex in Athens.
Once at the top of the Acropolis, you'll then see the significant buildings such as the Parthenon, Erecthion, Temple of Athena Nike, and Propylaia. Note that the Caryatids you see here are replicas, with the real ones on display in the Acropolis Museum.
Personal notes from the Acropolis:
It goes without saying, that you have to include visiting the Acropolis and Parthenon on a 2 days in Athens tour itinerary! In a way, I always find it more impressive looking up at the Acropolis and Parthenon than being on the top of it.
It seems each time I visit, there are more cranes and scaffolding. Of course, there are parts of it which are amazing such as the Erechtheion. The views out over Athens are also amazing.
If you are interested in having a guided tour of the Acropolis, you can find out more here – ** Acropolis Guided Tours **
This museum gives a good overview of how the Parthenon and other parts of the Acropolis may have looked thousands of years ago.
Many people claim this to be one of the best museums in Athens. I have a slightly different, more controversial opinion about it here – Acropolis Museum in Athens.
This is a museum where it would really be a good idea to have a tour, or use an audio guide. The museum has a cafe with a great view of the Acropolis. If you are flagging, it's a good place to stop for a coffee or even a meal.
Lunch in Plaka
You're bound to be hungry by now, so if you've not eaten at the museum, take a walk over to Plaka and find a place to eat. Now, I'll be honest and say this is a very touristy area, but the food is nice even if it can be busy at times.
One place I recommend is Scholarhio, and if it's too busy to get a table, try nearby To Kafeneio.
Walk around Anafiotika and Plaka
After you've taken a long lunch, and you're refuelled and ready to go, it's time to explore the Plaka area. There's no real science to this – just wander around the alleyways and streets that look the most interesting.
One area to make your way towards (ask at either restaurant if you're not sure where), is Anafiotika. This is an intriguing little settlement at the base of the Acropolis, who's white-washed walls make you feel like you are on a Greek Cycladic island!
In fact, there may be some truth to this. Urban legend has it that settles from the island of Anafi built this small village.
Monastiraki Square and metro station is another central point in Athens, and one you'll return to on day 2 in Athens. In this area, you can spend time wandering the side streets and looking in the shops. This might be a good time to buy souvenirs and postcards if you are into that sort of thing.
On Sundays, the bric-a-brac stores are supplemented by even more people selling old goods, antiques and curiosities. This is the Monastiraki Flea Market, and a cool place to explore if you have time.
360 Bar for drinks and view of the Acropolis
Opposite Monastiraki Metro Station is perhaps the most famous roof-top bar with a view of the Acropolis in Athens. It's very popular though, so you may even need to reserve a table to be guaranteed a seat, especially for sunset.
Evening meal and drinks
You'll find good food everywhere in Athens, but some places really stand out. One place I might suggest for a treat is the Mani Mani restaurant, which I enjoyed eating at.
It gets consistently good ratings, but you will most likely need to reserve a table, especially in the summer. You can find Mani Mani restaurant at: Falirou 10, Athina 117 42 which is about a 3 min walk from the Acropolis Museum.
Day 2 in Athens
I hope you got a good nights sleep, as there's still plenty of things to see in Athens on day two! Today's schedule has two options for the late afternoon.
One, is to visit the National Archaeological Museum and see the sunset at Lycabettus Hill. The other, is to take a half-day trip to Cape Sounion to see the sunset at the Temple of Poseidon (recommended).
Monastiraki Square – Hadrian's Library
Today's starting point is Monastiraki Square, which you can either reach by foot or by metro. Opposite the metro station is the sit of Hadrian's Library. I hope you kept your combined ticket from yesterday, as you can also use it here!
The Library of Hadrian is an interesting place to walk around, but it shouldn't take too long. There's a couple of potentially good angles to get the Acropolis in the background.
The Roman Agora is a small site that doesn't take long to look around. One point of interest is the Temple of the Winds which has recently been refurbished.
Although it has a far lower profile than the Acropolis that towers over it, the Agora of Athens is just as important in terms of its significance. It was a central point in the lives of ancient Athenians, and a place where they would trade, make deals, and talk politics.
I have visited the Ancient Agora a number of times, and have a more in-depth article about it here >> Ancient Agora Sightseeing Guide.
Start off in the Museum of the Ancient Agora first (in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos), and then wander through the archaeological site until you reach the Temple of Hephaistos.
This is by far the best preserved temple in Greece. The Ancient Agora is one of my favourite places to visit in Athens. You'll need to allow around a hour and a half for both museum and archaeological space.
This is the ancient cemetery of Athens, and some circular tombs date back to the bronze age. It's one of the least visited sites, and I'd suggest only visiting it if you have the combined ticket anyway.
I found after visiting a couple of times that it gave me a greater insight into the layout of the city of Ancient Athens, as well as added to my knowledge of the culture. For most people visiting for just a couple of days in Athens, it might not be the best use of your time.
Allow a half hour to wander around the site and see the small museum.
In a change from the ‘ancient stuff' of Athens, the industrial museum of Technopolis might be of interest. Once the site of a gasworks, it is now a museum and also hosts events, festivals, and exhibitions.
It's worth taking a walk there to see if there's any event happening, and also walking around the museum. The surrounding area of Gazi is a good place to go out at night for a drink, and there are also a couple of live music venues in the area.
Lunch at Gazi or Psirri
If you're feeling immediately hungry, head to one of the cafes and tavernas around Technopolis in Gazi for a meal. If you can last a half hour longer though, walk through to the Psirri neighbourhood.
In Psiri, there is a nice square with a number of tavernas and restaurants. There's also a place called Nancy's Sweet Home who specialise in desserts – it would be criminal not to try a big slice of cake from here!
Central Market Athens and Street Art
This indoor market is normally an eye opener with people who have only ever shopped at a supermarket! You'll get to see the fish and meat on display, complete with entrails, eyeballs, and pigs heads!
Opposite the indoor market, is the fruit and veg market, where you'll find some of the tastiest produce in Europe.
You'll often find visits to both these places included on an Athens food tour. Make sure to include a visit to the central markets on your own things to do in Athens itinerary!
Once you've finished in there, it's time to check out some street art by going graffiti hunting next to the Psiri area. Basically head down any side street and alley, and hope you discover something interesting!
Afternoon Option 1 – National Archaeological Museum and sunset on Mount Lycabettus
This is the first of two options for the afternoon of your last full day in Athens. A 5-10 minute walk away from Psirri, is the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Contained inside is the country's finest collection of exhibits and artifacts from all periods of Greek history.
It's a big place, and you should allow at least 3 hours to do it some justice. It might not be for everyone, but this is my favourite museum in all of Greece, and one of my choices for best museums in the world.
After finishing here, take the walk up Lycabettus Hill for outstanding views, and watch the sunset!
Afternoon Option 2 – Temple of Poseidon at Sounio and sunset
Spending the late afternoon and sunset out at the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is perhaps the most popular half-day trip from Athens. The drive out takes you along the Athenian Riviera, and on arrival, you see the remains of a Temple dedicated to Poseidon in a stunning setting.
This temple is said to be one third of a sacred triangle. The other two points are made up by the Parthenon and the temple on Aegina. Check it out on a map, and see what you think. Coincidence or deliberate planning?
It's also perfectly aligned for a magnificent sunset – possibly one of the most memorable in Greece. Find out more here about a tour to Cape Sounio.
Hard Rock Cafe in Athens
There's plenty of choice for your evening meal and drinks. One that sometimes gets overlooked (because it's not exactly very Greek!) is the Hard Rock Cafe near Monastiraki Station. They do a range of food and beer, and it's a nice little venue.
What on earth a bass guitar from Wham was doing in there though, I have no idea! Note – Many people would choose to visit one of the rooftop bars in Athens instead. I'll write an Athens guide about rooftop bars at some point in the future!
What to do in Athens 2023 update
As mentioned in this guide to 48 hours in Athens, the itinerary is one that I actually used for visiting family. Of course, there is plenty more to see in the city!
As I sometimes get asked questions in the comments below (and feel free to leave a comment!), I've included a few answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Athens here.
Can you see Athens in 2 days?
2 days in Athens is enough time to see the main highlights and attractions of Athens. With this Athens itinerary for two days you can visit Ancient Greek ruins like the Acropolis, world class museums, dine at local tavernas, enjoy the views from rooftop cafes, and still have time left over to take a half-day tour to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.
Is Athens safe to visit?
Athens is a safe capital city when compared to other capitals around the world. There are few major crimes affecting tourists, although petty crime can occur. There are a couple of neighborhoods that less confident people might wish to avoid walking in at night which include Omonia, Exarchia, and Metaxourgeio but they are not necessarily dangerous, just less salubrious than others.
Can you visit the Acropolis without a guide?
The Acropolis is the most famous archaeological site in Athens, with the Parthenon and other notable buildings contributing to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While you can visit the Acropolis yourself, a guided tour is the best way to appreciate it more fully.
How do I get from Athens airport to city center?
To get to Athens city center from the airport, you can choose between taxi, bus, and metro services. Taxis are generally quicker but more expensive, the X95 bus is the cheapest but slowest, and the Athens airport metro is the happy medium in between.
What is the best location to stay in Athens for 2 nights?
The best places to stay in Athens for two nights are near the historic center. Syntagma Square, Plaka, Monastiraki, and Kolonaki are all good neighborhoods to stay in Athens within walking distance of the important historical sites such as the Acropolis.
How many days in Athens?
As with any major city, the more time you give it, the more you will appreciate it! Certainly, if you are into museums, Athens has plenty of them!
I've been running a personal project to visit all the museums in Athens, and have so far reached 50 out of more than 80 museums I know about. If you were to visit even 4 a day, that would be 20 days in Athens!
Seriously though, if you are a regular visitor who is spending time in Athens before moving on to other parts of Greece, then 2 or even 3 days is fine. I think 5 would be ideal, but only if you are a long-term traveller where time isn't an issue.
3 Days in Athens
My Athens itinerary is pretty easy to expand upon for people who want to spend longer in the city.
For anyone considering spending 3 days in Athens, I would suggest including the Benaki and Cycladic art museums. There's also the choice of taking one of many day trips from Athens , including the popular day trip to Delphi.
One Day in Athens
I realise that there are also occasions where people only have one day in Athens. Normally, this is because of a cruise ship just allowing the one day in the city, or perhaps you just have day in Athens before catching a flight or ferry to one of the islands.
If this is the case with you, I believe you could still see the highlights of Athens in a day, but it would be a bit of a rush. My suggested one day Athens sightseeing itinerary for that would be:
- Changing of the Guards
- Temple of Zeus
- Acropolis museum
- Ancient Agora
- Psiri neighbourhood
- Rooftop bar for evening meal and drinks
I've got a full itinerary here: How to spend one day in Athens.
Where to stay in Athens
Of all the different areas to choose from, I would say the best place to stay in Athens is near the Acropolis. This way, you are within the historic centre itself, and just a short walk away from all the attractions.
Other nice areas to stay in Athens include Plaka, Monastiraki and Syntagma Square. If you are planning a trip to Athens, and are looking for where to stay, this blog post will be of great help. – Hotels Near the Acropolis in Athens.
Pin this Athens guide for later
If you have any questions about things to see in Athens or would like help planning an Athens Greece itinerary, check out the comments below.
Don't see your question answered there? Leave a comment and I'll get back to you!
For more guides and travel tips for planning a city break in Athens, sign up for my free Athens guides here – ** Free guides to Athens and Greece **
Dave is a Greek travel blogger and writer originally from the UK, and now living in Athens. In addition to writing this guide on how to create a perfect Athens itinerary for a 2 day visit, he's created hundreds of other insightful travel guides to destinations all over Greece. Follow Dave on social media for travel tips from Greece and beyond:
Such a great guide, thanks so much for taking the time to put it together. I’ve just come back from 3 night/2 days in Athens. Following the guide, I easily managed to cover all the major attractions
Patty NETH says
I love your blogs and am using them to plan a trip through Greece. In your two day Athens blog, you talk about getting a pass to use. I can’t find where you say what pass to get. I would appreciate any help you can give me!
Dave Briggs says
Glad the blogs are coming in useful!
The pass is the multi-site pass for the historic sites in Athens. if you plan to visit all of them, it is worth getting. If you only want to go to 2 or 3 sites, individual entrance fees are better.
To get the multi site pass, ask for it when you go to your first site – I recommend visiting Temple of Zeus first as the queues there are normally smaller and there’s less pressure to communicate with the people in the ticket office.
Lou Kaniko says
Hi Dave! I recognize you from your YouTube cycling videos in Greece, especially the ones where you are riding through remote mountain villages above Nafpaktos, then to Delphi. My grandparents are from those mountain villages you’ve been through, and I am taking my 15 year old daughter to Greece for the first time ever (for her ‘Sweet 16’ birthday present), so that she can meet her relatives, and see the country. We are spending 3 weeks there, and are super excited! My question is this – do places there take American Express cards, as I will be bringing 2 of those, and one Mastercard. I am bringing mostly cash to be exchanged for Euros at large banks in Athens, Patras, etc., which will be secured in ‘pickpocket proof’ special tactical shorts (also keeping our passports and vaccine cards there), as i’ve had the misfortune of ATM machines ‘eating up’ my credit/debit cards in the past, and not being able to retrieve them until the bank opens up the next day! My only concern would be when visiting beaches to swim, and having to leave or hide the cash in our AirBandB, etc. Am I out of my mind, or what? Do I have any other ‘money options’ rather than a credit/debit card or cold hard cash? Thanks in advance!
Dave Briggs says
I hope the videos gave you a taste of the area and you enjoy your time retracing the steps of your ancestors!
Visa and Mastercard are the most accepted cards. American Express is probably least accepted, as it has higher fees for the retailers.
I would be extremely wary of bringing too much cash – you’ll loose on exchange rates, and there’s always a risk that it will disappear.
If you do go ahead, I strongly suggest not using the Athens metro while carrying it.
Leaving it in hotels (especially if they have a safe) is ok. I’m not sure about AirBnbs. If you look at Booking you might find apartments similar or better than AirBnB.
In terms of other cards, I would suggest taking a look at Wise. It would give you an extra card, it’s designed for traveling, and has great exchange rates. I use Wise and Revolut myself when traveling.
Assuming you are traveling next year, you’ve got plenty of time to apply for them and use the services to see if you think they will offer you another option when overseas.
Additional note: When in Greece, Avoid the Eurobank ATM machines which are notoriously bad for exchange rates!
Just wanted to confirm, did you walk to all these places on your 48h itinerary? I’ll be staying at a hostel by Monastiraki station and will be relying on public transit/my own two feet to get around.
Love this btw!
Dave Briggs says
Yes I did (and have done many times!).
This Athens itinerary is easy doable in 48 hours.
By staying in Monastiraki you’ll be right in the centre of things as well, making it even easier.
gee waller says
you seem to have the most popular 2 day athens itinerary on the internet! 🙂
slightly different question for you, we plan to make a base somewhere in greece and do daily road trips to different sites. have you any recommendations where would make a good base? we’ll fly into athens, pick car up and drive to our base on day one. don’t mind driving about 3hrs from athens i guess? to get to said base.
i don’t want to make athens my base as we’ll come back there to stay for a couple of days sightseeing at the end.
Dave Briggs says
Thanks for the compliment on the itinerary – I’m glad you found it useful!
I’ve been thinking about your idea of making a base and taking day trips from there by driving.
Difficult to answer, because you could say that the Peloponnese is one section, and that the rest of mainland Greece is another.
My recommendation, would be to concentrate on the Peloponnese as there is a lot of history and great beaches as well.
You have UNESCO sites like Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia and Mystras.
There’s also plenty of Venetian castles such as Methoni and Koroni.
In terms of bases, I’d suggest two – a few days in Nafplion, and then a few days in Kalamata.
I hope this helps!
Here’s a road trip we took in the south Peloponnese.
In terms of the rest of Greece, you could consider basing yourselves in Kalambaka which is the town near Meteora.
From here, you could cover most of the significant places of interest nearby.
Next week, I’ll have a blog post live about a road trip in the Mani area – which is simply an amazing place in the Peloponnese!
I hope this helps in some way!
We loved reading your in depth posts on Athens and Greece.
We need your suggestion for our upcoming trip:
We are a small family of 3 and we would be travelling with our 16 month old daughter. We are reaching Athens on 3rd June at around 12 PM and have an onward ferry to Mykonos on 5th June at 7 30 AM.
Just wanted to know what all can we cover in Athens in 1 1/2 days with the baby.?
We are staying very close to the Acropolis, at Thalou Street, Plaka. We just wanted to know whether we should book the 30 Euro combo ticket online from the Ministry of Culture website, or should just buy them when we are there.
Another thing, can we instead buy the combo ticket at the Temple of Olympian Zeus just to beat the long lines at the acropolis gate(since its barely 200 mtrs from where we are staying).
Furthermore, do we need to stand in line again to get the free ticket for our baby, even if we have booked the combo ticket online for my husband and I.
Please also suggest what all can we do in Athens around Plaka/Syntagma/Monastiraki area with the baby besides the Acropolis, Acroplis Museum, Panathenaic Stadium and other historical sights.(Are these areas Stroller friendly)?
Eagerly awaiting your response.
Dave Briggs says
I hope you are having a good week so far!
I’ll just answer your questions in brief here:
1. Yes, you can cover Athens in 1.5 days with baby as well. Check out this additional post on how to spend 1 day in Athens. Between these two posts, you should get a nice little itinerary suitable for you together.
2. I would recommend getting your combo ticket at the Temple of Olympian Zeus,(and starting there for archaeological sites). You need to walk out to the site in any case, so you might as well begin there, and sort out baby’s ticket at the same time.
3. There is a nice walk from the Acropolis museum which goes all the way around the Acropolis on stroller friendly pavements. Please note however, Athens isn’t the most accessible city for strollers or wheel chairs. The Acropolis being a case in point – You will most likely need to collapse the stroller and carry baby at some points.
4. For other suggestions – personally I think you’ll have enough to do in your time, especially with plenty of coffee breaks in the shade every now and again.
Enjoy your time in Athens!
Hello Dave! Thank you for your detailed 2 days in Athens. We are staying really close to the Acropolis Museum and were wondering if you Can suggests any rooftop places for dinner and places to see. Do you recommend a day trip to Cape Sounion? We will spend 2 days in Naxos and I’m not sure if you have been there but if you have any suggestions we would appreciate it.
Dave Briggs says
You’ve got a lovely central location there!
For rooftop dinners/meals – the Acropolis Museum itself has a rooftop eating area.
Many of the hotels with rooftop views are also good places to eat – Point A Herodion Hotel for example. Skyfall bar and restaurant is another option.
I do recommend taking the late afternoon tour to Sounion. More info here – Cape Sounion Tour
Here’s some info on Naxos – Naxos Guide
Finally, please come along and join our Facebook community where you can ask any questions you may have! – Real Greek Experiences
Thank you for such detailed information about Athens and Greece! My husband and I are planning our honeymoon in Greece in August. We are excited but a little overwhelmed while trying to plan a good itinerary.
We are spending 3 days 2 nights in Athens, then flying from Athens to Santorini on the third day in the evening. We are looking for a hotel in Plaka. We will then spend 4 nights in Santorini.
1) We are looking at your two day itinerary for Athens and seems like we may follow most of it as it is covering most of the major sites. Is there any changes you would make since it’s just going to be the two of us without kids?
2) Any must sights/ activity to do in Santorini in your opinion? Is renting a car or ATV in Santorini the ideal transportation mode?
Thank you for reading my comment and for any inputs you may have!
Dave Briggs says
I hope you’re enjoying the weekend so far!
I wouldn’t suggest any changes to your Athens, but a more recent post I wrote might help you fill it out a bit more – 3 days in Athens.
Renting a car for a day or maybe two is a good way to see other parts of Santorini.
I’ve got another guide you might be interested in here – 3 days in Santorini
Have a great vacation in Greece!
I am travelling to Greece in June this year.
1)How is the climate supposed to be there in June ?
2)Is sightseeing easy and possible via own transport ?
3)How easy is renting self driven cars and moving around Athens. What is a good operator you would suggest for renting self driven cars ?
4)Is the hop-on hop-off city tours and gourmet food tasting tours worth the money they charge ?
Dave Briggs says
Apologies for the delay in response – I missed you somehow!
1. I love the climate in June. Warm, but not insanely hot. Waters just about warm enough to swim comfortably.
2. Sightseeing in Athens is better done on foot. If travelling around the country, a car is best. Look here – plan a road trip in Greece.
3. Yes, you can hire cars in Athens easily. No specific operators to mention. You can either hire and collect at the airport,or arrange in the centre (note – it’s best not to drive in Athens itself unless you have to).
4. I don’t think the hop on is worth it unless you are coming in on a cruise and have limited time in the city (like a day). Food tasting tours are worth it for a taste of local cuisine, and can be combined with some sightseeing. This is a good example – Athens Gourmet Food Tour.
David Hill says
Hi Dave Thanks for your advice. I had a feeling that the Plaka was a bit out of the way on day 2 but did not realize it was close to the Agora so i will follow your advice. I am heading off today for Myanma snd a slow boat trip down th Irawaddy from Mandalay to Randoon so I will follow up your advice on Santorini and Crete at a later date.
Thanks again David
We (2 adults) will be visiting Athens on 21-23 Jan 2019 for the 1st time after transiting through the airport from Crete for the last 6 years. We are stopping in the centre and are planning to buy a 3 day metro tourist pass as this gives us transfer to/from the airport. Is everything open in Jan, and what is the winter price for the multi tour ticket you mention? Thanks
Dave Briggs says
Everything is open in January – just with reduced opening hours. For example, the Acropolis will close at 15.00 as will the Ancient Agora. The Acropolis Museum is open until 20.00 though, so you could leave that for the late afternoon.
In terms of the multi ticket, I think it best you check when you get there.
Last year, the entry tickets to all sites in winter was reduced by half, but the multi-ticket wasn’t – meaning you would have been better off paying individual tickets.
If you head to the Temple of Zeus as your first site, you can ask them there and do a quick math check.
You should be able to comfortable visit both the Temple of Zeus and Acropolis before 15.00 even with a later start.
Cindy L Lu says
My brother and I with our spouses are visiting Greece after a family reunion in Santorini. Here is what I am thinking. I would love your input:
Day1: Fly from Santorini around noon to Athens. Get a rental car at the airport and drive to Delphi. Stay in Delphi.
Day2: Tour Delphi. Drive to Olympia, stay in Olympia.
Day3: Tour Olympia. Drive to Nafplio, stay in Nafplio.
Day4: Tour Nafplio, drive through Mycenae, Nemea, Corinth before driving back to Athens airport to return the car. Stay in Athens
Day5: Tour Athens. Stay in Athens for another night or fly to Rome Italy.
1. Any suggestions on the itinerary?
2. Is rental car a good idea for four of us? Or public transportation a good alternative?
3. Will I need a full day in day 5 in Athens? I don’t want to arrive Rome in the dark. So if we need more than half day in Athens in day5, I would stay in Athens and fly in the morning to Rome.
Dave Briggs says
I hope you are well.
Your itinerary sounds great!
Your longest drive will be from Delphi to Olympia I think – but perfectly doable.
Allow at least 1.5 hours sightseeing for both Mycenae and Nemea.
Corinth has two sites – ancient Corinth and AcroCorinth – to do both allow 3 hours.
You’ll probably arrive in Athens a little late to do anything, so I would suggest a full day on day 5.
It will be far easier in a hire car than using public transport. With four of you, luggage may be a bit tight, so something to consider when choosing the vehicle.
Have a wonderful time in Greece!
PS – If you haven’t already, sign up for my free travel guides to Greece on this page!
Hi Dave, I’m currently living in Thessaloniki and will be able to spend around 5 days on holiday.
I am planning to arrive in Athens on January 2, 2019, and will tour the whole day. Would you recommend that I go to Santorini then just for a day trip on January 3? Are there any tourist spots or museums in Athens that I can visit in the evening when I get back from Santorini so I can maximize my stay?
Then I am considering signing up for a multi-day tour of Epidaurus, Mycenae, Nafplion, Olympia and Delphi from January 4-6. The tour has a lot of positive reviews so I feel it is worth the money 🙂
Thanks in advance!
Dave Briggs says
Apologies for the late reply!
I’d question what you could do in Santorini for a day trip – but I’d love to hear from you to see how it went if you choose to go ahead!
I think it comes down to how many hours you have on the island.
You’d probably just want to go to Oia if you had only a few.
Keep in mind it’s an hour from Athens centre to the airport in terms of travel time, let alone how early you might need to be at the airport.
Jan 3rd is a Thursday I think – Check out the Benaki museum. There are several different buildings, some of which open til 23.30 on a Thursday – but you might want to check so close to the New year.
As for the tour – probably a great way to see those sites in a condensed amount of time.
Enjoy your tour of Greece!
We are planning a two day trip in Athens with two kids (6,3). I plan to stick to your itinerary.
Can you please tell me what tickets I need to buy to get inside all these places you have mentioned. I will skip Hard Rock cafe though. And What transport you used between the places. Is there Uber or I need to rely on public transport?
Dave Briggs says
If you want to see an extra site as well (Kerameikos), then I would say get the multi-site pass for the ancient sites in Athens. Start off at the Temple of Zeus, and that way you will avoid the queues for tickets at the Acropolis.
For your younger kid – Note that strollers/pushchairs are not really viable for the Acropolis.
In terms of getting around Athens – This itinerary is all possible on foot. You would just need to get the metro in from where you are staying into the centre. If you are staying in the centre anyway, then it’s all possible on foot.
There’s plenty of places to stop for a coffee, ice-cream so if the kids get tired walking around Athens, they can take mini-breaks.
Uber doesn’t work in Athens (I don’t think). Use the metro wherever you need to – it’s clean and efficient and alos affordable compared to other European cities.
Sign up for my free travel guides to help you plan your trip even more! – Free guides to Greece.
Love your posts and emails! My friend and I will be arriving December 24 and so far I’ve noticed many things are closed the 25th and 26th. Although we are excited to be there we want to make the most of our time. Any suggestions on things that may be open or available on those days?
Dave Briggs says
I hope you are well and enjoying the weekend!
Yes a lot of the archaeological spaces will be closed on those dates.
If you have time, try to see what you can on the 24th!
Unfortunately, your options are going to be limited when it comes to visiting archaeological spaces or museums.
If you like admiring things from the outside (and actually the Acropolis looks better at different angles from outside), then this is the time to enjoy quiet strolls around the historic centre. You can come up with a route along the pedestrianised street that circles the Acropolis, and visit Plaka, Anafiotika, and more.
The changing of the guard also happens every day including holidays at Syntagma.
You could also check out the different neighbourhoods for street art, such as Exarcheia
After that, it’s more about social things – there’s a bar called Noel you should Google, and also a cool little cafe called Little Kook which is a must see.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful – I think really it’s best to spend the daylight hours walking around the city absorbing the sights, and the evenings checking out any bars or restaurants that might be open.
You could also contact the local couchsurfing community (which is quite active in Athens) – you never know, they might be organising a party or two!
I’m heading to Athens tomorrow and just saw your 2 day itinerary. I am there for 4 days and am wondering if there enough to see and do. Any suggestions for 4 days! Please… would be much appreciated.
Dave Briggs says
I guess you’re in Athens now – so welcome!!
You can definitely spread it out and see more – there’s tonnes of museums for example. WIth four days, I’d definitely check out the National Archaeological Museum (the best one in my opinion).
Perhaps on day 4 though, you might want a day trip to Delphi.
Hi Dave, me and my wife are planning a trip to Athens for 3 days. Would like to know how do we get around Athens generally? i can’t seem to be able to find a map highlighting all the attractions.
Dave Briggs says
Hope you are well!
Historic Athens (which is what most people would want to see during 2 days in the city) is pretty easy to get around on foot. The area is quite compact.
There is also the Athens metros system which is an excellent way of getting to and from some of the suburbs.
Take a look at another Athens website I’m working on. We’ve put a map here with some of the places highlighted as well as free things to do in Athens!
David Sowter says
Hi there. We’ve recently spent a few days in Athens and found your guide to be really helpful!! I was a little daunted before we got there, by how far things might be away from each other. Once we were there, we realised that there was no need to worry at all. Things were a lot closer than they seemed on the map. We walked everywhere and soon knew our way around! We absolutely LOVED Athens and would come again anyday!! Thanks again.
Dave Briggs says
So glad to hear that you enjoyed Athens – and that this guide on things to do was useful for you!
I hope you get the opportunity to return both to Athens and Greece again soon!
And also thanks for leaving this comment – it really made my day 🙂
Thanks for your amazing guides.
Me and My wife are planning to visit Greece, we have 6 nights 7 days. We reach July 31st afternoon around 12PM. We are planning to visit Athens and Santorini on our trip.
I am debating the number of days we should stay in Athens vs Santorini.
Do you think we should stay in Athens for 3 nights (rest of July 31st, all of Aug 1 and 2), depart to Santorini Aug 3rd morning, stay there Aug 4th, 5th and depart on 6th morning to our next destination.
Or do you think it is enough to stay Half of July 31st and Aug 1 in Athens, then depart for Santorini on Aug 2nd. This way we get 1 more day in Santorini.
We are not planning to do any day trips from Athens.
Please let me know your views.
Dave Briggs says
I think this depends on your interests. I believe that spending a little longer in Athens would be better though, as just 1.5 days in the city would be a little rushed. 2.5 days in Santorini is probably just about the right amount of time especially in July/August.
Have a great vacation in Greece!
WOW! thanks dave this is exactly what I was looking for. I have two days in Athens at the end of an island tour and was curious as to whether I could do “it all” and it looks like I can! do you have any recommendations on where to stay to get the most out of this itinerary?
Dave Briggs says
I’m glad you found this guide to Athens useful, and hope your enjoy your time in the city! For places to stay in Athens, somewhere near the Acropolis might be a good idea. There’s a selection of hotels to choose from here – Hotels in Athens.
Me and my husband are planning to come to greece for about a week in november. We plan to go to Santorini also during the trip. We will reach at 15;30 hrs local time at Athens on day 1. After that we have 6 more days to explore Athens and Santorini. According to you what should be our itenerary to visit maximum attractions in and around both these places.
Dave Briggs says
It’s really going to depend on how long you want to stay in which places and why (such as your interest etc).
You will also want to make time to fly back from Santorini for your connection.
I would suggest 4 nights in Athens (include a day trip or two), and the rest of the time in Santorini.
My 2 day guide to Athens will take care of the highlight sin the city, and you could choose from these day trips from Athens for other activities to try. I would suggest a trip to Delphi, and possibly Meteora. This short guide will show you some of the things to do in Santorini.