This itinerary for spending 4 days in Athens is the perfect starting point for planning your trip to Athens in Greece.
How to see Athens in 4 days
I first visited Athens in 2014, and moved out to live permanently in the city in 2015 after I met Vanessa.
Now, with over 8 years of living here, I've had plenty of time to explore the city from it's famous sites to its hidden gems.
You can consider this 4 day Athens itinerary a distilled version of my personal favourite things to do, combined with what I know travelers are not going to want to miss out on when in the city.
As well as itinerary suggestions, you'll also notice a few information boxes scattered through this Athens 4 day travel guide. These are here to give you some extra travel tips and context like this one:
Getting around Athens
You don't need a car to get around Athens as the city is very walkable. If you're staying outside the center, or prefer not to walk from place to place, the Athens metro is the preferred method of transport by locals to get around Athens.
There's a few less obvious and not typical suggestions in this guide, and I hope it helps you plan your own perfect Athens adventure!
4 Days in Athens
If you prefer to jump through to each day directly, click below:
Complete Athens Itinerary For 4 Days
If you've got 4 days to go exploring Athens, you don't need to rush around like you might if you were just spending a day or two. As such, you'll get a different perspective of the city along the way.
Half the joy is in seeing the new and unusual things you might encounter between attractions as you're walking around Athens. The Greek coffee culture for example, the street buskers, or the trinket sellers on the pedestrianized street between Monastiraki and the Acropolis.
As such, I've put this Athens 4 day itinerary together with a more immersive approach to experiencing Athens in mind. You'll get to enjoy the best things to see in Athens, along with a few little surprises along the way!
Day 1 in Athens: Historic Beginnings and Ancient Ruins
Today is all about getting your bearings as you wander around Athens historic centre. Everything is within easy walking distance.
Morning: Acropolis Museum, Acropolis and its Monuments
Most first time visitors to Athens will have the Acropolis firmly at the top of their list of things to see, and I'm sure you're no different! This monument is a symbol of how far advanced Ancient Greece was.
In the past, I recommended people to visit the Acropolis early in the morning, but since they introduced a time booking slot for tickets, this is not so important. As such, I'd say now to go to the Acropolis Museum first as it will give you a better understanding of what you will see int he Acropolis itself.
Roughly speaking, you can be in the Acropolis museum from between 9.00 and 10.30, so book a time slot for the Acropolis 11.00 until 13.00 if you can. Just keep in mind that the top of the Acropolis can be hot, so wear a hat and take water no matter when you visit!
Acropolis Museum and Acropolis
These places both have separate entrance fees. The Museum is opposite the Acropolis. You can buy a combined ticket for all the archaeological sites in Athens including the Acropolis, which makes sense only if you intend to visit them all as you will save money.
The ancient citadel of the Acropolis is perched on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. It is home to several iconic structures like the Parthenon temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
You should allow for a couple of hours to see the Acropolis at a decent enough pace to let you soak up its incredible history. By which time, I'm sure you'll be getting hungry….
Lunch: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Descend to the Monastiraki or Plaka district, nestled at the foot of the Acropolis. Here, it's time to dive into some tasty Greek cuisine. There's plenty of places to choose from, and one place to eat lunch in Athens is Taverna Klimataria.
Afternoon: The Ancient Agora and Surrounding Wonders
After a leisurely lunch and a coffee, head to the Ancient Agora. This was the heart of public life in ancient Athens, where politic wheeling and dealings were done as well as trading for goods.
Head first to your left, where you'll see the Stoa of Attalos, now housing the Agora Museum. It won't take you long to walk through the museum, but if you do, you'll come away with a much better idea of what ancient Athens and Greece was all about.
Walk around the archaeological site then, and make sure not to miss the Temple of Hephaestus inside the grounds, as it is one of the best-preserved ancient Greek temples in the country.
Athens, the capital of Greece, derives its name from Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare. According to Greek mythology, Athena won the city's patronage by bestowing upon its people the olive tree, triumphing over Poseidon who offered a saltwater spring. Thus, the city was named in her honor.
Evening: Strolling Through Plaka and Monastiraki
As evening approaches, stroll through the charming streets of Plaka and Monastiraki. These neighborhoods offer a blend of history, vibrant markets, souvenir shops, and quaint cafes. If you have time, also wander through Psiri where you'll find some cool street art.
Conclude your day with a rooftop dinner in Monastiraki, offering a stunning night view of the Acropolis, and then drinks at an Athens rooftop bar.
Day 2 in Athens: Museum Trail and Athenian Riviera
A day of two halves – Museum and Coast
Morning: The National Archaeological Museum
If one of the reasons you want to visit Greece is to find out more about Ancient Greek culture, the National Archaeological Museum is going to be a real highlight. I've personally visited over a hundred museums in Greece now, and the NAM is by far the best – in my opinion!
Begin your day at the National Archaeological Museum, Greece's largest museum and one of the most important in the world for ancient Greek art. The museum's vast collection covers a wide range of periods, offering insight into Greek history and culture. Allow anything from 2-4 hours depending on your appetite for such things!
Lunch: Quick Bite in the City
Grab a quick gyros or a souvlaki wrap from a local eatery. These fast and delicious options provide a true taste of Greek street food.
Afternoon: A Trip to the Athenian Riviera
Post-lunch, take a tram or a taxi to the Athenian Riviera. Visit Glyfada, known for its beaches, shopping, and cafes. Relax on the beach, swim in the Saronic Gulf, or explore the chic boutiques.
Evening: Sunset at Cape Sounion
In the late afternoon, take a drive or join a tour to Cape Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon. The temple, perched on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea, offers one of the most breathtaking sunsets in Greece.
Hop on Hop Off Tour
Make the afternoon a little easier with a hop on hop off tour option that will cover the Athens Riviera and Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. There are different types available so make sure you get the right one for you! More here: Athens Blue hop on hop off
Day 3 in Athens: Exploring Central Athens and its Hidden Gems
We're half way through our itinerary for spending 4 days in Athens, but there's plenty more to see and do!
Morning: Changing of the Guard, National Garden and Panathenaic Stadium
Start your day at Syntagma Square, the central point of modern Athens. Opposite you will see the Parliament House, and in front, the Evzones Guards standing still at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There is a Changing of the Guard ceremony every hour on the hour, so try to time you visit to wath one – it's certainly worth it! if you happen to be in Athens on a Sunday, there is a huge ceremony at 11.00 which you shouldn't miss.
From there, take a pleasant walk in the National Gardens, a green oasis in the heart of the city. Then, visit the Panathenaic Stadium, the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble and host to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
So far, this won't have taken you too long, so you'll still have time to visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus, take photos by Hadrian's Arch, and then head once more to Plaka.
Lunch: Experiencing Athenian Cafe Culture
Enjoy lunch in Plaka. By now I'm sure you'll know this area well enough to have decided where you might want to eat! Need inspiration? Try: Restaurant Scholarhio
Afternoon: Discovering Anafiotika and the Hill of the Muses
Post-lunch, head to Anafiotika, a scenic neighborhood on the northeastern side of the Acropolis hill, known for its island-like architecture. It looks very much like a Cycladic island village!
Then, hike up the Hill of the Muses (Philopappou Hill) for an excellent view of the city and a glimpse of the Philopappos Monument. Perhaps after you'd want to clear up any sites you hadn't already visited like the Roman Agora, Hadrian's Library on Monastiraki Square, and Kerameikos.
Evening: Nightlife in Psiri
Spend your evening in Psiri, known for its vibrant nightlife. This neighborhood comes alive at night with live music, bars, and tavernas. Enjoy a late dinner and experience the lively Athenian nightlife.
Day 4 in Athens: Day Trips to Delphi or Sailing to Nearby Islands
Athens can be a good base for seeing some of the nearby sites. Many options are possible, but I think the best day trip to take from Athens is to Delphi.
Option 1: Delphi – The Navel of the Ancient World
Delphi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is about two-hour drive from Athens. The site consists of the museum and archaeological site itself. Known to the Ancient Greeks as the navel of the world, in the ancient past, people would travel from far and wide to hear prophecies.
Delphi has a beautiful setting, with it's temple of Apollo and ancient theatre having lovely backdrops. The best way to visit is on a tour, which covers your transport, guide, but not entrance tickets.
Find out more here: Day trip to Delphi from Athens
Option 2: Sailing Trip to the Saronic Islands
Alternatively, embark on a sailing trip to the Saronic Islands, such as Hydra, Poros, or Aegina. These islands offer charming harbors, crystal-clear waters, and a slower pace of life. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and exploring quaint towns.
I'd personally only do this if no other Greek islands were on my travel itinerary.
Evening: Farewell Dinner in Athens
Regardless of the day trip, return to Athens for a farewell dinner. Choose a restaurant in Thissio or Gazi, where you can enjoy a final night of Greek cuisine, accompanied by traditional music and maybe even some dancing.
Experiences To Enhance Your 4 Days In Athens Itinerary
If you're staying 4 days or longer in Athens, you might want to add an experience or two into your itinerary. What is an experience?
Well, we're all familiar with day tours and trips, but an experience is more of an immersive and personal thing – think activities like cooking classes, language classes, personalised walking tours etc.
Here ‘s a few ideas that might go well with your Athens exploring:
- Athens Old Town Food Experience
- Private Food Tour of Athens
- Athens Riviera: Catamaran Cruise with Meal and Drinks
- Greek Cooking Lesson & 3-Course Dinner
Where to stay in Athens
In my opinion, staying near the Acropolis makes the most sense for the majority of people visiting Athens. This way, you have easy access to all the key historical sites you'll want to include on your Athens itinerary. You can pretty much walk anywhere you need to get to when it comes to sightseeing during your four days in Athens.
There are exceptions of course, such as if you have an early flight when you might want to stay at an Athens airport hotel, or if you have an early or late arrival at Piraeus Port either by ferry or cruise boat.
I've got a good article which lists the most popular hotels in Athens and Greece that readers have booked through my site. It's definitely worth looking at before choosing an Athens hotel! Read it here: Popular Hotels In Greece
How do I get from Athens Airport to the Athens city centre?
- Pre-booked taxi: This is by far the easiest and most convenient way to get to your hotel from Athens international airport. You pre-pay so there's no surprises on the taxi far, and the driver meets and greets you at the airport. It's about 5 Euros more expensive than a taxi from the regular queue, but 5 Euros well spent – I've used Welcome Pickups dozens of times for this.
- Metro: The next most convenient way is to take the Metro Line 3 (Blue Line) which directly connects the airport to the city center (Syntagma Square). The journey takes approximately 40 minutes.
- Bus: There are several express bus services (notably the X95 bus) that run between the airport and central Athens. They operate 24/7, with a journey time of around 60 minutes to Syntagma Square.
- Taxi: Taxis are available at the airport. The ride to the city center takes around 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic.
Where to go next after Athens
Now we've got the perfect Athens itinerary for 4 days sorted out, the world, or Greece, is your oyster after visiting Athens! You can choose from picturesque islands, or mainland travels as the next stage of your Greece itinerary. A few suggestions to get you going are:
- Santorini: Known for its stunning sunsets, unique architecture, and volcanic beaches.
- Mykonos: Famous for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches.
- Crete: Offers a mix of beautiful beaches, ancient archaeological sites, and charming towns.
- Rhodes: Known for its rich history, medieval architecture, and beaches.
- Corfu: An island with a blend of medieval, Venetian, French, and British architecture, beautiful beaches, and lush landscapes.
- Zakynthos: Famous for the stunning Navagio beach and the blue caves.
Meteora: Famous for its monasteries perched atop towering rock formations, offering breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere.
Thessaloniki: Greece's second-largest city, known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine.
Peloponnese: A region rich in history and natural beauty, home to ancient sites like Olympia, Mycenae, and Epidaurus.
Nafplio: A charming coastal town, known for its Venetian architecture and historic fortresses.
Athens 4 Day Itinerary – FAQs
Readers planning to explore Athens when visiting Greece often ask questions such as:
Is Athens safe?
Athens is generally safe for tourists, with standard safety precautions advisable, especially in busy tourist areas. Pickpockets do operate on the popular metro lines so be aware of that. Generally speaking though, the area surrounding the historic area of Athens is safe during the day and night.
Read more here: Is Athens Safe
When is the best time to visit Athens, Greece?
The best time to visit Athens is during spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). These months offer pleasant weather with milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and more comfortable conditions for exploring the city's historic sites and outdoor attractions. August can be uncomfortably hot in Athens.
How many days do you need in Athens?
Three to four days in Athens is around the right amount of time to experience the city's major historical sites, like the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora, as well as to explore some of its vibrant neighborhoods, museums, and enjoy the local cuisine. 3 to 4 days in Athens also allows for a couple of side trips to nearby attractions such as the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion or even Mycenae and Epidaurus.
Read: How many days in Athens?
Is Athens worth visiting?
Absolutely, Athens is definitely worth visiting! This ancient city boasts a unique blend of history and modern urban life. Athens is home to world-renowned historical sites like the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora, which offer a glimpse into its rich ancient past. Don't skip Athens, or you'll be missing out on vibrant neighborhoods like Plaka, excellent museums, a thriving food scene, and lively markets.
Can you go Greek island hopping from Athens?
Yes, you can definitely go island hopping from Athens. The city's ports, Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrio, serve as gateways to numerous Greek islands. You can easily reach popular islands like Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Naxos, as well as lesser-known gems in the Cyclades, Saronic Gulf, and the Dodecanese.
Is 4 days in Athens too long?
Athens is a city where ancient history and modern life blend seamlessly. This 4-day itinerary offers a balanced mix of historic exploration, cultural immersion, and relaxation, ensuring a memorable Athenian experience. Each day brings new discoveries, from the majestic Acropolis to the tranquil beaches of the Athenian Riviera, making your stay in Athens an unforgettable journey through time.
As well as this Athens Itinerary 4 Days, readers also look for:
- Athens in a day – The Best 1 Day Athens Itinerary
- 2 Days in Athens Itinerary
- Athens 3 Day Itinerary – What to do in Athens in 3 days
- 7 Ancient Sites You Can Visit On A One Day Trip From Athens
- Meteora Day Trip From Athens
- Best Athens Tours: Half and Full Day Guided Tours in Athens
- Athens Private Tours: Exclusive and Customized Guided Tours in Athens
- Vravrona Archaeological Site Near Athens Greece (Brauron)
- Best Tours of Greece From Athens: 2, 3, and 4 Day Trips
- Athens to Nafplio Day Trip
- Athens day trip to Hydra | Day cruise from Athens
Dave is a travel writer from the UK who's been living in and writing about Greece since 2015. As well as writing this 4 days in Athens itinerary to help plan your trip, he's also written hundreds more travel blog posts about other destinations in Greece. Follow Dave on social media for more Greece travel planning ideas: