This Ultimate Guide to Athens reveals the best of the city. From where to stay near the Acropolis, to sightseeing in Athens, this Athens guide helps you plan the perfect city break.
Explore Athens when you Visit Greece
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. It is one of the world's oldest cities, and with a population of over 3 million, it is also one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe. Situated in the Attica region on the Saronic Gulf, Athens has been continuously inhabited for more than 3,000 years.
Named after the Greek Goddess Athena, its long history has influenced Western Civilization in fields such as philosophy, mathematics, and the arts. The ancient sites of Athens such as the Acropolis and world class museums such as the National Archaeological Museum make it a must-see destination for a history buff.
If you're planning on spending time in Athens when you visit Greece, this guide has all the information you need.
Related: What is Athens known for?
Athens Trip Planner
I've been living in and writing about Athens for over 8 years now. During this time, I've created a lot of travel guides for Athens!
To make finding it all easier, I created this Ultimate Guide to Athens. Hopefully this can help you plan the perfect trip to Athens.
The idea is that these cover all the basics you need to know when putting a travel itinerary together. You'll find practical information such as how to get from the airport, as well as guides on the best things to see and do in Athens.
I suggest bookmarking this Athens travel blog post so you can come back to it from time to time.
How long do you need in Athens?
2 or 3 days is about the right amount of time for most visitors to spend in Athens. It allows for plenty of sightseeing in the historic center at the Acropolis and Agora, the chanve to experience the rooftop bars of Athens at night, and even a side trip or two to places like Cape Sounion.
Read in more detail here: How many days do you really need in Athens
Plan Your Trip To Athens
This Athens travel guide has everything you need to plan your trip to the Greek capital. There's also more useful travel blog posts linked throughout the article.
Best Time To Visit Athens Greece: City Break Guide For 2022
Step one to planning your trip to Athens is choosing the best time of year. Athens makes a surprisingly interesting winter city break destination, but is most popular during the summer. This travel guide takes you through month by month, so you know what to expect when visiting Athens.
Where to stay in Athens
If you are only staying in Athens for a few days, it makes the most sense to stay in or near the historic centre. By staying in the heart of the capital city of Greece, you'll be able to easily walk to all the attractions and ancient ruins such as the Acropolis and Parthenon, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, Parliament Building, National Gardens, and more. This guide introduces you to the best hotels near the Acropolis.
Getting from Athens airport to the city
Once you've landed at Athens airport, you'll need to get into the city centre. Your options include taxi, metro and bus. This guide explains them all to make your life easier!
How To Get From Piraeus To Athens Centre
Not everyone arrives in Athens via the airport. Some arrive at Piraeus Port. This travel guide will help you choose between taking a taxi, bus or the metro to get from Piraeus to Athens centre.
Top 10 Things To Do In Athens
Unsure of what to see in Athens? This article acts as a quick guide to the top 10 things to do in Athens, Greece.
Athens in a day Itinerary
If you only have one day in Athens, this one day Athens itinerary will help you make the most of your stay. Click continue reading for an easy to follow one day Athens itinerary.
2 Days in Athens Itinerary
If you're staying longer in Athens, this 2 day guide is ideal. I actually use this myself when friends and families come over to visit and I show them around. This is the best itinerary of Athens for a short break, as you'll get to see the most important places such as the Ancient Acropolis as well as cool out of the way places to get a taste of contemporary Greek culture.
Athens 3 Day Itinerary - What to do in Athens in 3 days
A comprehensive guide to sightseeing Athens in 3 days. This 3 day itinerary will take you to all the main highlights and a few hidden gems.
Athens Walking Tours
Whether you are looking for guided walking tours in Athens, or routes you can follow yourself, this article is for you! Combine these walking tours with any of the itineraries mentioned for the ultimate trip to Athens.
Top 5 Museums in Athens
There's over 80 museums in Athens to choose from, and whilst I haven't been to them all yet, I'm getting close! Narrowing them down to the top 5 was no easy task, but I got there in the end!
Day Trips From Athens
There are numerous day trips from Athens to choose from. These include day tours to Delphi, Cape Sounion, Mycenae, Hydra, and Meteora.
The Best Neighborhoods in Athens for Urban Explorers
A look at all the neighborhoods in Athens, and the things to see and do there. Includes information about visiting Exarchia in Athens.
What to see in Athens - Buildings and Landmarks in Athens
This is a comprehensive guide to almost every major building in Athens, covering over 3000 years! From the Acropolis to Neoclassical buildings in Athens, this guide reveals places in the Greek capital that even Greeks are not aware of!
How to get from Athens to Santorini - 2022 Travel Guide
Do you want to go to the Greek islands after sightseeing in Athens? For anyone planning to visit Santorini after Athens, this guide is essential reading. It goes into full detail about the options you have from getting from Athens to Santorini, which airlines to look for, and how to find and book a ferry to Santorini from Athens.
Best Time To Visit Athens
Athens is a city you can visit at any time of year. Certainly, some months are better than others though when it comes to weather and the amount of other tourists visiting!
In my opinion, the very best month to visit Athens is September. The temperatures are just starting to dip down from their summer highs, and Athenians have returned from their vacations full of life and energy.
There's lots happening in September – from art exhibitions to gigs and events.
The second best month to visit Athens (again in my opinion!) is August. Now, I know this goes against the grain a little, as Greece is traditionally crazy busy in August, but hear me out!
In August, Athenians head for the islands for their summer vacations. This means that the city is super-quiet and peaceful. Rumour has it, you can even find parking spaces in Athens in August!
When to visit Athens
You might find these blog posts on when to visit Athens useful:
- When to visit Athens
- Athens in September
- Athens in August
- Tips for traveling to Greece
- Is Athens safe?
Where To Stay In Athens
Athens has literally thousands of hotels to choose from, which can make it slightly confusing when choosing where to stay.
For visitors only spending a few days in Athens, I would suggest a central location is the best choice.
By staying at a hotel near the Acropolis, you will be near all the main attractions of the historic centre, and be able to maximise your time in the city.
Athens also has a selection of budget hotels to choose from, which are outside of the historic centre. To be honest, these are located in the less salubrious parts of town.
You are definitely sacrificing comfort to save a few bucks, but if this is your thing, look for Athens hotels near Omonia and Victoria metro stations.
I'm also asked from time to time about hotels near Athens airport. There's really only one choice here, which is the Sofitel.
Places to stay in Athens
You might find these in-depth Athens guide articles about where to stay in Athens useful.
How to get to Athens city center
Most visitors to Athens arrive at two main points of entry. These are Athens airport and Piraeus port. There are numerous transport options available to get from the airport to Athens city centre and from Piraeus Port to the centre. I've written two detailed guides which includes taxi, train and bus options:
- How to get from Athens airport to city center
- How to get from Athens Airport to Piraeus
- How to get from Piraeus to Athens center
Things to see in Athens
So now you've got into Athens and have somewhere to stay, it's time to work out what you want to see! Athens has an endless amount of things to do, so there's no way you can possibly see it all. Even with a month, you couldn't see all the museums – there's over 80 of them!
Coming to a balance of choosing what to do in Athens with the time you have to hand is key. Fortunately, I've got some great Athens guides to help!
My ‘What to see in 2 days in Athens' guide has proven to be very useful for visitors, and can easily be expanded upon by adding extra things in.
I've also got guides to the museums in Athens, walking tours, and inside tips. Here's some guides on what to do in Athens to get you started.
- 2 Days in Athens
- Ancient Athens
- The Ancient Agora of Athens
- The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
- Walking tours in Athens
- Museums in Athens
- Athens inside tips
- Exploring Alternative Athens
- Things you must do in Athens
- Hop On Hop Off Athens Bus
Day Trips From Athens
Finally, if you are planning on spending longer in the city, you'll want to consider some day trip from Athens. There are numerous archaeological sites and UNESCO World Heritage sites you can visit on a day tour from Athens, including Delphi, Mycenae, and even Meteora.
Most of these you can do on a tour if you wish, or you could hire a car in Athens and drive yourself. I think a road trip is a great way to explore this fascinating country! Here's some more information on day trips you can make from Athens.
- Best Cities In Greece
- A guide to day trips from Athens
- Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
- Vravrona Archaeological Site
- A day trip to Delphi
- Greek island trips to Hydra, Poros and Aegina
- Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio
Please pin this Athens Guide for later!
I hope you've enjoyed this ultimate guide to Athens. If you are planning a trip, and have any questions or would like to leave me a message, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Trip to Athens FAQ
Here are some common questions readers have when planning an Athens vacation:
How many days do you need to see Athens?
2 or 3 days is enough time to see all the major highlights of Athens such as the Acropolis, Parthenon, Ancient Agora, Temple of Zeus, and to also experience its contemporary side and wonderful food scene.
What to do in Athens in 3 days?
Some of the main attractions you can see during an Athens 3 day vacation include: The Parthenon, the ancient theatre of Dionysos, Herodus Atticus theatre, the Acropolis museum, the temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch. the Plaka district, and the temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora.
Is Athens expensive to visit?
The biggest expenses for travelers planning to visit Athens are accommodation and entrance ticket fees. Food and drink is very cheap by European standards, and the metro system is also very affordable.
Can I drink the water in Athens?
The water in Athens is safe to drink, although people used to filtered or bottled water may not like the taste. If you prefer bottled water, the prices from stores and kiosks are regulated, meaning that a 500ml bottle of water costs 50 cents or less.
Related Athens blog posts:
- Best Time to Visit Athens
- Where to Stay in Athens
- How to get from Athens Airport to the center
- Things to see in Athens
- The Best Places to Eat in Athens
- Athens Walking Tours
- The Best Museums in Athens
- Athens Tours
- Day Trips from Athens
Dave is a travel writer who writes about and lives in Greece. If you found this Athens travel guide useful, you might want to look at his Greece travel blogs and itineraries. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond:
2 thoughts on “Ultimate Athens Guide – Plan Your Trip To Athens”
What an awesome site with such helpful information. We (family of 6) are visiting this month for 7 day, really only 5 bc arrival and departure days doesn’t really count. It seems like this might be a long time to stay in Athens so we are looking for some day trips. We are trying to balance guided tours and what we can do on our own. I like your 2 days in Athens and we will do this and might stretch it out over 3 days. Other things I believe we would like to do is the Tour of St. Paul’s travels ( which I think includes Corith) and a trip Meteora. Are these things we can do on our own or would you suggest a guided tour? What would be your top things for a 5-day trip?
I hope you are well!
It sounds like you’d prefer tours with a religious edge?
If so, I think Meteora is an absolute must – I’d recommend a two day trip though rather than a one day trip. This one also combines visiting Delphi – Delphi and Meteora
If you’re interested in planning the Meteora trip yourself, then this article here might help – Athens to Meteora.
For the Corinth themed tour, I’ve not taken one myself so can’t comment directly on the tour. However, I would say that the archaeology is disappointing visually when compared to the Acropolis or Delphi.
One final suggestion for a day trip from Athens to see islands, would be the 3 islands trip. It can be a little rushed, but if it’s your only chance to see some islands, perhaps it could be worth it? More info here – 3 islands trip from Athens.
My personal choice would be:
Meteora Trip (includes Delphi)
3 islands trip
Have a great trip to Greece!