Exploring the Centre of Athens in Two Days
A trip to Athens isn’t complete without sightseeing in the heart of the city and witnessing the Greek capital’s rich history up close. To make sure you maximise your time while also enjoying the fabulous restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and shops that are on offer, we’ve created a two-day itinerary, which includes all the must-see attractions in the centre of Athens!
08:00 -10:00 – Acropolis Hill/Parthenon
Start bright and early by making your way straight up to the Acropolis. At the Acropolis Hill, you will get to see the beauty of the Parthenon, the temple of Athena Nike, the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
The booked sessions to visit the Parthenon and Acropolis Hill run in two hour intervals. Tickets cost 20EUR and can be purchased on-site or buy them online, so you can skip the lines during peak season.
Make sure you make the most of capturing great photos, take in the view from the top of the city and then make your way to the Acropolis Museum.
10:00 – 12:00 – Acropolis Museum – 9-minute walk from Acropolis Hill
Only a short walk from the Acropolis, you will find one of the world’s most visited museums’, which is home to artefacts from the slopes of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Propylaea, Athena Nike and much more. The exhibition space which covers over 14,000 square metres takes you on a journey back in time for the ultimate learning experience.
Tickets are 10EUR per person and can be purchased on-site or online.
12:00 – 14:00 – Anafiotika – Plaka – 9 Minute Walk from Acropolis Museum
Anafiotika, also known as the hidden village under the Acropolis is one of many tiny villages, which have melded over the years to create the centre of Athens, as we know it today. The neighbourhood was built to resemble the architecture of the Cycladic islands which creates the feeling of walking through an island village. Making your way through the tiny lanes is a must and something most people visiting Athens don’t know about. Following your visit through the village make your way down the hill to Plaka and enjoy a bite to eat at one of the local taverns.
14:00 – 16:00 – Ancient Agora – 10 Minute Walk from Plaka
The Ancient Agora was once the meeting hub for all things social and political. The archaeological site of the Ancient Agora includes the Temple of Hephaistos, the Tholos and the Bouleterion. The Museum of the Ancient Agora is located in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos. There you can find various archaeological finds dated from Neolithic to the Post-Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
The booked sessions to visit the Ancient Agora also run in two-hour intervals. Tickets cost 8 EUR per person and can be purchased on-site or online.
16:00 – 18:00 – Walk through Monastiraki and Ermou – 5 Minute Walk from Ancient Agora
Of course, there is always time for a quick shopping trip through the streets of Monastiraki and Ermou. The heart of Monastiraki consists of various types of shops including souvenir stores, as well as vintage and second-hand shops. It’s the perfect place to pick up all your quirky items and enjoy the fun game of bargaining.
As you progress through the buzzing Monastiraki Square and walk up through Ermou you will find stores such as Zara, Bershka, H&M, Pull & Bear, Migato, Tsakiris Mallas and much much more. If you have time check out the streets parallel to Ermou, for some boutiques that are hidden gems.
Keep in mind that most stores are open Monday-Saturday 9AM-9PM and are closed on Sunday. There are select Sundays throughout the year whereby the stores are open, usually before Easter, Christmas, New Years or during sale seasons.
18:00 – Syntagma – Change of Guard
On the hour every hour, 24 hours a day, the Evzones of the Hellenic Presidential Guard change the Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in memory of all those that died at war. The Evzones motionlessly stand guard on Syntagma Square during all weather conditions- rain, hail or shine. It is definitely a highlight for all visitors to Athens and worth the stop to witness the elite group of soldiers proudly perform their duties.
Make note: if you happen to be in Syntagma Square on a Sunday Morning at 11:00AM, you can watch the official changing of the guard.
18:30 – 20:30 – Lycabettus Hill – 15 Minute Taxi Ride or 32 Minute Walk from Syntagma Square.
Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens and is the best location for breathtaking sunset views over the entire city. You can make your way to the top of the hill by foot, car or cable car. We recommend going by foot or car to see the streets of Kolonaki and to enjoy the views as you make your way up. The cable car is definitely a fun ride especially for kids however it makes its way through a tunnel, so you miss the beautiful view. Perhaps you can even consider a mix of transportation to enjoy a bit of everything.
When you reach the top apart from enjoying the stunning view, you can also dine in the cafe restaurant and visit the church of St George. During the sunset hour, you might even be lucky enough to see the lowering of the Greek flag, which happens daily.
Time to put your feet up for the day, enjoy a cocktail at one of many stand-out rooftop bars and rest up for day two.
10:00 – 12:30 – Athens National Garden
The Athens National Garden is located next to the Greek Parliament. The Garden is filled with hundreds of species and varieties of bushes and plants from all over the world as well as six lakes. Apart from the stunning surroundings, one of the favourite points of interest in the famous sundial.
You can access the Garden from one of the seven central entrances. There is one entrance on Amalias Avenue, one on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, three on Irodou Attikou Street and another two in Zappeion park.
We recommend beginning on the far side from Vasilissis Sofias and making your way through the garden to the Zappeion side.
12:30 – 13:30 – Zappeion
The Zappeion is located in the heart of the National Gardens of Athens. It has served many purposes over the years. Ultimately it has been linked to the Olympic Games, however since 1888 it has also been used as a hospital, storehouse, and even barracks. Today, the Zappeion is available for conferences, concerts, art, cultural, scientific and sports exhibitions.
13:30 -14:30 – Panathenaic Stadium – 13 Minute Walk from Zappeion
The Panathenaic Stadium, also referred to as Kallimarmaro is known as the place of the first Olympic Games in 1896. Its history, however, stretches far beyond that to 338 BC whereby the then parallelogram stadium was built. It was first used during the celebration of the first Panathenaia in 330/29 BC. During the 1800s excavations were conducted and traces of the ancient stadium were found. The stadium was reconstructed at a large expense which was mostly covered by Georgios Averoff.
Fun fact: The Panathenaic is the only stadium in the world where three Olympic Games have taken place: 1896, 1906 and 2004.
Ticket prices to enter the stadium are 5 EUR and free entrance for children under 6 years of age. The tickets can be purchased on site.
14:30 – 15:30 – Hadrian’s Arch & The Temple of Olympian Zeus – 17 Minute Walk from Panathenaic Stadium
Hadrian’s Arch is found at the entrance of the site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It was built in 131AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian as part of a wall which separated the old and new cities of Athens.
The construction of the Temple of Olympian Zeus began in 515 BC by tyrant Pisistratus. Five years later the work was abandoned when his son was overturned. It was not until the 3rd century BC that the work was resumed by the Hellenistic King Antiochus IV of Syria who hired Cossutius, a roman architect, to design the largest temple in the world. When the king died the work was once again left behind until the 2nd Century AD when Hadrian took over until the temple was completed in 129.
Tickets for the Temple of Olympian Zeus are 6 EUR per person and can be purchased on site.
That’s a wrap. The rest of day two is yours to enjoy. Perhaps catch up on something you missed on day one, or go and enjoy a traditional Greek delicacy, which can be found on every corner!