Things to do in Athens

Athens in 1 Day – Explore Athens in 24 Hours with this Ultimate 1 Day Itinerary

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A sprawling city full of stunning architecture that dates back to years ago, Athens has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations, but has withstood the tests of time. This ancient city has a lot to offer for visitors and locals alike, and while it may not be possible to cover everything in a single day, if you happen to be in there for only 24 hours, we've got you covered! Here is a perfect itinerary for you, centred around a crucial part of Athens where the most important sites are all clustered close to each other.

1 Day in Athens - How To Spend Your Day


  • Morning in Athens : The Syntagma Square, Lycabettus Hill, Museum of Cycladic Art 
  • Afternoon in Athens : Temple of Olympian Zeus, The Acropolis of Athens, The Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Evening in Athens The Monastiraki Flea Market, National Archaelogical Museum, Athens at Night

Athens In A Day - Detailed Itinerary


AM

Morning - Bear Witness to Athens Bursting to Life

Run Time

Syntagma Square

Price

Lycabettus Hill

Duration

Museum of Cycladic Art

Athens in 1 day
Athens in 1 day
Athens in 1 day
Try to grab an early breakfast before heading out. If you like having your breakfast late, then Syntagma Square has a variety of cafés and restaurants for you to dine at.

The Syntagma Square

MORNING 7:45 AM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 1 HOUR

Popular Square in Athens

Close to Other Attractions

Free

The main square in Athens is called Syntagma Square, and it is a very big tourist attraction because of the Greek Parliament building that sits there. The area around the park has been turned into a beautiful garden since most of the buildings that used to occupy that space were destroyed by bombs during World War II.

Travel Tips
  • Best to head here early because you can watch as the Square becomes busy, a whole new side of Athens!
  • If you get to the Parliament building, every hour, there's a change of guards, the Evzones, who are tasked with guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
  • If you've missed breakfast, the Syntagma Square has plenty of choice cafés for your morning coffee and breakfast! Public Café & GC George Café are among the top rated choices.

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

At 11 am on Sundays, there is a ceremonial changing of the Guards. This is a large procession on Amalias Avenue, just in front of the Parliament.

Lycabettus Hill

MORNING 9 AM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 2 HOURS

Highest Hill in Athens

Amazing Views from the Top

Free

Athens is a heavily populated city, yet Lycabettus Hill stands out for its forested hills. At 918 feet tall, the hill was originally covered in pine trees and provided excellent views of the surrounding land below. The hill is named after Apollo Lyceus , one of Apollo's many epithets that honors him for his prophetic abilities. It is the highest point in Athens. Out of the seven hills that constitute the original layout of ancient Athens, Lycabettus Hill is now one of five remaining peaks.

Travel Tips
  • The uphill trek can take anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes.
  • Giving yourself two hours will give you the time to enjoy the pine-tree dotted trail.
  • Make sure you carry water and some snackables so you can make it to the top and still enjoy the spectacular view from the peak.

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

The beginning of the trail with small trees and shrubs on both sides is easy to climb. Later, you get to zigzag stairs which mark the beginning of the tiring route.

Restaurant Recommendations

Time for breakfast? Fret not, there are many good restaurants around the area. Our personal recommendations include:

Grab breakfast near Lycabettus Hill
Orizontes Lycavittou | Lycabettus Hill Restaurant

Museum of Cycladic Art

MORNING 11:30 AM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 1 HOUR

Top 5 Athens Attractions

History

The Museum of Cycladic Art is one the most important museums in Greece and holds an extensive collection of artworks that date from 3200 BC to 1100 BC. Located in the center of Athens, on the southern side of Kifissias Avenue, it is the only museum in Greece which is dedicated to the collection and preservation of prehistoric artworks from 2900 BC to 2000 BC. The museum was established by the Archaeological Society in 1966, with an additional aim to "promote and conduct archaeological research into the lives of the inhabitants of the Aegean islands from prehistoric times to about 323 BC"

Travel Tips
  • It is recommended that you buy the entry tickets online, especially if you intend to go during the peak season.
  • You can grab lunch at the Cycladic Café inside the museum which offers a range of freshly made of food!
  • Museum of Cycladic Art hours of operation: Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat: 10am-5pm, Tue 11am-5pm, Thur 10am-8pm.
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Museum of Cycladic Art Athens Guide

The Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens – An A-Z Guide

The Museum of Cycladic Art is one of the many Greek places brimming with history and culture, and is located in one of the most plush neighborhoods of Athens
Best Safety
Museum Of Cycladic Art Tickets
Tickets
Museum Of Cycladic Art Tickets
from
€8
  • Visit the Museum of Cycladic Art, a living cultural institution in the center of Athens.
  • Focused on the promotion of Aegean & Cyprus' ancient civilizations, this museum is a must-visit.
  • Housing and displaying a private collection of Dolly and Nikolaos Goulandris's antiquities, there is much to uncover.
  • Today it is one of the most comprehensive collections of Cycladic art in the world.
  • Look at prehistoric figurines, sculptures, inscriptions, pottery, jewelry, terracotta figurines, and painted vases.
  • This highly interactive exhibition is well worth a visit when in the city.
NOON

Afternoon - Exploring The Ancient Ruins Of Athens

Run Time

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Price

The Acropolis

Duration

Ancient Agora of Athens

Athens in 1 day
Athens in 1 day
Athens in 1 day
After a quick lunch, continue your tour through Athens. Cover 3 top historic attractions in Athens you do not want to miss out on at a go! Pro tip: a combo tour of the three sites with the Ancient Athens Pass would be ideal.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

AFTERNOON 1:30 PM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 1.5 HOURS

Top 10 Athens Attractions

Historic Landmark

Walking Tours

The Temple of Olympian Zeus was built by a man named Caliphates and later restored by another Athenian, Pheidias, who also renovated the Parthenon right next door. This ancient temple underwent massive changes over the years, expanding and shrinking in it's size as it exchanged hands. Built to act as the centre of ancient Athens, 16 of the very original columns still stand today. It remains an archaeological site of great importance in Greece even to this day and should definitely be a part of your 1-day stop at Athens. A Guided tour of the Temple of Olympian Zeus is available online!

Travel Tips
  • The average time usually spent here is about 2 hours, but with the guided tour, you'll get a quick run down of everything you need to know.
  • Guided tour of the Temple of Olympian Zeus also allows you to skip the line!
  • Since the tour is entirely open-air, make sure you check the weather forecast the day before.

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

Keep in mind that the sprawling lawn around the temple is generally not meant for the crowds to sit on. Security guards will likely come up to warn you against it. 

Restaurant Recommendations

If you're hungry after your exhaustive exploration, there are many good restaurants around the area. Our personal recommendations include:

Grab breakfast near Temple of Olympian Zeus
Veganaki | Namaste India

The Acropolis of Athens

AFTERNOON 1:30 PM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 2.5 HOURS

Historic Landmark

Family Friendly

The Acropolis of Athens is on a flat-topped rock, towering at about 150 feet above the city and situated about two miles from the city center. The term acropolis means 'high city', and is something of a misnomer because the Acropolis in fact stands within an ancient citadel. In ancient times it was known as "the stronghold", which was not only an observation of its physical characteristics but also a reference to the people who inhabited it. With its magnificent temples and imposing structures, it is one of the most important places in classical history. Its influence on architecture, art and politics continues even today. There are numerous archaeological remains within the premises of the Acropolis like ancient temples, altars, urns and statues.

Travel Tips
  • A self-guided tour is just as fun as a guided tour!
  • Bring a bottle of water with you- there is a fair bit of walking through the site and you'll need to hydrate!

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

  • Do not wear heels to site. Not only will they prove to be uncomfortable, but it's also against the rules because of the damage it can cause to the ancient site. 
  • Match your outfit with a pair of comfortable shoes, shades and a hat since the sun is out and bright year-round. 
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Acropolis Skip The Line Guide

5 Easy Ways To Skip The Lines at Acropolis

But don't worry, we've got a few tried and tested hacks to help you skip the lines at the Acropolis of Athens.

The Ancient Agora of Athens

AFTERNOON 4:00 PM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 1 HOUR

Historic Landmark

Family Friendly

Ancient Ruins

In ancient Athens, the Agora was a central location for commerce, business and governmental affairs. The word comes from the Greek 'Agoreuo', which means "to speak to the people". It was an open space where people could gather and discuss politics or do business, surrounded by buildings that housed economic activity, public-serving institutions such as law courts, and the city's council.

The Ancient Agora of Athens began as a public place where people would meet to discuss politics or do business. Over time it became a centre for many things including living accommodations. There were small houses, shops, storage spaces along with temples dedicated to different gods around this area, also making it a place of religious worship.

Travel Tips
  • A self-guided tour is just as fun as a guided tour!
  • Bring a bottle of water with you- there is a fair bit of walking through the site and you'll need to hydrate!
  • Include in your plan, to visit the Museum of the Agora that is housed in the Stoa of Attalos, a.k.a, Royal Stoa.

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

There are multiple stops in and around Athens. The Line1 functions between Piraeus and the northern suburb of Kifisia, offering the closest stop to the Ancient Agora. 

Hack To Cover The Acropolis, Agora of Athens and Temple of Olympian Zeus in under 5 Hours

These three sites are actually situated pretty closely, and are within walking distance of each other. You can get the Skip The Line Audio Guided Tour of the Temple of Olympian Zeus for just €34.9.

Likewise, you can skip the line at the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora as well. To make things even easier than this, you can get the Ancient Ruins Pass for €34.9 that will give you easy access to the Agora, the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis, with an audio-guided tour.

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The Agora of Athens Guide

The Ancient Agora of Athens – Everything you Need to Know to Plan a Visit

Known for being one of the most important sites of the Greek capital, the Ancient Agora was the center of Athens where a lot of political gatherings and juries would assemble to meet.
PM

Evening - Strolling Through Central Athens

Run Time

Monastiraki Flea Market

Price

National Archaelogical Museum

Duration

Athens in the Night

Athens in 1 Day
Athens in 1 Day
Athens in 1 Day
After an arduous afternoon spent sightseeing in the open, relax as evening dawns and go through the quieter motions of the city, still bustling with life.

The Monastiraki Flea Market

EVENING 5:30 AM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 1 HOUR

Busy Athenian Hotspot

Flea Market

Antiques

The Monastiraki Flea Market was created to provide merchants with a market place after the establishment of Athens city limits. Since so many people were moving to the city from outside Athens to work in large factories, they needed something to sell their belongings. While there are many flea markets in the city now, the Monastiraki Flea Market is a local favourite. Every inch is filled with either vendors or shoppers! Plates and pottery can be found lining one whole side of the walls, as well as old toys, computers and records. You can strike very good deals for antiques here! There are so many reasons to go to this market! It is open every day, except Sundays, from 10am to 5pm and the best part is that everything is already haggled down.

Travel Tips
  • The market closes at 6 PM and is not open at all on Sundays.
  • While everything is mostly already dead cheap, you can still haggle, especially at the end of sellers' shifts.
  • The Market is located on the Monastiraki Square, practically adjacent to the Agora. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars should you choose to grab a bite.

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

Getting to the flea market is easy and the Monastiraki Square, which is a center of activity day and night, is a good jump-off point to begin your exploration of the area.

National Archaelogical Museum

EVENING 6:30 PM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 1 HOUR

One of the Best Museums in the World

Top 10 Athens Attractions

National Archaeological Museum of Athens was established in 1866 and it is also known simply as the National Archeological Museum. It contains a very rich collection of artefacts from ancient Greece, with more than 120000 exhibits. This museum is one of the best in the world and a true testament to the power Greece held in the ancient world. You could spend hours here, but to cover all the principle artefacts, an hour will suffice.

Travel Tips
  • The museum stays open till 8 PM so you can take your time exploring it.
  • It is a walkable distance away from the Monastiraki Square.

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is a great place to visit during the heat of the day, as the air-con is amazing! Sensitive types who get cold easily might want to bring a long sleeve top. 

Restaurant Recommendations

If you're looking for dinner around the area after looking through the museum, there are many good restaurants out and about. Our personal recommendations include:

National Archaeological Museum: Skip-The-Line e-ticket with Audio Tour
Tickets
National Archaeological Museum: Skip-The-Line e-ticket with Audio Tour
from
€14
  • A convenient entry e-ticket ensures you enjoy a hassle-free visit.
  • Admire the rich collection of Greek artefacts, from prehistoric times to late antiquity.
  • Explore the museum in your own time with a self-guided audio tour.
  • Must-see relics include the mask of “Agamemnon”, the bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon, the horse rider.
  • Don't miss seeing the ancient Dipylon Amphora, the Sphinx statue, and the complex of Aphrodite and Pan.

Athens at Night

NIGHT 8 PM || RECOMMENDED DURATION: 2 to 4 Hours

Quaint Neighbourhoods

Authentic Local Experience

Night life in Athens is a sight to see. You can take a walk through one of Athens' funkiest neighborhoods, Psirri, and grab a bit of Greek cuisine in one of the many restaurants that dot the streets. If you want to end the night on a high, the Karitsi square has some excellent local bars where you can try some cocktails made with local herbs and spices.

Psirri is a multi-ethnic and lively neighbourhood, to the south of Monastiraki square. It is located right at the entrance of Athens' historical centre and is mainly known for it's many cheap bars and restaurants (particularly those towards the south). Psirri's history goes back centuries and one of its oldest structures is the city's slaughterhouse, which dates back to before 1870. With time, the area has become a bohemian paradise for young people who like metal (traditionally heavy metal) music or other alternative subcultures like punk or industrial. The biggest groups of Psirri residents are artsy hipsters and working-class Athenians.

Travel Tip
  • Psirri is a very lively hub with plenty of Greek tavernas and pubs, so scope them out if you want to make the best choice!
  • If you want a more specific approach to this in the interest of time, you can book yourself a tour that covers Athens by Night Sightseeing, and ends with a great Greek meal!

🇬🇷 Local Travel Tip 🇬🇷 

Psiri is one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Athens and you can find many interesting examples of street art in its narrow streets and on the walls of its old buildings. 

Spend A Day In Athens Under 100 Euros


There are different ways of going about spending your day in Athens. You can either opt for an organized tour that will take care of your tickets, guide and transport or you can buy indiviual tickets for each attraction that you'd like to see. Either way, here's an approximate budget of how much a day in Athens will cost you.


The Hop-On Hop-Off

This would be a great, yet organized way of ensuring you hit all the significant sites in the city. The Hop-on Hop-Off Classic Tour will allow you try out four different routes through Athens, and includes stops at the port city of Piraeus, the Acropolis and Temple of Zeus.

Note: This tour does not include entrance fees.


Self Guided Tour

If you prefer to explore the city at your own pace, here are the details of simply the tickets alone:

Morning : Syntagma Square, Lycabettus Hill, Cycladic Museum of Art
€14
Afternoon : Temple of Zeus, Acropolis, the Ancient Agora
€28
Evening : Monastariki Flea Market, the National Archaeological Museum, Athens by Night
€10

Total

€52

Some Useful Things to Know:
  • Taking the cable car up the Lycabettus Hill, including ascent and descent, and a discount at the Lycabettus restaurant, costs €7. It is free on foot, but the trek is a bit tedious.
  • The Cycladic Museum of Art has an interesting pricing system. Visitors aged between 27 and 64 are required to pay an entrance fee of €7, but half-priced tickets are sold on Mondays at €3.50. Students and seniors over 65 are charged €3.50 as well, and under 18, entry is free.
  • The Acropolis Ticket price includes some sites around the Acropolis, including the ancient agora, theatre of Dionysos, Kerameikos, Roman Agora, Tower of the Winds and the Temple of Olympian Zeus and is usually valid for a week.
  • Summer and winter prices may differ for some sites, so make sure to check.

Recommended Experiences for your 1-day Athens itinerary

The Ancient Athens Skip-the-Line Pass

The Hop-on Hop-Off Classic Tour

Athens by Night Sightseeing

Athens One-Day Itinerary: A Map


More Athens Itineraries


Have some more time to kill in Athens? That's alright, we've got other options for you. Check out our other itineraries for further inspiration:


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Athens Trip Planner Guide

The Ultimate Athens Trip Planner

In this Athens trip planner, we bring to you some of the best Athens itineraries along with essential information such as the best time to visit Athens, how to get around the city, where to stay, and more.

Public Transportation In Athens


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The public transportation system in Athens is modestly priced, safe and covers the majority of the city and suburbs. The best part is that you can use the same ticket for all modes of public transportation, valid for 90 minutes/ticket, which costs around €1.40. There are a variety of options to choose from to suit your needs and depending on your destination.

  • Taxis: Most taxis in Greece follow the meter system, which charges the customer as per kilometres travelled. TaxiBeat is the prime app-based yellow taxi service in the city. While other options available are Uber, Radio Taxi, Taxiplon, Ikaros etc.
  • Metros: Metros are the quickest way to move about Athens. The metro system in Athens is made up of three lines that connect to the tram, bus routes, and suburban railway. It usually runs from 5 am to midnight but on weekends it works up to 3 am.
  • Train: The trains in Athens connect the port of Piraeus with Athens International Airport. It also forms a link between Athens to Evia's Halkida and the Peloponnese's Kiato and Corinth. The suburban railway runs every day from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Buses/ TrolleyBuses: The bus and trolleybus networks in Athens are extensive. Most buses and trolleybuses run every day from 5 a.m. to midnight but make sure to double-check your route's schedule.
  • Airport: The international airport is 20 km away from Athens & you can take the metro for a quick arrival. The Airport Express buses are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These services link Athens International Airport to the city centre (Syntagma Square), the port of Piraeus, and the Intercity Bus Terminal (KTEL Kifissos).
  • The Tram: The tram network connects urban Athens with the Faliro and Voula beach neighbourhoods. At four stops, the tram connects to the Metro and the overground train: Syntagma, Syngrou/Fix, Neos Kosmos, and SEF (Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro). The tram runs every day from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays until 2:30 a.m.

If you want to explore the city at leisure, you can book yourself a tour on the Hop-On, Hop-Off tours available as well. These will take you to different points of interest and give you the flexibility to board any of the available service buses as you jump between tourist sites.

Where To Stay in Athens?


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Luxury Hotels

  • Cocomat Athens: Adapted with proper health facilities, it is a 5-star hotel that offers luxurious services like restaurants, sauna, swimming pool etc. The nearest airport is Elefthérios Venizélos Airport, 19 km from Coco-mat Athens BC.
  • Niche Hotel Athens: This 4-star hotel is located in the City Centre of Athens, within 1 km of distance from Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, & Odeum of Herodes Atticus. Offers absolute great services
  • Elia Ermou Athens Hotel: It is located in the centre of Athens, only 800 metres from the world-renowned Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. This 4-star hotel has a restaurant and a spa centre. Free WiFi is also available.
  • Electra Metropolis: The hotel interiors are an elegant blend of white marble & wooden decor exemplifying modernism. Work desk, smart TVs, laptop safe, free WiFi & mini bar is also available. It is located in Plaka.

Economy Hotels

  • Acropolis Hill Hotel:: Witness the vista of the great Acropolis from the comfort of your room. It has great services & affordable prices.
  • Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel: Located in one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of Athens and offers elegant accommodations with free Wi-Fi. It is only a short distance from the Acropolis and Plaka. The rooms are designed in a modest yet opulent style.
  • Adrian Hotel: It is 1.2 km away from Acropolis, & 350m from Ancient Agora. The venue overlooks the hills, set near the lively Monastiraki Flea Market..

Budget Hotels

  • Attalos Hotel: With its tradition of classic, comfortable accommodation, friendly staff and atmosphere, Attalos has created a name among a host of international visitors and guests.
  • Metropolis Hotel: The hotel has nice rooms with modern bathrooms and rainfall showers, all of which are fully equipped with TVs, hairdryers, WiFi, telephones, bathroom amenities, and slippers and are ready to accommodate individuals, couples, and small families.
  • The Nefeli Hotel: It is located in the beautiful Plaka neighbourhood, amid the foothills of the great Acropolis. This quaint family-run hotel has amassed a large number of loyal guests over the years.
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Tips & Hacks For Making The Best of Athens In A Day


  • Language: Although you can find English speaking people, it is advisable to carry a Greek-to-English dictionary.
  • Metros are arguably the most economical, rapid & effective to travel across the city.
  • On rainy days, don't be disappointed and stay in. Explore indoor sites such as art galleries and museums to make the most of your vacation!
  • The days are nice and sunny, but the evenings can be quite chilly. Do bring some warm clothes and an umbrella if you want to explore the city at night.
  • While photographing in public places with the consent of people is acceptable, clicking pictures of private moments, children & monks in monasteries are to be done with permission.
  • September to November is the best time to visit Athens, as it offers fewer crowds, better deals & the opportunity to explore the city in peace.
  • The first Sunday of each winter month is designated as an Open Day, with free entry to all the archaeological sites, monuments, and museums in Greece. If you plan to visit in winter, make sure to grab the opportunity.
  • The monuments, transportation & tour timings differ according to the seasons, do double-check the timings & schedule beforehand.
  • Athens is a beautiful city with myriads of islands & flea markets, do visit them for some good souvenirs.
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FAQs: Athens in 1 Day - Itinerary


What to know before visiting Athens?

  • Carry cash. It's not a cashless city.
  • Tips are optional.
  • Nightlife in Athens starts later than normal.
  • Use the metro as much as possible; it's pretty extensive.

What is the best month to visit Athens, Greece?

Between March and May, and September to November are ideal for visiting the city. 

Is there a dress code in Greece?

As such no, but holy places like monasteries and churches are pretty strict with their dress codes. Shorts are not allowed, and women's arms are expected to be covered. Make sure to check in advance on sites' official websites in case of additional requirements.

Which Greek island is the prettiest?

Santorini is considered to be the most idyllic of all Greek islands!

Is 1 day enough for Athens?

Yes, one day in Athens is more than enough to hit up the main sights. With a robust public transportation system, it's easy to see a lot of places in Athens even if you only have one or two days to explore.