Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s the “birthplace” of democracy, and the source of some of the most famous myths and stories ever told. So it’s easy to see why Athens is a must-visit destination and why you need a fantastic Athens itinerary!
If you only have a couple of days in the city, it can be daunting to decide what to do, which is where I come in! This itinerary covers the major landmarks and famous sites you’ll want to see, as well as a few lesser-known spots worth visiting.
Want to maximize your time here? Then check out this 2-day Athens itinerary!
Day One of Your Athens Itinerary
Start at the Acropolis
Head to the Acropolis first thing in the morning. The Acropolis is usually less crowded and cooler in the morning.
The Parthenon is the most recognizable and famous part of the Acropolis. But there are 21 major archaeological sites on and around the Acropolis that are worthy of your time. And that’s not even including the Acropolis Museum!
So, I recommend doing a guided tour of the Acropolis. A guide will allow you to see more sites more efficiently, and you’ll have an expert to tell you about everything you’re seeing.
A guided tour can also allow you to personalize your Acropolis experience. Many tours emphasize a particular aspect of Greek history or culture. For example, I did the Athens Athens Mythology Highlights Tour because I love Greek Mythology.
But if you want to do a self-guided tour, here’s a guide on how, when, and where to purchase Acropolis tickets (guided tours should take care of this for you).
Walk Through the Plaka Neighborhood
After the Acropolis, head east to the Plaka Neighborhood. Plaka is called the “Neighborhood of the Gods,” and it’s the oldest district in Athens. It’s retained its original village-feel with narrow, cobblestone pedestrian streets.
Find a sit-down restaurant in this picturesque neighborhood to rest (your feet) over lunch. Then explore the winding streets of Plaka, making sure you see the Lysicrates Monument.
Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus
Then keep going east to the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. These two sites are next to each other. The Temple of Zeus has an entry fee of €6 to see it up-close, and the Arch is free-standing with no cost to walk right up to it.
Your eastward journey continues to the Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. It’s the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble.
Admission fee: adults €3, students and seniors (over 65) €1,50, and free entrance to children under the age of six.
Daily: March to October 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Daily: November to February: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Give yourself plenty of time to take photos on the “winners circle” and to climb the stairs. The stadium closes before dark, but it needs to be seen at night. So, plan to stay at the Panathenaic Stadium until it closes.
Then head to Ardittos Hill
The Ardittos Hill is behind the Panathenaic Stadium, and it has a park that gives you fantastic night views of the Panathenaic Stadium, Acropolis, and Mount Lycabettus.
To get to Ardittos Hill, go right when you exit the Panathenaic Stadium. Walk Southeast (uphill) on the street named Agras, keeping the stadium on your right. Then turn right on Archimidous Street, and the entrance to the park will be on your right.
Eat at a Rooftop Restaurant.
End your day with dinner at a rooftop restaurant with a view.
Day Two of Your Athens Itinerary
Start your morning at the Ancient Agora. The Agora, or Forum, is an archaeological site that used to be the central market and gathering place for the ancient city.
Here, you’ll find the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the country.
Library of Hadrian, Roman Forum, Monastiraki Neighborhood
Then head East to the Library of Hadrian and the Roman Forum in the Monastiraki neighborhood.
Monastiraki is one of the central shopping districts in Athens. Have a sit-down lunch to rest (your feet) here. Then shop and make sure you see Monastiraki Square and the Cathedral Mētrópolis.
Keep heading East to Syntagma Square, also known as Constitution Square. This square is in front of the 19th century Old Royal Palace, which has been the Greek Parliament Building since 1934.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors all Greek soldiers who’ve been killed in battle, is also here. At the top of every hour, there’s a changing of the guard ceremony that’s worth seeing.
Then Stroll Through the Nearby National Gardens.
Climb Mount Lycabettus
Next, head northeast to Mount Lycabettus – the highest point in Athens. Time your ascent so you can see the sunset over the Aegean Sea, then watch the city and ancient ruins light up at night.
The walk up Mount Lycabettus is steep, involves lots of steps, and can take upwards of an hour to climb. But don’t worry, there’s also a cable car that takes you to the top. The Lycabettus Cable Car is at the intersection of Aristippou and Plutarchiou Streets.
End your day with dinner at a rooftop restaurant with a view
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