Athens | Greece Travel Guide

This stop is all about Athens, Greece. If you’re just joining in, you can also find my Greece recap, along with all about Santorini and Mykonos.  You can also follow along with a travel map (also great while actually in Athens) and see our entire Greece itinerary.

It was important to me to visit Athens to see and experience this rich history in person. But, I’d heard that the city of Athens is still very much a big city. We spent one full day in Athens taking in all we could and it was the perfect amount of time for us. We enjoyed two beautiful nights looking out at the Acropolis. Grecians really know how to kill it with the outdoor lighting.

 

Overall, we spent 9 days in Greece with 2 nights in Athens. From the US, it was most common to arrive in the early evening into Athens. It takes about 45 minutes to go from the airport to central Athens. It was something we hadn’t thought much about, but we were able to Uber there with no issues. We dropped our things at the hotel and walked to the main shopping street to start exploring.

{Travel trip: a solid day in Athens will give you plenty of time to see all the main historical sights and get your hands on some authentic Greek wine}

Where to stay:

Tourists will typically enjoy staying close to the Acropolis but be warned, Athens is not a flat city! Despite staying a short distance from many of the ruins, the topography makes it quite the workout to cross town. Typically you’ll find good options from Syntagma Square down to the stadium.

We stayed at the King George Hotel in Syntagma Square and the location was great. It was about 10 minutes walking from Monastiraki, the central shopping and eating area. We opted to use points for our stay and were happy with the easy transportation from the square to get us where we needed to go. They also had a fabulous top floor restaurant overlooking the city.

Based on recommendations, I included a zone on the travel map to make sure you are in a good area of Athens during your stay.

What to see:

To make it easy, we opted to purchase a day pass on the hop on-hop off bus. This allowed us to get around to all the sights without walking the entire city. Should your feet get tired, they offer an audio tour to listen to while viewing the sights from the bus. In the afternoon, we took a more scenic ride to see more of the city and get us to our evening dinner. The bus started in Syntagma Square making it super easy to jump right on in the morning.

Some of my favorite historical sights include the obvious bit hits:

MUST sees: the Acropolis, Parthenon, Panathenaic Stadium, Temple of Zeus

Head to the Acropolis and you can knock out multiple sites in one visit. The Parthenon, Erechtheion, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Theatre of Dionysus (just below) are up on this citadel overlooking the city. We heard ticket lines to the Acropolis can get long so we arrived within an hour of opening. After all the pictures you can imagine walking around the grounds, you can take a short walk down the sweet pedestrian sweet flanked with shops and cafes to the Temple of Zeus. Don’t miss the Arch of Hadrian as you walk in. After walking around the spacious gardens you can make your way past the Athens Lawn Tennis Club until you run into Panathenaic Stadium.

Other places to see:

Monastiraki – the main cafe and shopping area at the base of the Acropolis will be full of excitement no matter the hour.

Greek Parlament – at the top of Syntagma Square, it’s a beautiful building you can look over from a park cafe or watch the changing of the guard.

Roman Agora – after getting off the Acropolis, find your way down to the ruins and explore the greens and ruins.

Acropolis Museum – a new and modern building at the base of the Acropolis. Great for a slower pace and air conditioning on a hot day.

What to eat:

Bar 360 – One of the best locations to look at the Acropolis at Night. Make a reservation at Bar 360 to get drinks on the roof and enjoy evening views of the ruins.

Tudor Hall – Standing 7 floors above the city, the windows also provide a great view to get a cocktail or dinner on top of the renovated King George Hotel.

{Travel tip: Restaurants with a review will require a certain spend. Get appetizers at one restaurant and dinner at another to save money and not miss out on the view}

Dia Tafta – Looking over the Roman Agora, the cafe-lined street in Monastiraki was filled with both locals and tourists. We enjoyed traditional food at Dia Tafta such as moussaka (Greek’s version of Shepherd’s pie) and got to experience some traditional Greek dancing as we celebrated a birthday party in the restaurant.

Collage Cafe – we enjoyed some great salads, pizza and Greek wine.

School Pizza Bar – self-explanatory, al fresco pizza and Greek wine. I swear we ate other things too!

With the exception of the Acropolis Museum, we managed to hit everything we wanted in one day. The weather was great so we opted to ride the hop on-hop off bus instead. We felt we spent the perfect amount of time in Athens. After a full day in Athens, we changed up the pace and headed to the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

You can see our entire itinerary here as well as my a travel map of our time in Athens.

You can find more travel guides as well as our past itineraries and travel maps to help craft your next vacation.

Get lost exploring – ask me questions – I’m here to help!

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