2 Days in Athens Itinerary
Thinking of visiting Athens but not sure if 2 days are enough?
Well, yes, 2 days in Athens is enough time to explore most of what the city has to offer. To prove that, I created this Athens itinerary for you to make the most out of your time in this city.
When I think of historic destinations, I can't imagine a more historic place than Athens. The city is so full of history, character, famous Greek landmarks, and charm that you probably wonder how to make the most of just 48 hours in Athens.
It's a lively, sometimes chaotic Mediterranean city with a mix of ancient and modern architecture. All the attractions and sites are located in a compact area, so you can easily reach them on foot.
As it can get quite hot from June to September, I suggest visiting it in spring. Somewhere before or after Easter would be the best time to visit Athens because the weather and temperate are ideal. Also, it won't be too crowded with tourists.
In this 2 days in Athens itinerary, I will make sure you get a good overview of Greek culture and history.
- 2 day itinerary
- Average of 12 stops per day
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Athens 2 Day Itinerary
- Archeology and History
- Contemporary Athens
Using the map of Athens, you can explore all the days and stops.
Archeology and History
I visited Athens during Easter. When we arrived, I thought that there was no chance to get anywhere on foot. Everything seemed so distant, but after a little research, I figured out I was wrong.
Your first day will be about exploring Athen's best-kept secrets and beautiful sites. I recommend getting up early so that you can avoid the crowds. Plus, you will be able to take much better photos - without tourists ruining your shots!
There is no better way to start your first day than visiting the Acropolis - Athen's most famous archaeological site and home to the Parthenon. With a history going back a thousand years, and so much to see and learn, you will not get bored for a minute.
Before you head out for the day, make sure to have a fulfilling breakfast as all the walking will eventually leave you feeling hungry.
I'd recommend 'Telaro', a cosy place in the heart of Athens. I had the Telaro omelette, but you can choose anything you want. There are a lot of options on the menu.
The atmosphere was friendly, the staff was attentive, and what's most important, they serve tasty food. For the quality of the food, the prices are quite reasonable.
As I am a coffee addict, I was surprised at how big the mugs were! You have to try their coffee.
It's a lovely place to start your day. And it's on your way to Plaka and Anafiotika - our next stops.
Plaka and Anafiotika
The best way to reach the Acropolis is to head to the beautiful Plaka and Anafiotika neighbourhoods.
Be careful - there are not many direction signs that will help you get to the upper part, so it might be better to ask some locals.
Plaka resembles the old Athens with antiquities, historical buildings, and Byzantine churches. It looks like a labyrinth full of souvenir shops, interesting terraces, restaurants, and pubs.
In the heart of Plaka, you will come across the famous Adrianou street where you can find genuine, local products of Greece. I recommend visiting it and spend some time here.
Anafiotika, on the other hand, is a small but cute neighbourhood built by the residents of Anafi. The streets are narrow and steep, yet very picturesque. The tiny whitewashed houses are ornamented with vibrant bougainvillaea flowers growing from the wooden windows.
The Acropolis of Athens
If it's your first time in Athens, then the Acropolis of Athens is a must-see, even if you're traveling Greece with kids!
After exploring these two tiny neighbourhoods, start reaching the upper city. But before that, make sure to bring enough water as there won't be any place to get a drink.
There is a lot to see here. The Acropolis is home to several Greek monuments such as the magnificent Parthenon, Propylaea and Erechtheion.
You will also explore the well-preserved Temple of Athena Nike. Your first stop should be the Theatre of Dionysus, which was built in the 6th century.
It opens at 8.30 a.m. You can buy a multi-day ticket for €30 to discover all the archaeological sites and monuments at the ticket office.
The Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Theatre of Dionysus is the first and oldest theatre in the world. It was built in the 6th century and is located at the foot of the famous Acropolis.
The site is the perfect place to rest and travel back in time. Just sit on the steps and think of how people once watched shows here. The theatre is a semicircle of marble seats facing the main stage.
On the same side, you’ll spot the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (also a stone theatre). This open-air theatre is much more preserved and has a full stone back wall. Concerts and art events are still being held here.
You can take some magnificent landscape photos here as it is typically less crowded.
As you continue your historic journey to the Acropolis, you will find Propylaea. This European landmark is a set of worn marble stairs through a gateway. The Propylaea is one of the first ruins you will reach on your way after climbing up the Roman steps.
The main entrance was built under the orders of the emperor Valerian to add reinforcement to the Acropolis. It’s dedicated to the Goddess of Athena.
Walk through this gate, and you will finally see the well-known Parthenon. When you see it for the first time, it is much more stunning than you may have imagined.
In ancient times, the gate could be reached through a ramp that led the visitors through the steps directly to the Propylaea.
During your 2 days in Athens, make sure to not miss out on the Parthenon, one of the most famous attractions. Built approximately 2500 years ago, it’s a ruin of an ancient temple.
It’s dedicated to the Greek Goddess of Athena and dominates the hill of the Acropolis. If you learned Greek Mythology in high school, you’ll know what I am talking about.
Being physically there is much more different than reading about it in books. The temple is impressive. What's most impressive about it is the fact that people created it at a time without the use of any modern construction machinery or technology.
The views from the top won't disappoint you, and the climb is definitely worth it.
Temple of Athena Nike
This temple is the smallest on the Acropolis and is located at the edge of a high cliff at the southwestern part. It was constructed during the High Classical period and was designed by the same architect of the Parthenon.
The Temple of Athena Nike was built with white Pantelic marble in the Ionic order. This Pantelic marble has a golden colour. Often referred to as the pearl of the Acropolis, it offers excellent views from any point.
This structure refers to the meetings of the gods and Greek battles against the Barbarians and Boeotians. You cannot enter inside, but you can watch it from very close and feel the history and energy of the past.
The Erechtheion is a site in the northern part of the Acropolis. It’s very popular for the six maidens that are supporting its roof. This temple is the holiest site - Athena planted an olive tree which was a sacred symbol.
It is believed that the Persian invaders ruined that tree, but it appeared again at the same place after they were banished.
Built in the last 20 years of the 5th century, it has an unusual design, unlike many Greek temples. The unusual design refers to its position in a rocky and bumpy area which housed several cults.
The Erechtheion has two parts, one dedicated to Athena and the other one to Poseidon. This exceptional artwork follows the Ionic order and is built on several levels to fix the uneven bedrock.
While everything is still fresh in your memory, head over to the Acropolis Museum, the museum displays various pieces of the Acropolis, such as the Gallery of the Slopes and the Parthenon Gallery.
There are also parts dedicated to specific periods such as the Archaic Acropolis Gallery. Between the collection of objects, you’ll find statues, sculptures, friezes, and even perfume bottles.
You will learn a lot of interesting Greek historical facts; the museum is a great place to educate yourself on their history. I made my visit there after the Acropolis as it is located on the way down to the city centre.
Ticket lines can get quite long, so it’s best if you buy an online ticket in advance.
Ancient and Roman Agora
As you are walking towards the city centre, you will pass by the Ancient Agora. This ancient archaeological site was used as a marketplace for 5000 years. People also gathered to discuss political ideas and other issues, even Sophocles and Socrates used to hang out here.
Ancient Agora also served as a residential area. The ground is still covered with the ruins of ancient buildings and paths. Here, you can find the Temple of Hephaestus, who was the god of fire, metal art, and craftsmanship.
For one last stop in ancient history, I suggest visiting the Roman Agora, near Monastiraki Square. The Roman Agora was built in the first century BC at the time of Julius Caesar's reign. Today, you can still pass through the Gate of Athena Archegetis.
If you want to marvel at the best views, then Areopagus is the place to finish your first day in Athens.
After you are done exploring history, it’s time to relax and enjoy it. Located just below the Acropolis, the Areopagus is a popular spot to catch some of the greatest sunsets.
You will also enjoy 360 degrees of the city of Athens just for yourself. Here you can take the best photos and admire the beautiful views. While Athens offers many rooftops that you can pay to visit, this rocky outcrop is completely free.
Just exit the Acropolis from the main gate, it’s a short walk from there.
'Atitamos' & 'Lefteris o Politis'
After a long day of exploring the Acropolis, you'll find yourself hungry and will be probably wondering where to go.
I suggest heading over to a traditional Greek restaurant called Atitamos. It's located a bit off the touristic area, but it's worth a try. They provide generous portions, delicious food, and affordable prices.
An alternative place I also recommend was one I discovered on my way back to the hotel. I saw a crowded restaurant that had a delicious smell - Lefteris o Politis. I knew this would be a good sign, so I stopped by to try it out. It turned out to be the best souvlaki I've ever had, and it was only $2.25!
They can put everything on your souvlaki, just ask for it. You can eat there or take it away.
On your second day, to get a better feel of Athens, you will be about exploring what's beyond the ancient city. It's no secret that history is what draws thousands of tourists here. But in this 2 day Athens itinerary, I am going to show you why I said that Athens is a mix of both modern and ancient.
To take you through the best of Athens, I am going to list some other interesting highlights in the city centre. Whereas the first day included a lot of ancient attractions, the second day will focus on city life. More precisely, you will discover bustling and busy city markets, unique neighbourhoods, crowded squares, and modern restaurants.
As you have only 2 days in Athens, I suggest you make the most of your days. Prepare yourself for a day full of more stunning sights and experiences.
Greek cuisine is one of my favourites, so I planned another delicious food tour. As I wanted to start my day nice and early, I knew I needed a tasty breakfast. I headed towards The Underdog, located in a beautiful area of Thiseio.
I enjoyed my Greek burrito in their lovely, secluded courtyard. Among the menu, you can also find eggs benedict, avo toast, or pancakes with red fruits jam and oreo biscuits.
Alternatively, Efcharis is one of the best places in the city for a bite of authentic food. It's 100% Greek, and that's why many tourists come here for lunch. It's a few minutes' walk from Monastiraki. It's worth stopping by - especially if you are looking for a good beer.
To start off your second day in Athens, I recommend Monastiraki Square to get a sense of the city. As this is the central square, you can easily spot the Acropolis above.
There are also some important landmarks in Athens you can take photos of, such as the Historic Church of Pantanassa and the Tsisdarakis Mosque. You will also see the beautiful Roman ruins of Hadrian’s Library.
That said, the most popular thing to do here is shopping. Just off the square, explore the Monastiraki Flea Market and some pedestrian shopping streets. If you are looking for affordable shopping, this is the perfect place to buy souvenirs, clothes, etc.
On Sundays, you can find traditional stuff and vintage goods.
Just when you finish your shopping at Monastiraki, take some time to discover the Syntagma Square. It’s less than a 1 km walk.
The square is a scenic site where you can enjoy the park atmosphere. It can be reached very easily, and you can even watch the traditional changing of the guards at the front of the Parliament building.
In case you miss out on the ceremony, don’t worry. It takes place every hour so you can come back again.
National Garden and Zappeion Hall
Just next to the Greek Parliament, you will find the National Garden, along with the Zappeion building. The building is constructed in the 19th century and has a Neoclassical look.
The area has 24 hectares of rare flowers, and other different plants and trees. There is something for everybody. The park features fountains, playgrounds, and walking trails.
Relax while listening to the pleasant bird’s song in this green oasis. It’s the perfect way to escape the busy city life and take some time for yourself.
Take a book, find a bench and enjoy it. The National Garden is the best place to hide during the heat, and even take a nap on the grass.
One of the most modern things in Athens is the Panathenaic Stadium. The Olympic games are held here every four years.
This stadium was made in ancient times and remains a modern contribution to Athens nowadays. It is the only stadium in the world that was built solely of marble in the 19 th century.
This is another great spot to catch the beautiful city views. Just climb to the top of stand 21 and you will see the major attractions.
It’s really worth giving it a go, especially if you are a sports lover. Indulge yourself in sporting history.
Tip: There is a small entrance fee of €5 to walk around with an audio guide included.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Just 10 minutes walk from the Panathenaic Museum, you will discover The Temple of Olympian Zeus (or the Olympieion).
At the entrance, you'll find Hadrian's Arch. This gateway was made from Pentelic marble, like many other structures in Athens.
The temple was dedicated to the God Zeus, who was the ruler of Olympus. It was built over 600 years and was finally finished in the 2nd century A.D. Sixteen of the original 104 columns have remained, yet one fell during an earthquake in the 19th century.
In the background, you will spot the Acropolis and marvel at the impressive views once again.
With the Acropolis combo ticket of €30, you are able to enter this site as well.
National Archeological Museum
The National Archeological Museum is considered to be one of the most significant archaeological museums in Athens and the world.
So, it’s worth adding it into this 2 days in Athens itinerary. If you are looking for some more Greek artefacts and information, this is where your compass should point next.
It makes for a perfect spot to escape the heat or even hide on a rainy day. Within the museum, there are over 11,000 historical pieces representing Greek culture. So make sure you leave enough time to explore and see it all!
If you want to rest your feet a bit, then I recommend taking a metro as it’s about 25 minutes walk from our previous stop.
During the high season (April-October) the ticket costs €12, whereas from November to March, the price is half less (€6).
Varvakeios Central Market
To reach the Central Market, it is a 10-minute walk from the National Archaeological Museum. You can buy meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, spices, and other different kinds of food here.
Enjoy strolling around, while feeling the vibe of modern Athens. The Central Market was built in the 19th century, and the market gives you a real feel of Greek culture and food.
If you are cooking while travelling, this is the place where you can find many sellers that are proudly offering local produce. Every time I travel, I try not to miss the chance to visit a local market, I am always looking to buy traditional items and produce.
The building is open daily, except for Sundays and holidays.
Continue your discovery of Athens to the Psyri neighbourhood. The area has cool restaurants and bars, so it’s a great place to stop for a drink. Relax with a glass of traditional Greek wine.
I recommend ‘Cinque Wine and Deli Bar’ to taste some local wines or stop at ‘Zampano’ for a taste of traditional Greek cuisine. If you are a cocktail lover, then you are lucky. Zampano’s cocktail list deserves a look.
Psyri is also my recommended option for a night out. When you are in the area, you will feel it, the bars and restaurants are calling for you to try a nice nargile and chill out in the music.
What I liked most about this part of the city was the creative street art. I highly recommend exploring the streets and admiring some of the unique street art.
Leave the ancient world behind and pay a visit to another cute neighbourhood, Kolonaki. The streets are steep, so make sure you wear some comfortable shoes. There are also a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee houses, boutiques, and shops.
It’s much different than Plaka but worth giving a chance. There are various restaurants around the square so you can have dinner here.
Kolonaki is a nice shopping area; you can find many quality items from local Greek fashion designers. Compared to other places, it’s less crowded with tourists, so it’s a great place for a walk and a coffee.
Kolonaki is the most aristocratic neighbourhood in Athens, so it’s a bit more expensive than the other areas.
There is no chance you can miss Mount Lycabettus. It’s one of the tallest hills in Athens located in the middle of the city and is visible from almost everywhere.
I was tempted to have a go and decided to end my second day in Athens here. From Kolonaki, I knew that the next stop is up. Once again, you can admire the entire city from another viewpoint.
Besides the magnificent views, there is also a church and a restaurant. As I am not really fit, to be honest, I decided to go for the lighter option, that is taking the funicular.
But if you are in good shape, I suggest taking the steep hike. The views from the top will be worth every step.
After a long day of sightseeing and street wandering, grab a phenomenal gyro at 'The Station-Gyros-Souvlaki-Coffee'.
If you are looking for the best gyros in town, with tender meat, fresh vegetables, and soft grilled pitas, this is the place to go.
The food is just amazing! The portions are big and compared to the city's prices; this place is much cheaper.
Gyro has been the most popular street food in Athens - from chicken to pork or lamb you can find it all. You can take it away as you wander through the streets on your way back to the hotel.
You can't go wrong with this place, both for the quality and the price.
It's been a year since I've been to Athens, but the memories are still fresh in my mind. I spent a lot of time travelling, but I must say this is one of the most iconic cities I've ever visited.
Most of its attractions can be reached on foot. If you feel tired, you can use public transport. Consider the metro system; it's very efficient and affordable.
If you like to take a metro from Athens airport, the ticket will cost €10 per person. The ride to the city centre lasts about 45 minutes.
But if you are coming by ferry, you will arrive at Piraeus. From there, you can take a metro to the city as well.
I hope you enjoyed my Athens itinerary and will start planning your trip very soon.
This article was edited by Loredana Elena and was first published on Mar 21, 2020 16:30 UTC.
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