Athens is a city full of contrasts, home to several museums and ancient sites as well as touristy and underground neighborhoods. However, many travelers choose to spend only one day in the Greek capital before heading to the magical islands. And even though 24-hours isn’t long enough to properly see this diverse city if you spend every minute here wisely you’ll get a proper taste.
Follow our itinerary for spending one day in Athens and we bet you’ll be back here sooner than you think.
8.30 am – 11 am
Start your day in Athens with a visit to the Acropolis, Athens’ sacred rock.
See the Greek world-class landmarks that date to the 5th century BC including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Propylaia.
Continue your exploration into ancient Greece’s civilization at the Acropolis Museum.
It’s located within a 10-minute walk and it displays artifacts and statues excavated from the slopes of the Acropolis.
The route will reward you and before you’ll know it you’ll be entering a high-class museum.
A tour in Acropolis and in the Acropolis Museum is a must when in Athens! Check this Acropolis and Acropolis Museum tour we found for you on GetYourGuide.com as it is combined with a skip the line ticket, and it is one of the best out there.
11 am – 1 pm
Now, that you’ve taken the first taste of Athens, it’s a good time to take a break and have your first culinary experience in the city.
Besides, it’s brunch time. The vibrant neighborhood of Koukaki is located around 1 kilometer from the Acropolis Museum and it takes around a 10- minute walk to get to its most busy district, Veikou street.
Choose one of the numerous places here or walk a bit further and enjoy a filling dish at Bel-Ray.
Once you’ve recharged your batteries take a walk around the neighborhood and grab the metro or a bus from Sygrou-Fix station with direction to Syntagma square.
If you choose to take a bus on the way to Syntagma you’ll come across the Columns of the Olympian Zeus.
1 pm – 3 pm
In less than 10 minutes you’ll be standing in front of the Hellenic Parliament on Syntagma square, a place soaked in history.
Watch the Evzones in their distinctive uniforms guarding the parliament.
From here you can either choose to take a walk in the National Garden where you’ll find Zappeion some ancient ruins or head to Benaki Museum.
In any case, your next stop for lunch should be in Monastiraki. As an alternative you can choose between some options you may have for a small-group food walking tour on GetYourGuide.com, so to taste local traditional products!
In order to get here head back to Syntagma square and take the metro or walk along Ermou, Athens’ popular shopping street.
3 pm – 5 pm
The area around Monastiraki square brims with restaurants and local taverns of all kinds.
Even though, many of them are super touristy if you dive into the area’s hidden alleys you’ll find many choices.
For high-quality seafood dishes head to Atlantikos in Avliton street, for traditional dishes look for Kuzina in Adrianou street while for a more refined dining experience search for Fouar in Hristopoulou street.
The more you leave the area’s central streets behind the higher the chances to discover the city’s hidden gems. Don’t be afraid to get lost as it is part of the magic of exploring the city center.
5 pm – 7 pm
Adjusted to Monastiraki square is the picturesque Plaka.
Take a relaxed walk in Athens’ most beautiful neighborhood where busy streets give way to cobblestoned alleys and neoclassical houses take the place of the tall grey block buildings.
Explore Anafiotika, the area which looks like a Greek island, and search for the perfect souvenir to take back home.
There are numerous souvenir shops with all kinds of local products and stuff such as knick-knacks, traditional desserts, and delicacies as well as clothing and accessories.
Even though you’re still in the heart of the city center you’ll feel like you’re miles away.
And if you’re actually heading to a Greek island you’ll have taken a first taste of the scenery.
As you can understand, a guided tour in Plaka is strongly recommended. We suggest you click on our tours and tickets page, scroll down to the sightseeing section, and select the one that is best for you!
7 pm – 9 pm
Finish your evening walk in Athens’ historic center at Thissio.
It will take you around 15 minutes to get there on foot but the route is magnificent and the destination will reward you.
Take a stroll along Apostolou Pavlou street and rummage at the numerous stands selling all kinds of stuff.
Especially, if you’re visiting Athens in the summertime, you’ll find from used cameras and other electronic devices to jewelry, accessories and art paintings.
Weather permitted, (check some info about the Athens weather) grab a table at the cafes’ outdoor areas or at Thissio View rooftop terrace and indulge in a refreshment while enjoying the view of the Acropolis.
9 pm – 11 pm
Visiting Athens and not experiencing its vibrant nightlife would be an oversight.
And Thissio lies close to two of the city’s most lively nightlife areas: Gazi and Psirri.
Deciding which one you’ll choose is entirely up to you but both places have an abundance of bars and nightclubs.
Psirri, which is situated close to Monastiraki square is around one kilometer from Thissio. You can get there either on foot via Ermou street or by train from Thissio station. Read here about how to get around Athens.
Here you’ll find a mixed crowd of locals and tourists of all ages. Choose one of the hip bars such as Tranzistor or a local tavern serving the traditional raki accompanied with meze.
If however, you prefer to see another part of the city head to Gazi.
This district is accessible both on foot (a 15-minute walk) or by taking the train from Thissio station and changing to the blue line at Monastiraki station. This area is known as Athens’ gay-friendly area and is home to a great number of nightclubs.
There are plenty of bars though, for a relaxed drink and some of them even feature a rooftop terrace. As an alternative, you can book an Athens by night tour like this one we found for you on GetYourGuide.com, with an expert local guide, so to experience the Athens nightlife scene much-much better.
This 24-hour itinerary for spending one day in Athens includes some of the most significant Greek sites as well as the city’s hippest neighborhoods. In one day you can see both the touristy and the less known side of the city.
It’s enough time to fall in love with the Greek capital.
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