24 hours in Athens: how to spend a perfect day in the Greek capital

by | Aug 8, 2021 | City Getaways, Europe, Greece, Itineraries | 13 comments

24 hours in Athens
24 hours in Athens

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Greece has been on my bucket list for the longest time. Last week, I finally got to visit this incredible country for the first time. Before heading off to the islands, I spend a little over 24 hours in Athens.

I love Greek mythology and Athens, Greece’s capital might just be one of my new favorite cities in the world. There’s so much to see and do and you could easily spend a couple days wandering around and exploring.

I only had limited time in Greece, so I decided to spend only a day in the city. But I made the most of my 24 hours in Athens and here’s how I spent an unforgettable day in the Greek capital.

How to spend a morning in Athens

Start your day with a delicious greek Breakfast

What better way to start your 24 hours in Athens than with a tasty Greek breakfast and a delicious cup of coffee? Depending on where you are staying, there are many great breakfast locations in town. If you’re staying near the Psyrri area, check out Bougadsadiki Thessaloniki (it’s located right next to beer time, the sign is in Greek only and says μπουγατοάδικο) 

Ps. don’t miss out on my accommodation recommendations at the end of this post!
2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Immerse yourself in history at the Acropolis

The first must-see during your 24 hours in Athens is the Acropolis. The Acropolis is the main attraction in Athens and it is definitely worth the hype! The Acropolis is an ancient citadel, located on a lime stone hill high above Athens. It contains the remains of several ancient buildings and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

I would highly recommend purchasing your admission ticket in advance, to avoid waiting in a queue. There are various ticket options for the Acropolis. You can choose between tickets for admission only, tours with a guide or audio-guide. And if you have more time, you can even get combi-passes, which allow you to visit 7 additional sites, including the temple of Zeus and the

How to get to the Acropolis

There are different Metro stations in the proximity of the Acropolis. The stop nearest to the main entrance and right next to the Acropolis Museum is Acropoli.

Otherwise, you can also take the metro to Thissio or Monastiraki and walk up from there. From both stops, it’s a short walk uphill to the side entrance on the west. 

Marvel at the view from Areopagus Hill

Areopagus Hill is a rocky outcrop on the northwest of the Acropolis. Back in the days, it used to be the stage of many important events in Athen’s mythology and history. It was once the seat of the first Aristocratic parliament and a homicide court. According to the Greek mythology, Ares, the god of war, was tried here for the murder of Poseidon’s son.

Besides having an interesting history, the marble hill is also a great view point. It offers a fantastic view over the city, onto the ancient Agora just below and up to the impressive Acropolis.

24 hours in Athens
24 hours in Athens

Where to go for lunchtime in Athens

Get lost in the cobblestone lanes of Plaka

Another place you can’t miss during oyur 24 hours in Athens is Plaka, the oldest and one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Athens. The area is located between the metro stations of Monastiraki and Acropolis, and at the foot of the Acropolis.

Many of the streets of Plaka are car-free and filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. There is no particular spot to visit in Plaka, rather just go for a stroll and get lost for a little while.

Enjoy a typical greek lunch

Once your feet are tired from all the exploring, it’s time for lunch. The Melina Cafe Bistro in Plaka is a great place for a delicious, traditional meal and a refreshing drink.

One of my best tips for eating out in Greece is to start small. Portions tend to be huge, and often an appetizer would almost be a full meal for me. Start with one or two appetizers and order more if you’re still hungry. Greek people are very generous hosts. When eating at a restaurant, it’s quite common you will be offered a complimentary dessert or a glass of Ouzo,  a traditional anise-flavored liquor.

How to spend an afternoon in Athens

There are many great ways to spend the afternoon of your 24 hours in Athens. If you chose the Acropolis combi-pass, you might want to visit some other archaeological sites, like the Agora, Hadrian’s Library, or the Temple of ZeusIf you crave some greenery and nature, head to the National Garden of Athens. It’s located right in the heart of the city and it is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Athens for a while.

And if you’re on the hunt for some souvenirs, visit Monastiraki Flea Market. Bear in mind that it is not really a flea market, except for Sundays, but it is nevertheless a good place to browse for some souvenirs. On Sundays, Monastiraki Flea Market actually does turn into a real flea market with locals selling everything and anything. Just make sure you get there before 11 am to beat the crowds. 

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

How to end your 24 hours in Athens right

Sundowners on Mount Lycabettus

You simply can’t miss Mount Lycabettus. The 300-meter high limestone hill is Athen’s highest point. From the top, you get to enjoy a fantastic 360° view over the city and the Acropolis, into the mountains of the Peloponnese, and, on a clear day, out on the sea.

The best time to visit Mount Lycabettus is for the sunset. There are different ways to the top and the hike will take you anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes.

If you don’t want to walk all the way, you can also catch the Teleferik, Athen’s unique cable car. The 210-meter ride to the top takes about 3 minutes and costs 5 euros one-way or 7.50 euros round-trip.

How to get to Mount Lycabettus

By foot: an easy and relatively quick way to get to Mount Lycabettus is to take the Metro to Evangelismos. From there, it took me about 25 minutes to walk to the top.

By Teleferik: the cable car station is located at the corner of Aristippou and Plutarchiou Streets. The easiest way to get there is again by Metro to Evangelismos. From there, it’s a 600-meter uphill walk to the station. 

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

More Greek food for dinner

I hope all that shopping and walking made you hungry again. I know you can only eat so much in a day. But your 24 hours in Athens wouldn’t be complete without trying as many Greek dishes as possible. Adrianou Street runs from Hadrian’s Library at Monastiraki Square towards Thesseion. It’s one of the oldest commercial streets in Athens and the perfect place to eat dinner. There are various different restaurants along Adrianou, so you can just stroll and see what speaks to you. 

End your day with a nightcap on a rooftop terrace

Athen’s night life has a lot to offer and it also takes an important part in Greek culture. So if you’re not tired after this exciting day, I definitely recommend making the most of your night.

A for Athens is located next to the Monastiraki Square and the Monastiraki Metro Station. The roof top bar has the perfect view of the Acropolis, is open until the early morning and serves delicious cocktails. Sounds good, right?

Where to stay in Athens

Airbnb: Personally, I love Airbnb. Whenever I travel, I usually book most of my accommodation through Airbnb. If you love Airbnb too and would love to stay in an amazing place in Athens, check out this cosy studio.

The view alone settles the deal. But in addition, the Airbnb is located in Psyrri right in the center of Athens. It’s surrounded by cool restaurants and bars and in walking distance of Monastiraki Square, the Acropolis and many other important sites.

If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, you can sign up using this link and you will get up to USD 55 off your first trip.

Hotel: if you prefer staying at a hotel, have a look at the Jason Inn Hotel. I stayed at the Airbnb above, but one of my friends recently stayed at this hotel and absolutely loved it.

How to get around in Athens

The easiest way to get around in Athens is by Metro. It runs through the city and all the way to the Airport and to Piraeus port. For 24 hours in Athens, you can get a one-day city ticket. And if you stay longer, there are different multi-day passes too. You can easily purchase the tickets and the ticket vending machines or at the ticket office in the Metro stations. You can either pay cash or by card.

You need a special ticket from the airport to the city, which is called airport express and costs 9 euros per person.

Have you ever spend 24 hours in Athens? Or were you lucky enough to spend even more time in this unique city? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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24 hours in Athens
24 hours in Athens

13 Comments

  1. Ophelie

    I visited Athens a few yars ago for a few days and I loved it! Happy to see with your blogpost that we can see a lot of the good places in only one day!

    Reply
    • sara far away

      I’m so happy to hear you had a great time in Athens! You can really do and see so much in Athens in a day, I feel like I made the most of the short time I had 😀

      Reply
  2. Megan

    I have always wanted to go to Greece and these pictures are NOT helping calm that desire! lol! What a great place and a perfect list of how to spend the day!

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Sorry 😀 🙂 I hope you’ll be able to visit Greece soon too! It was my first time visitng as well and I can’t wait to go back. And thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading my post!

      Reply
  3. Cosette

    Lovely things to do in 24 hours in Athens. Went to Athens, and stayed 5 days. There’s so much to see and do.

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Oh wow, that sounds absolutely amazing! We only had a week to spend in Greece, so we kept our stay in Athens pretty short, but I wish we could have had some more time. I would love to hear some of your tips, you must have done and seen so much 😀

      Reply
  4. Shalzmojo

    Wow- you have certainly traveled this city pretty well to have written this detailed post on getting the maximum out in one day. Absolutely in love with the photos – you are making me yearn to travel with this post.

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I couldn’t put my camera down for a minute, there are just too many beautiful things to see in Athens. I really hope you will be able to travel again very soon! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Krista

    I was supposed to be in Athens in May but had to postpone. I love these tips so I’ll keep this post for later when I’m planning my itinerary!

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Awww such a shame, I’m sorry to hear that! I hope you’ll be able to visit Athens soon and hope you’ll find some helpful suggestions in my post once you do 🙂

      Reply
  6. Kriszti

    The views in Athens are just so stunning and there are so many interesting historical places to visit. Would love to explore the city next year, thank you for sharing this amazing guide!

    Reply
    • sara far away

      I really hope you’ll be able to go next year. It is such an incredible city 🙂

      Reply
  7. April

    Such a great post. Seeing the Acropolis has long been a dream of mine and Athens just looks incredible overall. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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Welcome to my world!

Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.