Athens is one of the oldest and most vibrant cities in the world, with a rich history and culture that dates back thousands of years. There is so much to do in Athens, from ancient ruins to bustling markets. While you can spend an entire week in Athens and still have things to do, it is oftentimes just a pit stop to the Greek Islands. In this blog post, I am sharing how I spent 24 hours in Athens, Greece last month before my trip through the Greek Islands.
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Athens, Greece
Where to Stay in Athens, Greece
The Athens airport is around 30 minutes from the city center. Once you land in Athens, you will need to take public transportation, a rental car, or a taxi to your accommodation. I recommend staying near the city center, especially if you have limited time. This will cost around 45 euros during the daytime, or 55 euros at night time, for an Uber or taxi.
Things to Do in Athens, Greece
1. The Acropolis
If you have any time at all in Athens, the Acropolis is a must-see! The Acropolis sits at the highest point in Athens. The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most well-known archeological sites in the world. When visiting the Acropolis, you will have a chance to see several ancient structures such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Propylaea. In addition to the temples and monuments, the Acropolis boasts beautiful 360-degree views of Athens. For more information on the Acropolis, you can read my full post here.
2. Ancient Agora
At one time, the Ancient Agora of Athens was a public space used for meetings and gatherings. The area is now a vast archaeological site. The Ancient Agora is located near the Acropolis. It’s the perfect second stop for your Athens itinerary. At the Ancient Agora, you can view the remnants of several different ancient structures such as the Temple of Hephaestus, Theater of Dionysus, and Holy Apostles Church of Byzantium.
3. National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece. If you are interested in learning about the history, culture, and art of Greece, this is the perfect stop. Some of the most notable artifacts at the museum include the Mask of Agamemnon and the Artemision Bronze.
You can read more about the current hours and admission costs on the website here.
4. Explore the Plaka neighborhood
The Plaka neighborhood is nestled at the foot of the Acropolis. In this neighborhood, you can stroll along the labyrinth streets and lose yourself in the maze of shops, boutiques, and restaurants. With only 24 hours in Greece, this is the best neighborhood to visit as it is one of the oldest in Athens and is very picturesque.
5. Monastiraki Square
If you are looking for a souvenir, Monastiraki Square has the best selection of souvenir shops clothing boutiques, and specialty stores. Monastiraki is located near the Plaka neighborhood and the Ancient Agora. While you’re here, if you are up for a drink with a beautiful view of the Acropolis (either day or night when it’s lit up), you can go up to 360 Cocktail Bar, one of the more well-known rooftop bars in Athens.
6. Visit the National Gardens of Athens
The National Gardens of Athens is a large green space with over 500 types of plants and trees from around the world. The gardens were originally Royal Gardens but were later opened to the public in 1923. The gardens are free to visit, and open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Where to Eat in Athens, Greece
1. Thes Creative Cuisine
Thes Creative Cuisine is located in the Plaka neighborhood. It was one of my favorite meals while traveling in all of Greece. The presentation of the food and atmosphere at These was perfect. I went with a group of 6, everyone got something different but agreed that the food was a 10/10!
2. Leodi’s Traditional Greek Restaurant
Leodi’s is a restaurant located near the Acropolis. The service was exceptional and the owner was very friendly. If you are looking for traditional Greek food, this is a great option. This restaurant has won several awards for its Moussaka. There are also several options for vegetarians.
After getting into Athens, we were looking for something quick to eat with vegetarian/vegan options. This popped up as being somewhere close to our Airbnb. We ate here and didn’t realize that it was going to be the best gyros we had during our entire trip to Greece. We had at least 10 gyros while traveling in Greece and none could top these. You have to grab a gyro here if you’re in Athens!
Other Tips for Athens, Greece
- If you only have 24 hours in Athens, Greece, choose 2- 3 things that you want to do and plan your day around those.
- Get to the Acropolis early! I arrived around 15 minutes before it opened and it was the perfect time. The Acropolis was hardly busy and we were one of the first ones in. A line had already formed 15 minutes prior, and by the time it had opened, it was quite long.
- Many of the tourist areas such as Montastiraki Square, are known for pick-pocketing. Be sure to keep an eye on your valuables.
- Greece drivers are aggressive! If you are not confident in driving (or don’t need to), I recommend walking, taking taxis, and using the subway. It was quite easy to get around just walking and using the subway after taking an initial taxi from the airport.
How to Spend 24 Hours in Athens, Greece
I hope this guide on how to spend 24 hours in Athens, Greece helped you to plan so that you can see some of the highlights. Athens is a beautiful and bustling city. There is so much history and plenty of great food! Whether you are just stopping by before island hopping, or are using it as a home base to explore, I highly recommend seeing some of the above during your trip!