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The Ultimate Itinerary for Spending One Day in Athens

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What is the best way to spend one day in Athens? This question has come up more times than any other by travelers who want to visit Athens for the first time. Answering has never been easy, but in this article, we’ll do our best to plan the perfect day in Athens for your maiden voyage to Greece.

Athens is a city full of contrasts, home to several museums, ancient sites, and 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 in Athens isn’t long enough to see this diverse city properly, you’ll get a proper taste if you spend every minute here wisely.

Follow our itinerary for spending one day in Athens, and we bet you’ll be back here sooner than you think.

Visit the Acropolis of Athens in the Morning (8.30 am – 11 am)

Start your day in Athens with a visit to the Acropolis, Athens’ sacred rock. Click the link below and book your tickets online now.

Skip The Line: Tickets for Acropolis of Athens

See the Greek world-class landmarks that date to the 5th century BC, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaia.

A must-visit when in Athens, the Acropolis is a stunning 5th-century BC temple complex situated on a hill

Continue your exploration into ancient Greece’s civilization at the Acropolis Museum.

Book now your skip the line ticket to the Acropolis Museum

It’s located within a 10-minute walk, and it displays artifacts and statues excavated from the slopes of the Acropolis.

Visiting the Acropolis Museum is undoubtedly a great and unprecedented experience for any visitor. Courtesy: THINK Global School /

Follow the scenic Dionisiou Aeropagitou street to reach the Acropolis Museum. The route will reward you, and before you know it, you’ll be entering a high-class museum.

A tour of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum is a must

Get a First Taste of Greek Gastronomy at Noon (11 am – 1 pm)

Now that you’ve had your 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 directions 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.

The temple of Olympian Zeus is a colossal temple right at the center of Athens

Visit Syntagma Square and see the Evzones Guards (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 guarding the parliament in their distinctive uniforms.

Evzones in Syntagma Square

From here, you can either choose to take a walk in the National Garden, where you’ll also find the Zappeion Hall, or head to Benaki Museum.

In any case, your next stop for lunch should be in Monastiraki. Head back to Syntagma Square and take the metro or walk along Ermou, Athens’s popular shopping street, to get here.

Lunch Time at Monastiraki in the Afternoon (3 pm – 5 pm)

If it’s your first time in Greece, you probably don’t know that, in contrast to the rest of Europe, locals usually have lunch late in the afternoon, especially during summertime when it’s too hot to move around the city for a few hours

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.

Traditional restaurant near Monastiraki Square, Athens.
Courtesy: Athens By Locals

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 are 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.

When in Athens, make sure to get lost in Monastiraki
Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Explore the Picturesque Neighborhoods of Athens (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 that 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.

Plaka district, Athens

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!

Go Souvenir Hunting in the Evening (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 everything from used cameras and other electronic devices to jewelry, accessories, and art paintings.

Weather permitting, grab a table at the cafes’ outdoor areas or at Thissio View rooftop terrace and indulge in refreshment while enjoying the view of the Acropolis.

The sensational rooftop terrace with an Acropolis view of Hotel Thissio is where the real magic happens. Courtesy: Thissio View Facebook Page

Dive Into the Lively Athenian Nightlife (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 many 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 Transistor or a local tavern serving the traditional raki accompanied by 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 for a relaxed drink, and some of them even feature a rooftop terrace.

Top Things to Do in Athens in One Day

Maybe you have already visited some of the places we have mentioned above, or maybe the charms of Athens have made you change your plans to stay a few days more in the city. In any case, we will list some of the top things to do in Athens below so that you never run out of ideas – even if you are only visiting Athens for one day.

The Athens Riviera

Yes. Athens actually has beaches! No need to travel all the way to the islands to get a suntan by the water. Just head on down to the Athenian Riviera and spend a relaxing day by the sea, get the chance to sample some fresh seafood, and explore Vouliagmeni Lake, one of the hidden gems of Athens.

Check out our complete guide to the Athenian Riviera right below.

The National Archaeological Museum

This one is for all the history buffs reading this article. Sure, the Acropolis Museum might be the most famous museum in Athens but if you want to learn more about the city’s rich history and cultural heritage, visiting the National Archaeological Museum is a must.

Are you interested in museums? You’re in luck! We have compiled the most extensive list of museums in Athens in a single article. Check it out.

Philopappos Hill

If walking outdoors and enjoying great panoramic views of the city is what you are after, then Philopappos Hill is definitely the place for you. The best part is that this green space lies hidden in the city center of Athens just a few minutes away from the Acropolis Museum.

If you’re an outdoor type, you’ll certainly enjoy this article with the best outdoor places in Athens.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The ultramodern cultural center is home to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, a few amazing parks, and an artificial seawater canal that runs through them. All in all, an excellent choice for a day out with the family.

Read our complete guide to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center right below.

Akadimia Platonos (Plato’s Academy)

Akadimia Platonos is one of the lesser-known gems of Athens. It’s the erstwhile home of Plato’s Academy, which was founded around 380 BC. Today, in the same spot, you can find a small digital museum and an archaeological park that has become a favorite hangout for locals.

Want to drift off the beaten track? These are the secret attractions of Athens you won’t hear about anywhere else.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Built in 161 AD and still standing seemingly unaffected by the course of time, this majestic monument is a must-include in your one-day in Athens itinerary.

The theater of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus often hosts concerts, theatrical plays, and other events that will make for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Panathenaic Stadium

It’s time to play Olympic track star. Where else in the world would you get the chance to run on the actual tracks of a celebrated ancient stadium that used to host the Olympic Games? Include the Panathenaic Stadium on your to-see list and get some insight into the culture of Athens and some exercise at the same time.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus and The Arch of Hadrian

Both of these attractions will urge you to take the camera out of your bag and start snapping. The Temple of the Olympian Zeus is a millennia-old monument dedicated to Zeus that used to be the largest temple of the ancient world. The Arch of Hadrian is a majestic triumphal arch that stands tall as a reminder of the city’s past in downtown Athens.

Want to learn more? Check the article below.

The Dimotiki Agora: Athens Central Market

No, we have not forgotten all about our foodie readers. Our suggestion for you is the Athens Central Market where you can enjoy local delicacies and buy some local products to take with you back home. All while getting a real feel of what everyday life in Athens looks like.

You can find more details on how to get to the Athens Central Market and what you’ll find there in this guide.

The Archaeological Site of Kerameikos

The Archaeological Site of Kerameikos combines sightseeing, culture, and amazing views of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Here you’ll find the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos, the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, and the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art all in one place.

If this all sounds too confusing, take a look at our special guide for the Kerameikos site right below.

Where to Stay in Athens if you are Visiting for One Day

So you’re visiting Athens only for one day. You might think that your accommodation will not be the most important part of your trip since it will only be a night.

However, choosing the right hotel will be crucial for your sightseeing plans if you want to fit a few of the above options in a single day. Most importantly, the hotel’s location will be key to having a perfect day in Athens.

We recommend that you only opt for hotels that are located in the city center, preferably in the areas of Syntagma, Monastiraki, Psirri, Koukaki, or Thission.

Now, we know that choosing the right hotel is one of the most tedious travel planning tasks. That’s why we have carefully examined and selected a few accommodation options in this article.

Regarding budget-friendly hotels in Athens, your options are far from limited. Start by looking at the three-star Arethusa Hotel for a comfortable stay near Syntagma Square. Check the Arethusa Hotel on

A few meters away, there’s also the Amalia Hotel, which has an excellent location and comfortable modern rooms. See the Amalia Hotel on

Finally, Acropolis Select, which is located near the Museum of Acropolis, offers more than the basic amenities and is definitely worth a look. Check it on

Mid-range hotels in Athens are probably the best option if you want to combine a great location and a comfortable stay at an affordable rate.

Before anything, we recommend booking with Attalos Hotel which is widely regarded as one of the best value-for-money hotels in the city. Attalos Hotel is a great choice, see it on

Alternatively, book your stay with Elia Ermou Athens Hotel, located only a breath away from the Acropolis Museum. Not to miss, check it on

If you can’t imagine spending even a single day in Athens without getting the chance to return to a luxury hotel to rest overnight, then King George won’t disappoint you. This extravagant hotel is located right on Syntagma Square and boasts incredible views of the Parthenon. See photos and read reviews about the King George Hotel on

If that one was already on your radar, make sure to check out Athenaeum Intercontinental, which is situated on the other side of Acropolis Hill, near the Acropolis Museum. Check it on

Finally, if you plan to board a ferry to a Greek island early the next morning, Piraeus might be the wisest choice for your stay. Check some budget-friendly accommodation options in Piraeus on

Tips and Recommendations on How to Spend One Day in Athens

In this final section of the guide, we’ll give you some insider tips on how to make the most of your visit to the city if you are planning to spend only one day in Athens and answer some of the questions asked the most by first-time visitors that arrive in our emails daily.

Is one day in Athens enough?

Unfortunately, spending one day in Athens is insufficient to get a proper feel of the city and enjoy all it offers. Having said that, one day will be enough to visit a couple of the city’s most famous landmarks like the Acropolis and Syntagma Square.

What should I not miss in Athens?

If your time in Athens is limited and you can only visit a few sites, then you should definitely include the Parthenon, Syntagma Square, and the neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki.

Is Athens a walkable city?

Yes. The historical center of Athens is easily walkable and not as large as you may think. You will have no trouble walking from one area to another to explore the most famous attractions.

What can you do for free in Athens?

There are many things that you can do for free in Athens. If you only have a day, we recommend you start by visiting Syntagma Square and seeing the changing of the guards called Evzones before heading over to the National Gardens of Athens for a relaxing walk.

Is Athens expensive?

Athens is not as expensive as other European capital cities. There are plenty of options for food and accommodation in the city to suit all budgets. Plus, if you plan ahead, you will have no problem booking an upper-range hotel at a great rate.

How much money will I need in Athens for one day?

In general, you can expect to spend around 70 euros per person for a day in Athens including transportation and food. But of course, it depends on how tight you want to be with your budget.

How long does it take to see the Acropolis?

A complete tour of Acropolis Hill would take about 2 hours. If you also want to visit the Acropolis Museum, it will add approximately another 2 hours to your schedule.

How much is a taxi from Athens airport to Athens?

There is a flat rate for taxi fares from the airport to the city center of Athens. If you are traveling during the daytime, it will cost 38 euros. If you travel at night, the price gets a bit higher at 54 euros.

Does the Athens metro go to the airport?

Yes. You can easily reach downtown Athens from the airport by getting on the metro (blue line). The airport is a terminal station so you will have no trouble locating the platform and getting on the right train. When you get downtown, you can get off at Syntagma or Monastiraki and be right in the city’s center.

This 24-hour itinerary for spending one day in Athens includes some of the most significant Greek sites and the city’s hippest neighborhoods. The goal of our guide is to help you plan ahead and allow you to see both the touristy and the lesser-known side of the city.

We hope that one day in Athens will be enough time for you to fall in love with our city.

A Quick Reminder:

Remember that Athens By Locals is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.

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