Athens is your main access point when traveling to Greece with many flights to the Athens International airport (ATH). From the airport, a taxi to the city center costs between 35 euros to 50 euros.
Even though it is a sizable city, visitors can see all the main historical sites on foot and also check out different neighborhoods. If needed, taxis are in the area and can save you time or give you a break from the heat if visiting in the peak of summer.
In order to simplify your trip to Athens, stay in a central location that is within walking distance from the main sites. Syntagma Square is a helpful central point to base your location from.
Fancy hotel located minutes from Syntagma Square, providing a great home base for visiting Athens. Most attractions were about a 15-minute walk away with Mount Lycabettus being the exception as it was a bit further. This hotel was beautiful and has a lovely rooftop with views of the Acropolis.
Large hill in Athens where many of the historic structures can be found including:
Social and commercial center of ancient Athens that is a large area of ruins to walk around.
Hill near Acropolis that you can climb some stairs up to for a nice view of the hill
Old temple found at the center of Athens
Multi-purpose stadium in central Athens
Oldest neighborhood in Athens
The summit of this hill is the highest point in Athens. You can hike or take a funicular to the top. If you opt to take the funicular, consider taking a taxi directly to the departure point as it can be difficult to find.
The hike to the top takes about 20 minutes and has nice views along the way. We walked from Syntagma Square and hiked to the top, which took about 1 hour in total from departure until we reached the top. If you are dressed in appropriate clothing, I would recommend this. It is not difficult if you enjoy physical activity, but definitely would not be fun to do in 90-degree heat while in a dress.
Go up at night and watch the sunset from Mount Lycabettus. During high season, the top can get very busy. If the top is too busy, head slightly down to one of the viewpoints on the path to watch with a smaller crowds. There is also a restaurant at the top.
Neighborhood near Ancient Agora
Nice street to walk down in Plaka
Octagonal clocktower found in the Roman Agora
Largest social square in Athens
Known as Hadrian’s Gate found right near Temple of Olympian Zeus
Public park in the center of Athens
Two neighborhoods to walk around in
A quick meal option with tasty Greek food
Greek restaurant located in Plaka (okay not great)
Best gelato in Athens and can recommend both cookies and nocciola (hazelnut)
Enjoy a meal with a view on top of Mount Lycabettus
Rooftop bar and restaurant in the Electra Metropolis Hotel
High season: July and August are very busy in Greece. If possible, avoid going at this time as crowds are larger, prices are higher, and it is very hot (almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Fortunately, it is a dry climate so there is no humidity if you do decide to visit during high season.
Keep in mind that Athens is not a “nice” city; it is very dirty with trash everywhere and is covered in graffiti. You only need one day in Athens to see the main sites. If you would like to take your time when exploring the city, consider adding an extra day but be sure to head to the Greek islands
We arrived in the morning (around 10 am) and then explored in the afternoon. This was enough time to visit many of the historical sites, Mount Lycabettus, and wander around. Check out our Athens itinerary
When visiting the Acropolis, you can purchase a ticket just for the Acropolis grounds (20 euros) or a combo ticket (30 euros), including the Acropolis and its slopes, Ancient Agora (and the museum of the Stoa of Attalos), the Roman Agora (including the Tower of Winds), Hadrian’s Library, Olympieion (Temple of Olympian Zeus), Kerameikos (Archaeological site and museum), and Aristotle’s Lykeion (archaeological site).
If you choose to do the combo ticket AND you go in high season, consider visiting the Ancient Agora first as we had to wait in line for 30 minutes to buy tickets at the Acropolis. If you purchase the combo ticket at any of the other sites, you can then skip the ticket line at the Acropolis. The one major perk to starting at the Parthenon is it helps you get your bearings. From the top of the hill, you can see many of the sites you will visit later (including Hadrian’s Gate, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, and the Ancient Agora).
Pack your student ID if you have one as it will give you discounts in some areas.
If it is hot, wear comfortable athletic clothes (to sweat in) as the sites are all baking in the sun.
Try some of the many fabulous traditional Greek dishes including gyros, gyros platter, kebabs, souvlaki, and fish as you’re right by the water for most places you visit in Greece (below are what they typically include).
Gyros – shredded chicken or pork usually, tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce, French fries all wrapped in a piece of pita
Gyros platter – shredded chicken or pork, tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce, French fries and pita pieces, but all laid out on a platter so you make it yourself. This usually has more food than just one gyro
Kebabs – Meat grilled on a vertical spit
Souvlaki – Strip of meat grilled on a horizontal spit
Greece uses the Euro and is generally not an expensive country. However, it can get expensive for travel and accommodations during high season or in highly tourist areas where the companies can take advantage of tourists.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks