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2 days in Athens
Athens, the capital of Greece, is the center of the country’s economic, political and cultural life. There is no place like Athens to take a trip into ancient Greek cultures and immerse yourself in the magic of the great temples and majestic buildings that can last through time.
Personally, I didn’t really get hooked on this city. There are beautiful places to see, but it’s not my favorite city. I found the city quite stressful and oppressive. This remains a personal opinion and may differ from yours, of course! Discover in this article my 2 day’s guide to Athens as well as some of the things to do in Athens.
Things to do in Athens
City tour by multi-stop bus
On this first day in Athens, we wanted to try a multi-stop sightseeing bus tour, as it’s a good way to explore the main sites of Athens and get a glimpse of everything there is to see. It’s true that it’s very touristy, but it was pretty cool anyway! It was the first time that we tried this kind of experience. That also helped us a lot to impregnate us of the atmosphere of the city.
The bus takes several lines, to you to choose the one of your choice. In total, there are 4 lines, starting from Athens (orange line), Piraeus (blue line), Glyfada (yellow line) and Vouliagmeni (green line).
On the bus, you can listen to commentaries in 16 different languages, which will provide historical, cultural and social context to one of the oldest cities in the world.
➞ If you are interested, click here to book the activity.
1 | Temple of Zeus
After the bus tour, we walked around the city center. One of the must-sees in Athens is the temple of Zeus. It is located in the national garden. It is a grandiose temple built between the 6th and 2nd century BC in honor of the Olympian god Zeus. We have only seen it from the outside of the garden, but you can also visit this site through a guided tour.
2 | Panathenaic Stadium
Not far from the temple of Zeus, there is the Panathenaic Stadium. It is a mythical place of Athens, the Panathenaic stadium dates from 330 BC. Built to host the great Panathenaeus, ancestor of our modern Olympics, this stadium has a beautiful track of 200 meters long. Entirely built in white marble, it still hosts today beautiful events: concerts, celebrations of victories, … The Panathenaic stadium also hosted some events during the Athens Olympics in 2004.
It costs about €5 to visit the interior of the stadium. It is free for children under 6 years old.
3 | The Acropolis
The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are the universal symbol of the classical spirit and civilization, and form the most extraordinary architectural and artistic ensemble bequeathed by Ancient Greece to the rest of the world.
3 tips during this visit 👍
- Visit the site early in the morning or late in the day. It can get very crowded, especially in high season, and it can also get very hot in the middle of the afternoon.
- Take your tickets online to save time.
- Bring enough water with you, as the climb to the Acropolis is quite sporty.
The whole tour lasts between 1 and 2 hours. During the tour, you will also admire ancient temples, such as The Parthenon, the most famous monument on the Acropolis, as well as the Theater of Dionysus.
➞ Click here to book the Acropolis tour by selecting the option of your choice.
4 | Syntagma square
Another main site to see is, the famous Syntagma Square, which is located opposite the current building of the Greek Parliament. If you are lucky, you will see the changing of the guards.
Athens has a few districts. The most popular districts of Athens are Plaka, Monastiráki and Psiri.
The Plaka district. The Plaka district is located just below the Acropolis and is the old part of Athens. It is also called ‘the neighborhood of the gods‘.
Not only the proximity to the main sights, but also the many cozy streets and the stairs with terraces on them make it an attractive and fun neighborhood.
During the day as in the evening, Plaka is great for a snack or drink and for taking pictures. A cozy and photogenic street is the ‘Odos Mnisikleous‘ known as the Plaka Stairs.
Monastiráki is a historic, lively and cozy square in Athens from where you have a view over the Acropolis.
The square itself is fun to visit, but so is the area around Monastiráki. Taking a stroll through this animated neighborhood will prove to you that there are so many things to do in Monastiraki. And this can range from visiting historical and commercial sites to indulging in local cuisine and getting lost in the little shopping streets.
In the streets around the square you will find restaurants with mezze and live music, including rembetika (Greek blues).
Bars with DJs are open until late, as are tavernas with traditional specialties such as meatballs and Greek salad. Small craft shops, often decorated with graffiti, sell handmade leather bags, alternative fashion and quirky products for the home.
The Lycabette Hill
Wondering where to go for a great view of the Acropolis?
I recommend you to go to Lycabetta Hill, the best viewpoint to contemplate the Acropolis at sunset and then admire the site illuminated for the night.
To get to the top of the hill, at 278 meters, you have 3 options:
- By car
- On foot: a 20-minute climb up the stairs is quite challenging
- By cable car: for €7 round trip, you will reach the top of the hill in less than 3 minutes. Departure from the intersection of Aristipou and Ploutarchou streets.
The Piraeus Port
The Piraeus Port is another important place in Athens, as it is the largest port In Greece.
Personally, I don’t find that there is much to see, so if you have limited time, I advise you to skip this part. But this is where you need to be, if you decide to extend your vacation island hopping in the Cyclades, because this is where the boats leave for the Greek Islands. Check also my article about Mykonos, Santorini and Milos.
My Tips in Athens
- Go to the 360 degrees rooftop or at the A for Athens rooftop situated on Monastiráki Square for a drink or dinner with an amazing view over the Acropolis. A recommender! 😍
Hope you liked this Athens guide and its things to do ! Do you want to discover more of what Greece has to offer?