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2 Perfect Days in Athens Itinerary: What to See in Athens, Greece

As one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens should be on anyone’s wish list, whether you are looking for some ancient Greek ruins to learn more about history, a beautiful destination to get in touch with nature or want a peaceful place to de-stress from work. Athens is a perfect destination all year round.

With important landmarks such as the Acropolis, and delicious cuisine, has lots to offer for all kinds of travelers. But don’t worry, for those of you traveling on a tight schedule, I have just curated this 2 Perfect Days in Athens itinerary, where you will be able to experience a little of them all, to make sure you will make the most of your short stay in Athens, Greece.

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Quick links to plan your 2 Days in Athens, Greece

Get around Athens

・Car: Secure the best rates with DiscoverCars.
・Trains: Check Omio for schedules and book your ticket online.
・Ferries: Check schedules and book your ferries through DirectFerries (Ferries to and from Athens, Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini)
・Transfer: Book your private airport transfer.
・Transfer to and from Piraeus Port: Book your private transfer here.
・Athens Sightseeing Bus: An easy way to navigate the city.

Recommended Accommodation

Golden City Hotel – Affordable and offers good service. Located close to the metro station.
Syntagma Luxury Living One “LL1” Apartments Located close to Syntagma Square.
Royalty Hotel Athens – Overlooking Monastiraki Square.
Electra Palace Athens – Luxury Hotel with a terrace offering a beautiful view of the Acropolis.

Recommended Tours for 2 days in Athens

Mythological Tour.
Ancient Greek Theater Performance.
Greek Food Tour with Tastings.

Things to Know Before Planning Your 2 Days in Naples Itinerary

Is 2 days enough to visit Athens?

2 days in Athens is enough for you to visit the main landmarks and most popular tourist attractions in Athens. However, I recommend staying at least 3 days in Athens, so that you can enjoy everything with time and perhaps even visit one of the many beaches in the Athens Riviera.

What is Athens known for?

Athens is famous for being the birthplace of democracy. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back to 3000 years. Athens was once home to famous figures in the history of the world, such as Socrates and Plato.

Accommodation for your 2 Days in Athens

Here are some options for those of you looking for hotels to stay in Athens, Greece:

Golden City Hotel – Although the hotel is not located in the most popular neighborhoods, it is close to metro stations giving you easy access to the tourist areas in Athens. It offers a nice breakfast and a terrace. Golden City Hotel is a great option if you are on a budget.


Syntagma Luxury Living One “LL1” Apartments – This is a good option if you prefer apartments over hotels. The apartments are close to Syntagma Square, the main square of Athens.


Royalty Hotel AthensOverlooking the famous Monastiraki Square, one of the main tourist attractions of Athens. Very well located, just a walking distance from the Acropolis, and offers a nice breakfast.

Electra Palace Athens  – This 5-star hotel is everything you need to have an unforgettable experience in Athens. The rooms are well-decorated, the hotel offers breakfast and counts with a pool. But the crème de la crème is the terrace with a mesmerizing view of the Acropolis!

2 Days in Athens Overview

In this 2 days in Athens itinerary, we will cover the main ruins and historical sites of the city, as well as the most popular neighborhoods of Athens.

As we have little time, we will focus on the central area of the city, visiting the most important ruins and museums. It is important to remember that it is necessary to buy a ticket to visit most of the Greek ruins in Athens, even if you opt for a guided tour, as most of them do not include a ticket.

You can find the Acropolis combo ticket here, it includes entrance to the Acropolis and 6 other ruins nearby.

What to see in Athens in 2 Days: Day 1

National Archeological Museum

Time required: At least 2 hours

We will start our Athens tour, by paying a visit to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens is the most relevant museum regarding Greek history and artifacts that you can visit. It houses an extensive collection of objects from different archeological sites in Greece, from various periods of Greek history, ranging from prehistory to late antiquity.

Among its highlights is the famous Antikythera Mechanism, a mysterious device known as the oldest analog computer in the world. The museum also exhibits collections of famous civilizations such as the Minoan, and Mycenaean.

Syntagma Square

Now, let’s head to now of the main squares in Athens, Syntagma Square. This well-located square is one of the best starting points for any tour in Athens, it is also here that the buses arrive and depart on their way to the airport.

From Syntagma Square, following Ermou Street, the street right in front of the square, you will be just a short walk away from another famous square, Monastiraki, we will head there in a minute.

Syntagma Square is a busy area, with lots of people coming and going, usually on the weekends you will also see some events happening in the square. It is also here that is located the Greek Parliament, which is our next stop.

Greek Parliament

The Greek Parliament, formally known as the Hellenic Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of Greece. It is located in the building that once served as the Old Royal Palace, overlooking Syntagma Square.

One of the main attractions here is the changing of guards, which happens every hour, in front of the tomb of the unknown soldier. Although it happens every hour of every day, the main event takes place on Sundays at 11:00.

Monastiraki Square

Following through Ermou Street, a street famous for its many popular shops, you will arrive at the next famous square: Monastiraki Square. It is a very famous spot, with many things going on, and a beautiful view from the Acropolis, that we will be visiting on the second day of this Athens itinerary.

Monastiraki is famous for the flea market, so if you are like me and love antiques, you will want to spend some time wandering around here, we never know what we will find.

But besides the flea market, Monastiraki is home to the Panaghia Kapnikarea, one of the oldest orthodox churches in Athens, dating back to the 11th century. Next to the church, is the Tzistarakis Mosque, an Ottoman mosque that now serves as an annex to the Museum of Greek Folk Art.

Hadrian`s Library - Check here the best Greek monuments to visit in Athens

Hadrian’s Library

Time required: 30 minutes

Next to the Tzistarakis Mosque, you will find our first ruins of this trip: the Hadrian’s Library. It was built in the 2nd century AD, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, hence the name, and served as a monumental library and cultural center during the Roman period.

In its golden age, Hadrian’s Library stored countless manuscripts and was considered one of the largest libraries in the ancient world. The library also counted with lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens where scholars and philosophers could gather to discuss ideas and exchange knowledge.

Agora

Time required: 1.5 hours

Located nearby, the Agora, dating back to the 6th century BC is one of the most important ruins of ancient Athens, it used to be an important area for public gathering, and political affairs for the ancient people of Athens.

The primary function of the Agora was to serve as a marketplace where merchants, artisans, and traders from all over the Mediterranean would gather to buy, sell, and exchange goods. It also served as a political and social center, where citizens would gather to debate public affairs, attend assemblies, and participate in religious festivals and ceremonies.

Many of the buildings that were once part of the Agora are long gone, with only its bases or sometimes some columns still standing, however, others are completely intact such as the Temple of Hephaestus, considered one of the oldest well-preserved temples in the world. The temple has been used for many purposes over the years, which helped preserve the conditions of the buildings.

Another highlight is the Stoa of Attalos, completely renovated in 1956 it now houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora.

Best Agora Tours

  • 1 – Mythological Tour – Again mentioning this tour. Besides the Acropolis, the Mythological Tour also includes a visit to the Agora of Athens, as well as other ruins. While you visit it, your guide will tell you stories and teach you about Greek Mythology.
  • 2 –Ancient Agora with audio guide – With this ticket you will be able to visit the Ancient Agora on your own with the help of an audio guide.
  • 3 – Skip-the-line ticket to the Ancient Agora, Temples of Zeus, and Kerameikos – In this self-guided tour, you will have to receive a skip-the-line ticket to these important ruins, and an audio guide to guide you through the sites.

Kerameikos

Time required: 1 hour

Our next stop is another famous ruin, the Kerameikos, the cemetery of ancient Athens. The site has been used as a cemetery since the Bronze Age but reached its peak during the classical period of ancient Greece. Here you can have some insight into ancient Greek funerary practices. It’s a morbid theme, I know, but this is an essential part of a people’s culture and an inevitable part of human existence.

The area is an open museum, here you can see ancient graves and steles. Kerameikos also counts with a museum, where you can see some statues, pottery, and burial offerings, such as jewelry, tools, household items, and toys, that were excavated within this archeological site.

It is an interesting site to understand better the funerary practices and beliefs of ancient Greece.

Psyri neighborhood

I recommend heading to the Psyri neighborhood, close to the Monastiraki square to spend the evening and night. It is famous for its vibrant atmosphere, colorful street art, eclectic mix of cafes, tavernas, bars, and boutiques, as well as its rich cultural heritage.

There are many restaurants and cafes to choose from, however, I recommend paying a visit to the Little Kook. Visiting this themed cafe is like stepping into a fairytale. The decorations change according to the time of the year so you never know what you will get, but from Christmas to Alice in the Wonderlands and Snow White, their decorations are always outstanding and cover even part of the street! Visiting it is a must!

What to see in Athens in 2 Days: Day 2

Panathenaic Stadium

Let’s start today by visiting one ancient ruin that is still used for the same purpose nowadays, the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as Kallimarmaro Stadium.

The original stadium was constructed in the 4th century BC for the Panathenaic Games, a major religious and athletic festival held in honor of the goddess Athena, the patron deity of Athens. It was renovated and reconstructed many times over the years.

In 1896, it received international attention for hosting the first modern Olympic Games, 1,500 years after the last athletic competition that took place in the stadium.

Today the stadium is open for visitors to explore the stadium, and visit its museum.

Zappeion

The Zeppeion was actually built for the Olympic Games but never served this purpose. In the end, it now works as an exhibition hall. But that’s not the reason why we are visiting it today. What calls attention here is the Zappeion’s garden!

The National Gardens of Athens is a beautiful green space, surrounded by different plants worldwide. The garden was created by orders of Queen Amalia between 1838 and 1840. It is a beautiful area and very popular on Instagram due to the corridor of arches with climbing plants.

Arch of Hadrian

Now we will officially start exploring the most famous ruins in Athens. Starting with the Arch of Hadrian, which was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to celebrate Emperor Hadrian’s many contributions to the city of Athens.

The arch marks the boundary between the old city (Greek Athens) and the new city (Roman Athens).

This can be seen in the inscriptions found in the arch, on the side facing the Acropolis, there is an inscription that reads: “This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus.”, while on the other side, the inscription reads: “This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus.”. Very convenient.

Temple of Olympian Zeus - Check here the best Greek monuments to visit in Athens

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Time required: 30 minutes

Next to the Arch of Hadrian, you will find this beautiful temple, which is also known as the Olympieion. Unfortunately, the temple was damaged several times during the years, mainly due to earthquakes, so little remains of it.

But with the 15 columns left, it can give you an idea of the grandeur of the temple during its golden ages.

As the name suggests, the temple was dedicated to Zeus, the chief deity of the Greek pantheon. Its construction began in the 6th century BC but was only finished in the 2nd century AD under the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Acropolis

Time required: At least 2 hours

Overlooking the city of Athens, we have its main landmark, the Acropolis. It is located on the top of a hill, as its Latin name suggests, acro means “high” and polis means “city”.

Most of the ruins in the Acropolis date back to the 5th century BC, a period often referred to as the Golden Age of Athens under the leadership of Pericles. During it, the Acropolis became the center of religious and cultural life in Athens.

Along the way to the top, you will notice lots of ruins scattered across the hill. On its slopes, you will find the Sanctuary and Theatre of Dionysos, the oldest theatre in the world, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, another ancient theater, this one though, is being used even nowadays.

On the top of the hill, you will be greeted by the famous Propylaea, Acropolis’ opulent gate, passing through this gate you will be facing the apple of Greece’s eye: The Parthenon.

Do take your time exploring this area, as, besides the Parthenon, there are many other important ruins to visit. I highly suggest visiting the Acropolis on a guided tour, as it will give you insights and a better idea of what this area meant for the ancient Greeks.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Acropolis before your trip, check out our Acropolis Guide. Here you can learn a little about each structure you will find up there.

Suggestion: Mythological Tour

  • Meeting Point: Under the Arch of Hadrian.
  • Duration: 4-hours tour
  • Entrance Fee: 78.83 USD

This is the perfect tour if you wish to visit all the main ruins in Athens, learn more about them, and learn about Greek mythology, their gods, and beliefs.

In the Mythological Tour, you will visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the whole Acropolis, and the Agora. You will listen to the myths and legends surrounding these ruins and learn more about ancient Greek society.

This tour does not include the entrance ticket to the Greek ruins, but you can buy the Acropolis + 6 ruins combo tickets here.

Best Acropolis Tours Options

Acropolis Museum

Time required: 1.5 hours

To better understand the rich history and cultural significance of the Acropolis, you should pay a visit to the Acropolis Museum, located at the foot of the Acropolis itself. The museum was opened in 2009 and exhibits mostly items collected from the excavations in the Acropolis Hill and its slopes.

From all the interesting pieces, the highlight of this museum though is, for sure, the Parthenon frieze, displayed in the Parthenon Gallery, a dedicated room for the findings of the Parthenon, the museum has been trying lately to reunite Parthenon Marbles, a great part of which, is still on display at the British Museum in London.

Besides these fascinating items, the Parthenon Gallery also offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Acropolis.

Also, don’t miss the chance to check the archaeological site beneath the museum, where you can see the remains of an ancient Athenian neighborhood through glass floors, accessible via walkways.

Get Lost at Anafiotika

Anafiotika is a small area in Plaka, that resembles the atmosphere of the Greek Islands villages, no wonder it was built by settlers from Anafi Island, who came to Athens to help with the construction of King Otto’s palace.

The area preserves its traditional Cycladic architectural style with its characteristic whitewashed houses and narrow alleyways providing a contrast to the rest of Athens. Different from the rest of the city center, this area you will notice, is way quieter and chill, offering an escape to the residents.

Anafiotike is located on the slopes of Acropolis Hill, in a more elevated area, and from here, you can have a beautiful view of the city of Athens. The area is very popular among those looking for a nice place to take a striking picture.

Explore Plaka

Plaka is one of the oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods in Athens, so do take your time strolling its narrow streets. Due to its proximity to the Acropolis and other ruins, it is often called the “Neighborhood of the Gods”.

The neighborhood is located at the foot of the Acropolis, close to other famous neighborhoods such as Monastiraki, and Syntagma.

Besides the ruins and the Acropolis Museum, Plaka offers other museums that are worth visiting, however, due to the short time, I suggest leaving them to your next visit to the city. Stick to explore the streets, try their local restaurants, and enjoy the typical Greek atmosphere of this charming neighborhood.

Dinner with a View

Talking about restaurants, to make your last night in Athens, a memorable experience, why not go to a rooftop restaurant, and enjoy your last meal in the city, with a panoramic view of the Acropolis?

Athens has plenty of rooftop restaurants for you to choose from, but I recommend Point-a located on the 5th floor of the fabulous Herodion Hotel, it serves traditional Mediterranean cuisine and offers a 360° view of Athens.

Another option is the Thea Terrace Bar & Restaurant, in Plaka, which has a beautiful view and also Mediterranean cuisine, it is a good option and budget-friendly, with prices ranging around €20.

If you don’t mind more expensive options, I suggest checking out the Metropolis Roof Garden, on the 10th floor of the Electra Metropolis hotel. With prices ranging around €45, it can sound a bit expensive, but it is worth the cost, after all, this is one of the most luxurious rooftop restaurants in Athens, indeed a remarkable place to spend your last hours in the city.

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