Athens, Greece is an ancient city with modern fun all around. 48 hours is plenty of time to see the highlights and enjoy the city. With its easy to navigate public transportation and walkability to the major sights, Athens gives travelers a memorable experience.
The following is a 2-day Athens’ itinerary to get the most out of your stay…
Take a walking tour of all of the major sights on your first day in Athens. Start at the Acropolis and make a big loop around it and end the day with a breathtaking rooftop view of the ancient ruins. Be sure to take water along or you can purchase it at kiosks along the way.
We recommend finding a hotel or Airbnb with easy access from the airport via public transportation and walking distance to most things in the city. The following neighbors are prime locations: Koukaki, Plaka, Thissio, or the Syntagma Square area. If your flight arrives before check-in, hotels are typically happy to hold your luggage for you.
Start your day at the Acropolis. Get there as soon as it opens (8 a.m.) to beat the crowds and heat. The marble on top of the Acropolis can make it almost unbearable to be there for any length of time, especially in the summer heat. Take water with you.
10:00 Ancient Agora
The ticket you purchase at the Acropolis will also have tickets for various archaeological sites in Athens, including the Ancient Agora. This area is an ancient marketplace. You can walk through the ruins, temples, and Stoa of Attalos. To get to the Ancient Agora, you’ll exit the Acropolis and walk to the right around to the opposite side of the Acropolis.
12:30 Lunch in Monastiraki Square
After a full morning, you’ll be ready for food, refreshments, and a break from the sun. When you exit the Ancient Agora, walk to the right to Monastiraki Square. Remember you’re making one big loop around the Acropolis today – it’s a large landmark to guide you, in case you get lost! Head to Thanansis Kebab for souvlaki, tzatziki, salads, and more. It’s situated right in the middle of the action to give you a glimpse into the Greek food scene.
14:30 Changing of Guards at Parliament
After lunch, stroll to the Parliament building to watch the changing of the guards. This happens directly in front of the Parliament building, which is across the street from Syntagma Square. It’s about a 15 minute walk from Thanansis Kebab. The changing of the guards takes place every hour on the hour and lasts about 15 minutes.
15:30 National Gardens and Panathenaic Stadium
Next, walk through the National Gardens to the Panathenaic Stadium. The National Gardens are a peaceful retreat from the noises and crowds of the city. The entrance to the National Gardens is just down the road from Parliament and there is no fee to enter. Use Google Maps as your guide through the gardens to the Panathenaic Stadium. The stadium, built entirely out of marble, is where the first modern Olympic games took place in 1896.
17:00 Temple of Zeus and the Hadrian’s Arch
When you leave the Panathenaic Stadium, you’ll start heading back towards the Acropolis by way of the Temple of Zeus. The tickets you bought at the Acropolis has an entrance pass for the Temple of Zeus on it. Just outside of the temple grounds, you’ll find Hadrian’s Arch (also known as the Athens Gate). Stop for some excellent photos with the Acropolis in the background.
18:00 Freshen up at Hotel
It’s been a long day on your feet, head back to your hotel to refresh.
20:00 Rooftop Dinner
To end your walk around the Acropolis, end the day with a relaxing rooftop dinner at Point A on the rooftop of the Herodion Hotel. The menu is just as spectacular as the view you’ll have of the Acropolis all lit up for the evening. We highly recommend making reservations, as it’s a popular restaurant – for good reason!
On your second day in Athens, check out a museum, go shopping, eat gelato, and take in the Greek culture.
07:00 Hike up Philopappos Hill
If you’re an early riser, take a morning hike up Philopappos Hill for another amazing view of the city. You’ll be amazed by the stillness and quiet on the hill at that time of day. See if you can find an olive tree along the way.
09:00 Acropolis Museum
Check out the Acropolis Museum. It holds many of the statues from digs in Athens and the entrance even sits on an archaeological site that you can observe from a glass walkway. Be sure to double check the hours of operation.
11:00 Coffee in Thissio
Head over to the neighborhood of Thissio for a morning coffee break. It’s just a short walk from the Acropolis Museum. Sitting for hours on end, drinking coffee and talking with friends is an integral part of the Greek culture. Thissio is the perfect place for this with trendy cafes and views of the Acropolis.
12:00 Shopping in Monastiraki, Plaka, and Syntagma
After coffee or a fresh juice in Thissio, it’s time for souvenir shopping. The areas of Monastiraki and Plaka have countless shops with reasonably priced souvenirs. Ermou Street in Syntagma has higher end shops and is an outdoor mall. All three of these areas are within easy walking distance of each other. In fact, you walked through each of them on day 1 in Athens. Grab lunch and gelato along the way at one of the many restaurants in these shopping districts.
15:00 Museums, Lycabettus Hill, or Take the Tram to the Sea
There are many museums to enjoy in Athens. You can get to all of them via public transportation and some minimal walking. Purchase a 24-hour transportation pass at any metro station and take as many train, bus, or tram rides you need to with the pass.
If museums aren’t your thing, visit Lycabettus Hill for an outstanding 360 birds-eye view of Athens. Lycabettus is the iconic hill you often see on postcards. You can take a cable car to the top, where St. George’s Church sits watching over the city.
Or if you want to dip your toes in the sea, head south of the city center to the shores of the Saronic Gulf. There are many restaurants and beaches to put your feet up and enjoy the scenery. You can get to the sea via bus, tram, and train.
19:00 Freshen up at the Hotel
Head back to your hotel to change for yet another Greek feast.
20:00 Rooftop Dinner
For the last few hours of your time in Athens, get the most out of the ambiance with a traditional Greek feast on a rooftop in Plaka. One of our favorites options is
After dinner, there are multiple bars and restaurants within walking distance to have a drink and listen to live music. If you’re looking to do some dancing, head to the Gazi neighborhood for night clubs. Remember, at 10 p.m. the evening is only just beginning for Greeks!
Make the most out of your 48 hours in Athens. If you want to scrap this itinerary and simply walk through neighborhoods and soak up the culture, you won’t be disappointed either way. Athens is full of life, diversity, and amazing food. The memories you make in 2 days will stay with you for a life time.