Athens is one of the greatest cities in Europe and highly recommended as a short break or a long weekend. In this article, we share the 11 best things to do in Athens in one day and as there are so many things to see and do, it will never bore you.
The Mediterranean climate and nice temperatures make a short visit to Athens extra pleasant. We visited the city several times, each time at the beginning or end of one of our island-hopping trips in Greece.
As we always planned one single day to visit the city, we’ve created this ultimate list on how to make the most of 24 hours in Athens. So if you are looking for the absolute best things to do in Athens in one day? Read on…
How to get in Athens
Athens is very easy to reach by it’s international airport (ATH). There are daily flights from everywhere in the world to this amazing city.
Mostly we book our flights online and search for the cheapest flights or the best departure time but this time we flew to Athens with Brussels Airlines as Valerie received a discount through her job.
You don’t want to loose to much time if you want to discover the best things to do in Athens in one day. So once arrived in Athens airport it’s very easy to go to the city center by taking the blue metro line X95 to Syntagma Square. The ride takes about an hour.
Best hotels in Athens
If you want to visit Athens in one day then you better book a hotel nearby all the highlights and the best things to do in Athens. From the city center it’s also very easy with public transport to go the harbour and take a ferry to one of the amazing island like Milos, Mykonos, Paros or Naxos.
These are in our opinion the 3 best hotels in Athens with a great location, cosy rooms and affordable prices.
Check out our favorite places to stay in Greece: Best places to stay in Greece
Best time to visit Greece
The best time to visit Greece is in the shoulder seasons from April to June and September to October. These times of the year have the most pleasant temperatures, lower prices and less tourists. We went to an island-hopping trip in Greece in June and in September and both times were awesome to explore the best things to do in Athens in one day.
The summer months of July and August can be extremely hot, crowded and hotel rates will be much higher, so we recommended to avoid these months.
Although Greece is a perfect destination that you can visit all year round.
The 11 best things to do in Athens
Go to the Acropolis early
One of the most famous ancient archaeological sites in the world and also the most visited attraction in Greece, that’s the Acropolis. This beautiful ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated on a high hill which offers splendid views over Athens.
If you want to visit Athens in one day then our best tip is to go to the Acropolis right in the morning when it opens, which is at 8 AM. You will not only avoid the long lines and crowds, but you will also get a chance to take some great pictures without having all the tourist blocking your backgrounds.
Every day from 8h00 till 20h00
Tickets start from $15
This skip-the-line ticket for the Acropolis or book a guided walking tour including your entrance tickets
See the magnificent Amphitheatre down the hill of the Acropolis
When you’re climbing the Acropolis, the Amphitheatre is hard to miss since it’s located down the hill. This stunning open-air theatre of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is worth a stop too. With a beautiful view over the city as your backdrop, it offers some great photo opportunities and above all, you can visit the site as part of your visit to the Acropolis.
Walk through the ancient Agora
After seeing the Acropolis, it’s lovely to walk around the ancient Agora of Athens. It’s the heart of the city and the most fascinating ancient sights where democracy was born.
Stroll around Plaka
Plaka is our favorite neighborhood in Athens. It’s located in the shadows of the Acropolis and full of street musicians, restaurants and cute little streets to stroll around.
Check out Little Cook Cake Shop in Psirri
Psirri is one of Athens’ nightlife neighborhoods, packed with creative stores, great restaurants, and picturesque cafés and shops like Little Cook Cake Shop. Worth a stop if you visit Athens.
Explore Athens with the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour
A Hop-on Hop-off bus tour is a great way to see and do all the best things in Athens in one day and skip the stress of finding your way. Hop-on, hop-off means literally you can jump on and off the bus as many times as you want, and on each bus, there are English-speaking guides available + audio headsets with commentary in multiple languages.
The bus arrives every 15 to 60 minutes at each stop and has a few different routes where you can choose from.
Tickets for the Hop-on Hop-off bus here
Go for lunch to Yard restaurant
Within walking distance of the Acropolis, located at Makrygianni street you’ll find Yard Restaurant. It’s a great spot to have lunch at one of their outdoor tables and watch people strolling by. The Yard has a great relaxing atmosphere and mainly serves traditional Greek cuisine at very reasonable prices.
What we loved the most about this place is their home-made moussaka and you are allowed to split one plate into two different dishes. Nice for people who want to try all the dishes on the menu and can’t choose! (like us haha)
Get lost in Anafiotika
For every photography lover, be sure you write down this place! Anafiotika is a scenic tiny white-painted neighborhood in Athens and located right at the foot of the Acropolis. When you enter this place, you really forget you’re in the big city. Anafiotika is full of narrow streets, small white houses, lazy cats lying in the sun, and plants everywhere.
For us a hidden gem you can’t miss when visiting Athens.
Cross the Monastiraki Square
Monastiraki Square is located right in the center and one of the busiest and liveliest spots in Athens. During the day the square is filled with little market stalls and at night you’ll find many street performers.
The area around Monastiraki Square is filled with hotels, restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops which makes this place nice to stroll around. And when you’re in Athens on Sunday, you need to visit the famous flea market here.
A fascinating half-day walking tour that shows you around the Monastiraki Square
Watch the sunset at Mikrolimano marina
For this one, you need to grab a taxi, but you won’t regret it. Mikrolimano is the smallest and most charming port of Athens and located 20 minutes from the city center. The marina is filled with lovely trendy restaurants all offering nice ocean views. Especially in the late afternoon with the sunset, this picturesque place is a must-see!
Extra tip: searching for a nice place to have dinner? Go to Ammos Restaurant! (picture below)
Picture credit @ammosmikrolimano.gr
Have dinner at Old Tavern Of Psaras
The Old Tavern of Psaras is a very famous restaurant located in a charming pedestrian street right in the heart of Plaka. Not only the romantic and secluded setting is worth a visit, but also the food they serve is really great. Be sure to make a reservation when you pass Plaka earlier that day because it’s a very popular spot and there’s a chance you need to wait in the line to get in.
The Old Tavern of Psaras
Where to go next?
A visit to Athens is almost inevitable if you are going to island hopping in Greece. So we visited Athens twice during our trips to the many islands.
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