When I started researching places to visit on my trip to Athens in March this year, I was immediately surprised by how close all the big tourist sights were to each other – I had expected them to be spread out over a much larger area. As we had two full days in Athens, we were able to spread our sightseeing out and have more time to relax but we could have easily seen all the main sights in one day had we wanted to.
I have put together this very simple guide to show you a very quick way to see Athens in a very short amount of time – for example, there are a lot of cruise ships which stop in Athens for a day in the summer months. All that you will need is a pair of comfortable shoes, your camera and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.
A good starting point to begin your sightseeing is Monastiraki Station which is accessible by Metro from both Eleftherios Venizelos Airport (Blue Line 3) and the Port of Piraeus (Green Line 1).
One thing that you will need to buy is the Acropolis Combo ticket which currently costs €12 which includes entry to the Acropolis as well as the Ancient Agora of Athens, Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora of Athens, the Museum of Kerameikos and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
After leaving Monastiraki Station, you will find Hadrian’s Library. You will also find many shops and restaurants in Monastiraki Square.
After leaving Hadrian’s Library, head south and before you reach the Acropolis you will find the Roman Agora and the Ancient Agora of Athens.
The main focus of your day will be now climbing to the top of the Acropolis of Athens where the Parthenon is situated. The climb is not difficult however it is not wheelchair friendly.
The views of the city of Athens from the top of the Acropolis are incredible.
When leaving the Acropolis, take the south slope of the hill down. This will take you past the Theatre of Dionysos and the Odeion of Herodes Atticus.
After leaving the Acropolis, you can walk through the pretty Plaka neighbourhood towards Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
From the Temple of Olympian Zeus, it is a short walk across a main road to the Panathenaic Stadium which was the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. A separate ticket is needed which costs €3. You will also get one of the best views of the Acropolis from the top of the stadium.
You can now head back across the main road to the Zappeion Building and the National Gardens which is a great place to sit down and rest for a few minutes in the beautiful surroundings.
After walking through the National Gardens, you will exit near Syntagma Square where the Parliament Building is located. Here the famous Evzones guard the Temple of the Unknown Soldier. The Changing of the Guard takes place every hour on the hour. On Sundays at 11am a more formal ceremony takes place.
At this time if you would still like to see more you can head to Mount Lycabettus by either taking the Metro one stop to Evangelismos Station or by taking a walk through the Kolonaki neighbourhood.
I have written about visiting Mount Lycabettus in this blog post.