Heading to Athens for your next weekend getaway? If you only have time for a short trip to this city where past meets present, here are the essential things that you need to see, do, and eat! While the possibilities in the Greek capital are endless, here are some suggestions as to how to spend a couple of days soaking up Greek culture.
Is it possible to see the best of Athens in 48 hours?
Yes! Even though it’s ideal to stay longer to get a true sense of the city, it’s definitely doable to experience the essentials in 48 hours in Athens. This guide is realistic and lets you experience the best of Athens while still enjoying a fun and relaxing holiday. History, art, cuisine, shopping, Athens has it all!
No trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the Acropolis. This is where the history of the ancient world comes to life, along with some of the best views of modern-day Athens. The Acropolis is a must, rain or shine, so try to get there as early as possible to beat the crowds and summer heat. There’s a lot to see and do here, so give yourself a couple of hours to explore and take in Athens from above. Make sure you see the iconic Parthenon, the Theater of Dionysus Eleuthereus, and the Odeion, just to name a few.
Address: Athens 117 42
Information: Regular ticket is 20€, open from 8AM-8PM
The Acropolis Museum
On your way down from the Acropolis, pop in the Acropolis Museum to gaze at artefacts found from the ancient sites. Many treasures are housed here, including pieces chiseled from the Parthenon itself. You’ll learn more about the history of Athens and gain an appreciation for ancient Greek art!
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou, 15
Information: Tickets are 5€, hours vary on day and season
Refuel and relax
After a busy morning of sightseeing, enjoy a relaxing lunch in nearby Plaka, a neighborhood filled with cozy restaurants and charming shops. The old historical neighborhood of Athens, you’ll find no shortage of places to eat and shop. Try any of the winding streets for restaurants that serve Greek favorites like gyros, grilled octopus, saganaki, and moussaka. After lunch, browse the many shops and boutiques that are scattered around Plaka, many of which sell one-of-a-kind items unique to Athens.
In the afternoon, head to the neighboring Koukaki neighborhood and climb the Filopappou Hill for breathtaking views of Athens and the Acropolis. Time your trip for sunset and you’re all set for an Instagramable photo shoot! Tired of climbing? Visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Museum of Jewellery Elias Lalaounis, or the Little Tree Books and Coffee shop to soak up some culture.
Dinner and drinks in Psyrri
Hip, trendy, and quirky, dinner in Psyrri is the perfect way to end your day. This neighborhood is known for its restaurants, tavernas, and bars with live music. Drink traditional ouzo or try a local beer, paired with delicious seafood, grilled meat, or other Greek delicacies. Greek cuisine has something for all tastes!
Monastiraki Market and Syntagma Square
Start the day off in Monastriaki Square, a lively square with a market that winds through the neighboring streets. You’ll find all kinds of oddities, local products, and second-hand goods that make for unique gifts from Athens. Next head to Syntagma Square where the Parliament house is located. On Sunday mornings at 11AM, you can catch the changing of the guard ceremony, the official and customary ceremony. Otherwise, there is a changing every hour, but without the official ceremony.
Have lunch in Kolonaki
As we have written about in this post, there are fantastic dining options in the Kolonaki neighborhood, where many of our vacation rentals are located! For traditional Greek cuisine, you can’t go wrong at Kiouzin, Kalamaki Kolonaki, or Barbounaki, to name a few suggestions. After lunch, you can climb up the Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens. You can also go up by funicular, or a railway. The views are astounding, and you can explore the beautiful St. George church at the top.
Stroll through the National Garden
Once down on the ground again, enjoy the afternoon by walking through the National Garden. A green oasis open from dawn until dusk, it’s an idyllic spot to enjoy some peace and tranquility. Lush with trees, plants, and plenty of sunshine, the garden also has an enclosed space for animals like goats, rabbits, and turtles. The gardens are a welcome breath of fresh air in the heart of the city. At the end of the park you will find the Panathenaic Stadium, originally built for the Olympics in the 4th century, then rebuilt in the 19th century. You can enter for 5€, which also includes an audio guide.
Dinner in Gazi
Gazi is a trendy neighborhood in Athens that is buzzing with nightlife. Treat yourself to a delicious meal in any of the restaurants and tavernas, and then enjoy a drink at the music cafes and bars. If you really want to enjoy the nightlife, there are many places where you can dance the night away in Gazi!
And there you have it! 48 hours in Athens that will make for an unforgettable vacation in the Greek capital!
Looking for the perfect place to stay during your getaway to Athens? Come stay with us at Olala Homes! Our vacation rentals are just the place for those looking to experience Athens in the best way possible!