This itinerary for sightseeing in Athens for 2 days is ideal for first time visitors to Athens, the capital of Greece. Experience modern and ancient Athens before or after your Greek island hopping trip by ferry!
2 Days In Athens Itinerary
Planning a trip to Greece can be an incredible experience, but it can also be overwhelming.
With so many historical landmarks and contemporary culture, it can be difficult to decide where to go and what to see in Athens.
To maximize your time, it is important to have a well-planned itinerary, especially if you are a first-time visitor to Athens.
In this article, we suggest a two-day itinerary for visitors to Athens, including all the top attractions and tips for food, stay, and local attractions. It’s the perfect way to explore Athens either before or after your Greek island hopping trip by ferry!
Day 1 in Athens
Begin your day at Syntagma Square, one of the most famous landmarks of the city. It is also the central metro station, so you can get here by metro if you are not staying in a hotel in Athens within walking distance.
Watch the Changing Of The Guard in Athens
Opposite Syntagma Square, is the Parliament House. Here, you can check out the famous changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place every hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can even see it at night!
This part of Athens is home to several parades throughout the year as well. One to look out for is the Ohi Day parade in Athens on October 28th.
From there, take a stroll through the beautiful National Garden, a natural oasis in the heart of the city. It’s nice to spend time in the Botanical Gardens away from the noise of the Athens city traffic!
Visit the Panathenaic Stadium
Next, head to the Panathenaic Stadium, an ancient Olympic stadium that was restored for the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens Greece in 1896. Take a tour of the stadium and imagine the Olympic Games that took place here. There’s a small but interesting memorabilia museum, and if you are traveling with kids, they’ll love to race along the track!
Temple of Olympian Zeus
From the Panathenaic Stadium, it’s time to explore the ancient city of Athens by visiting the Temple of Zeus. This is the largest ancient temple in Athens and Greece, with colossal stone pillars. In 2023, it’s undergoing some repairs, but you can still see how magnificent is is, and imagine how imposing it was 2000 years ago.
Athens Acropolis and Parthenon
Just outside the temple of Zeus, is the Arch of Hadrian, a famous landmark and a gateway to the ancient city of Athens during the times of Roman rule. From here, you can see the impressive Acropolis of Athens, which is the next stop.
Visiting the Acropolis, including the Parthenon and other important monuments, is an absolute must-do for any traveler sightseeing for 2 days in Athens. These incredible ancient structures offer visitors a glimpse into the rich history, art, and culture of Ancient Greece.
The Acropolis is a collection of ancient buildings perched on a fortified hill overlooking the city. Among the most famous structures on the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion. Each of these structures has its unique history, design, and significance.
You’ll want lots of photos for your Insta feed! Here are some great Greece captions for Instagram posts you might want to add 😉
Parthenon in Athens
The Parthenon, perhaps the most famous building on the Acropolis, is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron deity of Athens. Built in the 5th century BC during the Golden Age of Athens, the Parthenon is considered an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and the pinnacle of classical architecture. The temple was designed by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates and decorated with sculptures by Phidias. The Parthenon’s construction took nearly a decade to complete, and it was used as a temple, treasury, and later as a Christian church.
The Propylaea, another notable building on the Acropolis, is the monumental entrance to the sacred hill. It was designed by the architect Mnesicles and completed in 432 BC. The Propylaea’s imposing facade, with its massive columns and monumental gateway, served as the gateway to the Acropolis for centuries, welcoming visitors and impressing them with its grandeur.
The Temple of Athena Nike, located at the southwest corner of the Acropolis, was built in the 5th century BC to commemorate the Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. The temple is known for its graceful Ionic columns and intricate frieze depicting scenes from the battle. The Temple of Athena Nike was designed to be viewed from all angles, and its delicate beauty is still admired by visitors today.
The Erechtheion, a complex of sanctuaries and temples, is located on the north side of the Acropolis. It was built in the 5th century BC and is known for its iconic Porch of the Maidens, a row of six caryatids supporting the roof. The Erechtheion was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon, and according to legend, it was the site where the gods had their famous contest to determine who would be the patron deity of Athens.
The Areopagus Hill, located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, is an ancient rock outcropping steeped in history and myth. In ancient times, it served as a site for the city’s legal and political proceedings, including the trial of the philosopher Socrates.
Today, visitors can climb the hill to enjoy sweeping views of the city. You can also get very nice photos of the Acropolis from Areopagus Hill, and it’s a good place to be at sunset.
Ancient Agora of Athens
The ancient Agora of Athens was the center of life in Ancient Greece. It was an area where people could meet, trade goods, and discuss politics. The Agora also played an important role in the religious life of the city, with many temples and altars dedicated to various gods being located there.
There were statues, monuments, and buildings all throughout the Agora that showcased the importance of this area in the daily lives of Ancient Greeks.
Inside this archaeological site in Athens, you’ll find the well preserved Temple of Hephaestus and a very good museum.
Plaka in Athens
Plaka is perhaps the most famous neighborhood in Athens. Located within walking distance of the Acropolis, Plaka has been home to generations of Athenians for centuries.
The streets are filled with colorful houses, small restaurants and souvenir shops, reflecting the vibrant culture that defines this special area.
Spend the evening here, enjoy a few drinks, and relax – it’s been a long first day exploring Athens and you’ll need your energy for tomorrow!
Day 2 in Athens
On the second of your two days in Athens, start by visiting the Acropolis Museum, which houses numerous artifacts from the Acropolis and offers stunning views of the ancient citadel.
There’s also a nice cafe in the Athens Acropolis museum where you can enjoy a coffee with a view to the Acropolis.
From there, head to the charming neighborhood of Monastiraki, where you can enjoy the vibrant local culture and sample delicious Greek food, including souvlaki, moussaka, and Greek salad.
In the evening, head to the Psyrri neighborhood, which is famous for its rooftop bars and incredible views of the Acropolis. Enjoy a drink while taking in the breathtaking view of the ancient city.
Alternatively, consider taking a half-day tri to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion to see the sunset.
Some tips for your trip:
- Check the official website of each attraction to see their hours of operation and admission fees.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be walking a lot.
- Start working out how to use Google maps!
- Make sure to carry your passport with you at all times.
- If you are a history buff, make sure to check out the Benaki Museum and the Herode Atticus Odeon.
Athens is a city brimming with history and culture, and this 2 day Athens itinerary is the perfect way to explore it all. With the right planning and a sense of adventure, you can enjoy an unforgettable trip to the ancient city of Athens.