Athens is a sprawling metropolis filled with tons of history and things to see, but it sort of ends up being a stopover point for most people on their way out to the Greek Islands. So if you find yourself, like we did, with 24 hours in Athens before heading out to the islands, there are some rad things you’ve got to check out. Here are the best things to do in Athens during a short stay.
Best Western Acropolis Ami: This place is super affordable and centrally located. It’s an easy walk up to the Acropolis and fairly close to a metro stop. Plus it has a rooftop bar with live music and a great view of the Parthenon.
Airotel Alexandros: Also pretty central, you can walk to Mount Lycabettus. Super friendly and helpful staff, and they have an option for breakfast in the morning. Also there’s a good kebab spot down the street.
Cinque Wine Bar & Deli: Just a little ways down the hill from the Acropolis, this little wine bar is serving up delicious Greek wines, and local meats and cheeses that are amazing! The owners are super friendly and will give you a tasting of their favorite wines before you decide on a glass to order. Make sure to get the meat and cheese platter for snacking on with your wines!
Galaxy Restaurant and Bar (at the Hilton): If you looking for a fancy cocktail the Galaxy bar is pretty bougie. Sit outside on the deck with a great view of the Acropolis and the city while sipping on your drink.
Aleria: If you are looking for a fancy dinner this is the place to go. We happened to be in Athens on our Anniversary so we splurged and on the tasting menu and wine pairing at Aleria. I’d call the food modern Mediterranean, and the ambiance was the perfect balance of laid back, but still a little fancy. We sat on the back patio, it was filled with greenery and candles making it quite romantic.
Kebabs from any Kebab stand: Kebabs and falafel are delicious and probably my favorite kind of street food. There are stands and little shops all over the place so you can’t go wrong.
Acropolis: If you are in Athens you have to see the Acropolis, it’s the biggest piece of history, like, ever. It’s crazy to look at building, or pieces of buildings that have been around for so long. There’s no tour or anything, you pay your 20 euros (yeah kind of expensive) and you can just walk around the whole thing. There are signs that give you the history and information on each part. Plus there are some awesome views of the city.
*Pro Tip: Just outside the Acropolis and down the hill a little bit, theres a giant rock, if you climb up it you can get a pretty sweet selfie with the Acropolis in the background.
Hike Mount Lycabettus: If you are feeling like a hike, Mount Lycabettus will give you a give you a nice little challenge. It’s quite literally a mountain in the middle of the city. The bottom half is shaded by pine trees and at the top there is a cafe, a small church and epic panoramic views. You can also drive part of the way up if you feel so inclined, there’s a parking lot near a large open air theater halfway up.
Shop on Ermou: At the bottom of Syntagma Square you’ll come to Ermou Street, it’s a pedestrian only walkway filled with all kinds of shops. It’s got everything everything from souvenir shops to fancy boutiques so if you are in need of some retail therapy this is the place.
Syntagma Square: So maybe this isn’t a place to seek out to go see, but if you are walking around central Athens you’ll most likely end up walking through Syntagma Square. It’s the center of Athens, and an easy way to orient yourself in the city. The Parliament building is right there as well as a few museums that are worth checking out if you have time.
Weather: It is hot and dry in the summer getting into the 80’s and 90’s during July and August. The rest of the year is fairly mild temperature wise, coldest months are December and January, when it will get down into the 50’s.
Money: Greece uses Euro, which is nice if you’ve been traveling around Europe, you won’t have to switch money. There are ATM’s all over, but plenty of places take credit cards as well. You must have a chip card though for it work (thank goodness American banks are finally switching over!).
Transportation: Athens metro is pretty easy to use and goes to most places you’d want to get to (Airport, Acropolis, the port). I also felt like walking was easy, especially if you are staying some place central, once you are off the main road there are lots of pedestrian only paths and quiet streets.