A modern city filled with ancient wonders, quirky streets and tasty cuisine – travellers are spoiled for choice in Athens!
For those planning a trip to the Greek Islands, Athens is the perfect 24-hour layover. But the secret is not trying to do and see it all at once. We recommend picking a couple of must-see sights and delving deep beneath the cities skin for a real 24 hours in Athens experience!
Get going early
Head to the Kotzia Square before the crowds arrive. This beautiful square houses markets, shops and traditional workshops all worthy of a wander. There’s also plenty of traditional cafes here, perfect for a quick stop to sip on a coffee before heading off to explore Athens.
Visit the Parthenon
Of course, a visit to Athens wouldn’t be complete without seeing the most-famed site of them all – The Parthenon. A short 20-minute walk from Kotzia Square will lead you to the base of the Acropolis. From here you can travel at your own pace to the top and soak in the astounding view. Once you’ve caught your breathe, spend an hour or so exploring the gorgeous temple dedicated to the Greek goddess, Athena Parthenos.
We strongly recommend visiting the Parthenon early, to avoid the tourist crowds and scorching heat. If you’re feeling savvy, book your entrance ticket online before you arrive to skip the queue completely!
Wander through the city’s oldest neighbourhood
Resting on the slopes of the Acropolis hides the old Ottoman quarter of Plaka. This place is oozing with colourful cafes, boutiques and atmosphere. It’s cobbled alleys are lined with market stalls and the aromas of garlic, olives, citrus and fresh espresso.
The perfect place for some RnR after visiting a tourist hot-spot like the Acropolis.
Try some Loukoumades
A visit to Athens wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the most irresistibly sweet treats going around – Loukoumades. This deep fried doughnut with a Greek twist is usually doused in syrup or honey and sprinkled in cinnamon, sugar or chocolate. Yum!
Traditionally, Loukoumades are a celebratory treat eaten at weddings, church festivities or on a special occasion. But finding a traditional Loukoumade in Athens is far from a challenge these days, with many restaurants offering them on the menu and street vendors selling them on almost every corner!
While walking around the old neighbour of Plaka, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some.
Explore the street art
A short walk away lies the district of Exarcheia, where streets are jam-packed with local eateries and of course, street art.
What Exarcheia may like in clean sidewalks and ancient history, it makes up for in vibrant and mysterious art murals known for promoting independence and freedom of expression.
It’s a chilled-back district perfect for a slow stroll. If you’re lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of locals performing or jamming their instrumentals around the central square.
Sunset over Athens
Few places in Athens hold a sunset view which can compare to that of Mount Lycabettus! The limestone hill is the highest point in Athens and holds uninterrupted views across the city, making it the perfect spot for a dreamy sunset over Greece’s capital.
We recommend packing a picnic and hopping on the funicular to the top of Mount Lycabettus, just in time to watch the Parthenon light up as the sun descends on one epic day in Athens!
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