One Day Athens Itinerary – Places To Visit in Athens in 1 Day

One Day Athens Itinerary

Athens has loads of attractions to suit every type of traveller. This one day Athens itinerary features the main highlights of a trip to Athens in Greece.

One Day Athens Itinerary

Athens is an eclectic, bustling, historical city that features a whole host of sights and attractions to explore. While you could easily spend months in the capital, soaking up the surroundings and the atmosphere, it is possible to visit most of the highlights in just one day. The main ancient sites are dotted around the centre of the city which makes them convenient to access while also combining them with other attractions and eateries along the way. Read on to explore Athens in Greece with this one day Athens itinerary recommendation that features the main highlights of a trip to Athens.

One Day Athens Itinerary – Places To Visit in Athens

Read on to discover what I think must be the top things to do in Athens for first-time visitors to the city if they have one day in Athens. This Athens Greece itinerary will help you plan your trip.

What To Do In Athens In One Day – 1 day in Athens

Most people choose to walk around Athens as this is often quicker than travelling by bus or metro, but if you are wanting to visit sites further afield such as the Olympic Stadium then you’ll want to use public transport.

Syntagma Square and Change of the Guards

One Day Athens Itinerary
One Day Athens Itinerary – Experience changing of the guards

While most of Athen’s attractions can be visited in any order, there is one thing that has a very regimented schedule that you’ll need to adhere to if you want to experience it and that is the Changing of the Guards in Syntagma Square. This elaborate performance takes place every hour, with the two guards on duty switching shifts with two new attendants. Even the most simple switch involves the guards and their guns, partaking in a coordinated dance across the square, but there is also a longer, official ceremony that takes place each Sunday at 11 am. During this longer ceremony, there is a band, a procession and even a thorough uniform inspection.

This is a real show and is not to be missed if you’re in Athens on a Sunday – but get there early to find a good spot!

Temple of Olympian Zeus

One Day Athens Itinerary
One Day Athens Itinerary – Visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Once you’ve experienced some present-day Greek culture it’s time to step back to Ancient Greece with a visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This is a collection of huge columns that would have once been part of the Temple of Zeus and it lies at the southern end of the Greek National Garden. Not only is this site impressive in itself, but it also offers a spectacular view of the Ancient Acropolis up on the hillside.

The sheer size and scale of the columns on this site give you a real sense of perspective about how Athens would have looked during the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Arch of Hadrian

One Day Athens Itinerary
One Day Athens Itinerary – Visit Arch of Hadrian

Next to the Temple of Olympian Zeus lies the Arch of Hadrian, the monumental gateway to the above site. This ancient arch shows the clear juxtaposition of old and new that runs throughout Athens and is something that really epitomises the city in comparison to other European capitals.

While the arch itself, standing on the edge of a roadside, may seem somewhat insignificant compared to some of the city’s larger monuments, if you imagine that this arch was just the entrance to a much grander complex, you’ll begin to understand the size and significance of the whole site.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum
One Day Athens Itinerary – Visit Acropolis Museum

As you only have a day, you’ll want to ensure you get to the Acropolis Museum fairly early to ensure that you have plenty of time to discover the exhibits before visiting the Acropolis itself. The Acropolis Museum is a sprawling gallery of statues, ruins, monuments and models that give you a broader insight into what life would have been like in Ancient Greece.

The museum is really bright, airy and modern and features loads of informative boards (in English and Greek) to help increase your understanding.

You could easily spend hours here exploring the different artefacts and thankfully there is also a café on-site so you can have a quick bite to eat before taking on the walk up to the Acropolis.


One Day Athens Itinerary – Visit Acropolis

Now onto the pièce de resistance: The Acropolis! The Acropolis of Athens is the name for the whole of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is perched atop a hill in central Athens. This complex features a number of ancient Greek buildings, most famously the Parthenon, the building that is often referred to as The Acropolis.

One Day Athens Itinerary
One Day Athens Itinerary – Discover the Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The buildings that make up The Acropolis are thought to date back to the 5th Century B.C., and despite having been severely damaged over the course of history, still remain one of the largest and most significant sites in Europe. Visitors can walk up to the Acropolis from the centre of Athens, discovering the Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Temple of Athena Nike among others.

This whole complex is extremely intriguing, interesting, and photogenic so make sure you get your Acropolis tickets in advance and allow yourself a few hours to really delve into the history and explore each of the sites.

Plaka Neighborhood

Plaka Neighborhood
One Day Athens Itinerary -Visit the Plaka Neighborhood

Once you have exhausted your exploration of the Acropolis, you’ll want to head back down towards Plaka in central Athens. This is one of the older, historical neighbourhoods in Athens and features a range of winding streets and neoclassical architecture that makes it really beautiful. There are tons of shops, bars and eateries around Plaka, so it’s a great place to stop off for a rest and some refreshments.

Plaka is a fairly sprawling region within the city and basically covers the whole of the northeastern slope of the Acropolis hillside, which also includes the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library. Therefore, if you still have time and want to visit some more ancient sites, there are plenty of stops along the way.

Monastiraki Neighborhood

One Day Athens Itinerary
One Day Athens Itinerary – Visit Monastiraki Neighborhood

The Monastiraki neighbourhood centres around a small church which stands in the heart of a square linking up two busy shopping streets. Again, this is an example of Athen’s juxtaposition and is a really charming part of the high street. The square around the monastery features shops, tavernas and market stalls and is also home to the Monastiraki metro stop, a station that offers transport links around the city.

Monastiraki is a great area from which to start your evening in Athens as there are some fun bars, coffee shops and restaurants nearby.

Where To Eat/Drink In Athens

Wine Bars

Cinque Wine Bar and Deli is located in the cool Psirri area of Athens (just next to Monastiraki) and features a range of spectacular Greek wines which really highlight the country’s produce in style. The staff are on hand to help you with your selection and you can opt to pair your wines with some cheese and charcuterie to complement it nicely.

Another fantastic wine bar in central Athens is Vintage Wine Bar and Bistro, an elegant bar with over 300 different wines from around the world. Of course, many of the bottles are Greek and the staff have a wealth of knowledge about these wines, but thanks to the half measures you are able to try a whole collection of different wines so you can find one that you love.

Rooftop Bars

As the Acropolis is located on the hillside above the city, there are loads of rooftop bars in Athens which aim to make the most of the view! These range from high-end hotel bars to laid-back lounges that just happen to have an epic vista.

A for Athens and Couleur Locale are some of the more relaxed bars with a buzzing atmosphere and a delicious cocktail list. These are perfect for having a chilled drink at sunset. Alternatively, you might want to choose a stylish roof lounge if you have an extra day to spend in Athens, such as the Air Lounge Roof Bar which boasts a swimming pool, restaurant and bar on the 9th floor of Hotel Fresh.


There are, of course, loads of amazing Greek tavernas located in Athens so it’s hard to know which are the best! I personally think that Tzitzikas kai Mermigas is one of the highlights, a restaurant that offers traditional Greek dishes presented beautifully and with plenty of flavour! There are now actually four branches of Tzitzikas kai Mermigas but the Syntagma restaurant is bright, central and convenient.

Klimataria is another restaurant that always comes highly recommended. Not only is it one of the oldest family-run tavernas in the city, but it also still features classic Greek decor and authentic dishes. There are vines creeping around the ceilings and walls and they regularly feature live Greek music so you have all the entertainment you need right there!

More Than One Day in Athens?

If you have longer to stay in Athens, you might want to add in a few additional activities/attractions such as the Melina Mekouri Foundation, the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art or the tiny, tucked away Plato Museum. You can plan to spend 2 days in Athens or 3 days in Athens.

Athens Tourism – Planning your trip to Athens, Greece

Ways to Reach Athens in Greece

Athens in Greece is well connected by air and if you are looking to book cheap and best flights to Athens, you can do it right here. Book through either TripAdvisor or Agoda or CheapAir or Cleartrip or Makemytrip or Priceline and save big on flight bookings to reach Athens, Greece.

Where To Stay In Athens – Best Hotels in Athens, Greece

If you’re seeking a central, safe, modern hotel, look no further than the Herodion Hotel. This family-run hotel features excellent views of the Acropolis and the nearby museum (from the terrace and pool!) and is also located within easy walking distance of Plaka and the surrounding amenities. While the rooms are fairly small, they are clean and well-equipped, making it the perfect base for exploring the city.

Alternatively, the Electra Hotel is a larger, upmarket hotel close to Syntagma Square, with a rooftop bar and restaurant and smart, spacious rooms. The location is one of the highlights of this hotel, with everything you need right on your doorstep.

If you are planning a trip to Greece and looking at accommodation options that Athens offers and are trying to find the best hotels in Athens or the best place to stay in Athens, then do check out our favourite booking sites here. We have always used these sites to book our stay when we travel. Athens hotel booking can be done through TripAdvisor or Cleartrip or Agoda or Makemytrip or Priceline to avail big discounts and save huge on your stay in Athens Greece.

Click here to book the best hotel/resort in Athens

Tours/Activities available in Athens – Things To Do In Athens – Places to visit in Athens

Athens’s points of interest and Athens attractions are many and if you are wondering what to see in Athens or what to do in Athens, then look you need not worry. Athens attractions can be booked online. Plan and book online tours that are available for the most recommended Athens tours. You can now book tours in Athens as well as activities in Athens, Greece.

Click here to know more and book Best Attractions and Activities in Athens

So, there you have it, an easy-to-follow, one day Athens itinerary. This one day Athens itinerary can be followed at any time of year since Greece is a 365-day destination, although if you’re particularly sensitive to the heat you may want to move your trip to the Acropolis to the start or end of the day when travelling in summer to avoid the midday sun!

Of course, this one day Athens itinerary features the main highlights of a trip to Athens but if you are particularly interested in something, be that shopping, history, philosophy or art, you may want to change the attractions slightly to suit your style. Thankfully Athens has loads of attractions to suit every type of traveller.

We hope you liked how to spend 1 day in Athens, Greece post. Do share your thoughts in the comments section about how you would like to spend two days in Athens.


This is a guest post by Chrysoula. Chrysoula is a travel blogger with a professional background in Tourism and Marketing. Her blog Travel Passionate is in English and French and is focused on luxury travel, cultural and culinary experiences around the world. She enjoys exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and she is interested in presenting the best locations, attractions and accommodation in each area she visits. Travelpassionate is a trusted resource for travel tips and destination guides that aims to inspire others to travel and experience different cultures. 

PinitOne Day Athens Itinerary - Places To Visit in Athens in 1 Day

What to do in Athens in 1 Day

Places To Visit in Athens in 1 Day

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11 thoughts on “One Day Athens Itinerary – Places To Visit in Athens in 1 Day”

  1. Athens looks like such an incredible city to explore and it sounds like you can see a lot even in just one day. The changing of the guards sounds like a great thing to see, especially if you manage to catch it on a Sunday. The Acropolis looks amazing and such an interesting place to visit.

  2. How stunning is Athens! I’m planning a trip to Greece and wanted to skip Athens and head straight to the islands, but this post has convinced me otherwise!

  3. Good timing. I am currently planning a 2 week Greece vacation. Your itinerary for Athens looks similar to mine, but we are planning to stay 1 1/2 days as we don’t want to rush too much. After all, we are on vacation!

  4. Thanks for sharing your tips! I have been planning a visit to Greece hang out at one of the islands, and I want to add a day or two in Athens. This is great!

  5. You make me miss Athens with this post! 🙂 I lived there for 6 months and went to the University of Athens as an exchange student, studying Greek Archaeology. My favorite place in town was the Kerameikos Necropolis. So quiet and filled with awesome ancient tombstones and monuments.

  6. This is a great (if very busy) itinerary for a day in Athens! I have to admit, everytime I have visited this gorgeous city I have only stayed for a day before catching a boat out to start island hopping. I really should stay longer and explore more as your post highlights what a fun place it can be.

  7. I’ve been fascinated with ancient Greek culture since I was young and it was amazing first going to Athens a few years ago! 🙂 It was quite different than I imagined and also very different from Rome, but I loved it! I went on a street art tour as well which was amazing too 🙂

  8. I really like the photo that you took from the Monastiraki Neighborhood. And your itinerary is packed with so much useful information, it comes handy when you only have limited time to visit the city.

  9. I really find Athens intriguing because of the movies made with this place the central location. Bing a history enthusiast and an architectural lover I would surely have a great time exploring this beautiful city.

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