| February 26th, 2024 | No comments

If your time in Athens is limited to a few days, careful planning is essential. Three days in Athens, Greece will give you enough time to see the highlights, sample a nice slice of Athenian life, and get a sense of just how much of Western culture comes from this historic city.

Ancient history and vibrant contemporary life collide to create a sprawling and bustling city built at the foot of its most important site, the Acropolis. From afar, this site is a constant reminder of the importance to humanity that this great city is. Up close, the Acropolis is a portal into the past and a shining example of mankind’s ingenuity.

But Athens is so much more than just the Acropolis. Charming and eclectic neighborhoods, world-class museums, historic monuments, and incredible food and wine abound.

3 Days in Athens Greece

This packed 3 day itinerary will help you make the most of your brief trip to Athens Greece! It even includes the most popular day trip from Athens.

Follow it to a T, or use it as a list of solid suggestions. Either way, your time in Athens will undoubtedly be full of fantastic times and wondrous memories.

Please note – Some of our selections contain affiliate links. These allow us to earn a small percentage every time you make a booking. Using our links enables us to provide all the information found on this site free of charge.

Day 1: Explore Ancient Athens, Charming Neighborhoods, and Culinary Delights

  • Acropolis
  • Acropolis Museum
  • Lunch in Plaka
  • Plaka & Monastiraki Neighborhoods
  • Ancient Agora & Roman Agora
  • Greek Wine Tasting

The Acropolis

The Acropolis - Erechtheion - in Athens Greece

If you visit Athens during the busy season you will absolutely want to head to the Acropolis in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat.

A guided tour is highly advised to make the most of your visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unless you’re well versed on the history of the Acropolis, a professional guide will not only fill you in on the historic importance of the site but will also paint a vivid picture of what it was like to experience the Acropolis in its original glory.

Tip: We recommend this guided tour of the Acropolis.

Acropolis Museum

Exterior of the Acropolis Museum in Athens Greece - a must for 3 days in athens

After visiting the Acropolis, head to the nearby Acropolis Museum to get an up close view of artifacts found at the site.

The museum will provide even more context and all the visual tools you’ll need to imagine exactly how magnificent the Acropolis was in its original state.

Tip: We highly recommend taking the self-guided audio tour at the museum. It’s a two hour tour of 60 of the museum’s most important pieces. Plus, it’s totally free. Just don’t forget your headphones!

Lunch in Plaka

At the foot of the Acropolis lays a gateway to a charming and historic neighborhood of Plaka. Filled to the brim with shops, cafes, tavernas, and restaurants, it’s the perfect place for a respite from the morning’s exploration and to recharge with a fabulous lunch.

Wander around and choose at your leisure or opt for one of the below suggestions.

  • Hermion Restaurant – Tucked away from the crowd, this restaurant offers plenty of Greek dishes, like traditional Greek salad and Gyros, amongst a lively yet calming setting.
  • Psaras Tavern – One of the oldest restaurants in the area, standout dishes include the Cretan Dakos and Moussaka baked in clay.

Plaka & Monastiraki

After lunch, take a leisurely stroll around Plaka and neighboring Monastiraki. Both areas are full of history, shops, and cafes.

Between widow shopping and sips of coffee make sure you visit the Roman Agora and the Hadrian’s Library, both in Plaka.

Ancient Agora & Roman Agora

Athens Greece Roman Agora

Once upon a time the ancient Agora was a meeting place for public life in ancient Athens. Unsurprisingly, the ancient Agora was located in the heart of ancient Athens.

Today you can see the wonderfully well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos, which houses the museum of the Ancient Agora today.

Just a five minute walk away is the Roman Agora, which was built later and served as a marketplace. This site is not fully excavated, but still well worth a visit.

You can view the Tower of the Winds, an ancient timekeeping and weather vane, and the Gate of Athena Archegetis.

Hadrian’s Library

Hadrian’s Library dates back to 132 AD and was constructed by Emperor Hadrian. In ancient Athens it served as a cultural and intellectual hub, housed scrolls, and had reading and lecture rooms.

Today, it offers visitors a glimpse into the scholarly life of ancient Athens via the remnants of this once-great library.

Greek Wine Tasting at the Drunky Goat

A visit to Greece wouldn’t be complete without a sampling of local wines. The Drunky Goat is a unique, goat themed, Athenian tavern offering an exceptional selection of Greek wines, cheeses, and tapas.

Opt for the self guided wine tasting and a few tapas to nibble on. The tasting comes complete with 4-6 Greek wines, a score card, and a delightfully informative book on each wine, varietal, and wine producing regions of Greece.

Once you’re properly buzzed, admire the goaty artwork adorning the walls of this tavern and head downstairs to take in some of the more unique pieces leading to the restroom.

Day 2: Culture, History, and Modern Athens

  • Panathenaic Stadium
  • The Benaki Museum
  • Lunch in Kolonaki
  • Syntagma Square & Changing of the Guard
  • National Archaeological Museum
  • Mount Lycabettus Sunset & Dinner

Panathenaic Stadium

View from the top of the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens Greece

Kick off the day with a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium. This historic marvel is made entirely of marble and is the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. That said, this stadium dates way back to 566 BC!

Today, the Panathenaic Stadium is still used for sporting events and stands as a symbol of the enduring legacy of athletic competition. It’s a must-see site in Athens.

Tips: Take the self-guided audio tour to make the most of your visit. Also, be sure to climb to the top of the stadium and take a seat beneath the Olympic rings for a breathtaking view of the stadium and Athens.

The Benaki Museum

Athens Greece Benaki Museum Exhibit

Hop in a taxi and head indoors to the Benaki Museum for a look at Greek culture from antiquity to the modern era.

The Benaki Museum walks visitors through all periods of Greek history via exhibits that include pottery, sculpture, jewelry, tapestry, costumes, furniture, and decor. In just a few hours visitors can get a glimpse of Greek culture from the past to near-present.

Lunch in Kolonaki

Take a stroll and explore the upscale district of Kolonaki. Choose one of the chic restaurants by chance, or opt for one of these standouts.

  • Mpirmpilo Restaurant is celebrated for its fantastic Greek food and lovely location. Its daily menu features a wide array of Greek delights, and even accommodates vegan guests.
  • Oikeio is another excellent choice for lunch. This delightfully decorated Mediterranean restaurant offers local standouts like moussaka, chickpeas with dill, and stuffed zucchini.

Syntagma Square & Changing of the Guard

changing of the guards athens greece

After lunch, take a walk over to Syntagma Square to admire the Hellenic Parliament and see the ceremonial Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Changing of the Guard happens every hour, on the hour, so be sure to time your visit right.

Tip: On Sunday’s, this ceremony is more elaborate and starts at 11:00 am. So, if you are visiting Athens on a Sunday, it’s a must.

National Archaeological Museum

If your feet aren’t aching yet, and your brain is craving more incredible history, head over to the National Archaeological Museum.

The museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of ancient Greek artifacts.
Pieces come from all over Greece and span prehistory to late antiquity.

Mount Lycabettus – Sunset & Dinner

You may assume the Acropolis sits atop the highest point in Athens, but you’d be wrong. This award goes to Mount Lycabettus which ascends 277 meters above sea level.

Luckily, it’s easy to visit and the perfect spot for a stunning sunset and dinner. While you can hike to the top, after such a long day of exploring, a better option is to take the funicular to the summit.

Once the sun has gone down, take advantage of the trip, and head to Orizontes Lycabettus for a delicious seafood dinner with a panoramic view of Athens.

Day 3: Day Trip to Cape Sounion

  • Cape Sounion
  • Beach Time
  • Seafood Beachside Lunch
  • Dinner in Psiri

Cape Sounion

Temple of Poseidon Cape Sounion Greece

Today, head 70 km southeast of the city to Cape Sounion. On the way, enjoy stunning coastal views of the Saronic Gulf.

Once you arrive, visit the Temple of Poseidon and take in breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. Reflect on the story of Aegeus, whom the sea is named for. Legend goes, the king was so grief-stricken after believing his son to be dead that he jumped to his own death.

Beach Time

After you’ve had your fill viewing the sea from above, take some time to relax at one of the nearby beaches. Bathe in the sea and soak in some Greek sun at your leisure.

Seafood Beachside Lunch

It’s inevitable that your stomach will begin to rumble. So, between dips in the sea, be sure to check out one of the beachside taverns for a surely exceptional seafood lunch.

Tip: If you don’t feel like planning this day trip yourself, we recommend this organized private tour.

Dinner in Psiri

Once back in Athens and clean up and venture out to Psiri to enjoy its abundance of nightlife and dining options.

Perhaps opt for a final traditional Greek meal or try something more international before hitting one of the many taverns or bars. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Atlantikos – This restaurant is know for its freshly cooked seafood, including crispy baby octopus and prawns, grilled sardines, Greek Salad, fava bean dip, and more.
  • Dos Gardenias – If you’re looking for a truly colorful and international experience, head to Dos Gardenias. This restaurant/bar offers superb Spanish tapas paired with lively Cuban music.

3 Days in Athens Wrap-up

This 3 day Athens itinerary combines ancient history, culture, delicious food, and relaxation to give you a comprehensive experience of Athens in just a few days.

If you don’t manage to work everything in, don’t worry! You can always return to this incredible city. You’ll want to anyway!

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Written by Randi

Randi is the co-founder of Just a Pack and owner and founder of the vegan site, Veggie Visa.

She's a vegan, loves to cook, is happiest when lying on a beach in a foreign country, and her favorite ice cream flavor is salted caramel.

Randi's written work has been featured in publications like Marie Claire, xoJane, and A Women’s Thing. She has a background in marketing, culinary arts, and is a Certified Health Coach.

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