- 1 What is the Best time to go to Athens?
- 2 Travelling around Athens.
- 3 Where to Stay in Athens.
- 4 How to spend 3 days in Athens – Things to Do and See.
- 5 Must Eat Places in Athens – How to spend 3 days in Athens.
- 6 Street Art in Athens
- 7 Must Do and See in Athens
How to spend 3 days in Athens – Dominated by its history and ancient ruins Athens is also referred as the cradle of Western Civilization. A city which is more then 2,500 year-old and a hotch-potch of concrete upon brick upon stone. Built around the famous Acropolis, a hilltop citadel Athens has far more to offer than just an entry point to Greece. We started our journey of discovering Greece here and headed off to the islands.
In the last few years, the Greek capital has renewed it’s status as the European arts capital. A three-and-a-half-hour nonstop flight from London, travellers flock here for the hilltop views of ancient ruins. The corridors filled with artists and award-winning restaurants and cocktail bars. Let’s find out – How to spend 3 days in Athens.
Welcome to Athens.
What is the Best time to go to Athens?
Without a doubt everyone agrees that the best time to visit is Greece is spring and early summer (mid-Apr to mid-June) or autumn (Sept to mid-Oct). This way, you avoid the summer high season, with its inflated prices, hordes of tourists and high temperatures reaching up to 100°F/+40C. Weather during the spring and fall months is much more pleasant and sunshine is pretty much a guaranteed. Our plan to travel in the last week of May was perfect.
How to Travel to Athens
Athens is well connected and the main entry point for most travellers. We used our very own British Airways to fly into the capital and a direct flight from Heathrow got us into the capital in just less then 4hrs. There are plenty of airlines flying into Athens so do your research and get the best deals.
Travelling around Athens.
Land into Athens International Airport and you have the option to hop on a train or use the metro, both convenient and cost effective ways to get into the city centre. The taxis in Athens are affordable generally. Make sure to check prices hailing one from the airport as most of them charge a flat €40 into the city centre, not a bad deal when travelling with kids. Athens boasts of an impressive public transport network including metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains to help you get around the capital.
Where to Stay in Athens.
The most desirable areas to stay in Athens are the Plaka, Makrianni,Syntagma and Monastiraki. These all border the Acropolis and the archaeological park around it. Everything you need including shops, restaurants, the metro to the ferries, buses, taxis and nightlife is within walking distance. One of the best place to stay in Athens is the Plaka area between Syntagma Square and the Acropolis. It’s the quietest and most pleasant part of Athens. If you are looking for something out of the hustle and bustle then your option is Caravel.
Our hotel the Divani Caravel was the perfect choice, a short taxi ride away from the centre. The Divani Caravel is part of the Leading Hotels of the World so the quality was guaranteed and yes it did live up to it. It’s roof top Pool and bar had mesmerizing views of the Acropolis. Large rooms and great service what else could you want.
When it comes to accommodation – There is so a vast choice and you should be able to find something within your budget quite easily in this city. For the best results check Booking.com
How to spend 3 days in Athens – Things to Do and See.
It’s hard to come to Athens and not see the ruins so why not start with the most famous one the Acrpopolis. Start your day early to beat the crowds and the midday sun which can get very strong and with limited shade it can get hottttt at the top of the hill. Timings of the Acropolis – The doors open to the public at 8 a.m. in the summer, 8.30 a.m. in the winter. The nearest station to the Acropolis is Akropoli metro station. It is a short walk from here.
If you prefer the more touristy option, the hop on hop of bus is the perfect way to see this city. The Acropolis is the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times. The Acropolis is situated on a hill but it is not a steep climb.
Most city-states in ancient Greece had at their centre a rocky mound or hill where they built their important temples and where the people could retreat if under attack. The most famous acropolis is the one in Athens and a perfect example of this.
The Acropolis is home to one of the most famous buildings in the world and a UNESCO heritage site the Parthenon. The views from the hilltop are some of the best in the city, but the Parthenon is even more impressive up front or lit up at night.
Tickets to enter the Acropolis – The tickets to the Acropolis can be purchased quite easily at the ticket counter on the foot of the hill. Tickets costs €20 per adult and kids under 10 are free. If you have an EU student card then make sure to carry it as there are plenty of discounts and free entrance in Greece.
How much time do you need to see the Acropolis? You can easily spend half a day on the hill so depending on how much of a history buff you are plan your day accordingly.
After discovering the Ancient Greek history it was time to refuel. A leisurely walk down the hill and you are in the heart of the city Monsastiraki square. A relaxed lunch with some great views of the Acropolis and we were off to the Flea Market.
The Flea Markets in Athens
Monastiraki Flea Market is open seven days a week. The best time to visit the Flea Market in Athens is on a Sunday morning, this is when jewellery makers and artisans set up their stalls for the day. This is not an actual flea market but a collection of small shops – The nearest station to the Flea market is Monastiraki Square Metro station.
You can find almost everything in the Flea market in Athens- from clothing, jewellery, leather goods, cheap souvenirs to antique marble Greek statues and traditional Greek products. If you are tired or shopping and this is not your style then enjoy one of the many cafes here and watch the people passing by. As you walk through the narrow lanes passing the shops of the Flea market you land into one of the main squares of Athens Monsastiraki square.
Monastiraki Square – Athens
This is a unique blend of styles, eras and cultures, lively but firmly dedicated to trade and the reunion of people of Athens. Monastiraki was the site of one of the largest monasteries in Athens which was demolished during archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century with very little left of the original complex. It’s buzzing with people vendors and a great vibe fills this square so make sure to visit.
The only church which remained and ironically named ‘monastiráki’ or ‘little monastery’. This eventually gave the neighbourhood its name and stands here, it is small yet beautiful. Monastiraki Square is lively through the day and night with some very classy rooftop bars which have breathtaking views of the city by the night mainly.
360 Cocktail Bar. – We visited the 360 cocktail bar and I would highly recommend this for a great evening with unparalleled views of the Acropolis light up.
Plaka is located right under the Acropolis – It is one of the oldest neighbourhood in Athens and Europe. Its beautiful pedestrian streets with traditional houses has a charm of its own and makes it the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. The main attractions in Plaka are the museums and the archeological sites but if you are after some authentic Greek food then there are some great restaurants around this area.
Plaka is beautiful and gives you a real taste of Athens.
Roman & Ancient Agora
Located to the North side of the Acropolis is the famous The Roman and Ancient Agora, created to honour the Roman emperor Julius Caesar. This was the first commercial centre of Athens with large open patios surrounded by columns and a market area. Through the ages the Roman Agora, just like most of the monuments in Athens, was transformed with additions by the dominant cultures and religions.
The Ancient Agora of Athens includes several notable ancient structures including the Temple of Haphaestus, the best preserved Classical Greek temple. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient God of fire and Athena the goddess of pottery and crafts. According to the archaeologists, the temple was built around 450 B.C.
It also offers an excellent view of the Acropolis.
Evening in Psirri
Best place to spend evening in Athens ? Psirri or Psyrri is a great place to spend an evening if you are in Athens. Until the early 90’s it had an ill reputation, but now it has become one of the most fashionable and trendy choices for entertainment, music, food and hospitality. The central square of Psyri is called Heroes Square.
Psirri is one of Athens’ main nightlife districts. It is packed with creative stores, quaint restaurants, picturesque cafes and bars. Drinking and people-watching are the main activities in Psirri. I was surprised how lively and late this city is with most of the outlets open till the wee hours of the morning. Some extraordinary musicians performing in the cafes and bars lay the perfect backdrop for a great night out.
Must Eat Places in Athens – How to spend 3 days in Athens.
Athens is loaded with great restaurants but nothing beats an authentic Gyros and Souvlaki from a local shop. There are some great places just off Monastiraki Square.
What to eat in Athens? – When in Athens you must try Gyro and Souvlaki.
What is the difference Between Gyro and Souvlaki? Gyro or gyros is a special Greek delicacy consisting of meat, onion, tomato and tzatziki sauce served with pita bread.
Souvlaki is also a Greek dish, but basically a fast food. It is prepared with small meat crumbs and grilled vegetables all prepared on a skewer wrapped up into a pita with French fries and sauce.
Gelato in Athens
Yes, there are plenty of Gelato parlours dotted around the city and with the sun shining bright there is nothing better then a bit of indulgence with a scoop of gelato.
Street Art in Athens
Venture off the tourist trail and discover a different side to Athens by taking a street art walking tour. Explore the city’s colourful neighbourhoods and admire unique graffiti art and murals. This will give you a feel for yourself why Athens’ bold street art has made a name for itself worldwide.
Athens is the entry point into Greece for most travellers who normally come here to see the Acropolis and after spending anything from 2-3 nights head out to the Greek Islands. However post my visit one thing is for sure, don’t come here just for the ancient monuments or as an entry point into Greece there is much more to Athens.
Is Athens safe ? Athens is safe to travel. Despite the economic crises, contemporary Athens has so much more to offer. From an electric nightlife filled with urban-chic bars and cafés to some of the most fascinating and upmarket restaurants serving cuisines from all around the world. If you love fashion there is plenty here from small boutiques to mega malls.
Athens is surely a great city and one that is making a mark on the map.
So come be a part Athens.
We started our trip of Greece with Athens – If you enjoyed reading about Athens follow us to our next destination Mykanos and onto Santorini.
Must Do and See in Athens
- Take a break from sightseeing and relax in the shade in the National Gardens.
- Enjoy a snapshot of Greek history and culture and visit landmarks like the Acropolis.
- Make a wish in a fountain at Syntagma Square.
- Visit the Acropolis, the National Archeological Museum and Delphi, for free every first Sunday of the month (from November to March).
- Visit the daily change of the guards outside the Greek Parliament.
- Enjoy some of the best views of the city from Areopagous Hill .
- Take advantage of your youth (if you’re under 18 or an EU university student) and walk into any museum and archeological spot for free.
- Shop for some antiques, souvenirs at Monastiraki flea market.
- Pay tribute in one of the oldest churches in Greece, Kapnikarea church.
- Appreciate the graffiti art of the young artists on the street of Athens.
- Catch spectacular views of Piraeus port from the top of Lykavittos Hill.
- Relax in one of the many rooftop bars around Monastiraki Square.
- Walk the ancient streets around Syntagma, Ermou street,Aiolou street.
- Take a stroll around the marina of Flisvos Marina .
- Discover the historic streets of Plaka.
- Admire some of the finest Greek sculpture around the old Cemetery of Athens.
- Window shop around posh Kolonaki Square.
- Enjoy a Gelato in one of the many parlours dotted around Athens.
- Sample the night life of Psirri.
- Treat yourself to a Souvlaki.