24 hours in Athens


There are many reasons to visit Athens, and this is what makes it the perfect place for any type of traveler, but if you want to get a glimpse of everything that makes this bustling city so popular in just 24 hours, then we’ve got you covered.

You could easily spend days, weeks, or even months (some people even spend years), discovering the ins and outs of this huge city, but there is no reason not to challenge yourself to see as much as you can in a short time. If you are taking a Baboo tour and have a day at leisure in Athens, then take a look at some of the activities and sights we highly recommend before you jet off to your next location. 

So, if you are looking to be inspired by this ancient city, then let us show you what you can see in just 24 hours in Athens.

8 am: Breakfast

a breakfast in Athens
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This may be an early start for some, but it is necessary to get up, get fed, and get out into the city as early as you can, to take advantage of the time you have. Greeks are fans of cheeses, jams, meats, and bread for breakfast, and you will not be short of finding somewhere authentic and delicious to eat. To get you energized for the day opt for some traditional Greek yogurt, with a mix of fruit, and be sure to try fogato, which is a Greek omelet with herbs, veggies, and feta, paired with a coffee.

8:45 am: Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square

Why not grab another coffee to go, and make your way towards the center of Athens to Syntagma Square, which is home to the parliament which is guarded by the Evzones. Getting here early means you will see the city come alive, with locals busy on their way to work, and cafes busy with those sipping their morning brew. Take about half an hour here to admire the famous Neoclassical buildings, which dominate the city’s main square, and date back to 1834. This is the city’s main transport hub, and it gets busier throughout the day, so take advantage of the early morning atmosphere. 

9:15 am: Hadrian's Arch & The Temple of Olympian Zeus

Hadrian's Arch & The Temple Of Olympian Zeus

Just a 15-minute walk from Syntagma square, you will arrive at the city’s main attraction, and one of the most historic sites in the world, – The Acropolis. En route to this magnificent ancient settlement, you will pass by Hadrian’s Arch, where you can marvel at the Temple of Olympian Zeus – one of the oldest and best-preserved temples in Greece. Tickets can be bought to visit the temple but if you would rather skip to the main event and save time, then go for it.

10:00 am: The Acropolis

The Acropolis

Your next stop will of course be The Acropolis, which was the settlement of the ancient Greek city, whose name means ‘upper city. There is a lot to see here, so allow about two hours here to explore all that this ancient citadel has to offer. This complex has many temples to discover, and you may find you need even longer just to capture photos from all angles of this mesmerizing location, so try not to rush and just take it all in. 

It is best to get your ticket in advance, especially if traveling in the high season and get there early to avoid the crowds of the day. Be sure to spend sufficient time at the Parthenon, which is the most iconic and famous temple here, and was built in the hour of the Goddess Athena.

Noon: Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum
Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

To get a history lesson, you must step inside this wonderful museum, which is guaranteed to answer any questions you may have asked as you walked around this complex of ruins. This museum was built to house every single artifact that was found on the site, and you can see and learn about the historical significance of the Acropolis right here. Allow 1 hour to roam around and enjoy.

1 pm: Lunch & exploring the Plaka neighborhood

The Plaka Neighborhood

After all that excitement it might be time for some food, to get you ready for the afternoon, so why not take a short stroll to the charming Plaka neighborhood, which sits in the shadow of the ancient Acropolis. Here you can stop off at one of the many cafes and restaurants for some well-deserved food before taking some time to enjoy the beauty of this area. This beautiful area is ideal for wandering into local shops, taking photos of iconic narrow streets, people watching, as well as soaking up the atmosphere. 

For lunch, we highly recommend ordering a Mezze platter, which will satisfy your appetite and give you a great Greek experience. This includes a mix of everything you can imagine from the Greek cuisine and is an ideal sharing platter.

3 pm: The Markets of Athens

The Markets Of Athens

After you’ve filled up on delicious Greek food, it’s time to check out the markets of Athens, which is where all the hustle and bustle of the city occurs. There are many markets in Athens so let us break down the main ones we suggest, why and where they are.

  • Athens Central Market (Mon-Sat)– Known locally as Varvakeios, this is the place to come to explore all the food Athens has to offer, including the best feta cheese around, a host of fresh fish, various meats and so much more. This is a foodie’s heaven.
  • Athens Antique Market (Weekends) – Located between Ifestou Street and Ermou Street, this weekend market has a host of antiques, old books, furniture, and even old Greek money, all of which can make excellent keepsakes. 
  • Eleonas Flea Market (Sundays) – This bustling flea market comes alive on Sundays when you can listen to Greek music, wander around the various stalls and enjoy some local souvlaki. 

4 pm: Monastiraki Square

Monastiraki Square

This focal point of the city is an excellent place to stop off to rest your legs, people watch, enjoy street musicians, and perhaps sip on a nice cold drink from one of the nearby street vendors. This atmospheric square is where you will find many people just hanging out and relaxing, so you will fit right in after a busy morning on your feet. This is also a great place to go shopping and is considered one of the main tourist attractions in the city, so this could be the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs or treat yourself to a small shopping spree.

5 pm: Street Art

Street Art

Athens is a city bustling with awesome street art, and 24 hours in Athens, means you have enough time to fit in some creative discovery. The best streets to check out for open-air art are Aristofanous, Sarri, Riga Palamidou, and Ag. Anargiron, Louka and Agatharchou. Spend around an hour exploring these areas and taking photos while working up an appetite for dinner.

6 pm: Dinner and Drinks

Psirri Square
Photo by Datingjungle on Unsplash

Psirri Square is a great option for dinner, and with just 24 hours in Athens, you will want to indulge in a very memorable Greek dinner. We recommend having an authentic Moussaka paired with a Greek salad and of course a taste of Ouzo.

8 pm: Nighttime options

drinks in the popular area of Gazi / Kerameikos
Photo by Secret Travel Guide on Unsplash
  • Attend a Rembetiko music performance. 
  • Have some cocktails at a rooftop bar in the city.
  • Make your way back to the Acropolis to enjoy the evening view.
  • Catch the sunset from a nearby hill.
  • Have some drinks in the popular area of Gazi / Kerameikos

Top tips for 24 hours in Athens

What to pack:

A young man enjoying 24 hours in Athens
Photo by gemmmm 🖤 on Unsplash
  • Travel adaptors
  • Day pack for exploring
  • Good walking shoes
  • Extra layers for evening time 
  • A good camera
  • Comfortable clothing for sightseeing
  • Sunscreen/hat/loose clothing if going during the peak summer season.

What not to miss:

Syntagma Square
  • Witness the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square – known as The Evzones, in front of the Hellenic Parliament – every hour on the hour, and don’t be afraid to get a photo with them. 
  • A stroll through the botanical gardens
  • Watch the sunset from Mount Lycabettus – the highest point in Athens, and a local hot spot for sundowners. 
  • The view of Athens from the Acropolis. 
  • The Plaka neighborhood.

What to try:

  • Souvlaki – A popular Greek street food
  • A Greek Meze Spread – Complete with a variety of dips, pita, cheeses, meats, vegetables, and olives
  • Ouzo – A dry anise-flavored aperitif, famous all over Greece
  • Local wine – Essential when in Greece

Many of Baboo’s eco-friendly and sustainable Greek tours start in Athens, giving you a day at leisure – and this is the perfect way to spend 24 hours in Athens. 

Here are just some Greek tours to consider, which feature a day in Athens

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