The iconic city of Athens has so much history, you could literally explore for months. But if you're anything like us and want to take the cliff-notes version and then head on out to the Greek islands, here is a fabulous 3-day Athens itinerary for you to see the highlights reel!
The magnificent Acropolis/ Parthenon is the main attraction of Athens, so you have to head there first! FYI The Acropolis is the hill that the famous structure called the Parthenon sits on (so this is essentially one destination). Allow yourself 1-2 hours to wander around all the ruins and take in all the sights.
After you've toured the Acropolis, walk right on Theorias Street from the Acropolis' main exit for 2 minutes to get to the stairs leading to the Areopagus Hill. This is a great place to get a spectacular view of the Acropolis from a distance.
From there, keep walking in the same direction through the charming neighborhoods of Plaka and Mnisikleous. As you descend down, you will pass lots of tourist shops and excellent Greek restaurants if you want to stop for lunch.
After exploring Agora, continue your walk another two minutes to finish out your history tour with the Tzidarkis Mosque and Hadrian's Library.
Finally, since you are so close, continue just another three minutes to 'Lukumades', the most famous place in Greece to get the classic Greek doughnut-like dessert with the same name.
And if you find yourself with a new burst of energy from that sugar treat, the ornate Cathedral Church of Athens is just a four minute walk away.
Start your day touring the Acropolis Museum where you can easily eat up your entire morning admiring all the interesting artifacts. For lunch, head to the top floor of the museum to the restaurant there called Strofi, as it has incredible views.
Take the ten minute walk west to the park at the base of the Acropolis which has several interesting sites. (If you are not feeling up to the walk, there are horse and carriages that line up outside of the museum that can take you there). Moving in a clockwise direction, check out the Church of Agios Demetrios, the Prison of Socrates, and the Filopappou viewing platform.
In the evening, take the gondola to the top of Mount Lycabettus for dinner with the best view in the city. There are two restaurants at the top to choose from. Cafe Lycabettus is casual with a simple Greek menu and does not require reservations. But for a more luxurious experience, we recommend the upscale Greek seafood restaurant Orizontes, which will require reservations. (We did see many people turned away).
On Sundays at 11:00am there is a huge parade in front of the parliament in Syntagmos Square by the Evzones (Greek men serving in the military). Their costumes and march are incredibly entertaining to watch, so if you find yourself in Athens on a Sunday, be sure not to miss this unique changing of the guards ceremony.
After the ceremony, as people disperse, make sure to check out the Parliament building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front.
The Parliament is located on the NW corner of the National Gardens, so now would be the perfect time to go explore them. You can stay all day meandering through the paths, visiting the botanical garden, royal garden, play structures, many ponds and even the small zoo inside. But as you make your way south, be sure not to miss Hadrian's Arch, the Temple of Zeus, and the Panathenaic Stadium.
Have a terrific trip and eat some Lukumades for us!