Planning a trip to Athens? Welcome to the city with the oldest culture in Europe! In case you are wondering about what to do in Athens during your holidays, we have prepared a special 3 day Athens itinerary that can meet the preferences of the most demanding travelers. With 3 days in Athens, you have enough time to visit some of the principal historical and cultural monuments, enjoy the delicious Greek food and even spend a day on the beach! If you think of things to do in Athens, the list would be extremely long, but since you have planned to explore Athens in three days, we tried to incorporate symbolic tourist attractions and well-hidden secrets of Athens. Being the birthplace of Western civilization, the ancient Greek world and the place where Sokratis used to teach, the entire city proudly breaths out centuries-old history. However, the beauty of Athens goes far beyond its ruins and ancient sites, the city’s modern art and incredible lifestyle will impress you and draw you in. So, it’s time to sit back and take notes because we are going to share with you the best 3 day Athens itinerary you could ever need with insider tips from a local’s perspective. It includes the must-see attractions in Athens, but also some of the hidden treasures of the Greek capital. Fasten your chairs folks, let’s go!
Before we start our interesting journey and finding out what are the best things to do in Athens in 3 days, check out this guide on how to reach Athens by plane. Also, this guide will help you understand how to get around Athens and reach some of the principal destinations depending on your travel style.
Day 1 Itinerary
Pinch me, i’m in Athens!
Kalimera! Today we will visit the iconic Acropolis, one of the most important monuments in the world,and explore the heart of Athens center! Fuel your batteries because you will walk a lot today! And of course, charge your cameras and be prepared to take some mesmerizing pictures.
Is there a better way to start this 3 day Athens itinerary, than by enjoying a traditional Greek breakfast? We didn’t think so. While scrolling around Athens downtown and picking up the charm of the city, the attractive aromas of freshly baked pastries will make you stop and sneak into the transparent decorated bakery windows. When you think of things to do in Athens, having a real traditional Greek breakfast should be on your list. Regardless of choosing a small local bakery or a bigger modern bakery chain, an odour of warm, freshly baked bougatsa will make your mouth water. Bougatsa, a traditional Greek way of starting a day, is a puff pastry filled with various ingredients (we recommend cheese or spinach) encased with golden-brownish phyllo crust. Yumm! On top of that a cup of superb freddo espresso or freddo cappuccino will go great with this little piece of heaven. Both, freddo espresso and freddo cappuccino are symbolic Greek iced coffee types known as perfect cure for hot Athenian days. The simple definition of such breakfast – the best of both worlds.
With this kind of breakfast, how can you not kick start your morning and plan of all the things to do in Athens for the rest of the day?
Don’t be impatient because it is the time to see what you came for – the great Parthenon. When planning a 3 day itinerary in Athens, visiting the Acropolis is the number one priority for most travelers, so it had to be included during the first day of your trip. The most significant archeological site in human history, the Acropolis, was built in 5 B.C. on top of the hill proudly overlooking the entire city of Athens. This UNESCO heritage site, the cradle of democracy, helped Athenians protect themselves from various enemies. From the moment you enter through the Beule Gate, ancient atmosphere and irresistible architecture of old ruins will make you marvel this sacred place. Besides admiring the beauty of Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike and many others, the temple which will completely impress you is the Parthenon. The biggest Doric temple in Greece was built in honour of Athenian goddess Athena – the goddess of wisdom. This massive and timeless temple encapsulates the glory of ancient Greece. And as we mentioned, be ready to capture beautiful pictures, since Parthenon belongs to the list of the most photographed monuments in the entire country.
In order to experience the Acropolis in its full glory and splendour, consider participating in the Mythology Tour of Acropolis and Athens and travel back in ancient Greek times! Together with the educated guide learn all about the iconic memorials and the myths of great Zeus and other Greek gods. What makes this tour so unique is that you will get a one-of-a-kind opportunity to observe the monumental buildings through virtual reality glasses and grasp how they used to look in the past (small spoiler: halls were covered in marble and gold).
Insider tip: It takes around 1.5 hours to visit this magical archeological site, but of course, you can spend as much time as you desire on the Acropolis hill. Bare in mind that the site opens at 8 AM and the line gets crowded quite fast, so in order to avoid waiting in the queue for a long period of time, you can either wake up a bit earlier or buy an online ticket prior to your visit.
The Acropolis Museum
It would not be regarded as a complete visit if you decide to skip the Acropolis museum. This magnificent museum should definitely be on your list of things to do in Athens in 3 days! Sitting in the base of the Acropolis hill, lays one of the best qualified museums in the world. The exceptional collection of priceless artifacts adorn the Acropolis museum. Besides admiring the astonishing sculptures and friezes, you will get a chance to gather extensive knowledge about the culture and history of prominent Acropolis. You will be surprised by the modern architecture and massive glass hallways that give access to the incredible views. The distinctive atmosphere created by the natural light that shines over the centuries-old statues will transfer you to the doorsteps of Greek ancient world. Trust us, after experiencing this authentic atmosphere, you will understand why visiting the Acropolis museum belongs to the best things to do in Athens. To make the most out of your visit, we recommend booking a private Acropolis Museum visit. You can contact us here to learn more.
Feeling hungry yet? Why leave the museum when you can have the most breathtaking lunch spot in the entire city? There is no better place for having a traditional Greek lunch than overlooking the panoramic views of magical Acropolis. Stay in the exclusive restaurant of the Acropolis Museum and choose among a wide variety of tasty authentic meals, ranging from fresh seafood to healthy salads to flavorsome meat prepared in genuine Athenian way. Check out the entire menu of the restaurant here.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the amazing 15-minute long video explaining the history of Parthenon. It is very interesting and educative.
After a productive first morning of this 3 day itinerary in Athens that took your mind to ancient Greece, we recommend maintaining that rhythm and explore the oldest neighborhood in Athens, Plaka. Spend the rest of the afternoon discovering Plaka – the “neighbourhood of Gods”. In the shadow of the great Acropolis, lays the district that provokes a feeling of nostalgia for the old Athens – the Plaka. Besides being today the most instagrammable area in the Greek capital, Plaka played a crucial role in Athenian history and culture. Many influential people from Pericles to Lord Byron have walked along its narrow streets. What makes the Plaka even more special is an absolute combination of modern street art and neoclassical architecture. When thinking about what to do in Athens during a sunny afternoon, this magnificent neighborhood is the answer. Spend a relaxing afternoon and stroll through astonishing pedestrian streets of Plaka and explore its treasures. Visit tiny jewellery shops, buy a souvenir for friends at home or sit in cute cafes decorated with flowers.
Getting a little bit lost in the Plaka district is not so bad, because you can come across various charming streets, winding passways and even hidden villages. Distinctive in every respect is the Cycladic section Anafiotika. This tiny village, of only 45 houses, was formed by former residents of the island Anafi when they moved to Athens after liberation. The picturesque neighborhood was built with an intention to recreate the architecture and the ambience of the Cyclades island. Tiny whiteashed cube houses with flat roofs, gardens with ambrosial flowers and narrow alleys decorate the idyllic Anafiotika. So, take into consideration these two unspoiled neighborhoods when wondering what to do in Athens center.
The Athenian Life
Who can show you around and give you better advice on what to do in Athens than a native Athenian? It’s the time to explore Greek capital from a local’s perspective through the Afternoon Scents and Flavours of Athens Walking Tour. Escape from principal tourist facilities and take off the beaten path and follow the friendly guide through hidden alleys to locate sites unknown to most tourists. This is an open call to all foodies to indulge in delicious local treats and taste flavoursome drinks. Oh, and yes, who wants to learn about his/her future? Experience the fortune telling powers of the Greek coffee and have fun! Through sharing bites, drinks and stories , you will learn a lot about modern-day Athenian culture and lifestyle.
Psiri and its Nightlife Scene
The list of things to do in Athens in 3 days should contain a visit to Psiri. Right next to Varvakios market, a colorful area full of modern street art is a famous tourist attraction. The urban and alternative vibe of Psiri neighborhood is achieved through authentic craftsmen’s stores, wonderful large graffitis and distinctive art galleries. All of the Psiri streets, such as Sarri, Agiou Dimitriou and Louka Nika streets, have that quirky and trendy edge that will leave you speechless. Feel free to stop to admire and support the young artists that express their talents in public.
What we know is that you can’t buy happiness, but surely you can buy a glass of an amazing wine. Sit in some of the small urban bars and end the successful day like a real Athenian would do. Mingle with locals, meet new people and hear interesting stories of friendly people near you. The nightlife in Psiri is full of pleasant surprises, great entertainment and live music. This district celebrates creativity, old-time charm and a good party any without shame.Some might say that the greatest adventures happen after a good cocktail, but we will let you create your own lifelong memories and explore the treasures of Athenian nightlife. However, keep up because the new day of this 3 Day Athens Itinerary is full of new exciting plans.
Day 2 Itinerary
I’m in Athens, I cannot keep calm!
Good morning sunshine! The second day has been fully planned for you and it is packed with thrilling activities and entertaining things to do in Athens. You will visit some of the symbolic and well-respected landmarks that play a crucial role in daily basis for Greek culture. So, complete your morning routine and let’s go!
Depending on where you are, take the red metro line until the station Panepistimiou. The Panepistimiou Avenue represents one of the crucial streets in the center of Athens as it stretches across the two major squares of the city, Syntagma and Omonia square. The road longer than 1 km is packed with main banks, trendy fashion stores, universities and ministerial seats. Besides being the institutional and political center, what is so eccentric about Panepistimiou Avenue is the neoclassical architecture of old buildings that will compel you. These outstanding buildings date back in the 19th century and carry great emblematic nature. During this short walk you will cross by various beautiful museums such as:
Numismatic Museum of Athens
This museum belongs to the top 5 most significant numismatic museums in the world. It has one of the greatest collections (more than 500,000) of modern and ancient coins from 14 century B.C. until today. Impressive, isn’t it?
So, while admiring the astonishing neoclassical constructions, you must notice that on almost every corner there is a small wheel stand selling round pastry sprinkled with sesame. This delicious bread-ring is called “koulouri”. This nutritious takeaway breakfast is an ideal option for those who prefer to stay fit and not waste time sitting down. Oh. don’t get scared from “koulourgis” yelling “fresh koulouri” from time to time. If someone would ask us what to do in Athens, we would say, among other things, try all Greek coffee types. Many travelers wonder how iced black coffee that has a bit of foam on top is called? It’s the one and only freddo espresso! So, if you want to mingle with Athenians, get one freddo espresso for takeaway and let’s continue our journey. If you’re interested in spending an afternoon getting to know more ins and outs of the local life, join the Athens food & culture tour here.
The principal landmarks of Panepistimiou road are known as Athenian Trilogy that consists of Academy, University and Library. This outstanding complex of astonishing iconic buildings from 19th century does not only present a symbolic monument of architecture but a consolation in an ever-shifting landscape of Athens. From King Otto, to horse-drawn carriages, to modernization and demonstrations, the Athenian Trilogy have seen it all. This really should be one of the top priorities among all things you plan to do in Athens in 3 days.
The Academy of Athens
While admiring the monuments adorning the Panepistimiou Avenue, you will grasp two statues – Goddess Athena and God Apollo – overlooking the street like in ancient times. Then when you face towards one of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings in the world, the monumental sculptures of Pluto and Sokratis will give you a sign that you are in front of the great Academy of Athens.
The National Library of Greece
Ever since 1903, the mission of the National Library was to preserve Hellenic intellectual heritage and a cradle of treasury knowledge. Together with the marble furnishings, the smell of old books and sunlight from the skylights an imperial atmosphere is created. This magnificent institution has a massive collection of more than 2 million books and more than 4,500 manuscripts. Book lovers, in case you didn’t know, the National Library in Athens is home to first written book in Greek from 1476.
This impressive building was the first one to be built. Its neoclassical architecture, where each detail was carefully constructed will leave you speechless. Being one of the trademarks of Athens, glancing the beauty of the University is really a special thing to do in Athens. Among other significant offices, globally known, the Great Hall of Ceremonies, is located within the walls of the University.
Heads towards the main square in Athens, if not the main one in entire Greece. At the very heart of Athens lays the oldest square that has been the epicenter of various political and commercial events for the last two centuries. The Syntagma Square belongs to the list of the crucial places to visit in Athens, due to its rich history and meaningful symbolism to the Greek capital. Actually, many say that Syntagma Square is what keeps the city going; besides being the principal transportation hub, it is the spot where Athenians gather with friends, drink coffee, relax after work. As a visitor, you must enjoy all the pleasures this lively square has to offer. So, here are some of the suggestions of what to do in Athens’s main square.
The Greek parliament
Foreigners have the special opportunity to visit the Greek Parliament free of charge. Explore the famous Assembly Hall and pass through corridors where some of the most powerful people in the world used to walk. In the case you are planning to visit Athens during June, July and September, participate in guided tours and learn interesting information about Greek parliament and the building itself.
Many visitors, including Greeks, stand in front of War Memorial of the Unknown Soldier to show respect to all of the unknown warriors that lost their lives during the wars.
The changing of the Guard Ceremony
This tourist attraction is going to be on of the favorite things you experienced during your 3 day trip to Athens. After standing frozen still for an hour and protecting the symbolic monument, on precisely every hour, the guards (Evzones) change their positions. This little ceremony is extremely interesting to witness. On Sundays this event is even more magical because the Greek guards are dressed up in traditional uniforms of the 1821 Greek freedom warriors and exactly at 11.00 AM they change their positions. Besides being admiring, this ritual truly honors the fallen heroes.
The National Garden & Panathenaic Stadium
Due to the large amount of ancient sites, cultural landmarks and unique neighborhoods, the mesmerizing oasis of the National Garden has been unfairly disregarded. This impressive 24 hectares full of vegetation simply cannot be missed from this 3 Day Athens Itinerary. The Queen Amalia would spent three hours everyday planting various types of trees including 25 meters high Washington palms that will definitely catch your attention from the moment you step into the garden. The National Garden is an idyllic getaway from Athenian rush and chaotic traffic. Sit, relax and grasp the beauty of more than 520 varieties of trees, flowers and bushes. Unbelievable, right? This fairy tale atmosphere will motivate you to explore the hidden treasures, pass through the labyrinth-like paths and find the most romantic spots besides lovely tiny brooks. If you’re traveling with kids then the Greek mythology interactive workshop for kids is a fun and education activity the kids will enjoy participating in at the National Garden. To learn more about this interactive workshop and to save your kids’ spots click here.
Visit Ergon House
Hopefully you worked up a bit of an appetite because now it’s time for a little indulgence. When considering what to do in Athens during lunch time, we only think of “Ergon House” in Ermou Street. This seventh heaven for all food enthusiasts brings people together through mouth mouthwatering bites since 2011. Wide variety of freshly prepared dishes will give you an opportunity to choose between having a real traditional Greek lunch or a meal inspired by international cuisines. It is certain that whichever food you choose, it is going to be prepared from the highest quality ingredients. Ergon has worked its way to become a global resemblance of Mediterranean food and Greek cuisine, so we guarantee that you will have a meal to remember. Find out more about Ergon and its food philosophy here.
Explore Athens through biking
In case you are bored of walking around but still have a strong desire to explore the heritage attractions, then the Athens Historical Center e-bike Tour should be on your list of the fun things to do in Athens. This exhilarating activity will lead you through various legendary neighborhoods and learn about their history in fun and interacting way!
An ideal way to end the second day of this 3 Day Athens Itinerary is through relaxing evening walks through divine alleys of Kolonaki neighborhood. If you are in the mood for shopping or just feeding your eyes with the well-decorated window shops, this is the right district; from global fashion leaders to equally impressive independent Greek labels. The calmness and modern renaissance of Kolonaki will make you want to sit in one of the small cafes and enjoy a strong cup of traditional Greek coffee or eat an authentic sweet Greek dessert.
Try wine tasting
A good day starts with coffee, and ends with wine. After several kilometers passed and the day packed with visits to various landmarks, a good bottle of wine is all you need. Wine Tasting in Athens is something that all wine lovers have to include in all the planned things to do in Athens in 3 days. This amazing activity will provide you a rare chance to taste varieties of awarded Greek wines from different regions and learn about the world’s oldest grapevines. Oh and yes, cheese and other flavor some appetizers will make your stomach satisfied. Who’s ready to become a true wine expert?
Day 3 Itinerary
I wish I had more vacation days
It’s almost time to say goodbye to good and ancient times! Since today is your last vacation day we have a few options of what to do in Athens. Depending on your preferences you will decide whether you desire to explore the city a bit more or you’re ready for new Greek adventures. Ready, steady, let’s go!
Since vacation calories don’t count and you have a more flexible schedule, the time to enjoy sweet Athenian breakfast has come. Pancakes with Greek yogurt and honey is something that will make a party of tastes in your mouth. Besides getting full until lunch time, these little slices of paradise will make you never leave Greece. Fluffy, soft, airy and thick pancakes – can it get better than that? Hey, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who adore pancakes and those who sit on a bunch of lies.
Day trips near Athens
As the list of things to do in Athens in 3 days has been completed, we believe you could experience more interesting locations not so far located from Athens. So, sit back and choose a trip you would like to participate in.
Sail to Sounio
How does a day-on-the-sea getaway sounds like? In case you are travelling with your family, we have a perfect option for you! One cannot have an authentic Greek vacation, without spending a day by the sea. Hence, the Private Family-friendly Day Trip to Sounio trip will give you the chance to relax and enjoy Greek sapphire sea while exploring one of the most ancient Greek Temples – the Temple of Poseidon. This tour is perfectly tailored so that the entire family has fun. An entertaining guide will amuse your kids, while you take a break and enjoy remarkable Aegean scenery and soak in the astonishing sunset views from Sounio Temple. On top of that, you will visit an innovative modern farm where your young ones will learn how to prepare traditional Greek food using local ingredients. The Private Family-Friendly Day Trip to Sounio is a kids-centered activity, and we warmly recommend you consider it when thinking of what to do in Athens during your last day.
Explorers, who’s ready to discover one of the best hidden secrets of Greece? Only a couple of hours away from Athens hides an island where it seems like the time has stopped years ago – it’s called Hydra. The small island of Hydra has unspoiled nature, prohibition law for cars and astonishing scenery. If you choose to visit this mesmerizing island, you will feel like you traveled back in time and so far away from Athens. Full Day Excursion from Athens to Hydra tour will transfer you from the doorsteps of your accommodation to this tiny living fairytale. Wander through the picturesque alleys, uncover Hydra’s hidden gems and enjoy the views from the boat. What a magical way to spend your last day of your 3 day vacation in Athens.
Travel to Meteora
If you are wondering what to do in Athens during the last day and are not sure if you want to stay in the city center, then how about we propose a visit to one of the most marvelous nature creations? The great Meteora. Meteora consists of 6 precipitously assembled mountaintop monasteries, a true masterpiece of Greek nature, with over seven centuries-long rich history. It should not be questioned whether you will be impressed by Meteora’s exceptional scenery. Hence, Meteora Day Trip From Athens By Train can make your dreams come true. Besides visiting two of the monasteries, the tour leader will show you some of the best spots to make astonishing pictures that will make your followers go crazy. This once-in-a-lifetime historic opportunity will 100% be a highlight of off all the things you did in Athens in 3 days.
Enjoy a drink at the best rooftops in Athens
There is no better spot to sum up all the amazing things you did in Athens in only 3 days than overlooking the city lights and the idyllic Acropolis hill. The nightlife of this city that never-ever- sleeps is wild and the choices are endless. However, Athens is globally known for amazing rooftops that are ideal for all kinds of rendezvous, sine large diversity of options can satisfy all preferences and demands of travelers. However, as we love views that make us realize most of our problems aren’t that big of a deal, here are the top 5 rooftop bars in Athens you could consider.
A for Athens
Get face to face with Acropolis and Monastiraki Square at A for Athens. If you ask locals what to do in Athens during the night, many would recommend this modern rooftop. The minimalist design of the terrace was purposely made to stress the beauty of astonishing views. Allow the experience staff to bring you into the field of alcohol and house cocktails. Remember that up here, nothing else matters, except the stars, so feel free to taste cocktails made of harmonious combinations of ingredients that you would never think of.
Galaxy Restaurant and Bar
If you seek to end your trip with luxurious dinner or a glass of exclusive wine, then the open rooftop nested on the 12th floor of the Hilton’s residence, Galaxy Restaurant and Bar is the best choice for you. As you soak in the 360-degree city views of Athens, socialize with your travel companions, a lit up sky of stars enhance the sophisticated decor and splendid atmosphere. We recommend trying one of their signature cocktails and extravagant sushi platters.
A blend of theatre, art gallery, opera and music. All of this can be found in a single rooftop called Bios Terrace. Probably the most entertaining thing to do in Athens night out is experiencing this vibrant and urban atmosphere full of surprises. Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully. So, come up to witness the sun slowly getting lost behind the remarkable Acropolis and spend the rest of the night relaxing and chilling out in comfy chairs while drinking excellent drinks. Oh, yes, if you are a sweet lover, taste the ‘papoto’, an ice-cream cocktail – yes, this exists!
The top floor of the Onassis Cultural Centre, a well known rooftop with the Michelin starred food and amazing traditional cocktails awaits to be found. Hytra is a restaurant-bar terrace whose tasteful futuristic interior will make your night an unforgettable one. A culinary journey made of raw and fresh Greek ingredients together with the supreme service and hospitality are only some of the facets complementing the “Hytra Experience”. If you’ve got something to say, say it from this magical rooftop and surely it will be remembered.
We really hope that this 3 Day Athens Itinerary has assisted your list of all the things you aimed to do in Athens in 3 days. It is guaranteed that you will have fun no matter what you do or where you go, because here you are in Athens. The city that never disappoints. Fee free to contact us for any further information and do not hesitate to share your comments about this 3 Day Itinerary in Athens. Have a nice trip!