Planning to spend 3 days in Athens but don’t exactly know what else is to do there besides visiting the iconic Acropolis? You’re in the right place!
With its stunning architecture and delicious food, Athens is definitely a city you’ll fall in love with. But with so much to see and do, it can be tough to know where to start – but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
This 3 day Athens itinerary includes visits to some of the city’s top attractions, like the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well as some lesser-known spots that are worth exploring. Plus, there’s plenty of time for shopping and dining in some of Athens’ best neighborhoods.
So if you’re looking for ideas on how to spend your time in this iconic city, read on!
*Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*
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Table of Contents
Useful Info for Spending 3 Days in Athens
How to get to Athens
The best way to get to Athens is by flying into Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, which is located about 30 km (20 miles) outside of the city center.
The airport is very well connected to numerous European cities, so finding a direct flight should not be a problem.
If you’re traveling from the US or Canada, you’ll likely have to make a stopover in another European city before reaching Athens. However, from the likes of New York and New Jersey, you can also catch direct flights to Athens in the peak summer season.
Once you land in Athens, there are a few options for getting into the city center. The most popular and convenient option is to take a taxi, which will cost you about €35-45 depending on your destination.
You can also take the metro, which is a bit cheaper at €9 per person. It’s important to note that you need to buy a special ticket for the metro as the normal tickets/day passes do not include the ride from the airport.
If you’re traveling on a budget, your best bet is to take the bus. The X95 express bus will take you from the airport to Syntagma Square in the center of Athens for just €5.5 per person.
Best time to visit Athens
The best time to visit Athens is during the shoulder season, which runs from late April/early May to mid-June and again from late September to early October.
During these months, the weather is still warm and sunny, but there are fewer tourists than in the peak summer season. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy all the city has to offer without having to deal with huge crowds.
If you’re visiting Athens in the summer, be prepared for high temperatures – it’s not uncommon for thermometers to hit 40°C (104°F)!
Athens in winter can be a great time to visit if you’re looking for fewer crowds and lower prices. It doesn’t get too cold in Athens, but you will need to pack a jacket as temperatures can dip below 10°C (50°F) at night.
Another perk of visiting during the winter months is that you can enjoy reduced prices at almost every attraction!
How to get around in Athens
Athens is a very walkable city, and you’ll likely find that most of the attractions on this 3 day Athens itinerary are within walking distance of each other.
However, if you don’t feel like walking or if you’re trying to save time, there are a few other options for getting around.
The most popular way to get around Athens is by using the metro. The metro system is very efficient and easy to use, and it can get you just about anywhere you want to go in the city. Alternatively, there are also a number of bus and trolley routes that cover Athens.
A 90-minute single-ride ticket that is valid on all forms of public transportation (metro, bus, and trolley) costs €1.2.
However, if you’re planning on using public transportation a lot, it might be worth it to buy a daily ticket, which costs €4.1 and allows you unlimited rides on the metro, bus, and tram for 24 hours. You can also purchase a 5-day ticket for €8.2.
As mentioned earlier, these tickets do not include the ride from the airport. If you’re taking the metro, you’ll need to buy a separate ticket for that, which costs €9 per person.
Where to stay in Athens
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Athens, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The city has accommodation options to suit all budgets, from hostels and Airbnb apartments to luxury hotels.
If you’re on a tight budget, I recommend staying in the Psyri neighborhood. This central area is within walking distance of many of Athens’ top attractions, and there are plenty of cheap hotels and hostels to choose from.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Plaka neighborhood is a great option. This is one of the most atmospheric areas in Athens, and it’s located right next to the Acropolis. There are plenty of mid-range and upscale hotels in Plaka, as well as a few boutique options.
Finally, if you’re looking for luxury accommodation, I recommend staying in the Kolonaki neighborhood. This is where you’ll find some of Athens’ most chic hotels, as well as plenty of high-end restaurants and bars.
If you want to know more about each neighborhood in detail, make sure to check out my guide about the best areas to stay in Athens. And if you want to make your trip even more memorable, you can also book some incredible hotels with Acropolis views in Athens!
In case you’re in a hurry, here are my top picks for different budgets.
LUXURY – Electra Palace Athens
Electra Palace Athens is one of the best luxury hotels in Plaka with plenty of facilities including a rooftop restaurant & pool, a spa, and beautiful suites. The most luxurious of them all is the Penthouse Suite, which has a private pool and outdoor terrace that offers striking views of Athens and its historic sites.
MID-RANGE – The Athens Gate Hotel
This hotel is situated right across from the Temple of Olympian Zeus and is in a great location to explore the city. There is also a bar & restaurant on-site that offers incredible views of the Acropolis, and many of the rooms offer stunning views of this iconic site too.
BUDGET – Plaka Hotel
Plaka Hotel is a great budget option if you’re wondering where to stay in Athens. It’s also close to popular attractions including the Acropolis Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and Syntagma Square. The deluxe rooms offer incredible views of the Acropolis and there is also a rooftop bar, which is the perfect place to grab a drink and watch the sunset.
Overview of Your 3 Day Athens Itinerary
Breakdown of your 3 days in Athens
- Day 1: Acropolis of Athens, Aeropagus Hill, Plaka, Anafiotika, Hadrian’s Arch, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Acropolis Museum, Dinner on Mnisikleous Street
- Day 2: Brunch, Ancient Agora of Athens & Stoa of Attalos, Roman Forum of Athens, Hadrian’s Library, Monastiraki Square, A for Athens Rooftop Bar, Dinner at The Greco’s Project
- Day 3: Panathenaic Stadium, Zappeion Garden & Zappeion Hall, National Garden, Syntagma Square, National Archaeological Museum, Stroll around Kolonaki, Lycabettus Hill, Dinner either in Kolonaki or Plaka
Map for your 3 day Athens itinerary
Below you can find a customized map that includes all the locations you’re going to visit on this Athens itinerary.
I marked your 3 days in Athens with different colors – I used blue for the first day, red for the second day, and green for the third day, so you can easily see which places you’re going to visit each day.
If you open up this post on your phone and you click on the bracket in the upper right corner of the map, it will open up in your Google Maps app so you can always have it with you. Super convenient, right?
Day 1 of Your 3 Days in Athens
Acropolis of Athens
The first stop on your 3 day Athens itinerary is the Acropolis of Athens. This ancient citadel is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, and it’s an absolute must-see when you’re in Athens.
The citadel was constructed over a period of several centuries, starting in the 5th century BC. It is perhaps most famous for its iconic Parthenon temple, which was dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Despite its fame, the Acropolis is actually a complex of several different buildings, including the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
The best way to see all of these sights is with a guided tour. I recommend taking a small group tour of the Acropolis, as this will allow you to avoid the crowds and learn more about the history and significance of the site.
If you want to visit the Acropolis on your own, I recommend doing so first thing in the morning when it opens at 8 am. This is the best time to beat the crowds, as well as the heat.
I would also recommend arriving with a pre-booked ticket as this way you don’t need to stand in line and waste valuable time.
The Acropolis has two entrances: the main entrance on the west side and another side entrance on the southeast. I recommend using the side entrance as it’s usually a lot less crowded and it’s also located right next to the ‘Acropoli’ metro station so it’s really easy to get to.
Once you’re inside, make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to explore all of the different buildings and ruins. I would also recommend taking a break in the middle to enjoy the incredible views over Athens.
TOP TIP: If you want to visit other archaeological sites in Athens, I recommend purchasing the Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket. This ticket allows you to visit 7 different ancient sites, including the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, and the Temple of Zeus.
When you’re finished exploring the Acropolis, make your way down to the Aeropagus Hill. This rocky outcrop is located just below the citadel and it offers stunning views over Athens.
If you take my advice and use the side entrance to enter the Acropolis and the main entrance for the exit, you will find yourself right in front of the hill.
Aeropagus Hill was once the site of a court where murderers were tried. These days, it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the views and take in the tranquillity of the area.
Word of warning though: This spot is usually very windy and the rocks are also super slippery, so be careful when visiting!
After taking in the views from Aeropagus Hill, it’s time to head to Plaka. This atmospheric neighborhood is located right at the base of the Acropolis and it’s one of the most popular tourist spots you can’t miss when spending 3 days in Athens.
Plaka is often referred to as the ‘old city’ or the ‘historical center’ as it’s full of neoclassical buildings and it has a really traditional feel.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Plaka, but some of the best activities include exploring the narrow streets, doing some shopping, and grabbing a bite to eat.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of great options in Plaka. However, if you’re looking for a traditional Greek breakfast, I recommend Pantheon. This local spot is known for its delicious Greek yogurt and honey, as well as its fresh-baked pastries.
After exploring Plaka, take a walk up to the Anafiotika neighborhood. This traditional Greek island-style village is located on the north slope of the Acropolis and it’s one of Athens’ best-kept secrets.
The village is made up of whitewashed houses with colorful doors and flower-filled balconies. It’s the perfect spot to take a break from the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.
To get to Anafiotika, simply walk up Mnisikleous street until you reach the end. From here, follow the signs and take the stairs up to the village.
Don’t forget to climb all the way up to the top of the village for some incredible views over Athens! Anafiotika is super small, so you won’t need more than an hour to explore the area.
Hadrian’s Arch & The Temple of Olympian Zeus
Next up on your 3 days in Athens itinerary is a visit to Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Hadrian’s Arch is located right next to the National Gardens, so it’s the perfect spot to start your morning. The arch was built in 131 AD to honor the Roman Emperor Hadrian and it’s one of Athens’ most iconic landmarks.
After taking some photos in front of the arch, make your way over to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This colossal temple is one of the largest temples ever built in the ancient world and it took over 600 years to complete!
Although it’s now in ruins, the temple is still an impressive sight and it’s definitely worth a visit. Even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll be impressed by the size of the columns!
Visiting Hadrian’s Arch is completely free but entrance to the Temple of Zeus costs €6 per person. Or, if you’ve taken my advice and purchased the Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket, it’s already included in the price!
Next on your list of things to do in Athens in 3 days is a visit to the Acropolis Museum.
This new museum is located right at the base of the Acropolis and it’s one of Athens’ most popular attractions. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from the Acropolis, as well as an excavation site where you can see the foundations of the Parthenon.
The museum is huge, so you could easily spend a few hours here. However, if you don’t have that much time, I recommend doing a quick lap of the museum to see the highlights.
You can purchase an entry ticket to the museum separately or you can also decide to buy a combo ticket that grants access to both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Sadly, this one is not included in the Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket.
Dinner on Mnisikleous Street
After a busy day of sightseeing, it’s time to relax and enjoy a nice dinner. And there’s no better place to do that than on Mnisikleous Street!
Mnisikleous Street is located in the Plaka neighborhood and it’s one of Athens’ most popular spots for dinner. It’s a steep stepped pedestrian street lined with traditional Greek restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it the perfect place to enjoy a meal or a drink.
Or, if you’re in the mood for something lighter, Anafiotika Cafe is a great option. This cafe has an extensive menu of salads, sandwiches, and desserts, so you’re sure to find something to your liking.
After dinner, take a stroll through the Plaka neighborhood one more time and enjoy the atmospheric streets. This is one of Athens’ most charming neighborhoods and it’s the perfect place to end your day.
Day 2 of Your 3 Days in Athens
You’ve had a busy day yesterday so I recommend taking the second day of your 3 day Athens itinerary easy and starting with a delicious brunch.
If you’re looking for a unique brunch spot in Athens, you have to check out Little Kook. This charming cafe is decorated like a children’s storybook and it serves up some of the most creative and mouthwatering dishes.
If you decide to dine elsewhere, it’s still worth strolling around to see the decorations!
Two other great choices in the Psyrri neighborhood are iFeel Brunch Restaurant and Kalimeres. These two spots have more traditional brunch menus with items like eggs Benedict and pancakes, but they’re both delicious nonetheless.
And finally, if you’re on a girls’ trip or you’re looking for a really cute cafe, you have to put Ellyz Cafe on your list.
The whole cafe is decorated with flowers and it has the prettiest outdoor seating area. Not only the food is super delicious but it definitely belongs to the most Instagrammable places in Athens!
Ancient Agora of Athens & Stoa of Attalos
After brunch, it’s time to start exploring!
Head to the Ancient Agora of Athens, which was one of the most important public squares in Ancient Greece. It served as a center for political and social life, as well as a marketplace.
Today, the site is home to ruins of several ancient buildings, including the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the most well-preserved temples from Ancient Greece. It was built in the 5th century BC and it’s dedicated to the Greek god of blacksmiths and fire, Hephaestus.
The Stoa of Attalos is another important building in the Ancient Agora of Athens. It was built in the 2nd century BC and it served as a covered marketplace. Today, the Stoa of Attalos houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora, which is definitely worth a visit.
The area of the Agora is huge and there’s a lot to explore, so I recommend spending at least an hour or two here. Tickets can be purchased at the site for €8 per person. Alternatively, entrance is included in the Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket.
Roman Forum of Athens
Only a 5-minute walk from the Ancient Agora you will find another important landmark and the next item on your 3 day Athens itinerary, the Roman Forum of Athens.
Built between 19 and 11 BC, the Roman Forum of Athens was the center of public life during the Roman period.
It was commissioned by Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, and it was used for a variety of purposes, including political meetings, public speeches, and judicial proceedings. It was also a popular spot for shops and businesses.
The most important building in the Roman Forum of Athens is the Tower of the Winds, also known as the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes. It was built in the 2nd century BC and it served as a clock, a sundial, and a weather vane.
Entrance to the Roman Forum of Athens is €8 per person and it’s open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. The Roman Forum is also included in the Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket.
After exploring the Roman Forum, walk 2 minutes to Hadrian’s Library.
As the name suggests, Hadrian’s Library was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD. It was the largest library in ancient Greece and it housed almost 200,000 books and scrolls.
The library was damaged by fire in 267 AD but it was later rebuilt by Herculius, the Prefectus of the Illyricum. Today, only the ruins of Hadrian’s Library remain but it’s still definitely worth a visit.
Entrance to Hadrian’s Library is €6 or free if you’ve purchased an Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket.
Monastiraki Square & Flea Market
Next on your list of things to do in Athens in 3 days should be Monastiraki Square and the famous Monastiraki Flea Market.
Monastiraki Square is one of the most popular spots in Athens and it’s always packed with tourists. It’s located in the heart of the city and it’s surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops.
The Monastiraki Flea Market is one of the most popular markets in Athens. It’s located in the square and it’s the perfect place to find souvenirs, gifts, and antiques.
If you’re looking for something specific, I recommend checking out the shops on Ifestou Street, which is located just off Monastiraki Square. This street is known for its jewelry shops and it’s definitely worth a visit.
A for Athens Rooftop Bar
No Athens itinerary is complete without visiting at least one of the city’s iconic rooftop bars!
A for Athens is one of the most popular rooftop bars in Athens and it offers stunning views of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the city.
The bar is located on the top floor of the A for Athens Hotel and it’s open daily from noon to midnight. It has two different floors so there’s plenty of space to enjoy the views.
However, it does get crowded, especially in the peak summer season, so it’s best to go early or make a reservation in advance. That’s why I recommend visiting in the afternoon before dinner but you can always flip this itinerary around and go for sunset instead.
Entrance to the A for Athens Rooftop Bar is free and there is no minimum consumption either but keep in mind that drinks are slightly on the pricier side. However, their Aperol Spritz is so good that it’s worth every buck!
Dinner at The Greco’s Project
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly dinner after splurging on drinks at A for Athens, The Greco’s Project is the perfect place for you.
The Greco’s Project is a chain of restaurants that offer traditional Greek food at affordable prices. The menu features a variety of dishes, including Souvlaki, Gyros, Mousaka, and plenty of vegetarian options.
They have multiple locations but I recommend visiting the one at Monastiraki Square, which is just a few minutes walk from A for Athens.
Day 3 of Your 3 Days in Athens
Start your third and final day in Athens with a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium.
The Stadium was originally built in the 4th century BC and it was used for the Panathenaic Games, which were held every four years to honor the goddess Athena.
The stadium was rebuilt in 140 AD by Herodes Atticus to accommodate 50,000 people. During the centuries the stadium fell into disrepair but it was restored in the late 19th century and it hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Today, the Panathenaic Stadium is once again used for sporting events and it’s also open to the public. You can enter the stadium for €10 and it’s open every day.
Keep in mind that there are no shades in the stadium so it’s best to visit first thing in the morning to avoid the heat.
Zappeion Garden & Zappeion Hall
After visiting the Panathenaic Stadium, head to the nearby Zappeion Garden.
The garden is located just behind the stadium and it’s a great spot to relax and escape the heat. It’s also one of the most popular photo spots in Athens so make sure to have your camera ready!
Zappeion Hall is located in the center of the garden and it’s one of the most iconic buildings in Athens.
The hall was built in 1874 and it has been home to various significant events throughout the years such as European summits and political conferences. Today, Zappeion Hall is used as a conference and exhibition center.
Another green oasis in the heart of the city that you should include in your 3 days in Athens itinerary is the National Garden.
The National Garden is a large park that covers an area of 40 acres. It’s a great spot to relax and it’s also home to numerous statues, fountains, and a small zoo.
If you’re visiting with kids, they will definitely enjoy the playground and the petting zoo.
The National Garden is open every day from sunrise to sunset and the entrance is free.
No visit to Athens is complete without a stop at Syntagma Square, which is considered the central square of the city.
The square is home to the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Before 2020 it was possible to visit the Parliament building on guided tours but unfortunately, the building is closed to the public until further notice due to the pandemic.
You can still watch the changing of the guards in front of the Parliament building though. The guards change every hour on the hour but the biggest ceremony takes place on Sundays at 11 am so if you happen to be in the area, definitely don’t miss it!
National Archaeological Museum
Founded at the end of the 19th century, the National Archeological Museum is one of the unmissable places to see when spending 3 days in Athens. It’s the largest museum in all of Greece and also one of the most important archaeological museums in the world.
The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Greek Bronze Age, the Mycenaean period, and the Cycladic civilization.
Some of the most famous exhibits in the museum include the Mask of Agamemnon, a gold death mask dating back to the 16th century BC, and the statue of Kouros, a life-size marble statue of a young man from the 6th century BC.
The National Archaeological Museum is open every day from 8 am to 8 pm in the summer period (the only exception is Tuesday when it only opens at 1 pm) and the entrance is €12.
Stroll around Kolonaki
Kolonaki is one of the chicest and most upmarket neighborhoods in Athens. It’s located just behind Syntagma Square and it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll and some people watching.
The next destination on your 3 day Athen itinerary, Lycabettus Hill, is located in Kolonaki so it’s worth spending some extra time in the neighborhood before heading up to the hill.
Make sure to check out Stadiou Street, which is one of the busiest streets in Kolonaki with numerous high-end shops and boutiques.
If you get hungry, there are also plenty of great restaurants and cafes in Kolonaki where you can grab a bite.
Another unmissable thing to do in Athens in 3 days is to spend some time on Lycabettus Hill, which offers the best views of the city.
The hill is located in the center of Athens and it’s easy to spot thanks to its white limestone cliffs.
There are two ways to reach the top of Lycabettus Hill: either by taking the funicular railway or by hiking up the hundreds of steps that lead to the summit.
If you’re visiting Athens in the summer, I definitely recommend taking the funicular railway as it can get quite hot and there is very little shade on the hiking trail.
The funicular runs every 30 minutes from 8.30 am to 2.30 am, a return ticket costs €9 while the one-way ticket is €7. Sadly, the funicular runs inside a closed tunnel so it doesn’t provide any views.
Just a heads up: Although getting on the funicular definitely helps as you don’t need to tackle the hike, getting to the funicular is quite a workout itself.
The funicular station is located at the bottom of a long flight of steps so unless you’re taking a taxi, be prepared for a steep walk!
If you’re feeling energetic, you can also hike up to the top of Lycabettus Hill. It’s a pretty strenuous hike but it only takes about 20-30 minutes to reach the summit.
Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of Athens, the Acropolis, and the Aegean Sea. It’s worth timing your visit so that you can watch the sunset from Lycabettus Hill, it’s a pretty magical experience!
There is also a cafe and a restaurant at the top of the hill if you want to enjoy a drink or a bite while taking in the views.
Dinner either in Kolonaki or Plaka
After taking in the views from Lycabettus Hill, it’s time to enjoy a delicious dinner in one of Athens’ best neighborhoods. It’s the final day of your 3 day Athens itinerary after all!
Kolonaki and Plaka are both great options for dinner as they offer a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. Kolonaki is a bit more upmarket while Plaka is a bit more touristy but both offer great food options.
One of the top-rated restaurants in Kolonaki is Kiouzin, which serves up traditional Greek food with a modern twist. Alternatively, you can head back again to Mnisikleous Street in Plaka and try one of the numerous taverns that line the street, such as Geros Tou Moria Restaurant.
If you are looking for a city break that offers an abundance of history, culture, and natural beauty, look no further than Athens. With so much to see and do in this vibrant city, spending 3 days in Athens is the perfect amount of time to get a taste of everything on offer.
I hope you liked this 3 day Athens itinerary and that you found it helpful in planning your own trip to Athens.
If you have any questions or if there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to send me a message. I would love to hear from you!
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