1-day in Athens

1-day in Athens

1-day in Athens

Did you choose Athens as a stopover?* Do you only have 1-day in Athens to spent? Are they enough 24 hours to see a city with such a big history? We will figure this out together below. I will give you few hints and stops that you must go those few spare hours you have. Otherwise, if you have 2-3 days, you can consult my concentrated itinerary.

That is to say, let’s begin our wandering to this 24 hour alive city. Even if you are not a history lover, you must take a look to the main sights, like Acropolis and Temple of Olympian Zeus.



The Acropolis of Athens is a rocky hill 157m above sea level and about 70m above the level of the city of Athens. In fact, it is an ancient complex that includes several temples. Over there you can admire the temple of Parthenon which was dedicated to Goddess Athena. Moreover, you have the opportunity to admire the temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheion and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.


Start early to avoid the crowd and the hot sun. Τhe entry fee varies from 8-20euros depends if it is combined with something else like mobile audio guide or if you choose to skip the line etc.. The hours of entrance also vary among the seasons. Normally, from 1st of April to the end of October is 8:00-20:00 and November to March is 8:00-17:00. At the hill you will need at least 1 hour to spent.

The entrance is free every first Sunday of each month and during the full moon of August.

Remember to apply your discount if you are student, multi-child family, senior citizen etc..

Fun fact: The temple symbol on UNESCO’s logo represents the Parthenon.

Travel advice

  • It is more convenient to purchase your tickets online in advance to avoid queues.
  • If you have a wheelchair or a baby-stroller make sure you will find the stair climber lift or the elevator.

PS: To this 1-day in Athens’s itinerary, you have to skip the Acropolis Museum cause it’s big and you need 3 hours to walk all over it.

Acropolis from Plaka


Hadrian’s Arch & Temple of Olympian Zeus

Walking from Acropolis to Syntagma square you will have the opportunity to see the picturesque Aeropagitou street. Notice the Socrates’ prison and the Philopappou hill. Do not miss Aeropagous hill where Apostle Paul preached Christianity in 51 AD.

When you finally meet Temple of Olympian Zeus, you will be amazed by this huge temple. The temple began to be built in the 6th century BC, in the place of an ancient open-air sanctuary dedicated to God Zeus. You will need 30minute and 6euros.

Meanwhile, continuing your walking to Queen Amalia’s Avenue you will find the Roman emperor’s Hadrian marble arch-shaped gate with Corinthian-style columns. Furthermore, you will see the statue of Lord Byron and the national gardens of Zappeion.

You will need about 2 hours for all of them with quick walking. Do not enter to the National Gardens at your 1-day in Athens’s trip. You will be amazed by the botanical museum, the duck-turtles pond, the playground, the old zoo and the archaeological sites and you will lose track of time.


Syntagma Square-Parliament-Evzones

For the next stop you will only need 20minutes to spend. The Parliament in front of Syntagma square (the central square of Athens) is a neoclassical building constructed between 1836 and 1847. Briefly, it was originally the residence of King Otto, the first king of modern Greece after our liberation from the Ottomans. However, the building was used to host the Parliament of Greece from 1929.

PS: You do not have time to see the Parliament inside at this 1-day Athens tour.

But, you do have time to see the changing of the Presidential Guard in front of the Parliament. The Guards with this special uniform (fustanella & tsarouchia) called Evzones are soldiers whom they are guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament. Notice that they are changing the Guards every hour’on the hour. However, at 11:00 is the big ‘ceremony’.


Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium, also known as Kallimarmaro (=nice marble) is located behind the National Gardens. Hence, you could walk vertically through the Gardens to reach it. The Stadium opened in 566bC and nowadays has capacity for 45.000spectators. This stadium hosted the world’s first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

At 12:00 has the minimum attendance. However, if you like to jog you can go 7:30-9:00 after filling the appropriate form. You need half an hour to 2hours inside, depends on what you want to see. From 01/01/2022 the ticket is 10euros and you can access to the Stadium having an audio guide. Moreover, you could entrance to the Vaulted passage, you have the right to run on the track and visit the permanent exhibition “Memories from Olympic Games with posters and torches from 1896 till today at the Atrium. Furthermore, you can watch highlights of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games on two big screens. Also, everyone enjoy to interact with the programs of a multimedia touch screen table before the Atrium.


Psirri Square

Now is the time to go for a lunch break at Psirri / Psyrri neighborhood at the streets around Iroon square. There are many Greek restaurants where you could enjoy a freshly succulent Greek salad, gemista (stuffed tomatoes-zucchini-eggplants-pepper with rice), spanakopita, Greek souvlaki or gyros and many more. Do not forget to try the Greek ouzo.

Tip: Do not miss the street art-graffitis when you are walking inside the vibrant up-coming Psiri neighborhood, like the one below.  

street art in Psirri


Monastiraki Square

Do you need to “purchase memories” from your trip to Greece? The bustling Monastiraki square has everything you need. At Andrianou street you will find many olive oil-based products and ancient Greece’s memorabilia. However, at Ifestou street you will dig up army clothes, furs, vinyl records and many-many antiques at the flea market. Mingling with the locals and feel the energy by haggling your purchases.

Although, if you want to buy fresh Greek cheese or local meat/ham/fish and fruits it is better to choose Varvakios. Similarly, the central municipal Athens market has many herbs and spices and it is only 600m from Monastiraki square.

PS: In conclusion, read my article about souvenirs.

ancient Greece's memorabilia

Night in Athens

Choose a rooftop bar restaurant to enjoy your dinner with the view of lightened Acropolis. Since the night is still young, choose your next stop. A rebetico place or a bar.

Even if you only have 1-day in Athens you have to make the acquaintance of the night life by hearing rebetiko music. In short, wander around Plaka or Anafiotica, under the rock of Acropolis, and enter to a tavern with music.

On the other hand, if you want something buzzier, you can go to cosmopolitan Gazi area for bouzoukia nightclubs or bars.

Playing bouzouki in Athens

To sum up the 1-day in Athens’s itinerary:


Hadrian’s Arch & Temple of Olympian Zeus

Syntagma Square-Parliament-Evzones

Panathenaic Stadium

Psirri Square

Monastiraki Square

Night in Athens

Athens is a lively city that will not disappoint you.

Shop in Plaka

Travel tip

This one night you will stay in Athens, be wise: choose to stay in the center of the city. Psirri, Monastiraki, Plaka, Anafiotica, Thisseio are the best choices.


*Read my article to discover why Athens is appropriate for a city break’not just a stopover.

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