Athens was my first stop on my first ever Euro trip! And believe me when I say that you can see the most incredible sights and museums, most recognisable landmarks & main neighbourhoods all in one day! Without further ado, here’s what you could see and do around town in even less than 24 hours!
1. HADRIAN’S GATE
One of the charms of the city is this striking structure by the roadside. It was built to welcome and honour Hadrian, the roman emperor at that time upon his arrival to Athens. This monument is very easy to spot as it’s randomly located next to a busy road. How good is it to pass by a little slice of history in the middle of the city’s hustle and bustle!
2. TEMPLE OF ZEUS
Who would believe that this large structure could possibly be built 2000 years ago? This is an architectural wonder in the heart of Athens that’s impossible to miss! Though you can clearly see it outside the gates, it is worth paying 6 Euros to see it up close! It is hard to get an idea of how grandiose and monstrous this landmark is without standing beside it! Being next to the columns made me feel really so little and speechless! What a sight to behold!
3. THE ACROPOLIS
This place needs no introduction! You have heard of this place growing up, but nothing will prepare you for seeing it for the first time! The Acropolis is a city on top of a hill where the Parthenon sits on! Channel your inner Athena as you take in the 360-degree view of the city 150 metres above sea level! The Acropolis might have been badly damaged in the past but still remains as beautiful up until today!
4. The streets of PLAKA
Enter an ancient city by walking the streets of Plaka. It’s the oldest district in Athens just located at the bottom of Acropolis! Lots and lots of Greek taverns, cafes, bars & narrow streets full of souvenir shops are to be found in this busy neighbourhood. This old town is also buzzing with heaps of art galleries and local handicrafts showcasing the creativity of locals and tourists alike!
5. The Changing of the Guards at the Parliament Mansion
A fun way to witness the Greek culture is by watching the changing of guards at the Parliament Mansion! The guards performing their signature kicks derived from deeply rooted traditions is an event every tourist should see! It is held every hour on the hour Mondays to Saturdays and the big ceremony happens every Sunday at 11 am! WARNING: you are not allowed to touch them and if you speak to them, they are not allowed to react or respond! Anyway, Look closely at their traditional attire and you’ll see tassels and pompoms all over! So adorbs!!!
6. MONASTIRAKI Neighbourhood
I was once told that Monastiraki is the beating heart of Athens and this is where all the action is! Apart from the dramatic backdrop of Acropolis, this is where you’ll find the biggest flea market all over Greece! Piles of cheap goods, jewelleries and vintage wears could be found on numerous market stalls! And while you’re here, go check out Hadrian library, Agia Irini Church and the world famous Adrianou street full of taverns serving mouth-watering Greek food! Also, if you love street art, look no further, the narrow alleyways are full of graffiti in every corner you could possibly spot!
7. SYNTAGMA SQUARE
Start your day like a local; buy a coffee and just relax sitting at one of the benches facing the fountains of the Constitution square or feed the pigeons that gather in front of the monument! Syntagma is the most famous meeting point of Athenians hence it’s full of shops, cafes and restaurants that offers local delicacies and Greek favourite bites! Oh and don’t forget to buy yourself a Koulori! You’ll surely thank me later! A lot of locals are selling them in the streets, you don’t have to search hard to find one! Man, these Greek Sesame bread rings are amazeballs, promise!
8. MOUNT LYCABETTUS
You can’t go to Athens and not visit Mount Lycabettus! Come just before sunset and watch the 360-degree view of Athens light up for the night! Once you arrive at the summit lookout, you’ll see the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, the ancient Agora and pretty much the whole city! There’s even a whitewashed church and a restaurant at the top of the hill where you can enjoy spectacular views while savouring your meal! The views go on for miles and I really highly suggest including this in your itinerary!
I have no regrets that I jumpstarted my first ever trip to Europe by exploring the beautiful city of Athens! It was fun to stumble upon archaeological sites, tour classical places and hang where locals hang! I am not over souvlaki, kebab and moussaka just yet so I’ll definitely come back and visit again!
Did this travel guide help you plan your trip or have inspired you to visit Athens in the future? I would love to know in the comments!
► I also have a detailed guide to The Acropolis and Parthenon! Click on this link to find out more!
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Love from Athens,
The Travel Belle ❤︎