From the incredible history to the metropolitan streets, there’s a lot to explore around Athens! Like most cities, the best way to see the city is by walking through each area to take everything in and see what you discover.
One of my favourite things about this part of the trip was how much we saw of a new city in 2 days, making Athens the perfect weekend trip if you live in the UK or Europe. For now, it’s got me inspired to discover cities around Canada and the USA that will be perfect for weekend trips.
Here’s what to do in Athens, Greece for two days to help you plan your own adventures.
We stayed at the Athos Hotel in Plaka. The room was clean, quite modern and peaceful to sleep in each night. The hotel’s central location also made it easy to walk everywhere each day while the rooftop terrace provided a beautiful place to watch the lights come on at the Parthenon each night.
See and do
Guided walking tour
We found a walking tour by researching in Trip Advisor for the best local guided tours. I found this the best way to understand the long history of Greece. We looked at the old Parliament building, walked through the National Gardens, visited the Panathenaic Stadium and several other locations all while learning about the history of Athens and the ancient world.
With our guide’s local knowledge, he was also able to tell us a few insider secrets about Athens. For example, the Panathenaic Stadium has one ticketed entrance at the ground level, however, if you walk up the stairs on the opposite side at the front of the stadium and continue around towards the back; you can enter on the top level of the stadium for incredible views without a ticket. At the rear of the stadium, there is a gated entry and car park for locals who use the running tracks around the edge of the stadium for training. You can enter there or, if you're us, walk aimlessly past this entrance and get told by a man from his fourth floor balcony that there is a clearing in the fences a few metres away. It certainly made for a fun adventure!
Walk up the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon
It would be hard to visit Athens and not see the Acropolis and Parthenon, just make sure you have good walking shoes on! We arrived late afternoon at around 3:30 pm at the South entrance and there wasn’t anyone in line for tickets. I’m not sure if this is a faster entrance than others around the Acropolis, or if we got lucky.
Walking up the Acropolis, you’ll see the Theatre of Dionysus — the first stone theatre ever built by cutting into the southern cliff face of the Acropolis. A few more inclines later and we reached the Parthenon. It was as incredible as I had imagined, and it’s hard to believe how magnificent structures were built so many centuries ago without the modern machinery we’re accustomed to.
Walk up one of the hills of Athens
Every time we spoke to a local in Athens, they recommended we pick one of the hills in Athens to walk up and enjoy the view. We picked Filopappou Hill. It was an easy 25-minute walk to the top and it had spanning views of Athens over to the Acropolis on one side and the rest of Athens, down to the waterfront on the other side.
Explore Plaka and the Flea Markets
Plaka and the Flea Markets were bustling each afternoon. From leather goods stores, gelaterias, juice shops and bars to jewellery stores; this area has something for everyone. Take a couple of hours to stroll through the streets and explore.
Eat and drink
You know those meals where everything is so delicious that there is complete silence at the table until the meal is almost finished? That’s what Avocado was like! We felt in dire need of some fresh vegetables and this place was excellent. I had the mushroom pilaf while Rich had a veggie burger. These might not sound like the healthiest options on a typical menu, but all the high quality, organic ingredients and generous servings at Avocado made this the perfect place to get some balance back after lots of overly indulgent food.
Another place that made us feel healthier after a few weeks of travel was Nova Gea. Their extensive juice and smoothie menu made it easy to pick the nourishment you specifically needed while holding the jar for your drink to trickle into made it even more fun.
Looking at this place from the entry, you can sense the thought that goes into everything at this store from décor to the ingredients. Unlike most of the €2 gelato places where the flavours are on full display, Le Grecheis a little more discreet. The seasonal flavours are written onto a chalkboard making the experience feel even more European. In typical fashion, however, I opted for the most chocolatey option which did not disappoint!
If you like baklava and you’re looking for different flavours, try Karaköy Güllüoğlu. I had the chocolate baklava and a traditional baklava and they were delicious! This is a good place to share something because everything is so sweet even for someone like me with a huge sweet tooth.
After lots of walking on our final afternoon in Athens we needed a good place to have a drink and people watch. Heteroclito was the perfect place for a glass of wine and some bar snacks. We sat here for a lot longer than we intended because this place was so relaxing.
Where’s your favourite city for a quick 2-day break? Let me know in the comments below.