Athens in 3 days: Odeon of Herodes Atticus and Filopappou Hill

Athens in 3 Days Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Itinerary

The ultimate itinerary to spend 3 unforgettable days in Athens, by an Athenian. The 32 best spots of the city and their pins on Google Maps, so you don’t miss a thing.

Last updated: 28 Feb 2024

Are 3 days in Athens, Greece, enough to enjoy the city and create unforgettable memories?

If you plan your trip now, you are on the right track. I love Athens -it’s my city, after all– and I want you to love it as much as I do.

So, in the following itinerary, I will show you how to balance your visit to ancient and modern Athens.

National library of Greece

Can you Do Athens in 3 Days?

Absolutely! Three days in Athens are enough to explore the city’s most important highlights.

If you stay in the center and walk a lot, you can visit all the top and lesser-known attractions.

At the same time, you have enough time to eat delicious local foods, wander in beautiful neighborhoods, and travel back home ready to plan your next trip.

So, what will you need?

First of all, a good mood. Don’t worry; Athens’ sunny weather is known for boosting moods significantly.

Secondly, have an appetite to explore one of the world’s oldest cities.

Third, and most importantly, the following step-by-step itinerary, designed after a lot of research, to help you enjoy your trip to the fullest.


Athens in 3 Days Tips:

  1. Each route is designed with points of interest located close to each other. Thus, I recommend you start following the routes from their beginning or their end to avoid double travel and to be able to enjoy as many attractions as possible.

  2. If you can stay in the city center, do it! Here you can find Athens best areas for your accommodation. If you are in a hurry, check the recommendations below.

  3. For your convenience, I have added links to all points of interest. Each of them leads to Google Maps to add them to your map and ensure you won’t miss anything.

  4. The itinerary is quite tight, so you can get a maximum of 3 days in Athens. Therefore, if you feel it’s too much for you, I recommend which spots you can skip at the end of the guide.

  5. Save money by choosing the proper admission to archaeological sites. More in the first time in Athens survival guide.

  6. If you have fewer or more days, then choose the days that suit you best from the top menu.

Where to Stay in Athens for 3 Days

Where to Stay in Athens Greece: Plaka
Syntagma and Monastiraki are among the most reliable neighborhoods of the city for your accommodation.

Staying in the city center is a must if you visit Athens for three days.

You can go almost everywhere on foot or on public transport, saving valuable time.

Two great neighborhoods are Syntagma and Psyri.

In a nutshell, Syntagma offers some of the best hotels in the city.

Best hotels in Syntagma:
Best Luxury Hotel: Hotel Grande Bretagne.
Best Middle-priced Hotel: Classic by Athens Prime Hotels.
Best Cheap Hotel: Mosaikon.

Psyri – Monastiraki is an affordable alternative, about a 15-minute walk from Syntagma.

Best hotels in Psyri – Monastiraki:
Best Luxury Hotel: A for Athens.
Best Middle-priced Hotel: Athens21.
Best Cheap Hotel: Bedbox Hostel.


Now, let’s start our walk:

Athens in 3 Days: Day 1

The recommended route for your first day


1. Monument to the Unknown Soldier

Athens in 1 Day: Monument of the Unknown Soldier

Why: Any tour in Athens could not but include Syntagma Square, the center of modern Athens. The Hellenic Parliament and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier are located above the square. Get your camera ready for the picturesque Evzones, also known as Tsoliades, who symbolically guard the Unknown Soldier Monument.

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2. Athens National Garden

National Garden

Why: The National Garden is the most famous garden in the heart of Athens; don’t miss crossing it as you head to Panathenaic Stadium. Locals often come here to exercise, read a book, or play with their children, as it is an ideal refuge from Athens’ heat and traffic.

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3. Panathenaic Stadium

Athens in 48 hours: Panathenaic Stadium

Why: The first imposing ancient attraction of your walk is the Panathenaic Stadium. Athenians usually call it Kallimarmaro, meaning “Beautiful Marble”. It was built in 330 BC and used as the first modern Olympic Games stadium in 1896. Nowadays, it hosts only selected concerts and sporting events, such as the Athens Classic Marathon’s finish.

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4. Zappeion Hall

Zappeio Hall

Why: Opposite the Panathenaic Stadium, you will find the Zappeio Hall. It started its operations in 1888, and in 1896 its circular atrium housed the fencing events of the first modern Olympic Games. Today it is one of Athens’s most important neoclassical buildings, hosting exhibitions and conferences.

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5. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Athens in 1 Day: Temple of Olympian Zeus

Why: The gigantic Temple of Olympian Zeus is a must-see in Athens’ center. It was devoted to Zeus, the “Father of Gods and Men”, who ruled the Gods of Olympus. Note that its construction began in the 6th century BC, but it was completed about 700 years later, in the 2nd century AD.

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6. Hadrian’s Arch

Athens in 1 Day: Hadrian's Arch

Why: Two minutes away from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, you can find the 2,000-year-old Hadrian’s Arch. It was founded around 131 AD, probably to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in Athens, a great benefactor of the city. If you want to modify your itinerary, it is worth checking it out at night as well, as its lighting is impressive.

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7. Dionysiou Areopagitou Str.

Dionysiou Areopagitou

Why: Leaving Hadrian’s Arch, cross Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias and proceed to Dionysiou Areopagitou str. It’s one of Athens’ most beautiful pedestrian areas, just below the Acropolis, leading you to some great attractions. For now, walk just 200 meters and head towards the Acropolis entrance, which you will find at the beginning of Thrasillou Street.

Map Dionysiou Areopagitou str. and Acropolis entrance

8. Theatre of Dionysus

Theatre of Dionysus

Why: Your first stop as you go up the Acropolis hill is the ancient Theatre of Dionysus. It is considered the first theatre in the world and has been associated with the birth and development of drama. Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Menander, wrote their tragedies and comedies to be performed at this site.

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9. Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Athens in 3 days: Odeon of Herodes Atticus and Filopappou Hill

Why: The next stop is the well-known Odeon of Herodes Atticus. It was built by the Athenian benefactor Herodes Atticus in 161 AD, in memory of his Roman wife Appia Annia Regilla, and it was renovated in 1950. Note that an excellent idea for your trip would be to attend a concert here. Here you can find more hidden gems of Athens like this.

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10. Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis panoramic view

Why: Walking a little further, you will find the Acropolis of Athens’s entrance. Only a few places on our planet can give you what Acropolis has to offer, so take 1-2 hours and enjoy 2.500 years of history and unique views over the city. Check this combo ticket if you want to skip the line and save time.

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11. Areopagus Hill

Areopagus

Why: Leaving the Acropolis of Athens, head towards the hill of Areopagus. In ancient Athens, the reputed court of the Areios Pagos was located here. Furthermore, Saint Paul first proclaimed Christianity to the Athenians from this rock in 51 AD – don’t confuse it, however, with today’s Areios Pagos, the Supreme Court of Greece.

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12. Filopappou Hill

Athens in 48 hours: Filopappou Hill

Why: After Areopagus, go down Theorias str. and continue your walk on the stunning paths of Filopappou Hill. It’s worth spending a few hours here and, depending on your stamina, visiting the Church of Saint Demetrios Loumbardiaris, The Pnyx, and the Monument of Philopappos. At the top of the hill, you will enjoy panoramic views across Athens but also a unique view of the Acropolis.

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13. Acropolis Museum

Display of the Parthenon frieze in the Acropolis Museum.
© Acropolis Museum. Photograph: Nikos Daniilidis

Why: Going back to Dionysiou Areopagitou str., it’s time to visit the Acropolis Museum. You will be amazed, so take 2-3 hours and enjoy it. It’s the best museum in Athens and one of the most important museums globally, housing every object found on the Acropolis.

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14. Koukaki Neighborhood

Bel Rey bar at Koukaki

Why: The Koukaki neighborhood is located behind the Acropolis Museum, a less touristy area than Athens’s historic center. With this in mind, it’s a great choice to enjoy quality food and drinks at reasonable prices among many locals. The tavern O Lolos is a great option if you want to try local Greek food. Otherwise, given that you will spend 3 days in Athens, you can enjoy your dinner at Meno Male for great pizza or Tuk Tuk for Thai food. Then, you can have a drink at the casual Bel Ray.

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Popular Reads
1. What to pack for Athens all year long: the ultimate list
2. First time in Athens survival guide: did you know?
3. Hidden gems in Athens: unique and unusual ideas


Athens in 3 Days: Day 2

The recommended route for your second day


15. Technopolis

Athens in 48 hours: Technopolis

Why: The starting point of the second day is the Kerameikos metro station. Heading towards the pedestrian area of Ermou street, you will notice Technopolis, Athens’s former gas plant. Today it has been transformed into an industrial museum, where artistic events such as concerts and exhibitions take place.

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16. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos

Archaeological Site of Kerameikos

Why: Walking on the pedestrian area of Ermou street, on your left, you will enjoy a panoramic view of the Archaeological Site of Kerameikos. If the name “Kerameikos” sounds familiar, it is because the word “ceramic” is derived from the area. As a matter of fact, the famous Attic pottery was built here, while the area was part of one of the largest municipalities of ancient Athens.

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17. Ancient Agora of Athens

Scenic view of the Ancient Agora of Athens, with the Temple of Hephaestus and Pnyka in the background.

Why: Once you reach Thiseio metro station, continue on Adrianou street and enter the ancient Agora of Athens. Here was located the financial center and the central gathering place of the city of ancient Athens. Take your time and enjoy a walk among numerous notable monuments.

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18. Temple of Hephaestus

View of the Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora of Athens, with visitors around it.

Why: One of the most significant sights in Ancient Agora of Athens is, without doubt, the Temple of Hephaestus. According to mythology, Hephaestus was the god of fire, volcanoes, and metallurgists. His temple is one of the few ancient temples to be almost entirely preserved, partly because it was transformed into a Christian church.

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19. Stoa of Attalos

Stoa of Attalos

Why: Another notable landmark in the Ancient Agora of Athens is the Stoa of Attalos. Reconstructed between 1953–1956, it will allow you to imagine what the buildings were like in ancient Athens. Nowadays, it houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora; don’t miss the upper floor view.

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20. Roman Agora

Athens in 1 Day: Tower of the Winds

Why: Once you have completed your walk through Ancient Agora, return to Adrianou street and go up to Athens’s Roman Agora. This city’s central market during Roman times was built between 19 and 11 BC. The most remarkable ancient sight to see here is the impressive octagonal Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes. Also known as the Tower of the Winds, it is considered the world’s first meteorological station.

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21. Plaka

Athens in 1 Day: Plaka

Why: Leaving the Roman Agora, you now enter the famous neighborhood of Plaka. Let yourself go here and enjoy the route, walking in whichever picturesque alley you like. As you wander, you will find many restaurants and cafes to pause for a breath; my personal favorite is Klepsydra, where they serve traditional Greek coffee. Take your time, but make sure you won’t leave before visiting Anafiotika (read below).

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22. Anafiotika

Anafiotika

Why: Welcome to the “island of Athens”! Anafiotika is a tiny neighborhood under Acropolis Hill, which looks like a dreamy village on a Cycladic island. It was built by workers from the island of Anafi, who came to Athens in the middle of the 19th century to help with King Othon’s palace’s construction, today’s Greek Parliament.

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23. Local Food and Dessert

Local Food in Athens: Souvlaki

Why: By now, you’re probably feeling quite hungry. Just a few blocks away, Victory and Iliada offer casual and affordable lunch with local dishes like moussaka and souvlaki. If you prefer something more upscale, the Italian restaurant OVIO is a great choice. And once you are done with your meal, head to Mitropolitikon for the best baklava you will find in Athens.

Map Victory and Mitropolitikon

24. Ermou Street

Athens in 48 hours: Rooftop Bar
A drink at a rooftop bar is a must if you stay 3 days in Athens.

Why: The best way to end your day is by walking in the Ermou Street shops and having your drink in one of Athens’ rooftop bars. First, head to Syntagma Square and then go down Ermou Street towards Monastiraki Square. Meanwhile, do not miss a detour to Mitropoleos Street to see the Cathedral Church of Athens. Among my favorite rooftop bars are Retiré at the ERGON House and Couleur Locale.

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Athens in 3 Days: Day 3

The recommended route for your third day


25. National Archaeological Museum

Athens in 3 Days: National Archaeological Museum

Why: Your 3rd day in Athens could not but start with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum. It’s a not-to-be-missed attraction, as it’s the largest and one of the most important museums in Greece. In short, it offers a panorama of ancient Greek culture from the beginning of prehistory to late antiquity, with thousands of exhibits. Remember that you will need at least 2-3 hours to enjoy it, and you can access it through the Victoria metro station.

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26. National Library of Greece

Athens in 3 Days: National Library of Greece

Why: As soon as you complete your visit to the National Archaeological Museum, it’s time for the city’s three most remarkable neoclassical buildings. First, head to Omonia Square and then continue on Panepistimiou Avenue. Your first stop will be the building where the National Library of Greece was housed until 2017. Most of its archive is now located at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (check the 4-day itinerary for more details).

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27. University of Athens, Central Building

Athens in 3 Days: University of Athens

Why: Second in the row is the Central Building of the University of Athens, right next to the National Library of Greece. Get ready for some memorial photos as its architecture is impressive, with its shape resembling the letter H. Its history is equally impressive as it started its operations back in 1841. Today it hosts important events of the Athenian University.

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28. Academy of Athens

Athens in 3 Days: Academy of Athens

Why: The “Athenian Trilogy” of neoclassical buildings is completed with the Academy of Athens. It was designed in 1859 by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen, the younger brother of the University’s architect, Christian Hansen. The third structure is also the most astonishing; it is considered, by experts, one of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings in the world.

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29. Skoufa str. (Kolonaki neighborhood)

A café with outdoor seating and plants on Skoufa street in Kolonaki, Athens, with two women walking by.

Why: After the Academy of Athens, continue your journey to Skoufa str. in Kolonaki Square’s direction. Quality restaurants, cafes, and luxury shops await you to discover them. Nevertheless, ensure that you do not spend more than 1-2 hours here – Kolokotroni str. and Psyri are following. On the contrary, if you love museums or hiking, you will find more suggestions about the area at the end of the article.

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30. Old Parliament

Old Parliament

Why: On the way leaving Kolonaki Square for Kolokotroni str., do not miss a stopover at the historic Old Parliament. Here was housed the Greek Parliament until about a century ago. Nowadays, the building is the home of the National History Museum.

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31. Kolokotroni str.

Kolokotroni

Why: Behind the Old Parliament is one of Athens’s most lively streets recently, Kolokotroni str. As you walk down the road and the surrounding alleys, you will find some of the most notable shops in the city, such as restaurants, bars, and cafes. Some of the spots around I really love are the cafes-bars Clumsies, and Noel. People in Athens absolutely adore spending 1-2 hours enjoying their coffee, so have a seat and do it like them. If you’re in the mood for Athenian street food, head to Falafellas for the town’s best falafel or Kostas for decent gyros. Both won’t break the bank and will keep you stuffed for hours.

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32. Psyri

Psyri

Why: Full of experiences, it’s time to complete your journey. At the end of Kolokotroni str., continue in Agias Irinis str. and cross Athinas str. to enter the Psyri district. One of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, it is full of pastry shops, rooftop bars, and taverns. Therefore, stick around Iroon Square, where the most exciting stores are located. The fairytale-themed cafe Little Kook is great for some Instagram photos, but once you are done with them, head to Zoubourlou. They offer Greek coffee and huge desserts, which can replace an entire meal, like baklava, kunefe, and profiterole. Another great spot is Kokkion, serving probably the best ice cream around.

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Conclusion: What to Add or Skip

The above routes should be enough for you to have 3 full days in Athens and get an unforgettable taste of the city.

However, if you find the itinerary too stressful, you can skip points 11 and 12 or 14 during Day 1.

Second, a milder alternative to Day 2 would be to skip points 15 and 16 and start your walk from the Thiseio metro station.

As for Day 3, you could skip point 29 and the Kolonaki area: head straight to the Old Parliament after the Academy of Athens.

On the other hand, if you believe you can add a few more things to your itinerary, do it on Day 3. While you are in the Kolonaki neighborhood, visit the fascinating Benaki Museum or go for a hike to Lycabettus Hill. From its top, you can enjoy a unique view of Athens.

Finally, if you decide to add another day to your trip to Athens or want an alternative to Day 3, here, you can find the Athens 4-day itinerary.

It includes a visit to the famous Athens Riviera up to Cape Sounio.

Do not also forget to check the 10 best neighborhoods for your stay in Athens for additional reliable accommodation options and the what-to-pack guide.

Make Your Trip Easier

Accommodation
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

Airport Transfer
If you want to get to and from Athens Airport with peace of mind, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with Welcome Pickups. Their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, but they are totally worth it. They use local English-speaking drivers, wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and introduce you to the city along the way.

Flight
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.

Travel Insurance
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use, as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.

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2 thoughts on “Athens in 3 Days Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Itinerary”

  1. Wow incredible level of detail and I really appreciate the map for each day, thank you so much for all the hardwork that went into making this!!! 🙂

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