In case you are a primary time customer to Athens you in all probability marvel what number of days to spend within the metropolis, or if it’s even value visiting. Most individuals land in Athens on their option to different locations in Greece, in order that they don’t plan to spend greater than a day or two right here, on the most. Would that be sufficient for visiting this historic metropolis?
Earlier than we get into extra particulars about what number of days you’ll want in Athens, let’s first talk about what to anticipate when visiting the Greek capital.
Is Athens Value Visiting?
For many who love historical past Athens doesn’t want a lot introduction. The town is just not solely Europe’s oldest capital, but in addition one of many oldest repeatedly inhabited cities on earth. It’s the cradle of western civilization and the place the place democracy and philosophy have been born. It’s additionally the birthplace of the Greek drama.
As you could anticipate, with over 3000 years of historical past Athens is a metropolis imbued with tradition and loaded with historic ruins and interesting museums. So if that’s what you’re after, you gained’t be disenchanted.
Trendy Athens, however, is a blended bag. A metropolis of extraordinary contrasts. On one aspect you’ve gotten the towering, magnificent Parthenon and the Acropolis, whereas on the opposite you see a sprawl of ugly concrete condominium blocks.
Aside from a number of good neighborhoods like Plaka, Monastiraki, or Syntagma Sq., Athens seems to be extra like a battleground of previous versus new. It has neither the classical class or grandeur of an historic metropolis, nor the splendor of different European capitals, like Rome or Paris. Nearly all over the place you flip you’ll see ugly, nondescript buildings standing subsequent to run-down neoclassical ones, building websites and wire fencing.
Why does Athens seems to be so bizarre? The reply is just not easy as there are numerous components that contributed to this facet. After gaining its independence, Greece went by very exhausting occasions. Folks rushed to the massive cities to make more cash, so urbanization occurred very quick.
This triggered anarchy within the building business. Homes began popping up with no city planning in any way. The result’s the sprawl of ugly constructions that you just see right now. And never solely in Athens, however in most huge cities in Greece as nicely.
The Meals Scene
In distinction with different European capitals the place worldwide delicacies is just about the norm, the meals scene in Athens has little or no range. Greeks appear to be very content material with their very own meals and will not be curious about attempting different cuisines.
So far as I’m involved, I LOVE Greek meals and couldn’t get sufficient of it! However in order for you extra selection or you’re in search of some particular delicacies, you gained’t discover it in Athens.
What makes Athens a magic place to go to will not be the websites, the structure, or the eating places, however the individuals. Their pleasure of life, kindness and spontaneity takes over the chaotic vibes of the town. Greek hospitality is heat and real, with no hidden motive to achieve something aside from maybe some dialog.
How Many Days to You Spend in Athens
Are 2 Days in Athens Sufficient?
Athens calls for a minimal of two days. Relying on how briskly you stroll and what your pursuits are, you could possibly see Athen’s predominant websites in simply two days. Nevertheless, I don’t consider that’s sufficient time for visiting any museums.
How About 3 Days in Athens?
Three days gives you sufficient time to go to the principle points of interest with out speeding. The nice half about Athens is that the majority factors of curiosity are within the historic district, so they’re simple to achieve.
We spent a complete of 4 days in Athens, however that included a day journey to Delphi. So we mainly wanted solely 3 days for visiting the archeological websites, the principle museums, and get a glimpse of the town’s hottest neighborhoods.
Are 4 Days in Athens too Lengthy?
Clearly, the extra time you’ve gotten the extra you’ll have the ability to immerse your self within the native tradition, in addition to discover a number of the points of interest which might be exterior the historic middle. With 4 days in Athens you’ll have the ability to take a day journey exterior the town, if you happen to select to.
Find out how to Get Round in 3 Days in Athens
One of the best ways to get round Athens is on foot, as many of the metropolis’s main points of interest are positioned within the historic middle, subsequent to 1 one other. We visited Athens independently, however you too can e-book a tour for a number of of the points of interest.
The metro is clear, environment friendly and cheap in Athens. Nevertheless, would solely advocate utilizing if it is advisable to go to locations which might be exterior of the historic middle, like Lycabettus Hill or the port of Piraeus. And if you happen to do, you’ll have to observe your pockets like nowhere else in Europe, as petty crime in very excessive in Athens. Sadly, I’m speaking from expertise.
We additionally discovered Taxis to be a great way to get across the Greek capital, as they’re lots and comparatively cheap. Taxis are particularly handy if it is advisable to get between the points of interest rapidly. The common taxi experience prices round $7.00, with the minimal fare beginning at $1.50 plus $0.80/km within the metropolis middle and $1.40/km within the environment.
The Hop-on Hop-off Bus
The Hop-on-Hop-off Bus can also be a great choice for visiting Athens. There are completely different routes and completely different time durations (24 hours to three days) to select from.
The open-top, double-decker bus takes you to the numerous vital sights and points of interest of the town and you’ve got the choice to get off the bus (and again on) wherever you select to. Take the choice to go to Piraeus too, because the port is farther away from the middle.
Bus Excursions We Advocate
Renting a Automobile in Athens
We rented a automobile at Athens Airport as a result of our Greece itinerary included a highway journey within the Peloponnese. Nevertheless, I don’t advocate driving in Athens as site visitors is heavy and parking is pricey and exhausting to search out. We had the automobile parked for 3 days whereas we visited Athens and paid virtually $100 in parking charges!
The place to Keep in Athens
No matter your variety of days in Athens can be, look to remain in one of many central areas similar to Syntagma, Plaka, Monastiraki, or Thissio. All these neighborhoods are near the sights and have good public transportation connections.
An excellent location in Athens makes a giant distinction not solely on comfort but in addition on how a lot you’ll have the ability to see.
The most effective place to remain in Athens in our opinion is close to the Acropolis. This contains the neighborhoods of Plaka, Syntagma Sq., and Monastiraki. These areas are nicer that different elements of Athens, however most significantly, if you happen to keep right here you’ll be inside strolling distance of the Acropolis, Roman Agora, Library of Hadrian, and different locations of curiosity in Athens.
Find out how to Save Time & Cash in 3 Days in Athens
Archeological websites are comparatively costly in Athens, so if you’re planning to go to them (and you need to!), the best choice to avoid wasting is the Athens Combo Ticket. The ticket offers you entry to 7 archeological websites: Acropolis, Historic Agora, Roman Agora, Theatre of Dionysus, Kerameikos Cemetery, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Hadrian’s Library.
Athens Combo Ticket offers you one-time admission to every web site and 4 self-guided audio excursions in English (if choice is chosen). The fee is €30 for adults and €15 for college students. With the pre-booked combo ticket you’ll save not solely cash, but in addition time as you’ll be skipping the lengthy strains at Athens’ high websites.
What to Go to in Athens – 3 Days Itinerary
Listed here are my suggestions for one of the best locations to go to in Athens in 3 days.
1. The Acropolis
Excessive above the town on a rocky outcrop lies Athen’s most well-known landmark – the Acropolis – a UNESCO world heritage web site. This historic citadel comprises the stays of a number of historic buildings of nice architectural and historic significance. In historic occasions the Acropolis of Athens was generally known as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the primary type and founding father of Athens.
The biggest and most recognizable constructing on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, which was constructed on high of a former temple destroyed by the Persians throughout the Greco-Persian Wars. The development of tall marble temple that you just see right now started in 447 B.C. and was devoted to the goddess Athena.
On the north aspect of the Acropolis you’ll see the constructing of the Erechtheion, which was primarily devoted to the goddess Athena. Whereas the Parthenon is probably the most spectacular temple on the Acropolis, this constructing housed the statue of Athena.
The temple has two porches: one on the northwest nook which is supported by tall Ionic columns, and one other on the south-west nook and is supported by six huge feminine statues. These are the well-known Caryatids which appear to hold the burden of the roof on their heads.
Simply beneath the slopes of the Acropolis sits the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, often known as Herodeon. This lovely open-air theater was constructed between 160AD – 174AD by a rich benefactor of Athens –Herodes Atticus– as homage to his late spouse Rigilla.
The Propylaea (or Propylaia) is the classical Greek Doric constructing complicated that you just’ll come throughout after climbing the steps up the Acropolis. This functioned because the monumental ceremonial gateway to the Acropolis of Athens, so no marvel it’s so spectacular!
Temple of Athena Nike
On the southwest nook of the Acropolis, as you come up the steps to the Propylaea, you’ll see small Temple of Athena Nike. The temple was devoted to Nike and accomplished round 420 BC.
Athens Acropolis is open every day from 8 am to eight pm in summer season (April to October) and for 8 am to five pm in winter (November to March).
Admission is €24 for adults and €18 for kids 17 and beneath. Admission is free for the European Union youngsters age 18 and beneath. The location is free with the Athens Combo Ticket.
Excursions We Advocate
2. Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum homes a number of the most vital relics from the Acropolis hill. The museum sits only a few hundred meters under the Parthenon and one of the best time to go to it’s after touring the Acropolis of Athens.
Opening hours are as follows:
Monday to Thursday: 9 am to five pm
Friday: 9 am to 10 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9 am to eight pm
Admission costs fluctuate by season.
November to March: €10 for adults and €5 for college students
April to October: €15 for adults and €10 for college students
The Museum’s ticket is impartial from the ticket to the Acropolis and different related archaeological websites, subsequently it’s NOT included within the Athens Combo Ticket. You may skip the road by shopping for the ticket upfront.
3. Historic Agora & Temple of Hephaestus
The Historic Agora was largely a spot of political and social gatherings. To not be confused with the a lot smaller Roman Agora, which is only a few minutes stroll away. The Historic Agora was the place the Athenians would meet to debate politics and their quotidian lives.
Excavations of the Agora befell comparatively not too long ago, between 1859 and 1912. However to all people’s shock, an awesome deal extra was found throughout the next years, once they started putting in the railway tracks.
Temple of Hephaestus
The most effective preserved stays within the Historic Agora is the Temple of Hephaestus. In actual fact, this temple is known for being the world’s best-preserved historic Greek temple.
Historic Agora is open on daily basis between 8 am and eight pm.
The location is included with the Athens Combo Ticket. In any other case, admission prices €10 for adults and €5 for college students.
4. Roman Agora
The Roman Agora, which is positioned on the northern aspect of the Acropolis, is a comparatively small web site constructed by the primary Roman Emperor Augustus.
Throughout historic time, the Agora was dwelling to the central market, which had been moved from the next-door Historic Agora. The market was surrounded by a marble colonnades, whereas the patio was utterly coated in marble.
At present solely a small portion of the columns are nonetheless standing, and the stays of the general public outhouse. The one construction left intact is “Tower of the Winds”, which was initially used as a sundial. The tower was reworked right into a chapel throughout the sixth century.
Opening hours are 8 am to five pm every day.
Admission costs are €10 for adults and €5 for college students, however with the Athens Combo Ticket, admission is included.
5. Hadrian’s Library
Commissioned by Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD, Hadrian’s Library was as soon as an imposing constructing that had a number of studying rooms, a convention halls and an interior courtyard. The library was surrounded by a gallery adorned with 100 columns.
Though it’s not in an excellent form, you’ll be able to nonetheless get an thought of how grandiose the constructing will need to have been in its days of glory.
The doorway is subsequent to Monastiraki Sq.. The library is open on daily basis from 8 am to eight pm.
Admission price is €6 for adults and €3 for kids. Nevertheless, the positioning is free with the Athens Combo Ticket.
6. Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus was as soon as a formidable construction made completely of white marble. The development lasted for 7 centuries and resulted in 132 AC, beneath the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
On the completion of the spectacular temple the Emperor commissioned two statues for it: one in all Zeus, fabricated from gold, and one in all himself, fabricated from marble.
Within the Center Ages an earthquake destroyed many of the temple, so little or no of it stays right now.
The Temple is open every day from 8 am till 3 pm.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is without doubt one of the websites included within the Athens Combo Ticket. With out the combo ticket, admission is €12 for adults and €6 for kids.
7. Hadrian’s Arch
On the northeast nook of the temple is Hadrian’s Arch, a formidable 18-meter marble arch that after separated the previous metropolis of Theseus and the brand new metropolis of Hadrian.
Hadrian’s Arch is free to go to.
8. Athens Nationwide Archeological Museum
The Nationwide Archaeological Museum in Athens is the most important and most vital museum in Greece, housing a number of the most vital artifacts from many archaeological websites across the nation.
There are collections from Historic Greece in addition to reveals from different durations in historical past together with the Egyptians, Romans and a set of Cypriot antiquities. The museum is actually value visiting and intensely huge, which is why I like to recommend getting an audio information as a way to see it correctly.
The Museum is open Wednesday until Monday between 8:30 am and three:30 pm and on Tuesday from 1 pm to eight pm.
Admission costs are €12 for adults and €6 for college students.
9. Karameikos Cemetery
Karameikos is without doubt one of the least visited websites in Athens, regardless of being an vital archeological web site. In antiquity, this was one of many largest and most vital cemeteries in Greece. The cemetery holds an enormous assortment of tombstones and funerary sculptures.
It’s positioned northwest on the finish of Ermou Avenue, only a brief stroll from Monastiraki Sq. and the Historic Agora. As you stroll down the traditional path lined with tombs you’ll be able to study the tales of its inhabitants and see many spectacular tombstones.
There are numerous spectacular tombstone contained in the cemetery, just like the one of many two sisters Pamphili and Demetria, or the the imposing marble bull crowns the tomb of a outstanding Athenian citizen. In your manner out, you too can go to the small museum which has an attention-grabbing exhibition of sculptures and pottery.
Karameikos cemetery is open Monday – Sunday, from 8 am to eight pm. Admission is €8 for adults and €4 for college students. Admission is free with the Athens Combo Ticket.
10. Lycabettus Hill
If you wish to see one of the best views in Athens, together with the Acropolis, Historic Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Panathenaic Stadium, you need to stroll or take the funicular tramway to the highest of Lycabettus Hill. On a transparent day, you’ll be able to see the Saronic Gulf and the encircling mountains from up right here.
We visited close to nightfall and the views have been completely breathtaking! Sadly, if it’s a transparent day, likelihood is many different individuals can be up there as nicely.
On the high of Lycabettus Hill you’ll be able to see the Chapel of St. George, a small whitewashed Orthodox church constructed within the nineteenth century, and a monument devoted to the heroes of the Greek Conflict of Independence (1821-1832). There are additionally a few very good eating places value trying out if you wish to get pleasure from lunch or dinner with a view.
The cable automobile runs on daily basis from 9 am to 1:30 am, departing each half-hour. Admission costs are: €7 for adults and €3.50 for kids.
11. Panathenaic Stadium
It is a very spectacular place to go to, contemplating that it was the positioning of the primary trendy Olympic Video games in 1896. It is usually the place the annual Athens Marathon ends.
The Panathenaic Stadium, which dates again to the 4th century B.C., is made completely of white marble. Therefore its nickname, Kallimarmaro, which in means “lovely marble”.
The admission price is a bit steep (€10/individual), however when you have the time and the cash it’s value stepping into. There are a few hours within the morning designated for morning jogs. So of you are feeling like working within the footsteps of former Olympians, right here is your likelihood!
12. Plaka & Anafiotika Neighborhoods
In case you are in search of a romantic place to walk in Athens, head over to the Mnisikleous Avenue in Plaka. The road is a protracted set of stairs lined with rustic eating places. Though the eating places fluctuate in high quality, the ambiance right here is difficult to beat.
Plaka attracts huge crowds, particularly within the evenings, but it surely’s a pleasant neighborhood to walk simply the identical. It’s additionally a great place to see avenue artwork in Athens.
Anafiotika is mainly a small a part of Plaka district, positioned on the base of the Acropolis. The realm could be very small, comprised solely of a handful of slim alleys with white concrete huts and picturesque small taverns. It’s possible you’ll simply stroll in Anafiotika with out even realizing it’s one other neighborhood.
Anafiotika was constructed within the 1800s by islanders who got here to Athens to help in constructing the town. Strolling the peaceable and quiet alleys makes you are feeling like you’re on the Cyclades, moderately than in Athens.
13. Monastiráki Sq.
Named after the tiny monastery church at its middle, Monastiraki Sq. is a full of life spot that you just’ll be handed by fairly a number of occasions throughout your 3 days in Athens. That is one in all Athens’ liveliest neighborhoods – a mixture of historical past, the place on one hand you’ve gotten Greek and Roman ruins, an Ottoman Mosque and an Orthodox monastery, and however bars, eating places, and memento outlets.
The realm is a community of pedestrian streets stuffed with memento outlets that encompass the stays of each the Greek and Roman agoras. Given its proximity to the 2 agoras, Monastiraki has in all probability all the time been a purchasing hub and it’s not completely different right now.
The streets across the market are stuffed with memento outlets, whereas subsequent to the metro station is the place you’ll discover the official Flea Market.
14. Church of Panagia Kapnikarea
Panagia Kapnikarea is without doubt one of the oldest church buildings in Athens. The church is positioned within the outskirts of the Plaka neighborhood, within the middle of a busy purchasing space. Hundreds of individuals stroll by it every day with out paying an excessive amount of consideration to this jewel.
Based on the data, Panagia Kapnikarea was constructed within the early eleventh century (round 1050) on the positioning of an historic temple that was devoted both to goddess Athena. However what makes it particular is the architectural design, which could be very particular.
The church has three elements: the principle church, a chapel and an exo-narthex. It additionally has many lovely Byzantine icons and mosaics.
The church of Panagia Kapnikarea has an attention-grabbing story. Within the nineteenth century, throughout the reign of King Otto, the authorities determined to demolished it because the King’s architect failed to incorporate it in his city designs. Ultimately, it was the intervention of King Ludwig of Bavaria that saved the church.
Admission to the church is free.