4 Days In Athens: The Perfect Athens Itinerary

Are you looking for the perfect Athens itinerary? Athens (in Greek, Αθήνα or Athína) is not only one of the best places to visit in Greece but also the capital of the country and the Attica region (in Greek, Ἀττική or Attiki). Inhabited for over three millennia, Athens is considered the cradle of Western civilization. Besides, it’s one of the best cities to visit in Europe!

It’s not hard finding activities to try in Athens – the problem is choosing! But among the best things to do in Athens, it’s impossible not to mention the dozens of archaeological sites and museums, such as the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, the Library of Hadrian, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Kerameikos Cemetery, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Benaki Museum!

So, do you want to know more about 4 Days In Athens: The Perfect Athens Itinerary? Keep reading!

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Athens Itinerary
Athens Itinerary

Brief History of Athens

If there’s a destination that does not have a “brief history”, that destination is Athens. After all, we’re talking about one of the oldest cities in Europe! Still, it’s known that the city was founded around the 8th century BC (according to Greek mythology and classic narratives).

Athens reached its height between 500 and 300 BC when it became one of the main city-states of Ancient Greece and the greatest intellectual and cultural center of the West. During the Roman Empire, it continued to be a thriving city, but it eventually lost importance in the Byzantine Empire and later in the Ottoman Empire.

Visiting Athens

Athens is a true “open-air museum” and therefore deserves to be explored on foot. However, it’s also true that Athens is called the “City of the Seven Hills” (due to its geographical location between the Acropolis, Anchesmos, Areopagus, Lycabettus, Nymphs, Philopappou, and Pnyx hills) – which translates into tourist itineraries with many ascents and descents!

As always, I was careful to distribute the points of interest in this Athens itinerary, so that you only have to walk 1-2 km per day. Nevertheless, if you prefer to travel by public transportation, you can do it by metro, bus, or tram.

Where to Stay in Athens

Photo credit: Bedbox Hostel via Booking.com

BUDGET – Bedbox Hostel

The Bedbox Hostel is located in Athens City Center, 0.7 km from the center of Athens. The free wifi access, bar, and terrace are some of the most popular facilities.

The Bedbox Hostel has dormitories (with 4 or 6 beds) and twin rooms.

BUDGET – Adrian Hotel

The Adrian Hotel is situated in Plaka, 0.7 km from the center of Athens. The 24-hour front desk, private parking, and American or buffet breakfast are some of the most popular facilities.

The Adrian Hotel has single, twin, double, and triple rooms.

Photo credit: Adrian Hotel via Booking.com
Photo credit: Electra Hotel Athens via Booking.com

MID-RANGE – Electra Hotel Athens

The Electra Hotel Athens is located in Syntagma, 150 m from the center of Athens. The room service, bar, and American or buffet breakfast are some of the most popular facilities.

The Electra Hotel Athens has rooms (individual, twin, double, triple, and family) and suites.

MID-RANGE – Elia Ermou Athens Hotel

O Elia Ermou Athens Hotel is situated in Syntagma, 250 m from the center of Athens. The private parking, restaurant, and spa are some of the most popular facilities.

The Elia Ermou Athens Hotel has rooms (twin, double, family, and executive) and junior suites.

Photo credit: Elia Ermou Athens Hotel via Booking.com
Photo credit: Coco-mat Athens BC via Booking.com

LUXURY – Coco-mat Athens BC

The Coco-mat Athens BC is located in Koukaki, 1.1 km from the center of Athens. The room service, swimming pool, and spa are some of the most popular facilities.

The Coco-mat Athens BC has double rooms and suites.

LUXURY – Electra Metropolis

The Electra Metropolis is situated in Plaka, 250 m from the center of Athens. The two swimming pools, restaurant, and spa are some of the most popular facilities.

The Electra Metropolis has rooms (twin, double, triple, and executive) and suites.

Photo credit: Electra Metropolis via Booking.com

Athens Itinerary – Day 1

Areopagus

The first day of this Athens itinerary starts at the Areopagus (in Greek, Άρειος Πάγος or Áreios Pagos), which is one of the seven historic hills of Athens and the name of the ancient high court.

His name can be translated as “Hill of Ares” (the Greek god of war, courage, anger, and violence, whose Roman equivalent was Mars).

Located northwest of the Acropolis, the Areopagus was where the council met to discuss judicial affairs and also matters of education and science.

Nowadays, Areopagus Hill is one of the most popular viewpoints in Athens, as it offers panoramic views of the Ancient Agora.

Acropolis

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is the Acropolis (in Greek, Ακρόπολη or Akrópoli), the most famous tourist attraction in the Greek capital (and the country, for that matter). This is because the archaeological complex gathers the ruins of some of the most important buildings from Classical Antiquity!

Erechtheion

The Acropolis is open every day, from 8 am to 6 pm, with the last admission at 5:30 pm. And tickets cost €12 (normal fare) or €10 (reduced fare). There’s also a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read my complete guide to the Acropolis, a must-see tourist attraction on any Athens itinerary!

Acropolis Museum

This Athens itinerary continues at the Acropolis Museum (in Greek, Μουσείο Ακρόπολης or Mouseío Akrópolis), one of the best museums in Europe and the most visited museum in Greece. Situated southeast of the Acropolis, this archaeological museum displays pieces from the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nice, etc.

The Acropolis Museum is open every day, but with varying hours: from November to March, it opens from 9 am to 5 pm (from Monday to Thursday), from 9 am to 10 pm (on Fridays), or from 9 am to 8 pm (on Saturdays and Sundays); and from April to October, it opens from 8 am to 4 pm (on Mondays), from 8 am to 8 pm (from Tuesday to Thursday, and on Saturdays and Sundays), or from 8 am to 8 pm (on Fridays).

Interestingly, the price of tickets also differs depending on the season: from November to March, they cost €5 (normal fare) or €3 (reduced fare); and from April to October, they cost €10 (normal rate) or €5 (reduced rate)!

Hadrian’s Arch

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is the Arch of Hadrian (in Greek, Αψίδα του Αδριανού or Apsida tou Adrianoú). This monumental gate looks more like a Roman triumphal arch (like the Arch of Constantine, Arch of Septimius Severus, and Arch of Titus, in the city of Rome).

At 18 meters high, the structure is made of white marble from Mount Pentelicus – the place from which the rock was extracted for the construction of the monuments of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, and many others scattered around the city.

Hadrian’s Arch was erected in honor of Emperor Hadrian, more specifically when he came to Athens to consecrate the Temple of Olympian Zeus (circa 131-132 AD).

Temple of Olympian Zeus

This Athens itinerary continues at the Temple of Olympian Zeus (in Greek, Ναός του Ολυμπίου Διός or Naós tou Olympíou Diós), one of the largest and most famous classical Greek temples. Also known as Olympieion (in Greek, Ολυμπιείο or Olympieío), it was built between the 6th century BC and the 2nd century AD in honor of Zeus.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is open every day, from 8 am to 5 pm, with the last admission at 4:40 pm. And tickets cost €8 (normal fare) or €4 (reduced fare). There’s also a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read my complete guide to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a must-see tourist attraction on any Athens itinerary!

Panathenaic Stadium

The first day of this Athens itinerary ends at the Panathenaic Stadium (in Greek, Παναθηναϊκό Στάδιο or Panathinaïkó Stadio), an athletics stadium that hosted some events of the 1896 Summer Olympics (the first Olympic Games of the modern era). As it’s entirely made of white marble from Mount Pentelicus, it’s also called Kallimarmaro (in Greek, Καλλιμάρμαρο or Kallimármaro).

The Panathenaic Stadium is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm (from November to February) or from 8 am to 7 pm (from March to October). And tickets cost €5 (regular fare) or €2.5 (reduced fare)!

Athens Itinerary – Day 2

Kerameikos

The second day of this Athens itinerary begins at Kerameikos (Greek, Κεραμεικός or Kerameikós), the first public cemetery in Ancient Athens. Sometimes called “Ceramicus”, the archaeological site owes its name to the hero Ceramo and the potters’ neighborhood that used to exist here (“kerameikos” means “ceramic”, in Greek).

Kerameikos is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 am to 5 pm, with the last admission at 4:40 pm. Tickets cost €8 (normal fare) or €4 (reduced fare). And there’s a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read my complete guide to Kerameikos, a must-see tourist attraction on any Athens itinerary!

Ancient Agora

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is the Ancient Agora (in Greek, Αρχαία Αγορά της Αθήνας or Archaía Agorá tis Athínas), the administrative, economic, cultural, and social center of Athens in Classical Antiquity. Located northwest of the Acropolis, this archaeological site comprises the ruins of many structures and public buildings!

Temple of Hephaestus
Museum of the Ancient Agora

The Ancient Agora is open every day, from 8 am to 3 pm (in winter) or from 8 am to 8 pm (in summer), with the last entry being at 2:40 pm or 7:40 pm. Tickets cost €10 (normal fare) or €5 (reduced fare). And there’s a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read my complete guide to the Ancient Agora, a must-see tourist attraction on any Athens itinerary!

Hadrian’s Library

This Athens itinerary continues in Hadrian’s Library (em grego, Βιβλιοθήκη του Αδριανού ou Vivliothíki tou Adrianoú), a building erected at the request of Emperor Hadrian – hence the name – to house his extensive collection of books and manuscripts. The foundation of this literary and cultural complex dates from 132 AD.

The Hadrian’s Library is open every day, from 8 am to 3 pm (in winter) or from 8 am to 8 pm (in summer), with the last entry being at 2:40 pm or 7:40 pm. Tickets cost €6 (normal fare) or €3 (reduced fare). And there’s a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Roman Agora

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is the Roman Agora (in Greek, Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά or Romaïkí Agora), the Roman Forum of the Greek city during the Roman Empire. Designed between 19 and 11 BC under the orders of Emperor Augustus, this public square hosted the central market, as well as several informal gatherings and meetings.

The Roman Agora is open every day, from 8 am to 3 pm (in winter) or from 8 am to 8 pm (in summer), with the last entry being at 2:40 pm or 7:40 pm. Tickets cost €8 (normal fare) or €4 (reduced fare). And there’s a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation

This Athens itinerary continues at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin (in Greek, Μητροπολιτικός Καθεδρικός Ναός Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου or Mitropolitismo The Evangelismokósokóso).

Dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the Orthodox Cathedral of Athens (in Greek, Ορθόδοξος Καθεδρικός Ναός της Αθήνας or Orthodox Kathedrikós Naós tis Athínas) is one of the most important religious temples in the city and the country.

The construction works took almost two decades – between December 1842 and May 1862 – and were promoted by King Otto I of Greece and his wife, Queen Amalia of Oldenburg.

Plaka

The second day of this Athens itinerary ends in Plaka (in Greek, Πλάκα or Pláka), the most charming and photogenic neighborhood in the historic center of the city. And why? Because of its proximity to the Acropolis, its colorful houses, and its characteristic atmosphere!

Church of Saint Catherine
Choragic Monument of Lysicrates

In Plaka, you’ll find all kinds of cafes, bars, and restaurants, where you can taste the best of Greek cuisine. Not to mention the dozens of souvenir shops, selling typical and regional products (such as olive oil and olives, herbs and spices, wines and liqueurs, honey, cheeses, gold and/or silver jewelry, handmade leather sandals, etc.)!

Athens Itinerary – Day 3

National Archaeological Museum

The third day of this Athens itinerary begins at the National Archaeological Museum (in Greek, Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο or Ethnikó Archaiologikó Mouseío), the largest archaeological museum in the country and the one with the largest collection of Ancient Greek artifacts in the world!

The National Archaeological Museum is open every day, but with varying hours: from November to March, it opens from 1 pm to 8 pm (on Tuesdays) or from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm (from Wednesday to Monday); and from April to October, it opens from 1 pm to 8 pm (on Tuesdays) or from 8 am to 8 pm (from Wednesday to Monday).

Interestingly, the price of tickets also differs depending on the season: from November to March, they cost €6 (normal fare) or €3 (reduced fare); and from April to October, they cost €12 (normal rate) or €6 (reduced rate)!

Omonia Square

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is Omonia Square (in Greek, Πλατεία Ομονοίας or Plateía Omonoías), one of the main squares in the Greek capital. Designed in 1846, it was first called Palace Square (in Greek, Πλατεία Ανακτόρων or Plateía Anaktóron) and later Otto Square (in Greek, Πλατεία Όθωνος or Plateía Óthonos).

Omonia Square is served by the metro station Omonia, where the M1 (green) and M2 (red) lines stop!

Monastiraki Square

This Athens itinerary continues in Monastiraki Square (in Greek, Πλατεία Μοναστηρακίου or Plateía Monastirakíou), another of the most popular squares in the city. And here, there are two religious temples that stand out: the Church of Panagia Pantanassa (in Greek, Εκκλησία της Παναγίας Παντανάσσης or Ekklisía tis Panagías Pantanássis) and the Tzistarakis Mosque (in Greek, Τζαμί Τζισταράκη or Tzamí Tzistaráki).

Church of Panagia Pantanassa

The Monastiraki neighborhood is one of the areas of Athens that I recommend the most, if you want to go shopping or taste local delicacies. Therefore, from Monastiraki Square, go through Pandrossou Street or Adrianou Street – the latter, behind Hadrian’s Adriano’s!

Monastiraki Square is served by the metro station Monastiraki, where the M1 (green) and M3 (blue) lines stop!

Ermou Street

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is Ermou Street (in Greek, Οδός Ερμού or Odós Ermoú), a street that connects the Archaeological Site of Kerameikos to Syntagma Square and crosses the neighborhoods of Psyri or Psiri (Ψυρρή or Psyrrí), Thiseio or Thissio (in Greek, Θησείο or Thiseío) and Monastiraki.

Ermou Street
Church of Panagia Kapnikarea

The abundance of international brand stores makes Ermou Street one of the busiest in Athens and one of the most expensive in Europe. On the other hand, it’s here where the Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea (in Greek, Εκκλησία της Παναγίας Καπνικαρέας or Ekklisía tis Panagías Kapnikaréas) is situated, an Orthodox church in the Byzantine style!

Syntagma Square

This Athens itinerary continues in Syntagma Square (in Greek, Πλατεία Συντάγματος or Plateía Syntágmatos), the most important and emblematic square of the Greek capital.

Syntagma Square is the largest square in mainland Greece and the second largest in the country, after Spianada Square (in Greek, Πλατεία Σπιανάδα or Plateía Spianáda) on the island of Corfu.

Frequented by tourists and locals alike, Syntagma Square is one of Athens’ most popular venues for concerts, demonstrations, and other street events.

Syntagma Square is served by the metro station Syntagma, where the M2 (red) and M3 (blue) lines stop!

Hellenic Parliament

The third day of this Athens itinerary ends at the Hellenic Parliament (in Greek, Βουλή των Ελλήνων or Voulí ton Ellínon), an imposing building installed facing Syntagma Square. And did you know that this is also the Old Palace (in Greek, Παλαιά Ανάκτορα or Palaiá Anáktora), the former official residence of the Greek Royal Family?

In front of the Hellenic Parliament, you’ll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (in Greek, Μνημείο του Αγνώστου Στρατιώτη or Mnimeío tou Agnostou Stratióti). This monument is guarded by the Evzones (in Greek, Εύζωνες or Évzones) – members of the Greek Presidential Guard, who always wear traditional uniforms.

Athens Itinerary – Day 4

Lycabettus

The fourth and last day of this Athens itinerary starts at Lycabettus (in Greek, Λυκαβηττός or Lykavittós), another of the seven historic hills of Athens.

At 227 meters high, Lycabettus is the highest point in the city. For that reason, it’s very popular among tourists to watch the sunset, take photos, or simply enjoy the panoramic views.

In Lycabettus, you can also visit the Church of Saint George (in Greek, Εκκλησία του Άγιος Γεώργιος or Ekklisía tou Ágios Geórgios) and the Lycabettus Theater (in Greek, Θέατρο Λυκαβηττού or Théavittoútro). And if you don’t want to climb this limestone hill, you can always opt for the funicular!

Lyceum of Aristotle

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is the Lyceum of Aristotle (Greek, Λύκειο του Αριστοτέλης or Lýkeio tou Aristotelis), a philosophical school founded by Aristotle in 335 BC. This school taught both more advanced subjects (physics, logic, and metaphysics) and more accessible subjects (literature, politics, and rhetoric).

The Lyceum of Aristotle is open every day, from 8 am to 3 pm (in winter) or from 8 am to 8 pm (in summer), with the last entry being at 2:40 pm or 7:40 pm. Tickets cost €4 (normal fare) or €2 (reduced fare). And there’s a combined ticket at €30, which is valid for 5 days and includes entry to seven different locations:

  1. Acropolis
  2. Ancient Agora
  3. Roman Agora
  4. Library of Hadrian
  5. Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
  6. Archaeological Site of the Lyceum of Aristotle
  7. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Museum of Cycladic Art

This Athens itinerary continues at the Museum of Cycladic Art (in Greek, Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης or Mouseío Kykladikís Téchnis), whose collection is dedicated to the ancient cultures of the Aegean Sea and Cyprus – with a special focus on Cycladic Art from the third millennium BC. Inaugurated in 1986, it’s one of the biggest and most important museums in Athens.

The Museum of Cycladic Art is open every day (except on Tuesdays) from 10 am to 5 pm (from Monday to Wednesday, and on Fridays and Saturdays), from 10 am to 8 pm (on Thursdays), or from 11 am to 5 pm (on Sundays). And tickets cost €10 (normal fare) or €7 (reduced fare).

Benaki Museum

The next stop on this Athens itinerary is the Benaki Museum (in Greek, Μουσείο Μπενάκη or Mouseío Benáki), a museum of Greek culture. Founded in 1930 by art and antique collector Antonis Benakis, this was the first of seven public museums established by the Benakis family.

The Benaki Museum is open every day (except on Tuesdays) from 10 am to 6 pm (from Monday to Wednesday, and on Fridays and Saturdays), from 10 am to 12 am (on Thursdays), or from 10 am to 4 pm (on Sundays). And tickets cost €12 (normal fare) or €9 (reduced fare).

National Garden

This Athens itinerary continues in the National Garden (in Greek, Εθνικός Κήπος or Ethnikós Kípos), the ancient Royal Garden (in Greek, Βασιλικός Κήπος or Vasilikós Kípos). With almost 16 hectares, this green park brings together more than 500 species of plants and includes a botanical museum, a zoo, a lake, a children’s playground, a café with a terrace, and even a sundial – in addition to several fountains, statues, and ruins!

Zappeion

The fourth and last day of this Athens itinerary ends at the Zappeion (in Greek, Ζάππειο or Záppeio), a neoclassical palace from the late 19th century, which is currently used as a conference and exhibition center, or for official state meetings and ceremonies.

Funded by businessman, philanthropist, and benefactor Evangelos Zappa, the Zappeion was built between the grounds of the National Garden and the archaeological site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The works began in 1874 and the mansion was completed more than a decade later, in 1888.

Map of the Athens Itinerary

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