Today we are travelling to a city with more than 3,000 years of history, full of interesting places and tourist activities for all tastes. In this article we tell you the best things to do in Athens in 3 days and share tips for you to get to know the most essential places in the Greek capital.
Athens is one of the largest cities in Greece and one of the oldest.
The Greek capital has it all, from ancient monuments, ruins and archaeological sites to markets, mountains, viewpoints and some of the best food in the world.
With this short introduction, let’s start with this list of the best places to visit in Athens in 3 days.
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📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Things to do in Athens 6 places to visit in 3 days
One of the main advantages of visiting Athens is that it can be explored in several ways. There is the possibility of doing it on foot, by bicycle, by car, or by hiring different tours accompanied by a guide.
With this in mind, below we will tell you what are the main things to do in Athens and mention the different ways to visit each place.
1) Visit the Acropolis, one of the main tourist attractions in Athens.
🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.
When you think of the sights of Athens, one of the first places that probably comes to mind is the famous Acropolis.
This site is one of the most important in Greece and is more than 2,500 years old.
The Acropolis of Athens is home to some of the country’s most iconic historical monuments, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Parthenos and the Theatre of Dionysus, where Sophocles, Aristophanes and Aeschylus have performed some of their plays.
As you walk along the Acropolis, you will come across the remains of monuments, statues and columns that have survived the destruction caused during Greece’s declaration of independence.
The Acropolis of Athens is situated on a hill about 156 metres high and can be reached on foot or by car.
Although it is an activity that can be done on your own, in this case we recommend you take a guided tour so that you can delve a little deeper into the history of the site and Greek mythology, which is ultimately one of the most important aspects of this site.
In any case, whether you go with a guide or not, the Acropolis is the most important tourist site to visit in Athens.
✏️ USEFUL TIPS! As one of the main tourist attractions in Athens, it is usually packed with people. So we recommend that you buy your ticket in advance to avoid the long queues. On the other hand, if you go in the summer season, it tends to be stiflingly hot, so ideally you should go early and bring water and comfortable shoes.
These are the tours guide that we recommend you to do that include a visit to the Acropolis:
📷 At your own pace! Buy your ticket for skip-the-line access to the Acropolis with audio guide.
📷 Walking Tour: Tour of Ancient Athens plus Acropolis (optional pre-ticket or on-site).
📷 Bus Tour: Guided bus tour of Athens, plus Acropolis, plus Acropolis Museum.
2) Stroll through Anafiotika, the most charming area of Athens.
Anafiotika is located northwest of the Acropolis. It is one of the most charming areas within the Plaka Quarter and an obligatory stop on your 3-day tour of Athens.
This small town is one of the most picturesque and worth a walk through its streets full of shops, cafes and restaurants.
From the top of the Acropolis you can see its white and blue houses surrounded by colourful flowers and its narrow streets full of life. It is very similar in structure to the villages of the Greek islands.
Being close to the Acropolis, you can visit both sites on the same day, either on your own or by booking a tour that includes a visit to both sites.
As mentioned before, Anafiotika’s narrow streets are lined with restaurants, making it an ideal place to enjoy Greek cuisine, which you should not miss.
In addition, the restaurants often have terraces with a great atmosphere and in the evenings, in some of them, you can find typical Greek dance shows.
The neighbourhood is small and fairly quick to navigate. It might be a good idea to rent an electric bicycle and take the opportunity to visit Anafiotika and other sites nearby. It’s a fun and time-saving way to get around the main sights of Athens.
📷 Do you like the idea of cycling? Check out this electric bike tour of the Acropolis of Athens. The price includes the bike, helmet, headphones to listen to the guide, map and bottle of water.
🔝 If you are also visiting the countries bordering Greece, you might be interested in our mega guide to Bulgaria.
3) Visiting the famous Olympic Temple of Zeus
Another of the main sites to visit in Athens is the Olympic Temple of Zeus, an imposing Pentelic marble building that in its day had 104 columns 15 metres high, 96 metres long and 40 metres wide.
Only 14 of these columns remain today due to the destruction caused by an earthquake during the Middle Ages.
The Olympic Temple of Zeus is located only 500 metres from the Acropolis, so you can combine a visit to both sites in the same day, either on foot, by electric bicycle or by hiring a tour.
The temple can be seen perfectly well from the outside, but there is also the possibility of paying an entrance fee to enter and see it from the inside.
Like any other place whose main attraction is its history, it is advisable to visit this temple with a guide who can tell you about the legends, curiosities and historical facts of these ruins.
Next to the Olympic Temple of Zeus, you can also visit Hadrian’s Arch, another classical Greek marble construction.
🔝 Travelling around the country? Check out this route through mainland Greece in five days.
4) Tour the Central Market in Athens and learn about Athenian customs.
Getting to know the daily life of the locals is definitely one of the things to do in Athens, and the Central Market is one of the best places to get a closer look at Athenian culture.
This market is located just a few metres from Monastiraki Square and Omonia Square, right in the historic centre of the ancient city of Athens.
It is a place made up of shops selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, spices, aromatic herbs, sausages and much more.
There are also homemade food stalls where you can sample some of Greece’s typical dishes.
Most of the locals who live near the area do their shopping in the Central Market and there you can really feel the essence of the city, its customs and culture.
If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the daily life of the Greek capital, a stroll through the market is one of the things to do in Athens.
📷 If you like to try new flavours, you’ll love this Gastronomic Tour of Athens. With an English-speaking guide you will have the chance to learn more about the local gastronomy by tasting 4 Greek dishes.
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5) Visit the Monastiraki Quarter, the shopping area of Athens.
A visit to the Monastiraki Quarter is a must on your 3-day tour of Athens. As one of the main shopping areas of the city, you can take advantage of the opportunity to buy some souvenirs and typical Greek objects.
You can also take advantage of the walk to visit some of the most important historic churches in the city centre, such as the Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation of St. Mary and the Tzistarakis Mosque.
Moreover, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, greek gastronomy is recognised worldwide and in Monastiraki you will find numerous markets and stalls that offer a wide variety of typical dishesas the spanakopita and tyropita (stuffed pastas), Greek salads, stuffed aubergines, Pyta bread and national wines.
There is a night tour that offers a tour of the main tourist sites of Athens where you are taken to see not only the Monastiraki Quarter and its landmark buildings, but also the Acropolis and the Plaka Quarter.
The interesting thing about this tour is that, as it is at night, you can see all the monuments illuminated and the tour ends with dinner in a traditional restaurant.
📷 Visit Athens by day and by night! Watch this night walk through Plaka and Monastiraki.
6) Take a cruise to the islands of Agistri, Moni and Aegina.
Greece has about 6,000 islands, of which only about 225 are inhabited.
For tourists, the islands of Greece are often a great attraction, as they are a great place to take a few days off, connect with nature and enjoy unique landscapes and small villages.
If you are going to visit Athens in 3 days, but you don’t want to miss some of the islands, you can reserve a whole day to take a cruise and visit Agistri, Moni and Aegina.
These three islands are located southwest of Athens, more precisely in the Saronic Gulf.
Although this activity is not among the most typical things to do in Athens, it is certainly a worthwhile experience.
To get to Agistri and Aegina you can take a taxi to Piraeus (about 10 minutes from the centre of Athens) and then take a ferry to either island.
As for Moni, being an uninhabited island, there are no ferry services to Moni. Therefore, if you want to visit this island, you will have to hire a tour.
These tours usually last between 10 and 11 hours and can be done on different types of boats such as cruise ships or schooners.
Normally, the itineraries of these excursions start with a one-hour sail to Agestri, where you descend to explore the island, visit the three villages and do some trekking.
After that, a typical meal is served on board while sailing to Moni.
Moni Island is an ideal place to swim and, with a bit of luck, see some of the animals that inhabit it, such as deer and rabbits.
The last stop is the island of Aegina, also called Aegina. There is a small village with the typical white houses full of flowers and there are also some historical buildings such as the Temple of Aphaia and Apollo.
This activity is a perfect combination of nature, history and gastronomy.
If you don’t want to leave Athens without visiting an island in the Aegean, we recommend this excursion:
📷 Cruise to Agistri, Moni and Aegina.
📷 Excursion to Mykonos (outbound by plane, return by ferry, transfers to and from hotel in Athens and English speaking guide).
Useful travel information for Athens
These links may help you on your trip to Athens:
- Door-to-door transfers, to and from the airport and your hotel. Perfect if you are travelling in a group or with your family, with lots of luggage, don’t want to change money at the airport (remember that their currency is the guilder) and want to travel comfortably and calmly.
- Book your hotel in Athens: hostels, hotels for all tastes and prices and self-catering flats. Compare and book! Some that we recommend are:
- Excursions in Athens: in addition to the excursions already mentioned throughout the article and the Free Tours, check these pages for the best experiences for your trip:
- Athens Museum Pass: if you want to access the museums of Athens without waiting in long queues, you should know that there is the option of buying this pass which allows you free entry to most of the city’s museums (yes, including the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum) for 2 consecutive days. It also includes a panoramic bus tour of the city!
- iVenture Card Athens: this pass includes admission to over 40 attractions and experiences which, depending on the days you choose, can be enjoyed in full. If you buy the 3 or 5 day card, you have a full day excursion with a choice between a visit to Delphi, a cruise around the islands or a visit to Mycenae and Epidaurus. It also comes with discounts in restaurants and shops and includes the sightseeing bus for 48 hours!
Buy your travel insurance and travel safe!
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Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
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- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
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So much for this tour of the best places to see in Athens in 3 days. We hope all this information will help you organise your next trip.
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