You will get to discover the enchantment of Athens, a city that gradually reveals its magic. From the famous Acropolis to the charming streets of Plaka and Psiri, Athens captivates its visitors. 

With this comprehensive Athens travel guide, you'll gain an insight into the must-visit attractions, learn about transportation options, and get tips for where to stay and for how long.


Is Athens Worth Visiting?

Athens city centre Acropolis in background

Do you need an incentive to choose Athens as your next city break destination? 

Athens is wel worth visiting. It's a premier tourist destination, home to landmarks like the Acropolis, Plaka, and Anafiotika, offering a transformative experience.

Athens offers an abundance of attractions and activities for all interests. Whether you are looking for a European city break, have an interest in history, beaches.

This guide provides an initial look into this historically rich Greek city.


When to Go

Around 6.4 million people visit Athens every year making it one of the most popular cities in the world.

Summer is the most popular time to arrive, but the crowds and heat can be intense. Prices are also high. The city is especially delightful in spring and autumn, and even a three-day stay is sufficient to explore its historic marvels.

Even a city break to Athens in winter is recommended, temperates rarely get that cold compared to Western European cities, and prices for flights and accommodation are much lower


How Long to Stay For

To cover Athens' highlights, such as Plaka, the Acropolis, and its museum, 1-3 days are typically sufficient. However, this depends on your travel time and schedule. The city is especially delightful in spring and autumn, and even a three-day stay is sufficient to explore its historic marvels.


Is Athens Safe?

Athens is a very safe destination for tourists especially compared to other European cities like Barcelona and Paris.

Most streets are pedestrian-friendly areas and there is always a visible police presence in the city centre. You should though take caution in crowded places as pick-pocketting an be an issue.


Where to Stay

There are hundreds of hotels, hostels, Airbnb's, rentrals and b&bs located throughout Athens, and its recommended to stay centrally close to the Acropolis. This area is the main tourism hotspot where a lot of tourism attractions are located, as well as markets, shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.

Hotel prices are competative compared to other European cities, with prices being highest during summer. 


Food & Drink

Athens street restaurants

If you need to have a rest from taking in the wonderful sites, you'll be able to tuck into fantastic authentic Greek cuisine.

Enjoy local eateries and landmarks as you go, there are so many amazing places to grab a bite to eat. Some bars and restaurants have roof terraces which are a special way to watch sunset over the impressive Acropolis which looms high over the skyline.


Top Things to Do in Athens

Athens female tourist

Renowned for its cultural heritage and historical importance, Athens presents a plethora of experiences and Greek historic sights to visit. Key attractions an places not to miss on your sightseeing itinerary include:

1. Explore the Acropolis

This imposing 5th-century BC fortress, perched above Athens, is a testament to the city's ancient grandeur and one of the must see tourist attractions in Europe.

The Acropolis hosts significant structures like the grand Propylaea, the sacred Temple of Athena Nike, and the renowned Parthenon. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's somewhere you really need to visit.

During summer, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus hosts numerous plays. Entry fees are around 20 euros, or opt for a 30-euro 5-day pass that includes other archaeological sites. For an in-depth experience, consider a 50-euro guided walking tour.


2. Visit the Acropolis Museum

Since 2009, the Acropolis Museum has displayed over 4,000 artifacts. Its glass floor, revealing an ancient Athenian neighborhood below, is a unique feature. Entrance fees start at 10 euros.


3. Wander Through Historic Sites

In Plaka, explore the remnants of ancient Athens, including the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Olympieion, Thisio, and Kerameikos. An evening stroll here, especially at sunset, is highly recommended.


4. Stroll Through Anafiotika

This 19th-century neighborhood, nestled on Acropolis Hill and close to the Agora, provides a peaceful escape above Plaka. Known for its white walls and quaint eateries, Anafiotika offers a serene retreat from the city's bustle.


5. Relax on Stunning Beaches

Did you know Athens has beautiful beaches? Located just a quick taxi or bus ride away, you can be on the beach in around 15 minutes from the city centre.

The coast is specatcuar and the longest of any European capital city. Athens' beaches have Blue Flag status for the high standard of water quality and cleanliness and they offer a really relaxing esape from the noise, traffic and heat of sightseeing in the city centre.

Some of the best beaches in the Greater Athens area include:

  • Vouliagmeni Beach, Vouliagmeni
  • Limanakia, Vouliagmeni
  • Lagonisi Beach, Lagonisi
  • Varkiza Beach, Varkiza
  • Agios Nikolaos, Anavyssos
  • Cape Sounion Beach, Sounion
  • Anavyssos & Palaia Fokaia
  • Schinias Beach, Marathon


Navigating Athens - Is Athens a Walkable City?

Athens female tourist

If you stay centrally Athens is a very walkable city, offering a unique on-foot sightseeing experience akin to other European capitals.

Strolling the scenic streets of Athens lets you see a different side to Athens, discover new attractions and enjoy cultural highlights you might not normally see on your average tour.

You'll be sure to find some hiddem gems and local restaurants, and be able to grab perfect Instagram photos of the Acropolis which dominates the Athens skyline.


How to Get Around

Beyond walking, various modes of transport facilitate easy exploration:

Public Transportation

Athens boasts reliable and economical public transport. The metro is the fastest option, complemented by suburban trains, buses, and trams. Tickets cost around 1.20 euros for 90 minutes, valid across all services. Longer trip options include a 4.10-euro unlimited pass or an 8.20-euro five-day pass. Airport transit includes a 6-euro rapid bus service or a 9-euro metro ride to the city center.


Bicycle Rentals

For a self-paced tour, consider eco-friendly bike rentals, starting at about 12 euros per day, with electric bikes slightly more expensive.


Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours

One of the easiest way to discover the highlights of Athens is to jump onboard a sightseeing bus tour. There are several companies offering trips which stop at all the main attractions, from the Acropolis, to the Parliament, museums, the harbour, beach and coast. You can buy one day or longer tickets which are great value for money.


Guided Tours

A guided tour can enhance your experience, introducing you to Athens' vibrant culture and cuisine. From free city sightseeing tours which last a few hours, to long trips discovering the highlights of Athens and other destinations in Greece like the spectacular Greek islands


Car Rentals

For flexibility, especially when exploring surrounding areas, car rentals are an option. Drivers need to be at least 21 with a valid license for a minimum of one year.


Plan a City Break to Athens

With this comprehensive Athens travel guide, you're set to enjoy an amazing break to the Greek capital. Athens is a city that's sure to captivate you and leave you wanting to explore more of Greece.