If you’re planning a short trip to the Greek capital, you’re in luck because there’s plenty to see and do in just 48 hours. In this post, I’ll share some tips and recommendations to make the most of your time in Athens.
I have spent a little over 48 hours in Athens and I was able to knock out all the top attractions, I do move a bit faster than most travelers, but at least you know it isn’t impossible to enjoy everything that I did.
First things first, let’s talk about transportation. The easiest way to get from the airport to the city center is by taking the metro. The journey takes around 40 minutes and costs €10 for a return ticket. When I was in Athens it was during the pandemic, I missed the train and had to wait for an additional half-hour, hopefully, this inst the case when you’re there but plan accordingly, if you’re short on time you can take a tax, it is about 25 minutes and I paid €40. This was from my hotel to the airport, I didn’t have time to wait for the Metro.
Once you’re in Athens, the best way to get around is by using the metro, which is clean, efficient, and affordable. A single ticket costs €1.40, and you can use it for 90 minutes on any mode of public transportation. Taxis are also available, but they can be expensive during rush hour.
Where to Stay
There are several neighborhoods in Athens that are great for tourists, my friend Matt who is from Greece recommended Plaka. It’s the oldest neighborhood in Athens and is full of narrow streets, traditional Greek houses, and charming shops and cafes. It was an excellent place to visit, even if you didn’t find a hotel or Airbnb in the area. Another great option is Monastiraki, which is known for its flea market and vibrant nightlife.
My brother and I stayed at The Crowne Plaza Athens – City Centre which is located in the heart of Athens, in the district of Ilisia. Ilisia is a lively and affluent neighborhood known for its upscale shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s a popular area for both tourists and locals, with plenty of things to see and do.
Our main reason for staying there was that, Ilisia is also well-connected to the rest of Athens, with easy access to public transportation. The metro station is just a short walk from the Crowne Plaza Athens – City Centre, making it easy to explore the rest of the city.
Places & Things to Eat
When it comes to food, Athens has plenty of delicious options. For a quick snack, try a gyro, which is a pita filled with meat, vegetables, and tzatziki sauce. Before my trip to Greece, I had never had a gyro, unbelievable I know. To be fair, in the States gyro is made with lamb for some reason but in Greece, the options were Chicken or Pork. The place is called Bairaktaris Syntagma the cost for a gyro was around €3.50.
For a more substantial meal, head to a taverna and try classic Greek dishes like moussaka or pastitsio. Both of these dishes I tried when I was in Crete, which is no help for 48 hours in Athens.
Things to Do & See
Athens is famous for its ancient landmarks and historic sites, so you definitely don’t want to miss the Acropolis. The entrance fee is €20, but it’s worth it for the stunning views and fascinating history. Nearby, you can also visit the Ancient Agora, which was the center of social and political life in ancient Athens. Another must-see attraction is the National Archaeological Museum, which has a vast collection of artifacts from all over Greece. And don’t forget to check out the Panathenaic Stadium.
9:00 am – Start your day at the Acropolis, the most iconic landmark in Athens. The entry fee is €20 per person, which includes access to the Acropolis and other ancient sites in the area.
11:00 am – After visiting the Acropolis, head down to the Ancient Agora, which is located at the foot of the hill. The entry fee is €10 per person, which includes access to the Agora and other sites in the area.
1:00 pm – For lunch, head to the Monastiraki district and grab a gyro from one of the many street vendors. A gyro typically costs around €2-€3.
2:00 pm – After lunch, take a stroll through the Monastiraki Flea Market, which is located right next to the square. Here, you can browse through a wide variety of antiques, souvenirs, and other unique items.
4:00 pm – Take a break and relax at a café in Plaka, one of Athens’ oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods. The cost of a coffee or other beverage ranges from €2-€4.
6:00 pm – In the evening, head to the National Gardens, which are located near Syntagma Square. Entry is free.
8:00 pm – For dinner, try some authentic Greek cuisine at a taverna in Psiri, a trendy and vibrant neighborhood known for its nightlife. The cost of dinner at a taverna can vary depending on the menu but expect to pay around €15-€20 per person.
9:00 am – Start your day by visiting the Temple of Olympian Zeus, one of the largest ancient temples in Greece. The entry fee is €10 per person.
11:00 am – After visiting the temple, head to the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. The entry fee is €5 per person. Be sure to run a full lap and take a photo in first place!
1:00 pm – For lunch, head to the upscale Kolonaki neighborhood and try some modern Greek cuisine at one of the many chic restaurants. The cost of lunch in Kolonaki can range from €15-€30 per person.
3:00 pm – After lunch, take a stroll through the Benaki Museum, which features a wide variety of Greek art and artifacts. The entry fee is €9 per person.
5:00 pm – Take the metro to the nearby seaside suburb of Glyfada, which is known for its beautiful beaches and upscale shopping. The cost of a metro ticket is €1.40.
7:00 pm – Enjoy a seafood dinner at one of the many tavernas along the beach in Glyfada. The cost of dinner can vary depending on the menu, but expect to pay around €20-€30 per person.
9:00 pm – Take the metro back to central Athens and enjoy some drinks and live music at a bar in the buzzing Exarchia neighborhood. The cost of drinks can vary depending on the venue, but expect to pay around €6-€10 per drink.
Note that the cost of transportation may vary depending on the mode of transport and the distance covered. The Athens metro is a convenient and affordable way to get around the city, with a single ride costing €1.40.
Enjoy your trip, Cheers!