3 day Athens itinerary (2023)

Author Carina Klein
Carina
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TL;DR

Athens is one of the best romantic getaways in Europe. Our Athens itinerary (3 days) helps you to plan a perfect trip - with all the major attractions and time to explore on your own terms.

Athens is one of the most romantic places in Greece - and our 3 days in Athens itinerary will prove our point.

The German image of Athens is that it's exceedingly dirty and loud and full of traffic. We didn't think we would need much time there. We were wrong. The traffic situation over the last years has improved immensely. There are three modern metro lines and quarters like Plaka are mostly car-free.

Before we went, we thought Athens was about the ruins and the history. But it's really about the food and the atmosphere. It's lively and chaotic and romantic and beautiful. It quickly became one of our favourite cities ever - don’t fill up your 3 day Athens itinerary with sightseeing but leave some space to just wander around!

Best place to stay in Athens

A hostel located close to Monastiraki Square is a great choice. It's close enough to all the sights and the touristy areas but also very close to the local areas. We chose a budget place with a roof top terrace with Acropolis views and could not recommend it more.

Best food in Athens

Because we ended up in one tourist trap, here are our six favourite restaurants in Athens for you to mix and match.

  1. Mark Wiens introduced the amazing Disporto Restaurant to us. You have to walk down a set of stairs which don’t really look like a restaurant but you’ll find chairs and tables at the bottom. You will be served home cooked dishes without much communication. Price wise it’s a bit of a black box but it’s worth it.
  2. You’ll get great fresh food including sea food at Varvakios Food Market.
  3. Little Kook is a fairytale themed dessert restaurant. Surprisingly, the food was great and reasonably priced.
  4. Mam is the best place to go for pies - an amazing snack for breakfast or a quick break on your exploration.
  5. Souvlaki Kostas hands down serves the best Souvlakis in Athens.
  6. Avli psiri serves traditional Greek dishes - best to share.
Picture of a delicious milk-shake
Milkshake at Little Kook

Athens in 3 days: Day 1 – First overview

Free walking tour

Morning: Grab a Greek coffee and and Bougatsa and get going! Doing a free walking tour gives you a great overview of the highlights and hidden gems as well as the history and geography. You’ll visit the main historical attractions like the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Library of Emperor Hadrian as well as some modern sights like the Changing the Guard at the Presidential Mansion. In case you’re travelling alone it’s a great starting point to meet some new friends.

Free food walking tour

Afternoon: The single best thing we have done on our Athens trip was a free food walking tour. This is where we fell deeply in love with the food in Athens. We tried feta cheese and olives and bougatsa and so much more. But almost the best thing about this tour were the restaurant recommendations so do this early and profit for the rest of your stay!

Picture of a cat in an alley
Small alleys of Anafiotika

Athens in 3 days: Day 2 – The Acropolis and other historical sights

Historical sightseeing

Morning: Visit the main historical landmarks. Buy the special ticket package: It includes all the major historical sights at a fair price point.

We really enjoyed the Ancient Agora and the Kerameikos.

Hadrian's Library, the Roman Agora, and the Olympieio were nice quick central additions.

We personally would skip the Lykeion because it's a bit out of the way.

Acropolis

Afternoon: Visit the highlight, the Acropolis in the afternoon. In our experience it’s a myth to say “before the tourist crowds hit” because you’ll meet early birds in the mornings, cruise ship passengers in the afternoon and sunset watchers in the evening - the Acropolis is always going to be crowded. Enter at the South Slope to see the Dionysostheatre and exit at the spot we have marked on the map to get to the Areopagus Hill viewpoint next. Here, you can enjoy amazing views over the city and watch an amazing sunset.

Picture of a view on the acropolis
Parthenon, Acropolis

Athens in 3 days: Day 3 – Experience the city

Lycabettus Hill views

Morning: Head up Lycabettus Hill for great views over Athens. It’s the highest point in Athens and you can reach it by furnicular.

Explore Athens on your own schedule

Afternoon: Stroll through the little alleys of quarters like Plaka and Psiri. Take your time to explore the hidden gem of the Anafiotika area just beneath the Acropolis. It looks like a Greek island and is immensely romantic.

Wander off the beaten path and explore the more local Koukaki neighborhood with the amazing Geor. Olimpiou street which is full of cafes and restaurants.

Explore the many instagrammable cafes: There’s not only Little Kook but also the pink Ellyz Cafe and so many more.

Take your time to enjoy a sunset: Many hotels and restaurants do have rooftops where you can overlook the city and see the Acropolis. Our favourite sunset spot was Areopagus hill right next to the Acropolis. The atmosphere is super lively and after the sun has set you can walk over to the other side to see the lights turn on on the Acropolis.

Tip: You could even hit the beach or go on a day trip to an island like Aegina. Both are great activities and especially if you only have a limited amount of time in Greece, you should go and sea the Mediterranean. If you have more time in Greece, keep the beach for later.

Picture of a sunset
Sunset from Areopagus hill

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