Best Tours & Things To Do in Athens

GreeceAthens › Things To Do
by Santorini Dave • Updated: September 28, 2021

Best tour in Athens, Greece

The Original Gourmet Food Tour of Athens gives a great introduction to the city, its history, layout, and food scene. It’s the best walking tour in Athens.

The 10 Best Tours in Athens

  • Original Gourmet Food Tour of Athens
    Fun walking tour of the best food and restaurants in central Athens. There’s also a stop at the Central Market – a highlight of modern Athens. You’ll get a good overview of the city’s culture (and a bit of history) while eating some great food with a friendly guide. There’s a 10am morning tour and a 2pm afternoon tour. I know I sound like a broken record on this but food tours are an awesome way to explore a new city.
  • Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour with Entry Tickets
    A 4-hour guided tour of the Acropolis, Parthenon, and nearby Acropolis Museum. Includes entrance tickets to both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. (A huge advantage of doing a tour is that you get skip-the-line tickets. When you visit on your own you need to queue for tickets and that line can be insanely long.)
  • Athens City Highlights Tour (Private Tour)
    This is a great private tour of the Acropolis and surrounding area (Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea, Temple of Nike, Dionysus Sanctuary, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Ancient Agora) and is the best way to see the highlights of Athens and learn the city’s history. Like all tours, your guide will have skip-the-line tickets for the Acropolis which allows you to bypass the long entrance queues. This tour is very flexible with time, duration, and route.
  • Athens Street Art Tour
    Awesome tour of the graffiti and street art of central Athens. Many tours describe themselves as “off the beaten path” that only visit the expected top sights. This one really does explore a side of Athens tourists rarely explore or think about. Very cool and great for families with teens.
  • Traditional Greek Cooking Lesson
    Great introduction to Greek food and how to make it. Recipes will be sent to you so you can prepare them at home. Very family-friendly. There’s also an excellent Nighttime Food & Wine Tasting Tour.
  • Private Wine Tour and Lunch
    The best wine tour from Athens with an excellent tour guide (usually Spyros – he really knows his wine). Includes hotel pick up and drop and a good quality lunch at a seaside taverna.
  • Bike Tour of Historic Athens and Plaka
    Fun and easy-going tour of the highlights of central Athens. The 9 KM route takes in most of the top historic sights and tours Plaka and National Gardens. Tour starts at 10am in an easy-to-find spot in Plaka.
  • Delphi Day Trip from Athens (10 hours)
    Hotel pickup (in Athens) and transportation to one of the top historical sites in Greece. Tour guide and lunch included. There’s also a private Delphi tour if that’s what you prefer.
  • Meteora Monasteries (12 hours)
    The Meteora is my favorite destination in mainland Greece. It’s spectacular. Delphi is great, but you do need to have a keen interest in Greek history to make it worth the trip. The Meteora, on the other hand, will appeal to anyone with a pulse. The dramatic and awesome setting is stunning. It’s very hard to visit the Meteora in one day unless you do a private Meteora tour. With this tour, you’ll get picked up from your hotel (in Athens) and make the 3-hour drive to the Meteora. A stop for lunch and a few other historical sights are built into the itinerary but most of the focus is on seeing the monasteries of the Meteora. There is also a cheaper Meteora tour that involves taking the train; an overnight tour that allows for a complete tour of all 6 monasteries (worth it if you have the time); and a combination tour that visits both Delphi and the Meteora.
  • Full Day Tour & Sailing to Agistri, Moni, & Aegina (10 hours)
    Great boat tour of 3 wonderful islands a short boat ride from Athens. Lots of swimming and sunbathing. Includes traditional Greek lunch, made and served onboard. Highly recommended!

The Best Things To Do in Athens

1. The Acropolis and Parthenon

The Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens – The top historical attraction in Athens.

One of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, this ancient hilltop citadel houses the remains of several temples, including the Parthenon. The Acropolis was inhabited from the 4th millennium B.C., though its most recognizable landmarks date to the 5th century B.C. The Acropolis site includes the Parthenon (a temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom, civilization, and war), Temple of Athena Nike (a temple to Athena, triumphant in war), the Erechtheion (temple of Athena and Poseidon – god of the sea, earthquakes, and horses), and more. On the way up to the Acropolis, you’ll see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and pass by the trail to the Sanctuary of Dionysus, both on the slope of the hill beneath the Acropolis. Tickets to the Acropolis can be purchased on their own or bundled with the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Archaeology Museum, the Roman Agora, and more. I strongly recommend doing a guided tour of the Acropolis. Guides will have skip-the-line tickets and lines can often be two hours long. If you’re part of a tour you’ll skip right by the queues.

2. Acropolis Museum

Crowds admire ancient artifacts at the Acropolis Museum in Athens

This relatively new museum is a highlight of a visit to Athens. It’s located a short walk from the Acropolis (head south down the hill towards the Odeon of Herodes Atticus), so the 2 sites are easy to visit together and complement each other well. (If you have 5 hours or less in Athens then visit the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum.) There’s an excellent cafe on site, with terrace seating in the shadow of the Parthenon. Doing a guided tour of both the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum is a great way to save time (as tour guides will have skip-the-line tickets to both attractions). You can also buy skip the line tickets for the Acropolis Museum separately.

3. Plaka and Monastiraki

The Plaka and Monastiraki areas of Athens – the best area to stay for first time visitors to Athens.

These adjacent neighborhoods at the base of the Acropolis are filled with historical sites like the Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Hephaestus, and Stoa of Attalos. Largely pedestrianized throughout, Plaka and Monastiraki feature a fun and lively atmosphere that’s great for wandering, shopping, eating, and sightseeing. They’re also two of our favorite areas to stay in Athens, and are home to many of our favorite restaurants and hotels.

4. National Archaeological Museum

Statues on display in a museum gallery

The single best museum in Greece, loaded with archaeological treasures. It’s one of the few top attractions that isn’t a short walk from the Plaka/Acropolis area so you’ll need to take a taxi (5 minutes), metro (10 minutes, get out at Omonia station), or walk (about 25 minutes from Plaka or Syntagma Square). If you have only one day in Athens you might be forced to miss this. If you have 2 days or more then make an effort to get here. The experience is dramatically enhanced if you get a private tour guide to explain all the history and top exhibits. If you don’t do a tour then you can get tickets in advance here.

See Also

5. The Agoras

The Temple of Hephaestus at the Ancient Agora in Athens

Agora means marketplace in Greek, and there are two archaeological sites in Athens that house the remains and artifacts of these communal gathering spaces. Combination tickets to the Athens archaeological sites are available that include both Agoras, the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, the Archaeology Museum, and more.

The Ancient Agora lies between Monastiraki and the base of the Acropolis. It is easy to make out the ancient streets and squares that were once the haunting ground of Socrates and Plato. This sprawling area includes sites such as the Temple of Hephaestus (shown above), the Stoa of Attalos (which houses a small, but interesting, museum), and the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles. Much of the Ancient Agora dates to the 2nd Century BC or even earlier.

The Roman Agora was built during the reigns of Julius Ceasar and Ceasar Augustus in the 1st century BC. It has an impressive entrance (the Gate of Athena Archegetis), but not as much going on as in the Ancient Agora. The most famous structure in the Roman Agora is the eight-sided, marble Tower of the Winds: combination weather vane, water clock, and sundial, built by a Macedonian astronomer at the end of the 1st century BC. The Roman Agora lies on the border between the Monastiraki and Plaka neighborhoods of central Athens.

6. Changing of the Guard (Evzones)

Two Greek Guards (Evzones) perform a ritual march.

Every hour on the hour, there is a changing of the guard at the Hellenic Parliament building on Syntagma Square. The guards, known as Evzones, stand stock-still before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier until the ritual begins: a slow-motion dance of precision and strength. Usually, the practice involves two guards who are wearing a more understated version of the traditional uniform in khaki, black, and white (shown above). On Sunday mornings at 11am, however, visitors can expect to see many more guards and a more elaborate ritual, with Evzones dressed in the more traditional and colorful uniforms that are reserved for special occasions. (Interesting fact: the kilt of the Evzone uniform has exactly 400 pleats; one for each year of Turkish occupation.) It is free to watch the ceremony; arrive early on Sundays to secure a good view.

7. The National Gardens

The National Gardens in Athens – The best place for kids in Athens.

A short walk from Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament buildings, The National Gardens provide a relaxing break from the chaos of busy Athens. Take a picnic, let the kids run around, or relax in the shade for a bit. In addition to the greenery, there are also some ancient ruins, Corinthian columns, and mosaics on site. And it’s free.

8. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrians Gate in Athens.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus dates back to the 6th century BC; it once featured over 100 17-meter columns and was filled with statues of gods and emperors, but after centuries of damage, only 15 columns remain standing. The well-preserved marble Arch of Hadrian (132 A.D.) is on the same site as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and they’re both only a 5-minute walk from the Acropolis Museum, making them an easy stop in the central area. The Temple of Olympian Zeus is included on the combination ticket of Athens archaeological sites.

9. Athens Central Market

A tour guide shows spices to tourists at the Athens Central Market

A wonderful and lively slice of modern Athens. Meats, olives, feta, spices, olive oil, fruits, vegetables – you name it, it’s here. The adjacent side streets are lined with shops of all kinds. The excellent Original Gourmet Food Tour of Athens stops here and explains the markets origins and history.

10. Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

People admire ancient Greek artifacts in an airy gallery space

Established in 1930, this well-curated collection of Greek artwork (ranging from ancient to modern) is set in the neoclassical family mansion of Antonis Benaki, who also donated over 35,000 pieces of his own art collection. The Benaki also has satellite galleries throughout Athens, which include the Museum of Islamic Art, The Ghika Gallery, and the Toy Museum. Located in central Athens near Syntagma Square, across the street from the Parliament building and the National Garden. Closed Tuesdays.

11. Monastiraki Flea Market

Customers brose books and antiques at an outdoor flea market

The “Flea Market” adjacent to Monastiraki Square is a mostly a collection of narrow lanes lined with souvenir and sandals shops, but on Sundays people come from miles around to sell all manner of used, cheap, and antique goods: books, clothing, trinkets, toys, furniture, home goods, anything you can think of and then some. It’s crowded and cramped, but fun and free and always interesting.

12. National History Museum

The exterior of the National Historical Museum in Athens, Greece

The oldest of its kind in Greece, the National Historical Museum in Athens was founded in 1882, and has found its permanent home in the building that housed the Greek Parliament from 1875 to 1932. The museum’s permanent collection tells the story of Greek culture throughout the ages; corridors and rooms narrate different centuries and periods. Items on display include weapons, personal belongings and memorabilia from historical personalities such as Lord Byron, historical paintings by Greek and foreign artists, authentic manuscripts, and a large collection of traditional Greek costumes and jewelry from various regions of Greece. Located one block northwest of Syntagma Square. General admission fee is 3€, with free entrance on Sundays; closed Mondays.

13. Outdoor Cinema

Best outdoor movie theater in Athens, Greece.

Watch a movie in Plaka under the lights of the Acropolis at Cine Paris rooftop outdoor theater. Films are typically American (in english) with Greek subtitles. Beer, wine, and light snacks are available. This is a highlight of summer in Greece.

14. Hadrian’s Library

Tourists pose for a photo in the ruins of Hadrian's Library in Athens

Built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 A.D., this complex once housed three stories of books, as well as areas dedicated to academic instruction, reading, philosophical walks and reflection, and athletic recreation. Hadrian’s Library is located near Monastiraki Square and is included on the combination ticket of Athens archaeological sites.

15. Panathenaic (Olympic) Stadium

View looking down at the empty Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, viewed from the top.

Also known as Kallimarmaro, this stadium hosted the first modern Olympic Games (1896) and was built on the site of the original stadium for the Panathenaic Games (330 BC), which were held every 4 years in honor of the goddess Athena. It is the only stadium in the world built entirely out of marble. The stadium continues to hold regular concerts in the summer, as well as hosting significant cultural, sporting, and ceremonial events. It is the finishing point for the annual Athens Classic Marathon, and during an Olympic Games year, the Olympic flame travels from Ancient Olympia throughout Greece, before finally arriving at the Panathenaic Stadium for the official hand-over ceremony to the new host country. Impressive views of Mt. Lycabettus and the Acropolis by climbing to the top. Located in the district of Pangrati in central Athens, about a 750-meter walk from the Temple of Olympian Zeus and about a 1km walk from Syntagma Square. Daily runs are held every morning from 7:30am to 9:00am.

16. Benizelos Mansion

Collonaded outdoor corridor of a stone building

Located in the Plaka neighborhood, the Benizelos Mansion is the oldest surviving house in Athens, built between the 16th and 17th centuries. The residence’s original occupants were Angelos Benizelos and his wife Syrigi Palaiologina, Athenian aristocrats with Byzantine roots, and the 2-story house gives a sense of what Athenian aristocrats’ traditions and lifestyles were like before the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire. The house is also known as the House of Saint Philothei, in honor of the couple’s daughter, Revoula. Revoula was a philanthropist who built hospices, shelters and schools, and also fought for the freedom of Greek women enslaved into harems by the Ottomans. Severely beaten and later succumbing to death from her injuries, she is now revered as a martyr and has been canonized as Saint (Agia) Philothei, which translates to “friend of God”. Saint Philothei’s relics are in a tomb at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens in Monastiraki. The Benizelos Mansion is open limited hours, entrance fee is by donation and goes to charity.

17. Lycabettus Hill

The Acropolis in Athens, with Lycabettus Hill in the distance

The highest point in Athens with dramatic panoramic views out over the entire city. Located across Plaka and Syntagma Square from the Acropolis (and shown here on the left), the 300 meter hilltop can be reached by foot or via a funicular tram that travels in a tunnel inside the hill. At the top sits the quaint and beautiful St George’s Chapel, and there’s a cafe as well.

18. Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio

The best day trip from Athens: Ancient temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece

This ancient site is an 80-minute drive southeast of Athens. It’s super interesting, but only worth the trip if you have 3 days or more in the capital (any less and your time is better spent in central Athens). This day tour to the Temple of Poseidon includes hotel pick-up from central Athens.

Map of the best things to do in Central Athens, Greece

The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Athens

Athens Walking Tour

Highly recommended: The Original Athens Food Tour – a great introduction to the city’s food and culture. Visit markets, top restaurants, specialty shops, and trendy neighborhoods.

19. Best Gyros and Souvlaki in Athens

Best Greek food to eat in Athens.

Athens is loaded with great restaurants, but for good cheap eats, nothing beats an authentic gyro from a local shop. There’s a strip of good gyro places just off Monastiraki Square (opposite the metro station). Our favorites in central Athens include Kostas and O Thanasis. If you have time, Kavouras in the Exarcheia neighborhood (and not far from the The National Archaeological Museum) and O Elvis in Kerameikos are worth seeking out.

20. Best Restaurant in Athens

Tables set for outdoor diners at a Greek taverna in Athens

The best restaurant in the Plaka area is Psarras Taverna. With a magical setting and great traditional Greek food, Psarras (also known as The Old Tavern of Psaras) has been around since 1898 – and for good reason. It’s wonderfully romantic, with a casual vibe, great house wine, and live music on weekend nights. If you only eat at one spot in Athens, make it this one. Reservations are recommended for dinner. (+30 21 0321 8734)

21. Best Bar in Athens

An illuminated wall lined with coloful bottles behind a wooden bar.

Lively and fun Brettos Bar is my favorite place to get a drink in Plaka. It’s often packed, but staff are friendly and helpful even when it’s busy.

22. Best Rooftop Bar in Athens

Diners and tourists at a rooftop bar with a view of the Acropolis

360° Cocktail Bar, the rooftop bar of Hotel 360° in Monastiraki, features signature cocktails, regional wine and food pairings, and killer rooftop views to the Acropolis. Go at sunset, but make a reservation in advance to secure a good table. (+30 21 0321 0006)

23. Best Gelato in Athens

Best gelato dessert in Athens.
Coco’s has the best gelato in Athens. It’s worth seeking this place out when you’re wandering through Plaka. La Greche in Syntagma is also really good.

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  1. Private Acropolis Tour

    Love your site
    If I am interested in the private Acropolis tour with skip the line, are entry tickets included?
    If not how do we get those?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, they are usually included in a private tour. And even when they’re not tours have access to a faster ticket line when queueing for tickets.

  2. Meteora or Delphi Day Trip from Athens

    Dear Dave

    I have read so much about Delphi and Meteora and would like to join a tour so it is easy for us. Which is the best tour you would recommend and should I just do Meteora or both and should I do day or overnight trips? I looked and saw many tours are either large group or private tours only. Are there any that has a small group-small bus kind?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      If I could only do one it would be the Meteora. Absolutely stunning! For both Delphi and the Meteora it’s much better to do an overnight trip and get to the sights early in the morning before the tour buses arrive. (And late afternoon after they’ve departed.) The Meteora tour I listed above is a private tour and very well done. Private tours are just about always worth the extra cost if it’s within your budget.

  3. Food Tour is Fully Booked

    Dave! Thanks for putting this together.

    Would love to do a food tour, unfortunately, the “Original Athens Food Tour” is sold out on our day in Athens. Do you have another recommendation that tours good Greek food and restaurants in Athens?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Taste of Athens also does a very good food tour of Athens. Try them.

  4. Kalambaka to Delphi

    Hi Dave,
    We need your advice on how to go to Delphi from Kalambaka. My plan is to stay 1 night in Kalambaka and the next day we will visit Delphi and back to Athens.

    Thanks to you and this blog, it is very helpful!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Getting from Kalambaka (the Meteora) to Delphi involves taking the bus via Trikala. The route is different depending on the day but takes between 5 and 7 hours. The latest you can leave Kalambaka is 2pm. If you’re starting from Athens and want to visit both sights then the Delphi and Meteora tour is good value.

  5. Traditional Greek Dancing in Athens

    Is there a tour or event that we could see traditional Greek dancing and music in central Athens?

    Thanks Santorini Dave!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      This is a good tour for Greek dancing. Yes, it’s for tourists but the dancing is great and food very good. It’s a fun atmosphere.

  6. Day Trip to Meteora from Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Your blog is very helpful. Thank you. I have a question. I have a spare day in Athens (after covering the Parthenon, Plaka, and area) and I really want to visit Meteora. I know it seems like overkill for one day. The other two options are the tour to Delphi or the 3 islands tour (Hydra, Poros, Aigina). Let me know what you would think about the one day trip to Meteora. Thanks again!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Meteora is awesome. If you have the interest then definitely bite the bullet and make it happen. Yes, it’s a long day but unforgettable.

  7. Getting from Airport to Downtown Athens Late at Night

    Hello Dave,

    I will be in Athen from Frankfurt in end of June, my flight landing in Athens @ 9:40PM. Do you think I will have enough time to catch a metro going to Monastiraki? Not sure how long the custom, and how far walking to buy a ticket and find metro. I believe the last metro train from the airport is at 11:30PM. Any tip and information is appreciated.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, you should have plenty of time. It’s a short walk from the arrival terminal to the metro station (2 minutes). Just follow the signs and buy ticket from the electronic kiosk. Then down the stairs to the train. If your plane is late and you do miss the last train then buses run 24 hours a day.

  8. Hiring a Guide at Acropolis

    Hi Dave, love your site! Interested in your recommendation to hire a tour guide at the gates of the Acropolis. Do you negotiate a price for the tour or is it a set price?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Generally, the price is set but there is a little room for negotiation (sometimes).

  9. Athens, Milos and Santorini in Ocoteber

    Love your website! My brother used it to plan his honeymoon, now I’m planning a girls’ trip for October.
    Our initial itinerary:
    Day 1: Leave US
    Day 2: Arrive in Athens
    Day 3: Athens
    Day 4: Ferry to Milos
    Day 5: Milos
    Day 6: Milos
    Day 7: Ferry to Santorini
    Day 8: Santorini
    Day 9: Santorini
    Day 10: Santorini/ Fly back to Athens
    Day 11: Fly home
    Any concerns with that itinerary? Also, since I haven’t booked flights yet, does it matters if the weekend we’re in Greece is in Athens or Santorini. I don’t love crowds, and hopefully going in early October will help that. But is there any concern that things will be closed or extra busy at either location?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Looks like a great itinerary. Milos will be quiet (but still mostly open). Athens and Santorini will be busy, but not crazy busy.

  10. Is It Worth Doing A Tour of the Acropolis

    Hi Santorini Dave, this is the best website on Greece by a wide margin. You’re a legend.

    Would you recommend doing a tour of the Acropolis or is that something we can do on our own? Is it easy to get around and see?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I would recommend doing it with a small tour. It’s a totally different experience doing it on your own or doing it with a tour guide. It’s certainly easy to walk around the grounds on your own and look at the buildings (the Acropolis does not cover a large area). But unless you’re a Greek history major (with some art history) 90% of the sights and significance will be lost on you. Even with a detailed book it’s hard to match the insight and intimacy of a good tour guide. As I say, they seem like the same experience, but with a guide and on your own – you might as well be visiting a different attraction.

  11. Pasteurized Cheese in Greece

    Hi Dave,
    I am travelling to Athens, Santorini and Crete this September. I just found out that I am pregnant and I want to make sure I can eat the food (for example: pregnant women can only eat cooked meat and milk products that are pasteurized). Do you know if most cheese over there is made of pasteurized milk? It would be a shame to not be able to eat cheese since it is one of the main ingredients in sallads etc. Do you think “gyros” will be fine ? I think the meat is well cooked (not red), but not sure about hygiene.
    Any information you have would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      All feta in Greece is pasteurized. The soft goat cheese that you might get at a farm-style restaurant is more likely to be unpasteurized.

  12. Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour in Athens Greece

    Hi Dave,

    The blog is awesome. Thank you for all the suggestions. We are a group of 6 travelling to athens for 3 days in August. We were planning to take the hop-on hop-off bus with a 24 hour validity. Is it worth it or should be instead pick our locations and go there by Metro?

    Thanks in Advance.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Personally, I would not do the hop on hop off bus tours. Most of the top sights in Athens are in the Plaka area and easy to get between on foot (actually the bus will not go near many of them). Most of the hop on/hop off tours do go by the Archaeological Museum which is great and not close to the other sights (but it’s also easy to get to by metro, taxi, or a 30 minute walk). Some tours go by the beaches and Piraeus but I wouldn’t waste time driving out to either in a bus. With only 3 days stick to the central area.

  13. Best Restaurants in Athens, Greece

    Hi Dave,

    What restaurants do you recommend to eat at when in Athens?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Psaras Taverna in the Plaka is my favorite. Outdoor tables spill down the steps and onto the sidewalk. Great atmosphere, great food. The best restaurant with views of the Acropolis in Athens is Strofi in Koukaki.

  14. Athens Airport to Acropolis

    Hi Dave!

    My return flight from Santorini stops at Athens for 4 1/2 hours. We get to Athens for 7:30am and my flight leaves at noon. Do you think it’s enough time to go to see the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s possible but there’s some risk too. Assuming you have some luggage you’d have to store that at the airport (arrivals level, turn left out of baggage claim) which will take a few minutes. Let’s say you’re in a taxi by 8pm you could be to the Acropolis by 8:40 if traffic isn’t bad (Saturday and Sunday have lighter traffic). If you hurried you could do a super-quick tour of the sight in 30 minutes. Back in a taxi by 9:30 and back to the airport by 10:15 and you’re ok. But anything goes wrong and you don’t have much buffer room. And also the question of whether you have to check in for your onward flight, check baggage, or can you check in remotely on your phone and only have carry-on. I’m tempted to say, if your flight arrives on time then go for it, but just know you are taking some risk of missing your flight. But heh, the Acropolis – it’s awesome.

  15. Spend Time in Athens or Santorini?

    Hi Dave,

    I land in Athens at 4pm on Thursday, 8/31. I’m meeting friends in Mykonos Saturday 9/2 at 2pm, where I will stay until 9/8.

    My questions is, how would you maximize the time in between? My 2 options are either stay in Athens Thursday night, and all day Friday. Or to fly to Santorini on Aegean as soon as I land, and then ferry over to Mykonos on Saturday. Which do you think would be the better option in this case?

    Thanks so much for your help. Your site is so incredibly informative.


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It depends on two things: First, do you have a preference for Athens or Santorini (I’m guessing not or you wouldn’t be asking). I think most people would prefer spending time in Santorini but Athens has plenty of great historical sights. And second, is there an Athens to Santorini flight you can get on Thursday afternoon. If not then I’d just stick with Athens and catch a morning ferry on the Saturday.

  16. Good Area near Athens Airport

    Hi Dave – thanks for putting together all of your knowledge here, it’s been super useful. I am going to have a 5 hour layover at the Athens airport and I was wondering how best to use that time. I will have a few days in Athens later, so I was thinking of taking a taxi to one of the smaller coastal towns for a meal. Do you have any recommendations?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Glyfada is a trendy (and very Greek) beach town with lots of cafes and restaurants. It’s 30 minutes by taxi from the airport. That’s probably your best bet.

  17. Day Trip from Athens

    We have four days. I can’t decide between a day trip to Cape Sounio, Corinth, or Delphi. We don’t mind walking or hiking, and each of these seems to have their attraction. Your suggestions?
    Rachael Sharp

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      My favorite day trip from Athens is Nafplio (the 3-hour food and walking tour is excellent), second is Delphi, Cape Sounio third.

  18. How Long To Spend in Athens?

    Hi Dave,

    My sister and I will be travelling to Santorini, Mykonos and Athens this September. We fly in to Santorini quite late (9:00pm) for four nights (three full days). We have booked our accommodation in Santorini, but nowhere else at this stage. Our plan was to then catch a ferry to Mykonos and stay there for three nights (two full days), followed by a 9:00am flight to Athens for one night. We fly to London at 7:00pm the following night, so this would give us nearly two full days in Athens.

    After researching flight options, I’ve realised that we could also catch a flight from Mykonos to Athens at 9:00am on the day we fly back to London. This would allow us to spend an extra night on Santorini or Mykonos and leave us with enough time in Athens (arriving 10:00am, departing 7:00pm) to see the Acropolis and Parthenon. I saw in one of your previous comments that it’s possible to store your luggage at Athens Airport.

    My question is whether or not you would recommend spending the additional night on either Santorini or Mykonos? If so, which one – 5 nights (4 days) on Santorini and 3 nights (2 days) on Mykonos, or 4 nights on each? Or do you think it would be better to stick with our original plan and stay overnight in Athens? We’d really just be happy to visit the Acropolis and Parthenon, but I’d be interested to know if you would suggest spending the extra time in Athens to do the 5-hour Athens/Acropolis/Museum tour you’ve recommended above.

    Thanks in advance for your help and for providing this extremely helpful guide!

    Best wishes,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I love Athens so having almost two full days there sounds just right (and Athens is great in the evening when the Plaka restaurants are bursting out onto the sidewalk and there’s a great atmosphere). That said, for most tourists, I think they would enjoy the extra day more on the islands than in the city. If you don’t mind a bit of grit and grime (and lots of graffiti) then spend the time in Athens. If you’re fine with a quick trip through the top sights of Athens then spend that extra day in Santorini.

  19. Audio Guide Tour of Acropolis

    Hey Dave,
    My wife and I will be in Athens in mid June, and we were wondering if its possible to tour the Acropolis and museum with an audio guide (we did something similar in Rome and Pompeii in Italy). Or would you definitely recommend having a person guide us?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Personally, I like a real-person guide so would definitely recommend going that way.

  20. Athens in November

    Hi Dave,

    I and my partner are planning for a honeymoon in November this year.
    Our dates are from November 6 to November 15. Is it a good time to travel in November?
    Jinal Shah

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Athens is great in early November. Still warmish weather with little rain. Tourist spots are quieter than summer but everything is open year-round. Local culture feels much more vibrant outside of the tourist high season from May to October.

  21. How To Spend a Few Hours in Athens

    Hi Dave – our family of 4 are travelling to Santorini (from Australia) in July to attend my brothers wedding. Our return flights have been booked such that we will have approx. 6 hours in Athens, as our flight arrives from Santorini at 10.30am Thurs 6/7 and departs Athens at 6pm (to Dubai).
    Rather than spending this time hanging out at the airport, is there anything in particular that you suggest that we do? Our 2 daughters are aged 11 and 8, and I was thinking that we hop on a train / bus and travel to downtown Athens for some exploring. However, very happy to be guided by you. Thanks for such a great travel site.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The highlight of Athens is the Acropolis and Parthenon. I would hop in a taxi and go straight to the Acropolis (ask the driver to drop you as close as possible). A tour guide of the Acropolis is very much worth getting. You can book these in advance or chance finding one at the entrance gate. Afterwards either head down the north side of the Acropolis to the Plaka to wander the narrow streets and get lunch. Or go down to the south side and go to the excellent Acropolis Museum. You’ll probably want to be in a taxi heading back to the airport by 3:15pm. There’s luggage storage at the Athens Airport – when you exit arrivals/customs turn left and go all the way to the end.

  22. Italy and Greece in Early September

    Hi Dave, hoping for your valuable input. My friend and I are planning to visit Greece and Italy on August 31st til September 10th. I have been hearing that not much could be done in Athens, thus was thinking of the following itinerary below (I know you might not be able to comment on Italy, but the Greece part would definitely help me).

    Thurs – arrive early morning in Athens and spend the day around Athens
    Friday – Take a flight/ferry to Mykonos
    Saturday – Mykonos
    Sunday – Mykonos to Santorini
    Monday – Santorini
    Tuesday – take a flight from Santorini to Florence/Rome

    Is it even worth it to have both Mykonos and Santorini on our itinerary, or we can just choose one?

    Reason why we packed everything together is it’s our first time to visit Greece and may possibly be a long time before we come back.


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      That sounds like a fine itinerary. But if you’re really not interested in Athens you could save time by flying Italy to Mykonos, ferry to Santorini, fly Santorini to Italy. Mykonos and Santorini are very different so it’s not unreasonable to include both.

  23. Tour Guides at Acropolis

    Dave: My family and I will be in Athens for 2 and half days, we land on saturday early evening and depart for Crete Tuesday afternoon. I have looked through your suggestions for Athens and plan to see the acropolis, acropolis museum, archeological museum, and the central market or maybe the Sunday market? Can you hire a guide at the acropolis for an informational tour or do you need to book in advance? If you can book there is that advisable and do you pay the guide’s entrance fee too? Which day would you go? Is the acropolis museum open every day? We will be there in two weeks so it will be mid march. We’d like to do more than wander at the acropolis, and feel a guide would be helpful. What do you suggest, we’d also like to avoid the most crowded days, is there a way to predict when it’s the busiest? Thanks Carla

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, there should be tour guides at the main gates of the Acropolis. They’re very good and definitely worth getting. You can arrange in advance if having a guide is a must.

  24. Rental Car for Greece Trip

    We are planing our trip to Athens, Santorini, and Crete in July 21017. We are planing to rent a car for Santorini and Crete. Would you suggest to book car a head of time or at time of arrival? And what are best rental places on Crete and Santorini?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Booking after you arrive will be fine 95% of the time. There are rental companies on every street and they’re all the same: friendly, a little shady, but all’s good in the end. One exception is if you are flying into Santorini it’s often easier to have a rental car reserved for airport pickup so you don’t have to queue for a taxi. More car rental info here.

  25. Late Night Bus from Airport to Syntagma

    Hi Dave, we are arriving to Athens at 2 am, our hotel is located in the Syntagma square, two blocks away from the bus station, is it safe to take the bus from the airport at 3 am? or should we take a taxi for sure?
    Can´t stop reading your blog!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The bus itself is certainly safe. You might feel a little anxious as you walk to your hotel from the bus stop. I consider this a safe area but if you take a wrong turn or two you might be thinking, I wish we just took a taxi. So, I’d personally feel fine busing and walking but if you want easy and no-worries then the taxi is the way to go.

  26. Red Bicycle in Santorini

    Do you know anything about the Red Bicycle in Santorini?

    Lee K Richman

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Great little place in Oia. Nice patio and views. Good food but expensive – as most places with a view are. Make reservations.

  27. Bad Areas of Athens

    Are there any bad areas that I need to be aware of in Athens? My hotel is located in the Syntagma Square and the markets and Acropolis are like 20 minutes walking distance.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Syntagma is a safe busy area and walking between it and the Plaka, Acropolis, or Monastiraki areas is generally fine, day or night. The main artery between Syntagma and Monastiraki is Ermou. Anything south of here feels safe. As you move north of Ermou you’ll encounter areas that feel sketchy. It’s not that they’re that dangerous but, especially as night falls, they’re not an area you want to wander about. If you want to go to the Athens central market (which is to the north) then walk Ermou to Athinas and turn right.

  28. Getting from Airport to Piraeus

    Hi Dave,
    We are getting ready for our trip to Greece and will be starting in Athens, later Mykonos, Santorini and coming back to Athens for one night and fly home the following morning. We are flying from Santorini to Athens – we decided it’s a better option that taking a ferry back – but it seems the transportation from the airport to the hotel (in Piraeus) that night and morning after would add up to 120 Euros. We are thinking renting a car at the airport that night and returning it the following morning might be a cheaper option. What are you thoughts? Is it safe and easy to drive in Athens? The car rental seems to cost 40 euros and the parking would be 14. What should we be aware if we decided to go with a car rental instead of the private shuttle offered by the hotel.
    Thanks in advance!!
    PS: Love your blog!!

    Natalia Rios

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      If cost is a concern then take the X96 bus from the airport to Piraeus for about 3€. Metro train requires a change at Monastiraki station and costs a little bit more – but is more pleasant.

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