Before or After Greek Island Hopping - 3 Days in Athens, Greece

Advisor - Heather Budd
Curated By

Heather Budd

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  • Greece

  • Athens

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Sightseeing

A picture of relics of an ancient building with pillars during daytime.
Curator’s statement

It is always worth stopping in Athens either at the start or the end of your Greek island-hopping trip. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to see and do, but it is also small enough that three days is usually enough to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. This itinerary offers a mix of ancient history, museums and vibrant neighborhoods.

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Where to stay

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Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens

A historic hotel known for its spectacular views of the Acropolis, as well as its best-in-class service and elegant suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Grand Hyatt Athens

Luxurious elegance amid ancient splendor in the heart of Athens.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in whenever possible.

Athens Capital Center Hotel - M Gallery

A sophisticated blend of modern luxury and classical Greek aesthetics, nestled in the vibrant cultural hub of Athens.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Advisor - Heather Budd

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Day 1: Welcome to Athens

An aerial of the city during the daytime

Start your day with a visit to the Benaki Museum, showcasing Greek art and history. Stroll through the National Garden of Athens, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

Head to Kolonaki, an upscale neighborhood, for lunch at one of its trendy cafes or restaurants. Try Kiouzin for a twist on traditional Greek cuisine.

Explore the trendy Exarchia neighborhood known for its street art, alternative culture, and local cafes. Visit the Numismatic Museum housed in the Iliou Melathron, a neoclassical mansion.

Relax at a traditional Greek kafeneio in the charming Anafiotika neighborhood beneath the Acropolis. Wander through the charming streets of Plaka for some evening shopping or a leisurely stroll.

Have dinner at a rooftop restaurant in the Monastiraki area, enjoying panoramic views of the city at night. We like Couleur Locale.

Experience Athens' nightlife in areas like Psiri or Gazi, known for their lively bars and clubs.

Day 2: Acropolis Exploration

A picture of a horse statue in a museum.

Start your day with a traditional Greek breakfast at your hotel or a local cafe. Wander through the vibrant Monastiraki flea market and shop for souvenirs.

Enjoy lunch in the Plaka district, a charming area with narrow streets and traditional tavernas. Visit the Acropolis Museum to delve deeper into Athens' ancient history.

Head to the Acropolis, exploring the iconic Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. I recommend visiting the Acropolis in the evening as it is less busy, and it is cooler outside. It is usually open until 8pm in the summer months.

Dine in the lively Psiri neighborhood known for its excellent restaurants and nightlife. Grab a creative cocktail at the award-winning bar The Clumsies.

Day 3: Ancient Agora, National Archaeological Museum and sunset at Lycabettus Hill

An aerial of the city during daytime

Explore the Ancient Agora and its well-preserved ruins, including the Temple of Hephaestus.
Have lunch in the nearby Thissio area.

Visit the National Archaeological Museum to see an extensive collection of ancient artifacts. Relax in Syntagma Square and watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Parliament Building.

Take a taxi or hike up Lycabettus Hill for panoramic views of Athens. Enjoy dinner with a view at one of the hilltop restaurants.

Day Trips:

Bonus Day! If you are in Athens for longer than three days, taking a day trip is a great option.

Day Trip to Aegina Island or Cape Sounion

Option 1: Aegina Island
Morning: Head to Piraeus Port by metro or taxi.
Take a ferry to Aegina Island (about 1 hour ferry ride).
Explore the charming town, visit the Temple of Aphaia, and enjoy fresh seafood.
Return to Athens in the evening.

Option 2: Cape Sounion
Morning: Take a guided tour or drive to Cape Sounion.
Visit the Temple of Poseidon and enjoy breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.
Have lunch at a seaside taverna.
Return to Athens in the evening.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, A Caribbean Christmas in Grenada.

Advisor - Heather Budd

Travel Advisor

Heather Budd

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Athens.