Experiencing Athens in a day | An itinerary to Athens, Greece
Athens can be tricky, some believe it can be explored in a day. While Athens definitely needs more than a day, as someone who travels fast and for people visiting Athens on a cruise, this guide should help you get the most of Athens in a day!
The historical capital of Greece, Athens, has today transformed itself from a once city of decline to an important financial hub of Europe. The rapidly expanding infrastructure, has made Athens as one of the most significant ports by the Mediterranean. With attractions galore and a nightlife as vibrant if not at par with London or even Paris, a visit to this city can conjure up an experience, unparalleled anywhere else in Europe.
So if you are hard-pressed for time and want to explore the major sights of Athens in a single day, don’t be disheartened! All important places are within short walking distance. Here’s a tailor made itinerary which will allow you to see the top attractions at an easy pace.
An itinerary for one day in Athens
Attractions and things to do in Athens in a day
Start the day with the highlight of Athens – The Acropolis
Head to the one place in Athens which is on everyone’s lips and list, Acropolis! This UNESCO site is located on a hillock overlooking the city and houses the most iconic landmark of Athens, the Parthenon. One should ideally spend at least an hour here, taking in the 5th century structures made of Pentelic marble, displaying a stark reminder of the Greek civilization when it was at its peak.
One of the most famous of all the existing structures of ancient Greece, the Parthenon was constructed after the Persian war in honor of Goddess Athena. Having survived many battles and acts of vandalism, the country, somehow, managed to save the important sculptures and restore the Acropolis and the Parthenon to their erstwhile splendor and glory.
Pro tip – Embarking on private travel experiences when in Athens can really enhance your trip. Private, local tours in the city take you to insider spots you wouldn’t know otherwise. So, if you just have 24 hours in Athens, its wise to spend a few on a local experience.
Address: Athens 105 58, Greece
Opening Hours: Sunday – Saturday 8 AM – 8 PM. However do check updated timings for holidays at the site mentioned below
Additional details : You can check the website here
Proceed to the neighborhood of Plaka in Athens
In spite of the growing number of tourists, the enchanting neighborhood of Plaka, at the foot of the Acropolis, has managed to retain its old charm. Both the upper and lower Plaka areas flock with visitors who come to shop and enjoy the local cuisine, in the company of street musicians performing in the town’s squares. The red tile roof houses with their beautiful flowery presentation, lined up on either side of the maze of narrow lanes, has to be seen to be believed.
Within the boundaries are housed some of the most spectacular museums namely, Benaki Museum of Islamic Art, Jewish Museum, Museum of Greek Folk Art and the Kanellopoulos Museum among others.
Additional details : You can check information about the Plaka here
Head to the Theater of Dionysus
Situated on the slopes of the Acropolis, lies the Dionysus theatre, the remains of a once venue of performing arts. Carved out of the natural rock of the hillside, it is estimated that this arena could hold up to 17,000 spectators at one time. The 4th century amphitheater, is said to be the birthplace of European theater, and this enjoys great cultural significance.
About a kilometer away is Hadrian’s Arch. Erected in 2nd century AD, the 18 meter high Hadrian’s Arch stood as an honor to the Roman
emperor, Hadrian. The inscriptions on the arch reveal that the city was once divided into two parts namely, old and new Athens.
Address: Mitseon 25, Athina 117 42, Greece
Additional details : You can check additional details and purchase tickets here
Temple of Olympian Zeus
After having some delicious authentic Greek salads and dishes, head to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, situated southeast of Acropolis, the temple of Zeus, the temple is said to be the largest in Greece. Visitors marvel at the massive structure, much larger than the Parthenon, which originally had 104 pillars, out of which sadly, only fifteen remain today, each having a diameter of two meters.
Address: Athens 105 57, Greece
Additional details : You can find additional details here
Pay a visit to the Acropolis Museum
This museum was established mainly to protect and preserve many of the architectural finds, relics and treasures which once were an integral part of the Acropolis. These important structures, by way of neglect, environment erosion and pollution found their way into foreign homes or were dismantled to be utilized as building materials. Today, about 4000 of these priceless objects are housed in the 25,000 square meter area of the Acropolis Museum.
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece
Additional details : The official website for more details can be found here
Athens, may at first seem like any other sprawling and chaotic metropolis, but behind the screen lies a city steeped in rich history. The remnants of the structures visible today, look as good as they probably once were when constructed, as seen at the mystical site of Acropolis. Your only day in Athens, has therefore been planned to ideally focus on the ancient importance of the city rather than on anything else.
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