If you are planning a visit to Athens and you are wondering what to do in Athens in two days we have you covered! This is a fast guide with the best places, monuments and museums you can see! It is very important to try not to see everything in 2 days because Athens is a very big city with amazing Temples, great museums and numerous places to walk around or shop.
Athens in two days
Your target is to see as many places as possible without ending up exhausted! You are visiting Greece and you should do it in a slow pace and live a little bit like locals would. Do not forget you are visiting the capital of Greece that has a history of more than 4000 years! So you have to combine important monuments of the ancient past with great sightseeing of the recent history!
Things to do in Athens
- The main places you could visit during a 2 days trip in Athens are:
- The Acropolis and Parthenon – the crown jewel of the western civilization, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city icon.
- The Ancient Agora – The ancient heart of Athens with its museum and the famous rebuilt Stoa.
Plaka and Monastiraki Square – The old city and the local flea market! The best place buy souvenirs in Athens.
- The Temple of Zeus – A majestic Temple, you will see monumental stone columns with Acropolis view.
- Syntagma Square and the Parliament – The center of Athens and the changing of guards
- Panathenaic Stadium – The first Olympic stadium of the modern times reconstructed made entirely from white marble
- Zappeion Exhibition Center
- The National Gardens
- The Acropolis Museum – The new Museum is one of the best museums in Greece.
What to do in 48 Hours in Athens Day 1
Athens is a great city to walk. The center of the city is not very big so you can walk it or take the metro which will get you wherever you want.
Syntagma Square and the Parliament
You will start with the Syntagma Square and the Parliament in order to see the change of guards. In front of the Parliament you will see the Tomb of the Unknown Solider guarded day and night, by two Evzone guards. The guard change on the hour, every hour, and it is a great spectacle. You must watch it! Have in mind that on Sundays the change of guards is more elaborate so it worth your while to choose Sunday for Syntagma square. While you are there it is a good idea to eat a koulouri. You will find it everywhere, it is the best street snack you can have. It is basically a round bread with sesame, trust us it is delicious.
From Syntagma Square you will go to Panathenaic Stadium through the National Garden. They are just a few meters away from Syntagma. The Gardens covers 24 hectares full of vegetation, rare kinds of plants, saplings and birds. It is a great walk in the nature in the center of Athens. You will never think that you are in the center of a big city! Perfect place for walking, exercise or even have some yoga!
While walking in the Gardens you will see several ancient ruins and Corinthian capitals of columns and mosaics. If you enter from the Southeast side you will encounter the busts of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece, and of the Philhellene Jean-Gabriel Eynard. On the South entrance you will be able to see side the busts of the celebrated Greek poets Dionysios Solomos, author of the Greek National Hymn, and Aristotelis Valaoritis.
Queen Amalia started creating the gardens in 1838 and the works where complete two years later in 1840.
From the gardens you will get to the Zappeion Megaron is a part of national heritage of Greek civilization. A great benefactor Evangelos Zappas did the donation and Theophil Freiherr von Hansen designed it. Zappas had started the Zappian Olympic Games, a precursor to the modern Olympic Games. The Zappeion was the Olympic village for the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens and also as a venue for the fencing events. Today it is used for public exhibitions. It symbolizes the rebirth of the spirit of ancient Greece. You can have a coffee and enjoy the nature and the view of Panathenaic Stadium at Zappeion since there is a nice cafeteria and restaurant at the spot. Close to the garden in 1878 the neo-classical Zappeion Hall was built.
Right opposite of the Zappeion is the Panathenaic Stadium. The only marble stadium of the world and the first Olympic stadium. It was rebuilt for the modern Olympic Games and its beauty is breathtaking. After you spend some time at Panathenaic Stadium you will walk to one of the most impressive temples in Athens.
It may not be complete, but the monumental size of the columns is amazing. From The Temple you will also have a view to the Acropolis in the background. Trust me this is a great instagram photo!
The Hadrian’s Arch
Right next to the Temple is the Hadrian’s Arch which is on the walking route to the Acropolis. You must stop to get some photos of this great Arch.
Acropolis and the Parthenon
After the Hadrian Arch next stop is Acropolis. There is no way that you visit Athens for 2 days and not go to Acropolis. Period! The time has passed so it is a good idea to stop for a snack or a coffee at Koukaki. A small district at the Center of Athens that leads to Acropolis. Once you are at Acropolis you will see that there are two entrances. The one is close of the Acropolis Museum and i strongly suggest you get this entrance. You will have a much easier climb to the Acropolis since you will pass by other monuments before you reach the top and also there are many places to sit! At Acropolis you will see the Odeon of Herodes Attikus, Dionysus theatre, Asklepieion, Propylaea, Temple of Nike, Erechtheion and the magnificent Parthenon. You will spend around two hours to Acropolis.
After the Acropolis you will go to Acropolis Museum. You have walked a lot until know so no worries if you leave Acropolis from the way you entered then Museum is right in front of you. Enter the Museum and have a coffee if you want or even lunch! Have in mind that a visit or a tour to the Museum is another two hours.
Plaka and Monastiraki
Time for the most graphic places of Athens. The old city, Plaka and Monastiraki. This is a nice place to have lunch, though a bit touristy. So be careful where to eat. You will stroll at the narrow street, see the nice taverns and coffee shops. It is a very enjoyable walk.
This concludes your first day in Athens. If you are up to it, next to Monastiraki is Psyrri a neighborhood with many places to eat meze or have a beer, wine or a drink!
Athens in two days, what to do Day 2
The National Archaeological Museum
After getting some breakfast you will start your second day in Athens with a visit at the National Archaeological Museum. An absolute must and one of the best Museums of the World. You will get the Metro and walk 5 minutes from Omonia Square. The Museum houses some of the most important artifacts of Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It will take you about two hours to visit the Museum. Join the National Archaeological Museum private tour.
From there you go back to Omonia Square and to the station Monastiraki. You will start walking to the Ancient Agora, the heart of the Ancient Athens. A great place to walk and you can rest having a coffee or a snack at one of the Monastiraki cafe’s. You will enjoy the beautiful ruins and have the chance to visit the Museum. Join the Acropolis and Ancient Agora tour.
Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus or Hephaisteion or earlier as the Theseion, is the most well-preserved Greek temple you will see during your visit. It remains standing largely as built. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill.
Food tour in Athens