Looking for the best 2 day Athens Itinerary? Look no further than this comprehensive travel guide on how to spend the perfect Two Days in Athens travel!
How many days in Athens is really worth your while when visiting Greece?
We’re not going to lie; it can be a bit challenging to spend only two days in Athens! The capital of Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe thanks to the incredible ancient sites and picturesque location on the Aegean Sea.
On our visit to this historic city, we opted for a two night stay and given our time of arrival and departure I would say we had a decent 2 days in Athens, Greece, to see most of the most notable sites and attractions that we knew we had to tick off our list.
If you’re feeling daunted by the task of cramming as much sight-seeing as possible into an Athens 2 Days Itinerary, you’ve come to the right place. Based on my personal experience, I’ve got a great summary of all the basics for getting around Athens and what you absolutely cannot miss during a 48 hours in Athens stay.
How to Get to Athens
Being such a popular place to visit, there are several options for how to arrive in Athens. Most travellers opt to fly in, undoubtedly the easiest way to get in, in which case you’ll land at the Athens International Airport.
From the airport, the simplest way to get to the city center is by metro, which costs €10. You can also opt to get a 3-day tourist ticket which is currently set at €22 and includes a round-trip journey from central Athens to the airport.
It’s also possible to take a ferry to Athens from various other ports in Europe. These dock at Piraeus, which is convenient if you’ve selected accommodation by the harbour.
If you’re ending your Greek vacation in Athens you may very well be travelling by ferry from say Mykonos to Athens.
Because of Athens’s location, it’s not as easy to arrive by train. If you prefer to arrive by bus, it’s best to take a ferry from Italy to the port of Patras on the western coast of Greece. From there, it takes about two hours to arrive in Athens by bus.
How to Travel around Athens in 2 Days
It’s helpful to note that most visitors don’t need public transportation for much else, other than getting to and from the airport. Although Athens is a big sprawling metropolis, staying in the city center means you’ll be close to all the top sites to visit and can easily get by on foot.
If you do need to use public transport, Athens has buses, a metro, and a tram which runs along the southeast coast of Athens for some scenic views. Taxis are also easy, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. Perfect for getting around on your Athens 2 Day Itinerary!
2 Day Itinerary in Athens: Where to Stay in Athens, Greece
Picking central accommodation is crucial when you only have two days in Athens. Good news is, there’s a lot of great places to choose from, including some excellent budget-friendly options.
The best neighborhoods to pick are Plaka, Monastiraki, and around Syntagma Square. These areas are known for their charming streets, proximity to top attractions, and safety.
We opted to stay in the conveniently located Central Hotel Athens located in Plaka, which was excellent for getting around on foot. And, not to mention the incredible views at night of the Acropolis from their rooftop bar, picture perfect!
Budget Hotel in Plaka – Athos Hotel
Mid-Range Accommodation near Syntagma Square – Athens Utopia Ermou
Mid-Range Accommodation near Plaka – Central Hotel Athens
Hostel in Central Athens – Athens Hub Hostel
Alternatively, if you’re not much of a hotel fan – then why not search for the best Airbnb in Athens option instead.
Athens Two Days Itinerary: Day One
On a time crunch while visiting Athens in two days?
Not to worry! If you’re wondering what to do in Athens in 2 days, here are the absolute must-see spots around the city to make the most of your time.
Top Tip: Do you prefer to whizz around the city’s major sites in a short amount of time, then do what we did and book yourself onto a Hop On Hop Off bus tour of Athens and make the most of your limited time in the city. We loved this option as we managed to see many sights we probably would not have explored had we only travelled around on foot.
Stop 1: The Acropolis
There’s no doubt why we put this one first on the list. The Acropolis is hands-down the most popular attraction in Athens and counted as one of the best things to see & do when visiting Athens. Seriously, even if you don’t have time for anything else, make sure you visit the Acropolis!
It’s best to go early in the morning to avoid the huge crowds as much as possible. You can walk to the Acropolis by beginning in Plaka, then making your way to the neighbourhood of Anafiotika.
Have a map or ask a local if you need help getting to the “upper city,” as the Acropolis is known.
Plan to spend most of your morning on your Athens in 2 Days Itinerary at the Acropolis; there are numerous sites to visit including Athens’s postcard star the Pantheon, as well as other temples and the Theater of Dionysus.
To make the most of your visit, book your Acropolis entrance ticket ahead of time, or better yet, book a 2 hour guided tour of the Acropolis, and get an expert’s insider knowledge on this incredible historic site!
Stop 2: Ancient Agora and Hadrian’s Library
From the Acropolis, make your way to Adrianou Street, which will lead you to the Ancient Agora. Another must-visit historic site of Athens, the Ancient Agora has landmarks including the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos.
Continuing down Adrianou Street from the Ancient Agora, you’ll end up at Hadrian’s Library which dates back to AD132. These ruins were once a majestic library and a site of great historic significance in Athens.
Stop 3: Acropolis Museum
Now that you’ve seen the real-deal ruins, head over to Athens’s most famous museum. If you’re still going strong, you can head straight to the museum by walking down Adrianou Street until you reach Vyronos, which will take you to the museum.
You might also want to stop and take a lunch break at this point and try out some local foods at a restaurant in Monastiraki or Plaka. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the flavours of Greece on this Two Days in Athens Itinerary!
A full tour of the museum takes about two hours; you can either do it with a guide or walk through at your own pace. Be sure to book your Acropolis museum entrance tickets beforehand and skip the queue.
Stop 4: Soak in the City Life
Once the bulk of the day is done, take some time to wander the streets of Athens to enjoy the ambience and energy.
Plaka and Monastiraki are particularly picturesque places to stroll, and since the best accommodation in Athens is found in these neighbourhoods, you’ll probably be close to your hotel or guesthouse. You can start in Monastiraki Square, then make your way to Syntagma Square to see the Hellenic Parliament building.
There are plenty of restaurants around these neighbourhoods, so a good meal is never more than a few steps away.
If you want to check out the city’s nightlife scene, make your way to the downtown neighbourhood of Psiri which is known for its nightclubs and bars.
2 Day Itinerary Athens: Day Two
Fuel up for your second day in Athens by stopping at a local café or have breakfast at your hotel or guesthouse if it’s provided. The second half of your 48 hours in Athens can be a bit more relaxed now that you’ve seen the most important spots in the city.
Stop 1: National Gardens & Temple of Zeus
After the busy Acropolis and museum, the National Gardens are a nice break. They’re located behind the Parliament in Syntagma Square and have over 500 types of trees and plants. Known as the green lung of Athens, the Gardens are a good place to take a breather and enjoy nature.
Take your time to appreciate the greenery, including many types of exotic flowers and trees. The Gardens are also home to several historic monuments as well as a zoo.
If you can time it correctly, make your way to the Greek Parliament building near Syntagma Square to watch the changing of the guard which takes place every day at 11am. It’s a fun spectacle to include to your Athens Two Day Itinerary.
After strolling through the gardens and seeing the changing of the guards, take a short 10 min stroll to yet another significant historical site in Athens, the impressive Temple of Zeus ruins dating back to 131 AD
Stop 2: Panathenaic Stadium
Next up, head on over to the original site of the Olympic games. The Panathenaic Stadium is a great attraction when considering what to see in Athens in 2 days. It’s also a very scenic spot and perfect for souvenir photographs.
If you’re interested, there’s an audio tour available which explains a bit more of the history and significance of the Olympic games. For a slightly more unique experience, try out this 2 Hours Modern Athens Olympics Segway Guided Tour!
It’s good to remember that although most of the main attractions in Athens are within walking distance of each other, there’s always the possibility of taking a metro or taxi ride if you’re getting tired. When you only have two days in Athens, you don’t want to waste time walking or trying to find where to go next.
Stop 3: National Archaeological Museum
Round off your history experience by visiting the National Archaeological Museum. It’s a bit smaller than the Acropolis Museum, but just as interesting and with tons of historic artefacts.
The beautiful Greek antiquity items featured in the museum include marble statues, ceramic pots, stunning jewellery, and carved stone. In addition to the Greek artefacts, there’s also a world-famous art display featuring Ancient Egyptian artwork which shouldn’t be missed!
Stop 4: Pick a Museum or Wander the Streets
At this point, you can feel confident that you’ve seen all the most important sites in Athens!
If you’re still feeling up for more discovery, Athens has plenty of museums and other historic sites to visit.
If you’re staying more than two days in Athens, you can consider visiting the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Kerameikos ancient cemetery site. Consider walking up to the top of Philopappou Hill and admire the sprawling views out over the city and beyond.
When you’re tired out and done with sight-seeing, head back to Syntagma Square and pick one of the local restaurants. You’ve probably worked up quite an appetite, and a delicious, authentic Greek meal is a perfect way to finish off your two days in Athens!