How Many Days in Athens is Enough? 4 Days in Athens Itinerary

Many people ask the question, “how many days should I stay in Athens?”, the answer? Really, it’s a personal deal, but 4 days in Athens is generally enough to see the main sights. You are certainly going to want to head back to this beautiful Greek capital city, but as a taster, 4 days is a great option.

The first 3 days you can explore Athen city center with its archaeological sites and museums, and in the fourth day you can take a day trip to Sounion, Delphi, or Nafplion. You will need a half day to visit the Acropolis, and another half day for the National Archaeological Museum. Apart from ancient history sites, there is also food, nightlife, shopping, and local culture to explore.

If you have only one day in Athens, you are probably a part of a cruise ship or just layover in Athens before traveling to other Greek island. You will be able to see main historical sites and famous landmarks such as Acropolis, Parthenon, Acropolis museum, Areopagitou Street, Monastiraki Square, and Athens Central Market.

If you have two days in Athens, it is enough to see most of what the city has to offer. You can add more attractions such as the Ancient Agora, or visit food market. You will have more time to deep-dive into its culture and history.

If you have three days in Athens, it is a good amount of time to spend. You will have enough time to visit major sites and some interesting areas in Athens without being too rushed. With 3 days to 4 days, you will able to take a day trip to other cities around Athens.

This is a huge city, so always remember to dress for comfort; wear your best walking shoes for the trip and you can be fashionable for sure, but comfort is your number one priority.

If you’re visiting during the height of summer, e.g. July and August, remember your sun-cream, especially if you are outdoors sightseeing all day long; drink plenty of water otherwise you’ll find yourself with sunstroke, and you won’t be seeing anything!

Whatever how long of your stay in Athens, pick location to book hotel wisely. If you are the first time travel to Athens, I recommend Plaka neighborhood. This area is not only a tourist-friendly place to stay but also a family-friendly and safe area to stay in Athens. There are tons of attractions on your doorstep such as the Acropolis, National Garden, and Syntagma Square. If you are into shopping, this area is a great place to stay with lots of souvenir shops and flea markets.

Other neighborhood to consider to book your hotels are in the central areas such as Syntagma, Monastiraki and Thissio. They all have great public transport links and are close to the sights. You can read more about best areas in Athens from where to stay in Athens

💖 Best Area for First Timer:Plaka
💎 Best luxury hotel:Electra Metropolis
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Ergon House
💰 Best budget hotel:Amazon Hotel

Electra Metropolis This 5-star hotel is located in the heart of Athens, within easy walking distance to the famous landmarks such as Syntagma Square. The hotel has a rooftop pool, a sun terrace with city views. The rooms and suites provides modern decor, wooden floors and warm tones.

Ergon House This is a 4-star hotel which is located within short walk from Monastiraki Square, Roman Agora, National Garden and Ermou Street-Shopping Area. The hotel offers a à la carte breakfast, an on-site bar, a fitness center, and a business centre.

Amazon Hotel This budget hotel is in a prime location, within walking distance of the major archaeological sites and Syntagma Metro Station. It has air-conditioned rooms and suites, buffet breakfast, a bar, and a cafeteria.

What to Do and See in Athens, Greece in 4 Days?

There are some must-see popular tourist attractions in Athens, you can manage to visit are:

Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens Greece attracts thousands of visitors each year. It dated back to the 5th century BC. This ancient citadel encompasses a few major buildings, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Theater of Dionysus.

Acropolis Hill is a big site with plenty of things to explore. You can spend 2 to 3 hours at the Acropolis.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum, that displays more than 3.000 artifacts from the Athenian Acropolis. Located in the historical neighborhood of Makriyianni, southeast of the Rock of the Acropolis, you can learn more about the life on the Rock from prehistoric times until the end of Antiquity.

Parthenon: was built on the Acropolis of Athens in the mid-5th century BCE and dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena Parthenon.

Erechtheion (or Erechtheum): Located on the north side of the Acropolis, this ancient Greek temple was constructed between 421 and 406 BCE in the Golden Age. 

National Archaeological Museum: This is the largest museum in Greece was founded at the end of the 19th century. It has a huge collection of antiquities in the world that is dedicated to ancient Greek art. 

Temple of Hephaestus: Located on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill, on the northwest side of the Agora of Athens, the Temple of Hephaestus is the best-preserved ancient temple in the world. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient god of fire, and Athena, goddess of pottery and crafts. 

Museum of Cycladic Art: has a 5,000-year-old artwork collection from the Cyclades Islands. It also displays plenty of Ancient Greek Art and Cypriot Art.

Temple of Athena Nike: Located on the southwest of the Acropolis plateau, adjacent to the Propylaia, the Temple of Athena Nike was built between 426 and 421 BC and designed by the architect Kallikrates.

Plaka

Plaka is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens, located on the northeastern slope of the Acropolis and next to  Syntagma Square. It has a central location, close to Monastiraki to the west, Syntagma, Ermou, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, and Makrigianni.

Plaka is a maze of winding narrow streets, packed with shops, antiquities, restaurants, and charming ruins from the city’s Roman era. Kydathinaion and Andrianou streets are Plaka’s two main pedestrian streets, filled with shops and restaurants.

If you love history, you can visit the Museum of Folk Art, the Children’s Museum, the new Acropolis Museum, Frissiras Museum, Museum of Popular Musical Instruments, the Jewish Museum of Greece, Athens University Museum.

Within Plaka, you will find the tiny neighborhood Anafiotika (little Anafi). It was built in the 19th century when workers from Cyclades islands came to Athens to build Royal Palace. This village has an island vibe, with narrow winding alleys, bougainvillea flowers, and white houses.

Temple of Olympian Zeus Also known as the Olympieion, was built over several centuries, in honor of the Greek god Zeus. The monument had 104 15-meter Corinthian columns but today, only 15 remain.

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization was established by Anthony Benakis. Benaki Museum shows collections of Greek art from prehistorical to modern times. It has temporary exhibitions, a shop, a library, and a cafe.

Ancient Agora of Athens: Located beneath the northwest slope of the Acropolis, between Thission and Monastiraki, this archaeological site was the center of Athens in antiquity and also a gathering place (marketplace).

Museum of the Ancient Agora

Museum of the Ancient Agora is set in the Hellenistic Stoa of Atallos. Stoa of Atallos was reconstructed in the 1950s.  The museum displays art that dates back to the stone age, everyday life objects, and artifacts directly related to the Athenian democratic functions during the Classical period.

Panathenaic Stadium: is the stadium of the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896! It’s the unique marble stadium in the world. 

Mount Lycabettus

Lycabettus hill is the highest point in the center of Athens with 277 meters above sea level. You can take the Lycabettus Funicular Railway to the top of Mt. Lycabettus where you can enjoy charming views of the Aegean Sea and the port of Piraeus.  On the top of the hill stands the whitewashed church of Agios Georgios, a cafe, and Orizontes restaurant.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus Also known as Herodeon, this stunning open-air theatre is located beneath the slopes of the Acropolis on the southwest side. Nowadays, it’s one of the best places to experience a live classical theatre performance.

Philopappos Monument: The marble monument is an ancient Greek mausoleum dedicated to a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene, Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos.

Kapnikarea: Located on Ermou street, Kapnikarea is one of the most important monuments of Byzantine architecture. This church was built in the 11th-century,  on the ruins of an ancient temple, dedicated to Panagia.

Areopagus: Ares Rock sits on the northwest of the Acropolis hill. ​Its sixteen ancient marble steps can be slippery lead the visitor to a rectangular terrace. From its top, you can view the Propylaea on the Acropolis.

Theatre of Dionysus: The Theatre of Dionysus was used as a theatre from the sixth century BC. It was the first and biggest theatre in Athens and can host 17,000 people.

Psiri: The bohemian neighborhood in Athens is a great place to party! It has a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs that throng the place. The streets around Iroon Square are filled with young people and many all-day bars like Barrett and Tranzistor on Protogenous street. It’s also an artistic neighborhood with many street arts and several art galleries including Sarri 12 and A.Antonopoulou Art.

National Garden

Located between Syntagma Square and the Kallimarmaro Stadium, next to the Greek Parliament, National Garden covers 24 hectares together with the Ζappeion Hall. The entrances are located on Amalias Avenue, Vasilissis Sophias Avenue, Irodou Attikou Street, and Zappeion.

It was built between 1838 and 1840 by order of Queen Amalia as a private royal garden. There are a few archaeological ruins, a botanical garden, a small zoo, and a kid’s library.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: This war memorial is set in Syntagma Square in Athens. It is a cenotaph dedicated to the Greek soldiers killed during the war. The tomb is guarded by the Evzones of the Presidential Guard.

How to Spend 4 Days in Athen Itinerary

So, what can you see in four days in this historic, beautiful, and eclectic city?

Day 1 – The Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the National Gardens

How many days in Athens Day 1 temple of Olympian
Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens Greece

The ruins in Athens are certainly what this city is famous for, and for your first day in this historic part of the country, you should head to ​The Temple of Olympian Zeus. This is the largest and most impressive set of ruins you will see, and it was also the largest when it was new, back in the day! Here you can pay your respects to the King of the Gods, Zeus himself, and you can stare slack-jawed at the wonder before you.

The temple is located very centrally in Athens, just around 700m from the main Syntagma Square. You should dedicate a good few hours to this region because you will also find Hadrian’s Arch, and the remains of the Doric temple, which was originally built for the King of Gods himself; this is a window back in time to around 560BC.

There are also plenty of attractions nearby the Arch of Hadrian such as The Panathenaic Stadium and Zappeio Hall.

Once you’ve wandered around the ruins, head to Ermou Street, which is a stone’s throw from Syntagma Square itself. Here you can sit and have a cup of coffee, and recharge your batteries – particularly needed in the height of summer! You will visit in Sunday, you will have a chance to see Changing of the Guards in Athens in Syntagma Square.

The key to an Athens visit is to take your time, because of the sheer size of the place. For that reason, end your day with a leisurely wander around the National Gardens. This is a Royal Park, or it was back in the day, and if you’re visiting with children, be sure to check out the duck pond and the playground.

how many days to spend in athens day 1 - National Gardens
National Gardens in Athens Greece

Day 2 – The Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum

how many days to spend in athens Day 2 - Acropolis in Athens
Acropolis in Athens

You cannot visit Greece overall, never-mind Athens, and not head to its most famous landmark – the Acropolis. This is one of the most iconic structures you will ever see in your life, but you should either get there very early in the day to beat the crowds, or wait until sunset, when you can truly take in the most stunning view you will ever set your eyes on.

Here you will find the Odeon of Herodes Atticus Atticus Parthenon, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea – the gateway to the Acropolis, and the small temple Athena Nike.

The Acropolis is obviously set on a high hill, so you will need comfortable shoes here, but the view from the top, right across the city, is panoramic and simply amazing. Some places with so much history don’t live up to your expectations, but this place will! Ancient Roman Agora, the area on the way back down from the hill, is where you will truly be able to understand and appreciate life back in the day.

Stoa Of Attalos is nearby the east side of the Agora square, one of the most impressive buildings in the Athenian Agora.

Whether you choose to visit early in the day, or later in the day, the middle part of your time can be spent in the National Archaeological Museum. Here you will find some of the most famous and important relics from times gone by, including the Mask of Agamemnon. Be sure to spend a few hours walking around and truly learning about history, taking in everything you see – this is not something to be rushed!

how many days to spend in athens day 2 - National Archaelogical Museum
National Archaeological Museum in Athens Greece

Day 3 – Explore culture in Monastiraki and Athens Central Market

4 days in Athens - day 3 Monastiraki
Monastiraki in Athens

There are few regions that are as traditional in terms of authentic Greek life as Monastiraki. Here you can check out the famous flea market, which is larger on a Saturday than other days, as well as sampling traditional street food. There are plentiful coffee shops to sit and take the sight before you in, and you can enjoy watching the bustling pace of life.

Within 10 minutes walk from Monastiraki, you can explore the Plaka neighborhood with gelato stores, upscale boutiques, and trendy cafes. be sure to check out the charming quaint little historical village of Anafiotika with a great view of the Acropolis.

In the afternoon, head over to Athens Central Market for some authentic shopping. On Athinas Street you will begin, with a fish, fruit, meat, and vegetable selection to make your eyes water, before the market stretches on, taking in clothes, housewares, and plentiful souvenirs to take home.

how many days to spend in athens -  Central market
Athens Central market Greece

Day 4 –Day trip from Athens: Cape Sounio

how many days you need in athens - Cape Sounion - day 4
Cape Sounion in Athens Greece

Your final day in Athens is a highlight because this is where you will see one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever set eyes on in your life. ​Cape Sounion is home to the Temple of Poseidon, where you can check out more ancient ruins and history, before topping the day off with that sunset.

Other day trips from Athens:

  • Delphi with the Sacred Way, the Treasury of the Athenians, Temple of Apollo, , the Theatre, and Stadion.
  • Vouliagmeni Beach
  • Mycenae / Epidaurus / Nafplion
  • Corinth
  • Attic Riviera (Coast of Apollo)
  • Saronic Gulf islands (Hydra, Poros, Aegina)

A leisurely evening awaits you, for your final night in Athens.

See Also:

Taking it easy is the best way to enjoy Athens in your Europe trip in all its glory, so don’t try and pack too much in at once; you can always go back! We hope you satisfy with our answer to your question “how many days in Athens” and enjoy your trip.

Check out my virtual about best places to stay in Athens in this video:

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