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How to Explore Athens in a Day

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Athens is among the oldest cities in the world, and as such, it is steeped in history and culture that make it one of the premier travel destinations as well. So whether you’re visiting on business or pleasure, there is sure to be something that you’ll want to either put on your itinerary or take some time to see.

Since Athens has such a vast offering of things to experience, however, trying to take in quintessential Athens in one day can seem daunting.

That’s where this list should help you out tremendously, by giving you a rundown of the things to spend your precious time on when it is so limited. You can spend half a day seeing one or two super-popular touristy things, or you can spend your time wisely and have many more unforgettable experiences.

Drop your luggage off at one of the best luggage storage Athens has to offer, then get ready to hit the city unencumbered, because here is how to explore Athens in a day.

Getting Around

This is the first thing you will need to plan out since you will need to cut out as much wasted time as possible. You will have the options of the metro, busses, taxis & ubers, and a few tram lines.

The metro will probably be your best bet for getting around quickly and easily, and a day pass is usually less than $10 depending on the exchange rates at the time. Ubers are great, but they are a little different and will have meters in them, so don’t worry when you see that. 

The bus lines are great, but they don’t have route numbers and the system can be confusing. Three tram lines run from downtown Athens to outside destinations along the coast, but they are generally not near the spots you are likely going to want to spend time at.

Be Prepared

You should be ready to spend all day, or nearly all day, out and about seeing and experiencing things to maximize your time. This means you should first make sure you are wearing comfy walking shoes. Many of the streets are cobblestone, and putting 10k steps on your tracker in a day on Athens streets will test your fortitude. 

Also be sure you have a comfortable and secure bag, like a crossbody bag. You should also look into an anti-pickpocket bag, and if using a backpack be sure you wear it in front so that malicious individuals cannot open it and take anything out.

Athens is often hot and sunny, so bring along sunscreen and a hat, as well as a solar phone charger if possible. With your phone, buying a SIM card ahead of time means you can use your phone in Athens to access Metro, Uber, or bus information, as well as anything else that needs network access. 

General Tips

If you plan on using any local power in Athens, be aware you will need an adapter for either type C or type F. If you plan on using anything that uses lots of power you may need to invest in a converter, since Athens voltage will be 230V.

Drinking water in Athens is safe, so make sure you have a large water bottle that you can use to refill at various stops. This will keep you hydrated, which is important to keeping you in sightseeing shape all day. 

The only other main concern for travelers, particularly those in the city for a short while, is pickpocketing. Keep track of your valuables, and do not store them in easy to access places. 

The Sights To See

The best way to get the most out of a one-day Athens visit is to do a mix of local gems and big-name attractions. Here’s a list to spread out over the day:

  • The Acropolis & Museum: This is one of the big things you will want to see, but make sure you do it early in the morning to beat the crowds.
  • The Streets of Plaka: This is a great place to grab some breakfast after the Acropolis, or just a coffee, while you enjoy the romantic little town.
  • Temple of Zeus: Just a ten-minute walk from Plaka, these temple ruins were once a breathtaking temple built nearly two thousand years ago. 
  • National Garden: Next to the Temple are the National Gardens, built for the first modern Olympics.
  • Monastiraki Flea Market: One of the best places to close out the day, the flea market is where you can get all your souvenirs for a nice price, as well as some other unique and kooky gifts.

Exploring Athens In A Day

While Athens is packed with countless things to do, and one day certainly isn’t enough to see it all, this guide should help you have an incredibly productive one-day visit. Just make sure you prepare and portion your time wisely and you will be able to squeeze in more than you thought. 

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