If you are planning a trip to Athens and looking for top tips then you came to the right page 🙂 I have broken down all of the must-see places and must-do activities through my Athens Travel Guide having recently visited the Ancient Greek city a second time, and once again loving every minute of it. Athens is a MUST visit city in Europe for all ages because of its right history, culture and food, and I can’t wait to go back again!!
This Athens Travel Guide is based on a 3 day trip to Athens.
How to Get to Athens
I flew from Dubai via Turkish Airlines, which is just over a 4 hour flight to Istanbul and then another 1 hour 20 mins to Athens. This option was a cheaper one but I have to say that it was quite hectic as I travelled during July, and I didn’t find the airport in Istanbul to be that organised.
Emirates also flies direct to Athens and the flight is just over 5 hours.
Once you are there you can easily pick up a taxi from the airport but expect a fee of around 40 Eur for one way into the city centre.
Where to Stay in Athens
It was my first time staying at Melia Hotel Athens, and it really was a great hotel! The location was perfect and central to all of the places we wanted to visit, plus we loved how we could walk everywhere from the hotel. (It can be a little quite at night so take care). The 4 star property is very close to Omonoia square and Monastiraki and only 2 blocks away from the subway, many restaurants, bakeries and City Bus Tour pick ups/drop-offs. However, should you prefer a taxi getting one outside the hotel is super easy!
TOP TIP: The hotel check in time is 2pm, and the hotel charges extra for an early check in. However, should you arrive before 2pm the hotel is happy to keep your luggage for you while you go up and enjoy the pool or explore while you wait.
The hotel was modern, clean, comfortable and the staff were extremely helpful, we couldn’t really ask for more. We stayed in a Supreme Double Room and for an extra fee, The Roman’s package included an upgrade of room (which includes a jacuzzi bath), roses in the bathroom, bath bomb, champagne and delicious strawberries with chocolate (great for a birthday like mine). TOP TIP: Bring your own travel plug adaptor because the hotel only offers one per room (which is difficult if you need to charge a phone, laptop, and use a hair dryer etc.)
The rooftop pool at Melia Hotel Athens was amazing and has stunning views across the city, including an Acropolis view. It is a great spot for a swim to cool off during the hot summer and tan, it also includes a bar next to the pool where you can order food and drinks.
We chose not to have breakfast in the hotel, and instead explore the local restaurants and bakeries of Athens, our favorite was Cafe Veneti, which we ate at on multiple occassions and was even recommended by locals in Athens (more info below).
Booking of the hotel made through Booking.com
Address: Chalkokondili 14 & 28th October, Athina 106 77, Greece
Contact: +30 21 0332 0100
Where to Have Breakfast in Athens
I literally could not recommend Cafe Veneti enough! I really looked forward to visiting the cafe in the morning and looking at all of the fresh bakery items (if you are a foodie and love fresh bakeries then you must visit the cafe). There is a small branch around 5 minutes walk from Melia Hotel Athens and a bigger branch in Omonia Square. Ok so what do I recommend? The sandwhiches, croissants, Spinach Pies, Cheese Pies and breakfast deals, as well as their coffee. And it was so affordable! TOP TIP: Freddo Cappucionos are a must have when in Greece they are famous for them!
What Sites to Visit
I highly recommend taking the Citysightseeing Bus Tour around Athens, the hop on-hop off bus takes you around the city and drops you off right outside all of the main attractions (and their entrances). It is so affordable and the round tour happens multiple times a day so you can easily pick it up here and there if you plan your day out as timings are mentioned on the flyer. I would recommend taking the 2 day pass because on one of the days you can visit Piraeus and the beaches, which is what we did. The bus includes headphones and a vocal tour during the journey on the bus, and there are even some free walking tours included in the ticket. TOP TIP: If you are staying at Melia Hotel Athens pick the bus up from Omonia Square in the morning (I believe the first pick up is around 9am).
Temple of Zeus
Parliament + Changing of the Guards
The changing of the guards really is a sight to be seen, the uniforms and the marching that they do are so unique!
If you only see one thing in Athens then it has to be the Acropolis! It was my second time visiting this monumental settlement and I was just as amazed. Walking up to the Acropolis is quite a hike (not for those with walking difficulties as it is steep and uneven in some places) but oh so worth it, and the 360 degree views across the city are just breath taking, as well as the ancient structures themselves. An entrance ticket has to be purchased before you go up the hill. TOP TIP: It can be very crowded and ques can be quite long, I would recommend visiting in the morning or afternoon. Plus bring water and sunscreen.
Theatre of Dionysus
Built at the foot of the Acropolis the Dionysus Theatre is a sight to be seen, and is thought to have been the first theatre in the world.
With its bustling restaurants, bars and souvenir stores, Plaka is the place to be for a great authentic Greek meal in a Taverna or for some souvenir shopping. We loved walking through Plaka area on multiple occassions during the day and the night looking up at the Acropolis.
If you are looking for an authentic Greek Taverna when in Plaka then I highly recommend Ta Giouvetsakia. The food was soo good, we ordered greek salad, pitta, tzatsiki and kabab. TOP TIP: Make sure you get a table outside so that you can enjoy the buzz of the streets.
Where to Eat with the Best Acropolis View
Dionysus Zonar Restaurant is literally located just below the Acropolis and has such a great view. I highly recommend this restaurant for its great views and the food however, I wouldn’t recommend it for it’s service, which could be improved. Day or night, the restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy some Greek cuisine whilst admiring the beautiful Acropolis. You must order their Greek Burger and Moussaka – they were amazing. TOP TIP: If you are visiting in the evening I would recommend booking.
Looking for a Beach Day? Visit the House Project / Balux Cafe
If you are looking for a day at the beach in Athens to catch that mediterranean tan then I recommend The House Project. What was even more perfect was that the Citysightseeing Bus dropped us right outside on their Beach route. For a small fee you can rent sun beds and enjoy a full day at the beach, where drinks and food can be ordered stright to your sun bed. TOP TIP: Bring your own towl and even some water.
I really liked the beach club but I have to say that the food was disappointing. But it was great that there were changing rooms and toilets close to the beach.
I hope my Athens Travel Guide helped you plan your trip to this amazing city! Comment below if you have any questions I would love to hear from you 🙂