During our trip to Greece, we had a full day to explore Athens. In that day we not only stayed downtown, but we also went farther south to explore Athens’ Riviera.
Where to stay in Athens
If you only have one day to explore Athens, I would recommend booking a hotel in the centre, same as we did. Most of the hotels have a great view of Acropolis.
We started our day with a tour of our hotel, the Herodion Hotel. We first went upstairs on its rooftop, where we could enjoy a great view of the Acropolis. There was the option to also use the jacuzzi while enjoying the view, but we decided to leave the hotel and head to the town instead.
It was only 5 minutes away to get to the entrance of the Acropolis from our hotel. We joined the long but moving queue. Two types of tickets are available for purchase: one is only 20 euros (during winter the price can be 50% lower), which let you just visit the most visited site of Athens: the Acropolis; the other one is a combo ticket and costs you 10 euros more, and with it you can visit almost all of the archaeological sites in the city. Since we had a day to explore, we purchased the package ticket.
The Acropolis is at the top of a hill so you should wear comfortable shoes to get to the top and overlook the city. It won’t be a tough walk, but you do need to climb some stairs to get there.
Tips for visiting Acropolis
We went to the Acropolis around 10 am, and we found it quite crowded. Only later we found out that the best time to visit the Acropolis is in the early morning or late evening before the closing hour in order to avoid groups of tourists all there to visit the main attraction.
We left the Acropolis and headed to the Agora. There are two Agoras in Athens: the Roman Agora and the Ancient (Greek) Agora. We could visit both sites with our combo tickets. We went to the Roman Agora first which is located on the north side of the Acropolis and to the east of the Ancient Agora. Sine the site was small we took some photos and headed to the Ancient Agora, which is a much larger site to explore.
The Ancient Agora, located in the heart of modern Athens, was also the heart of the ancient city. It is a must place to visit if you found yourself in Athens. I, personally, found it more impressive than the Acropolis. You feel like you are walking through history. The site has been destroyed several times in the past, and the most serious damages were made by the Persians in 480 BC, but it was soon after rebuilt and became residential again.
Since the site is quite large you should consider spending a good amount of time in order to explore it properly.
Walking around and Shopping in Athens
Athens is a lively and beautiful city. After we left the Agora we found ourselves strolling around the cobblestone shopping streets. Since the streets are closed to all motor vehicles, it was very convenient to walk around and shop.
Eating Greek Food
Even though Athens is full of amazing restaurants and cafes, we went back to our hotel to have lunch. We had three courses of meal, all greek food. Perhaps I should mention, it was more on the modern style of greek food, and it was delicious.
After lunch, our taxi (Taxi Transfer Athens) picked us up to take us around for our sunset tour.
Beach and a Lake with Thermal Springs
We drove towards the south of Athens, the farther away we got from downtown, the prettier the road got until we had an amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea. We stopped next to the beach. It was very quiet and peaceful, we really needed to stay there for some time to relax after a busy day in the city. After our break, we headed to Vouliagmeni Lake, which is a natural spring water lake. The water of the lake is always warm so you can go for a swim no matter which season you visit. We didn’t have time to swim, but we took some nice photos and left.
Go to Temple of Poseidon to Watch the Sunset
When we arrived at the entrance of the temple of Poseidon, the sun was about to set down and the guard at the temple was pulling the fence in front of the gate to close down. When he saw us, he stopped and let us in at the very last minute.
We were the very lucky last people to enter. There were still some people inside, but new visitors were not allowed. We got there just in time, we had a great view of the ruined temple with the sea and the sun setting down. I can’t put the beauty I have seen in words. It was spectacular, and you can probably get an idea from the photo.
End your Day with Good food
After leaving the temple of Poseidon we headed to the beach area to have dinner. We went to a beautiful restaurant called L'Amico, where we ended our day with an amazing meal and tasty drinks.