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Parthenon temple on a bright day in Athens, Greece

Itineraries for Your Trip to Athens

Athens locals share their perfect days.
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2 Days in Athens for First Timers

Curated by Lydia SchrandtLydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

With two days in Athens, you have time to branch out beyond the essential museums and archaeological sites to delve deeper into history, treat your tastebuds to some traditional cuisine, and explore the local neighborhoods. Here’s how to make the most of two days in Athens.

Day 1: Morning

Kick off your 48 hours in Athens with a half-day city sightseeing tour. You’ll get an overview of the city’s top attractions, such as the Temple of Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, Dionysos Theater, and the National Gardens of Greece. Opt for a private tour to customize your itinerary and get insider tips on the best places to visit during your stay.

Day 1: Afternoon

Now that the morning crowds have cleared, head up to Athens’ main landmark, the Acropolis. Spend the afternoon exploring this UNESCO-listed archaeological wonder on your own or with a tour guide who can fill you in on the history of the ruins, including the Parthenon. Continue learning about the Acropolis and its history at the Acropolis Museum.

Day 1: Night

Wind down your day of sightseeing with an evening on the town. Do it like the Greeks do with a leisurely dinner at a traditional taverna; tuck into meze (appetizers) at spots where locals go to socialize, sip ouzo or raki, and dance to the sounds of bouzoukia, a local folk music.

Day 2: Morning

After getting an overview of Athens, today is the day to dig deeper into the rich culinary traditions of Greece with a morning cooking class. Classes typically include learning to prepare traditional dishes using fresh, local ingredients before dining on the fruits of your labor. Alternately, hit the pavement on a walking food tour to sample some of the city’s best bites.

Day 2: Afternoon

Spend your afternoon strolling through one (or more) of Athens’ neighborhoods. Colorful Plaka, the oldest residential district in Athens, is a maze of narrow lanes and alleyways lined with shops and cafes. For bargain shopping and historic ruins, head to Monastiraki in central Athens, or, for people watching, visit Syntagma Square.

Day 2: Night

Treat yourself on your final night in Athens to dinner with a view. Take the funicular to the top of Lycabettus Hill for a meal with panoramic views over the illuminated city below, or book a table in a revolving restaurant 165 feet (50 meters) up for a look at the Acropolis while you eat.

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