Athens, Greece is a destination that I visit A LOT, sometimes even weekly in the summer months. I’d say I go so frequently, that I must have visited well over 100 times at this point. It’s just a city that I don’t get sick of, for a variety of reasons. It’s history, culture and food are second to none, to start. Because I’ve visited the city so many times, I am constantly getting asked what the must-sees and must-dos are, what cannot be missed and where the best vegan food spots are. So, instead of only sharing my Athens knowledge with my close friends, I decided to write this post for all of you to enjoy if you ever visit the city yourself! People typically stop in Athens on their way to the Greek Islands, which is perfect, because you only need 2 days in the city to see everything! I hope you enjoy my guide for the perfect 48 hours in Athens, Greece.
The acropolis is easily the most popular attraction in Athens, and for good reason. Built around 495-429 BC, it is one of the most important ancient sites of the Western world. In the summer months, it is extremely busy, so I recommend visiting early in the day, or later after the crowds have passed though. Tickets cost approximately 20 euros.
The Acropolis Museum
Filled with ancient artifacts from Greece’s history, as well as items discovered in the excavation of the Acropolis, this museum is a must for any history buff or tourist wanting to gain a better understanding of Greece. It is not a huge museum and will generally only take 2 hours or so to enjoy.
Located beneath The Acropolis, Plaka is a neighborhood full of restaurants and markets selling jewelry, Greek specialties, and local ceramics. Pick up an authentic seeing eye necklace here, grab some spinach pies and stock up on your olive oil. If you’re looking for more large chain-type clothing stores such as Zara, head a few blocks over for all your shopping needs.
Syntagma Square is the central square of Athens and the location of the current Greek Parliament. Throughout history, almost every major Greek event has been celebrated or mourned there. You can catch the changing of the guards every day on the hour.
Only a few columns remain (15 of the original 104) from the Temple of Zeus, however it is still a great site to see. Entry tickets are approximately 6 euros.
The First Olympic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is the first stadium to host the modern Olympic games in 1896. Built completely of granite, it currently has a capacity of around 45000 people. Tickets are approximately 5 euros.
One of my personal favorite spots, Mount lycabetus is the highest point in Athens, providing a stunning panoramic view of the city. A restaurant (with soy lattes!) And small chapel are located at the top. Perfect for a hike to the top if you’re looking for a workout, or a quick drive up if you’d like to enjoy the view less strenuously. Entry is free.
Vegan Beat is a tiny spot, a little off the beaten path in Plaka. It is very inexpensive and serves one of my favorite vegan versions of a gyro, in both a mock chicken version and mushroom version. Their vegan tzatziki is so good, I’ve asked them to bottle it for me in the past.
I recommend Sissifos purely for it’s ambience and vibe. While the food is ok, what I love so much about this restaurant is that it’s located right under the Acropolis and has a roof top patio that overlooks the city. As the day turns to night and the Acropolis is illuminated, it is so beautiful to enjoy your meal with the views. My favorite vegan options are the oven giant beans
A for Athens
If you’re looking for a fun spot to have a drink, this rooftop bar is it. With a spectacular view of the Acropolis, A for Athens is usually packed with tourists and locals alike.
For a long time, Mystic Pizza was my absolutely favorite spot in Athens. This restaurant is perfect to bring your non-vegan friends, as they serve both vegan and non-vegan options. With a huge menu of vegan pizzas, or pizzas that can be made vegan, I always had something different to order. They make their vegan cheese from scratch, however it can be a little gooey, so I recommend asking them to go light on the cheese. There are multiple locations of this restaurant, however the nicest one is the Federeeko location, specifically the rooftop patio.
Gregory’s is a chain with locations all over Athens. They serve baked goods, coffees, salads and sandwiches. The reason I put them on this list is because they make the BEST vegan spinach pie, EVER. Like, ever. It is honestly a 10/10 and I REALLY recommend you try it. It is my absolute favorite food to get in Athens and a can’t miss! For those with a sweet tooth, they also serve vegan donuts, and for our java addicts, they have soy as a dairy substitute! This spot is really a must, you’ll thank me later.
Before your flight home, Athens airport has quite a few good options to grab some food for your flight. Before security, there is a Gregory’s (for the spinach pie I can’t shut up about and a delicious latte), a salad bar and a counter with a rotating variety of Greek meals. I love to Greek potatoes that they serve!
Other food options, although I have not tried each one:
Lukumades – vegan donuts!
Ice Queen – great vegan gelato! Always a few options to choose from.
Avocado – popular restaurant, however I don’t think it’s worth the buzz.
Mama Tierra – I ate here when they first opened many years ago and thought it was ok. I haven’t been back since, as it’s out of the way for me.
Veganaki – great version of vegan moussaka!
Healthy Bites – I ate here years ago and really liked their vegan chicken option, potatoes and tabouleh.
Where To Stay
Central to everything you’ll want to see! The heart of the city, full of character and fun! Plaka is also relatively safe, although it’s always good to be cautious while traveling!
One of my favourite areas in the city, Kolonaki is a little more upscale with lots of great restaurants. It’s a great place to stay as well, although it is located just next to the area you’ll need to be to see all of the sites! Not to worry, the metro system in Athens is actually quite great and very easy to use!
Also a beautiful neighbourhood and located in central Athens, this spot offers a little more of a quiet vibe than staying right in Plaka. It is close enough to all of the sites, making it easy to get around without all of the noise of the busy centre!
The subway system in Athens is VERY easy to use! A 90 minute ticket costs only 1.40 euros and a 24 hour ticket costs only 4.5 euros. It is open from 5:30 am until 12:30 am, with lines 2 and 3 staying open until 2:30 am on Friday and Saturday. You can buy your tickets at the station, just make sure to validate it before entering the subway area! There is no gate stopping you from entering, just a row of machines to validate your ticket, based on the honour system. They do conduct random fare checks, so make sure you validate. Click here to find out more information!
Sample 2 Day Itinerary
Flights generally land in Athens in the morning, leaving the rest of the day to explore, and if you’re not too tired, I recommend starting your adventures right away! This itinerary is just a recommendation for 48 hours, however it can be adjusted or spread out whichever way suits your travel interests.
- Mount Lycabetus: Hike to the top/or take a taxi to the top of Mount Lycabetus. There’s a beautiful little church at the top, the views are breathtaking and you can stop for a delicious coffee while you take it all in.
- The first Olympic stadium: not too far from Mount Lycabetus, the first Olympic stadium is a site to behold. Swing by there for some cool photos and to witness where such an iconic worldwide activity started!
- Lunch: Grab a quick bite at Gregory’s – try one of their spinach pies, or sit down for a bite at Mystic Pizza, located right behind the first Olympic stadium. Also only a 10 minute walk away, Veganaki is a great spot to try a vegan version of moussaka!
- Zeus’ Temple: Not too far of a walk (about 10 minutes), Zeus’ temple is a cool spot to check out next.
- Syntagma Square: Close to Zeus’ temple, Syntagma Square is only a few minutes away (another 10 minute walk).
- Dinner: Vegan Beat or Avocado, Ice Queen for dessert!
- Acropolis: Early in the morning, visit the Acropolis. In the summer months, the Acropolis gets SO busy by 10 am, that it’s best to visit as early as possible. As well, the weather in Athens can be extremely hot, easily reaching temperatures of over 100 /30 degrees.
- Acropolis Museum: Located at the bottom of the Acropolis, the museum is the perfect activity to do once you’re finished exploring the Acropolis and a nice way to cool off from the heat.
- Vegan Beat: You’re probably starving by now! Enjoy lunch at Vegan Beat, which will take you through Plaka on your walk there.
- Plaka: After lunch, enjoy the area and walk through the markets. Stock up on your olive oil and honey!
- Sissifos: Head to Sissifos for a gorgeous dinner overlooking the city.
- A for Athens or 360 Bar: Finish off your last night in Athens with a drink at A for Athens of the 360 Bar.