5 Days in Athens: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 5 Days in Athens: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You want to visit Athens in 5 days and you’re looking for the best places to visit?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this 5-day itinerary in Athens, perfectly optimized to discover all the city’s must-see attractions.

First, I will give you all my best tips to avoid queuing at Athens’ main tourist attractions. Then, I will detail the day to day program, with all the best things to do and activities for each stage of your itinerary.

Of course, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Athens in 5 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

How to avoid waiting in line (and save a lot of time!) at Athens’ tourist attractions

Greece‘s capital, famous for its stunning archeological sites, attracts millions of visitors each year.

And they all want to discover the incredible attractions and activities the city has to offer, like the Acropolis or the Agora.

Maybe you have been to the Colosseum in Rome, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the Empire State Building in New York?

If yes, you already know what it means: endless waiting lines at all must-see attractions!

But don’t worry, there are 2 very simple solutions that will allow you to save a lot of time (and money!) during your 5-day trip to Athens.

1. The Athens Pass

The first solution to save time and money during your 5-day stay in Athens is to purchase the Athens pass.

It includes:

  • The combined Acropolis ticket, which gives you priority access to the Acropolis and 6 others main ancient sites in Athens: the ancient Agora, the roman Agora, Hadrian’s library, the temple of Olympian Zeus, the Aristotle’s lyceum and the Kerameikos.
  • A skip-the-line ticket for the Acropolis museum
  • An audio guide for your visit to Athens
  • A 10% discount on all other attractions in Athens.

The Athens pass is 100% digital. You’ll receive your priority entrance directly by email.

To purchase your Athens pass, simply click on the green button below:

2. Skip-the-Line Tickets for Tourist Attractions in Athens

Second option: to avoid waiting in line during your 5-day Athens itinerary, you can buy skip-the-line tickets for each tourist attraction or activity in advance.

The good news is that you will be able to purchase these priority tickets for all the best attractions in Athens, such as the Acropolis.

Here is the list of all skip-the-line tickets and excursions I will be talking about in this itinerary.

To check the prices and to book, simply click on the orange links below (you’ll also find them throughout this article):

5 Days in Athens: All Must-See attractions

Voyage Tips - Advice

You can find all the available entrance tickets, guided tours, activities and day trips from Athens by clicking here: Book your tickets and guided tours in Athens.

One Last Tip for a Perfect 5-Day Stay in Athens

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Athens is one the most touristic city in Greece, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Athens by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Athens.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Athens, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

5 Days in Athens: the perfect itinerary

Let’s now start your 5-day itinerary in Athens!

For each day, I will give you all the details you need to plan your visits + a map that will allow you to visualize the itinerary a bit better.

I’m assuming you will be staying in Athens for 5 full days and that you will be using the Athens pass or skip-the-line tickets. It’s the best way to save time and money during your 5-day stay!

If you still have questions after reading this guide (or need help organizing your holiday), don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section located at the very end of this article.

I will be glad to help you plan your trip to Athens 😄.

So, what are the best things to do in Athens in 5 days?

Day 1: Discover the historic centre of Athens

5 Days in Athens Day 1 Itinerary
5 Days in Athens – Day 1 Itinerary

Day 1 visits:

A. Acropolis
B. Acropolis Museum
C. Plaka neighborhood
D. Ancient Agora
E. Monastiraki
F. Philopappos hill
G. Gazi neighborhood

A. The Acropolis

Let’s start your 5-day visit to Athens with the most iconic landmark of the city: the Acropolis.

This ancient citadel dates back to the Neolithic period, but the most significant structures were built in the 5th century BC, during the height of Athens’ power.

The Acropolis is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited site of Ancient Greece.

When visiting the archaeological site, you’ll see magnificent monuments like the famous Parthenon. This temple, dedicated to the Goddess Athena, is entirely made of marble and weighs about 20,000 tons!

You will also pass by the Erechtheion and its porch of the Caryatids, the temple of Athena Nike, the theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is still used for representations.

You should start early at the Acropolis, to avoid the midday sun and the crowds. Ideally, be there at opening time.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As there’s always a very long waiting line at the entrance of the Acropolis, you really need to get a skip-the-line ticket.

The Athens pass includes a priority entrance to the Acropolis, but if you don’t have it, you should buy a fast track ticket here:

And if you want to learn everything about the Acropolis history, you should opt for a guided visit (it’s also a skip the line ticket).

To book it, you just have to click on the button below:

Athens Acropolis – 5 day in Athens

B. The Acropolis Museum

Just a short walk from the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum is the next stop on your 5-day trip to Athens.

This modern museum is built over an ancient Athenian neighborhood, which you can see through its glass floors.

The museum houses thousands of artifacts found on the Acropolis, including statues and relics that once adorned the Parthenon and other temples. It’s a must-visit to learn more about Ancient Greece!

Don’t miss the Parthenon Gallery on the top floor, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Acropolis.

Voyage Tips - Advice

A priority entrance is included with the Athens pass.

If you don’t have it, to avoid waiting in line, you can directly get a skip-the-line ticket for the Acropolis Museum here:

You can also book a guided tour of the museum by clicking here!

Athens Acropolis Museum
Athens Acropolis Museum

C. Explore the Plaka Neighborhood

After your morning at the Acropolis and the museum, take a leisurely stroll through Plaka neighborhood.

Known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods,” Plaka is nestled at the foot of the Acropolis and is one of the oldest and most charming districts in Athens.

As you wander through Plaka’s winding streets, you’ll find a lot of small shops, traditional cafes, and tavernas.

It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir, enjoy a Greek coffee and sample some traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, or freshly made Greek salad.

While in Plaka, don’t miss Anafiotika area, its white-washed houses and colorful gardens, reminiscent of the Greek islands.

Plaka and Anaflotika neighborhoods in Athens
Plaka and Anaflotika neighborhoods in Athens

D. The Ancient Agora

Let’s continue your 5-day Athens itinerary and go to the Ancient Agora, which was once the commercial, political, and social hub of ancient Athens.

Today, it’s an archaeological site that offers a glimpse into Athens’ ancient history.

While exploring the Agora, you’ll see well-preserved ruins such as the Stoa of Attalos, which has been rebuilt to house the Agora Museum. Inside, you can view an impressive collection of artifacts.

You’ll also see the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world and a famous example of Doric architecture.

The entrance to the Ancient Agora is included in the Athens pass.

And if you don’t have the Athens Pass, you need to book your tickets directly here!

The ancient Agora and The Temple of Hephaestus in Athens
The ancient Agora, a must-see for a 5-day visit to Athens

E. Monastiraki

Your first day in Athens isn’t complete without a visit to Monastiraki.

This neighborhood is known for its little shops, where you can find everything from antiques and vintage clothing to local handicrafts, jewellery and souvenirs. It’s really looks like the souks in Arabic countries.

While wandering around, you will for sure pass by Monastiraki Square, where you can enjoy the view of the Acropolis towering above.

If you’re interested in history, take a quick detour to the nearby Hadrian’s Library and the Roman Agora, both of which offer a peek into the ancient past of this dynamic city.

The access is included with your Athens pass!


F. Philopappos hill for the sunset

End your day with a peaceful stroll up Philopappos Hill, which offers stunning panoramic views of Athens and the Acropolis.

The walk to the top is easy and you’ll be treated to one of the best sunset views in the city.

Philopappos Hill is also home to the Monument of Philopappos, dating back to 115 AD. It’s dedicated to the Roman senator Philopappos, considered as one of Athens’ benefactors.

Philopappos Hill
Philopappos Hill, from The Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Acropolis)

G. Gazi neighborhood

After a sunset on Philopappos Hill, head over to Gazi neighborhood to experience Athens’ modern nightlife.

Known for its industrial vibe and energetic atmosphere, Gazi is the go-to district for those looking to enjoy a lively evening out.

The heart of Gazi’s nightlife is centered around Technopolis, an old gasworks turned cultural venue that hosts concerts, exhibitions, and festivals.

Surrounding Technopolis, you’ll find a plethora of bars, nightclubs, and casual dining spots.

You should try one of the local rooftop bars where you can enjoy a cocktail with a view of the illuminated Acropolis.

If you’re looking for something more laid-back, there are several tavernas and ouzeris where you can enjoy traditional Greek live music and dance along with the locals.

For those who love to dance, Gazi’s clubs offer everything from mainstream hits to techno and alternative music.

Voyage Tips - Advice

When visiting Gazi, be sure to dress comfortably but trendy, as locals here take their style seriously.

Also, always keep an eye on your belongings, as these popular spots can get quite crowded.

2nd day in Athens: What to do and see?

5 Days in Athens Day 2 Itinerary
5 Days in Athens – Day 2 Itinerary

Day 2 visits:

A. Panathenaic stadium
B. Hadrian’s gate and the temple of Olympian Zeus
C. The national garden
D. Syntagma square
E. Ermou street
F. The National archeological museum
G. Mount Lycabettus

A. The Panathenaic Stadium

Start your second day in Athens with a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium, a historical landmark where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

This stadium is unique as it is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of marble.

Make sure to climb to the top tier for a panoramic view of Athens.

If you’re a sports enthusiast, the Panathenaic Stadium also houses a small museum displaying various Olympic memorabilia which chronicles the history of the games from ancient times to the present day.

Panathenaic Stadium
Panathenaic Stadium – Visiting Athens in 5 days

B. Hadrian’s Gate and the Temple of Olympian Zeus

A short walk from the Panathenaic Stadium will lead you to Hadrian’s Gate, a monumental gateway that once divided the ancient city from the Roman additions made by Emperor Hadrian.

It’s a perfect example of Roman architecture in Athens and a spot for some great photos.

Just beyond the gate, you’ll find the Temple of Olympian Zeus, one of the largest temples in the ancient world dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.

Though now in ruins, with only a few columns still standing, its sheer scale remains impressive and evokes the grandeur of ancient Greek civilization.

Entrance to the temple is included with the Athens pass.

C. Zappeion Park & The National Garden

After your visit, let’s head to Zappeion Park and the National Garden for a leisurely stroll.

You will first pass by Zappeion Park, featuring the Zappeion Hall, a stunning neoclassical building used for meetings and ceremonies.

Right next to Zappeion Park, while going towards your next visit, you will cross the National Garden.

This expansive park offers an escape from the urban bustle, with shaded pathways, a small zoo, and a botanical garden.

Zappeion Park in Athens
Zappeion Park in Athens

D. Syntagma Square

You will then go to Syntagma Square to witness the changing of the guard.

This ceremony is performed by the Evzones, an elite unit of the Greek army, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s a profound national symbol and a must-see during your 5-day itinerary in Athens.

The guards change every hour on the hour, but the most elaborate performance takes place on Sundays at 11:00 AM. If you plan to see it, you should arrive early to get a good viewing spot, as it tends to draw large crowds.

The ceremony is also an opportunity to see the traditional uniforms up close, with skirts, tights and pompom shoes!

Syntagama Square
Changing of the Guard in Syntagama Square

E. Ermou street

During your 5-day itinerary in Athens, don’t forget to go to Ermou street, one of the main shopping streets in the city.

Starting from Syntagma Square and stretching down to Monastiraki, this pedestrian-only street is lined with both international brands and local shops, offering everything from high fashion to traditional Greek crafts.

As you stroll along Ermou Street, you’ll also encounter street performers and local artists.

Make also sure to explore some of the side streets and smaller boutiques where you can find unique items and authentic Greek products.

There are also numerous cafes and restaurants along the way. You should try some traditional Greek pastries like baklava or bougatsa from a local bakery.

Kapnikarea Church
The Kapnikarea Church, on Ermou Street

F. The National Archaeological Museum

To wrap up your day, head to the National Archaeological museum.

This museum, one of the most important in Greece, houses the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the cultural heritage of Greece.

Highlights include the Mask of Agamemnon, the Antikythera Mechanism, and statues, from the Archaic to the Roman period.

The museum is less crowded in the late afternoon, so by following my itinerary, you will be there at the perfect time!

After your visit, don’t forget to check out the museum shop for books and replicas of ancient Greek artifacts—it’s perfect for gifts or souvenirs to bring back home.

Voyage Tips - Advice

In order to avoid the long waiting line in front of the museum, you need to book your tickets in advance by clicking on the button below:

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens

G. Mount Lycabettus

To end the day, make your way to Mount Lycabettus, the highest point in Athens, for a beautiful sunset experience.

The view from the top offers a panoramic vista of the entire city, stretching out to the sea.

You can hike up the hill (which you’ll take you around 20 minutes) or you can take the funicular if you don’t feel like walking.

At the top, in addition to the incredible panoramic view of Athens, you’ll also find the small but charming Chapel of St. George.

There’s also a restaurant and a café at the summit, where you can enjoy a drink or a meal with Athens spread out beneath you.

Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus

Day 3: Discover the coast of Athens

For your 3rd day in Athens, you can choose between 2 options: a day at the beach or a day trip to Cape Sounion.

Option 1: Go to the beach

If you’re looking to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun, head to the beaches along the Apollo coast.

Here are some of the best spots:

  • Glyfada Beach: Known for its golden sands and vibrant beach bars, Glyfada is perfect for those who enjoy a lively beach atmosphere. You can rent a sunbed and umbrella, or if you’re looking for more action, try some of the water sports offered!
  • Voula Beach: Just south of Glyfada, Voula Beach offers a more family-friendly environment, with calm waters and all needed facilities. It’s ideal for a relaxing day by the sea.
  • Lagonisi Beach: Further down the coast, Lagonisi is known for its crystal-clear waters. It’s a bit quieter than Glyfada and Voula, making it a great spot for couples seeking a more peaceful retreat.
  • Saronida Beach: This beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, and you’ll find excellent tavernas nearby serving fresh seafood.
Voyage Tips - Advice

You can go to the beaches on the Apollo coast using public transports, directly from Syntagma Square.

Athens Beach
Beaches near Athens

Option 2: Cape Sounion

If you prefer to learn more about history while discovering the natural beauty of Athens’ surroundings, you should rather go to Cape Sounion.

Located at the southern tip of the Attica peninsula, Cape Sounion is famous for its breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the ancient Temple of Poseidon.

The drive to Cape Sounion is scenic, winding along the coast with numerous spots to stop and enjoy the view.

Once there, you can explore the temple ruins, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. This site is particularly stunning at sunset, when the setting sun bathes the temple in golden light.

There’s also a small beach below the temple where you can enjoy a swim with a view of the ancient ruins.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you don’t have a car, the best option to go to Cape Sounion is to opt for a day trip from Athens.

They will pick you up at a metro station and drive you along the Apollo Coast. You will even stop at the theater of Thorikos, the world’s oldest theater, before you reach the Cape.

At Cape Sounion, you will have 2 hours to enjoy the site and the sunset.

The price includes the round trip transfer in bus and an archaeologist guide. 

This day trip needs to be booked in advance by clicking here:


If you prefer, there is also a day trip to Cape Sounion that starts in the morning. It includes a stop to Anavyssos, for a lunch and to take a dip!

Afterwards you will enjoy a guided tour of the Temple of Poseidon.

You can find all the information about this tour by clicking here!

Cape Sounion
Cape Sounion, near Athens

Day 4: A cruise around the Saronic Islands

A day cruise to the Saronic Islands is one of the best things to do when visiting Athens for 5 days.

These islands offer a mix of beautiful beaches, historical sites, and quaint villages, making them perfect for a day trip.

Several companies offer day cruises from Athens to the Saronic Islands, typically covering 3 islands such as Hydra, Poros, and Aegina.

Each island has its unique charm:

  • Hydra: Known for its vehicle-free narrow streets and preserved architecture, Hydra is charming and picturesque. You can explore its artistic shops, relax in its cafes, and walk along the seafront promenade.
  • Poros: This small island is famous for its lush pine forests and sandy beaches. Don’t miss the clock tower, it offers stunning panoramic views of the bay.
  • Aegina is rich in historical sites like the Temple of Aphaia. Don’t miss the chance to try some pistachio sweets from the local shops as the island is famous for its pistachios.

Each island offers opportunities to swim in the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, so don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen!

The cruise I recommend includes the bus transfer to the port, a stop at each island and even the lunch. 

You need to book this cruise in advance by clicking on the green button below:

Saronic Islands
The Saronic Islands, accessible from Athens

Day 5: Visit the surroundings of Athens

Spending 5 days in Athens will give you enough time to do another day trip to discover the surroundings. 

So for your fifth and final day, I have 2 suggestions for you:

  • Option 1: Visit Delphi
  • Option 2: Visit the Peloponnese

Option 1: Day Trip to Delphi

Delphi, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greek history, was once considered the center of the world by ancient Greeks.

It’s especially famous for its Oracle, where the Pythia, the high priestess, would deliver prophecies that guided kings and commoners alike.

In Delphi, you will be able to see the remains of the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, and the theatre.

After exploring the ruins, head to Delphi Museum.

Here, you’ll find artifacts excavated from the site, including the famous Charioteer of Delphi, intricate friezes, and ancient statues that offer a deeper understanding of Greek art and religious practices.

The tour includes the transfer from and back to your hotel, a guide, and the entrances ticket to Delphi archaeological site and the museum.

You need to book it here:


Option 2: Day trip to the Peloponnese

Alternatively, consider a day trip to the Peloponnese.

This tour typically includes visits to the Corinth Canal, Mycenae, Nafplio, and Epidaurus, each offering a unique glimpse into ancient Greek civilization.

You will start your day with a brief stop at the Corinth Canal. The canal offers a stunning view as it cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, connecting the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf.

The canal is a marvel of engineering and provides great photo opportunities especially if you have the chance to see a boat inside!

Next, head to Mycenae, the ancient city from the Greek myths.

You can explore the ruins of the royal palace, see the iconic Lion’s Gate, and visit the tomb of Agamemnon. It’s a fascinating site that provides insight into the Mycenaean civilization, which flourished over 3,000 years ago.

Then, travel to Nafplio, one of Greece’s most picturesque cities.

This seaside town was the first capital of modern Greece and is known for its beautiful architecture, with Venetian and Ottoman influences.

Enjoy some free time to wander through its charming streets, visit the fortress, or relax at a cafe along the promenade.

Conclude your trip with a visit to Epidaurus, famous for its ancient theatre with exceptional acoustics.

The transfer in an air-conditioned bus, a guide and the entrance tickets for all the sites are included!

Booking this tour is the best way to see some of the most famous places of Peloponnese in a short amount of time:

Epidaurus Theatre
Epidaurus Theatre

Where to stay in Athens

You now have a good idea of the best things to do in Athens in 5 days!

There is just one more thing to do: booking your hotel. Where will you stay during these 5 days?

As Athens is very touristic, you should really book your hotel as early as possible to secure a good deal!

To make it easier for you, here is my selection of the best accommodations in Athens depending on your budget:

  • Bedbox Hostel: A Youth Hostel located 300m from Monastiraki Square, and 700m from the Acropolis. Dormitory room starting from 18€ per night. Strong points: the location, the really kind staff and the cleanliness!
  • Evripides Hotel: Located 400m from Ermou Street and 500m from Monastiraki. The rooms are simple but comfortable, starting from 70€ per night, with breakfast included. What I loved: the breathtaking view of the Acropolis from the rooftop, the location (perfect to visit Athens on foot) and the friendly and helpful staff! A great choice in Athens for its exceptional value for money!
  • Amalia Hotel: Located on Syntagma Square, just in front of the National Gardens. The double rooms are modern and spacious. Some of them even have a balcony with a nice view of the gardens. The price starts at 155€ per night with breakfast included. Strong points: The comfort, the generous breakfast, and the location in the centre of Athens.
  • Wyndham Grand Athens: 5-star Hotel located 1km from Ermou Street and 1.5km from the Acropolis. You’ll love the elegant and design double rooms here, starting from 200€ per night. Breakfast will cost you 16€. Strong points: the outdoor pool on the roof, the view of the Acropolis, the spa center, and the location right next to a metro station!
  • Electra Metropolis: This 5-star hotel is located only 200m from Syntagma Square and 600m from the Acropolis. The price for a spacious and comfortable double room starts at 270€ per night, breakfast included. What I loved: the ideal location, the view of The Acropolis from the rooftop, the amazing restaurant, the pool. The best choice for a luxury stay in Athens!
Electra Metropolis - 5-star hotel in Athens
Electra Metropolis – 5-star hotel in Athens

Athens in 5 days with kids

Wondering if this 5-day itinerary in Athens is possible and would be enjoyable with your family?

The answer is yes, of course!

But keep in mind that during summer, the temperature in Athens can be very hot, especially on archeological site where there’s virtually no shade. So make sure you protect your children from the sun and drink plenty of water (that goes for you too!).

And if you’ve got a baby, take a baby carrier with you, as strollers are not recommended at the Acropolis, the Agora or on the cobbled streets in the center of town.

You can also make a few changes to this itinerary and add some activities especially for your kids:

  • Visit The Eugenides Planetarium to discover the universe with your family
  • Go to The Hellenic Cosmos for a 3D virtual visit of Ancient Greece
  • Visit the Hellenic Children’s Museum, where kids can play merchant or construction games. It’s a miniature world, where everything is adapted to kids size!
  • Spend a day at the Allou Fun Park & Kidom, Greece’s biggest amusement park!
  • Enjoy the Attica Zoological Park, one of the classics of a family stay in Athens. You can buy your tickets here.

Other ideas of things to do and see in Athens in 5 days

You’ve followed my 5-day itinerary in Athens and have a bit more time left in the city?

In this case, you should read my guide of the best places to visit in Athens: The 20 Best Things to Do in Athens.

There, you will for sure find even more ideas of activities and things to see during your 5-day trip to Athens!

Map of Your 5-Day Itinerary in Athens

To help you visualize your itineraries over these 5 days in Athens, I’ve created a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow.

This will allow you to view the itineraries for each day.

Find the best flight prices for your 5 days in Athens

Since the price of flights to Athens can vary a lot, it’s a good idea to compare them as early as possible. For this, you can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s the guarantee of getting the best fare.

Need help organizing your 5-day itinerary in Athens? Feel free to ask me your questions in the comments.

Book your trip now and save money!

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Cyclades (Greek islands)


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best places to visit in Athens in 5 days
best places to visit in Athens in 5 days



Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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