How to Spend 4 Days in Athens Greece: Perfect for First-Timers

Full of history and ancient ruins, Greece has been on top of my travel bucket list for quite some time. After thoroughly exploring and loving every minute of it, I have put together the perfect itinerary for you. With 4 days in your Athens itinerary, get ready to feel like you have been transported back in time as you experience remarkable ancient Greek ruins and artifacts!

So if you are planning on traveling to Athens for anywhere around 3-4 or even 5 days, this 4-day itinerary will cover the best things to do and see in Athens and along with a day trip to some stunning beaches in Athens!

View of Acropolis in Athens Greece 4 Day Itinerary
Seeing The Acropolis is a must on any Athens travel Itinerary

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How Many Days You Spend in Athens

While many think of skipping Athens altogether, I urge you not to. Athens is definitely worth visiting. So how many days should you spend in Athens?

We spent 5 days in Athens, however, I believe an itinerary of 4 full days in Athens gives you the perfect amount of time to see the best attractions you would not want to miss in Athens.

If the Greek Islands are your main focus, plan your travel guide to include Athens before or after visiting them since it is best to fly in and out of Athens, Greece.

If you think you may have less time in Athens, check out these best things to see in Athens you will not want to miss.

How to Get to Athens, Greece

The best way to get to Athens is to fly into Athens International Airport (ATH). From the airport, you can either take the train or hire a driver to pick you up.

We took the train, which was easy, although a bit of a walk to the station. If your budget is not tight, I would opt for a car service instead.

How to Travel Around Athens

The best way to travel around Athens for this 4 day itinerary is by foot or through public transportation. The subways in Athens are the cleanest subways I have ever been on, however, the bus line is the complete opposite.

At the end of the day, we took both options of public transportation and had zero issues. You can also call a taxi or a private car to travel around Athens.

Top of Acropolis Athens Greece
Top of the Acropolis

Day 1 – Acropolis and Surrounding Ancient Ruins

On your first day out of 4 days in Athens, I’d suggest hitting all the most important Ancient Greece ruins, including the famous Acropolis, along with a couple of other historic sites.

Ancient Greece Acropolis

The Acropolis is a must, with 4 days in your Athens itinerary. To be honest, if you only had one day in Athens, it should still be spent touring the Acropolis!

When touring the ancient ruins of Athens, it’s best to try to beat the crowds.

We arrived at the Acropolis entrance bright and early (8 AM) and purchased the 3-day pass self-guided. If you are really interested in history, you might want to opt for a guided tour of the Acropolis.

Once you go through the gate, you will get to explore ruins, including the Odeion of Herodes Atticus Parthenon, Athena Nike, and Erechtheion, just to name a few.  It was seriously mind-blowing to see in person!

Make sure to see the Acropolis with 4 days in Athens Greece

The most important travel tip we learned in Athens was to arrive early and wear proper shoes! Within 20 minutes of being at the Acropolis sites, the crowds had grown significantly. April is not even the high season in Greece!

Additionally, the ground is very hard to walk on with regular flat sandals, so I’d recommend comfortable walking shoes with grip.

Athens Insider tip: If you get the 3-day Acropolis pass, make sure to hold on to it, as you will need it to enter most Athens sites.

Address: Athens 105 58, Greece

Hours: Monday- Sunday 8 AM – 8 PM

You must see the Athens Acropolis in 4 days

Ancient Roman Agora

Next, head to the Roman Ancient Agora. Built between 19-11 BC, the Roman Agora was where commercial activities took place in Ancient Greece. It’s a large open space with pieces of Doric columns and some arches.

You can walk right up to these ruins, but do not touch or stand on any of the structures, even though it can seem tempting. The Roman Agora was less crowded when we went, and it was really nice to walk through.

Address: Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece

Hours: Monday- Sunday 8 AM – 8 PM

The Gate Roman Agora in Athens Greece is a must with 4 days.

Stoa Of Attalos

After, take around a 3-minute walk to the Stoa Of Attalos. To the left is a building with statues and a small room with encased artifacts. One of my favorite pieces was an intricate design of titles!

You will also notice that many of the artifacts have been restored. How can you tell? You will notice by a slight discoloration.

Address: Athens 105 55, Greece

The Stoa of Attalos is one of the best things to see in Athens

We spent ample time exploring the many ruins and the olive and orange trees throughout the grounds. While walking around Stoa of Attalos, it turns into The Athenian Agora, which is all the way to the right when entering.

Atop is the Temple of Hephaestus and a beautiful view overlooking Athens!

Give yourself some time to explore this whole area, and then make your way down for some lunch! We ate outside at Restaurante Attalos, and it did not disappoint!

Explore Monastiraki Square Athens

If you eat close to the Stoa of Attalos, which I would recommend, you will notice there is a large Flea Market that is a part of Monastiraki Square. If you’re anything like me, this is a little opportunity to shop and eat some authentic Greek food!

Discover Plaka, Athens, The Prettiest Neighborhood in Athens

With 4 days in Athens, it is a must to visit one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Athens, Plaka. Find beautiful allies, amazing shops, and delicious gelato. This area was very clean compared to other parts of Athens and had more upscale restaurants.

Plaka was likely one of our favorite neighborhoods to walk through in Athens and where I’d recommend staying during your trip in Athens.

The Plaka Neighborhood is a must with 4 days in Athens. Colorful pink street with turquoise door.

Library of Hadrian

After exploring the shops and Plaka, head to Hadrian’s Library. The large marble columns were blinding, and it looked as if they had begun to restore this old ruin. In the same area, you will also see the Church of Saint Asimatos and Tetraconch Church.

“It was built according to the view by Herculius the Perfect of llliricum (AD 407-412) or by the Empress Eudocia, former Athenais daughter”.

The Library of Hadrian is full of history and lots to see with instagramable photo spots, fewer crowds than the Acropolis, and a must-visit in your 4 days in Athens itinerary!

Library of Hadrian is one of the best places to see in Athens

Library of Hadrian in Athens, Greece.

Acropolis Museum

Next on your Athens itinerary is the Acropolis Museum. The Acropolis Museum is not only a stunning piece of architecture but also holds some of the most fantastic artifacts from ancient Greek times.

If you go to any museum while in Athens, I would definitely make the Acropolis Museum my number 1 choice for any travel guide.

The large glass windows even give you spectacular views of part of the Acropolis!

One of my favorite pieces at the Acropolis Museum is the 5 Caryatids, which were smashed by a Turkish canyon ball and still managed to be in decent shape.

You will recognize them immediately since they are the originals from the replica you will see atop the Acropolis!

Address of the Acropolis Museum is: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece,

Admission: 15 euros. Some days out of the year are free to visit the Acropolis Museum! Find hours and dates for free admission at the Acropolis Museum here!


Finally, to end your first day in Athens on a beautiful note, head to Areopagus. You will likely see tourists and locals relaxing and waiting for the sun to set atop this rock. It is located below the Acropolis, heading towards the Roman Agora.

For additional Acropolis guides or to get your tickets in advance, click here!

4 days in athens areopagus
Areopagus Sunset near the Acropolis

Rooftop Bar Dinner in Athens

At least one out of the 4 days in Athens, make sure to enjoy a rooftop bar with views of the Acropolis! At night, the Acropolis will be all lit up, and it is so worth it!

Additionally, you can also stop by Hans and Gretel Sweets for the most amazing waffle ice cream cones.

rooftop dinner view of the Acropolis at night

Day 2: National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Since day 1 of your Athens Itinerary is so jam-packed, consider a more relaxing day exploring the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Or, if you cannot see all the top Athens attractions in one day, feel free to backtrack a little.

National Archaeological Museum of Athens

We took the Athens subway system here, and it is pretty easy to use, safe, and very clean!

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens was founded in the 19th century and is the largest archaeological museum in Greece.

This Museum is also considered one of the most important museums in the world dedicated to Ancient Greek art, which is why it really should be a part of your 4 days in Athens itinerary.

Some well-known pieces to see are the Mask of Agamemnon ( gold funeral mask), the bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon, Aphrodite, Pan Eros complex, The Kore and Kouros, the Horse and Jockey, and more.

I, for one, was in love with the vast ancient jewelry collection and metalwork. If you decide to visit, give yourself plenty of time and make sure you see the above pieces, which are some of the most notable.

If you are a huge Greek art lover, you will want to check this out. Additionally, they even had an Egyptian exhibit.

Address:  28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece

Athens Tip: If you’re hungry, there was a cafe close to the museum called right off the property that Google is calling “Quality Restaurant.” It’s nothing fancy, but the food was good, and they had a really good Greek coffee.

Changing of The Gaurd in Athens

If you happen to be in Athens on Sunday, you can experience the Changing of the Guards in Athens, Greece. The Changing of the Gaurd happens every Sunday at 11 AM in Syntagma Square.

Syntagma Square, in general, is a popular tourist area to visit if you have additional time in your Athens itinerary.

Address: Pl. Sintagmatos, Athina 105 63, Greece

Day 3: Temple of Zeus, Zappeion, and Panathenaic Stadium

The Temple of Zeus, Zappeion, and Panathenaic Stadium were likely some of my favorite attractions to see in Athens. It also didn’t hurt that we were all rested up and jet lag-free!

Seriously though, the Temple of Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium are a must with 4 days in Athens.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus was by far one of my favorite ruins. Why? I just loved the way the Corinthian columns stood and all the detail you could see.

This temple was also one of the largest in the time era. The Temple of Zeus had 20 columns on the side and 3 rows of 8 on the end.

Around 5 AD, deterioration started due to natural causes and human activity, and of the original 104 columns, 16 survived until 1852.

A storm made one column fall over and can be seen lying on the ground! If you’re in this area, you will also get to see Hadrian’s arch and gate while walking to The Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Address: Athens 105 57, Greece

Temple of Zeus in Athens Greece
Visit the Temple of Zeus with 4 days in Athens

Zappeion Hall

Next, walk over to the Zappeion. We didn’t spend much time here since there was an event going on. We snapped a couple of photos and left to get lunch.

The restaurant right next to Zappeion Hall called Aegli Cafe was terrific. I got pizza there, and let me tell you, this pizza was amazing. I am a New Yorker, so I take my pizza seriously.

Address: Leof. Vasilissis Olgas, Athina 105 57, Greece

zapperion greece athens

The Panathenaic Stadium

This was one of the coolest places we went to in Athens. There is a 5 euro admission to go inside the gate, but it’s totally worth it. They will even give you a headset that will walk you around the stadium and give you all the history.

We were able to walk up the giant marble steps, sit in the royal marble chairs, run down the track, stand on the pedestal of champions, and, my favorite, walk down the tunnel where so many athletes had walked before me.

If that wasn’t cool enough, through the tunnel is a room that holds all the Olympic torches!

Oh, and did I even mention the fantastic views of Athens you will see when walking up the Panathenaic stadium?!

Or did you know that the Panathenaic Stadium is the only stadium built completely of marble? It was a lot of fun, and I would put it on top of any Athens, Greece itinerary!

Address: Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina 116 35, Greece

Panathenaic Stadium in Athens Greece

Day 4 in Athens Itinerary: Day Trip to the Beach From Athens

Want to add a beach day to your Athens itinerary? The day before, we briefly spoke to a man selling paintings who let us in on a little secret about visiting the local beach of Vouliagmeni! It is a local gem with very few tourists.

Additionally, if you are not already planning to spend a couple of days on the Greek Islands, you also have the opportunity to take a day trip to the Saronic Islands of Greece (Hydra, Poros, and Aegina). Or you can even take a day trip to explore the ancient ruins in Delphi. Any of the above will make for a perfect last day in your Athens itinerary.

Vouliagmeni Beach

Since we visited Athens in April, the ferries to the islands were not running regularly, so we decided to head to Vouliagmeni Beach in Athens.

We took the Red Line train to the very last stop, Alexandros Panagoulis. Then, we crossed the street to catch the blue 122 bus all the way down to Vouliagmeni Beach.

It’s about a 45-minute trip from Athens, but totally worth it if you have some warm weather, as we did during our April visit!

We got off by this restaurant called Sardelaki; I believe it was the Limnē stop. Below was this cute little cove beach.

The beach didn’t have any specific name that I could find, but it was definitely a local spot. Although the water was too cold to go fully in, it was nice to dip our feet in the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea.

Later, we went up and had lunch at Sardelaki, and it was delicious. They brought out all their appetizers on a plate, and you could choose which ones you wanted, which I thought was pretty cool.

beautiful Vouliagmeni Beach to visit with 4 days in Athens
Vouliagmeni Beach

Head to the beach with 4 days in Athens

Larger Athens Beach Option

If small local spots are not your thing, we decided to walk back to a large stretch of beach with loads of amenities. We could easily tell this was the spot all the Greek locals flock to!

You did have to pay a small fee to enter this Athens beach, but they had bathrooms, changing rooms, food stalls, beach chairs, and umbrellas.

It was like a full-on Athens beach club, and there were a ton of people there partying. I believe the beach is a perfect way to end your 4 days in Athens itinerary.

This part of the beach also has no specific name, but the bus stop closest to it is called Α’ΠΛΑΖ ΒΟΥΛΙΑΓΜΕΝΗΣ, and the address is Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece. As another reference, it’s right next to a restaurant called En Plo.

Additional Athens Travel Tips For Your Greece Itinerary

  1. In Athens, you will notice tons of cats! You will even see shop owners putting out water for them!
  2. It’s very possible to run into a squat toilet (just an FYI). Also, you will see signs in every bathroom letting you know not to flush the toilet paper. Their plumbing system is not the best so try to follow the rules on this one!
  3. The water is safe to drink, however, we used our reusable Lifestraw bottle that comes with a very strong filter (strong enough that you can drink from a lake).  You can check out my Lifestraw bottle here!
  4. You may have heard that Athens is a “dirty city” before and it is true that Athens is not the cleanest city. We saw a lot of garbage and graffiti, but it still didn’t take away from our trip and I’d still recommend visiting Athens.
  5. If you plan on hitting the beach, check out my favorite quick-dry towels from Dock and Bay here! They are compact, dry well, and are made with an eco-friendly thoughts in mind! 
  6. If you have more than 4 days in Athens, also consider taking a guided day trip or a Northwest Road trip in Greece.
  7. Many people also wonder if Athens is safe. We found Athens to be safe, but always watch your surrounding and make note of pick-pockets.
  8. Another Athens travel tip you might want to consider for your Greece itinerary is to get the Athens City Pass, which provides additional Athens attractions.

Athens Acropolis temples

Where to Stay in Athens, Greece

We stayed at an Airbnb about 10 minutes from the Acropolis, however, I would definitely recommend staying closer to the Acropolis or in the Plaka neighborhood. The areas are much nicer surrounding the Acropolis, and you will be much closer to all the best Athens sights!

I’d recommend booking your Athens hotel or Airbnb in advance, especially if you want to be in the city’s center. Some of the best places to stay in Athens include:

4 Days in Athens Itinerary Review

This concludes our 4 days in Athens, Greece itinerary. As you can see, 4 days in Athens gives you ample time to see the best of Athens along with experiencing local gems and getting a bit off the beaten path during your Athens vacation.

Have any questions about this Athens, Greece Itinerary, or feel like I missed something? Let me know in the comments below.

Love How to Spend 4 Days in Athens Travel Guide? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

4 Days in Athens Itinerary
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

16 thoughts on “How to Spend 4 Days in Athens Greece: Perfect for First-Timers”

  1. This itinerary covers a lot of sites in Athens, but it isn’t overwhelming. Four days is the perfect amount of time to spend in the city.

  2. We were meant to spend a week in Athens last year but that obviously didn’t happen, so I’m glad I came across your post and can add some things to our list!

  3. You can’t beat Greece for beauty and culture. I’ve seen the Acropolis but Plaka is now totally on my bucket list! I miss those crystal waters!

  4. You make me want to go back to Athens! I visited a few years ago but I would love to go back! I love to visit historical places like this!

  5. Greece is definitely on my list of countries to visit once we can start travelling again! Your itinerary looks fantastic and it has some great places to visit.

  6. I haven’t yet been to Athens, but hope to go and see the ruins one day. The Archaeological Museum would be a must for me too, and seeing the ancient jewellery. Your itinerary sounds fabulous. Will pin for future trip.

  7. This itinerary is one I’d like to have done. I had to do a compressed version (one day) so some places were skipped and some visits were a bit short. Athens definitely deserves a significant visit.

  8. Oh I love this post, and the photos are amazing! Greece and Athens is one of the places in Europe I’ve been meaning to go to for so long, but now I’m exploring other parts of the world instead – definitely going there when I return back home to Europe though!

  9. I didn’t know there was so much to see in Athens, I was always told to skip it. Definitely not going to next time I visit Greece! Guide guide!

  10. I’ve never been to Greece, but I’ve always been super surprised when people tell me to just skip Athens. THERE’S SO MUCH TO DO! Thanks for the super informative guide, the beaches look fantastic!

  11. What a great itinerary and you saw so many cultural sights! And what a coincidence, I went to that same local beach during my last visit! We had a different beach in mind but google maps brought us to this one. Really liked how cute it looks so we sticked to it 🙂


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