Greece has been on our list of countries to visit for many years and we finally made a trip! We spent 4 days in Athens with teens, followed by 3 days at a beach resort in Marathon. Here is our travel guide for you.
- Things To Do In Athens With Teens
- How many days in Athens?
- One day in Athens
- Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) Bus
- Acropolis & Parthenon
- The Plaka Stairs & Plaka Neighborhood
- Monastiraki Square
- Souvenir Shopping
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Cooking Class for Dinner!
- 2 days in Athens
- Athens Food Tour
- 3 days in Athens
- Limba Rage Room!
- Mary Poppins Fans!
- The War Museum
- 4 days in Athens
- Athens Planetarium
- Just Explore
- What to do in Athens if you are staying longer!
- Athens With Teens
- Thrift shopping in Athens
- Lime scooters
- “This is Athens” Resources and Travel Tips
- Athens Food! Where did we like to eat?
- Where to stay in Athens & Hotels in Athens Greece
- Athens Transport – How did we get around?
Things To Do In Athens With Teens
This is really a guide for everyone and we have shared some extra things to do with teens. We let our kids do their own research on Athens and let us know what they wanted to do. Now that they are 14 & 17 years old, we even gave them a little free time on their own in the city. We also had a unique surprise treat in store for them. Keep on reading!
How many days in Athens?
This time, we’ve structured our Athens travel guide by the length of time. We’ve started with the must-do if you only have one day in Athens. Then we add more things to do for each additional day. We have a total of 4 days in Athens, but we will add a few extras if you plan to be there longer. While Athens is a big city, most of the main historical sites are in close proximity to the city center, so you can see many in a day.
One day in Athens
The must-do in Athens list and it can be done in a day! If you are on a cruise, this would be ideal for you to see the sights.
Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) Bus
As far as we are concerned this is the perfect way to get around and see all of the major sites. These bus routes were designed to get you where you need to go hassle-free. You don’t need to figure out the public transit or spend loads of money on taxis, just hop on the bus and hop off where you like. Read more about our Athens Hop On Hop Off Bus experience. This is perfect for 1 day, but we really enjoyed the 72-hour family pass. Buy your bus tickets now!
Acropolis & Parthenon
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky hill in the city center. The main tourist areas in Athens surround it and the Acropolis itself contains the ruins of several ancient buildings of great significance. Of course one of the most well-known is the Parthenon. The Parthenon, with its iconic pillars, is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. The people of Athens considered her their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak. You could really spend the entire day here and in the surrounding area if you like.
Tips: This is on top of the hill, so you do need to walk up. If you take a taxi or the hop on hop off bus, it will take you most of the way. Once you enter the site, there are more stairs, hills and uneven walkways, so do wear appropriate shoes.
Buy your tickets in advance and avoid the lines!
The Plaka Stairs & Plaka Neighborhood
The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens, right in the city center, just below the Acropolis. Most of the streets are pedestrian-only, so it is great to just roam around and see where the streets go. It is a charming area and you really get a feel for the old town area.
We happened upon the Plaka stairs and thought it was adorable. There are so many cafes lining either side of the stairs with people either sitting at little bistro tables or right on the stairs themselves. It is a great vibe with a cozy quaint atmosphere to stop for a drink or snack. Read more about Plaka’s main streets and things to see.
Tips: If you choose to sit at a cafe closest to people passing by on the stairs, just know you will be hassled a bit more by touts and people trying to sell you things. If you just sit one table in, you will get the same experience, but likely hassled a bit less. This is a touristy area.
Monastiraki Square was the main hub for us during our stay. We were just 2 Metro stops away and this location was usually the start and end of our days. You not only have a nice square to hang out and just relax, but it is also the starting point of the Athens flea market, where you can find great deals on used goods. There are also several streets full of vendors shops and plenty of food to keep you going. We loved the Greek pastries at Beneth, located right in the square. There are several restaurants and hotels around the square with access to rooftop terraces for those great photos.
Read more about the area.
There’s no shortage of places to shop for souvenirs. We were in and out of Monastiraki Square every day, so this was our location of choice.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a war memorial dedicated to those soldiers lost at war. It is located in Syntagma Square in Athens, just in front of the Old Royal Palace. You can even watch the changing of the guards Sundays at 11:00.
Read more here.
Cooking Class for Dinner!
Rather than go out to dinner, why not take a cooking class? This is a great way to learn about Greek traditions, and how to make Greek food. We found the perfect Greek cooking class at Yoleni’s Greek Gastronomy Center. Amazing food, at least five courses, and all the beverages we could drink. You can’t go wrong with that. Other than a gyro, Alan stated that he didn’t know much about Greek food and now he knows more! Read our post about our Athens cooking class!
2 days in Athens
Evripidou Street and the Central Market
If you have 2 days in Athens, we recommend checking out the Athens Central Market. This is a very large market covering a couple of blocks with separate buildings. I wasn’t a big fan of the meat or fish buildings, as seeing a full pig’s head is kind of yuk. That said, there are plenty of produce and other stalls to explore. You can also meander down the nearby Evripidou Street (The Spice Street). We had a great time smelling all of the beautiful aromas of the spices and checking out all of the shops.
Check out this guide to Evripidou Street and the Central Market.
Athens Food Tour
Greek food is something special to experience and a food tour is a great way to experience new foods. We decided to create our own Athens food tour, including many of the Greek food favorites, but we kind of fell in love with the Greek desserts and pastries!
If you aren’t up for creating your own food tour and prefer something a bit more organized, then choose from one of these below. We usually like a food tour, as we learn a bit of history and more about the culture and traditions.
Tell us about the food you like when you visit!
3 days in Athens
Aren’t you lucky to have 3 days in Athens? This is really an ideal amount of time, as you get to do a few more off the beaten track things.
Limba Rage Room!
By far, this was the favorite activity the kids did. When they finished, they wanted more! You get to enter a room, with music blasting, a crowbar, and items to smash up, throw, or demolish things to your heart’s content! Contact them on the Facebook page to make reservations! Read all about Lars & Anya’s Rage Room Athens experience!
Mary Poppins Fans!
If you are Mary Poppins fans then this is just for you. As we were walking the alleyways across from Monastiraki Square we happened upon the most out of place thing. There were pastel frilly umbrellas hanging over the streets and 2 ladies dressed Mary Poppins style standing in front of a cafe. Alan was down the street slightly at another little streetside cafe drooling over the crepes and waffles, and it too was decked out in frills. Turns out this intersection has a couple of Mary Poppins themed cafes, Little Kook. A bit on the pricey side, but great for photos or a fan!
Visit Athens oldest distillery and taste some Greek spirits like Ouzo! This bar has become one of the better-known landmarks in the Plaka neighborhood. I’m sure you will pass by at some point, so stop in for a bit.
The War Museum
Now you have a bit of time to enjoy a few museums and just explore! The museum was built in 1970 and opened in 1974. It presents you with a timeline of Greek history through military conflicts. There are interesting artifacts and a fun lightboard map, showing how news of the Trojan War was transmitted to Mycenae by fire-beacon.
Read more here.
4 days in Athens
Now with 4 days in Athens, you can really take your time and enjoy your days. There’s no rush to cram it all into a day.
The world’s largest planetarium, boasting a dome of 270 sq ft (25 sq m) in diameter! It is supposed to be one of the most technologically advanced planetariums you’ll find. You can go on amazing 3D trips through space, dive underwater at the Great Barrier Reef, and so much more with the IMAX and OMNIMAX movies. This is all on a 360-degree screen, which is 10 times the size of a normal movie screen. Ten different shows take place throughout the day, with a special program of films for younger children.
Read more about Athens Planetarium.
Our favorite thing to do is to just get out and explore. See what the city has to offer you.
By the fourth day, we were all comfortable with our surroundings and confident the kids knew where they were going and how to find their way home. Each day we had them navigate, so this day they were let loose to have lunch and do a bit of shopping in Athens on their own. This gave Alan and me a bit of time to roam around too. Don’t worry about getting lost. Just meander, stroll, look and go where you want to go. When you are done, just use your smartphone to get you back to where you need to be!
What to do in Athens if you are staying longer!
If we had more time we would have added the following things:
- The digital museum of Plato
- Hammam baths and massage treatments
- Outdoor movie, music festival or event while we visit
- 1/2 day cruise or boating activity
- Night swimming at downtown Hilton Athens
Athens With Teens
Traveling with teens is always fun and Athens with teens is no different. We love that our kids have a bit of freedom now that they are older. We also asked for their wish list of things to do in Athens well in advance, so we would be sure to fit it all in. These are the extra things to do in Athens our teens chose.
Thrift shopping in Athens
Anya sent me a list of Athens thrift shops and vintage clothing stores in advance and we’ve got them all on our custom map. We found that many of the prices were very high, as it is now a trendy thing to own a 30-year-old sweatshirt. They found better deals at stores all over town, many in the Omonoia area named “Outlet”. These were used-clothing stores and were often named by country, (Outlet Italy, Outlet France and so on). They really found great deals here and Anya even came out with an IBM shirt. Little did she know the product it was branded with was one Alan worked on almost 20 years ago.
When we went up to the Acropolis, we just let the kids go off on their own and see what they wanted to see. We did manage to grab a few family photos, but I love discovering the kids having a little photoshoot, with Lars the photographer and Anya the supermodel!
We didn’t have time to do these in Athens, as we were enjoying our 5-day metro pass, the hop on hop off bus, and just walking around. This is something fun, and we do recommend giving them a try. We had a blast using them in Paris.
“This is Athens” Resources and Travel Tips
We used the website “This is Athens” to do a bulk of our prep and planning. Below are some of the resources used.
- Greek Food guide
- Kid-friendly restaurants in Athens
- 25 free things to do in Athens!
- Things to do with older kids and teens in Athens
Athens Food! Where did we like to eat?
I’ll be honest, we aren’t the biggest spenders on food and fine dining. We like to be where the action is and eat when we have time to eat. In addition, we love being in big cities and getting our fill of the varieties of international foods offered. We enjoyed the following: Asian stir-fry, Indian, Pizza, Beneth, Savvas, KFC and a few other places we just happened by.
Some are in our guide. As the kids are both vegan, we had a few extra options. Here is our vegan guide to Athens.
Where to stay in Athens & Hotels in Athens Greece
This is where we stayed at Athens Apartment Driopon 20. It was a very spacious 2 bedroom apartment, in a charming residential neighborhood. This was certainly the best area to stay in Athens for us. We had easy access to public transit just 2 blocks away to the Metro and various bus stops. We had a choice of 4 mini-markets within a couple of blocks, one of which is 24-hours. There was a larger market just 3 blocks away. We loved the airconditioning and the owner was wonderful. There was even a thrift shop across the street, so the kids were thrilled. It was just what we needed and the price couldn’t be beat. It was about 40 euros a night in the summer!
Check prices & dates here.
Cozy Flat Near City Center
We originally had this apartment reserved, as we were looking for something that included parking. It really met all of our needs, but as we decided to not rent a car we had more options closer to the city center.
Check prices & dates here.
Athena by Acropolis Metro
In the center of Athens, located within a short distance of Acropolis Museum and Odeum of Herodes Atticus, Athena By Acropolis Metro. The apartment has 2 bedrooms, wifi, equipped kitchen, a washing machine. Great for families or if you just more space.
Check prices & dates here.
Hotel Plaka has a prestigious location in Athens’ historic center. It is just 5 minutes walk from Syntagma Square and 2 blocks from Monastiraki Metro Station. There’s even a rooftop bar with amazing views.
Check prices & dates here.
Situated at the foot of the Acropolis, Herodion Hotel offers modern rooms with AC and amenities. It has a beautiful roof garden with sun loungers and 2 hot tubs with amazing views over Athens.
Check prices & dates here.
Golden Coast Hotel & Bungalows
We finished our week with a few nights at an all-inclusive resort, just outside of Athens. Marathon – Golden Coast Hotel & Bungalows – All-Inclusive
We were celebrating a special birthday for Alan and wanted it to be worry-free, full of activities, pools, beach and unlimited food and drink! Yes, the birthday hat came with us. Actually, I forgot it, but Lars managed to remember and brought it in his small backpack! Lars also managed to give Alan a joke card, saying he was 60! Not yet! Alan was a trooper.
Athens Transport – How did we get around?
Public transit – We used the Athens 5-day ticket for all Mass Transit Modes for just 9€ per person. This was an amazing deal, as we had access to the city buses, metro and more!
HOHO bus – we enjoyed the 3-day pass on the hop on hop off bus and used it every day. Sometimes it was to give us a break from walking and other times it just took us right to where we needed to go!
Airport transit – We purchased the 24-hour express Airport bus to/from the city center in addition, which were 6€ per person each way. This dropped us off right at Syntagma Square. The kids are normally 50% off, but not during high season.
Athens car rental – Following our time in the city, we returned to the airport via the express bus. We then rented a car by comparing prices from all major car hire companies with Skyscanner, for the final 3 days in Marathon.
Well, that should do it. We had a great time in Athens and look forward to returning to Greece and exploring some of the islands too!
How about you? Have you been? Let us know your secrets and favorites!
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