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Athens Must Dos

I am bringing a group of high school students to Athens in 4 weeks. We have about 3 hours of free time our first afternoon in Athensand would like some suggestions. We are already visiting the Acropolis and museum so our free time will be in that area. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted by
4042 posts

Consider the Ancient Agora (not the Roman one) that is just below the Acropolis. It has one of the best preserved temples (among other ruins) in Greece and is very easy to walk to from the Acropolis. Google it and see what you think.

Posted by
679 posts

The Plaka is an interesting, albeit touristy, area with ancient, windy cobblestone streets, near the entrance to the Acropolis. You could hang out at a sidewalk cafe there or, if the group is up for more historic stuff, walk through the Plaka to the ancient Athenian Agora, which is about 1/2-5/8 of a mile NW from the entrance to the Acropolis.

Posted by
1364 posts

I'd second the ancient agora. There is an interesting museum on the site which has some of the early stone 'machines' which were used to select office holders by ballot.

Philopappos, the next hill across from the Acropolis, has great views back across as well as views down to Piraeus.

The teenagers might appreciate a visit to the market around Monastiraki metro: mainly nowadays cheap t shirts and trainers but still atmospheric.


Posted by
2038 posts

They might enjoy the changing of the guard at the Parliament building in Syntagma Square, every hour on the hour. Just takes a few minutes but is an interesting sight.

Posted by
1094 posts

Wow . . . three hours is really not enough time to see what Athens is all about. However, if you've already booked the Acropolis & museums then you can concentrate on other areas of Athens. I will list several that are worthy of a visit:

Anafiotika: the Greek "island" on the north side of the Acropolis. With it's white-washed houses, narrow lanes and views of Athens you'll feel like you are on a Greek island except you'll have views of Athens rather than the coastline and islands.

The Central Markets on Athinas St. This is where locals and taverna owners go to shop. It's wild, crazy, and envirgorating. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see something you won't find many other places.

The Agora: Where Aristotle, Socrates and many other famous Greeks went to debate philosphy, government, science, arts and where many went to shop, do business, government centers, various sporting events such as foot-races, chariot races and so much more. Just below the Acropolis so it will make it easy to combine the Acropolis/Agora.

Psiri District where there are more locals than tourists for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

There are so many other places in Athens that are worth going to that are touristy and non-touristy but the above will give you an opportunity to explore and experience Athens.

Posted by
3219 posts

Hi, Mr T!
I'm going to annoy some posters here, because my 12 trips to greece/24 athens stays, mostly with "newbies", have showed me what u can/can't do in 3 hrs, also know what works for teens. First click this helpful link -- "10 top things to Do in Athens" (I suggest only #4 #8 #9, and BRIEFLY). First, click-enlarge the good MAP at end of list... and print out copies for your entire group... it's simple enough map they can't get confused/distracted.

Previous suggestions that I reluctantly X out; Central Market, Kerameikos, Psiri district, Phillapapous Hill, Monastiraki Market, Changing of Guard -- all r too far to combine in 3 hrs w some (inevitable) downtime. ALSO, the latter 2 areas are pickpocket-havens! and teens are dismayingly deaf to warnings (PLEASE, sir, every day before u start Make group SHOW that their valuables are either in a money belt/ neck pouch OR locked in their suitcases! NOT in backpacks or fanny packs! They should carry ONLY change purses with needed €€ for the day! They do NOT need to carry passports around; anyone who says so is Wrong!! they can carry color Xerox copy of 1st 2 pp if they wish.

I'm assuming you've had lunch (Museum Cafe on terrace is great & affordable (7-8E). Otherwise u only have 2 hrs. IF fed, start on Walkway south of Acropolis, by Museum. Acrop Ticket has 5 attached landmark tickets - Kerameikos, Roman Agora, Dionysus Theatre (u saw on exit toward Museum) and Ancient Agora and Temple of Zeus. I would say do just the 2 latter, thusly:

AGORA - Let them climb up Aeropagus (mars Hill) -- huge slippery rock, (senators STOOD here to try murderers) fab views FUN to slide down!. Do walk-by Stoa of Attalos -- long building w columns. Museum inside holds artifacts discovered when Agora was excavated 1954 ( Thanx, John D Rockefeller!) Main gee-whz items = potsherds (ostrakai) on which citizens voted to exile (ostracize) leaders they hated -- there are sherds with SOCRATES written on!! Your history nerds will like that... for the others, just do great photo op of columns w. kid peeking out behind each -- tested crowd-pleaser. ... then head EAST (R on map) on that walkway, almost to end & find

SWEET STOP!! -- near walkway end, BEST FROZ YOGURT store in ATHENS!! Owned/run by American who fell in love w an Athens girl. Cup or cone, cherry topping is best! Press on to walkway end:

MELINA MERCOURI -- Marble bust in tiny grass triangle; tribute actress-patriot who became minister of culture and who made all Museums & Ancient sites FREE for all Greek citizens (until the EU made Greece stop that rule).

ARCH OF HADRIAN -- Cross (6 lane-roaring traffic) street to this great ARCH built by Roman Emperor. On Acropolis-facing side, the Greeks put inscription "This is Athens, the Ancient City of Theseus". But on park-facing side Hadrian had an inscription placed in latin: This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus" (nyah nyah I won).

TEMPLE OF ZEUS -- All kids love selfies in front of HUUUUGE thing ... & these are tallest temple columns in gReece!! ... even the fallen over stuff is fabulous.

STADIUM -- National Gardens/park is gorgeous. if teens still have pep (or you do), you can walk THROUGH the gardens to the other side ... see on map, across another big trafficky street Is a word "Stadion" and a horseshoe graphic -- this is the famous 1896 Olympic Stadium. It stands on actual site of ancient Games and was ruins were excavated and restored, in marble, for the revival of the Games after nearly 2,000 years. There's an admission fee, but u can easily see & photo thru the fencing.

... after all that, you can wander through Plaka area on way back to hotel? If walk takes u through Syntagma Square, the Guard change takes place hourly on the hour... otherwise, not worth a special trip. And WATCH out for PICKpockets!