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Although Athens is sprawling city, it’s easy to see it all in one day — just stick to the main attractions, which are found near the Acropolis and are easily accessible by foot.
Start at the pedestrian walkway Dionysiou Areopagitou, which begins at the Acropolis metro station. Stop at a nearby café for a coffee or freshly squeezed juice; or, if you want a real Athenian breakfast, buy a koulouri (circular bread with sesame seeds) from a street vendor.
Next, take on the steps that lead to the top of the Acropolis. It’s considered a true masterpiece of architecture and ancient history (it’s also considered a top tourist site — so be prepared for crowds). Enjoy the views of the city and take the obligatory pictures before heading to Acropolis Museum, which is also on Dionysiou Areopagitou. The museum has a bright, sleek design and houses important artifacts from the Acropolis. It also has an impressive patio — a great spot to refuel with a beverage or snack, while you enjoy the view of the Acropolis.
Once you leave the museum, start your walk through Old Athens. On Apostolou Pavlou, you’ll pass the hills of the Thissio district. Look for the Thissio metro stop, which marks the beginning of the Monastiraki neighborhood. This part of town is named after a sunken monastery that sits in the middle of its square. Take a peek at the odds and ends for sale in the flea market, and then stop to admire archeological sights including the Ancient Agora and the Tower of the Winds. Next you’ll walk into the neighborhood of Plaka, where you can explore old churches and several small museums about Greek culture.
After your day of sightseeing, you’ll likely be in the mood for an “early” dinner (Greeks don’t usually eat dinner until after 10 p.m.). Make your way to the high-end district of Kolonaki and take the funicular train up Mount Lycabettus. At the top, indulge in fine Greek cuisine served at Orizontes Restaurant. There, you can soak in the nighttime view of the city and the brightly lit Acropolis before heading back down to Kolonaki to have a drink at one of its many trendy bars.