8 In Destinations

5 Fun Things to Do on Your Layover in Athens, Greece

Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow

Before I share my suggestions for how to spend your layover in Athens, Greece, I want to comment briefly on the recent Greek election that seems to have changed some things in the Greek capital.

The success of the conservative ND party worries me and people I know quite a bit. I lived in the center of Athens during my first years in the city and am appalled at the brutal attacks organized by the government against refugees and migrants in my old neighborhood.

layover in athens pin lemons and luggage

To be honest, the Greek people should know better than that. After decades of emigration and being on the receiving end of xenophobia in other countries, you would think they’d empathize with newcomers. It pains me to see that they are willing to target others with the same type of prejudice.

The new Greek government has shown a serious lack of humanity.

This is one of the reasons I am planning to leave this country after more than five years. But until then, I would like to show you some of its beauty.

That’s where this post comes in. While you all know about Athens, the average traveler to Greece really only explores the islands.

But as many international travelers actually fly into Athens, the capital, they usually spend at least a bit of time here.

So while you may spend weeks on a Greek island, it’s probably more likely that you’ll only spend a few hours or days in Athens. Since most sights of interest to the international traveler are located in the center, you can see a lot, even during an eight-hour stopover!

And for more about Athens, you can read the following posts on:

Don’t have time for that now? I absolutely get it (though for more background info you should check out the posts when you get a chance)! But until then, here are my five suggestions for things to do on your layover in Athens, Greece:

What to Do on Your Layover in Athens

Visit the Acropolis

The essential landmark to visit in Athens is right in the center of the city and provides impressive views all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Make sure you go early in the morning or at the end of the day as it gets very hot, and there is no cover.

See the Theater of Dionysus

Built at the foot of the Acropolis, this was the world’s first theater!

Walk Around the Temple of Olympian Zeus

The ruins of this ancient temple are possibly my favorite sight in Athens. There used to be more than a hundred columns here, but only a few remain. One particular column has fallen during a thunderstorm a century ago and can still be seen.

Shop for Souvenirs in Plaka

In between all the cheap stuff made in factories abroad, you can find some high-quality items. The better the quality the higher the price, but who wouldn’t like to take home a nice handcrafted product made of olive wood?

Stroll Through the Center of Athens

Strolling around the Plaka neighborhood is an attraction in and of itself! Plaka has by far the prettiest architecture in Athens. In a city full of ugly concrete buildings with no sense for aesthetics, Plaka is a sight for sore eyes.

plaka athens greece street

So these are my suggestions for how to spend your layover in Athens! Have you traveled to Greece, either to the islands or the mainland? Where? What was it like? And what else would you like to know about my travel experience in this country?


  • Reply
    September 27, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Didn’t know that things in Greece are so bad. Politics are turning into something really bad at the moment, all around Europe. Hope things will change. I haven’t been to Greece yet, but I definitely plan to visit Athens when I do.

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      September 27, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      Yes, sadly things are a mess all over Europe with right-wing politicians getting stronger and stronger.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Fun ideas! I love taking time during extended layovers to explore the city.

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      September 27, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      It’s like a free trip that’s included in your vacation!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    So you’re upset that the grown ups have taken charge? Amateur hour is over and while Syriza are to be commended for some of their social and foreign policies, they were a ramshackle crew of dilettantes and novices with no intetntion of actually producing wealth for anyone. Terribly sorry that your misguided political fantasies made you leave Greece, but ask most locals (you know the ones who actually have to put up with all the crap that you so clearly adore) and they’ll tell you pretty much the same thing. I’m sure you’ll miss Exarhia and all the riots and fun get togethers, but its not your kids that have to study in a University that’s essentially a battlegound. No, its us the locals who have to pay for the broken street lamps, bins, traffic lights and buses set on fire, while you live your delirious daydream. Bon voyage and dont forget to write.

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      September 30, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      First of all, I never even mentioned Syriza, but okay. Secondly, I actually pay taxes in this country, as opposed to many “locals” who don’t, so your comment is null and void.

  • Reply
    Jason Reid
    October 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Sad to hear the political situation is so bad at the minute. Athens is somewhere I hope to visit at some point though, so far I’ve only been to Thessaloniki in Greece so it’s a country I need to see much more of.

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      October 10, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      I hope that you manage to squeeze Athens in at some point. It’s well worth a short trip.

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