As the capital of Greece, Athens has many of points of interest and offers plenty to do and see. Discover our guide to the must-see destinations, encompassing food, culture and nature, if you only have one day in the city
Breakfast with a view at St George Lycabettus Lifestyle Hotel
Start your day in Athens with a delicious and nutritious breakfast on the top floor of the St George Lycabettus Lifestyle Hotel. It is served daily from 7am-10.30am and booking in advance is essential – believe us, it is worth it. Enjoy Greek specialities, such as traditional spinach or cheese pie, selected from local producers and enjoy the amazing panoramic views of Athens, overlooking Mount Lycabettus and the Acropolis of Athens. On Sundays a special brunch menu is available at the sixth-floor restaurant, where the views are as equally jaw-dropping.
St George Lycabettus Lifestyle Hotel, 2 Kleomenous, 106 75 Athens, +30 21 0741 6000
Visit the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009, is a must-visit in Athens. The large glass building houses ancient Greek artefacts and historic statues. Visit the Parthenon Gallery on the third floor, where you can also watch a video about the history of the amazing marble frieze. See the impressive coffered ceiling of the ancient Propylaia gateway and the sculptures from the parapet of the Athena Nike temple, before you enjoy a coffee at the museum’s terrace on the top floor. After your visit, walk up the road towards the Acropolis of Athens (which has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987) and you will be rewarded with incredible views of the city from the top of the hill.
Acropolis Museum, 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou, 117 42 Athens, +30 21 0900 0900
Acropolis of Athens, 105 59 Athens, +30 21 0321 4172
Explore the art of jewellery at Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum
Ilias Lalaounis is one of the most famous jewellery houses in Greece and the museum, in the centre of Athens, has been a must-visit for jewellery lovers since it opened in 1993. It’s a non-profit organisation that includes over 4,000 pieces designed by Ilias Lalaounis between 1940 and 2000. There are often temporary exhibitions around jewellery design and the decorative arts. The museum also has a special initiative for people with disabilities and offers courses on jewellery design, gemology and art history, as well as special workshops.
Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, 12 Kallisperi, 117 42 Athens, +30 21 0922 1044
Lunch at Cookoovaya
Enjoy Greek food with a modern twist at Cookoovaya in the centre of Athens. Chefs Spyros Liakos, Vangelis Liakos, Pericles Koskinas, Nikos Karathanos and Manos Zournatzis create an unforgettable experience, serving food made with passion. Sharing dishes is highly recommended and the social aspect of dining is at the centre of the Cookoovaya philosophy. Enjoy a lovely lunch, made using the freshest seasonal produce, alongside a glass of wine from the Yiannis Girlemis vineyard, produced exclusively for the restaurant. Daily specials change depending on the season and visitors should make sure to taste the open pie with truffle, tuna carpaccio, and risotto with cuttlefish ink. For dessert make sure to have the bougatsa – a large crunchy filo pastry with cream and cinnamon ice cream, to be shared by two to four people.
Cookoovaya, 2 Chatzigianni Mexi, 115 28 Athens, +30 21 0723 5005
Cultural walk at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
A hub that merges culture and nature, located close to the sea in the south of Athens, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a must-visit spot in the city. Opened in 2017 and designed by architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop, this 210-acre urban complex houses new facilities for the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera and the Stavros Niarchos Park. A building of unparalleled beauty, it’s one of the most sustainable buildings of its size and has received many awards, including a Platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Visit the centre to enjoy a walk along the canal, a look around the library, food and coffee, or a musical or theatrical performance.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, 364 Leoforos Andrea Siggrou, 176 74 Kallithea, +30 21 6809 1000
Moonlit dinner at Ithaki
Enjoy an amazing delicious seafood dinner by the seaside in suburb of Vouliagmeni, in the southern part of Athens. The perfect romantic place to celebrate a special occasion, Ithaki restaurant – which takes its name from the famous island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus in Greek mythology – offers a modern Mediterranean menu by chef Spyros Asimis, as well as an Asian fusion menu from chef Antonis Kourkoutas. A favourite among locals and with a large international clientele, Ithaki doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy authentic yet modern cuisine in a breathtaking location.
Ithaki, 28 Apollonos, 166 71 Vouliagmeni, +30 21 0896 3747
Cocktails at Island Club Restaurant
A must-visit summer destination, Island Club Restaurant is the best place to finish off your night in Athens. It is open daily from 8.30pm until the early hours of the morning, from May to September, so you can dance and drink the night away, with beautiful views over the seaside. Occupying a stunning location on the beautiful Athens Riviera, overlooking the districts of Vouliagmeni and Varkiza, this is the perfect place to enjoy delicious frozen cocktails and great music. The open space ensures that, whether you want to lounge or dance, there is a space for you. You can also access the club by yacht, via a specially created platform below the restaurant. It’s the place to be this summer, as it has been every summer for more than 27 years.
Island Club Restaurant, Leoforos Posidonos 66, 166 72 Vari, +30 21 0965 3563