Athens is the capital of Greece and is the cradle of Mediterranean civilization of which many vestiges still remain.
It is a city that offers much in the way of art but also good food with its quaint taverns, entertainment, the sea within easy reach, and is excellently suited for a weekend trip either as a couple or with children, and as a base from which to explore the Meteors, the Peloponnese, Delphi, and islands such as Santorini.
Athens is definitely not the first destination one has in mind for a vacation or long weekend with children; in fact, Greeks are very kind to children and the major attractions are outdoors, and this is certainly an incentive for us parents to plan a vacation with the little ones.
So let’s see what to do and see in Athens with children.
Athens with children: what to do and what to see
The Acropolis is the most visited site in Athens and was the first stop on our vacation.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the Acropolis of Athens is located 156m above sea level and from there you can enjoy the panoramic view of the entire city of Athens.
The Acropolis, among other attractions, contains the 4 masterpieces of classical Greek art namely the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.
Best to plan your visit early in the morning or around sunset time. You cannot enter with a stroller.
If you want more information on how to arrange a visit to the Acropolis – Click here.
Theatre of Herod Atticus
The Theater of Herod Atticus is located at the foot of the Acropolis and is one of the oldest theaters still in use-in fact, it hosts several performances and festivals. It was built in 161 by the Greek consul Herod Atticus in memory of his wife, the Roman aristocrat Regilla Aspasia, who died the year before.
Being a theater still in use, the interior is not accessible (except during the programming of a festival) so, to admire this masterpiece of theatrical architecture, you have to stand at the top of the Acropolis and take a look underneath, you can walk if you want until you get close to the entrance. Beautiful!
Located at the foot of the Acropolis, on an area of about 12 hectares, stood the Agora or the beating heart of city life. It was here that the death sentence of the philosopher Socrates was decreed, and it is also the place where the concept of democracy was developed.
Even today you can visit the Tower of the Winds, built in the first century B.C. by Andronicus, a Syrian astronomer, thanks to major restoration work financed by the Rockefeller family, among others, in 1930.
How to get there, times and tickets to the ancient Agora
How to get there: metro line 1 and 3, Monastiraki stop.
Hours: open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm in winter, 8:00 am to 7:00 pm in summer.
Tickets: 4.00 euros; there are cumulative tickets with the Acropolis – See here.
Athens with kids: what to do and what to see. Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Zeus is the largest Temple in ancient Greece, located in the heart of Athens between the Acropolis and Syntagma Square. Unfortunately, few remnants of this imposing white marble temple remain: of the 104 Corinthian columns (each 17 meters high and one meter and 70 cm in diameter), only 15 specimens are standing.
It is best to plan a visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus early in the morning as there are no trees to provide shelter from the sun.
Getting there, times and tickets
How to get there: metro line 2 or 3, Syntagma stop.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Tickets: 3 euros or cumulative ticket with the Acropolis – See here.
Syntagma Square or Constitution Square is the center of modern Athens and it is here that the Greek parliament building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are located.
Right here in the courtyard, at the stroke of every hour (for 24 hours a day, seven days a week), you can witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony: the Greek guards are dressed in the peculiar uniform consisting of skirt and pom-pom slippers so it’s a distinctive experience, not to be missed if you are in the area!
Athens with children: what to do and what to see. Necropolis of Ceramico (Kerameikos)
The Necropolis of Ceramico – Kerameikos – is one of the most important archaeological sites in Athens (although less known and visited than the others).
Kerameikos is located in the northwest area of Athens, in the Ceramico district, and was the first cemetery in the Greek capital. The name derives from the presence of the many potters’ workshops that processed pottery (keramos).
In the past, the Necropolis of Ceramico was developed along the Academy Street of Plato’s famous school. The gates through which people entered and exited were called the Dipylon (double) Gate and the Sacred Gate.
Inside the archaeological site it is possible to see the bull of Dionysus of Kollytos and a reproduction of the Stele of Dexileos, as well as other important funerary monuments and tombstones.
This archaeological site also remains in full sun so remember to bring a hat and sunscreen for the little ones.
Address – Ermou 148, Athens; can be reached from downtown by bus No. 21.
Opening hours: daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Tickets: 8 euros; there is a cumulative ticket with Acropolis – See here.
National Archaeological Museum of Athens
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens is the largest museum in all of Greece as well as one of the most important in the world.
Inside you will find sculptures and other exhibits ranging from the Neolithic to the Classical Age.
The most interesting things to see are the Head of Zeus, the bronze of Poseidon, and the golden masks including the funeral mask of Agamemnon.
Where to eat near the National Archaeological Museum in Athens
We recommend Atitamos Restaurant, 500m from the National Museum: small typical restaurant with traditional Greek cuisine. Truly delicious at a modest price.
Directions, hours and prices of the National Archaeological Museum
How to get there: metro line 1, Victoria stop
Hours: daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed December 25-26, January 1, March 25, Orthodox Easter Sunday and May 1.
Ticket cost: 15.00 euros. For skip-the-line ticket – click here.
The Acropolis Museum collects all the material found during the excavations. Inside, you can get information about the history of the various finds and the area itself, and although with children it is not very easy to wander around the museums, devote a moment to the Parthenon Gallery where the sculptures that tell the story of the procession of the Dionysian Feasts on the Panathenaic Way are on display.
Acropolis Museum: directions, hours and prices
Getting there: metro line 1 or 2, Omonia stop.
Hours: daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ticket cost: full price €10.00 or cumulative ticket Museum+Acropolis. Skip the line at the ticket office – click here.
Athens with children: what to do and what to see. Licabetto Hill
Lycabettus is a hill that rises in the center of Athens and offers exceptional views of the city and surrounding mountains.
There are two ways to reach its summit namely on foot, walking along a steep path, or taking the funicular from Kolonaki. At the top you will find the small chapel of Ágios Giórgios, a café, and a restaurant.
Plaka is Athens’ most characteristic neighborhood, almost completely closed to traffic, located in close proximity to the Acropolis. Here you can lose yourself for a couple of hours walking on its cobblestone streets eating something in the many restaurants and street food and checking out the souvenir stores. It was here that we found the most beautiful Greek taverns.
Anafiotika is a small area of Plaka located on the hill of the Acropolis. It was built in the 1800s by craftsmen from the island of Anafi who had been called in to restore the Royal Palace.
Anafiotika is very quaint: it is made up of steep narrow streets that wind between small, one-story, blue-and-white houses, colored in summer by bougainvillea. The scent of jasmine grown in the small courtyards is truly intoxicating!
Monastiraki is another characteristic neighborhood of Athens, bordering Plaka. On Sunday mornings it hosts the famous flea market. Two cathedrals, the small Mikri Metropoli and the large Megali Metropoli, and the Tzistarakis mosque are located here.
Monastiraki Square is home to Hadrian’s Library, a Corinthian-style temple, and always here you can find in late spring early summer, a variety of stalls selling exceptional cherries for a very small fee!
On the GetYourGuide portal, you can purchase a ticket for the Sightseeing bus, the classic double-decker tour bus with which to tour the city. In addition to getting a great view of the sights from a convenient location (get on the second floor), it can also be a practical way to get around with children when they are tired of walking. There are several types – Click on the banners👇
There is also a combination ticket that includes, for example, bus+Acropolis or bus+pyrean+Acropolis museum.
Athens with kids: what to do and what to see. More things to do in Athens with kids
Museum of Illusions
60 visual and interactive illusions, the visit lasts an hour or so and is definitely a fun experience for children (but also for adults). We have been to the Illusions Exhibition in Genoa and really enjoyed it. You can buy a ticket here.
Amusements for children in Athens
Having a little more time, one could also plan a visit to the National Observatory and the Hellenic Children’s Museum which offers many insights into Greek culture with the little ones. The National Gardens also has a play area and a mini zoo.
Athens with kids: what to do and what to see. Info for visiting Athens with children
Better not to plan a visit to Athens with children in July and August because of the intense heat;
Visit the Acropolis early in the morning both because of the heat and to get around quietly with fewer people around;
Do not let children touch the monuments or ruins: the natural oils on their skin, could be extremely harmful to the archaeological remains;
Beware of crossings because they do not always give priority to pedestrians;
Stroller Speech – You cannot enter the Acropolis with a stroller, but other archaeological remains in Athens, such as the Temple of Zeus and the ancient Agora, you can and even the various neighborhoods of the city can be visited without problems;
If you want to visit several monuments, it is definitely more convenient to get a cumulative ticket that provides discounts and skip the line at the ticket office.
How long does it take to visit Athens?
The advice is to devote at least two to three days to visiting the city of Athens. From Athens, one can later decide whether to rent a car and set off to discover the other wonders of Greece such as the Peloponnese, the Meteors, Delphi, or to take a flight and head to Santorini or another Greek island.
Having little time, you may also decide to avail yourself of an organized tour such as those offered by GetYourGuide👇
Athens with children: when to go to Athens
The best time to go to Athens is spring (March through June) or fall, as the heat in summer is deadly. We stayed in early June, and during the hottest hours of the day, it was already 30 degrees.
Athens with children: what to do and what to see. Where to sleep in Athens
The best area to stay in Athens is definitely the center so the Plaka and Monastiraki neighborhoods, with Acropolis and main attractions within walking distance.
Plaka Hotel – very central location with outstanding views of the Acropolis, connecting family rooms and excellent breakfast at a really great price! Book here.
How to get from the airport to downtown Athens
From the airport to the center of Athens you can take a cab (20 minutes, they are parked from the exit) at a cost of about 40.00 euros or the metro (40 minutes, leaves every half hour), which is much cheaper: one-way ticket costs 10.00; round trip 18.00. The ticket is bought directly inside the station.
If your intention is to explore Greece, you can opt for car rental.
You can compare offers proposed by rental agencies and save 70 percent by booking your car in advance on the DiscoverCars portal.
How to get around downtown Athens
The center of Athens can be walked around as the main attractions are all close together. The alternative is to take a tour bus or the metro which reaches all parts of the city. If you are traveling with a stroller, there are elevators at every stop. There are no turnstiles at the entrance and tickets must be obliterated before going up.
About an hour from Athens lies Cape Sounion: a promontory on which stands the temple dedicated to Poseidon, overlooking the waters of the Aegean Sea. At its foot is a bay with turquoise water and golden sand.
Archaeological excavations brought to light the magnificence of this temple in 1906: the 18 columns that have come down to us are made of marble and the order of the capitals is Doric.
The whole archaeological site is very interesting but the view from the promontory is breathtaking! Very impressive even at sunset. Absolutely a must visit!
Admission to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion is 10.00 euros adult, free for those under 18.
To get to Cape Sounion, you can either rent a car or join a valid GetYourGuide tour that includes pick-up service from the hotel, guided tour of the Temple of Poseidon, free ride with the possibility of bathing in the warm weather as well, and finally return. Click banners👇
The Meteors are a magical place that should definitely be included in your itinerary in Greece, in my opinion. They are located about 350 km from Athens, and you can go to explore them by renting a car or participating in an organized 2-day tour that also includes a visit to Delphi👇
Athens with children: what to do and what to see. Conclusions
Spectacular Athens and all of Greece in general. We enjoyed its slow, relaxing pace, the smiling faces of the Greeks in addition to the architecture, the sights and the excellent local cuisine. Whether traveling as a couple or with children, there are plenty of things to do for the whole family in and around Athens!
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