A visit to Athens with kids should be on everyone’s to-do list. As soon as we walked out of the metro in the dusky half-light of evening and stood on the pavement looking up at the Parthenon glittering on top of the Acropolis, I knew our time here would be special. Athens made me tingle, like my body knew this was going to be good before my brain had caught up!
The week we spent in Athens is one of my favourite ever! If you want to take your family to experience this beautiful, historic and legendary city for yourselves, read on to find out how to visit Athens with kids!
Below we will itemise exactly how you can spend a week exploring Athens with kids. Athens is FULL of things to see, places of archaeological importance, temples, shrines, shops and walks.
And because of the way we travel, a lot of the recommendations here will be free and very outdoorsy. So if those items are on your holiday wish list you have come to the right place!
Athens is about exploration and discovery for all ages. There are lots of ancient ruins, but there some other cool places to go too!
With so many things to do in Athens it might make sense for you to purchase a very popular and very accessible combo ticket. This particular ticket gives you access to the Acropolis and six other archeological sites which are the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Theatre of Dionysus, Kerameikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Library and Aristotelian Lyceum.
If you plan on going to all the sites on the ticket it’s probably worth buying as you will save money.
For full disclosure we didn’t purchase this ticket. Mainly because we didn’t know about it until it was too late!
View of Acropolis
For clarification I think the combo ticket is a good option and would actually help you navigate some of the main attractions to see in Athens. But it’s also good to know that some of the archeological sites are well priced so you can pick and choose very easily. For example Hadrian’s library is €6 for entry (this has gone up since 2022 from €4) which I would recommend. However, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is good to see from the road but all in all the combo ticket which starts at around €30 which is good value.
Also children under 5 and EU citizens aged 6-24 are free of charge and do not need a ticket. So if you are travelling with little children there is money to be saved here too.
When to visit Athens with Kids
If you are looking at saving money the best time to visit Athens is in the low season between November and March. Ticket prices are reduced around this time of year making your visit much more affordable.
This is especially true if your kids are of the age where they need to pay for their admission tickets. Also the weather is pretty good and only falls really cold at night which is a bit of a bonus.
Parthenon and Acropolis
If you’re in Athens of course you are going to visit the Parthenon and the Acropolis! It has to be the number one attraction in Athens and for good reason. It’s absolute magic!
This is one of the best things to do in Athens with kids. I promise it will not leave you disappointed!
A quick drink break while looking around the Acropolis. However, it’s worth remembering that you can only drink water when on the hillOur first sighting of the Parthenon up close
The story of the Parthenon is captivating. It was originally built in 480BC on top of the ruins of an even older temple. The Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom and warfare. In the 1200s it was transformed into a Byzantine church and in 1400s a mosque. During 1600s part of the Parthenon was used as a weapons and munitions store by the Ottoman Empire. The whole store exploded and destroyed the middle of the temple. In 1800s the famous Parthenon Frieze was taken from the temple and shipped to England. It currently presides in the British Museum and is one of the biggest and most ornate of its kind. It is also surrounded by much political controversy. Now the Parthenon is being rebuilt to emulate its former, original, glory. This is quite the feat when you see this work with your own eyes.
But remember the Parthenon is not the only thing to see on the Acropolis. (Acropolis literally means ‘high city’).
A view of the Theatre of Dionysus from inside the Acropolis
What else is on top of the Acropolis?
There is also the Temple of Athena Nike and the views, Erechtheion and the olive tree (said to have been given to the region by Athena when she competed against Poseidon to see who could bestow the best gift to the people. Poseidon created a salt water spring, which wasn’t very helpful to the people, so Athena won and named the city after her) and the Theatre of Dionysus. I realise this is more of a history lesson than a travel guide but the visit means so much more when you know some of the stories behind it all.
Erechtheion with Athena’s olive tree just peeking out from behind the wall
Ticket prices to the Acropolis vary from around €22 per adult in high-season and €13 in low season. But remember, it is included in the combo ticket!
Scenic Promenade around the Acropolis Dionysiou Areopagitou
A walk along Dionysiou Areopagitou is highly recommended.
Walk along the outside of the Ancient Agora and the view of the AcropolisA stop on Dionysiou Areopagitou
There is a route you can take that loops all the way around the hill. Ensure you follow it on to Apostolou Pavlou which takes you to the Ancient Agora. It’s a great way to see the Parthenon from all sides and a beautiful walk to do day and night.
Ancient Agora of Athens
One place you must visit then looking at how to spend your time in Athens with kids is the Ancient Agora. This whole area is lovely with so much to do and see. The Agora is included in a combo ticket!
First piece of advice on visiting the Ancient Agora is go in the morning. This place is massive and there is so much to see. We went at the end of the day and got timed out of the museum. This was such a shame as it looked really good! If I’d have known how good this was I would have dedicated more time to it.
Temple of HephaestusTemple of Hephaestus from inside the Ancient Agora
The Ancient Agora is so important because it’s basically the birthplace of modern democracy.
In ancient times the Agora is where Athenians would meet, shop, talk, be entertained and be educated. It is a place where public affairs would be discussed and resolved. The Ancient Agora was a political hub as well as the great market square of the city.
Temple of Hephaestus
One of the most impressive things to see when in the Ancient Agora is the Temple of Hephaestus. The temple is well preserved because it has been in constant use over the years. Now it is classed as a historic monument.
It’s worth noting that the first King of Greece is buried here and, again, the views of the Acropolis are amazing!
After a visit to the Ancient Agora, Adrianou Street is a great place to start the scenic loop around the Acropolis and get a bite to eat!
Gyristroula for some of the best mixed grill in Athens
I can recommend Gyristroula which does the most delicious mixed grill plate and the portions are huge!
Ermou Street is right in the middle of the city and is one of the main shopping streets. It is incredibly busy and incredibly exciting! We stayed in an apartment on Ermou Street and it was the perfect location to explore if you’re thinking about how to visit Athens with kids.
Fabulous looking ice crram shop just under our apartment in Ermou Street
If you are looking to do the same I must tell you that some accomodation will not come with full fittings in the kitchen.
We were told by the locals that Ermou Street isn’t allowed a gas line to ensure none of it gets accidentally blown up!
I have no way of corroborating this story, but I love it anyway! It could have just been our landlord trying to get out of not having an oven in the kitchen…
Holy University Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary – Panagia Kapnikarea
One of the best things to see on Ermou Street is Panagia Kapnikarea one of the oldest churches in Athens. Admission to the church is completely free and it’s located right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of city shopping.
Panagia Kapnikarea in the middle of Ermou Street
Panagia Kapnikarea is a great example of how modern Athens has built itself around ancient Athens. The more you walk around the city the more you’ll start to see other examples of how modern buildings have built themselves around the old.
Monastiraki Square is just off Ermou Street and is very centrally located. There is a metro station here which is very helpful when thinking about getting to and from the airport. By day there is not much going on. However, Monastiraki Square really comes alive in the evening.
By night Monastiraki Square is full of stall sellers and entertainers by the dozen and the whole place is simply buzzing!
Another reason why Monastiraki Square is so busy is that it is the gateway to some other key places you’ll want to see. First is….
Ifestou Street is often referred to as the ‘flea market’. Some parts of it are a bit ‘market’ like. But in reality it’s a really narrow, jam-packed and super fun shopping street.
Of the whole of Athens, our kids loved it here the most. All they wanted to do was plot how they were going to spend their holiday money!
This is most definitely one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Athens! From Ifestou Street you will find it really easy to walk to…
Psyri Neighbourhood – Instagrammable Cafes
Not that this is my thing but it is worth mentioning Ellyz Cafe, the Fairy Tale Cafe and Little Kook cafe in the neighbourhood of Psyri. All of these places are worth a walk and a look, even if you don’t go in and buy anything. The outside decor is just amazing and you’ll get some great pictures.
But if you do fancy a little treat I hear Ellyz does pink coffee!
The second thing you’ll find from Monastiraki Square is Areos Street which leads to Hadrian’s Library.
Hadrian’s Library is included in the combo ticket and, in my opinion, is worth the visit.
However, we did this towards the end of our stay and, to put it bluntly, the kids had had enough of Ancient Athens. So while they went and had another little walk down Ifestou Street with Daddy, I went and visited Hadrian’s Library on my own.
If you are looking to explore Athens with kids, splitting up and seeing places separately is something to consider doing. I was much more interested in this visit than my husband so he was happy to take the kids to their happy place.
Library of Pantainos, Gate of Athena Archegetis, Roman Forum of Athens (Roman Agora)
Then at the bottom of Areos Street you will find the Library of Pantainos, Gate of Athena Archegetis and the Roman Agora. The Roman Agora is included in your combo ticket and is the Roman open air market.
If i’m honest you can see as much as your going to see of these sites from standing outside the gates. However, This the perfect location to take you for a walk into…
Plaka Neighbourhood and Klepsidras Street
From the Roman Agora there is the loveliest walk to the west side of the Plaka Neighbourhood. The walk is all uphill as it sits just underneath the Acropolis, but my o my is it worth it!
The whole area is street after street of gorgeous houses, cafes, restaurants and views! The restaurants and cafes regularly spill out onto the steps in the street and these then become part of the tables and chairs!
The whole place is incredibly charming and has a totally different vibe to the rest of the city. Even if you don’t eat in any of the establishments, it’s a absolute joy to just experience the place.
I would definitely recommend a visit if looking at how to spend a week in Athens with kids.
Athens National Garden
On the east side of the city is Athens National Gardens or Ethnikós Kípos. This is the perfect place to spend some time when planning how to visit Athens with kids.
The park is huge with lots of paths leading to hidden ancient ruins, kids play parks, cafes, a Turtle Parthenon and a little zoo! Yes, you heard me right, a little place where turtles can hang out and an actual little zoo!
Turtle Parthenon in Athens National Gardens
Everything is free to walk around and the kids absolutely loved it! We came back here to visit the turtles several times. Athens National Garden is such a lovely addition to any travel itinerary when exploring Athens with kids.
Presidential Guard and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
While in the vicinity of Athens National Garden it is worth going to the top end of Irodou Attikou Street or the Hellenic Parliament on Leof Vasilisis Amalias to see the Presidential Guard. The whole affair has an air of pomp and ‘stance which reminded me of being outside Buckingham Palace or the Vatican, which I quite enjoyed.
Ceremonial changing of the guard
Since 1974 the Presidential Guard is preserved for ceremonial purposes only. Although their job is always to guard the palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Zappeion Hall and Gardens
A short walk south from the National Gardens you will arrive at Zappeion Hall and Gardens.
Views from Zappeion HallZappeion Hall
Zappeion Hall was built for the first modern Olympic games held in 1896 and was used as the fencing hall. Since then it has been an Olympic Village, Press Centre and radio station. It was also the place Greece officially entered the European Union in 1979. Today it is a pubic and private conference hall.
Most importantly, if you visit Athens in the winter months, there are some excellent views of the Parthenon from outside the hall itself!
Temple of Olympian Zeus
South of Zappeion Hall is the Temple of Olympian Zeus (included in the combo ticket). This is an impressive temple dedicated to Zeus and was built around 6th century BC.
However, we thought you could see most of this from the road so we didn’t go in. Although, if we had invested in the combo ticket we certainly would have done.
On the walk away from the Temple of Olympian Zeus it’s worth popping to see Hadrian’s Gate.
The gate was constructed to celebrate the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his expansion of the city.
The gate’s location, although seemingly a bit out of the way, actually shows the divide between the Ancient city built by Theseus and the new city built by Hadrian. Plus it’s free. You can walk past, in and around it as much as you like, which is great when planning on how to visit Athens with kids!
Olympic Stadium – Panathenaic Stadium
Not far from Zappeion Hall is the Panathenaic Stadium. The stadium was built for the first Modern Olympic Games. It is also the world’s only white marble stadium.
Outside the Olympic Stadium – Panathenaic Stadium
You can pay to go in and see what it was like to sit in the stands and have a go at running along the the track. Or you can stop just outside and peek in. It all depends on how important the Olympics are to you I would imagine. Whether you go in or not it is a good one to tick off the list when planning how to visit Athens with kids.
If you need the kids to burn off some energy when looking at the best things to do in Athens with kids, then head to Philopappos Hill.
Acropolis from Philopappos
The main reason we climbed Philopappos hill was to get another amazing view of the Acropolis. But we discovered so much more. The best being the Prison of Socrates, Holy Church of Saint Demetrios Loumbardiaris, Filopappou Viewing Podium (outstanding views of the Acropolis) and the Philopappos Monument which was like standing on top of the world with 360 degree views of the whole of Athens!
Other things to do from Athens
When in Athens you really must take a day trip to the coast. All you need to do is get the tram from the centre of the city towards Flisvos Marina. Then you need to change to a new tram heading to Voula. It’s very easy and the ride is very enjoyable as you get to see parts of the city you wouldn’t see on foot.
We decided to head to Glyfadas Beach which takes about an hour to get to from the city. Firstly, we had a picnic lunch in the marina while dangling our feet in the water and feeding the little fishes. We then went to the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre which I would 100% recommend.
Marina at sunset after taking the tram from the city to the beachSea Turtle Rescue Centre
Entry to the Rescue Centre was only a few euros and saw some extraordinary turtles. Some had been hit my boat propellers and some had been caught in fishing nets. We learned all about what the center is doing to help those in need, how they rehabilitate them and how they get them back into the sea.
Straight off the tram we found the most amazing playground on the seafront which the kids adored so we came back here a couple of times. To finish the day off we sat eating Greek pastries on the beach watching the sun go down while making our own mosaics in the sand.
It was all pretty idyllic if i’m honest and the perfect way to visit Athens with kids.
Have you been to Athens and would you add anything to this itinerary? Let me know! If not I hope you find inspiration in this article and it helps you plan how to visit Athens with kids!