Exploring Athens: A Family Guide to the Ancient City

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Greece is a country full of ancient history and culture, and the city of Athens is its crown jewel. With its stunning architecture, memorable monuments, and rich history, Athens is a great destination for families. It’s the perfect place to explore the past and make new memories with the kids. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a veteran traveler, there’s something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore what to see, what to do, and where to stay in Athens with kids and we will share practical tips to help you plan ahead your family visit

I was born and raised in Athens and this is the place we call home. We still spend more than 3 months a year in Athens and in Greece in general, and both our families of origin live in Athens, so these are truly insider tips 🙂

Tip
If you have only one day in Athens, then stick with the activities around the center of the city, such as the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, Syntagma

Introduction to Athens

Athens is the capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s a vibrant and exciting city, filled with incredible monuments, museums, and attractions. It’s also a great place to explore with children, with plenty of activities and attractions to keep them entertained

Athens is home to some of the most iconic monuments in the world, such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon. It’s also home to some of the most important archaeological sites in the world, such as the Temple of Poseidon and the Ancient Agora. These sites are a great way to get a glimpse into the past

The city is also a great place to explore with kids, as there are plenty of activities and attractions that are perfect for all ages. From outdoor activities to museums and restaurants, there’s something for everyone in this ancient city

How to get around Athens

By car

If you are in Athens only for a day, then the top sights to see are in the center of the city and you do not need a car. You can easily walk around from Acropolis and Acropolis Museum to Syntagma and Panathinaiko Stadio or take the tourist train or even a taxi

If you are in Athens for a few days and you would like to explore the coast and Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon or if you would like to make a day trip to nearby cities, such as Nafplion and Meteora, then it makes sense to rent a car

By taxi

Taking a taxi in Athens is relatively inexpensive and comfortable. You can book a taxi with the apps Free Now (find it here for Android and here for Apple) and Uber (here for Android and here for Apple)

Tip
Do NOT take a taxi from tourist points, such as Monastiraki, as very often these are geared towards scamming tourists. Despite my being Greek, a taxi driver I took from Monastiraki tried to scam me by saying the taximeter does not work. I asked him how much he wanted to take me to my destination and he quoted me three times the normal price. Do not go anywhere without a working taximeter! Stick to the apps mentioned above to get a taxi with accountability due to online reviews

By metro

Metro is the easiest and cheapest way to move around the center. You buy a rechargeable ticket, ie you can add more trips. Metro is way more reliable compared to the bus

Tip
Each metro ticket is for one person only. You cannot use the 5 trips you have in one ticket for the whole family, as you can only validate one trip at a time. You need to buy separate metro tickets for each member of the group

By bus

This is the least reliable option to go around Athens. If you can take the metro instead of a bus, then by all means take the metro. Avoid buses as much as possible especially with kids, as they tend to be late and crowded

Where to stay in Athens with kids

Where to stay and where not to stay

If you’re planning a family vacation in Athens, you may be wondering where to stay. Luckily, there are plenty of great options to choose from!

One of the best locations for families is the Plaka district. This area is full of vibrant energy and a plethora of attractions. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, such as visits to ancient ruins and a fun time at the Acropolis hill. Additionally, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and cafes for the whole family to enjoy

Another great option is the Thission neighborhood. This area is known for its beautiful neoclassical buildings and plenty of interesting historical and cultural sites

One of the most convenient locations is around Syntagma Square with the easy access to metro

There are many locations in central Athens to avoid, for example Omonoia and Metaxourgeio, so if you see a 5-star hotel with a suspiciously low price, beware!

And if you’re looking for a more luxurious stay in Athens with kids, the neighborhoods of Kolonaki and Glyfada offer excellent hotels with stunning views. Glyfada is in the southern suburbs, so keep in mind that while you will be closer to the sea, you will be further away from all major sights

No matter which area you choose, you and your family are sure to have a wonderful time in Athens!

Our recommendations on where to stay with kids

Below you will find our recommendations on where to stay in Athens with kids

€€€€€
Grande Bretagne is a luxurious 5-star hotel at Syntagma Square with 2 swimming pools
€€€€
Cityzoe Athens Suites is near Acropolis. The location of this small hotel is excellent
€€€
Syntagma Spotlight Residence is an entire 80m² apartment right next to Syntagma Square. As this is an apartment, you will have a kitchen and a washing machine too
€€
President Hotel is a bit further away from the center, but it’s only 3 metro stops away from Syntagma (yay Ambelokipoi, the area where I grew up!) It has also a swimming pool at the rooftop and private parking

Blue Ark Stylish Athens is an entire apartment of 55m² near Acropolis at the residential area Koukaki. It is pretty inexpensive for this location

Booking.com

What to See in Athens with Kids

Athens Center

Acropolis

The Acropolis is one of the most iconic sights in Athens. This ancient citadel, which dates back to the 5th century BC, is the most important archaeological site in the city. The word acropolis means the fortified height of the city, the citadel. It’s home to the Parthenon and other important monuments, including the Temple of Athena Nike and the Theatre of Dionysus. The Acropolis is an incredible sight, and it’s definitely worth exploring with the kids

Tip
If you only have time to see one thing in Athens, then go for the Acropolis and the Museum of Acropolis!

We always book a guided tour of major sights to dive deeper into the history of the place. You can follow a guided tour of Acropolis and the museum of Acropolis here

Acropolis of Athens
Find tickets to Acropolis and Acropolis museum here
Athens 105 58, Greece
https://g.page/acropolis-bnb?share

Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is one of the most important museums in the world. It houses archaeological findings from only one site, the Acropolis. There is also a restaurant with captivating view of the Arcopolis

Acropolis Museum
Find tickets to Acropolis and Acropolis museum here
Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece
https://g.page/acropolismuseumGR?share

Syntagma

Syntagma square is where the Greek Parliament is. It is the most important square of modern Athens from a historical point of view. There you can see there the ceremonial change of guards every hour right in front of the parliament – this is one of the best things to do in Athens with kids. Today Syntagma is also the heart of the commercial area. Take a stroll at Ermou, a busy street full of shops that starts from Syntagma and takes you to Monastiraki

Syntagma square
https://goo.gl/maps/cTZ1ZAFDULMVRwNH8

National Gardens

The National Gardens are right next to the Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square and they are a great place to explore with the kids. This beautiful park, located in the heart of the city, is home to lush gardens, fountains, and monuments. It’s a great place to explore, and the kids will love the lush greenery and bird-filled trees

Ancient Greek Agora, Roman Agora

The Ancient Agora is also a great place to explore with the kids. This ancient marketplace, located in the heart of the city, is home to some of the most important archaeological sites in the city. From the Temple of Hephaestus to the House of the Furies, there’s plenty to explore in the Agora. This place was the beating heart of the city: where ancient Athenians were gathering, discussing and making decisions democratically, where business was taking place, and where philosophers and performers would be found. The Roman Agora was the meeting point during the Roman era of Athens and is a bit further away

Tip
You can buy combo tickets for Acropolis and 6 more sites, including the Ancient and the Roman Agora, here

Ancient Agora of Athens
http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh355.jsp?obj_id=2485#=
Adrianou 24, Athina 105 55, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/eRhoY3KxgfVxq5vP6

National Archaelogical Museum of Athens

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is a great place to take the family on vacation. From ancient sculptures to pottery and jewelry, there’s something for everyone to explore. Kids will be amazed by the variety of artifacts and learn about the history of ancient Greece. And the museum is great for family activities. Whether you’re looking for an educational day out or just a fun, interactive experience, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens has something for everyone. With its rich history, it’s the perfect place to take the family on vacation.

Find tickets here

World Wild Schooling - https://worldwildschooling.com Exploring Athens: A Family Guide to the Ancient City - https://worldwildschooling.com/athens/
Credit: George Girnas

Psyrri, Monastiraki, Plaka

In Plaka you can enjoy a stroll around the picturesque street while stumbling upon ancient ruins. Psyrri is a gentrified neighborhood. It is contemporary with countless cafés, bars, restaurants and amazing street art. Monastiraki hosts a flea market and the landmarks like the Ancient Agora and the Stoa of Attalos are well known. There are tons of cafés, bars, restaurants and traditional taverns. The Monastiraki Flea Market is also a great place to explore with the kids. This outdoor market, located near the Acropolis, is a great place to explore and shop. The kids will love exploring the stalls and searching for souvenirs

Tip
Keen an eye open for stunning street art in the streets around Psyrri!

Monastiraki
https://goo.gl/maps/8gB7hjFvTfpmmQXGA

Athens Museum of Illusions

A fun break from sightseeing, the Athens Museum of Illusions is situated at Monastiraki, close to the metro station

Museum of Illusions Athens – Greece
Find tickets here
Ermou 119 Entrance from, Astiggos 12, Athina 105 55, Greece
https://g.page/moi-athens?share

A bit further from the center of Athens

If you want to learn more about Greek painters and how art has evolved, this is a good place to start. This is not really a kids friendly place, but if you are into art, then it’s worth a visit. The last floor has more contemporary art

National Gallery Athens
https://www.nationalgallery.gr/el/
National Gallery Athens 116 34, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/jLG9XNpH7arWg2F68

National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens

If you are more into modern art, then this is a good choice. There is a treasure hunt for kids too, where you look around to find specific works of art

National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens
https://www.emst.gr/en/
Kallirrois and Frantzi, Athens 11743, Greece
https://g.page/EMSTathens?share

Hellenic Children’s Museum

A small activity center for kids run by volunteers. This is situated near the National Gallery, so it might be a good idea to combine the two places. The Children’s Museum is quite small and limited unforunately, but it makes for a fun couple of hours if you are in the area

Hellenic Children’s Museum
https://www.hcm.gr/
Rigillis &Vasileos Georgiou B’ Ave 17-19, Athina 106 75, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/NEn7eeShk5Rg6oqo7

Southern suburbs

The Temple of Poseidon

The Temple of Poseidon is another must-see in Athens. This ancient temple, located on the cape of Sounion, is dedicated to the god Poseidon. It’s an impressive sight, and the views from the temple are breathtaking

It is difficult to reach the Temple of Poseidon without a car, so a guided tour like this one is a great idea!

Tip
The best time to see the Temple of Poseidon is sunset

World Wild Schooling - https://worldwildschooling.com Exploring Athens: A Family Guide to the Ancient City - https://worldwildschooling.com/athens/
Credit: Cristina Gottardi

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Designed by Renzo Piano and located in Palaio Faliro SNFCC hosts the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. There is a park there too. Many events for adults, families and kids are organized. There is also an explorer’s backpack for kids!

Photo: Dimitris Chapsoulas

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
https://www.snfcc.org/en
Leof. Andrea Siggrou 364, Kallithea 176 74, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/GsND1qXLEcP9qke3A

Flisvos Marina

Close to SNFCC lies Flisvos Marina, a great place to stroll around with cafés and restaurants overlooking the sea. There is also a small amusement park with a playground, a carousell, jumping castles and trampolines, perfect for younger kids

Flisvos Marina, Athina 175 61, Greece
https://www.flisvosmarina.com/
https://goo.gl/maps/y7JMePrWzXoSnfM86

Notos restaurant and playground

This is a good solution if you are in the area swimming and are looking for something to eat and have a playground nearby. We often find ourselves at this spot 🙂

Notos Cafe Bar Restaurant
Leof. Kon/nou Karamanli, Voula 166 73, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/ZhHFzFNpcBJExN4NA

Northern suburbs

X-Plore Entertainment Center

If you want to venture a bit further away from the center, then X-plore at Golden Hall is great to visit in Athens with kids! There are three sections: Adventure, Science and Oceans. There is also an outdoor playground. This is about half an hour drive from the center of Athens (or about an hour by public transport)

XPLORE Entertainment Center
https://www.x-plore.gr/en/index
Leof. Kifisias 37Α, Marousi 151 23, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/q92NdedvZopT5oPZ9

Athens Olympic Museum

At the same mall as X-Plore is the Athens Olympic Museum. Worth checking out, if you want to learn all about the Olympic Games. The museum is relaticely new, so it is quite modern in presentation

Athens Olympic Museum
https://athensolympicmuseum.org/en/
Leof. Kifisias 37a, Marousi 151 23, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/mhzECFNwwhZEBX2E9

Volta Fun Town

Very close to X-Plore and the Athens Olympic Museum there is an amusement park with indoor and outdoor activities for kids. Playgrounds and jumping castles and much more

Volta Fun Town
https://voltafunpark.com/avenue/
Leof. Kifisias 41-45, Marousi 151 23, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/K85MnvcfBd1iy7YR9

East of Athens

Attica Zoological Park

Attica Zoological Park has a variety of animals as well as dolphin shows. You can also feed giraffes and walk in the lemures enclosure. The zoo is close to the airport and about half an hour by car from the center of Athens (or an hour by public transport). There is a café/restaurant there too

Attica Zoological Park
https://www.atticapark.com/?lang=en
At Yalou Spata, Athina 190 04, Greece
https://g.page/AtticaZooPark?share

Conclusion

Athens is a great destination for families, and it’s the perfect place to explore the past and make new memories with the kids. From stunning monuments to outdoor activities and museums, there’s something for everyone in this ancient city. We hope this guide has given you some ideas for exploring Athens with kids. So go ahead, explore the ancient city and make some amazing memories with your family

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All places mentioned above are also gathered on the map!
Indoor and outdoor activities, kids friendly cafés/ restaurants, hotels and more all under separate layers

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