The Acropolis of Athens — Photo courtesy of Nelly ParaskevopoulouIf you have only one day in Athens, it's important to visit the Acropolis, which takes some time to really appreciate and would probably take up most of your morning. If you're an archeology fan, grab a taxi afterwards and visit the National Archeological Museum with treasures from the ancient world, or alternatively, the Acropolis Museum where you can admire the Acropolis marbles in a modern context, which you can reach on foot from the Acropolis. The Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum is also very close by and interesting to visit, with exquisite works of jewelry art.
A stroll through the National Gardens, watching the change of guard of the Evzones at the Presidential Mansion on Irodou Attikou, will relax you after seeing all the ancient monuments. Time for lunch or coffee? If you chose the National Archeological Museum, the bohemian neighborhood of Exarchia is quite close, where you can enjoy coffee on the square at Ginger Ale, with its casual atmosphere. Or, go for a traditional Greek meal at Yiantes, famous for their local cuisine. Neighborhood favorite Rozalia is also nearby.
Pond in the National Gardens — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
If you chose the National Gardens option, you are near Kolonaki with a vast choice of cafes and restaurants. Alfiere on Sekeri Street offers excellent espresso and savory snacks in an elegant atmosphere, or for a more hearty meal, try Malconis which offers Italian specialties, Jacksons Hall on busy Milioni pedestrian street has great pasta, and Filippou (which is a bit uphill, but worth the walk) offers homemade Greek specialties.
Benaki Museum with fascinating collections and Cycladic Museum with ancient Cycladic art are in the same neighborhood, so you might have just enough time to pack those in. Afterwards, you can walk or take a cab back to the historic center and do some sightseeing in Plaka and Monastiraki, shopping for souvenirs on Adrianou Street.
Don't miss Krokos on Vironos Street in Plaka for tasties to take back home; they offer delicacies from all over Greece. If your schedule allows for dinner or a drink, try romantic bistro Duende just off Areopagitou Street, or Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino trattoria nearby for excellent Italian cuisine. Alternatively, you can opt for a stroll through the artsy neighborhood of Psyrri, with the quaint antique and second-hand shops. Just off Athinas Street, Agias Irinis Square is one of the new hot spots for cafes and nightlife. Choose between Rooster, Tailor Made or Throubi, which are the most popular, for a relaxing and delicious end to a full day of exploring Athens.