This post is part of my Traveling Tuesday Series.
When our girls were young and we were living overseas in Dublin, we took advantage of our temporary proximity to everything Europe had to offer and visited over 25 countries in 2 1/2 years. One of the only cities we visited twice, though, was Athens. The first time was in conjunction with a work trip for my husband and the second was a one-day stop during a Holy Land Cruise with my family.
Our first visit to Athens, our eldest daughter was 2 1/2 and our younger daughter was 9 months. Our second visit was about 6 months later when Honeybun was a little over 3 and Sugarplum was about 15 months.
Here are the basics of traveling to Athens with kids:
Whenever possible while traveling around Europe, we took advantage of public transportation and left our car seats at home. Athens was one place, however, where we took our car seats and availed of taxi transport to/from the airport. Once in the city, though, we left the car seats in our hotel room and managed seeing everything we wanted by foot. It was a good amount of walking but there is so much to see along the way, we were never tired or bored by walking and exploring the city.
Our second visit we hired a tour company to take us from the port and around to different sites in the city since my parents and sister had not been before. It was a great way to see all the highlights without wasting a lot of time getting from place to place walking or dealing with public transport.
Athens is fairly easy to get around with kids and buggies/strollers. There are parts where buggies are cumbersome or not allowed (such as at the Acropolis) but we had brought a small, lightweight buggy that was easy to carry along with a good baby carrier for wearing Sugarplum and Honeybun was able to walk most places.
Eating in Athens with kids
We found tons of great restaurants and outdoor cafes to eat at in Athens. There were plenty of local flavors that our girls enjoyed and our girls were always graciously welcomed in the restaurants we ate at.
Preparing for a trip to Athens with Kids:
I’m big on planning our trips ahead of time because traveling with kids makes things just a little bit more complicated as they aren’t always very patient when you don’t have a plan so I always did a lot of research and planning before our trips. Check out my tips and advice for:
- Finding the perfect hotel
- Pre-Planning as much as possible and finding the best Sights to See
- Packing for the kids
What to see and do in Athens with Kids:
We spent a total of 3 days in Athens between our two trips and visited the following sites and museums:
The Acropolis and Parthenon
The number 1 must see attraction in Athens is the Acropolis. If you are able, climbing to the top to see the Parthenon is a must do experience. The views over Athens are breathtaking and the architecture and history are unbeatable. If you are unable to climb all the way to the top, there are plenty of sites to see around the base of the hill that are interesting to visit as well.
Honeybun especially liked the Erectheon at the top of the hill with the ladies holding the building up with their heads during our first visit. During our second visit, we chose not to climb to the top again and instead opted to explore the base of the hill and the Theatre of Dionysus.
The Acropolis Museum
Next to the Acropolis to the south is the Acropolis Museum which houses many archaeological artifacts from the Acropolis from different periods throughout Athens’ history. The museum is large and fascinating with so many pieces having been recovered over time. One of the highlights for the girls (once Honeybun was brave enough to step onto it) was the glass floors which revealed working archaeological sites.
The Ancient Agora is a short stroll from the Acropolis and was the center of political, commercial, religious and social life in ancient Athens. The Agora now houses a museum with few structures, such as the Temple of Hephaistos, still standing but it is still well worth visiting and taking a stroll trough history.
Syntagma Square houses the Greek Parliament building Each day outside the Parliament building, there is changing of the guard every hour with the official and most elaborate ceremony on Sundays at 11. Our girls loved watching the ceremony and delighted in the “funny walk” and costume of the guards. After the changing you are also allowed to take pictures with the guards who are on station and unable to move for a full hour!
Museum of Cycladic Art
Focused on the art and history of the Aegean and Cyprian cultures, the Museum of Cycladic Art houses a large collection of ancient art and everyday objects depicting life in the 3rd millennium BCE.
The Benaki Museum is less than a 5 minute walk from the Museum of Cycladic Art and houses artifacts and art from throughout Greece’s history. The collection of more than 40,000 items feels like taking a walk through Greek history and life throughout the ages.
Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hardian’s Gate
We visited the Temple of Olympian Zeus during our driving tour but it’s very near the Acropolis Museum only about a 15-20 minute walk through the National Garden and Botanical Museum from Syntagma Square, the Benaki Museum or Museum of Cycladic Art. The temple is one of the largest every built in the ancient world and is well worth a visit just to marvel at its size and imagine how ancient people might have built it without modern technology.
The Arch of Hadrian/Hadrian’s Gate sits right near the Temple of Olympian Zeus and used to span an ancient road during Roman times.
The Olympic Stadium of the modern Olympics which sits on the site of an ancient stadium based on archaeological evidence hosted the first modern games as well as played a part in the 2004 games which were hosted in Athens.
Monastiraki Square and Hadrian’s Library
The Monastiraki neighborhood is a historical area of Athens and is home to many shops and boutiques, great for finding bargains and souvenirs of all kinds.
Also in this area is the ruins of Hadrian’s Library built in the year 132 and was the largest library in Athens at the time, housing books as well as government documents.
Other sites of interest when traveling to Athens with Kids:
- Byzantine Museum
- National Archaeological Museum
- National Garden and Botanical Museum
- Athens War Museum
- Numismatic Museum
- Plaka Neighborhood