Are you planning an Athens family holiday? Do you need some inspiration for things to see and do that the kids will enjoy? This guest post from Sandy at Greece Travel Secrets covers all the best things to do in Athens with kids. Sandy shares with us some of the great monuments, sites and attraction in Athens, including the iconic Acropolis and other places, covering Greek mythology, history and more.
The Best Things to do in Athens with Kids
The famous Acropolis is the best known monument in Greece and is the heartbeat of the city of Athens. Once home to Mycenaen Kings the Acropolis dates back to the fourth century BC and was once a thriving Citadel that contained several buildings, theatres and sanctuaries of great architectural and historic significance. The most important structure was the Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess Athina for which Athens is named. For children that love history, a visit to the Acropolis is one of the best things to do in Athens with children.
When it comes to visiting the Acropolis for kids, it’s worth keeping in mind that it can get very crowded at the Acropolis and very hot in the middle of the day. For this reason, we recommend families visit on opening time or just before closing and combine the visit with a nice air-conditioned visit to the new Acropolis Museum as well.
Even if you have just one day in Athens, make sure you visit the Acropolis!
Location: In the middle of the city – you can’t miss it!
Opening Hours: November 1 to March 31: 8 am to 5 pm, April 1 to October 31: 8 am to 7 pm
Price: Regular-price ticket: 20€, or 10€ ( Nov 1 – March 31) or click here to purchase tickets online to avoid long queues at the gate.
The Acropolis Museum
If the kids enjoyed the Acropolis, then another one of the things to do in Athens for kids is to take them to the Acropolis Museum. The museum is situated right at the base of the Acropolis at the main gate and is a huge modern museum that has just celebrated its 10th birthday. This museum is considered one of the best in the world.
In the Museum you will find many artefacts from the Acropolis itself as well as numerous fascinating displays and exhibits. The museum is even built over the ruins of an ancient settlement which you can walk over and around. There are a couple of good cafes at the Museum too.
Location: Outside the main gate of the Acropolis
Opening Hours: Varies depending upon the season, but for the most part the museum is open daily from 8 or 9 am to around 4 or 5 pm or even later on the weekends.
Price : Winter (1 November – 31 March) – General admission: 5€ & Concession: 3€| Summer (1 April – 31 October) – General admission: 10€& Concession: 5€ or click here to purchase tickets online to avoid long queues at the gate.
Agora means ‘market’ in Greek and located along the Northwest slopes of the Acropolis you will find the ancient Agora of Athens. This market was used for around 5000 years and has undergone countless building and rebuilding through various occupations by the Romans, Ottomans and more.
Today it is a fascinating ruin where you can still get a feel for the working of the market once upon a time. There are two buildings still standing, the Stoa of Attalos and the impressive Temple of Hephaestus. You can also see drainage canals, a water dock, altar, shrines, a bath and even the remains of a prison as well as an impressive museum.
Location: Adrianous Street, west of Monastaraki Square
Opening Hours: Daily between 8 am and 3 pm
Price: Adult 8€ | Student 4€
The Evzones and the Changing of the Guard
The Tomb of the Unkown Soldier in Greece is found in front of the Hellenic Parliament at the top of Syntagma Square. It is guarded by the elite Greek Presidential Guard called the Evzones ( pronounced Ev-zon-ez). These men still wear a very flamboyant, traditional uniform including their famous pop-pom clogs and are chosen by their physical characteristics, work ethic and endurance. It is considered a great honour to be an Evzones.
Each hour, on the hour, the Evzones perform a structured ceremony to change guards which includes a small procession and the supervision and uniform inspection by an Officer. They take this very seriously and whilst tourists are welcome to watch and take photos, the Evzones will not engage nor interact with the public, much like the guards at Buckingham Palace.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Athens on a Sunday, you can see an entire Evzones Battalion travel to the Acropolis, by bus and then on foot, to perform a changing of the flag ceremony at 11 am.
Location: Hellenic Parliament at the top of Syntagma Square
Opening Hours: Every hour on the hour every day of the year
The Happy Train
Wonder what to do in Athen with kids who are too tired to walk? Take for them for a ride on the Happy Train. All visitors to Athens will see the little red train that zips around the inner city sites including Syntagma Square, Plaka and Monastaraki. The entire loop takes around 40 minutes and operates on a hop-on, hop-off basis with commentary in both English and Greek. This is a great solution for weary families on hot days!
Location: You can buy tickets from the train driver, and the train departs from Syntagma Square every 40 minutes.
Opening Hours: 9 am to 9 pm in winter, and 9 am to 11 pm in Summer, every day of the week.
Price: Tickets are 5€ for adults and 3€ for children.
For the sporty family, one of the cool things to do with kids in Athens is to visit the Panathenaic Stadium. The Panathenaic Stadium is home to the first modern Olympics and was used again in the 2004 Olympics in Athens as well. It was originally built as a race track and is still in use today as a multi-function stadium.
The original Panathenaic Games was a religious festival with a sports competition. It was dedicated to the Goddess Athina and took place every four years. The games included athletics, equestrian events and, of course, chariot races.
Location: Leoforos Vasileos Konstantinou
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the season but for the most part it’s open daily from 8 am to around 5 or 7 pm.
Price : Adults 5€, Students 2,50€ and children under 18 free. Admissions includes an audio tour.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre
A fairly new addition to the Athenian cultural scene, this Centre is now home to the Greek National Opera, the National Library of Greece and the beautiful Stavros Niarchos Park.
It is a remarkable feat of architecture in itself and offers a variety of outdoor activities as well as tours during the week. Activities include ice-skating in winter, cycling, dancing fountains, art installations, exercise classes, concerts, festivals and of course, Opera performances.
Location: Evripidou & Doiranis St, Kallithea
Opening Hours: Vary across the space, but the visitor’s centre is open daily from 8:30 am to 10 pm.
Price: many are free ( for all events see official website)
Lycabettus Hill Funicular
Lycabbettus Hill is one of the highest points in Athens and is located right in the heart of the city. It offers sweeping views right across the city and out to the islands.
You can walk or catch a taxi to the top, but a much more fun way to ascend the hill is to ride on the Funicular.
Once at the top there is a café, an excellent restaurant called Orizontes and a lovely Church, both with some of the best views in Europe!
Location: Corner of Ploutarhiou & Aristippou Streets Kolonaki
Hours: Daily 9:30 am – 2:30 am
Price: 7€ round trip
The Athenian Riviera
Another one of the fun kids activities in Athens is to simply spend the day at the beach. Along the southern coast of Athens is a series of beaches and neighbourhoods affectionately known as the ‘Greek Riviera’. You can access them in less than 45 minutes from the centre of Athens by either bus, taxi or tram and the crystal clear water and excellent amenities make it a very popular day out for the whole family.
Akti Vouliagmenis is one of the best equipped beaches with facilities including a basketball and tennis courts. There is a small cover charge for entry, and you can hire beach umbrellas, sunbeds and sporting equipment and there are several shops and cafes.
The House Projects in Glyfada has several play areas for children of all ages as well as excellent dining options.
Location: the suburbs of Glyfada and Vouliagmeni & Astir Beach
Opening Hours: anytime but the organised beaches are usually open 8 am – 9 pm
Price: Beach admission starts at 2€ and sunbeds at 10€
Kooky by name and Kooky by nature, this café in the lively neighbourhood of Psyiri is a unique establishment that changes its entire theme every three months and goes all out to do it! If you are visiting at Xmas or Easter, then expect to be dazzled by a glittering spectacle of costumed staff, including elves and bunnies and decorations that extend beyond the café itself and takes over much of the surrounding laneways.
On my last visit, the café was in full Alice in Wonderland mode with full size Mad Hatters and themed tea parties. The cafes and beverages are of course all themed as well.
Location: 17 Karaiskaki Georgiou | Psyirri
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am to 12 am & Weekends 9 am to 12 am
Getting around Athens with kids
The historic centre of Athens is quite compact and flat, so you can easily walk between the main sites, and there are various pedestrian streets such as Ermou, the main shopping street, that are car free.
The previously mentioned little Red Train is obviously one of the easiest and fun forms of transport for the kids. If you would like to venture a little further afield, then the Red Hop-on Hop-Off bus is your best bet and even includes a route down to the beach.
Athens has a decent Metro network that services all major neighbourhoods as well as the Airport and the main port of Pireaus. There is also a good bus system and you can check timetables and pricing at KTel.
If you want to catch taxis, they are plentiful and easy to find in their bright yellow colour. Make sure the meter is on, or you have negotiated a price in advance.
Where to Stay in Athens with Family
When it comes to where to stay in Athens with family, most people prefer to stay in the city centre and there is a huge range of accommodation at pretty affordable prices. The Acropolis stands proudly in the centre of the city and the neighbourhoods that immediately lie around its base are the best places to stay. There is even a car free pedestrian street that runs around most of it.
The suburbs of Monastaraki, Syntagma and Plaka are the most central whilst Koukaki , Thissio and Psyri are all close too. Plaka is the most touristic but also one of the prettiest neighbourhoods and Kolonaki is also close and fairly upmarket.
Sandy is the founder and editor of Tray Tables Away and Greece Travel Secrets. She is an Australian-based Gen X blogger and her husband is Greek. She and John visit Greece each year along with family and friends, often including their 3 ( now young adult) children.