With stunning ancient history, delicious food, and fabulous people, Athens can be one of the best places to visit with tweens and teens. In ancient civilization, my kids learned about Greece and Greek gods, and were interested in seeing it for themselves. So, this past summer, for our big family vacation, we decided to take a family vacation to Greece. Our first stop was to Athens, where we stayed an extra day before joining a group tour. Athens is filled with fabulous activities and attractions – here are things to do in Athens with kids.
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Things to Do in Athens with Kids
After flying in on what felt like a very, very long flight, we settled into our hotel (the Intercontinental Athens Athenaeum). We unpacked and rested for a few minutes, then we took a cab to Plaka, which is an old neighborhood of Athens. When picturing Athens, you are probably imagining Plaka, with it’s narrow, winding pedestrian walkways and sidewalk cafes. We were exhausted and hungry, so the hotel concierge made a dinner reservation for us. Otherwise, you can just walk around Plaka, reviewing menus, and choosing the one you prefer. I’d recommend doing some TripAdvisor searches first, as the restaurateurs can be a little pushy.
Plaka is especially nice in the evening, when people wander around, shopping and eating. It’s a fun atmosphere, but definitely watch your belongings, as pickpockets prey on those who aren’t carefully guarding their possessions.
Of course, anyone visiting Athens absolutely has to visit the Acropolis. One of the things that surprised me is how visible the Acropolis is from many parts of Athens. It’s completely surreal. Visit the Acropolis was everything I expected it to be – beautiful, unbelievable, and crowded. Like most tourist attractions, I’d recommend going early to avoid the large crowds. The Acropolis is a somewhat steep walk on a slippery surface, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes with a good sole.
The Acropolis Museum
The new Acropolis Museum is not to be missed. This museum, located right in the center of Athens, features glass floors, where you can see the ruins underground. During our visit, there were loads of people in the museum, but the museum is so large that it didn’t feel crowded. Take your time during your visit, because there is so much to see.
Tickets can be purchased at the door, or you can buy timed tickets online in advance. It isn’t expensive at all, and I definitely recommend visiting, even if you can only go for a short while. There’s also a restaurant on site.
The Changing of the Guards at Parliament
Kids will love watching the changing of the guards at the Hellenic Parliament in Syntagma Square. It’s a quick but fun ceremony to watch, and Syntagma Square is right in the center of Athens. The larger ceremony takes place at 11am on Sundays, but if you aren’t there on a Sunday, it’s still worth watching on other days.
Monastiraki Flea Market
My daughter and I love shopping in new locations, so we were excited to check out the wares in Athens. The Monastrikaki Flea Market is a big traditional flea market on Sundays. But on other days, there are still shops, pushcarts, and kiosks to check out. Items include traditional Greek sandals, handbags, souvenirs, and food. We enjoyed browsing before lunch, and the kids found some fun souvenirs to purchase.
Ermou Street Shopping
For more traditional department stores, head down Ermou Street. There you’ll find international stores like H&M. It’s probably the best place to go if you’ve forgotten an essential item at home.
The Athens National Garden
Located right near Syntagma Square, the Athens National Garden is 38 acres of beautiful trees, birds, flowers, lakes, and more. It’s an oasis in the center of the bustling city, and it’s a nice place to walk around and explore. There’s also a children’s library and playground.
National Archaeological Museum
Archaeology lovers will definitely want to stop at the National Archaeological Museum, which is one of the best museums in the world. I’d probably skip this museum with younger kids, but older history lovers will enjoy it.
The home of the first modern Olympics, the Panathenaic Stadium is located in Athens. It’s been used in the Olympic games as recent as 2004, and is also used as a concert venue and for other athletic events. Admission to the stadium also includes an audio tour, as well as a small museum with torches from past olympics.
During our stay in Athens, we stayed at the Athens Intercontinental Athenaeum Hotel.