Need to work off some fidgets after a long plane ride? Start your first day with the landmark you can’t go home without seeing: the Acropolis. True, there’s a lot of climbing as you ascend through the Beule Gate up a well-worn path, but what lies at the top makes the hike all worthwhile: the ruins of the perfectly proportioned Parthenon and surrounding temples. Find a spot to sit and just gaze at those massive columns, summoning up the glory of classical Greece.
Then help the kids put it all together with a visit to the Acropolis Museum, at the base of the hill, where the original sculptures and statuary from the site are on display. If their legs are up to it, you can then stroll along the Grand Promenade, a cobblestone-and-marble, pedestrian-only boulevard that skirts the Acropolis Hill, and end your sightseeing by strolling around the evocative ruins of the Ancient Agora, where Socrates once conducted open-air seminars and St. Paul sought converts for the new religion of Christianity.
After that, it’s time for dinner, maybe beneath a shady plane tree at a long-time favorite, the Platanos Taverna.
Begin the day with a visit to Athens’ National Archaeological Museum, which houses the world’s finest collection of Greek antiquities. Youngsters will be intrigued by the gold death masks in the Mycenaean Collection, with its Trojan War connections; the Thira Collection’s colorful and charming frescoes from Santorini are as fascinating as an ancient comic strip.
Then walk south down through Omonia Square to the lively, colorful Central Market. The sheeps’ heads and live chickens may gross them out, but there’s also tasty picnic fare to be picked up.
Make your way down Aiolou Street for a look at the Roman Forum and the adjacent Tower of the Winds, then swing west through the Plaka to Syntagma Square. Enjoy your picnic in the National Gardens, where the kids can let off some steam. End your picnic in time to see the Changing of the Guard, every hour on the hour, at the nearby Parliament Building.
Walk northwest through Kolonaki—a neighborhood favored by well-heeled Athenians—to the funicular that climbs Lycabettus Hill. The kids will love the ride, and at the top, you’ll all be mesmerized by the views of the Acropolis and across the city to the sea.
Return to your hotel in time for a late-afternoon swim in the pool.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.