Athens Walking Tour map #1: Syntagma Sq., National Gardens, Russian and Anglican Churches, Zappion, Hadrian's Arch, Temple Olympian Zeus, Monument Lysicrates, Plaka, Acropolis Area: Theatre of Dionysus, Sanctuary Asklepion, Odeon Herod Atticus, Acropolis, Parthenon, museum, Pnyx, Areo Pagos, Roman Agora, Greek Agora, Stoa Attalos, Monastiraki. After the above walk #1, just hang a left, as you leave the agora for walk #2.
Hello: I have lived in central Athens for over 28 years and can honestly say that its a small enough area so to be called walkable. Most of the ancient defining sites of Athens like the Acropolis and Agora are in central downtown Athens. If you can, lodge in this part of town. It will make your sightseeing simpler and cheaper. Aspects of outlying Athens, which is sprawling, are dealt with via the horizontal menu as are day trips necessitating a vehicle.
There are links to the four larger walking tour maps! And these particular Athens walking tour maps have decent detail so they take a second or two longer to load. This way its worth your while to print them out and use them in Greece.
All agree that during the summer days, modern, central Athens Is a busy, noisy, smelly, hectic place imbued with a dry heat sometimes reaching 95 F or more. So after your air conditioning, comfortable shoes, sunglasses, day pack, water and hat the next most important thing you need is a good map. Pick up a free one here in Greece but also think about printing these maps out. Good picture-maps are worth a million words! The airport information desk also has free normal non picture Athens maps sometimes, so do travel agents with whom you book services and at metro stations!
Another reason you need a good map is that even though Athens is a walkable town, once you leave the historic triangle, a higgley piggley village mentality evidences itself in many places - buildings are lower, the sidewalks are thinner, signs are in the middle of the tiny sidewalks, cars are parked on the tiny side walks and so on. That's part of Athens charm.The good news is that street signs are in Latin and Greek letters.
Many visitors to Greece' capital city find that the lower height of the buildings make for a far more humanly scaled cityscape. Another bit of good news is ancient Athens(see map below) (pop. @40k) was a city relatively small in area.
That means that today's Athens in 2 to 3 days of active walking you could see most all of it.
If limited to only one day you should see the Acropolis and National Archeological Museum both of which from an art history perspective, are must sees. You knew that! Incidentally the National Archeological Museum has the third most important Egyptian collection in the world so you get to see two great ancient cultures and don't forget the new display of the Santorini frescoes.
One huge reason you would want to break up your walking tours is because of the long sunny days in Athens. Time permitting visit the Acropolis and adjacent Agora the same day and then, if you wish, exit the Agora at Monastiraki from which you may stroll to the next door Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thession quarters too. Stop and have a lite snack like a salad or appetizers called mezedes.
Then walk or take the metro from any of the above back to your hotel. Later, around 10 pm, eat dinner in close by Psiri or Plaka or see the Athens restaurant guide which will give you other options in adjacent central neighborhoods. Taxis are a great deal in Athens - try one! Plaka has been described as 'the rip off area' by some. You should still see it and walk and shop its trinket lined streets at least once and its on the way to the Acropolis too coming or going! Plaka's main square on Kydathineon Street home to the rooftop Cine Paris is a lively spot day and night.
Its as plain as night and day or hot and cool when you think about it! Night is a far different experience than day in Athens and in many respects can be a really pleasant time uniquely Greek.
For those willing to seek it out, and its not hard to find, will be rewarded by good cheer and bonhomie profoundly Athenian Style with many foreign visitors mixed in.
In restaurants or bars your waiter may be Albanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian or Romanian if its a nouvelle cuisine restaurant. In a traditional Greek restaurant employees are almost always Greek. Your fellow guests will be Greek and a mix or internationalities from all over the world.
In summer, at night, around dusk as a general rule, museums and outdoor ancient sites close in Greece. In Athens and beyond. For example The Acropolis of Athens, and in the near by Peloponnese ancient Epidavros theater, Olympia, Palamadi Castle Naufplion and Mycenae (all day trips from Athens) close at this time. Seeing these kind of sights is usually a day time activity unless attending a performance at ancient Epidavros in which case you need a car.
You have more freedom at night to fall under the spell of Greece, Its at that time you get to relax away from the glare of the sun and stem the pace of your schedule and should walk around in the cool evening air (the Greeks love to walk), finally sitting and people watching. Athens has many outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants and frequenting them is a favorite pass time of young and old. Its the same wherever there are Greeks really!