Last updated: 24 June, 2023
If you have only a day to spend in Athens, you can cover most of the city’s ‘greatest hits’ by wandering through the Grand Promenade that rings the Acropolis.
Designed to link all the main sights of ancient Athens in a single pedestrian zone, beautifully landscaped walkways are punctuated by exceptional monuments. There are contemporary attractions, too: al fresco cafés, street art, and friendly stray dogs.
Start at Hadrian’s Arch. Wander along Dionysiou Areopagitou, pausing to take in the ancient amphitheatres Herod Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, and the modern Acropolis Museum.
Continue on Apostolou Pavlou passing the rock of Pnyx on your left where the Athenian citizens used to gather listening to orators from Themistocles to St Paul.
A longer, signposted diversion at the junction of Dionysio Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou leads you to the alleged ‘Socrates’ Prison’, and to the top of Philopappou hill with bird’s eye views of the ancient sites below.
Back on Apostolou Pavlou and in about 500 yards you’ll spot the ‘Thission’ (a misnomer as it was a temple to the god Hephaestus), one of the best-preserved Doric temples anywhere in Greece.
Here you can divert into the Agora, the ancient Greeks’ shopping mall and civic hall as well as its fine museum where you can see ceramic voting slips, reminders of the city’s democratic past.
Backtrack to Thission and finish at the overlooked cemetery of Kerameikos, which has an amazing collection of tombstones and statues.