Looking for the ultimate guide to visiting Athens, Greece? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Athens is a city that many tourists and travellers flock to each year to soak in the culture and discover the history of the cities ancient ruins. After spending three days exploring Greece’s capital, I have compiled this ultimate guide to visiting Athens, Greece to ensure you make the most out of your trip and don’t miss any of the must-see attractions.
Things to do in Athens, Greece
Explore ancient ruins
As the most popular thing to do in the city, a trip to Athens would not be complete without exploring and learning about the cities many ancient ruins. Be sure to head to the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Olympieion, Hadrian’s library, Kerameikos and the archaeological site of Lykeion.
Visit the Acropolis museum
To get a great insight into what you are admiring when visiting the Acropolis, I would recommend visiting the museum first. This will allow you to really immerse yourself in the history of Athens most famous attraction.
Tip: Tickets are just 5 EUR for full paying adults and 3 EUR at the reduced rate. Certain visitors are entitled to free admission.
Relax at the national gardens
The national gardens are the perfect place to relax and wind down after a busy day exploring ancient ruins. Budget travellers can save some cash by grabbing a picnic and eating here before exploring the grounds of the gardens. There is even a mini zoo and tortoise pond for all you animal lovers!
Visit some art galleries
If you’re looking to have a break from exploring ancient ruins and want to check out some art, Athens is home to some great galleries. Visit the national museum of contemporary art if you prefer a more modern art scene, or head to the Benaki Museum of Islamic art to admire a fantastic collection of beautiful Islamic art.
Smaller galleries can also be found around the city. A personal favourite of mine was Dexippos art gallery due to its large variety of stunning watercolour paintings of Athens and the Greek islands.
Explore the Plaka neighbourhood
No ultimate guide to visiting Athens, Greece would be complete without recommending a stroll around the ancient and charming neighbourhood of Plaka. Not only is Plaka home to one of the best bars in the city, but the stunning neighbourhood is the perfect area to pick up some gifts or shop for traditional Greek fashion.
Head up Mount Lycabettus
Standing 300 metres above sea level, Mount Lycabettus is the highest peak in Athens and offers some incredible views of the city beneath. Take the funicular railway up to the top in the early morning to avoid the crowds then spend some time admiring Athens from above.
The funicular costs €7.50 per return journey, but you can also hike the trail for free. Please note, this may not be the best idea in the height of summer. In addition to beautiful views, there is also a restaurant and bar to grab a bite to eat and a chapel which you can visit.
Getting around in Athens, Greece
Getting around in Athens is easy-peasy thanks to a great public transport system that includes buses, trams and the metro. Transportation costs are also very reasonable and for 9 EUR you can get a 5-day pass that you can use on all modes of transport around the city.
If you want to include transfers to and from the airport, you can buy the 22 EUR tourist ticket which includes 1 round trip to/ from the airport and 3 days of unlimited travel on all modes of transport. If you wish to get a taxi to or from the airport, expect to pay a fixed fare of 38 EUR to 50 EUR depending on what time of the day you are flying.
Where to eat
Being big fans of Indian food, we headed to Namaste which has been rated the number one Indian restaurant in Athens. Although its location would suggest it was a tourist trap being located just a short walk away from the Acropolis museum, we enjoyed the food so much that we ate there twice so on that basis, I would highly recommend Namaste.
Located next door to Namaste is Smile cafe, a Greek restaurant perfect for travellers who are looking for an authentic meal. With delicious gyros starting from just 3 EUR and extremely friendly staff, Smile cafe is a great place to grab a bite to eat that won’t eat into your funds if you are travelling on a budget.
After a tiring day exploring the sights of Athens, be sure to treat yourself to some gelato at DaVinci. With their vast variety of flavours and perfectly presented treats, it isn’t hard to see why this place is so popular.
The best bars
If you like to hit up the best bars in a city, check out:
360 cocktail bar
Not only does 360 serve some very tasty cocktails, but they also offer incredible views of Athens and the Acropolis from their rooftop bar. Talk about drinks with a view!
Located in the heart of Plaka, Brettos is popular amongst both locals and tourists who wish to sample some of the best liquors and cocktails in the city. The colourful bottles that are lined along the shelves on the walls also add a cool vibe to this bar that I would definitely recommend checking out!
We passed Hitchcocktales on our way back to the hotel after a fantastic meal at Namaste and were drawn in by the cool seating area outside and gorgeous decor, but ended up staying longer than planned after checking out the menu. If you’re looking for a bit of fun, try the secret cocktail – if you guess the ingredients you will get another free of charge!
Where to stay
Luxury: Located just 20 minutes away from the Acropolis, with excellent views from the rooftop bar, stunning decor and extremely welcoming staff, Wyndham Grand is the perfect choice for anybody wishing to splash out for a few nights of luxury.
Read more: Checking in: Luxury at Wyndham Grand, Athens
Mid range: If you are on a mid-range budget, you could opt to stay in this gorgeous superior apartment in the centre of Athens.
How many days should you spend in Athens?
This all depends on what you want to see and what kind of pace you like to travel at. If you only plan on visiting the ancient ruins, this can be done in around two or three days. However, if you want to take a more relaxed approach or you are hoping to head up Mount Lycabettus, visit more museums and galleries or do some shopping, I would recommend spending five to seven days in the city.
How much money do you need during a visit to Athens?
Athens is a very affordable city to explore and after arriving in the city, I estimate that you could spend approximately between 100 and 150 EUR which will cover accommodation costs, food, transportation and activities for three days meaning it is a great city for budget travellers to visit. However, if you plan on eating out a lot or checking out some of the amazing cocktail bars, you can expect to spend considerably more.
I hope this guide to visiting Athens, Greece helped you plan your trip. Feel free to contact me or post in the comments below if you have any questions that were not answerd by this post. Also, feel free to share your tips and tricks!
Like this post? Then pin it!