Hey beautiful people, I’m just back from a 10 day trip to Greece and sharing some easy tips for travel to Athens!
This vacation was so dreamy and I loved every minute of it. I encourage all of you to visit Greece if you’ve ever had even the slightest notion!
Honestly before leaving, I felt so much anxiety about going the summer. Can you relate? The news has been so terrible and negative of late… but I’m so glad I did.
Don’t let fear keep you from exploring the world!
Over 10 days, we visited Athens and islands Santorini and Mykonos, but today I want to share tips to navigate Athens.
- You don’t need an organized tour
First off, Athens is easy to do as an independent traveler. Starting from the airport, there are convenient modes of transport to the city center. Instead of a taxi which costs about 41 euros, we took the metro straight from the airport with a two-person ticket, which cost 18 euros total.
The airport bus is even cheaper, at about 6 euros per person. The trip to city center took about 45 minutes. You can read more about these options here.
Most of the ruins are easily accessed by metro, bus, or walking and you can buy a combination ticket which lets you visit multiple ruins over 5 days. We bought one for 30 euros a person (just buy at the ticket counter at your first site).
A basic metro ride costs 1.60 euros, but you can even buy multi-day passes for that too. See metro map and info here.
2. Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are a must
The sun in Athens is intense! Don’t even think about not wearing sunscreen or a hat. In fact, keep your sunscreen with you and reapply often, even in late afternoon.
While watching the changing of the guard about 6 pm, I figured I didn’t need more sunscreen. I was wrong!
3. Pack light and comfortable clothes – and don’t even think about heels!
As mentioned above, the sun is intense and it’s hot! Really hot. We were there in early July and it was in the 90s each day. There’s no need for layers. No need for anything that cinches in at the waist. No shoes that might give you blisters! You need airy breathable clothes and shoes that won’t chafe or give you heat rash.
I got so much use out of my Converse and the lightweight Athleta joggers (perfect for transitioning from airplane to city)
I packed everything I needed for a 10 day trip in a carry-on. I’ll share all that soon in a separate post!
4. Split up your Athens stay between a hotel and Airbnb
Now, this piece of advice is for people who are staying in Athens for more than just a few days. It wouldn’t make sense to do this if you’re only there for 2 or 3 nights.
In our case, we started off the trip at the Plaka Hotel with an amazing view of the Acropolis. The breakfast was really good here too! While this area is really touristy, it’s central and so easy to walk to lots of places.
After we visited the islands and felt a little more comfortable in Greece, we came back to Athens and stayed outside the touristy area in a great Airbnb, which I’ll talk about soon later! This let us get more of a local experience too.
5. Dine outside the tourist zones
While it’s likely you’re sleeping in tourist areas, the best food is going to be slightly off the beaten track and trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
Stay out of the restaurants in Plaka that post their menus in every language and go to Karamanlidika and Dios Dekares. I do make an exception for Falafellas, though, which I’m now officially obsessed with.
*Bonus tip: Check for transportation strikes!
While the local Athens transport is good, it’s possible there may be metro, ferry, and bus strikes in the summer time. However, these strikes are usually announced ahead of time so you can make other arrangements. Do a quick search on days you’re there to see if there are any cancellations.
Athleta city joggers (I highly recommend for travel!)
Peasant blouse from vendor in Mexico/Converse sneakers