We started our two week trip to Greece by flying into Athens and exploring the ancient city! Athens is one of those cities that you really need to know where you’re going (so you don’t end up in the wrong part of town) and so you don’t miss anything worthwhile. We spent three days here before heading out to the islands and it was the perfect amount of time! In this post I will share everything I wish I knew before heading out there so you can make the most of your trip.
Getting Around Athens
THERES NO UBER IN GREECE (or in many other parts of Europe!)
Before you have a panny — it is still super easy to travel around and a lot cheaper than in the US as long as you avoid taxis.
When you land at the airport in Athens you will have two main options (besides an overpriced taxi) for getting to the city center:
Firstly, go to a ticket booth and buy a three day public transport ticket for tourists. This ticket is about 35 euros and includes roundtrip fare from the airport plus unlimited public transport rides in the city center for 3 days!
- Take the metro. This is the most convenient way to get almost anywhere you want to go in Athens. From the airport, you can take the blue line M3 towards Aghia Maria and exit at Syntagma to get to the center of Athens. From Syntagma Square you can switch to other metro lines or grab a short taxi ride to get to where you need to be! (Note: the metro closes between 12:30 am and 5:30 am. If you land during this time you will have to use option 2)
- Take the bus. We arrived in the middle of the night so the metro was not an option for us. You can take bus line X95 to Syntagma Square as well.
For more information about public transportation in Athens click here
Where To Stay
We booked through Air B n B for our entire trip and saved a ton of money. However, Greece is super popular during the summer months so I recommend booking your stay a few months in advance to get a nice spot!
If you haven’t used Air B n B before you can sign up with my link to earn $40 in travel credit: https://abnb.me/e/z7RwF78ulY
We stayed in a huge apartment with a beautiful view and it was really affordable. The host was really sweet, check it out here if you’re headed to Athens!
As I mentioned, we arrived in Athens in the middle of the night so we couldn’t check into our apartment right away. We booked a hotel for one night right around the corner and I would highly recommend it as well! It is more expensive but the staff, especially Elina, were super sweet!
The Kubic Hotel: https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/kubic-athens-athina12345678.el.html
What To Do
Hike Lycabettus Hill and watch the sunset.
From the top of Lycabettus Hill you can see all of Athens and the Acropolis. The view at sunset is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Plan to get there 30 minutes before the sun is scheduled to set and the lighting will be perfect for photos.
It will take you about 25 minutes to walk up the hill, theres lots of stairs and uneven ground, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Apparently theres a cable car you can take to get to the top but we never found it.
Have a drink on a rooftop bar and see the Acropolis at night.
We went to the top of the hotel A For Athens for a few drinks after hiking Lycabettus Hill (its just a short metro ride away). From the deck you can see a perfect view of the Acropolis and if you look down you can see another amazing relic, Ancient Agora.
The drinks are a little pricey but I think it was definitely worth it! We didn’t have a reservation and luckily got in after waiting but I would recommend calling ahead because its super popular.
Visit the Acropolis, obviously.
This is the main attraction in Athens so you absolutely have to go! That being said, its super crowded. I suggest getting there 30 minutes before it opens to wait in line (you will also be avoiding the heat that rolls in later in the day). There are tons of tours you can sign up for but I personally opted out and I am so happy I did. It seemed pretty stressful to try to stay together in the chaos. I also like to move around on my own time and soak it all in.
Ditch the city and head to the beach!
One of my favorite things we did in Athens was visiting Astir Beach. We reserved two sunbeds online and were provided with complimentary waters and towels. We ordered way too much food and drinks but thats just what you gotta do on vacation!
There are a bunch of other beaches you can visit for a cheaper price but I highly recommend spending the day at this beach club: https://www.astir.gr/beach/
PS. The easiest way to get there is to purchase a Hop On Hop Off ticket and use the tourist bus. We took the bus from the Acropolis straight out to the beach. The ticket is only 16 euros and you can use the buses for two days.
So like basically,
Athens has a lot to offer depending on what you’re looking for! Your experience there can be whatever it is you want it to be. Our first impressions of Athens wasn’t too great (the streets looked run down, graffiti etc) — BUT as we dove in deeper to the city it really grew on me. Walking on the old roads in one of the oldest major civilizations is absolutely magical.
I hope this post will help you make the most of your trip. If you have any other questions leave me a comment or send me a message!
note: nothing in this post was sponsored — just my honest opinions!