I only spent a day and a half in Athens while on my Travel Talk Tour through Greece however I really enjoyed the City and it made me think what an underrated City Athens is! Especially because so many people visit Greece but head straight to the islands. And I get it, the islands are beautiful and that’s where you’ll have a real holiday and I’m sure that the financial crisis that happened a few years ago has put people off visiting Athens a bit but I think that you should consider Athens as a City Break Destination for the reasons below, and if you’ve already decided on Athens for a City Break then the below points will help you plan your trip and get the most out of your City Break in Athens including things to do in Athens!
Before we start, if you want to SEE my day in Athens and why I think it’s such an underrated city, have a look at my YouTube Vlog!
1 – Athens is cheap and can be visited on a budget!
Who doesn’t love a budget destination!?
I found Athens to be really good value for money, it’s possible to get a meal in a restaurant in the tourist area of the City for as little as €5.00, a bigger meal will be around €10.00, and if you just want a famous Gyro these can be purchased from just €2.00 in restaurants and to take away.
Budget accommodation in a hostel can start from around €10.00 a night (to check out the range of budget accommodation look here on Booking.com) or places like Arion Hotel where I stayed which is gorgeous, in a great location and has a rooftop with incredible views, starts from €50.00 a night with a delicious breakfast included!
If you’re looking for more Budget European City Breaks or need help on How to Plan a European Budget City check out these posts below after:
2 – It’s easy to get around Athens
The metro system in Athens is really good and for some reason this really surprised me. It’s easy to use as there are only 3 lines, 2 lines being the main lines, its pretty regular, there are stations everywhere, its clean and like in any City it gives you a really local feel for Athens.
It’s €1.40 for a 90 minute ticket or €4.50 for a 24hour ticket which is pretty reasonable. The tickets can be purchased by cash and card at the station and even places like the Acropolis has its own station making the popular sites really easy to visit on your own using public transport.
The metro also goes from the Airport right into the City Centre for €10.00 one way or €18.00 return if used within 7 days!
3 – Athens has a really cool vibe!
Athens actually has a really cool and quite modern vibe mixed in with its old streets and heritage.
Areas like Monastiraki are really cool! Monastiraki Square is one of the most famous squares and centre point for a City Break in Athens. From the square you can see the Acropolis and can even walk up there from the Square.
During the day the streets are filled with shops and markets, including a Flea Market, plus lots of cafes and restaurants, the area still gives off the same vibe early evening but with pretty fairy lights and people singing outside restaurants. Come night time a lot of the area turn into bars for a good night out. Check out this post for the Best Bars in Athens!
I also saw and found a number of rooftop bars that overlook the Acropolis and the city which were perfect for a few sunset drinks with an awesome view, still at good value for money. I went to MS Roof Garden, but 360 Degrees and A for Athens look really good too!
On this note, the nightlife in Athens is also very good but remember that the Greeks go out late and the streets and bars may look quiet at 10:00pm but they will get busier as the Greek eat lunch late, dinner late and they drink late too!
To learn more about the neighbourhood of Monastiraki check out this post by Athens Guide!
4 – It’s easy to get to and only 3 hours from London!
I flew from London to Athens with Wizz Air, I thought the flight was going to be around 4 hours which initially is why I thought that it’s not a popular City Break from the UK as 4 hours each way is quite long for a weekend trip, however the flight was only 3 hours there and 3 hours 40 minutes back!
It takes about 3 hours to get to Baltics which are popular for City Breaks so there’s no reason why Athens cannot be visited for a long weekend from the UK or anywhere else in Europe too.
I always use Skyscanner to look up my flights so I can check all the date options and find the best deal, look up flights to Athens on Skyscanner here!
If you fly with Wizz Air from London to Athens too, be sure to check out this post – coming soon!
5 – It’s possible to see a lot of Athens History and Culture in one day!
Obviously Athens is steeped in history and culture and a trip to Athens has to consist of all the popular icons like the Acropolis, the Olympic Stadium and the Parliament building with the changing of the guards, but the great thing is that even though some of these icons may seem far away from each other, they actually aren’t. It’s possible to do all of these in half to one full day like we did on my Travel Talk Tour.
Although you can visit all of these independently as many of the icons have a metro station, if you want to learn about them properly with a guide, I would recommend doing a tour so you have a guide to give you some really good and detailed information as after all, whats the point in seeing all of this history but not understanding any of it?
As I was on an organised trip around Greece with Travel Talk Tours we had our own tour guide but if you are visiting on your own I would recommend a day tour like the below. Get Your Guide offer amazing tours all around the world and I actually saw a tour representative from them up at the Acropolis.
6 – Athens has lots of activities and things to do!
After a day of seeing the iconic sites, learning about the history of Athens and enjoying Athens nightlife you may wonder what else there is to do in Athens but there’s actually a lot of activities on offer in Athens. Plus you can even escape to the beach (more on that below!).
My friend went to Athens awhile ago and I was so surprised to see that her and her friends had hired quad bikes to explore the outer parts of the city which she loved and really recommends. There’s also the option to hire bikes or go on a bike tour around the city if walking isn’t your thing, plus wine tours, food tours and cooking classes like the below to taste some of the amazing greek food!
7 – The Athens Riviera with lots of beaches is so close to Athens City Centre!
Someone in my group tour around Greece arrived in Athens a few days early, she spent one of the days on a hop on hop off bus where she visited all the tourist spots plus the beach. Even though I saw so many beaches and the gorgeous blue greek water when landing in Athens I didn’t realise just how easy it is to get to a beach from Athens City Centre and that there is a stretch of beaches called The Athens Riviera!
The Athens Riviera looks gorgeous, not only for a day trip but also to stay the night too meaning you could get a beach and city break out of a trip to Athens!
8 – Day Trips from Athens!
Finally, by visiting Athens it doesn’t mean you have to stay in Athens as there are plenty of ways you can get out of the city to see different cities, the mountains and even some greek islands in just one day!
Places such as Delphi which is the sacred centre of ancient Greece can be visited on a day trip. As can Hydra, Poros, and Aegina Islands on a cruise from Athens thanks to Athens being so close to the port. If you want to head into the Countryside there’s a tour to the spectacular Meteora rock formations which includes seeing many monasteries with a glimpse of life inside these monasteries.
The tours below can all take you there and I would recommend booking early as Get Your Guide is a popular company to book with!
I hope this posts helps convince you that you should visit Athens and I hope you think about visiting Athens for your next City Break! I’m certainly keen to go back!
Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
If you like the look of doing a tour around Greece which includes Athens and the Greek Islands, I 100% recommend the Athens + 3 Island Explorer tour with Travel Talk Tours! I absolutely loved it! Have a look at Travel Talk Tours Website here to check rates and availability and other tours that they offer!
To SEE my time in Athens, have a look at my YouTube Video
I saved all of my Instagram Stories from when I was in Athens in my Greece highlights on my Instagram Profile. If you want to SEE my trip quickly, have a look at my Instagram – @thewanderingquinn!
More of my Greece posts:
I went to Greece on a press trip with Travel Talk Tours but all opinions and thoughts are my own. This posts also contains affiliate links but at no extra cost to you, I just get a small commission for recommending them to you if you book.