Since Greece is such a popular tourist destination I had assumed it’d be an expensive trip, but soon realized that the overpriced side of Greece lies in the islands. I dined like a queen every day on deliciously homemade, Mediterranean food. I also overdid my caffeine intake with Freddo Cappuccinos and took advantage of the many affordable and free landmarks. Although most of my travels are “on a budget, I was surprised to learn how affordable Athens is, and below I list the most affordable way to enjoy Athens.
How to Move Around in Athens
Athens is pretty walkable, but if you get tired of walking, the metro costs €1.4 for 90 minutes. It’s fast and easy to use. The only costly charge was the airport fee, which is €10 one way. The ride from the airport to the city center takes about an hour. A taxi or rideshare is a better option if you’re traveling with others.
Landmarks in Athens
The Akropolis is free for students!!! so don’t forget your student ID if you have it. Otherwise, I believe it goes up to €30. I recommend you wear shoes with good track soles since you’ll be walking on marble, which is extra slippery, especially after the rain.
The Panathenaic Stadium is the original Olympic Stadium located at Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina 116 35, Greece. The entrance fee is €2.5, including an audio guide device. The tour can be done quite quickly and the stadium has a very interesting story. Apparently, single women used to light a fire in the cave, from where the athletes would enter the stadium, and dance naked around for the gods to provide them with a good husband. Older women would keep an eye for peeping toms because “if you like it then you better put a ring on it”.
There are posters from every country’s Olympic tournaments inside the stadium. It could be the nerd in me, but I found it very interesting to see each country’s take on this ancient Greek tournament, as well as the evolution of advertisements throughout the decades.
Cable Car in Athens
The cable car ride is €5 one way and €7.5 roundtrip. I was tired after a few days of walking so I took the cable car up and walked down. The trek is beautiful but the path is steep. Bring appropriate footwear. I definitely speaking from experience, since I’m a clumpy person who slipped on gravel and walked down with a bloody knee and many other tourist stares along the way. The view was worth it though and the hike is lovely if you’re a careful person.
The Best of Greek Food
I loved this place so much, I ended up going two days in a row!
Grilled halloumi cheese is a must! It’s even more delicious with the berry sauce on top and you can try it with pita bread. Greece is also known for its Falafels and for the Freddo Cappuccino. If you don’t consume dairy, you can ask for a Freddo Coffee. It’s been such a struggle finding iced coffee in Europe. Everywhere I go they serve you a hot espresso along with a cup of ice unless I go to Starbucks or McDonald’s. Iced coffee in Greece is unbeatable and even in bars, most people were drinking coffee instead of beers.
If you’re looking for a homey and legit Greek meal, you must go to Aspro Alogo. I loved this place so much, I ended up going two days in a row! It’s a family-owned restaurant with the friendliest environment. The food is not only delicious but the portions are large and the owners seemed genuinely happy to see you. You will be greeted with the warmest and biggest smile as well as treated as if you were family popping in for a visit. Aspro Alogo is near old town Athens. The address is Apollonos, Athina 105 57, Greece.
Another small restaurant I recommend is Kalamaki Bar. This place is a cute café near the Akropolis. This is where I first tried the grilled halloumi cheese and immediately fell in love. It’s also not far from the Akropolis. The address is Athina 117 42, Greece.
Street Art Heaven in Athens
My second favorite reason for traveling, after food, of course, is Street art. I personally believe this type of art says a lot about a city’s population, society issues, and culture in general. Exarcheia is an amazing neighborhood filled with impressive murals and colorful cafes. I wasn’t able to check it out at night, but I was told it becomes lively with local peop
Athens can be enjoyed in three days. There are many flights and boats departing for the islands from Athens. I was at Mykonos for a weekend and it was very beautiful and relaxing. The perfect resting vacation before the adventures in Athens.
Traveling is never easy but nothing worthwhile is.
There’s a side to unglamorous side to traveling that is rarely told. I would like to share that during this trip I…
- caught a cold
- had an allergic reaction to food
- got a few bruises, scrapes and bug bites
- damaged my phone
- ripped my shoes in a thunderstorm
- and as I mentioned, slipped on gravel and got a bloody knee
None of these mishaps stopped me from enjoying the adventure nor made me want to go home. Traveling is never easy but nothing worthwhile is. You learn the most about yourself, especially when in a new country with a completely different culture and language. You have to always remember that everything is temporary, grudges are a waste of time, wear good traction shoes when walking on marble and Greek yogurt with honey is delicious! Follow me on Instagram @joyzcortez for updates on the posts! and always remember to BE PRESENT! 💙🇬🇷