Greece: Athens.

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Hello Pals,
When discussing Athens, a lot of people seem to not like it. They don’t like it when they arrive, they leave after a few days and don’t let this massive city grow on them. Big cities enhance your feelings; there is too much processing. You need to stop, go to a cafe, people watch and take it easy.

Athens is full of great food, great people and great coffee! You just need to keep your wits, trust your guts and do some research before hand.

If you would like to know “How to enjoy a few days in Athens.” click ‘read more’

In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get there.
Getting Around: Transport Options
My Top Choices: What you should see.
My Recommendations: Mostly, where to eat.
Where to Stay: Where I stayed or where friends stayed.
What I did: My diary entry.
Other Recommendations: Things we missed.

All my posts have a key:
⏰ Opening Hours. 📍 Location
💰 Cost 🎫Ticket
📝 To note. 🎒What to bring.

  TO NOTE:

  • Free Entry Days: 06 March | 18 April | 18 May | 28 October | Last weekend of September | First Sunday November 1st > March 31st.
  • Closed Days: 01 January | 25 March | 01 May | 25 + 26 December | Good Friday | Easter Sunday |
  • You can drink the tap water in Athens.
  • Do not accept bracelets or trinkets such as tissues, roses etc unless you wish to pay for them.
  • For a list of Venue opening hours, admission rates and free days click here.
  • Check out Sage Traveling for disabled access Athens tours & cruises.
  • If you’re not a meat eater, ask for “nistisimo” and they will offer you no meat options.

THE BASICS

Getting to Athens.

 ✈ FLY to Athens.

Note: The main airport is Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport: ATH

Local popular airlines are Aegean Airlines, Olympic Airlines and Eliin Air.
You can check here for the wiki on low-cost airlines.

International:
Depending on where you’re flying from – It’ll vary hugely in price.
I flew with Scoot Airlines from Melbourne > Singapore > Athens for under $400 AUD.

USA / CANIf you fly via Iceland, it can often be cheaper.
Check: Norwegian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Icelandic Air, WOW Air, British Airways, Finnair, Aegean Airlines.
AUS / ASIA / NZJetstar, Qantas, Scoot Airlines, Virgin Airlines, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Oman Air.
EUReasyJet, Ryanair, AirSerbia, Alitalia, Wizz, Aegean, British Airways, Norwegian Airlines, SAS,

+ 🚌 Bus from AIRPORT

💰€6.00 | $4.75 AUD | $3.40 USD | ‎£ 2.55
The bus from the Airport will drop you off at SYNTAGMA SQUARE and from there it’s around 5 minutes to most popular choice of hostel/hotels. You shouldn’t be paying anymore for than €5.00 for a taxi to Acropolis Station.
Timetable click here.

🚌 Bus from Europe.

Check GetbyBus or Rome2Rio for buses that go from other European cities to Athens.
If you’re coming from anywhere in Greece – use KTEL (google translate link) for your direction. Be aware, depending on route – they don’t have one main station in Athens.

⛴️ Ferry

The best way to check out all Ferry timetables is to use FerryHopper.
They often don’t release all their timetables that far in advance, and usually don’t sell out.
Be aware that ferries may not run every day, better to plan around them.
– A taxi from the port will be around 20 euros at night.

GETTING AROUND

Getting Around in Athens:

🎫 Metro Tickets are valid for all public transport options within Athens. Unless specified [**] they don not include the Airport.
The most common tickets:
90 minute journey: €1.40 | 24 hour ticket €4.50 | 5 day ticket €9.00
3 day tourist ticket €22.00** – “Athens & Airport, Return > 3 days”
You must validate your ticket. A fine is 60 (yes sixty) times the 90 minute journey.
** includes a round trip for Athens International Airport

🚕 TAXI
There are two tarrifs.
T1: Regular Priced. (Always ask the cost before entering in the taxi)
T2: Double the regular price. Midnight > 6:00am. Make sure you’re not getting charged t2 during t1 hours.
🚕 BEAT
Essentially BEAT is similar to Uber in the sense it’s a rideshare application, and no cash is exchanged.
It’s different in the sense it uses regular taxis with drivers.
🚌BUS:
There are three types of buses you’ll see.
1 – The Local Blue buses. These go everywhere and all tickets are valid.
2- The Electrical “Trolley”. Also valid with all tickets.
3- The Hop on and Hop off buses. Separate tickets required.
🚃 Tram:
There are three tram lines that run within Athens, but as of Nov 2018 – trams between Neos Kosmos and Syntagma Square aren’t running.
The trams are a great way to hop on – off as you please, and are very scenic.

Check here for more info.

TOP CHOICES!

The Acropolis

⏰ 08:00 – 19:30 | Nov – Mar 08:30 – 15:00
📍Athens 105 58, Greece
💰€ 20.00 | $31.00 AUD | $11.66 USD | ‎£17.10 GBP.
Low Season: € 10.00 | $16.00 AUD | $11.30 USD | ‎£9.00 GBP.
A great source on buying your ticket is Archaeology Travel’s post.
📝Buy your tickets online in High Seasons to avoid waiting in line for a ticket. You’ll still have to wait to enter.
♿There is an Elevator. Read up on it here.
———-
The Acropolis is one of the greatest ancient Greek monuments that’s still standing. Overlooking Athens, you can’t miss it. Operating as an Archaeological sight since 1833, it’s been a UNESCO site since 1987.

Areopagus Hill

⏰ 24/7
📍Theorias 21, Athina 105 55
💰Free
📝Great alternative to see the Acropolis if you’re on a budget!
———-
Areopagus was named after a council that used to meet at the top to decide and discuss punishments for serious crimes. Believed it’s name to be derived from Ares, The God of war and Semnes/Eumenides the Goddess of Punishment and Revenge.

The Panathenaic Stadium

⏰ 08:00 – 19:00 | Nov – Feb 08:00 17:00
📍Vasileos Konstantinou Avenue
💰€ 5,00 | $8.00 AUD | $5.66 USD | ‎£ 4.28 GBP.
Reduced, inc’ Students & Over 65. €2,50 
not included in the Greek Archeological Pass.
📝 – Audio available in 11 languages: (Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese and Korean )
– If you need the toilet, it’s 0.50 – otherwise there is some public ones on the other side, near the park.
♿Accessible to go inside the stadium & museum.
———-
The only stadium in the world made from pure marble. The Panathenaic Games were held every 4 years from early 500 BC to the 3rd Century AD. These were held to celebrate Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War. These games were specifically for the people of Athens and allowed men and women. The Olympic Games which were for Zeus, allowed only freeborn Greek Men to participate.
Make sure you check out the museum, which cases all the countries posters and torches from previous Olympic Games (For Melbourne to be the Art & Cultural capital, we had a pretty lacking sign.)

First Cemetery of Athens.

⏰08:00 – 20:00
📍Logginou 3, Athina 116 36, 
💰Free
———-
The cemetery of overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox, but what I was surprised to learn is that it’s only 180 years old. The need to remind the world that they were descendants of ancient Greece, a sense of pride, identity which is nowhere more visible than in this cemetery. (source: [2]

National Archaeological Museum

⏰Wednesday – Monday: 08:30 – 16:00 | Tuesday: 13:00 – 20:00
📍28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 
💰€ 10.00 | $16.00 AUD | $11.30 USD | ‎£9.00
Low Season: €5.00 | $8.00 AUD | $5.66 USD | ‎£ 4.28
📝
♿Accessible with ramps and lifts. There are organised educational tours for those of loss of vision.
———-
The National Archaeological Museum was founded in 1829 after Greece’s liberation. It opened it’s doors in 1889 and has been through war, earthquakes and multiple renovations.

Mount Lycabettus Hill

⏰Cable Car: 09:00 – 2:30
📍Lycabettus Hill, Athens,
💰One way : €5.00 | $8.00 AUD | $5.66 USD | ‎£ 4.28 (Return is €7.00)
📝 Runs every 30 minutes.
———-
Upon the top of Mount Lycabettus hill is the Agios Georgios church, dating back to 1870. The views are incredible, overlooking the Temple of Zeus as well as the Acropolis. After you’ve walked up, consider grabbing a hot choco or coffee looking out onto the other side of Athens.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

🥘 Πλατεία Οινομαγειρείο

📍 Dinocharous 3, Athina 118 52, Greece
We found this restaurant accidentally on a Monday afternoon for lunch. We all ordered a few dishes to share, and it’s still one of my favourite meals.

🥘 Opos Palia – Papa Steve

⏰ 11:00 – 01:00
📍 Veikou 2, Athina 117 42, Greece
I didn’t take any photos. – There’s an english menu, cheap prices and the food is amazing. It’s a really good location too, right near the Acropolis.

🍷 Bel Ray

⏰ 10:00 – 02:00
📍 Falirou 88, Athina 117 41, Greece
Nice atmosphere, good prices and a range of drinks.

WHERE TO STAY

Athens Studios.

⏰Check-In: 14:00-00:00 | Check-Out: 11:00
📍3a Veikou Street, Makrigianni, Athens
The greatest part about the Athens Studios / Backpackers is the location. It’s situated right near the Acropolis.

🍽Shared kitchen, free breakfast.
🛁Shared bathrooms.
🛏Linen, lockers and wifi. Powerpoint for each.
🎲Communal Lounge with book swap.
🍺Bar associated is ‘Athens Sports Bar’ which has a few weekly events. 3 euros for a beer during happy hour.

WHAT I DID

Initially, my friend and wanted to do a walking tour but of course, not enough people attended, so it was cancelled. We ended up doing a little bit ourselves, walking past Hadrian’s Arch, we walked past Zappeio Hall, which was built in the 1880s for the first modern Olympic games and then into the National Gardens. The Gardens have many trails – and a few times I pulled out google maps to ensure I was on the right course (i wasn’t.)
The changing of the guards takes the “Monument of the Unknown Soldier” and occurs ⏰11:00am daily. The changing of the guards isn’t a necessary thing – but that military men take it on for the honour. The outfits are for agility, even down to the pom poms on the shoes which were to hide spikes. Monday was Clean Monday, which is known as the first day of Great Lent. In Athens, everyone goes go Filopappou Hill to fly kites and have a picnic.

Walking around, we also were able to see The Arch of Hadrian (which you will see at least 4-5 times) and the Temple of Zeus. We went inside the Temple of Zeus, which makes it look that much larger – but if you’re short on funds, looking from the outside will probably suffice.

Temple of Zeus.

⏰Summer: 08:00 – 19:30 | Winter 08:30 – 15:30
📍Vasilissis Olgas & Vasilissis Amalias Avenue  
💰€6.00 | $4.75 AUD | $3.40 USD | ‎£ 2.55
Reduced : €3.00 | $9.50 AUD | $6.80 USD | ‎£ 5.15
📝 Included within the Archeological ticket of Athens.
———
The Temple of Zeus was originally the largest in Greece. Today, only 15 out of 104 are still standing, with a 16th blown down in 1852.

We went for a wander and then ended up climbing up Mount Lycabettus Hill, which I don’t want to say that I complained climbing up, but I 100% complained climbing up. We were looking for the cable car the whole way. – which turned out to be inside the mountain. checking out the National Archeological Museum. Mostly on this trip, everything has been closed but when we arrived at 18:00, it was on the one day that was open later (i do win sometimes.)

My final day was spent wandering around the First Cemetery and city centre, check out the Academy of Athens, University of Athens and the National Library of Greece. I originally wanted to do a day trip to Nafplion (someone’s blog post here) but didn’t end up making enough time. Apart from that, we tried finding the beach and got lost; finding instead Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and the Marina Flisvos. Turns out, if we’d caught the tram just a little bit further we would have hit the beach. I spent a lot of time at Athens Sports Bar drinking some beers with pals competing in some trivia and coming second last.. worth it.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The Acropolis Museum: It was high on my list, but I just didn’t get around to it. Read a full blog post on it here by Dave’s Travel Pages.
  • Go to the Exarchia area.

Have you been to Athens? What did you see / eat / do?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.
– Sarah.

Sources:
https://prezi.com/mcztqhpzcofl/differences-between-the-ancient-olympic-games-and-the-great-panathenaia/
– [2] http://athensfirstcemeteryinenglish.blogspot.com/p/copyright.html

1 comments on “Greece: Athens.”

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