Athens has a strange attraction, derived from its own name and the feeling of entering the mythical world when you set foot in this city. Small details such as the streets, hills and historical relics from ancient Rome, especially the human form, the facial features of the indigenous people are very characteristic, they are old people with beard and silver-haired that sometimes when I talking with them, I thought I was talking to a prophet. Many people traveling to Greece mainly to go to the islands in this thousand islands country but ignore Athens, but Athens also has many interesting things for you to visit and explore! So, is Athens worth visiting? Let’s discover one of the most ancient destinations in Europe through our Athens travel blog (Athens blog) with the fullest Athens travel guide (Athens city guide) for a wonderful trip to Athens on a budget for the first time from how to get there, best time to visit, and top things to do … to find out the answer!
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Athens city guide: When is the best time to visit?
Like the other Mediterranean countries such as Spain or Italy, Greece has a typical warm sunshine and is blessed with the advantage of beautiful weather all year round. You can go to Athens or other regions of Greece at any time of the year, but should choose between April and October because Greece winter begins from November to March next year, so it often rains.
However, you should consider whether to go in July-August or not because this is the peak tourist season, visitors flock to Greece very much and the service price is higher than normal.
Athens travel guide: How to get to Athens?
You can fly to Athens from other countries in the European Union: You can choose some several of low-cost airlines such as Ryan Air, Easyjet and should also hunting tickets early to avoid high season. In addition, the Greek Aegean airline, is also very good, this is not a low-cost airline, so its service is standard and sometimes the price is equally good compared to other low-cost airlines.
If you take the train from EU countries to Greece, it will be more difficult because some of the domestic and international railways in Greece have been canceled due to the economic crisis. Fares are usually more expensive than flying and there is not much options, of course you can still find some trains to Athens via InterRail or Eurail.
Getting from the airport to the city center
Athens Airport Bus
The easiest way to getting to from the airport to the city center is to go outside the Arrival hall of Athens airport (Athens airport is also quite small), there will be available Shuttle bus routes into the city, run continuously from 5pm to 12pm with the price of €5–6/trip, you can buy tickets at Kiosk at the airport or buy right from the driver. There are 4 main routes to: Kifissos KTEL Station (Athens Central Bus Station) (Long Distance Bus) (X93 – 65 minutes); Syntagma Square (X95 – 60 minutes); Piraeus Port (Χ96 – 90 minutes); Elliniko Metro Station (X97 – 45 minutes). The airport is about 20km from the city center.
Ask the information counter staff how to get to the Metro station and take the Metro Line 3 to the city center, the ticket price is €6/one way and roundtrip is €10 (valid within 48 hours).
You find way to the taxi waiting area at the gate 3 of the Arrival hall of the airport, the taxi fare to the city center is around €35/way.
Getting from Athens to other locations
To travel from Athens to other Greek islands (such as Mykonos or Santorini island), the most popular means of transportation are ferries and mostly concentrated in the central port of Piraeus. Called as ferry, but the ferry in Athens is no different from large ships that can carrying hundreds of people. From the city center you can easily take the tram to the port, or if you travel from the airport, there is also the X96 bus route that runs straight to the port, suitable for those who have booked ferry tickets in advance and need to go to the port to print tickets.
Note: Piraeus Port is very huge, you should carefully check the ferry boarding gate to avoid getting lost.
Bus & train
To travel from Athens to other neighborhoods by road, you can take the bus (the most popular and easiest means of transport) of KTEL National Bus Company, which has two main terminals: Terminal A Kifissou – Address: A/D PAThE 40-100, 104 42, Greece (Athina Avenue 100) and Terminal B – Address: Liosion 260, Athina 104 45, Greece. If you travel by train you can go to the Peloponnese Railway Station about 1.6 km from Omonia square to take the train to other countries in the European region.
Athens travel blog: Getting around Athens
Athens city is quite large but not too big, so you can combine walking with the subway, there are also trams and taxis running in the city.
When I came here, the metro system in Athens was enough to cover the whole city, many new lines were built, so the train was still very new and clean. The train runs from early in the morning from 5AM to 12PM, continuously with a frequency of 5-10 minutes/trip. The normal ticket is €0.80/trip, if you stay a long time and travel a lot by Metro, you should consider buying a day ticket with the price of €3 or a weekly ticket with the price of € 10 that without limiting the number of moves, allows you to travel to all stations, lines and even the city bus (but not used for Express bus).
In Athens, there are trams with railroad tracks right in the middle of the streets, the fare is €0.80/trip, convenient because it is located on the ground.
Bus and taxi
Buses in Athens are quite popular, like Metro are main means of transport. Taxi has a remarkable point is that many taxis are painted yellow, the fare is cheap and convenient.
Athens blog: Where to stay?
You should choose hostel/hotel in the central area, near Metro stations to traveling and eating. Room rates in Athens are also among the cheapest in Europe.
If you want to stay in a hostel to saving cost, you can book a room at Zorbas Hostel, the hostel I had stayed in Athens, the room rates here is very cheap at €11-15/bed in dormitory room, although the room is not too beautiful but in general full amenities, including a collective living room, private kitchen for backpackers and computers with free internet connection. This hostel is located on Victoria Avenue in the city center and right next to Metro station, from here you only have to catch one Metro line to Piraeus port. In addition, you can refer to Omonoia Square area is also good and cheap. You can check rates, reviews & booking for Zorbas Hostel on Agoda.com or Booking.com.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
Herodion Hotel (Address: Rovertou Galli 4, Athina 117 42, Greece / Phone: +30 21 0923 6832), a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $154/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hotel Metropolis (Address: Mitropoleos 46, Athina 105 63, Greece / Phone: +30 21 0321 7469), a top rated 2-star hotel with room rates from $116/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Central Athens Hotel (Address: Apollonos 21, Athina 105 57, Greece / Phone: +30 21 0323 4357), a top rated 3-star hotel with room rates from $125/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Athens Tiare Hotel (Address: Pireos 2, Omonia, Athens 104 31, Greece / Phone: +30 21 0520 0300), a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $85/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Areos Hotel (Address: Mpoumpoulinas 19, Athina 106 82, Greece / Phone: +30 21 0825 9540), a top rated 3-star hotel with room rates from $74/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hotel Katerina (Address: Καρόλου 20 και, Psaron, Athina 104 37, Greece / Phone: +30 21 0522 6115), a top rated 3-star hotel with room rates from $69/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Athens travel guide: What to eat?
In Greece, if you want to eat delicious and cheapest, there is only Gyros, which is type of sandwich with kernel is made from meat (chicken or pork), tomatoes, sauce, potato fried chips wrapped in a thin layer bread of Pita, ingredients and shape look like Doner Kebab, but it much more delicious. The price for each is from €3-4, one is enough for each meal, but without being satiated. You can easily buy it at any food shop in the city.
Also known as Greek yogurt, this dish is very famous for its delicious, greasy taste. It is a mistake if you traveling to Athens without trying Greek yogurt, yogurt also is used to make Tzatziki (meze) that made from thick strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive … is very delicious and served with Pita bread or to make barbecue sauce.