The Greek capital has been the centre of Greek civilization for some 4,000 years. Athens is still dominated by 5th-century landmarks including a hilltop citadel, the Acropolis, topped with renowned buildings such as the collonaded Parthenon temple.
Get To Know:
The centre of Athens is also known as Syntagma Square, where most of the hostels and hotels are located.
Greece is a part of the Schengen area, you would need to obtain a Schengen Visa if your passport doesn’t fall into the category to obtain one on arrival.
Most of the ATM machines do accept foreign credit and debit cards though there could be a transaction fee imposed by your bank.
The city of Athens is served by its only airport “Athens International Airport (ATH)”.
There are three different ways to get to the city from the airport, however, the cheapest and the most convenient way would be by the Airport Express Bus.
X95 Airport Express operates from the airport to Syntagma Square (City Center) round the clock and a one-way ride of 40 minutes would cost €6.
The bus station is located between Exit 4 and 5 at the arrivals level and the buses leave every 15 to 20 minutes.
The fastest way to get to the city is by Metro. A direct service runs from the Airport to the city centre at every 30 minutes from 0633 hrs to 2333 hrs. The 45 minutes ride would cost €10.
Taxis can be hired from the designated area located at Gate 3 of Arrivals. A taxi from the airport to the centre has a flat rate. It costs €35 from 5 in the morning to midnight, and €50 from midnight to 5 in the morning.
Getting around Athens is quite easy. If you are staying in the Syntagma Square (City Center), you could walk to most of the major attractions.
The Metro system in the city is quite efficient and connects almost all parts of the city.
What to See:
The Acropolis is a prominent landmark, perched on a high rocky outcrop that could be seen from almost everywhere. The Acropolis depicts the ancient Greek architecture.
Ancient Agora was once the heart of Athens. It was used as a residential and burial area during the 3000 BC.
Theatre Of Dionysos:
One of the major attractions in Athens is the ruins of the Theatre Of Dionysos. Theatre of Dionysos was built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis.
Roman Agora was built during the reign of the Roman Empire in Athens. Roman Agora was purely used for commercial activities.
Kerameikos is an archaeological site in downtown Athens. Kerameikos has an ancient cemetery that was used in twelfth century BC.
Temple Of The Olympian Zeus:
Also known as the Olympieion, is an enormous ruined temple in the centre of the city. It is devoted to Zeus, The King of the Olympian gods.
There is an entry fee of EUR 2 to explore each of these sites for which the city is known for if you are planning to visit all the 6 sites. You may opt to buy 6 tickets for 12 EUR at once, this way you could avoid the queue at the entrance of each attraction to buy a ticket.
Plaka is a historical neighbourhood of Athens. It is clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis. The neoclassical architecture and the cobblestoned labyrinthine streets give a unique charm to the city.
National Garden is a public park in the centre of Athens. The Garden houses some ancient mosaics, ruins, tambourines and more. On the South-East side are the busts of the country’s first Governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias and of the Philhellene Jean-Gabriel Eynard. On the South side are the busts of Dionysios Solomos, the author of the Greek National Hymn and poet.
Also known as Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro which in Greek means the “beautifully marbled”, is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble and is one of the oldest in the world. Panathenaic is a multi-purpose stadium used for several events and athletics. The Stadium hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Flea Market :
The flea market starts towards Hephaestus and Andrianou street in Monastiraki with its street coffee shops which on sunny weekends is the best place to enjoy a drink or a coffee while looking at the view of the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Agora.
At the Flea market you can find anything from Greek souvenirs, antiques, carpets, old books, latest fashion clothes and jewellery, gadgets, old stamps, you name it they have it.
What and Where To Eat and Drink:
Psiri street in the centre of Athens hosts a number of restaurants and bars offering delicious cuisines from around the world.
You can’t miss the traditional Greek drink “Ouzo”. Ouzo contains 45% alcohol and is a clear liquid. However, when water or ice is added, ouzo turns a milky-white colour.
For beer lovers you can’t miss the famous dark beer, FIX!
Where to Stay:
Syntagma Square houses plenty of hostels. These hostels (mentioned below) are economical, comfortable and are safe.
City Circus: 16 Sarri str. Athens 105 53, Greece. (Website)
Athens Backpackers:12, Makri street, Makriyanni Athens 117 42, Greece. (Website)
Athen Style: Agias Theklas 10, Athens 105 54, Greece. (Website)
Piraeus, the coastal city also serves as a port to Athens. It is the main exit point from the city by sea for destinations in the Aegean Islands and in the eastern Mediterranean. The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus and the stunning orthodox Churches namely Saint Nicholas, Saint Spyridon and Holy Trinity would worth a visit while in the city.
The easiest way to reach Piraeus is by Metro. Line 1 terminates at the Piraeus train station. A ticket would cost €1.40 and allows unlimited connections on all modes of transport within 90 minutes.