What to Expect from Athens, Greece

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

Roman Agora entrance
Roman Agora entrance

Athens is not just an ordinary capital; Classical Greece was born here, and the first prehistoric settlement arose here in the era of 3000 BC. Located in Central Greece, this famous city is on the plain of Attica, which is surrounded by the mountains of Parnihta, Egaleo, Pendeli, and Imito. The Gulf of the Aegean Sea washes the city. The climate in Athens is the Mediterranean, the summer here is hot and dry, the average temperature +25|+35 ° C, and the winter is relatively mild, windy +5|+15 ° C. Athens is a sunny city; it has about the 300 sunny days a year!

Restaurant terrace with sunlight - perfect place for dinner
Restaurant terrace with sunlight – perfect place for dinner

Athens includes the Old Town, central districts, suburbs and also the port of Piraeus. In this city, you can spend a month exploring in detail all the ancient monuments and ruins, charming neoclassical buildings in the historical center, and museums. If you decide to do this, please, keep in mind there are places, even in the very center of the city, where you will come in contact with street sellers. For example, it would be best if you avoid the Omonia quarter, filled with emigrants. 

How to get to Athens?

Regional buses KTEL connect Athens with other cities of Greece. The bus park was recently renovated, which makes the journey pleasant and safe. Unlike other European countries, the Greek railway network has only two lanes of traffic. The first goes to the south to the Peloponnese, and the other one to the north, connecting Athens with Thessaloniki

The port of Piraeus serves as a sea gate in Athens and serves many ferries. You can get to the port either by taxi or by subway, but then you will have a walk. There is a bus for cruise passengers from the terminal to the city. 

Ferry from Santorini to Athens
Ferry from Santorini to Athens

I got to Athens by a ferry from Santorini, and it is an interesting story. My flight got postponed three times. And as it happened, I didn’t get to read the third e-mail. When I arrived at the airport and came to the check-in, I was told that I’m not flying this plane. So I had to buy a ticket for another flight 3 times more expensive or to buy a ferry ticket. I stayed in Santorini for one more night. By the way, my first ticket price was 43 $, but at the airport, I have been offered to buy a new one for 170 €. It turned out that many passengers fell for such kind of trick the same way as I did and that this is often practiced here by some airline companies. What I can add – just be careful with that.

Pedestrian street with artists
Pedestrian street with artists

Transport 

A bicycle is always a good idea. There are more than 70 municipal bicycle rental points near the main attractions, underground stations, parks, and squares. The fee (5 €) is for the whole day of the rental. There is no hourly rate. You need to buy a plastic card in a kiosk, subway ticket office or cafe, and use it to unlock the rack to which the bicycle is fastened. 

City center is always full of tourists
City center is always full of tourists

Also, you can catch a taxi at any given moment. Athenian yellow taxis take 1.20 € per landing and 0.60 € per km per day (at night – 1.20 €). The minimum fare is 3.10 €. When you are landing, it is essential to ensure that the driver activates the counter.

Public transport 

The public transport system of Athens includes underground, trams, and buses. The underground works from 5:00 a.m. to midnight; this is a very convenient choice for travel. It has only three lines (it is impossible to get lost). Unchangeable travel fee – 1.40 €. There are fascinating museum stations that were uncovered during the construction of tracks. If to speak about trams, there are three tram lines which connect the center of Athens with the southern districts of the city.

Athens Street art
Athens Street art

The tram is more convenient for trips on the coast. Night buses are indispensable when returning from the “evil places” beyond midnight. Tickets for public transport valued at 1.40 € are valid for 90 minutes without restriction. There is also a 24 hour (4.50 €) and five days (9 €) pass. You can use them on all types of transport – buses, trolleybuses, underground and an EL. The exception is the route to the airport and the Express X80 line. They cost 4.50 €. 

Car rental

Rental cars in Athens is popular and in demand, which is not surprising, given the fact of the low cost of this service. Economy class car in the capital of Greece will cost you only 25-30 EUR per day. And taking into account the Athenian parking lots, such cars will be more comfortable. Although the network of city parking lots is well developed, it is often difficult to find a place. Parking is paid by unique cards, which you can buy in kiosks, cafes, and shops. 

Traffic in the city is intense. In the morning and evening rush hours, the whole center is in a traffic jam.

Athens from the sky
Athens from the sky

Where to stay

Athens is one of the most specific megacities of the world, and the place where you live may have a significant impact on the impressions you will leave with. The specificity of Athens is not only about the rich historical heritage. The city is divided into clusters, which are very strikingly different from each other. Prices for accommodation aren’t enormous. Even in the center of the city, you can find establishments offering a bed for 12 € per person. In hostels, rooms for 1-6 people are available. Of course, private apartments or a room in the hotel will be more expensive. Prices are different, and they start from 30 to 300|450 € per night. It depends on additional amenities. In Athens, my choice again fell on the Couchsurfing.  

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– Romanna

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visit SkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

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