A visit to Athens doesn’t have to cost a bomb!
This piece was written in collaboration with Skyscanner.
If you’re a history buff, we bet you’d love soaking in the glorious ruins in the ancient sites of Athens, Greece! Even if you know nothing about Greek mythology, Athens has plenty more to offer than just history. The best part is that these character-filled streets don’t have to cost a bomb! We teach you how to get the essential experiences without breaking the bank.
Must-See Sights in Athens
The Acropolis is probably one of the most iconic sights in Athens. This large raised rock housing the Parthenon is best visited in the morning or late afternoon if you wish to avoid the crowds!
Apart from the main Parthenon, the Erechtheion is most definitely worth a visit. The columns are carved in the form of 6 maidens and the attention to detail is jaw dropping. Five of these original statues are housed in the Acropolis museum!
Before leaving, don’t forget to stop by the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes at the bottom of the hill. If you’re in luck, you might even catch a performance or two held there.
2. Ancient Agora
Just a short walk away from the Acropolis is the ancient Agora! The Stoa of Attalos which now houses the Agora Museum is definitely a must visit. Lined with 45 columns, this 2 story covered walkway used to be a shopping arcade in ancient times.
The Temple of Hephaestus is also a must see! This is one of the most well preserved temples you’ll find in Greece.
3. Temple of Zeus
The Columns of the Olympian Zeus, also known as the temple of Zeus is a formal colossal temple in the center of Athens. With sixteen columns left standing, you can almost picture the sheer size of what it used to be.
4. Panathenaic Stadium
You can’t miss a visit to the Panathenaic Stadium, the stage where the first ever modern Olympic Games was held in 1896. This stadium is the only one of its kind, built entirely out of marble. You can even visit the changing room lined with posters from all the past olympic events.
If you plan to visit The Panathenaic Stadium, the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus and other sites, we’d definitely recommend the half day Athens tour! Let the driver pick you up from your hotel and the guide take you through all these historic sites, explaining to you the significance of each place. Otherwise, these ruins might not mean much upon sight.
- 8:30am meet up with your guide
- Photo stop at Panathenaic Stadium
- Pass by Zappeion and Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Pass by Athens Trilogy and see the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens and the National Library
- Visit Acropolis Museum and Parthenon
- 1:30pm back to Athens
Budget Things to do in Athens
1. Explore Athens’ hidden gems for free!
Apart from the main historic sites of Athens, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be explored. The best way to get to know these gems is to have a local show you the way. This is My Athens provides personalised walking tours where local volunteers are paired up with travellers and this is a great way to get to know the city from a local’s point of view.
Do note that you’ll need to sign up and create a profile at least 72 hours beforehand to match up with one of the locals.
2. Catch the changing of guards session at Syntagma Square
As you walk past the Hellenic Parliament in Syntagma, you’ll definitely see two guards standing in perfect stillness in front. Every hour, the guard changing ceremony takes place where two new guards will march in to replace the existing guards.
#Klook Pro Tip: Visit on a Sunday at 11am if you want to see the guards in their official uniforms!
Address: Off Syntagma Square, below the Hellenic Parliament
3. Hike up Filopappou Hill and catch the sunset
While not all of us were built like these Greek gods, a 10 minute hike up Filopappou Hill is definitely manageable! This is one of the best places to catch sight of the Acropolis! We’d suggest taking the hike just before sunset for a beautiful gradient backdrop to your photos.
Address: Filopappos Hill, Thisseio, Athens, Athina 104 38, Greece
4. Check out the street art scene in Psiri
The vibrant streets of Psiri are definitely for the hipster. The colorful street art and bustling nightlife make it a perfect place to hang out and grab some grub while listening to live music. There are also many little artisan shops for you to pick up a souvenir or two!
5. Catch a movie outdoors!
Most of us are used to comfortable cushion seats in air conditioned theatres with huge screens and surround sound systems. Step into the olden days and catch a movie in an outdoor cinema! These are extremely popular amongst the locals in summer and with more than 90 pop up screens around the city, you’ll be able to catch movies in their original language with Greek subtitles.
Cost: €8:00 – €10:00
Address: Valtetsiou 46, Athina 106 81, Greece
Things to eat in Athens
1. Drink wine straight out of the barrels!
This Secret Underground Restaurant (literally) has no signboard and there are no menus. The owner doesn’t speak a word of English either. You might be thinking this could be a nightmare but trust us, the freshly grilled fish and local wine that comes straight from the barrel will make it all worthwhile!
Address: Theatrou 2, Athina 105 52, Greece
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 6:00pm (Closed on Sundays)
2. Greek Yogurt
You can’t visit Greece without having some Greek yoghurt of course. While you can probably get these at any of the supermarkets, you’ll definitely want to try the traditional homemade version. Stani is one of the few stores left standing that still sell traditional homemade yogurt. You can even choose between cow, goat or sheep’s yogurt! Pair yours with honey and walnuts for a refreshing treat.
Cost: €3.80 for sheep yogurt with honey & walnuts
Address: Marikas Kotopouli 10, Athens (Near Omonia Square)
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 11:00pm (Open at 8:00am on Sundays)
3. Breakwater (κυματοθραύστης)
Restaurants in Greece can be pretty pricey and this place definitely will fill your bellies for a steal. This buffet style setup allows you to fill your plate with as much as you like for a fixed price.
Cost: €4.00 for a small plate/ €7.00 for a larger plate
Address: Char. Trikoupi 49, Athina 106 81, Greece
Opening Hours: 12:30pm – 11:30pm (closes at 7:00pm on Sundays)
4. Pizza (made of cannabis flour?)
Ask a local where you can find the best pizza in Athens and they just might tell you Mystic Pizza. The pizzas here were made of Cannabis flour but for the non Cannabis fans, they also have dunkel flour options! Using only Mediterranean sea salt and extra virgin olive oil from Crete, you can definitely expect delicious pizzas here.
Cost: €10.00 – €12.00 for Pizzas
Address: Emmanouil Mpenaki 76, Athina 106 81, Greece (Exarchia Area)
Opening Hours: 1:00pm – 1:00am daily
Located on Valtetsiou Street in the Exarchai area, this cosy little taverna in an air-conditioned greenhouse seems like the perfect dinner date place. If you’re looking for a place to bring your special someone without breaking the bank, you’ve found it! With reasonably priced main courses and cheap house wines, this is definitely an ideal choice.
Address: Valtetsiou 59, Athina 106 81, Greece
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2am (Closes at 12am on Sundays)
You’ll be needing a couple of travel essentials to complete your trip to Athens!
- SIM Card: Pick up your SIM cards from the Hellenic Post at the arrival level of the airport terminal or head to major metro stations like Syntagma or Monasthraki and get yours there.
- Airport Transfers: If you’re travelling in a big group or have plenty of luggage, be sure to Klook your airport transfers and let the driver take you to your accommodation hassle free.
Since the flights to Athens will probably be the bulk of your expenses this trip, be sure to check out Skyscanner for cheap flight options!
In partnership with Skyscanner, the number one travel brand trusted and loved by all Singapore travellers to discover, compare and book the best deals for all their travel needs. Skyscanner is available on mobile app too.This article was originally written by The Travel Intern for Skyscanner.