Take a look at some ways to save and have a wonderful time getting to know one of the world’s oldest cities.
1. Getting to and from the airport
Your first opportunity to save money will be immediately after you’ve landed on the ground. The international airport in Athens is 33 kilometers from the center, making it a relatively short but expensive cab ride (around €38). Cut down your costs by taking public transport from the airport, with a choice of either a €10 ticket on the underground metro (Line 3) or a €6 ticket by bus (X-95) to the city center (Station Syntagma). The metro runs until midnight and the bus runs 24-hours a day.
2. Indulge in Greek street food
Athenians adore their savory pita-filled munchies, and delicious, affordable street food is synonymous with Athens. As your sense of smell will let you know, throughout the city you are never far from a food stand grilling tasty meats. For €2, you can grab a chicken or pork souvlaki — otherwise known as a gyro or a kebab to the uninitiated — which comes packed into pita bread with creamy tzatziki yogurt sauce, fresh veggies, and a handful of french fries. You’ll never be so happy with eating cheap.
3. Find those museum discounts
Athens is an absolute dream for lovers of history and architecture, and admission prices to museums are quite moderate compared to most of Europe year round. Especially good news for those coming in the winter, the city decided to cut admission prices in half for many major sites in an effort to give locals easier access to their cultural treasures.
This means those lucky enough to visit between November and April can pay €10 to visit the Acropolis and €5 to visit The National Archaeological Museum. Students also get major discounts or free admission year round to many museums, just be sure to present your ID to get a reduced price or free entry.
4. Not every drink is cheap
You’ll quickly realize that Athenians love to relax, chat, and enjoy a drink. There’s an abundance of cafes and bars all throughout the city. During the day it’s not hard to find yourself a cappuccino for less than €2 at a nice cafe or a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice for only €1.30 from an outdoor vendor.
For alcoholic beverages, the prices can go up astronomically, with cocktails regularly costing €7 to 9! For the budget conscious, it’s best to stick to local wine (€5-7 per 1-Liter carafe) at the restaurant or to grab a bottle of beer for €1-2 from a shop.
5. Take advantage of the affordable hotels
Good news, Cheapos! Athens is heaven for travelers that would rather save their money for an extra shot of ouzo than an expensive accommodation. There are tons of hotels that offer private rooms in Athens for $50 and under. If you book in advance, you can find even cheaper rates.
These budget hotels might not be the fanciest spots in town, but a lot of them ooze a friendly Greek charm that makes up for the lack of modern glitz.
6. Scams, crime & safety
If you exercise good common sense and caution you shouldn’t have any problems. Like any other city, Athens has its fair share of pickpockets and with the economic crisis, homelessness has become more visible in parts of central Athens. Petty crime is on the increase in tourist areas, including Monastiraki and Syntagma Square (central Athens), as well as on public transport (especially trains to and from Athens Airport). We would advise not to walk around Omonia and Metaxourgio at night and the two railway/bus stations of Larrissa and Peloponissos.
The most common scam that we have encountered is when a well dressed local approaches you and claims to know you or invites you for a friendly drink or coffee to talk about your travels. The aim of the game is to get you to a designated bar or café where you will be left with a pretty hefty bill.
If you have any trouble whilst in Athens you must contact the tourist police on 171 or +30 210 9200 726. A branch office of the Tourist Police assists with non-serious crimes and provides police reports and certificates for theft of personal items and lost travel documents.
Have you been to Athens recently? Tell us how you saved money on your trip!