Athens Travel Essentials


4.5 /5 (30 ratings) Rate This Destination


Ideal duration: 2 days

Best Time: Apr - Jun, Sep, Oct Read More

Planning a Trip? Ask Your Question

"Historical Capital of Europe"

Athens Tourism

Athens is the capital, as well as the largest city of Greece. With its history of about 7000 years, it is one of the world's oldest cities and an amalgamation of historic and modern world that can be seen throughout. It is the birthplace of democracy, arts, science, and Western civilization and is known for its history, nightlife, and shopping.

The Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Athen’s most treasured and famous landmark. The numerous historical attractions like the Parthenon, Acropolis, and Ancient Agora make it a fascinating place to visit. Even today, Athens bursts with culture and color, retaining its vibrance. 

The areas like Plaka, Monastiraki, Thissio, and Kolonaki are home to many beautiful neoclassical buildings, trendy cafes, shops, and quiet streets. There are diverse options for shopping, ranging from colorful bazaars to suburban malls. Its importance on the global map makes it a prime destination for nightlife. Also, Athens is full of galleries and museums due to its history.

Athens is where the main international airport of the country is located. It also connects the nearby Cycladic and other islands to the mainland by regular ferries. So, every tourist visiting Greece always lands in Athens. With an efficient transport system, exploring Athens is not a hassle at all. Athens is an excellent starting point for exploring the Greek islands. Popular ferry ports like Piraeus can take you to various island destinations.

Must Know Before You Travel to Athens

Getting Around: Getting around in Athens is easy as most of the attractions are located within a 3 km radius in the center and can be explored on foot.
Athens has an efficient public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a metro network. Taxis are also available.
All internal public transportation except to and fro the airport costs around EUR 1.20 for 90 minutes(single journey).
The historic centre of Athens comprises of 3kms of pedestrian area, leading to archaeological sites, can be explored on bike or foot.

Reaching the City Centre From the Airport: Take a metro on line 3 to Syntagma Square, costing EUR 9 one way or EUR 16 both ways. It takes about 40 minutes.
Catch bus no. X95 to Syntagma Square for EUR 5.50, one way. Tickets can be bought from the booth on exits 4 and 5 outside the arrival halls. It takes about 60 minutes.
The subway train to Larissis Station from the airport, with a transfer at Doukissis Plakentias station, takes around 45 minutes. 

Reaching the Port from the Airport: Take bus no. Χ96 to Piraeus port, taking about 90 minutes. One way tickets costs about EUR 5.50.

E-Ticket Time Slots for Acropolis: E-tickets can only be bought by choosing a desired time slot of 1 hour. You can enter the site 15 minutes before and leave after 15 minutes of the desired time slot giving you about 1.5 hours to explore.

Athena's Combined Ticket: This ticket allows one time exploration of 7 pre-decided archaeological sites and monuments in Athens(including Acropolis) for EUR 30. it is valid for 5 days.

Athens Card: It is a five day skip the line card offering entry to Acropolis and other 6 sites.
It comes in three categories offering a time-constraint free riding facility of Athens Hop-on and Hop-off buses and free Public transportation depending upon the card.
The cost starts at around EUR 69.9 per adult.

Athens City Pass: It offers admission to, Acropolis and 6 major sites and a two day free hop-on Hop-off facility.
The pass costs around EUR 28 for one day and comes in a variety of 24-hr, 48-hr and 72-hr pass.

Stay: The best areas to stay for an easy exploration of the city are Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square.

Luggage Storage Facilities: There are several luggage storage facilities available at the airport, the port, Athens downtown, Monastiraki and Syntagma metro stations. Charges starts from EUR 5 per bag per day.

Athens Travel Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Top Hotels In Athens

More on Athens Travel

Shopping in Athens

Most things tourists look for can be found in the central city bounded by Omonia, Syntagma, and Monastiraki squares. Monastiraki has a flea market, which is especially lively on Sundays. The Plaka has cornered the market on souvenir shops, with T-shirts, reproductions of the antiquities from Acropolis, fishermen's sweaters, owls with evil eyes, and jewelry - enough souvenirs to encircle the globe. Kolonaki is boutique heaven. However, it's better to window-shop here since much of what you see here is imported and heavily taxed. Ermou Street is the prime shopping district in the city. Learn more about where to shop and what to buy in Athens here.

Nightlife in Athens

Athens is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, offering a diverse range of options for those seeking an exciting evening out. The city comes alive after sunset, with various neighborhoods providing unique experiences for both drinking and dancing enthusiasts.

  • Plaka: Nestled at the base of the Acropolis, in Plaka, you can find cozy tavernas and bars where you can enjoy a leisurely drink while soaking in the picturesque surroundings.
  • Psiri: This district is filled with trendy bars and clubs that cater to different tastes in music. 
  • Gazi: This district is home to numerous clubs and bars, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a dynamic and modern party scene.
  • Monastiraki: Monastiraki offers a blend of traditional and contemporary experiences. As you wander through its narrow streets, you'll discover rooftop bars with stunning views of the city.
  • Kolonaki: For a more upscale and sophisticated nightlife experience, Kolonaki is the place to be. This affluent neighborhood hosts chic bars and elegant lounges, perfect for those who prefer a refined atmosphere for their evening outings.
Know more about the nightlife in Athens here.

Daily Budget for Athens

For budget travelers exploring Athens, managing daily expenses efficiently is crucial.  Including miscellaneous activities and unforeseen expenses, a daily budget of €60-€100 should provide budget-conscious travelers with a comfortable experience. Public transport is a cost-effective means of getting around, with a daily ticket typically priced at around €4.
Accommodations in budget-friendly hostels or guesthouses can be found for approximately €20-€40 per night.
Dining at local tavernas and street food vendors offers affordable yet delicious options, with an average meal costing around €10-€15.
Exploring the city's rich history through various sightseeing activities, such as visiting the Acropolis or museums, may incur an expense of around €20-€30.

History of Athens

Athens is one of the oldest city in the world with its history dating back to 1400 B.C. when it was first mentioned. By that time, it was already a major cultural centre of the Mycenaean civilization. In early 900 B.C. it became a trade centre due to its central location, heavily fortified Acropolis and its quick access to the sea. By the beginning of 6th century B.C., foundations of democracy were being laid and hence, the city is also known as birthplace of democracy. Greece remained under the hands of Macedonian rulers until they were defeated by Romans in 197 B.C. Athens passed from Roman to Byzantine rule to Ottoman empire. The first modern Olympics were held in 1896. Today, it is a metropolis and a major world tourist attraction.

Island Hopping from Athens

There are several ferries that operate between the islands from Athen port, also known as Piraeus port. Here's an overview of major routes and starting fares for some popular destinations:
1. Piraeus to Mykonos:
The journey takes approximately 2 to 5 hours, depending on the type of ferry.
Starting fares for economy class tickets typically range from €20 to €50.
2. Piraeus to Santorini:
Ferries from Piraeus to Santorini take around 4 to 8 hours.
Starting fares for economy class tickets generally range from €30 to €70.
3. Piraeus to Crete (Heraklion):
The journey duration is approximately 6 to 9 hours.
Starting fares for economy class tickets vary from €30 to €60.
4. Piraeus to Rhodes:
The ferry journey takes around 12 to 16 hours.
Starting fares for economy class tickets typically range from €40 to €80.
5. Piraeus to Paros and Naxos:
These two islands are often part of the same ferry route from Piraeus.
The journey duration is approximately 2 to 4 hours.
Starting fares for economy class tickets generally range from €15 to €40.

It's important to note that ferry schedules and fares can vary based on the season, the type of ferry (speed ferry vs. traditional ferry), and the specific ferry company. It's advisable to check the latest schedules and prices online or at the port for the most accurate information. Know more about island hopping from Athens here.

General Tips

Public Transportation Tickets and Cards:

  • There are 3 types of ticketing options available. These tickets are usable for all the modes of transports.
  • First is simple paper tickets that any number of passengers can use for 5 days on a recharge. These can be bought for ticket machines.
  • Athena Anonymous Card is almost the same as simple tickets, except it is a plastic card that can only be issued for more than 5 journeys. The card can be used by more than one person.

Disabled Access: 

  • Most attractions in Athens have free or discounted entry for disabled people from the European Union (badge or card required). Ask the staff for information.

Opening Hours:

  • Most stores in Athens are open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Monday to Friday.
  • Some small stores close at lunchtime from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
  • Most shops are closed on Sunday.

Best Time to Visit Athens

How to Reach Athens

How to Reach Overview

Athens being one of the most visited European destinations is well connected to all the major cities around the globe. Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport situated 27 km east to the city has excellent public transit connections to the city.

How to reach Athens by flight

Athens airport is a major hub for East Mediterranean regions. Various airlines operate direct flights to Athens from major European cities. All major airlines, including Air Canada, Etihad, Gulf Air, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, have flights to Athens.

How to reach Athens by road

If you're embarking on a road trip, plan your route based on your starting location. Major highways and well-maintained roads connect Athens to neighboring countries like Bulgaria and Turkey. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and have all necessary travel documents, including your passport and any required visas.

How to reach Athens by train

While Athens is not as extensively connected by train as some other European cities, there are still viable train options for reaching the Greek capital. Train services primarily operate from neighboring countries, including Bulgaria and Turkey. Consider boarding a train to Thessaloniki or another major Greek city and then continuing your journey to Athens. The railway system in Greece offers scenic views of the countryside, providing a unique travel experience. 

How to reach Athens by bus

Traveling to Athens from outside Greece by bus involves navigating international bus services that connect major European cities. One prominent player in this transportation network is KTEL, the main intercity bus company in Greece. To reach Athens, check for direct or connecting bus routes from neighboring countries like Bulgaria or Turkey. Ticket costs may vary depending on the distance traveled, with prices generally starting from around €20-€50 for shorter routes. Longer journeys might incur higher costs.

How to reach Athens by waterways

The primary point of entry to Athens is Piraeus Port, Athens' main harbor. Majorly connected to various Mediterranean countries, Athens is a prominent port of call for cruise ships and ferries. Countries such as Italy and Turkey have well-established ferry services connecting their ports to Athens, with popular routes including Italy's Ancona and Bari. Major players in the ferry service industry include Blue Star Ferries and Minoan Lines, offering reliable and comfortable journeys. Ticket costs can vary depending on the season, class, and route, but as a general estimate, a one-way ferry ticket from Italy to Athens can range from €50 to €100 or more, depending on the chosen amenities and accommodation options. 

Local transport in Athens

Navigating Athens can be an enriching experience, given its historical richness and vibrant culture. Here's a detailed guide on the various modes of transportation available, transportation cards, and starting costs:
1. Metro: Athens boasts a well-developed metro system, with three lines (Line 1, 2, and 3) covering key areas. The metro is efficient, modern, and connects major attractions. A single ticket for one journey within the city costs €1.20. There are also daily, weekly, and monthly passes available for unlimited rides.
2. Bus: The extensive bus network in Athens is a cost-effective way to explore the city, especially reaching destinations not covered by the metro. A standard bus ticket also costs €1.20, and like the metro, various passes are available for frequent travelers.
3. Tram: Athens Tram covers the coastal areas, providing a scenic route and connecting important points such as Syntagma Square and the southern suburbs. A single tram ticket costs €1.20, and there are passes for multiple journeys.
4. Taxis: Taxis are readily available and can be a convenient option for those wanting door-to-door service or traveling in a group. The initial fare is around €3.50, with additional charges based on distance.

Transportation Cards and Passes:
1. ATH.ENA Card: This smart card is a convenient option for those planning to use public transportation extensively. It covers all modes and can be charged with a desired amount.
2. Monthly Passes: Monthly passes for metro, bus, and tram are available for locals and frequent visitors, offering unlimited rides within a specific time frame.
3. Integrated Tickets: Integrated tickets allow seamless travel between different modes of transportation within a specific time-period.
NOTE: Purchase tickets and cards at kiosks, metro stations, or even on the bus (exact change is usually required).

Browse Package Collections

Athens Photos

Athens, Greece
Dedicated to goddess Athena, Parthenon is an old temple on Acropolis. It was built around fifth century BC.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a roman theatre ruin on the southwest of Acropolis. It was constructed in roman times by Herodes Atticus to commemorate his wife, Regilla.
Acropolis is said to be the mythical home of god and goddesses that saw many feuds, vandalism and attacks.

+ 48

FAQs on Athens

What are the things to do in Athens?

The top things to do in Athens are Acropolis, Parthenon, Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Ancient Agora, Temple of Hephaestus. You can see all the places to visit in Athens here

What are the top hotels in Athens?

There are 5497 in Athens which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Athens are Vouliagmeni Villa, Villa Thissio-Acropolis, Marousi Boutique Apartment, Amazing Views 3, Aphrodite Downtown, SV Acropolis Residence. You can see all the hotels in Athens here

How much does a package cost for Athens?

The packages for Athens start at INR 58485 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What is the best way to reach Athens?

Athens being one of the most visited European destinations is well connected to all the major cities around the globe. Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport situated 27 km east to the city has excellent public transit connections to the city.¾
Read More

What is the local food in Athens?

Local Athens food is not very spicy. Most of the spices used are found in our daily stuff that we eat. Olive oil is generally used to cook food. Some of the most famous local dishes in Athens are Keftedas - deep fried meatballs; melitzana salata - eggplant salad; mouzaka - similar to eggplant but without much tomato sauce; pastitsio - like lasagna and stifado - made up of lambs, octopus and rabbits. Restaurants like melilotos serve good Athenian food with amazing ambience. Kriti, another restaurant in Kanigos square serve delicious Cretan food.
Read More

What is the best time to visit Athens?

Summers can be extremely hot with dry heatwaves, but that happens rarely. Winters are mild with occasional rains and snow. August is the peak season and the city is very crowded. Hotel and air prices drop in winters. The Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which runs from May to October, includes varieties of events and is a must-visit in Athens.
Read More

What are the places near Athens?

The top places near to Athens are Mykonos which is 153 km from Athens, Crete which is located 320 km from Athens, Santorini which is located 856 km from Athens, Izmir which is located 302 km from Athens, Istanbul which is located 562 km from Athens

Have a Question on Athens?

Ask a question from the travellers who have

Athens Reviews

Your rating

Dhawal Pagay

6 years ago
An abundance of architectural history overwhelms the whole experience at Athens, one being constantly reminded of the great heights society had achieved under the Roman civilisation. The contrast of (Read More)the towering Acropolis with that of the adjoining areas is what gives the city its cultural and architectural identity.
View 23 Packages