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  • Writer's picturePippa

Athens on the cheap

While creating a resource for Habibi Center volunteers I realized I had the makings of a shareable post for my blog. Here are some tips if you're planning a trip to Athens.

If you’re in Greece between the start of November and the end of March, admission is free at state museums and monuments on THE FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH. In Athens, this includes:

If you’re over 65 always ask about reduced admission at the ticket booth at all museums and galleries. Same if you are under 25 and from a EU country.


Mount Lycabbetus. You climb up from Kolonaki to the pathway near the funicular. You can take the funicular if you don’t feel like climbing but the climb through 277M up to George’s Chapel at the top lets you experience the awe that is the city of Athens. Mesmerizing!


Athens First Cemetery is free and an opportunity to visit the tombs of important people or admire funerary architecture. Melina Mercouri is memorialized here as is Heinrich Schliemann who excavated the remains at Troy and Mycenae. The only drawback is that I can’t find a cemetery plan online but sometimes Google is able to help. More information about the cemetery is here.


Go to the beach and explore the Athens Riviera by public transport. Take Tram No. 6 from Syntagma as far as the terminus and then change to the No. 7 to go further down towards Glyfada Beach.


Join Athenians and take a walk among the vendors and the buskers along Dionysiou Areopagitou, the pedestrian path that skirts the Acropolis. You can make a full circle from Monastiraki through Plaka, past Filopappou Hill, into Thesio and back to Monastiraki.


Hike up Filopappou Hill for spectacular views out to the Saronic Gulf and beyond. Then head over to the Pnyx for more amazing views back to the Acropolis.


New Athens Free Tours are here and a great way to orientate yourself to the city while learning a bit of history and culture.


The Changing of the Guard outside the Greek Parliament in Syntagma Square is always an occasion and happens on the hour.

Google “Street Art Athens” and create your own tour of the wonderful wall murals through areas like Psirri, Keramikos and Exarchia. Look for names like...Ino, WD, Stonke and others.

Anafiotika is the name of the Cycladean-inspired village that clings to the slopes of the Acropolis above Plaka.  The ascent through the steep narrow streets that wend up among the whitewashed dwellings can be invigorating but the charm of it all and the vistas make it a must-see.


Go for a stroll in the heart of the city among the plantings and statues within the National Garden/Ethnikos Kipos (next to the Parliament Building) and check out the Zappeion Hall. Entry to this Neo-Classical beauty is free. Afterwards, wander over to the site of the first modern Olympic Games at Kallimarmora.


Take a ferry to Aegina, a 40 minute ride via SeaCat hydrofoil from Pier 8 at Piraeus (Metro stop Piraeus). Once there, a special site to visit is the Temple of Afea. Depending on the time of the year it can be a taxi ride from the port (there are no buses in the winter months) but if you go with a couple of friends you can split costs. Taste the famous pistacchios.  Book your crossing online in advance at Blue Star ferries.


A different hydrofoil will transport you from Piraeus to Hydra. Pricier and further away, Hydra is a little jewel of an island. If you are a Leonard Cohen fan, this was where he lived in the 60s and hung out with Marianne. It’s also where he composed Bird on a Wire…queue music.


The winter months are a good time to explore the nearby islands in the Saronic Gulf as there are far fewer tourists.


The Athens Central Market located along Athinas between Omonia and Monastiraki is a wonderful place to spend a Saturday morning or afternoon checking out the produce stalls, the olive selection and the famed fish and meat halls. Multiple shops in the vicinity sell loofahs and sponges, spices and dried fruits, honey and olive oil soaps all for much lower prices than you will pay in the souvenir shops of Plaka. It’s also fun to see what used treasures are being offered in the antique shops and stalls dotted throughout the quarter.


On the subject of markets, a laiki agora or farmers' market is held in most Athens’ neighbourhoods at least once a week.   These markets are where you stock up on seasonal produce at the best prices. Google Map the name of your Athens’ neighbourhood followed by farmers’ market and you should get the time of the market nearest to you.


This Is Athens is a goldmine of information about Athens. It’s not always budget friendly but it will help you plan excursions in and around Athens in order to make the most of your stay. Follow them on Instagram so that you can keep up with their latest posts.


Finally, if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to send me a message so that I can keep this resource up to date.







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