Athens on a Budget
A Four Day Itinerary (Including Budgeting Details)
I think Randy and I booked tickets for this trip on a random day during his block leave, as we were sitting on the couch watching netflix.
Side note: This reminds me about our amazing winter break, when Randy was actually home EVERY DAY for like two weeks! I know I didn’t write much about it (except for our hike in Flossenburg), but it was so nice for him to be home, and for us to not be travelling for once! We spent our days hanging out with each other, going on small day trips, taking Pork Chop for walks, going to the local climbing gym, and concocting amazing meals in the kitchen. I’d have to say that the highlights were Randy’s Pho Bo Kho, breakfast sandwiches, and my banana and nutella crepes. No wonder I can’t lose any weight…
The tickets we bought were out of Berlin Schoenefeld (about 30 minutes south of Berlin). Since our flight left around 5pm, I spent Friday morning packing and we made our way up north to Berlin, without have to stress about time. From our small town in Bavaria, it took about 4.5 hours to get there, including a leisurely lunch break. We paid €128 for both of our roundtrip flights, which amounts to about €64 per person! Not bad for a flight to Athens (I’ve been looking for deals on Greece since last summer).
We arrived in Athens at around 9pm to find that their trains were on strike! Luckily we had arranged a private car to take us from the airport directly to our AirBNB for €40. It sounds a little pricey for an airport transfer, but Athens International Airport is actually pretty far from the Athens city center (approx. 35 min without traffic, and easily 60+ min with traffic). Because it was late at night, and everyone else was looking for taxis too, I’m glad we had an upfront offer with a private car, so that we didn’t have to get ripped off on a taxi ride.
Although it was late, we knew we had to maximize on our short time in Athens, so we walked over to Gazi. Gazi is northwest of the Thisseo area, and is where the old gas factory used to be! Now it’s home to many bars, clubs, and restaurants. We went to two low key bars that were totally badass! (Not too into clubs. Too loud, can’t talk. AKA I guess we’re old.)
- The Lazy Bulldog Pub: Great selection of craft beers. I had one from Athens called Noctua.
- A Liar Man: Great cocktails! I had one called “Love and Marriage.” Very appropriate, right? This place definitely had hipster vibes. I have to say that the price of cocktails in Athens were the norm – €8-10 each. But they were very creative and its totally worth getting one (or two), in my opinion!
What’s the first thing you HAVE to do in Athens?!?
Visit the Acropolis.
It was a beautiful sunny morning and a perfect day to spend the day outdoors. A high of 60ºF and a hike up to the acropolis. What more could you ask for?! So when I say morning, I actually mean noon, because we woke up super late. But hey, we’re on vacation!
We had lunch at this amazing seafood place called Atlantikos! It was cheap (only one $ sign on tripadvisor), and my favorites were the fried shrimp (not your typical American fried shrimps) and the tuna souvlaki. Randy and I got several dishes and split between the two of us.
Since we WERE in Greece, I wanted to be on the beach, even though I knew the water was way too cold to swim in. We hopped on the tram to Glyfada, a suburb of Athens, right next to the water. Glyfada is nicknamed the “Hellenic Hamptons.” We didn’t spend much time in town, but there were definitely many cute boutique stores, and awesome-looking places to eat.
Sunday was another food and sightseeing-filled day! Here are some pictures of the sites we visited:
After all that walking, we conveniently stumbled across an affordable massage place, where we both got a relaxing 30 minute massage!
On our last day, we woke up early and headed for the airport. Trains were on strike (again), so we took an Uber for €29 back to the airport. It was another long day of travel to the airport, flying, and driving back home. Although we only spent two full days in Athens, it was still a perfectly relaxing weekend and we got to see most of what we wanted to see. Lately, I’ve gotten into this habit of making detailed itineraries before we travel, which ends up getting me stressed out when we don’t follow the itinerary to the T. This weekend was all about no plans and no stress.
Almost forgot to mention our AirBNB!! We had a badass apartment all to ourselves, and it was literally a 5 min walk to Plaka and Thisseo (the center of town) with a view of the Acropolis. It was $15 a night, and after the cleaning fee and service fee we still only paid about $82 for the both of us. That’s cheaper than a hostel!
Could we have budgeted a little better? Probably…
Was it a pain in the butt that the trains were on strike BOTH days that we were travelling? Most definitely…
BUT, the bottom line is that Athens was super affordable, full of amazing food, and most importantly, helpful and friendly locals at every turn. I would definitely recommend going in the off season (basically, NOT in the summertime) if you are watching your wallet. But of course, there are things you have to miss out on, like swimming in the Aegean Sea and island hopping on a catamaran.
To those of you reading this that have already been to Greece, what was YOUR favorite city in Greece? Which islands do I need to visit next?!