Welcome to the chaotic capital of Greece,
where old and new are inextricably linked.
Athens Travel Guide
Athens, Greece, is home to the iconic Acropolis Hill and plenty of other ancient archaeological sites. So many visitors just tack a day or two in Athens on to either side of their trip. But you could fill much longer if you stayed to explore more than the famous highlights.
Athens at a Glance:
Location: Athens is in the mainland region of Attica in southeastern Greece
Time Zone: Eastern European Time/Eastern European Summer Time (GMT/BST+3)
Weather: Athens is known for hot, dry summers and mild winters, although we can get snow
Currency: € Euro (occasionally places may take $, but it’s rare)
Language: Greek but in the tourists areas and attractions people can speak English
Plug Sockets: 🔌type F sockets and type F and type C power plugs are used interchangeably. See this post about power in Greece and what you need to bring for your electrical appliances.
Driving: Drive on the right. See the Getting Around section for info about car rental and driving. I wouldn’t recommend getting a car if you’re only staying in Athens.
Public Transport: The public transit system in Athens is good. There are frequent Metros across three lines that span the city plus trams and buses.
Taxis: Yellow taxis are easy to come by in Athens, but keep your wits about you. Make sure the driver turns the meter on, or you agree on a price before setting off. Fixed prices are normal between the airport and the city centre, for example.
Taxi Apps: You can use the Uber app in Athens, although it’s just used by the normal yellow taxis. Same with FREENOW which is my taxi app of choice.
Getting to, from and around Athens
The nearest airport is Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH). It’s well linked to the city – everything’s laid out in the post about how to get from the airport to central Athens – and other entry and exit points.
If you’re arriving by ship, you’ll likely arrive into Athens Cruise Port or next door at the mighty Piraeus Port. The Port of Rafina is also busy, with Lavrio Port being the third port in Athens.
Long-Distances Buses to and From Athens
For those of you venturing further into the mainland, you might want to get familiar with Kifisos Bus Station. You can use the search box below to find out how to get from Athens to various places like Corinth, Naflion and Epidaurus.
Driving in and Around Athens
As I mentioned above, driving in Athens isn’t a good idea. The traffic’s horrendous, drivers are impatient, scooters are perilous, and parking is notoriously hard to find.
On the mainland, roads are generally good and well-maintained, and if you’re venturing out independently for road trips then renting a car is quite straightforward.
Licenses from many places like UK, USA, Australia and other EU countries don’t require the addition of an International Driving Permit for Greece.
Where to Stay in Athens
Athens and its suburbs are made up of an eclectic mix of many neighbourhoods that I’m still getting to know.
As a tourist, the best areas to stay in are:
Other neighbourhoods like Kolonaki are pleasant, too. But the ones above are within easy walking distance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the other popular attractions you’ll want to see.
When’s the Best Time to Go to Athens?
Athens is a year-round destination for city breaks. The most pleasant times to come are spring and autumn when both the crowds and the heat are lower than in summer. Winter is usually mild, although it can be cold.
Is Athens Safe?
Athens is a pretty safe city for tourists, including solo and LGBTQ travellers and tourists of colour.
There is petty crime, so watch your valuables in tourist hotspots and on the Metro. Opportunists will take advantage of easy pickings if you’re valuables are secure.
Be wary of scams on the Metro, like someone dropping something or being stuck in the door. It’s often a rouse for someone to take your purse while you’re helping.
As with any city, you’ll need to use your common sense in certain areas. Most of the touristy areas are fine for you to walk around in after dark if you’re sensible.
There are hotels and tourist accommodation in Omonia, but watch yourself there at any time of day. I had someone approach me, trying to make out he was my accommodation host, so don’t let yourself be vulnerable.
Here are some ideas for things to do at night in Athens.
Things to do in Athens
Like I said at the beginning, lots of people enjoy a whistle-stop tour of Athens. But if you have the time, there’s much more to discover than just the highlights.
Athens City Tours
Have a look at all the tours available in the city. You can make your focus history or food or a mix of both. Travel on foot, bike, segway, tuk-tuk or in an air-conditioned private transfer.
Trips from Athens
Athens is a great gateway for single and multi-day trips.
Popular day trips from Athens include:
- Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
- Saronic Islands of Aegina, Hydra and Poros
- Corinth and the Corinth Canal
- Nafplio, Epidaurus and Mycenae
Longer Trips that are well-liked from Athens:
- Cycladic Islands
- Saronic Islands
All Athens Posts
Use the search bar to find the info you’re looking for, or scroll through the posts below.
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