How I Spent 72 Hours In Athens
Visa (U.S.): No
I will start by saying Athens was really the opposite of all my expectations. I imagined a cleaner, more regal city. Something like other big cities, shockingly I was faced with run down looking buildings and a city plagued with graffiti. Now I am all for self expression and artistic freedom, but this wasn't your tasteful street art the city, or even in just the subways and alleys. It was clearly vandalism, on bright and open streets. Interesting.
Perplexed alike, my mother said "I didn't expect the capital to be like this", I'm like "same here girl". Now this does not mean there aren't nice parts, however, as a capital city we had higher expectations. This did not stop us from enjoying our time, especially when we realized how pocket friendly Athens was. Athens was the final stop during our Euro- Tour, first stopping in Paris then Berlin. Coming from Paris where a bottle of Water is easily 2 euros and juice was 3-4 euros, it was satisfying to be able to get a bottle of water for 50 cents- 1 euro. We learned that the average family bring in less than 1,000 euros a month. That explained the recession prices.
Getting around was a breeze, a 3-Day train pass was 20 euros and cabs were very inexpensive with their Uber-like app called Beat. You can see an estimated price before requesting the ride, our cheapest ride was right under 4 euros and the most expensive was 40 euros back to the airport. We were in a rush otherwise we would used the train.
I will share a 3- Day itinerary on how I spent my time in Athens that you can use as well.
Explore the area
We got settled in Athens at about 6 PM. The best part about Europe is that the sun sets at around 9 PM so you get a lot of daylight. There was a street festival happening nearby so we took advantage and indulged in that. There were Greek eats and sweets, clothing, accoutrements and niks- naks. We started walking to explore and get a feel for the neighborhood.
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After supporting and buying some sweets we got dinner from a local restaurant that we walked into while exploring. It was indoor and outdoor and had a lot of people. Being that so many people was there we assumed the food had to be good. This is when we realized how in expensive Athens was. A gyro was only 2.50 euros. This was shocking, a gyro in NYC isn't even that cheap. I also saw sheep head on the menu for 5 euros. When I went to Iceland I paid almost $30 for a sheep head. The food prices were unbeatable. Aside from that it was also reallyyy good.
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Visit Ancient Temples
Our first stop will be Acropolis of Athens. This is where you with find the most famous Parthenon at the top of the hill along with a breathtaking view . There are 21 archaeological remains. I would allot at least an hour here as there are so many gorgeous ancient monuments to see. There is also a 20 minute hike to the top. Make sure you are dressed comfortably and hydrated because the passage way is very rocky. Outside drinks are not allowed, other than water. I had a refreshing slurpie that I wasn't allowed to bring in. Why here first? Mainly because it get's really crowded here. Get there early to avoid those group tours all in the back of your fire pics.
Price: 20 Euro *purchasing a pass makes this way cheaper*
Student and senior discount (bring ur old college ID)
Under 18 and EU students Free
Purchasing The Athens combined ticket for 30 Euro for archaeological sites includes entrance to:
The Acropolis of Athens
The Ancient Agora of Athens and the Museum of the Ancient Agora
Kerameikos and the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
The Temple of Olympian Zeus (Olympieio)
The Roman Agora of Athens and the Tower of the Winds
Aristotle’s Lyceum (Archaeological site of Lykeion)
After admiring the ruins at Acropolis of Athens let's head to Panathenaic Stadium also known as the Olympic Stadium. Whether you are/was an athlete or always dreamed of being one like me, this is the place to be to enhance your Athens experience. This is where the first modern Olympics was held. Your admission comes with a guided hand held speaker tour with number channels. Each number is for a different part of the stadium and will give you highlights and information.
Price: 5 euro
Dinner in The Sky
After a long day of exploring and making exploratory stops in between locations, we are starving!! We head back to get ready for our sunset dinner at 7:45. We changed then headed over to Dinner in the Sky, a skyline dining experience. This is located in a few place across the world. This was on the top of my list to do in Greece for a long time now. See my complete review on Dinner in The Sky is here.
Price: 135 Euro ($154) sunset dinner
After Dinner in the Sky there was a random festival called Waterboom. The employees said they've been at their location for years and have never had any festivals and apologized. Honestly, it looked like so much fun my family and I decided to check it out after dinner. The music was great American hip hop music and everyone was running around getting soaked by water guns and getting thrown into pools. We just adored everyone enjoying themselves from the side wishing we were dressed appropriately. After we walked around the area (Technoplois) which was filled with bars and club a great recommendation for nightlife with international music.
Since Athens was the final destination on our Euro Tour we decided to spend this day solely relaxing and doing nothing. At first we were going to book a day trip to one of the nearby island like Hydra or Aegina, the closest island would be a 2 hour commute. We wanted to do as little as possible and learned that there are many beaches around Athens. Most beaches have a fee, very few are free.
We got breakfast, purchased our snacks and got on the metro to Syntagna Square then took a tram to the last stop. Our cab driver the night before said this was the way to get there. This was a free beach in Palaio Faliro. The beach had a bar and a side where you can rent lounges and a side where you can sit anywhere. There are people selling things while you are there from food to beverages including beer and even swim wear and accessories. If this would bother you I would recommend going to one the beaches that have a fee where I doubt this would happen. This did not bother us, it was nice interacting with humble locals and seeing people hustling. I always support the hustle. We purchased beverages from them and a beach umbrella all for less than 10 euros total and relaxed the entire day.
Beach was FREE
We really enjoyed Athens and how inexpensive it was. I loved how ancient the city was. It was a very raw city. I expected it to be a little more glamorous but this shit was kind of ghetto and a lot of graffiti. Unfortunately my mothers phone was stolen due to pick pocketing, LUCKILY and somehow she was contacted by the U.S. Embassy saying it was found and they sent it to her. She had one of those wallet phone cases so her ID’s were with her phone. 72 hours was just enough time in Athens for us. If we had more time we would have definitely visited one of the many beautiful islands Greece has to offer. If I end up in Athens again I wouldn't be upset, however this would not be my initial destination. As a stop over, would be enough for me to see a few more interesting landmarks on my way to my desired destination.
I would definitely suggest Athens as destination, as always make sure you research to find what interests you and also leave time to let things find you.
Read On: 24 Hours In Berlin
Have you ever been to Athens? How did you like it?