Compared to other European capitals, Athens is already a pretty cheap city.
Food in Greece is delicious and cheap. Public transport is working very well and is reliable, the city itself is a free show of what it was in ancient times.
If your budget is limited, that doesn't mean you cannot travel. You can, and you are also going to find Athens very affordable.
If traveling alone, you can stay at a hostel in Athens for as little as 10 euros per night (in a shared room), where you will meet other travelers.
If traveling with your partner, a friend or just because you don't want to stay in a hostel and prefer to have your room, if you book it a lot in advance, you can find a double room for 50 euros a night in a nice hotel not too far from the city center.
Of course, it depends on the area and the time of the year. These prices are for a double room at the beginning of June.
Travel Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend or cancel your trip. I recommend VisitorsCoverage for trips shorter than a month and SafetyWing for longer trips.
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Read 16 Tips to Visit Athens on a Budget Below
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1. Visit off-season:
The Greek high season is in July and Augus,t when everything gets crazy expensive, so if you plan to travel on a budget, I highly recommend you book your holiday in Spring or in Autumn.
If you are planning to visit Athens during warm months, April, May, the second half of September or the beginning of October is perfect.
The weather is still going to be nice and warm and indeed less crowded.
Of course, you can visit Athens during the winter season. It is absolutely up to you. Accommodations in Athens are much cheaper, and all the attractions will be less crowded with tourists, but the weather can be cold, rainy and windy.
You won't be able to add to your itinerary any island, unfortunately. You can, but Greek islands are empty during the winter season, most of the hotels and restaurants are closed, the temperature is cold, and the seawater is too cold to swim in.
2. Book everything a lot in advance:
Athens is a top-rated destination, and the cheapest and best accommodations in Athens always get booked faster, so plan and save some money.
3. Book just a room instead of a hotel with breakfast included:
If you want to save money, booking a room without breakfast could be a great option. Most of the hotels charge around 10 euros per person per night just for a simple breakfast.
In case you love continental breakfast, this could be a great option for you (and also to get from the buffet one or two sandwiches to carry with you to eat at lunch).
But in case you are looking to try the local food, a great way to do so is by buying your breakfast at a local bakery, where you will find both sweet and savory delicious Greek food at a very cheap price (I am talking about spending only 2/3 euros for breakfast instead of 10 euro).
Check out my article "20 delicious sweets you have to try in Greece" to better understand what you will find in Greek bakeries.
4. Use the Metro to reach your accommodation:
If your accommodation is in the city centre and not too far from a Metro station, I highly recommend getting there by Metro. It is a fast and relatively cheap option.
Athens airport is 27 km from Athens.
You will catch it straight outside the Airport, so it is going to be cheap and fast.
The one-way ticket to the centre costs 10 euros, and the return ticket costs 18 euros. You can purchase your tickets at the tickets office or at the tickets machine at the metro station entrance inside the airport.
Travel Time: 45 minutes
Frequency: every 30 minutes
Operating Time: From 05.35 am to 11.35 pm
5. The cheapest option to get to the city center from the Airport is by Bus:
It is not the fast as the Metro, but it is the cheapest one.
Different buses will take you to the city centre. It depends on where you have to go:
Route X95: Syntagma Square in Athens city centre (60 mins)
Route X96: Piraeus Port, in case you need to catch a ferry to go to the islands (90 mins)
Route X93: Kifisou Avenue - Atens Intercity Bus Station (65 mins)
Route X97: Elliniko (blue line metro)
All bus routes work 24h a day, every day.
You can catch your bus at the bus's area at the arrivals (between exits 4 and 5).
Buses leave every 30 to 60 minutes. It depends on the route.
Check out “The Best Guide of Athens“ here and read all the articles I wrote about it.
6. If traveling with friends, the cheapest option can be a taxi:
Taxi fare if hiring a taxi at the airport: from 5 am to 12 am 38 euros, from 12 am to 5 am is 54 euros.
It is the fastest option because you are going to get your taxi right outside the Airport and go straight to your accommodation. You are surely going to save a lot of time.
If you travel with three other friends, it is convenient.
7. Book free walking tours while in Athens:
There are self-guided audio tours in every major city, so why not try them?
You will visit Athens at your own peace, everything you need is your smarthphone.
8. Avoid tourist traps:
You are going to see that some restaurants have pictures on the menu or outside the door. The graphics look good, but most of the time, they are tourists traps, where the food is mediocre, and the prices are high. So please avoid them.
Also, many souvenirs shops will sell you "made in china" Greek-style little statues and vases. Be aware of them ok?
9. Eat far from the main roads:
On the busiest streets, there are always tourist restaurants where food is much more expensive.
My advice is to go a little further, maybe only one or two streets away, and you will find local restaurants full of Greek people where the food will be exceptional at a reasonable price.
10. Use public transport instead of hiring a taxi:
Public transport works very well in Athens, the Metro has been renewed recently and will take you to the main attractions.
If you book accommodation near the centre (as I did) you can easily walk almost everywhere without any problems, remember to wear comfortable shoes.
11. Get a multi-attraction ticket:
There are different combinations of multi-attractions passes in Athens, of course, depending on what you want to see and do.
Prices go from 30 euros to see more than ten different attractions while only the entrance to the Acropolis (where the Pantheon is) costs only by itself 20 euros. It is a good deal.
12. Choose to eat in local Bakeries:
Athens bakeries offer delicious and cheap food. You can buy everything you need from breakfast to lunch and maybe also something for dinner.
For example, don't think of a bakery as a place to only buy sweets and bread. In Athens, you can buy sandwiches, savory pastries, and hot local Greek food.
Everything is freshly made overnight and delicious (and cheap).
13. Have lunch or dinner in small family-run restaurants:
There are many local family-run tavernas in Athens. You only need to find them.
The best way is to ask locals.
Ask at your accommodation, enter a shop and ask where the people who work there usually go for a friendly and cheap lunch.
They know the area because they work and live there, so do not be shy, use Google translate if you need it, and find a delicious place to eat excellent homemade food at a very reasonable price.
14. Eat Gyros on the go:
You are going to find every kind of Gyros in Athens. They are made with different types of meat but also vegetarians, with grilled veggies or delicious falafel.
Gyros are a delicious and very cheap option even in the most touristic place.
I got one in the city centre for only 2.5 euros. I ate only one, and I was full and delighted.
15. Book a free tour guide on the official website:
Athens offers you the chance to book a local guide that will take you around for free and teach you many interesting things about this beautiful city.
Want more about Athens?
Check out “The Most Complete Guide of Athens“ here and read all the articles I wrote about it.
16. Bring sunscreen from home:
Aloe vera sunscreen lotion can be crazy expensive in Greece, so my advice to save money is to bring it from home. If you are traveling with only a carry-on bag, buy it at the airport, but do not wait to buy it in Greece, because it can cost you twice the price.
Please wear sunscreen even if you are walking around the city. Aloe vera sunscreen lotion protects your skin constantly, not only when you are at the beach. Also, apply a good aloe vera aftersun lotion after every shower.
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