24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

Finally, you are planning your trip to Greece, but mostly, you will visit the marvellous ancient capital, Athens.

You are not going to get disappointed, trust me.

The food is delicious and very cheap.

Unless you go to a Michelin stars restaurant, you will not pay more than 20 euros for a complete meal in a Greek taverna.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

The city is full of ancient ruins all around, waiting for you to see them. People are so hospitable that you will wish to have more days to enjoy everything that Athens has to offer.

Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, make sure to buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend or cancel your trip. I recommend SafetyWing. A great insurance company to cover everything about your travel.

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Read 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens Below


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

1. Plan to spend more than one day in Athens:

If there is also a visit to the beautiful Athens in your Greece itinerary, please keep in mind that the capital of Greece was also the heart of Ancient Greece, a very famous empire.

Therefore you should give yourself more time to explore it because it is a beautiful city, full of history, charm and unique places to see.

24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

Many tourists plan only to visit the Acropolis, which stand on a hilltop right in the middle of the city, and trust me that it is worth it, but Athens is not only the Acropolis.

There are many fascinating museums around the city, ancient ruins, and neighbourhoods to lose yourself exploring every little street.

Also, restaurants offer fantastic typical food that you cannot miss trying.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

2. Be aware that Athens and the most famous islands are extremely busy and crowded during the high season (July-August):

I went to Athens, Santorini, Paros, Ios and Mykonos in the middle of September. They weren't crazy busy, but still, I could not walk freely and take pictures in the evening in the main street cause there were too many people passing by.

I went to visit the Acropolis with the Pantheon right at the opening time. I was there actually before it opened and it was so lovely, there weren't so many people at the beginning, but it got crowded very soon so if you fancy some picture where there is only you around, get there when it opens as I did.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

3. The Metro is works very well:

Athens metro is very simple so you cannot get lost. It is very cheap and takes you to the central touristic locations.

In some metro stations, you will admire some old artefacts, like in a museum, not bad for a metro, right?

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

4. Make sure to book accommodation in a safe area:

Unfortunately, it is not enough for you to book accommodation in a central area, to be safe.

Some neighbourhoods are unfortunately not so friendly to walk in the evening.

I learnt it by booking in one of them.

I honestly believed that all the areas were ok by staying in the city centre, but it is far from the truth.

The safer areas are Monastiraki, Plaka, Koukaki, Psirri, Kolonaki and Syntagma.

The areas to avoid are Omonia (where I booked my hotel, silly me), Exarcheia, Kolokotroni square and Vathi.

Use the Agoda widget down below to book your dream vacation in Athens and save money.

Plan Your Vacation in Athens in the Best Way

Check out all my articles in the "Most Complete Guide of Athens" and get all the information you need to make your next travel a success.


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6 Most Luxury Hotels to Book in Athens

Best Mid-range Accommodations in Athens

7 Best and Cheapest Accommodations in Athens

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

5. Taxis are very cheap:

Even in the middle of the night, you will be surprised how cheap are taxis in Athens (compared to other big capitals).

You can find them in the central streets, or you can use the app "Beat" as I did.

It gives you the chance to book the driver you want (you can choose an English speaker) and choose the payment method, not bad at all!

Tip: I highly recommend exploring the city by walking and using public transport but if you plan to stay out late, the taxi could be a very fast and safe way to get back to your accommodations.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

6. Make sure to learn some essential words:

I know, Greek language might be intimidating for some of us. Still, you have no idea how hospitable Greeks are. They will appreciate the effort, so learn some essential words to use at your accommodation or in a restaurant, like good morning, good evening, thank you, etc.

You might end up becoming friends with some locals just because you show them how much you like their country and their culture just only by saying a few Greek words.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

7. Always apply good sunscreen:

Sun can be very hot and damage your skin during the Greeks summers, so be smart and buy a good sunscreen, and please do not forget to apply it more times a day, it is essential to avoid looking like a lobster and spend the rest of your holiday indoor and in pain.

8. Bring your sunscreen from home or buy it at the airport before you leave:

You have no idea how expensive sunscreen can be in Greece, mainly in the most popular islands. Maybe you can find it cheaper in Athens, but why risk it.

A regular sunscreen that you might pay 5/8 euros/pounds at home, in Greece can cost you even twice the price, so plan and save money.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

9. If travelling with friends, please share your meal:

And by saying this, I mean that there are so many delicious foods in Greece, that you cannot just order a starter and a main course for yourself and try only two things that a restaurant has to offer.

Unless you are travelling alone, share all the food with your travel mates, order different dishes and share everything.

In this way, you are going to try most of the options on the menu, still feeling satisfied but not fully ready to explode (or maybe yes. Greek food is so good you won't be able to stop eating everything), and you will try most of the delicious food Greece has to offer.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

10. Eat local:

Greek food in Greece is much different from what you might have eaten in your own country at a Greek restaurant.

My advice is always to do your research about the local cuisine and when you get to a restaurant, ask your waiter what the local dishes are.

Every region has different local delicious food, not only gyros, greek salad and moussaka (absolutely delicious), but trust me, there is much more to try while exploring Greece.

If you want to fully live the Greek experience have a look at some amazing Athens Food Tour available here. Where you will try all the most famous Greek dishes.


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

11. Avoid Athens tourists traps:

Athens is a very famous capital that can get full of tourists during high season.

There are different types of tourist traps, it can be souvenirs shops where they will sell you "made in China" items telling you that "it's made in Greece" or they can be restaurants where the prices are high, and the food standard is low (because they know you are not going to go back there anyway).

Unfortunately, some of these "tourists traps" have great reviews on Google or Tripadvisor, but it is just because the people who went there had no idea how to taste real Greek food.

So, make sure to do your research and don't follow the crowd. When in doubt, ask at your accommodation or pop into a shop and ask the people who work there where they go to eat with their friends.

Locals always know the best spots. Check out my article

"16 Best Places Where to Eat Local Food in Athens".

12. Buy local products as souvenirs:

I think the best way to bring your holiday back home with you and give it to your family and friends (if you used to bring back some souvenirs for them) is by buying local products.

In Greece, you can find delicious infused olive oils, olives of every kind and colour, dry herbs, infused honey (I bought delicious Thyme honey in Ios island, for example), almond cookies, and much more.

But there is not only food to buy, for example, I also bought many handmade soaps, with olive oil, lava sand or propolis (perfect for my oily skin face), aloe vera body creams and many face creams perfect to have a little bit of Greece even when you will be back home.

Check out my article "13 Things to Buy as Souvenirs in Greece".

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

13. Take your time while eating at a restaurant:

While in Athens, take your time to enjoy your holiday, do not rush running up and down, eating fast, and pretending that your waiter will give you the bill even before you have finished your meal.

Enjoy an excellent cold espresso and maybe a glass of Ouzo or one of the other typical drinks after your meal (in some restaurants, they will give it to you as a complimentary drink with your bill, so please leave a tip).

Greece is a place where to relax so enjoy every little detail of your holiday.


Book Your Accommodation Today

If you have already decided on your travel dates, you should book your accommodation as soon as possible. Prices changes overnight and accommodations in very tourists places are the first ones to get fully booked.

I always start my research on the best accommodation as soon as I decide my destination, check out the best website: Booking, Agoda, Hotellook and Expedia.

Book your favourite accommodation before someone else does.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

14. People are allowed to smoke inside restaurants and bars:

In Greece, most of the people smoke, and local owners let them do it.

So if you cannot eat in a place where people are smoking at the table next to you, I highly recommend you choose a location with a garden or a terrace.

Also, check if the people at the table next to you are smoking or have an ashtray at their table. In that case, you can still ask to be seated at another table.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 24 Essential Tips to Know before Visit Athens

15. Be aware of pickpockets:

Unfortunately, they are everywhere, wherever there are tourists.