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29 Mistakes to Avoid to Do in Athens

Updated: Sep 25, 2023


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

Athens is a magical city that will take you back in time in ancient history.

You will see the wonderful Acropoli with its massive Pantheon, which you have undoubtedly seen in many movies and pictures.


Well, you will be in those pictures and proudly show them to all your friends.


That's why I wrote this article, to help you plan your vacation in the best possible way, making you avoid minor (and sometimes huge) mistakes that could easily ruin part of your holiday.


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.

29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

*Disclosure: This article contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you I guarantee, if you make a purchase through my links. See it as a way to thank me for all the information I provide.



Read 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens Below

Enjoy!


If you will like this article, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends, maybe someone you know is planning to visit Athens.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

1. Don't avoid planning a holiday to Athens:


Greece is one of the most famous countries globally for its fantastic holiday destinations, mostly during summertime.

There are not only islands in Greece but there is also the mainland and the beautiful capital Athens.


So book your flight tickets and start to plan your travel; trust me, you will love everything about it.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

2. Don't plan to visit Athens during winter if you are looking for hot temperatures:


If you look at flights and accommodations prices for Athens during the winter season, you are going to see that prices drop a lot, and yes, you are going to save a lot of money and avoid the summer crowd, but you will also find cold weather (unless you like it, of course).


Greek is a summer destination, perfect from April to October, but the weather is not sunny as usual from November to March.


I think the best month to visit Athens is in April, May, September and October, when kids are back at school (unless you travel with kids, of course), it is less crowded, the temperature is already or still warm but not so hot like July, and prices are lower.



29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

Book Your Accommodation Today

If you have already decided on your travel dates, book your accommodation as soon as possible.

Prices change overnight, and accommodations in very touristy places are the first to get fully booked.


I always start researching the best accommodation when I decide on my destination. Check out the best website: Booking.com and Agoda.com.

Book your favorite accommodation before someone else does.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

3. Don't confuse the Acropolis with the Pantheon:


The Acropolis in Athens is a hill in the middle of the city, seeing many ancient ruins. At the same time, the Pantheon is a massive construction on top of it.

 
Do you want to see everything Mykonos has to offer and save money at the same time?

Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

4. Don't skip to get up to the Pantheon:


I think the Pantheon on top of the Acropolis is probably the best part of Athens. It is so ancient, and it still stands up. You can see all the city from there, the view is stunning, and the pictures you are going to take will be absolutely amazing.


Check out Acropolis prices, guided tours and availability in the widget down below.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

5. Don't be afraid to learn some basic sentences in Greek:


I know that the Greek language might be intimidating for some of us, but you have no idea how hospitable Greek people 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 become friends with some locals just because you show them how much you like your country and culture just by saying a few Greek words.


29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

Book Your Accommodation Today

Book your accommodation as soon as possible if you have already decided on your travel dates.

Prices change overnight, and accommodations in very touristy places are the first 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.com and Agoda.com.


Book your favorite accommodation before someone else does.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

6. Don't drive in Athens:


Traffic in Athens can be crazy, so don't risk getting your day ruined by getting stuck in the traffic and looking for a car park.


Use public transport. They are excellent in Athens. You are going to get wherever you need to be much faster.

 

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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

7. Don't save money on public transport:


Athens Metro works very well and has recently been renovated. It is spotless and cheap. Buses are also excellent because they connect every area of the city and are on time most of the time.


Taxis are also cheaper than in other capitals so don't be afraid to ask the price for your destination, or book a cab on the app "Beat", the best app to move by Taxi in Athens.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

8. Don't forget to wear comfortable walking shoes:


The city centre of Athens is not very big, so you can easily walk everywhere as I did.


I honestly took the metro only when I arrived at Athens airport to get to my hotel, when I wanted to get at the entrance of the Acropoli at opening time (to skip the queue) and when I left to go to the port to catch my ferry.


All the other times, I just walked everywhere. The weather was so lovely and warm, and by walking, you could enjoy everything around you and see things that you would probably miss if you were underground in the metro.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

9. Avoid tourist traps:


As you probably know, my dear traveller, every tourist place has plenty of tourist traps.

Please do your research in advance, check my article "16 Best Places Where to Eat Local Food in Athens", or ask locals where they eat.


Trust me. You won't regret it. You will taste delicious local food and probably also save some money.
 

Check Out


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

10. Don't be afraid to talk to locals:


And talking to cats doesn't count, even though you will see many cats in Greece and they will all love to get some free food and cuddles.


Locals know the area, and they can give you advice, like where to eat, how to get from point A to B in the cheapest and fastest way, they know the hidden gems and much more, so don't be afraid to talk to them and ask for advice.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

11. Don't forget to research where to eat locally:


We all have a budget when we travel (at least I do), and the best way to experience the place we visit is through local food.


I think this is probably the first thing I research as soon as I choose a destination. For me that I would spend all day eating. Where and what to eat is an essential part of my travel.



If you are interested in Food & Wines Tours in Athens, look at the widget below; you will find many beautiful options to explore Greek food and meet other travelers.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

12. Don't be scared to share your meal with your travel mates:


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


Share all the food with your travel mates unless you are traveling alone.

Order different dishes and share everything with them.


29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

Sharing your meal is a great way 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).


Check out my article "39 Delicious Foods and Drinks You Have to Try in Greece" and if you have a sweet tooth like me, check out "20 Most Amazing Sweets to Try in Greece".

Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

13. Don't wear shorts and clothes that show your shoulders to enter churches:


If like me, you love to enter religious buildings of any kind to admire the arts and architecture, wear good clothes to visit Athens churches. I always bring with me a pashmina to cover my shoulder.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

14. Don't eat only Greek food you have heard about:


Greece is a vast country.

Every region has some speciality that you may not have heard about.


Do your research ahead, or when visiting, ask your waiter or at your accommodation what the local gastronomy has to offer. Trust me. You are going to get very well surprised.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

15. Don't talk about politics or country issues:


As you might have heard, Greece has a huge financial issue, so please avoid the subject unless a local starts to talk about it with you.


 

Thinking of Travel Solo around Greece? Check Out


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

16. Don't forget to bring a gift when a local invites you to their house:


Greeks are very hospitable people so if some of them invite you to their home, please be a perfect guest and bring something to say thank you.


It might be just a bunch of flowers, a bottle of wine or some sweets bought at a local bakery. You will see how much they will appreciate your gesture.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

17. Don't forget to be extra careful when crossing the road:


Greeks are a little bit crazy while driving, not all of them of course, but only because the traffic light is green in your favour, it doesn't mean you don't need to check the street before crossing, so keep that in mind and please be always careful and vigilant.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

18. Don't expect everything or everyone to be on time:


Trains and buses might not be always right in time like in London (to give you an example), so you might have to wait a couple of minutes for your train to leave or have to wait a bit longer than usual to meet a local.


My advice is to always be there in advance if you have to catch a train, a ferry or a bus, just in case it leaves right on time or if you find traffic on your way. Traffic can be horrible in high season with locals going to work plus tourists not knowing the area.


Please leave your accommodation in advance and be there with plenty of time ahead of you, do not risk losing it please, bring a novel or have with you some music to listen to and avoid getting bored while you wait (if this could be your case).


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

19. Don't show your hand palm:


It may mean nothing to you, but in Greece, it is a well-known insulting gesture. It is like showing your middle finger, so please avoid it.


To make you understand, I am not saying you cannot let other people see your palms. The gesture I am talking about is when you are talking to someone, and you lift your hand and show to their face your palm in a very straightforward way.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

20. Don't forget to apply sunscreen:


The sun is ill, and we have heard about it many times, so please buy good aloe vera sunscreen lotion with natural ingredients and apply it many times daily.


The sun in Greece is powerful, so if you come from a country where you don't sunbed very often, please do not forget!


Save your delicate skin and your holiday because sunburns can turn your holiday into a nightmare. Also, make sure to apply a good aloe vera after sun lotion in the evening.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

21. Don't spend all your holiday only in one place:


Of course, if you are planning to visit Greece just for a weekend, you won't have time to see much, but if you are lucky enough to have one or two weeks to spend in this beautiful country, my advice is to visit more than just one place or one island.


All the mainland is well connected by bus and trains. And all the islands are well connected by ferries, so it will be elementary for you to move around.


When I visited Greece, I started my holiday in Athens, where I spent three days (I had 16 days to spend in Greece). I then moved to Mykonos for four days, then Paros for three days, then Ios for three days, and ended my holiday in Santorini for another three days.


I am not saying you have to do the same as I did, but honestly, ferries can be so fast, and the islands are not so big.

I rented a car everywhere (just not in Athens where I moved by public transport and by walking during the day and by taxi at night), and I saw everything I wanted and had a lot of time to spend at the beach relaxing and swimming.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

22. Don't forget to bargain:


In Greece, buying souvenirs or other things in shops or at the local markets is common to bargain and get the best price.


Even if you have never done it, try it. They won't get upset because this is part of their customs, and you might save some money.


Check out my "58 Wonderful Things You Have to Buy in Greece" to understand better what's worth buying while exploring Greece.

Travel Tip: Don't forget that paying cash is the only way to lower the prices in a Greek market.
Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

23. Don't forget you will need an international driver's license to rent a car in Greece:


Unfortunately, you might end up without the chance to rent a car without an international driver's license, so check how to do it in your own country (it is just a translation of your driver's license and is usually valid for one year).


If you are from Europe, you won't have any problems but plan if you come from a country outside the EU.

Check out Discovercars for the best Greek rental cars deals.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

24. Don't forget to buy local products as souvenirs:


Greece has a lot to offer, from wine, olive oils, olives, honey, and herbs, so research the place you will visit, buy and eat local; your friends at home will love to receive your gift in food form.


Check out my "58 Wonderful Things You Have to Buy in Greece" to understand better what's worth buying while exploring Greece.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

25. Don't throw toilet paper or anything else inside the toilet:


If you see a little bin next to the toilet, use it for your paper. The pipes in Greece are pretty smaller than in any other country.


If you start to throw a lot of toilet paper in it, it will clog and trust me, you don't want to be in the situation when you and your travel mate cannot use the toilet in the morning, so keep this in mind.


 

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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

26. Don't forget to withdraw money:


While in Greece, always have some cash with you. In many restaurants, bars and shops are possible to pay by credit card, while in some other ones, like in small towns, card payments are not always accepted, so keep that in mind, and never get out without some cash in your pocket.


To be sure, always ask if they accept card payment before ordering something.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens


27. Don't waste your time looking for a smoke-free bar or restaurant:


In Greece, most 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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

28. Don't forget to bring with you an adapter:


Greek plugs are different than in the US, Uk and other countries.

Make sure to buy a universal adaptor before your departure. It is always cheaper to buy it while home than to buy it at the airport in a very tourist spot.


Plan and buy all the necessary for your trip in advance. Check out universal adapters here


Valentina's Travel Guide, 29 Things to Don't Do in Athens

29. Don't forget to save the emergency numbers:


I wish you all the luck in this world and that nothing terrible happens to you, honestly, but sometimes bad things happen, at home or while travelling, so save up all the numbers you might need in case of an emergency.


In Greece, the numbers to dial are:


Police emergency 100

Ambulance 166

Fire Department 199

Coast Guard 108

Tourist Police 171

Forest Fire Authority 191


Did you enjoy my article?

I have plenty like this one about Athens.

Feel free to leave a comment below and share this article with your friends, maybe someone you know is planning to have their first solo travel.


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About me

Hi! I'm Valentina,

but you can call me Vale.

I'm an Italian with a passion for well-planned travels and food.

In my Travel Guide, you will find everything you need to plan your perfect travel around the world.

Valentina

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