Athens was everything I hoped it would be and SO much more!
For as long as I can remember, Greece has been on my bucket list. People told me that the food was great (and cheap!), that the locals were nice, and that the sights were breathtaking. And they weren’t wrong! In this post, I am going to share where, when, and how to book your flight, when to arrive, where to stay, and what to see while you’re in Athens.
Flight: RyanAir, Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV) à Athens, Greece (ATH), $115.53
Airport Transportation: 6€ each way
Accommodations: AirBnB, $116.56 (3 nights)
Visa Information: None (U.S. Passport)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language(s): Greek, English
Excursion(s): http://www.viator.com, City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour, $33.29
http://www.airbnb.com, Vacation Photography in Athens, $52.30
I booked a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel to Athens, Greece using Sky Scanner. I was looking for cheap flights from Tel Aviv to “Everywhere”, and I was ecstatic to see the Athens itinerary.
The flight was with Ryanair, a discount airline that operates in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. I had flown with Ryanair before. It was a no-frills carrier; but the prices were good, and I had not had any extremely negative experiences.
I paused for a second when I saw the $100.54 price tag. It was on the pricier side of what I expected to pay with a discount airline, but this was Greece! So I decided to go ahead and purchase the ticket. There was an additional charge to bring a carry-on bag ($14.99), so the total cost was $115.53.
I purchased the itinerary about a month before the trip, and I was quite pleased with myself. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my flight’s 11:50 pm arrival time was going to have consequences for airport transportation and for housing.
If you arrive in Athens between 6:30 am and 11:30 pm, you can take the metro from the airport into the city in about 40 minutes (Click here for more information). This is the easiest and cheapest way to get into the city.
If, however, like me, you arrive outside of the 6:30 am – 11:30 pm window, your best (aka cheapest) option is to take an express bus (X95, 6€ each way) into the city. The ride takes about an hour, but it is well worth saving 44€ (a taxi costs 50€ after midnight).
Although I was just fine with the meandering pace of the airport bus, this put my arrival time into the Athens city center at around 1:00 am, which had consequences for my accommodations.
Depending on what type of accommodations you book, there will be a check-in window. Hotels and hostels can usually accommodate early or late arrivals, but private homes are not always as flexible.
For this trip, I booked my accommodations on Airbnb. It took me a couple of tries before I found a place that offered self check-in. Self check-in takes the stress out of a late arrival, because you do not have to worry about the host waiting up for you to arrive. You can simply enter the building using a keypad or a lockbox or something like that.
For this trip, I booked a private room in a guesthouse near the city center. The room was like a mini-studio because it had its own private bathroom and shower. It had Wi-Fi, air conditioning and self check-in, and it was only $28/night. If you are interested, here is the listing on Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23104236?source_impression_id=p3_1565907318_yyFrFSUzWK0FkAwI.
Also, I made a video about what it’s like to stay in an Airbnb. Check it out below:
Although the official language in Greece is Greek, everyone that I met spoke English, and I had no problem navigating the country using English.
I spent two days and three nights in Athens, so I had a lot of ground to cover in a short time. I decided to cover some of this ground on the City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off bus tour. A two-day pass that allowed me to explore Athens, Piraeus, and the Beach Riviera cost $33.29 on Viator (https://www.viator.com/tours/Athens/City-Sightseeing-Athens-Piraeus-Beach-Riviera-Hop-On-Hop-Off-Tour/d496-2916ATHENS). The hop-on hop-off tour lets you see important sites in the city and helps you to explore new places that might not have even been on your list.
I also booked a photo shoot through Airbnb experiences. I discovered Airbnb experiences earlier this year when I visited Brazil. Experiences can range from city tours to food tasting, pub crawls, dance and craft classes, and photo shoots. I booked with a local photographer named Thomas because I really liked his work. The two-hour vacation photography experience cost $52.30 and included 10 edited photos, as well as low resolution copies of all the photos taken (over 300). High resolution copies of all the photos were available for an additional 10 euros.
I had a fantastic experience, and I loved the photos. The link to the experience page is available here: https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/387331.
Athens was everything I hoped it would be and SO much more! Public transportation from the airport is affordable and easy to navigate (even when you arrive at midnight). There are lots of comfortable and safe Airbnb options. There are also a plethora of amazing tours, excursions, and experiences waiting for you. Give them a try!