April 21, 2024

Is it Possible to Visit Athens on a Budget?

The sun drenched Greek capital, Athens, is a popular choice with holidaymakers from all over Europe – and for good reason!  But with most of the top attractions charging a fee to enter, it can get expensive quickly.  However, I’m here to tell you that it absolutely is possible to visit Athens on a budget.  There are some massive bargains to be found if you keep away from the tourist traps and are willing to branch out a little.  Here’s some tips to help you:

Take Public Transport To and From the Airport

The centre of Athens is located around 20 miles from the airport, and you can expect the cab fare for this journey to be around 40 euros.  However, if you’re visiting Athens on a budget, you can cut your costs by taking either a bus or the Metro.  A bus will cost you just 6 euros (line X-95), and the Metro costs 10 euros.  The bus runs 24 hours a day while the Metro runs until midnight.  It’s such a short distance, there’s no need to splash the cash on a taxi.

Book Your Hotel in Advance

One piece of good news for those visiting Athens on a budget is that cheap hotels are everywhere.  You’ll find lots of private accommodation in the city for around 50 euros a night.  And, you can spend even less if you’re willing to rough it up a little bit in a backpacker’s hostel.  The budget accommodations may not be in the swankiest parts of town, but that’s ok.  What they lack in modern glitz, they make up for in Greek charm!  Plus, if you book early, or at the last minute, you’re likely to secure further discounts.

Look for Museum Discounts

Most of the museums in Athens charge a fee for entry, but there are ways to lower the price if you know how.  First of all, if you’re travelling to Athens during the winter months, you’ll find that all of the museums offer half price entry.  This is valid from November through April, and makes the National Archaeological Museum just 5 euros, and the Acropolis 10 euros.  The National Historical Museum is free to enter on Sundays, and the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture is free on Thursdays.

The following museums are also free at all times:

  • Municipal Gallery
  • Korai 4
  • Melina Merkouri Cultural Centre
  • Museum of the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways
  • Museum of Folk Art & Tradition

Finally, if you’re a student and can present ID, you may be able to receive a further discount on some of the above.

Browse the Street Markets

There are numerous street markets in Athens, and you could spend hours walking up and down the different stalls on offer.  From Greek olives and local oranges to scented spice shops, meat and fish, your taste buds will be watering as you take in the sights and smells around you.  It costs absolutely nothing to browse the street markets, and it’s worth investing in some street food over visiting the restaurants if you’re on a budget.  Pork and chicken souvlaki can be bought for just 2 euros from the street vendors. I promise, you’ll definitely not regret trying these delicious Greek delights.

Stick to Wine Over Spirits

Purchasing a non alcoholic drink won’t set you back a lot in Athens.  You can expect to pay around 2 euros for a cappuccino or an orange juice, for example.  However, if you want to go out on the town, it pays to watch what you drink.  Cocktails can easily cost as much as 10 euros each, with spirits not far behind.  Wine is probably your cheapest bet, and can be purchased for around 5 euros a litre.  For those who aren’t interested in the nightlife, however, you can always buy a beer from a convenience store and drink it in one of the beautiful squares.

Take a Walking Tour

Did you know that Athens has a city run program that pairs enthusiastic locals with tourists?  These locals are more than happy to show you around the city they love, and better yet, they don’t charge a penny.  This is ideal for those visiting Athens on a budget, and in some ways can be more beneficial than booking with the well known tour companies.  You get a free tour, and to learn more about Greek culture: it’s a win-win!  To take advantage of this, you need to book three days in advance via the This is Athens website.

Consider a Combo Ticket – But Know It’s Not Entirely Necessary

Finally, I would recommend purchasing a Combo ticket if you want to see the top heritage sites in Athens.  These cost 30 euros for adults and 15 euros for students, and provide five days worth of access to the top sites including The Acropolis, Ancient Agora and the Museum, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Temple of Zeus, Karameikos, the Roman Agora and more.  With that said, if you really can’t stretch the budget, you can still see many of these heritage sites for free.

Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus sit next to each other and can be admired from the fence.  The Panathenaic Stadium and Tower of the Winds can also be viewed from the outside.  And, thanks to its hilltop location, the Acropolis can also be viewed at a distance from all over the city.  It’s also worth mentioning that Athens does have some free days for these attractions, as well as other museums.  These are the first Sunday of every month in the winter, and 6th March, 18th April, 18th May, and 18th October.

So, there you have it.  It is absolutely possible to visit Athens on a budget if you know how.

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