When at last you are able to plan that long awaited trip to Athens then you must be pretty excited. It is a city with a lot of historic importance. One of the most important monuments here is the Acropolis. When the sun touches the cobblestone streets along its base, the view is majestic. The city begins slowly compared to most other cities of the world. As the day progresses, you will find the homes, markets, and sidewalks coming to life. With the onset of evening, the air is filled with the rich aroma of spiced lamb and music from nearby taverns, dance clubs blast rock music amidst ancient columns of the Parthenon illuminated for all to see. However before you are overexcited and want to rush to the holidays waiting for you, it is important that you keep in mind these simple Athens travel tips.
When to visit Athens
The best time for visiting the city is either between March and May or from September to November. The summer is when Athens gets a large footfall, but if you are not much of a hot sun loving person, then it is preferable to come in spring that is September. You might miss out a festival or two but the spring beauty will more than make up for it. But if you want to plan a completely different time of the year then go for the winters that are between December and February. The winters here are mild given the Mediterranean location.
Athens Travel Tips
Here are the travel tips for Athens that will help you through any tight spot in Athens, or more like ensure that you do not get into them.
1. Keep the card and the cash
The city does not entirely run without cash. Despite all economic turmoil, cash has still been pretty functional here. It is best that you keep a good amount of money in your pockets. The number of stores accepting cards has been on the increase but there are still those antique shops that are still antique in money transaction way. You do have a number of ATMs around the center and near tourist attractions and sites.
2. Use the metro
The metro system here is efficient and hassle-free. It is simple and easy to navigate. If you are afraid that you might get up on the wrong train and get off at the wrong station, then you really do not have much to worry. There are only three lines that operate here covering the entire city – you do not have a chance of getting lost. The public transport here in Athens is quite cheap. So, it is best to make the most out of it. In case you are taking the metro, you will be able to admire a few historic artifacts in several metro stations.
3. Beware of the tourist traps
You are lucky to be in Athens since it has lesser tourist traps as compared to other places in Europe. Yet beware of taxi drivers who charge you exorbitantly higher prices. To avoid this, step into those taxis that use taxi meter. Get a licensed guide if you want a guided tour around the monuments you visit otherwise. Check their guide ID. Even in the restaurants be careful as waiters will leave dishes on your table that you did not order to ‘enjoy’ and charge you later in the bill for it.
4. Use the Apps
Like the bus transport, taxi transport here is cheap as well. It is very easy to avail a taxi from the road, at the taxi station or simply use the taxi app for more convenience. The app for hailing a cab is known as ‘Beat’. This app allows you to get a cab whenever you want and at the same time, you get to choose your driver for the trip – that way, as a tourist you get an English speaking cab driver. It will smoothen your ride. The payment for the cab can be done both in cash or card.
5. The pickpockets
Beware of these pickpockets as well. The pickpockets here are known to be bold, desperate and quite fierce. So among other things in the city you need to be a little vigilant, especially when traveling in the metro, where it is a little difficult to keep an eye on your luggage. Apart from that, Omonia Square is a well-known area for pickpocketing. Among the most important Athens travel tips, you must be very cautious when you are visiting this place in the evening.
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6. Late night life
You might find this a little bit strange, but when one says so it means that the evening starts at midnight. The Greeks have a tendency to live late and tend to go out at around 2 am. Prior to that, they might be having a slow dinner or a long session for getting ready. The party ends only when the sun begins to light up the eastern sky. This should, however, be an interesting event for all party goers.
7. Personal safety
Another matter of concern for you should be your personal safety. The north-western part of the city is considered less safe so it is better to avoid the place if you are on foot. Apart from this, the city is riddled with demonstrations and strikes. It is important that you get yourself well informed before embarking on a journey here. You will come across more demonstrations on important days like the as Labor Day on May 1st and November 17th when university uprisings took place.
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8. Food in Greece
If you are hunting for traditional flavors then get to the central part of the city. The ones most frequented by the locals are found at the base of the Acropolis. These are the traditional mom and pop restaurants. The traditional dishes that you must not miss out here are moussaka (lamb and eggplant in a bechamel sauce), souvlaki (skewered and grilled lamb, pork or goat wrapped in pita and commonly topped with lettuce, tomato and a yogurt-based sauce called tzatziki) and baklava (crushed nuts and honey in phyllo dough). These dishes are extremely well served in some of the traditional restaurants found here like the like Lithos, Oineas and Psaras Traditional Restaurant, which is the oldest restaurant in Palka. Try the seafood as well, especially the ones found at the eateries located in Piraeus by the Mikrolimano fishing harbor. Some of the well-known eateries focused on seas food are Varoulko Seaside, Margaro, and O Giannis Fish Tavern.
These should help you through planning the trip accordingly, and help you enjoy the city fully. Plan a trip to Greece and have a great trip!
Frequently Asked Questions About Athens Travel Tips
A. No, Athen is not expensive, however, if you will convert Euros in your currency then it will surely seem expensive. The place also offers pocket-friendly alternatives that will surely save a lot of your pennies!
A. Athens is home to numerous popular attractions and planning a stay of 2-3 days will surely make you explore almost all the major attractions of the city.
A. Athens is one of the safest cities, especially for solo female travelers. The government ensures a safe and comfortable environment for visitors here. However, there are cases of thefts and you need to take care of your belongings while traveling in crowded places.
A. Yes, tap water is safe in Athens but one must prefer drinking bottled water as the former one is prohibited in most of the cities of Greece including Santorini and Mykonos.
A. The best time to visit Athens is between March to May and September to November. The weather remains pleasant during this time, making you explore the best of this beautiful city.
A. Yes, Athens is safe at night, especially areas such as Kolononaki, Metaxourgio, etc. offers really electrifying nightlife experiences!
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