Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Athens

THE 10 BEST Cheap Things to Do in Athens

Best Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Athens

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  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom9,332 contributions
    The Acropolis is an incredible and unmissable part of a visit to Athens but it is also absurdly crowded, hot and exhausting and can be overwhelming. It helps to be prepared, especially if you have kids with you.
    Here’s a combination of things that were either helpful to know (or would have been helpful if only we’d known)…..
    i) Current guidebooks and any online sites that haven’t been recently updated, will only have the old information on booking Acropolis tickets. Be aware that from July, 2023, a new system was introduced and you now need to book a specific time slot. Early morning slots are especially good as you can avoid the real heat in the middle of the day.
    ii) Buying the combo ticket (€30) is excellent value. It lasts for 5 days and includes entry to seven ancient sites. Entry to the Acropolis on its own is €20 so if its your first time to Athens, it makes sense to buy it (unless you’re here in winter when many sites are half price). We didn’t visit all 7 of the sites but we more than got our money’s worth - very pleased we did this.
    iii) Don’t make my mistake and try to cram the Acropolis and Ancient Agora in same day - it was serious overload and we didn’t the Agora justice because we were ancient-ed out.
    iv) There are two entry points. Its not a make or break decision. We used the south gate (opposite the Acropolis Museum) simply because it was only 5 mins from our hotel. The advantage is that it's not the main gate so the queue is smaller. The disadvantage is that it’s an uphill walk, around past pass the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon, to reach the Acropolis stairs.
    v) Climbing the Acropolis stairs, through the Propylaea gateway is not for the faint-hearted. This is where you can get seriously hot and bothered. We were pushed and jostled along in a sea of people. There’s no queue or line - people just swarm in and push their way to the top. Hang in there because once you actually get to the top, it all opens up and becomes a sprawling area with plenty of space.
    vi) The crowds make it really easy to overlook the lovely little Temple Athena Nike as you climb the Acropolis stairs. It’s high up on your right hand side.
    vii) Bring plenty of water, hat and sunscreen. In summer, it gets so hot and it so very exposed up on the Acropolis, with no reprieve from the sun. We saw one man selling bottled water behind the Parthenon but otherwise there was nothing.
    viii) The don’t-miss highlights include the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, The Theatre of Dionysus and the Herod Atticus Odeon. Miss any one of these and you’ll be disappointed.
    ix) Toilets do exist but are hidden away. We found a security guard who directed us to them.
    x) Wear flat, comfortable shoes with grip because the stony area around the Parthenon is quite slippery. I saw several people slip and it will wreck your day it you twist an ankle. The tricky thing is it doesn’t look slippery but because the marble’s been worn smooth by centuries of people walking over it, you can easily lose your footing.
    xi) They don’t give out maps or information at the ticket desk so if you’re not on a guided tour then bring a guide book, or download a map and information beforehand. At the very least stop at the information board near the entry gate and take a photo of the map there.
    Written December 3, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom9,332 contributions
    This is an absolutely spectacular museum, both in terms of its collection and its architecture.
    Visiting the Acropolis Museum is as important as visiting the Acropolis but I’d recommend doing them on separate days if you have the time. Both on the same day is total sensory overload.
    The highlight is the top floor, which is dedicated to recreating a ‘virtual’ Parthenon.
    A central structure matches the scale and proportions of the original and acts as a framework for the display of the Parthenon frieze, the metopes and the pediment statues. As you circle this replica Parthenon, you see them mounted in exactly the same position as they would be if they were still mounted on the real thing.
    Another highlight is the very beautiful caryatid ‘maiden’ statues from the Erechtheion. The ones at the Acropolis are only copies and you can only see them from a distance. At the museum, you see the real deal, up close. They have been recently cleaned using an intensive pulse laser ablation process (a short video explains how this was done). Only 5 are on display. A gaping space represents the missing one, taken by Lord Elgin for the British Museum.
    Before you leave, don’t overlook the excavation works that lie below the museum. When you exit, head down the ramp to your left which takes you underneath the museum. These are 5th and 7th century AD houses from an ancient settlements, uncovered during the museum’s construction. Although they are a secondary sight to the Museum’s collection, the display is excellent. You’ll need your museum ticket to enter so keep it handy.
    NOTE:
    * We went first thing in the morning when it opened and the line was very short.
    Strictly no photos in the main hall on the second floor. You can take photos everywhere else though.
    Entry is $15 in summer and it’s not included on the €30 combo ticket.
    Written December 4, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Richard M
    Hampstead Norreys, UK870 contributions
    The Parthenon is a world class monument and you can see why. The size, the location and the beauty of the columns and carvings are incredible. This is a must see in the world let alone in Athens. Go and marvel.
    Written November 26, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TravelbugVietnam
    Vietnam1,696 contributions
    Plaka is a great area for wandering. You can explore the narrow winding streets and discover unusual shops and restaurants. This is the oldest part of Athens and the oldest house is still standing.
    Written November 28, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • dese2
    Auburn, NY2,687 contributions
    We were part of a cruise group on tour when we visited. We had timed tickets and waited briefly outside. To enter we had to show our bags and purses. Large bags were not allowed inside. There is a free holding area for large bags with a doorway outside the museum entry door.
    We got to see three floors of the museum. There are free toilets inside if you need them.
    There is so much to see here plan at least a couple hours; maybe even a half day.
    The museum is over 8,000 square meters of display space according to an internet source. Some items are on permanent display while others are rotated.
    Having a guide to talk about the various pieces and periods was very helpful.
    Some signs do have some English explanation.

    Written November 25, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Richard M
    Hampstead Norreys, UK870 contributions
    The walk up to the Funicular walk was pretty steep but the trip was worth it for the incredible views across Athens. The small church was interesting but the views across the valley floor covered in Athens and out to the sea was worth the effort.
    Written November 26, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Richard M
    Hampstead Norreys, UK870 contributions
    As one of the most complete temples in Athens, this gives you an amazing sense of what some of the other more ruined structures would have looked like. The size is incredible and there are a lot of surviving carvings on the walls. Provides a great view over the Athenian Agora as well.
    Written November 26, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sarah F
    West Chiltington, UK36 contributions
    Amazing structure and good exhibition of Olympic torches inside. Steep steps to get upto seating area but well worth the view from the top.
    Written December 2, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jason S
    Melbourne, Australia4 contributions
    An amazing place to just wandering around and explore...incredible experience seeing the detail of ruins, many have fallen into disrepair while others have been well preserved over time, highlight of complex is Temple of Hephaestus and the museum area.

    Best to take your time and slowly walk through ruins, as there is so much to see, there are areas that you can sit and relax and just absorb the history, this is the second part of the acropolis complex and its certainly worth a few hours to fully take in all ruins and artifacts.
    Written December 2, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom9,332 contributions
    After the Parthenon, the Erechtheion is the next most popular sight on the Acropolis.
    It houses shrines to a number of different gods, including Athena, Zeus and Poseidon but it is most famous for the strikingly beautiful ‘Porch of the Maidens’ which features a set of graceful caryatids. These six figures may look like elegant, poised women but they are not just pretty faces. They function as columns and serve the very practical purpose of holding up the roof of the south porch.
    Each one stands with one leg slightly bent so that the folds of her robes flow easily. They all wear a loosely draped robe, pinned to the shoulders and caught in at the waist and show no sign at all of carrying the weight of the roof on their heads.
    You can only see the caryatids at a distance which is a shame but you can see the originals close-up at the Acropolis Museum. The originals look amazing because they have been recently cleaned using a pulse laser ablation system (a short video at the museum explains how this is done). Only 5 caryatids are on display. A gaping space represents the missing one which was taken by Lord Elgin and remains in the British Museum.
    You’ll see the Erechtheion on your left almost as you walk through the Propylaea gateway and enter the main Acropolis site.
    TICKET TIP: I’d highly recommend buying the combo ticket. At €30, it is excellent value. It lasts for 5 days and includes entry to 7 ancient sites. Entry to the Acropolis on its own is €20 so if it is your first time to Athens, it makes sense to buy this ticket (unless you’re here in winter when many sites are half price).
    Written November 28, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Oana
    Bucharest, Romania5 contributions
    Impressive.
    We visited it during our visit on the Acropolis. Definitely worth the visit. One can feel the history behind it.
    Written December 5, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • gerry g
    Dublin, Ireland39 contributions
    Stumbled on this restaurant while roaming the city and decided to pay an evening visit for dinner. Setting is amazing an eatery on steps with tables at every level and some inside also. Service was super friendly and the menu was similar to most of the venues in the area. . I had a pork kebab which was lovely but was ruined by the overloading of the plate with heaps of cheap cold fries. That was the only black mark. Enjoyed the ambiance but be warned that while sitting on the steps there is a huge footfall of tourists brushing past in the packed setting. Overall an eight out of ten. Sort the meal presentation and loose the frozen fries
    Written November 26, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • 975rebecca
    Cleveland, OH47 contributions
    Our family was looking for something smaller to visit our first day in Athens, while we were still exhausted from the overnight flight. This museum fit the bill, perfectly! We thought it was fabulous! To be fair, we are all kind of nerdy folks who love learning :) If you are a math and science aficionado - or a musician or engineer - you will love it too!. So many incredible inventions from the Greeks - from alarm clocks and door bells, to advanced weaponry and religious experiences. It is smallish, but full of things to learn. Cost of exhibits is reasonable, and staff explain many of the interesting pieces.
    Written November 20, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Tania F
    Darwin, Australia825 contributions
    Easy climb to the top. Amazing 360 degree view of Athens. Quite a few monuments and landmarks to see either on the way up or down. Nice place to stroll or sit and take in the view. Look out fur tortoises. 🙂
    Written November 24, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Laura S
    San Diego, CA2 contributions
    Great area. Easy to get to so many places. Make sure you have walking shoes and can handle it. My energetic 83 year old Mom couldn't. My 57 year old self struggled a bit. If staying in the square (We stayed at 360 Degrees Athens Hotel, which has been nice, clean and comfortable) bring really good earplugs. It is 2:00 am on Saturday night ( really Sunday morning) as I writing this and I can hear the night clubs and music outside and we have a back, "quiet" room and have tried two different kinds of earplugs. Yes, watch your wallet and all the other global travel precautions but enjoy what the area has to offer.
    Written October 7, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.