Here's your guide to everything Athens, Greece. Visiting while volunteering in Europe is easy, and a choice you won't regret!
If you're volunteering in Europe with ILP there are tons of countries to check out on your vacations. Adding Athens, Greece to your list is easy because no matter where you are volunteering with ILP in Europe you can catch a flight and be there in no time!
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Keep reading to see why you should consider visiting Athens while volunteering abroad. You'll love it there! And, we'll fill you in on everything you need to know to make your trip happen!
What Do I Need To Know When Planning A Trip To Athens?
- When Should I Visit?
- How Do I Get There?
- How Long Should I Spend There?
- What's The Best Transportation In The city?
- Where Should I Stay?
- What Should I See And Do?
- Where Should I Eat?
When Should I Visit Athens?
The best time to visit Athens is between March and May and September to November. You'll almost be guaranteed beautiful weather and the tourist season hasn't peaked yet making it a slower time to visit.
How Do I Get To Athens?
No matter where you are volunteering with ILP the easiest way to get to Athens will be flying directly to the Athens airport. Flights will usually range from $150- $300 depending on where you are flying from and what dates you are looking at. Flights can get pricey so do your research. Here are tips to score cheap flights in Europe!
Greece in general is one of the more expensive vacation options in Europe, but we know so many of you have it on your bucket list! The flight is a big part of the budget for this trip.
From the airport to the city center, you have lots of options. There's a metro, 24/7 buses, and of course, a taxi. This website outlines these options in more detail so you can figure out which option works best for your itinerary and budget.
How Long Should I Spend There?
It's hard knowing how long you should spend in a city! In all honesty, you could do Athens in a day trip and hit the main sites. It would be a long day and you'll feel rushed, so we'd recommend more time (especially since there is so much to see and Athens is worth spending way more time in).
Spending two and a half days will give you time to see everything on your list, as well as have time to explore and get a real feel of the city.
What's The Best Transportation In The City?
Walk around on foot as much as possible! Walking will get you everywhere you need in Athens (it may just take longer!) and you will find things you would not have found by taking the metro.
The metro system is wonderful and will connect you to everywhere you want to see in the city. Use this to get to places fast if you are in a hurry or want to take a second to sit down and get off your feet.
Ticket price: The best deal for metro tickets is to get the 24 hour tickets! They're only 4.5 Euros, whereas a 90 minute pass is 1.40 Euros.
Where Should I Stay In Athens?
All of your basic needs will be covered and the hostel is in a great location to easily get into main attractions in the city. Past ILP Volunteers recommend Pella Inn and say "Pella Inn was great! Very accommodating and has a view of the Parthenon from it’s rooftop/select rooms!" Book here, via Hostelworld.
Another recommendation by our ILP volunteers, you'll find free breakfast at this hostel and had a good location. Book here, via Hostelworld.
City Circus has been known to go above and beyond to make your stay comfortable, and the unique funky decor will pull you in! The rooms are sparkling clean, they have AC, the staff is knowledgeable and helpful, and it's only a 20 minute walk to Acropolis, making it an awesome location. Book here, via Hostelworld.
This hotel is in a beautiful building with an early 1900's flare. It's clean, right next to The National Archaeological Museum and many other shops, has friendly staff, and will give you a great nights sleep so you can wake up early and explore Athens. Book here, via Hostelworld.
What Should I See And Do In Athens?
There's a lot to see and do in Athens, but here are some of our top picks that you can't miss!
First things first, grab a map when you get to the city so you can get around. The addresses are sometimes hard to find, but a map can show you exactly where you need to be headed and is a great way to point to where are trying to go when asking for directions!
Within the Acropolis complex there are several different things you can see! Make sure you don't miss these ones:
First up, you can't go to Athens and miss the Parthenon! The Parthenon was built in 432 BC and is an ancient temple for Athena. This is one of the oldest things you will ever see and is something not many people actually get to visit. Take time to visit and you'll feel like you been taken back through time.
Second, The Erechtheion is another temple found in the Acropolis. This one is dedicated to Athena(okay, popular lady!) and Poseidon. The Erechtheion has unique details that will make you truly appreciate the work put into these temples.
Address: Athens 105 58, Greece
Price: 20 Euros
Psst- here's a super helpful tip! If you are going to be visiting multiple archaeological sights look into getting this pass. It's 30 Euros and will cover your entrance into some major sights including the Acropolis (the Parthenon and the Erechtheion), Hadrian's Library, the Ancient Agora, and more. The pass may not be worth it depending on what you want to see, but check it out just in case!
The Agora-Athens Central Market
Want to see how the locals shop? Here's your place! This market it full of meat, fish, and produce(grab something to snack on!). Visit the market between 9 AM and 1 PM to see it in all its busy, beautiful glory!
Address: Athinas, Athina 105 51, Greece
The Plaka is the oldest neighborhood in Athens. It is a must visit and a beautiful, quaint place to troll through. The area is full of shops, artist galleries, and restaurants. It is really charming and a fun place to spend time relaxing and people watching.
Address: Because the Plaka is an area it's easiest to find it this way: There are two streets that intersect and are "the center" of The Plaka. Look for Kydathineon and Adrianou, their intersection is a good place to start exploring.
The Acropolis Museum
This museum is considered to be one of Greece's most important museums. With over 3,000 artifacts found in the Acropolis you will find amazing, ancient artifacts that date back thousands of years BC. It also offers great views of the Acropolis itself.
Price: 5 Euros
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece
This hill is the highest in the city will give you the best view! You can hike to the top (be prepared it's a steep walk!) and panoramic, gorgeous view await you! Don't worry, if hiking isn't your thing you can take the cable car to (almost) the top and bypass the hike. Walking down is fun and offers pretty views, though!
There's a restaurant on the hill, but the the food isn't that great. Bring a snack and grab good food in the city!
Price: 7 Euros for the cable car
Address: The easiest way to get there is taking a taxi (10 minute ride) to the base of the hill. Tel them you want to go to the hill and they will know where to take you!
The Flea Market of your dreams! This market it the perfect place or souvenir shopping. You will find cheesy, classic tourist things but also will stumble upon real antiques and beautiful art.
Sundays are a great day to visit the market if you happen to be there! If you do go on a weekend get there early! The market is open 8am-6pm and once 11 AM comes the market is packed with people.
Address: Take the metro to the Monastiraki Stop. That will put you right where you want to be.
Where Should I Eat?
Okay, lets be real here, food is one of the best parts about traveling! You have to try what every city is famous for, eat at the best restaurants, and try all the desserts. Here's what you need to eat in Athens.
Often, some of the best food around isn't in a fancy restaurant. That's the case in Athens! Try the street food for delicious, local food. There will be street carts throughout the city and especially by The Plaka and Monastiraki Market. Grab a couple snacks and see what you like best.
Greek Pies at Ariston
Greek Pies are a flaky pastry full of delicious vegetable and meat. Ariston offers over 100 different kinds with flavors originating from different regions of Greece. They are amazing and something you will desperately crave once you leave! Try the cheese pie called Kourou, you won't regret it.
Address: 10 Voulis Athina, 105 62 Greece
Falafel at Falafellas
Never had Falafel? Well, now you'll be spoiled because this is the best Falfel around! Flafellas is extremely popular, but don't let the long lines scare you away, it's good. So good.
The Falafel comes in two sizes, Pocket and Giant. Go big because you'll want as much as possible (trust me). They top their Falafel with eggplant, yogurt, tomato, lettuce, tomato sauce, and cucumber giving it even more flavor.
Address: 51 Aiolou Athina, 105 51 Greece
Greek Souvlaki at Kostas
In Greece you have to try Greek Souvlaki. If you've never had it, Souvlaki is meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer. Kostas makes a delicious souvlaki using pork. Then they put it on a fresh pita with tomato, yogurt, onion, and parsley. This restaurant was started by a man in 1950 and now his grandson runs it- cute!
Hours: Monday - Saturday 9am to 2pm
Address: 5 Pentelis Athina, 105 57 Greece
How does a semester abroad sound? Visiting Greece, taking a trip to Paris, seeing the waterfalls in Iceland? You can do all of that and more!
ILP volunteers get to call a city in Europe home for an entire semester, then have weekends off, free time, and vacation days to travel all over Europe. Click the button below to learn more about ILP and how your trip can actually be possible!