In Athens there is a metro, tram and buses. However, I didn’t use the buses and trams at all, and only used the metro to go to the outskirts of Athens. In the city itself I was only on foot.
The center of Athens, where you can find all the sights, is really tiny. You can easily reach everything there on foot.
Subway and tram
If you do take the metro, maybe to Piraeus, or take the tram to the beach, the tickets are very cheap. The ticket system is also pretty easy to figure out.
According to 3RJEWELRY, there is a 90-minute ticket that is valid for all destinations that you can reach in 90 minutes by metro or tram.
Of course there is one exception to this rule: the ticket is not valid for the airport! For this you need the ticket Athens Region and Airport 90 minutes.
You can get tickets in every metro station from the machines or at the ticket counter. The staff at the ticket counter speak Greek and English, and you can also select German at the machines.
These tickets are available in Athens:
Single trip: 1.40 euros
2 trips: 2.70 euros
5 trips: 6.50 euros
10+1 trips: 13.50 euros
At the machine, first select the language on the touchscreen, then tap on “Buy ticket” and then on 90 minutes. In the next step you can choose how many trips you want to have on the ticket. You then decide how many such tickets you need.
You only ever get one ticket that shows the number of trips you have selected. So you use the same ticket every time.
When you go to the platform, you need to scan your ticket. When you exit the metro at your destination, scan it again.
Before scanning, make sure you’re headed to the right platform. Not all metro stations allow you to change platforms without a new ticket if you entered the wrong way.
In addition to these tickets with individual journeys, there is also a day ticket for 4.50 euros and a 5-day ticket for 9 euros.
If for some reason you plan to take the metro or tram more often, these are definitely cheap options. In downtown Athens, however, these tickets make little sense for visitors, you certainly don’t drive that much.
Hop on hop off bus in Athens or to the beach
The blue hop-on hop-off bus conveniently not only travels around Athens, but there is also a line to the coast to Flisvos Marina and the beaches at Glyfada and Vouliagmeni.
The ticket is always automatically valid for two days. Drive around Athens for one day and hit the beach on day two.
You can find more information about the beaches that are easily accessible from Athens in my article The most beautiful beaches around Athens.
Pay and withdraw money
You can pay by card in the larger shops and at the sights. However, this is not possible in many restaurants or small shops. You shouldn’t travel cashless in Athens.
You can find ATMs almost everywhere. But make sure to withdraw money from an official bank machine. Some of the ATMs that do not belong to any bank charge horrendous withdrawal fees.
You also pay fees at the ATMs, but they are not too high. I used my EC card to withdraw money from a Piraeus Bank machine and paid a fee of 2.50 euros.
Athens is a pretty cheap place, with just a few museums and the Acropolis being price spikes on the higher side. Here I have an overview for you of the costs you have to expect in Athens:
Flight to Athens and back: 150 to 500 euros
Overnight stay in a good mid-range hotel: 80 to 170 euros
1 liter bottle of water at the kiosk: 1 euro
espresso at the coffee shop: 1 euro
cappuccino in the café: 4 euros
koulouri (sesame ring) : 0.50 to 1 euro
Dinner in the restaurant: 8 to 20 euros
Gyros pita at the booth: 3 euros
Glass of wine: 3 to 5 euros
0.4 liter beer: 2.50 to 5 euros
Acropolis: In summer 20 euros, 10 euros in winter
Other sights and museums: 5 to 12 euros
Metro ticket: 1.40 euros
What to pack for Athens?
Even if it can get very hot in Athens in summer, you should definitely have sturdy shoes with you. The Acropolis is definitely not suitable for flip flops. The various hills, from which you have a bombastic view, are more for sneakers.
Sunscreen and a hat should also not be missing in your luggage. When I was exploring the Acropolis, I underestimated the March sun and got sunburnt right away. In the summer you’d better not go up the Acropolis without a hat, there isn’t a single patch of shade up there.
Otherwise, you don’t have to think too much about packing. If you forget something, you can actually get everything in Athens that is also available in Germany. I was quite surprised in the supermarket how extremely similar the Greek range is to that of my Edeka in Düsseldorf.
You don’t need an adapter either, all German plugs fit into Athenian sockets.