So next I moved away from the high end island life. Obviously now I was on a traveller’s budget so top villas weren’t so much an option for everywhere I went but I wanted to give you a flavour of various budgets, so now Athens.
I went for a more backpacker’s budget here being a city but aside from this I was still able to find some hidden gems. I stayed in “City Circus Athens” which was a hostel (well personally I’d class it more a hotel – it was so clean!) and one of the best rated on TripAdvisor. This hostel was based in a funky hip area of Athens and had an amazing view of the Acropolis! It’s a great option if you want to meet people as the hostel was very relaxed but had a great social element to it and we all ended up making great friends and going out to some amazing rooftop bars around the area (with the most beautiful sunsets).
You had the option of booking either a classic twin room, double/twin room, studio loft or if you wanted to be social 4,6 or 8 bed dorms which are either mixed/ or predominantly male or female. We booked this through booking.com but hostelworld also offer it and a few other sites. Here’s the link!
For those of you who want to explore further it’s also near Monastoraki Square where you can jump on the metro and travel around! (Metro is dead cheap and easiest way to travel personally) or even better… You can join the walking tour to brush up on your navigation around the city which Athens Backpackers offer – 10am start! Again, one of the guys at the hostel found out about this and it was definitely worth it!
Being one of the oldest cities in the world, I really recommend Athens to soak up the culture (3,400 years to be precise), there’s so much to explore like the Acropolis of Athens (and the museum – only 3 euros for students), the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus and many more… But do be aware all archaeological sites are closed on Sunday and the Acropolis Museum is closed on a Monday, so make sure you factor this in when planning your trip or it could be very annoying!
However, if you’re not so keen in Athens history/culture then there are some great shopping spots in Plaka/ Syntagma Square and Monastirak alongside some great weekend flea markets! To add to this, if you are a food and drink lover then try Psiri – endless rows of streets filled with café’s, restaurants, bars and clubs – it has a real buzz here!
And if you’re here in February its Apokreas Carnival Season from February 5th to February 26th where you’re no doubt bound to have a good time! This festival is described as a ‘festival of fun’ which traditionally is based around the Apokries and begins ten weeks before the Greek Orthodox Easter. If you do get the opportunity to visit then I’d love to hear from you!
Of course I cannot leave Athens without trying some traditional food, so this time I opted for a souvlaki sandwich in Monastiraki street (recommended from one of the guys in the hostel) it was mouth-watering! Now dependant on your taste in music you can carry on partying into the night here… they’ve got various different quirky bars playing a range of pop/jazz and rock mainly, but if that doesn’t suit your tastebuds Gazi Square has literally everything! We started a very messy bar crawl here, the rest of the night was just a blur.…
I got a lot out of Athens however something which really touched me was how close knit the community was. Every Friday cyclists gather together in Thission and cycle through the city! (usually just done in the summer) Everyone is welcome to join in and you don’t need to have a bike as many places have these to hire! Great for those who want to explore and get a real feel of the local life…
Whether you’re visiting Athens for 2 weeks, 1 week or a long weekend you definitely can explore it thoroughly in whatever time frame you have be it is at a more leisurely pace or a jam packed city break – I almost prefer these as you get a real buzz from it but really, my point is there is no excuse… Athens really has something for everyone whether you’re on a budget or not! And I can guarantee you will love it! Happy travels!