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You probably know this already, but let’s just review it once more for emphasis: you don’t need to be rich to travel. In fact, it is perfectly possible to enjoy a city trip without breaking the bank. Even in Athens. While you may not be able to do every single thing on your list, you can still enjoy the city and everything it has to offer on a budget. Here’s your guide to appreciate Athens when your wallet is feeling a bit slim.
First off, you must visit the Acropolis. But don’t worry, the city has a few museums that are completely free. The Athens University History Museum, founded in 1987, has a wide collection of historical memorabilia, serving as an important guide to modern Greek history. The museum also hosts various lectures and conferences, as well as music and theater events and exhibitions. For the more musically inclined, the Museum of Greek Popular Instruments in Plaka is home to a 1,200-strong collection of Greek popular musical instruments. While the museum often organizes events and performances, visitors can drop by the museum shop to buy books, CDs and musical instruments.
Take advantage of one of the numerous free walking tours available in the city with the Meet A Local service, among others. By registering at least 72 hours before your arrival, you get to enjoy a local tour for free, discovering Athens beyond the ancient sights and unearthing secret spots and urban legends about the city.
The Central Market is an excellent place to visit, offering a chance to discover new food items and local spices. Arrive early to score the freshest produce. Located close by is the Monastiraki flea market, located off the eponymous square. Open every day, the market comprises shops offering a wide variety of goods such as clothes, old books, coins, vintage vinyl and other decorative items.
Located in the heart of the center off Aiolou street, Feyrouz is your gateway to oriental street food. Here you’ll taste delicious lahmajoun and peinirli, while the menu also includes soups and salads as well as deserts. This place is definitely ideal for grabbing food on the go.
Feyrouz, Agathonos 4 & Karori 23, Athens, Greece +30 21 3031 8060
Another great address for healthy street food at affordable prices is Falafellas. Located near Monastiraki, Falafellas serves fresh falafels wrapped in pita bread and topped with tahini sauce, lettuce, and cucumber as well as non-vegetarian falafels, tabbouleh and hummus. But be warned, this place is so popular you will likely need to arm yourself with patience to get an order in.
Falafellas, Aiolou 51, Athens, Greece +30 210 3239 809
Estrella is a breakfast bar where you can enjoy a hearty meal during the day. The menu includes breakfast pizzas, breakfast burgers, pancakes and other desserts such as the notorious bougatsan (a cross between a croissant and a bougatsa).
Estrella, Romvis 24Α, Athens, Greece +30 21 0321 8000
A famous gyros and souvlaki place in town located right next to Monastiraki square, Thanasis is a great place where you can sample a variety of dishes, although you should try the kebab as they are this eatery’s specialty.
Thanasis, Mitropoleos 69, Monastiraki, Athens, Greece +30 210 3244705
Probably one of the most popular places to stay, Athens Backpackers is perfect for groups, while the Athens Backpackers Studios offers accommodation options for longer stays equipped with a launderette. Just like any youth hostel, you can expect to meet like-minded adventurers whilst still enjoying a great location in the heart of the city.
Athens Backpackers Studios, Veikou 3A, Athens, Greece +30 210 9235811 (for studios)
Athens Backpackers, Makri 12, Athens, Greece +30 210 9224044 (for shared rooms)
Located in Agias Theklas street, in Psirri, AthenStyle is an ‘upscale’ hostel which attracts a diverse crowd of young people, families and couples. AthenStyle’s rooftop restaurant/café where guests have breakfast is one of the top terraces in town, offering all-encompassing views over the area and the Acropolis.
AthenStyle, Agias Theklas 10, Athens, Greece +30 210 322 50 10
In the heart of the lively district of Psirri, City Circus is a great hotel for visitors travelling on a budget. Guests can have breakfast and enjoy other meals at the hotel’s next-door restaurant, Zampano. City Circus also offers a variety of activities such as bar crawls, happy hour or even wine tasting sessions so you can mingle with locals and other fellow travelers.
City Circus, Sarri 16, Athens, Greece +30 2130 237244