Athens is a city of contrasts, but it’s also one of opportunities across a very broad range of prices and without having to skimp on quality. Here’s a tried and tested plan for a full and rewarding day that will let you enjoy the city from early morning to late at night for just €100.
Rise and shine and head to Makryianni (Acropolis metro station, ticket €1.40). Start by fuelling up for an exciting day ahead. Combine a little exploration of the neighborhood around the Acropolis with grabbing breakfast to go from Takis Bakery (14 Misaraliotou), a few minutes’ walk from Dionysiou Areopagitou, where you’ll find delicious, freshly baked pies and sandwiches (around €3).
Head back to Dionysiou Areopagitou and visit the must-see Acropolis (€20). After the dizzying vistas from the Parthenon, head to the Acropolis Museum (€10) and, after seeing the exhibits, relax on the museum’s beautiful veranda under the Acropolis and have a coffee (€3.50).
For another, equally beautiful perspective of the city, take a stroll through the picturesque neighborhood of Anafiotika, first settled by workers from the island of Anafi in the mid-1800s. Enjoy the views from here and notice the pretty courtyards and the Cycladic-style architecture of the houses.
Next, head into Plaka in the direction of Syntagma Square and browse through the wide and colorful selection of souvenirs, from the downright gaudy to the wonderfully tasteful; you’ll find handmade décor items and attractive utilitarian objects, as well as beautiful clothing and accessories made by local designers.
In Syntagma Square, head for the Parliament Building to see the Changing of the Guard, or just snap a photo of the Evzones, the elite military branch that keeps watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A light lunchtime
It’s time to get a bite and kick back for a moment as the cogs in your brain process the many amazing things you have seen today! Take Mitropoleos Street a few blocks until you find yourself at 5 Pendelis Street, where you can order some mouthwatering souvlaki (€3.50) at “O Kostas”, the city’s highest-rated purveyor of such skewers, acclaimed for the quality of its ingredients and for the rich yet light flavor of the product. One bite and you’ll know why this place is a classic.
If you don’t fancy souvlaki, there are plenty of tasty budget alternatives in the greater Syntagma area, from ethnic street food to pastry shops with great savory pies (Ariston on Voulis Street is a traditional favorite among Athenians) to vegan places such as Avocado (snacks start at around €7).
Time for more culture! From Syntagma, walk towards Kolonaki along Vasilissis Sofias Avenue and visit the Benaki Museum (1 Koumpari) for an invaluable cultural experience that will offer you a better understanding of Greece’s cultural heritage (€12).
Reward time has arrived. Head up to Kolonaki Square or Dexameni Square (also in Kolonaki) to sit back and soak up the local atmosphere over an aperitif (around €6). For dinner, head to Alex Pasta Bar (16 Massalias), which serves scrumptious dishes featuring fresh homemade pasta (around €11 per main).
If you’re up for another drink, you can check out Exarcheia, where there are plenty of trendy bars such as Alexandrino, Warehouse, Santa Rosa and Tanini Agapi Mou serving well-mixed cocktails (€10) and quality wines (around €7).