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Athens, Greece

Europe: Round-the-World Travel Destinations

Budget Scale: 1-5

1-least expensive; 5-most expensive
4– While part of the Euro-zone, Athens is not one of the cities which burn a whole in your pocket. Sure, if you want a hotel room with a view of Acropolis, it will cost a lot. But there are always methods to cut the costs and you’ll be surprised how affordable the city is. But be prepared to part with some cash if you travel during the high season.

Indie Travel Scale: 1-5

1-not a good Indie Travel destination; 5-a great Indie Travel destination
3– Improvements in infrastructure over the last decade have helped travelers tremendously. It’s much easier to get around on your own, giving travelers a better opportunity to have an indie travel experience in Athens.

Indie Travel Tips
Follow these tips to have a truly indie experience when visiting Athens.

  • Athens is more pedestrian friendly than it used to be (though some areas are still very pedestrian unfriendly). Check out the mostly car free archeological walk that takes in many of the amazing sites.
  • Instead of paying for an expensive tour, rent an iPod Pocket tour audioguide to explore sites like the Acropolis. It’s much cheaper than hiring a guide, and you can go at your own pace.
  • Wander the winding streets of Athens, popping in and out of cafes and bars along the way.
  • Athens is a great place for art and culture. Explore the many smaller galleries, some of have combined with bars to offer coffee or other drinks.
  • Athens is surrounded by four mountains, providing plenty of opportunity for the outdoorsman. Hiking and biking in the various parks surrounding the city is a great way to get away from the traffic, smog, and tourist herds.

Why you should add Athens to your RTW travel list

  • Greek coffee will kick your arse
  • Get some culture, take in that “cradle of Western civilization” stuff
  • The Parthenon and the Acropolis look even cooler in person
  • Walk the same streets where Plato, Socrates and Hercules walked
  • Cheap wine, great food – hello, Greek food, try some!
  • From the city, soak in the sun and surf of the Greek Islands

Why you should not add Athens to your RTW travel list

  • Athens went from very affordable to quite expensive in the past decade, however the economic crisis meant that hoteliers are doing their best to attract tourists and that results in lower prices. Especially during the low season, you’ll be able to find very affordable places to stay. In the high season, it’s a bit of another story.
  • There will be instances when you’ll hold on to dear life when crossing the street – especially if you don’t use the pedestrian crossing – but, in general, you’ll be able to get around quite easily. If you don’t like the buses – which take ages to cross the busy city -, then the metro is a great way to get to the sites and all the way to the airport. Maps are excellent and they have the transliterated street names (Greek names in Latin characters) which makes it easy to get around because you’ll see the same names on the streets.

Are you heading to Athens? What do you need to do?

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