Eco-friendly travel guide to Athens advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Athens, Greece.
- Air quality: 3 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 4 / 5
- Public transportation: 4.5 / 5
- Parks: 4.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.5 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$80 - $450
- Budget per day: US$50 - $230
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Athens, the capital city of Greece is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is an education hub for students and people in archaeology, history, and other such areas. To travel eco-friendly in Athens and fulfil your duty as a responsible tourist, here are some of the things that you can do;
- Since the 2015 forest fires, the Athenian government has started to emphasize on protecting the environment. The use of electric vehicles and reusable items is generally promoted in Athens. As a tourist, you should try to protect the environment by using articles and things that are recyclable and reusable.
- Before you book a hotel for your stay in Athens, make sure to prefer eco-friendly or Green Hotels.' These hotels are friendly to both the environment and your pocket.
- Another way to travel responsibly and have lots of fun is by preferring local businesses such as the local street food vendors, handicraft stores/vendors, eco-fashion stores, etc. These places will enable you to learn about the culture and people while playing your responsible tourist role.
- To efficiently play your role as a responsible tourist, you should prefer travelling through public transport such as trams, metro, local buses, bicycles, and trains. The effect of travelling like this on the environment is comparatively lower than the taxis, cars, and other personal vehicles. Using public transportation, will save lots of money and you will get great insights into the local people's livelihood.
Besides these, you can do some more things to enhance your experience and travel responsibly. Do prior research on the places that you want to visit and how you will get there. Doing so will help you follow your budget plan and avoid any wastage of money. Before visiting, make sure to pack clothes according to the weather in Athens to prevent any discomfort. Prefer not to make any advance payments without seeing the place by yourself first.
Air Quality and Pollution
Athens is considered as one of the most polluted cities in Europe. The increasing pollution rates in Athens are due to the 2015 forest fires that made the city's air pollution levels higher than before. There are currently two particular types of pollution recognized in Athens; High concentration of particles and photochemical smog. Because of such high rates of air pollution, Athens' air quality isn't the best one. Those tourists, who have any respiratory disease or problem such as Asthma, should avoid visiting the city.
Although several measures are taken to resolve the situation, the air quality will take some time to get better. The city centre and other urban packed areas of the city are recognized as the most polluted areas. If you wish to get fresh and clean air in Athens, prefer visiting the outskirts and the hilly regions. These areas have the least level of air pollution, and air quality is also better than the city's crowded places.
Currently, the pollution in Athens has dropped from a high to moderate range. Here are the statistics from the World Health Organization for air pollution in Athens as of September 2020;
- PM10 - 40
- PM2.5 - 15
- PM10 Pollution Level - Moderate
- Pollution Index: 56.91
- Pollution Exp Scale: 103.74
Respect the Culture
Athens is considered as an influential city of the Classical period. The local culture of Athens is one of the most unique cultures around the world. Athenian people are some of the friendliest and welcoming ones in the country. While visiting and exploring the city, you need to respect the culture and the people. Only by doing this can you enhance your Athens experience. Here are some ways to experience the local Athenian culture while showing respect to it.
- Visit the Dora Stratou Greek Dances Theatre: Dora Stratou is a well-known artist in Greece whose influence on traditional Greek dancing and folk music is considered quite valuable. While visiting the place, you should watch a performance. It will help you learn about the Greek culture at a deeper level.
- Visit Odeon of Herodes: Herodeon is a Roman amphitheatre that can be found on the southern side of the Acropolis. Many concerts, performances, and events take place there. Visiting and watching a performance will give you deep insights into the Greek culture's culture, history, and traditions.
- Visit Athens Central Market (Varvakeios Agora): Located on Athinas Street, the market sprawls with lines of food vendors that serve the street food delicacies. You can indulge in all kinds of Greek foods and other international street foods.
- Experience a Symposium: A symposium is a large gathering of people that indulge in open discussion. By taking part in it, you will learn more about the local Greek culture, the locals' livelihood, and even learn interesting facts about the city and Greek history.
By getting a first-hand experience of these things, you will better understand Athens's local Greek culture. Doing so will also make you respect people's way of living and understand the city's significance and its people.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world and possesses history spanning back to 3,400 years. The town is quite popular amongst those who look for an adventure. The beautiful islands, pristine waters, white-sand beaches, green forests, and historically significant places make it one of Europe's most visited cities.
- The Acropolis: Dedicated to the Goddess Athens, the monument is the temple of Parthenon. It is a significant symbol of the Greek civilization as well as Athens. The place is the ideal place for those who want to explore and learn about history on a first-hand basis.
- Temple of Hephaestus: It is one of the most beautiful places in Athens. It is dedicated to the Greek God of volcanoes, fire, and blacksmiths. Unlike other temples, the Hephaestus temple is well preserved-one and offers excellent insights into Ancient Greece civilization.
- Olympieion: Also called the Temple of Olympian Zeus, it is considered as the largest temple of Ancient Greece and dates back to the sixth century B.C. The temple has colossal marble columns that support the structure. Only 15 of these columns remain to date.
- Panathenaic Stadium: The Panathenaic Stadium is the place where the first Olympic Games of 1896 were held. The building dates back to 335 BC and is considered the largest facility of Ancient Athens. The modern-era stadium is a replica of the ancient Panathenaic stadium and hosts many concerts and events daily.
- Athens Riviera: Athens Riviera is the perfect place for those who wish to get away from the city's hustle-bustle and spend some peaceful time by themselves. The area offers beautiful scenic beaches with crystal clear waters and golden sand.
- Lycabettus Hill: The hilltop is considered as the highest point of Central Athens and gives panoramic views of the city. It consists of various hiking and trekking trails, as well as a funicular railway for easy travel.
- Areopagus Hill: Located opposite the Acropolis, it was the homicide court of Athens. Today, the hill is quite popular as it gives fantastic views of the Acropolis and the ancient Agora. It is also a great place to get breathtaking sunset views.
- Flisvos Marina: Flisvos Marina isn't a place just for yacht owners; it is an entertainment destination for the general public. It is the best place to enjoy a peaceful walk or cycling and indulge in some local food and drinks.
- Plaka and Anafiotika: These two neighbourhood areas of Athens are the best examples of Ancient Greek architecture and society. It consists of many small cafes, cobbled streets, and cute little houses.
As part of the oldest cities in the World, Athens is the most visited city in Europe. The town offers various opportunities to the tourists and the locals to experience the Ancient culture, diverse cuisines, sunny beach coasts, and the hospitable people. Many places in Athens are must-visit ones.
Visiting these places will help you explore and learn about the history, culture, and significance of the area on a first-hand basis. It is an oasis for every kind of traveler as it offers both natural and urban places that will make your visit a memorable one. While exploring, you will be able to indulge in the world-famous Greek cuisines that will only enhance your Athens' experience.
- Pedion tou Areos: The park was made in honor of the heroes of the Greek Revolution in 1934. It is the largest public park in Athens. The name 'Pedion tou Areos' means 'Field of Ares.' It covers over 27.7 hectares of land and consists of many statues of kings, soldiers, goddesses, etc.
- Pnyx Park: Pnyx park is a great place to spend some peaceful time. It is an exceptionally prominent place as many orators such as Aristides, Demosthenes, and Pericles delivered their speeches at the hill. You will be able to get a peaceful atmosphere without any interference.
- Flisvos Park: Located right next to the sea, Flisvos Park is a beautiful park equipped with modern playgrounds, outdoor exercise pieces of equipment, and fantastic sea views.
- Diomedous Athens’ Botanical Gardens: It is one of those least explored parks in Athens, covering about 500 acres of land filled with various plants, trees, and flowers. It homes many ancient plants such as hemlock plant, Dionysus ivy, and many medicinal plants.
- Stavros Niarchos Park: It is one of the city's newest parks in Athens, and the main objective of the park is to provide a respite from the urban concrete. It includes green spaces with flowers, pine trees, fountains, and canals that will let you relax in the lap of nature and forget all your worries.
- Zappeion Garden: Located right next to the National Garden of Athens, it is another oasis for nature lovers. It consists of a neoclassical building called Megaron, which was built to host the Olympic Games. Although the place is reconstructed, a trip to Athens can't go without visiting these beautiful gardens.
- National Gardens: The park is quite popular amongst locals and tourists as it is located right in the city's heart as it is a national feature. It is the ideal spot for picnics and strolling. There are many places to discover in the garden, such as the duck ponds, small zoos, fountains, and the grasslands that will provide you will a peaceful and enchanting vibe.
- Schinias National Park: It is a must-visit place famous as the home of an Ancient and rare ecosystem in Attica. It covers about 13.84 square kilometers and includes a wetland, a freshwater spring, a coastal pine forest, a hill, a peninsula, and a beautiful bay.
- National Park of Parnitha: Located about 25 kilometers north of Athens, it homes many beautiful caves, diverse wildlife, hiking trails, and hiking lodges. It is marked as Europe’s ‘Natura' site and is well maintained and preserved.
- Glyfada Beach: It can be located about 10 miles south of the city center and is a great place to relax and get refreshed. It is a cluster of beaches and can be easily reached using public transports such as the tram from Syntagma Square. You can also take part in water sports activities that will enhance your Athenian experience.
- Akanthus Beach: It is the hub of Athens' nightlife as the entire beach becomes a party hotspot at night. The place is equipped with comfy sun-beds and bars. The day time is peaceful when compared to night time. You can also indulge in various water sports and outdoor activities as well.
- Varkiza Beach: It is free to access the beach and can be found about 14 miles away from Athens' city center. It's a great place to relax, and you can even eat some mouth-watering Greek seafood.
- Flisvos Beach: It is the closest beach to the city center of Athens and isn't the most peaceful one as it can be quite crowded at times. To get a better and relaxed experience, prefer the up-market marina where many cafes and restaurants can be found.
- Monument of the Unknown Soldier:Located in the Syntagma Square by the Hellenic Parliament building, the tomb honors the Greek soldiers lost. A special ceremony is performed in honor of the soldiers, which will help you learn about Greece's rich history when Monarchy ruled it.
- Monument of Philopappos: It is an ancient Greek mausoleum dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince from the Commagene Kingdom. It can be found on Mouseion Hill, in the southwest of the Acropolis.
- Omonia Square: It is a central square in Athens and is one of the oldest ones in the city. It is located in the town's central area, where the intersection of Athens' six main streets; Panepistimiou, Stadiou, Athinas, Peiraios, Agiou Konstantinou Street, and Septemvriou Street.
- Kerameikos Cemetery: Also called as Ceramics, is a vast area where numerous funerary sculptures are erected along with the graves. It can be easily found in the Acropolis northwest region and extends beyond the ancient city walls. It is an important archaeological site as well.
- Hadrian’s Arch: Commonly called as Hadrian’s Gate, the arch was built to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. It is a historically significant monument that names Theseus and Hadrian as the founders of Athens.
- Theatre of Dionysus: It is an ancient theatre of Athens that can be found on the Akropolis hill's south slope. It is an archaeological site and is part of the Dionysos Eleuthereus sanctuary.
- National Archaeological Museum: It is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and showcases the Greek civilization from the pre-history period through the classical period to late antiquity. It can be found on Patission Street in Athens.
- Benaki Museum: One of Athens' prominent museums, it houses art and collectives of the Greek civilization dating back to prehistoric times. The museum also houses modern art pieces. There are no entry charges for children but adults, senior citizens, and students; there is a 5-7 Euro fee.
- Museum of Cycladic Art: It is a modern building that looks like it is made of marble and glass. The museum's collection showcases the Ancient Greek art, Cyclades' Ancient art, and Cypriot's art beautifully. These artifacts can be dated back to the 6th century B.C. The museum is located on Neophytou Douka Street in Athens.
- New Acropolis Museum: It is about a decade old museum that can be found at the Acropolis hill. It showcases the findings from the Acropolis that include various sculptures and articles from the Parthenon.
- Byzantine and Christian Museum: Founded in 1914, the museum houses more than 25,000 exhibits that include collections of pictures, scriptures, sculptures, and frescoes from the early Christian period to the late medieval era. It can be found near the Ancient Agora, on Sofias Avenue.
Tourism in Athens can never be complete without exploring and indulging in the mouth-watering Greek food. Almost every square, park, and other public place have lined up vendors, cafes, and restaurants that serve a wide variety of food. You will find that these places serve Greek dishes and many Jamaican, Indian, American, Asian, French, and Italian dishes. The city is packed with vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafes that serve equally mouth-watering delicacies for those diet conscious ones.
Unlike other cities, non-vegetarian dishes are not as prominent in Athens as people prefer simple food such as falafels, pies, bread, mushrooms, beans, etc. As Greece's capital city, seafood availability is also quite good and is considered a healthy lifestyle. The restaurants, tavernas, cafes, and other dining places range from traditional to modern style, and many are decades old and still follow the old traditional recipes.
Traditional Local Restaurants
- Klimataria: Klimataria is one of the oldest tavernas in Athens that date back to 1927. It can be found next to Klimatari, Athens' first indoor theatre. You will be able to enjoy mouth-watering classic Greek dishes such as roast lamb and potatoes with garlic, onion pie, fried cheese (saganaki), tomato sauce rooster with home-made mashed potatoes, etc. The place gives an earthy and homely feel that will enhance your experience to the next level.
- Anapsiktirio: It is a family-run eatery that serves traditional Greek food. The restaurant can be found on Sarri Street. It is run by a brother-sister duo who serves one traditional dish per day that often includes pork chops, chickpea soup, etc.
- Athinaikon: It is an old Athenian institution that was founded by three legendary chefs from Smyrna in 1923. Today, the place's ownership lies in different hands, but the traditional food and ambiance have remained the same. Grilled sardines, lakerda, crab croquettes, etc. are some of the restaurant's best dishes.
- Diporto: It is one of those places in Athens that don't need any advertisement to attract customers. The restaurant has a unique ambiance that gives off a retro feel. Fried sardines, potatoes cooked in red sauce, stewed beef, etc. are some of the restaurant's specialties.
- Kitsoulas Taverna: It is another old taverna of Athens which dates back to 1946. The taverna is quite a popular place amongst both locals as well as tourists. It is usually full-packed, even during weekdays. It is a family run business and serves simple food such as cabbage rolls, lamb fricassee, stuffed courgette, fasolada, stuffed tomatoes, etc.
- Ouzeri Lesvos: If you want to indulge in traditional Athenian seafood, Ouzeri Lesvos is one of the best places to visit. It serves fresh clams, velvety fava with freshly chopped shallots, mint-infused meatballs, and meatless courgette patties.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Lime Bistro: Located in the Gazi district of Athens, it is a unique restaurant that serves raw food dishes. The dishes on the menu emphasize a healthy macrobiotic-alkaline diet free of animal derivatives and conservatives.
- I.T.: Located in Kolonaki Street of Athens, it is a haven for vegetarians. The restaurant's menu serves pure vegetarian food primarily for the diet conscious and vegetarian people who visit. It is a laid-back place with retro-styled furniture and a live music venue.
- Roots Food and Culture: It is a vegan restaurant that can e found in the Exarcheia Street of Athens. I.T. serves a wide range of vegan dishes with vibrant Jamaican flavors. The menu includes sweet potato burgers with peanut lime sauce, turmeric-spiced Jamaican patties, etc.
- Kiouzin: It is a vintage-styled restaurant that serves traditional Greek dishes without meat and with a unique twist in each one. The menu includes wheat-free bread, gluten, and meat-free dishes.
- Cookoomela Grill: It is Athens' one of the best vegetarian restaurants. The restaurant serves Cookoomela, which means 'Morchella mushroom' in Greek. It can be found on Themistokleous Street and has a sole owner named Antonis Margaritis.
- Avocado: It is a unique restaurant that serves dishes of Asian, Greek, and Indian influence. The vegetarian restaurant menu includes smoothies, rice dishes, pasta, pizza, and many more delicious dishes to make your taste-buds dance.
- Yi, Glyfada: Located in Glyfada's heart, it is Athens' most popular seaside resorts that serve meat-free delights. The restaurant serves dishes made of locally sourced ingredients along with organic juices, wines, and beers.
- Nice n Easy Seaside: It is a laid back restaurant that can be found overlooking the Astir Beach. It serves organic food such as root vegetable wedges, sweet potato gnocchi, and fresh mushrooms.
- Souvlaki: It is not only the most famous street food dish in Athens but in the world as well. Souvlaki is a pita wrap with grilled meat inside. The Agias Irinis Square is the best place in Athens for trying local Athenian Souvlaki
- Pies: Pies in Greek can be traced back to the Ancient Greek period, where it was part of the local people's daily diet. Since then, the pies were made with simple ingredients like honey, cheese, and olive oil, but today, you will find that pies come in various flavors and with a wide variety of ingredients. 'The Pie Shop' is often considered as the best place to indulge in local Greek pies. The Ermou Street houses many restaurants, cafes, and other dining places that serve these famous pies made with essential Greek ingredients.
- Koulouri: It is a traditional delicacy in Greece made with just flour, water, salt, sesame seeds, and yeast. Athenians eat Koulouri all the time as it comes with both savory and sweet flavors. The 'To Koulouri Tou Psirri' bakery is the most famous bakery in Athens that serves Koulouri and can be found in the Psirri neighborhood.
- Greek Fish & Seafood Meze: The fried fish in a cone is the Greek way of ‘fish and chips’ and is a recent addition to Athens’ street food. It is considered a healthy and nutritious food by both the locals and the tourists. Fish in a cone often includes traditional Greek meze of grilled octopus, which is also very popular amongst those who want to stay away from meat.
- Falafel: It is the most famous Greek street food dishes in the world of Greek cuisine. It is a vegetarian dish consumed in a wrap of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tahini sauce, yogurt sauce, red sauce, aubergine, etc. The 'Falafellas' is the most popular shop in Athens, serving Falafel and is usually crowded by locals and tourists.
- Loukoumades: It is a popular street food amongst those who have a sweet tooth. It is a Greek donut-like dessert that can be dated back to 1923 when it was first made in Athens in a small pastry shop called 'Krinos.' The shop can be found in the Aiolou Street and still serves loukoumades with its traditional shape and recipes.
Some vendors serve other than these local Greek street foods, American street food like hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches. Some restaurants serve other International street foods from Italian, Indian, Asian, Latin American, Mexican, French, and British food. These places are also quite popular amongst locals and tourists that want to broaden their tastebuds' experience.
There is no shortage of alcohol and other city drinks. You will find that many decades-old bars and breweries that serve many unique and popular liquors. These places are the ideal ones to visit if you want to experience the alcoholic drinks in Athens. The alcoholic beverages are relatively cheap, going as low as 3 Euro per glass.
The western drinking culture has also seeped in Athens, and you will also be able to find many pubs and bars serving cocktails and other special drinks. These non-alcoholic drinks are priced higher than the alcoholic ones by 10 Euros. You will discover that Athenians are avid drinkers, but you will seldom find them participating in public drinking. The young men, women, girls, and the tourists are the ones that can be found indulging in the local drinking culture. Here are some bars, pubs, and clubs considered some of Athens' best ones for drinking.
- Baba au Rum (Bar)
- The Speakeasy Athens (Jazz Club)
- The Gin Joint (Bar)
- 42 Bar (Bar)
- Noel (Bar)
- The Lazy Bulldog Pub (Pub)
- MoMix Bar Kerameikos (Bar)
While drinking in Athens, try to be vigilant about your surroundings and make sure that pickpockets don't steal your valuable belongings such as your wallet and passport.
As Greece's capital, the city's tap water is one of Greece's safest and drinkable ones. The water quality is so good that the locals drink it directly from the tap. The primary source of tap water comes from surface water, but other sources include boreholes as well. Lake Marathon and Yliki are the primary surface water sources of the city tapped through the Boyati tunnel.
The Mornos and Evinos Reservoirs are also tapped through tunnels to supply tap water in the town. The EYDAP manages the local supply of tap water, a merger of the Hellenic Water Company, and the Greater Athens Sewerage Organization.
There are many cafes in the city of Athens that are quite popular amongst both locals and tourists. You will find that these local cafes serve lots of Greek delicacies and baked goods. A lot of these cafes also do organic foods that are produced using organic farming techniques. You will find that the coffee in Athens is considered as the most expensive one in Europe. Many people believe that the price of coffee is usually high because of sitting and service charges. Here are some popular organic cafes in Athens that will enhance your experience.
- Bamboo Vegan
- PURE Juice Bar
- Roots Foods and Culture
As the capital and oldest city of Greece, you will find that there are many decades old breweries and industries that follow traditional methods to produce alcohol and beer. Unlike other European cities where there are age restrictions or a legal drinking age, you will find no such thing in Athens. Ouzo is Greece's national alcoholic beverage and is widely consumed by both locals and tourists in Athens. It is an anise-flavored aperitif that is considered relatively more robust than most liqueurs in Europe.
- Noctua Brewery Athens
- Athenian Brewery S.A.
- Alea Brewing Co.
- The Local Pub
- Olympic Brewery S.A.
You can also visit these breweries and find out the whole process and tradition of making the beverages.
Situated between mountains and home to many historically and culturally significant landmarks, you will find that there are many activities to indulge in other than the sight-seeing and tours. Athens is also one of Europe's most popular tourist places, which is why exercises like windsurfing, snorkeling, hiking, bungee jumping, sailing, etc. are prevalent, and both locals and tourists like to indulge in them. You can opt for visiting nature parks and reserves that offer special activities such as bird watching and boating. If you are more into adrenaline-filled activities, then here are some more things that you can indulge in and get your heartbeat faster than ever.
- Snorkeling boat excursions in Nea Makri
- Half-Day Sailing Trip in the Athenian Coastline
- Mountain Biking in Parnitha Mountain
- Tandem Skydiving in Kastro
- Scuba Diving in Nea Makri
- Tandem Paragliding flight in Plataies
- Sea Kayaking in Athens
- Mountain Bike tours in Hymettus Mountain
- Sailing Tours from Athens
While visiting such places, try to avoid local taxis as they often overcharge tourists and exploit them. Prefer traveling in groups and using public transports that will not only be cost-effective, but you will also be able to avoid troubles.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga is comparatively new in Greece as Greeks regarded it with deep suspicion. The locals believed that yoga is an outlandish practice that can brainwash people and make them leave their traditional beliefs. But as time passed, yoga became instant popularity amongst Greeks. You will find that almost every block and neighborhoods have some yoga or pilates classes. You will find that some outstanding yoga schools are taught by experienced teachers and are quite affordable. Here are some reputable and experienced schools in Athens for Yoga and Pilates classes.
- Ashtanga Yoga Athens
- Hot Ashram Yoga Studio
- Evergreen Yoga Studios
- Ayama – Yoga House
The accommodation facilities in Athens are some of the very best in the country. There are accommodations for tourists, such as solo travelers, backpackers, campers, families, couples, and even women. There are many diverse options, even for budget travelers, to make their trip and stay convenient and comfortable. The city center area has some of the most accommodation facilities ranging from grand hotels to guest houses.
You can also try couch-surfing, which is a new trend of sleeping at someone else's house for a particular period. Couch-surfing can be free or charged one, depending upon the host. To make your accommodation more comfortable and convenient, prefer doing advanced research and inquiry before visiting Athens. It will help you in avoiding wastage of time and resources. Also, avoid advance payment at the most, or you might get scammed.
With the recent widespread green hotel or eco-hotel concept, many hotels in Athens have converted themselves into environmentally friendly and sustainable hotels. Although the investment of recycling can be costly, it has proved to be very beneficial in the long run. The hotels can generate higher profits and maintain cost-effectiveness. Using environment-friendly products and managing the carbon footprint is essential in the modern era.
- The Athens Gate Hotel: It is an environmentally friendly hotel in the center of Athens. It can be found opposite the ancient gates of Athens and the Olympieion. It is awarded the Green Key eco-label and uses environmentally friendly products.
- Novotel Athens: It is located in the Athens' city center area and is about a five-minute walk from the metro station. It is a four-star family-friendly hotel. The hotel's services are all eco-friendly, and they keep in mind the sustainable use of the resources.
- Amalia Hotels Athens: It is one of the best green hotels in Athens and can be found on Amalias Avenue. The hotel is equipped with friendly staff that maintains hygiene and resource utilization using environment-friendly and recyclable products.
- New Hotel: Located on Syntagma Street, it is one of the best green hotels in Athens. They follow the eco-practices by reducing the waste, conserving their resources by optimum utilization, and playing a useful role in involving the local community by maintaining social responsibility.
- Electra Palace Athens: Located in Nikodimou Street, an eco-friendly hotel is built to maintain and minimize the natural environment and society's impact. They also provide recyclable and environment-friendly products to their customers to reduce the wastage of resources
Hostels and Guest Houses
For those who prefer to stay at places where they can get the best experience of the local Athenian culture, the hostels and guest houses serve to fulfill such desires of the tourists. These places are cheaper than hotels and can maintain the proper utilization of their resources without much effort. These places are ideal for backpackers and solo travelers.
- City Circus: Ideal for backpackers and solo travelers is a cheap hostel than is often considered classier than many Athens' grand hotels. There are about eight-bed dorms across the 19th-century townhouses and serve wholesome food to the residents.
- Bed Station: It is a modern hostel complex that is located at the heart of Athens. It is quite popular amongst backpackers because of the cozy rooms and traditional balconies for breakfast.
- Bedbox Hostel: Ideal for couples, solo travelers, and women offers a shared lounge and bar for rest. It can be found in the Psiri district and is just a few minutes' walk away from the National Garden and other popular tourist spots.
- In Athens: Located between the National Gardens and Plaka's old town, is a 22 room guest house with modern interiors. It is the best guest house in Athens because of its prime location.
- Antonio’s Guesthouse: It is a beachfront venue of Calangute beach near the temple of Hephaestus. Located in the Koukaki district, and it is an ideal place for those who are traveling in groups. It provides free access to WiFi and is one of the best guest houses in Athens.
- The Frogs Guesthouse: Located in a prime location in Athens, the guest house is just a few minutes' walk from the city center, Ermou Street, Monastiraki Flea Market, Ancient Agora, and Roman Agora. The guests are provided with free breakfast and WiFi for a convenient stay.
If you stay in Athens for a more extended time it will be more convenient for you if you rent out an apartment. Hotels, guest houses, hostels, and other temporary accommodations might not be budget-friendly, and you will not be able to get the best experience of the local culture and environment. While looking to rent an apartment in Athens, you need to keep in mind the amenities and facilities you need.
Prefer looking for an apartment closer to the city center as those apartments have the best facilities. You can easily access the public places such as the shopping malls, flea markets, food and produce markets, metro station, and other such sites. Also, before paying, make sure to inspect the apartment and the building and the owner. Doing so will help you in avoiding any scam or exploitation activities.
Couch-surfing is a relatively new concept of accommodation and is quite popular in Athens. Couch-surfing refers to sleeping and using the facilities of someone's home for the particular time the host and the guest have mutually agreed. It is quite a popular and convenient mode of accommodation and helps in saving money.
Most Athenians are welcoming and friendly in nature and love to help tourists learn about their culture, history, and places. You will find that the hosts are often college students who often let tourists stay home by charging some small amount. Before you visit Athens, prefer to see a couch-surfing place and set a deal beforehand to avoid any discomfort or problems.
Athens is filled with forests, grasslands, and nature parks that serve are ideal places for camping. People who prefer the camping way of life will get ample opportunities for a nature vacation with cost-effectiveness. There are many areas and lodges right by the sea that are the ideal places for nature lovers. There are many organized campsites in Athens, such as Camping Athens, Camping Dionisiotis, Camping Nea Makri, etc. that provide genuine outdoor vacation experience while indulging in the local culture and exploring the unique landscapes. Here are a few areas that are quite popular amongst campers.
- Nea Kifissia: Located in Athens's northern suburbs, it is a lush green location and just a few minutes' walk from the city center, traditional Greek restaurants, swimming pools, and Piraeus's port. You will be able to get relaxed and laid back feel amid nature. The place is free of access throughout the year with a family-friendly atmosphere and clean facilities.
- Varkiza: Located on the coast of Attica, it is one of the most beautiful places for camping. You will be able to get panoramic views of the Saronic Gulf waters and indulge in water sports such as scuba diving, windsurfing, swimming, etc. It has a friendly atmosphere and a peaceful ambiance.
- Sounio: Located right next to the sandy beach near the Temple of Poseidon and the ancient town of Labrion, it is one of the most popular campsites in Athens. You will be able to indulge in activities such as fishing and windsurfing. Many unique activities and adventures in nature also occur at the Lavrion Technological and Cultural Park, helping you explore nature's beauty.
- Nea Makri: A pebbly and sandy beach area under olive and palm trees; it is an eco-friendly and pet-friendly campsite that is open throughout the year. It is the best place for families that wish to spend some quiet and carefree outdoors.
How to Get There
As the capital city, Athens has some of the best transport facilities. The transportation network of Athens is considered as some of the most excellent ones in Europe. These facilities are quite diverse, and you will be able to choose one that is most affordable and suitable to your needs. If you are on a tight budget trip, then prefer using public transportations at the most as they are priced at reasonable costs and also provide the best service.
The airline companies of Athens offer flights to places inside and outside the country. Aegean Air is a significant and prominent airline that has transportation options of about 153 destinations. Flights from major airports like London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Istanbul, Rome, Dubai, Milan, etc. are common at Athens International Airport. After you reach Athens airport, you can opt for taxis, express airport buses, and metros but don't prefer the taxis as they can be quite expensive and you should try to avoid them at all costs.
There are many bus services in Athens for all types of purposes. You can take a tour bus to get a tour of the city or use them as public transportation to get to any particular place. You can also use bus services to visit other towns in Athens. The bus services are a comparatively cheaper and comfortable way of transportation
Although the local Athenians don't use the trains for everyday transport, they are used for transportation to areas inside and outside the city. You will find that some commuter rails can be found in some towns like Patras, Larissa, and Edessa. Traveling through trains will help you explore and learn about the city in a better way. These trains are ideal for tourists who want to explore the city and neighboring areas. You can opt for a train tour through various prominent towns and provide an excellent tourist time. These might not be the most affordable transportation mode, but cause less harm to the environment and convenient use.
Hitch-hiking is a common practice in Athens as mountains surround the city, and many locals and tourists like to explore these areas on foot. Athenians are welcoming and friendly people; you will find that many drivers often help hitch-hikers out of courtesy. There are low cases of robbery and carjackers, which is why hitch-hiking is quite common in Athens. Unlike other countries where one can ask for a lift by showing of thumb, it can be considered offensive in Greece. A small wave of the hand is the better way of asking for a ride while hitch-hiking in Athens.
Besides these basic transportations, you can opt for tramcars, boats, and cruise ships for areas where you can't use airlines, buses, or trains. Yachts and cruise ships can be used to get to the many Islands off the mainland's shore. They are more straightforward and can be cost-effective ones as well. You should avoid taxis and rented car services as they harm the environment, and tourists are often overcharged. Therefore, they prefer the public and efficient ways of transportation rather than cars and taxis.
The best way of moving around and exploring a city is by walking as you will be able to get the best experience of the local culture and save money from public transports. The most common mode of moving around the city is the metro line that can reach almost all prominent areas. You will hardly face any problem moving around the town as the locals are amiable and will help you out without much effort. You might encounter the language barrier as the locals speak Greek. You can use a translation application or sign language to communicate with the locals.
Walking is the right way to explore and move around Athens. For those with a budget, hiking and exploring the city will help them get a first-hand experience studying and learning about the culture, history, cuisines, and the locals. Places where public transports cannot reach, such as narrow streets and hilly areas, walking is the only option to explore those areas. Walking is considered relatively healthy, and most locals prefer to walk to and from work and home to keep themselves fit and enjoy the fresh air.
Bicycles are another healthy travel mode inside the city, and many private and government services let you rent out a bike. These are much cost-effective than public transports and also keeps you in shape. Places where vehicles are unable to reach, bicycles are the best way of visiting such sites. You can again hire a mountain bike to explore the forest areas and hillsides of the city.
Electronic vehicles such as electric cars, motorcycles, and bicycles are recently introduced by the Greece government to lower carbon emission. The government has also given various subsidies regarding parking fees, charging costs, and vehicle purchases to make more people use them. These vehicles are more eco-friendly, and you can even hire one for some time to maintain your budget and get the best experience while exploring Athens.
Public bus and trolleybus are some of the most common travel modes for the locals as they are relatively cheap and have a vast network. These available buses operate from 5 a.m. to midnight and are relatively safe, even for women. These buses are connected to even the remotest areas and provide easy travel to both locals and tourists in Athens.
Tram, Train and Subway
These are the fastest means of transport for getting around Athens. The subway or metro system consists of 3 lines connected to the tram, buses, and railway station routes. The tram network connects central Athens to the coastal areas and operates daily from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. The trains in Athens are lesser modes of travel and run from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Lastly, the subways or metro lines also run daily, but the timings of each line vary. Line 2 and line 3 operate from early morning till 2 a.m. but only on Friday and Saturday.
Sustainable shopping is a concept where the impact on the environment, health, and society is maintained. It is a way by which people avoid products and services that are harmful and are against their beliefs. Some of the most popular places for sustainable shopping in Athens are;
- Athens Farmers Market
- Opa Robby’s Market
- Journey Juice
- New Earth
These places not only help in promoting the use of eco-friendly products but also help you in maintaining the cost-effectiveness while traveling.
As the capital city, Athens has many day and night food markets that sell all types of food, ranging from seafood to baked goods. These markets are quite commonplace for buying staples for Athenians. You will find these markets often sell some seasonal and unique foods that you must try out while visiting Athens. Visiting these markets will also help you in learning about the local culture, food, and people. Here are some renowned ones in the city;
- Varvakios Central Market
- Central Municipal Athens Market
- Laiki Farmers’ Market
- Olive Market
These markets provide fresh produce that is environment friendly and promotes local businesses as well. The products are also of better quality and better affordability rates.
Flea markets in Athens are markets where items are sold in exhibition stalls by traders. These items are sold at a much lower rate than at retail shops as they are often used or second-hand ones. A lot of low-income people and antique searchers can be found in these markets. Some of these markets operate daily, whereas some work on particular days only.
- Monastiraki Flea Market
- Pandrossou Street Market
- Thissio Flea Market
- Bazaar Scavenger
These flea markets are the best places to meet the local Athenian people and understand their livelihood by observing them. You can also find some cheap and useful items in such markets.
Second Hand Stores
These stores are quite popular amongst people who are unable to afford retail items because of low income. Many stores in Athens serve various things, such as clothes, utensils, furniture, books, and other reusable items. These items are priced at lower rates as they are used ones and are relatively cheap too.
- Yesterday’s Bread Second Hand
- Studio Shop
- Outlet Store Vintage
- Charity Shops Remar NGO
- Reset Thrift Shop
- OldBooks Store “Stathmos”
You can also visit these stores and buy cheap second-hand items as souvenirs or temporary use on a tight budget.
Eco-Fashion or Sustainable Fashion is a concept that is becoming quite popular in Athens. Many businesses indulge in the use of sustainable and recyclable materials to make clothes. These are very affordable clothes because of the recyclable aspect. Eco-fashion clothes help in minimizing the impact on the environment and health of society. Organic cotton, recyclable fabrics, plant-based dyes are used to make eco-fashion clothes. Here are some of the popular businesses that sell environmentally friendly clothes.
- 3Quarters: Awning Glory
- Thela: Circles of Life
You can get some unique items and clothes from such places as souvenirs for your friends and family and save lots of money from expensive souvenirs.
The recycling laws in Athens are quite strict. Various laws are there for proper recycling and waste disposal that everyone has to follow to preserve its beauty. Many recycling centers in Athens provide adequate recycling for used items without harming the environment. In Athens, recyclable items are called materials and not waste as they can be re-used in the future. The recycling laws in Athens help in making the city healthier and hygienic.
For proper waste management, several laws and policies are followed to minimize the cost of disposal. Athens public manages waste by following the regulations, such as sorting the garbage as recyclable, disposable, and non-recyclable. The waste is treated according to its nature, and the landfills are not used as disposals. Many industries, businesses, and agencies follow the rules and proper waste management. Because of such extensive waste management laws and policies, Athens is one of Europe's cleanest cities.
Work and Study Abroad
As one of the world's oldest cities and various archaeological sites, the city is an educational hub for archaeologists and students. Many places in Athens can be used for better understanding and studying the Ancient Greek period. Because of so many discoveries, Athens is quite famous and attracts people in history and archaeology. Many institutions for such studies where many foreign scientists and students work and study together to make discoveries.
Athens is also called as the birthplace of Western civilization and is quite popular amongst American college students. You will find that many institutions in Athens provide scholarships and opportunities for students from different parts of the world to study in Athens. There are many international students in local universities and colleges in Athens. These institutions that provide exchange student facilities are;
- University of Athens
- Hellenic American College
- The American College of Greece
- National Technical University of Athens
- Athens School of Fine Arts
These institutions are the best places to learn about the history and culture of Athens.
As the birthplace of Western culture, au pairing can be seen in Athens. Au pairing refers to a foreign person who takes a share of the family's responsibility for childcare and housework. Such a person receives monetary allowances for his or her personal use. Although such practices are not very common to see in Athens, some families live with an Au Pair's help. These families are often the lower-income ones who cannot afford necessities such as education, healthcare, food, etc.
Volunteering activities in Athens are quite common. The majority of these activities are related to social welfare, such as spreading awareness regarding environment-friendly practices and their need, waste management, volunteering with archaeologists as interns or social help, etc. There are many organizations, NGOs, and agencies that work as volunteers in Athens.
- A Drop in the Ocean
- Project Elea
- Volunteering for Refugees
A lot of the volunteering in Athens is involved in helping out the refugees. You can take part in such volunteering activities to help the people of Athens lead a better livelihood. As a foreign tourist, you need to involve yourself in activities that help Athens’ environment and society.