city break: university of athens

Athens City Break: How To Perfectly Plan It

A dead simple guide to organizing an unforgettable city break in Athens in six simple steps! All about air tickets and hotels in 2023!

Last updated: 23 Jan 2023

Arranging a city break in Athens is easier than you might think.

Especially if you travel from a European city such as London, Berlin, or Paris, access to the town is easy and fast.

Flights last an average of two to four hours, making it an ideal destination even if you do not have many days at your disposal.

But what steps do you need to take to save money and time?

In the subsequent guide, you will find in detail what you definitely need to know for a great city break in Athens.

It is the same process I follow whenever I travel alone or with my wife, and I have never been disappointed so far.


Step 1: Pick The Best Itinerary For An Athens City Break

city break in athens guide: the acropolis
Three days in Athens are enough to get a great taste of the city.

Most people I know first book their airline tickets and then make travel plans.

Nevertheless, after traveling a lot, I found that deciding what you want to visit, before making any reservations, can save you a lot of money.

For example, if you know you have only two or three days at your disposal for your city break in Athens, first read the guide Athens in three days.

Then, determine which attractions you definitely want to visit and which you do not mind if you skip.

This way, you will have a good first estimate of the time you would ideally like to have in the city.

For instance, if you decide that you need two and a half days, it might be worthwhile to make a small overrun of your budget and travel with better flights or push your schedule to find extra time.

In particular, on the last trip I planned with Chrysavgi, my girlfriend, we decided that we needed three full days in Stockholm to enjoy everything we wanted.

So, she took a day off from work and, instead of flying on Friday afternoon, we flew on Friday morning with a few more euros.

The result was half a day more in the Swedish capital, enough to visit Södermalm.


Step 2: Book Your Airline Tickets

city break in athens guide: aircraft at athens airport
Athens International Airport is the only airport in the town.

Once you know the ideal number of days you would like to have, start searching for flights.

But do not overdo it!

Search engines often recognize the increased traffic and raise their prices.

If you are unsure of the dates, search for each date you are interested in, and write down the prices on paper.

Then, repeat the search only when ready to proceed with the booking.

I always use Skyscanner to book my flights as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions.

Moreover, make sure to check Aegean Airlines, too: it’s the largest Greek carrier, a member of the Star Alliance network, and often offers special deals through its website.

In the ideal scenario, your time and money will perfectly match the available flights.

In this case, make your reservation and proceed to Step 3.

However, the reality is often different.

For example, it is most likely that the cheap flight departs Friday night, the cheap return flight is on Sunday morning, your boss at work disagrees with a day off, etc.

So, I use some questions that help me decide whenever I am in a dilemma: how much do I want to go to Athens (or any other destination)?

If I do not have enough time to visit everything I want, is it easy to come again?

How much more money am I willing to spend?

Once you have the answers, it will be much simpler for you to decide if it is worth paying 50 euros more for that ticket, if you have to remove an attraction from your list, or if it’s better to delay your trip by 15 days to get the coveted day off.


Step 3: Book Accommodation Near Athens City Center

Where to Stay in Athens Greece: Plaka
Located in Plaka, the Amazon Hotel is the best middle-priced hotel in Athens.

Once you have your itinerary ready, it is effortless to choose your accommodation.

Since we are talking about a city break, you will not have many days at your disposal in Athens.

So it is better to stay close to the places you are going to visit or, at least, make sure you will have easy access to them.

Generally, always book your stay with a reliable service like Booking.com. This way, you can rest assured that you will have immediate support in the event of any problems with your accommodation.

Moreover, always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking to avoid unpleasant surprises.

In Athens, the best places to stay are the downtown areas, such as Plaka and Syntagma.

There are, though, areas you should better avoid, like Omonia and Victoria.

You can find all of them in the 10 best places to stay in Athens guide.

If you are in a hurry, here are the best hotels in town:


Step 4: Move Like A Local

Train at Piraeus metro station
Athens metro is an excellent way to save time and money. Remember to avoid buses and trolley-buses.

Getting around Athens is really easy.

The golden rule is to walk as much as possible and stick to the metro; it’s by far the most reliable mean.

On the other hand, you should avoid buses and trolley-buses because they are untrustworthy.

As for a car, you’ll only need one if you want to go to the beach or on an out-of-town trip.

The best transportation solution for a city break in Athens is the 3-day tourist ticket, which costs € 20.00.

It includes a 2-way trip from and to Athens Airport, and it is valid for 72 hours, for all means.

Moreover, you can always use Uber in Athens or its alternative services.


Step 5: A Guide To What To Pack For Your Athens City Break

city break in athens guide: packing list
You can find the city’s weather by month in the “Best Time To Visit Athens” guide.

The clothes and accessories you will need while you are in Athens are related to the season of your visit.

However, there are certain things that you should definitely pack with you no matter when you travel.

For example, always have sunscreen and sunglasses with you, as the weather is almost always sunny, and mosquito repellent.

Moreover, wear comfortable shoes; the city walks will be one of your trip’s most pleasant points.

More on the top items to pack for your trip to Athens.

In any case, since you are traveling just for a few days, make sure you bring as few things as possible with you.

Two or three T-shirts and one or two pairs of pants are more than enough for a city break.

At the same time, a hat can be much more helpful than an extra pair of shoes during summer.

Besides, small hand luggage will save you unnecessary expenses on your flight and will make your travels to and from the hotel easier.


Step 6: Get Travel Insurance

A yellow 'Safety First' sign against a yellow metal background.

Buying travel insurance when you want to save money for a city break may sound strange.

However, consider it a low-cost investment; if you need it, it will save you a lot of trouble.

It usually covers medical expenses, cancellations and delays, baggage and belongings, etc.

Keeping in mind that travel insurance policies are very personal, SafetyWing is the one I recommend to those who travel to Athens.


Athens off the Beaten Path

Hidden Gems in Athens: Ano Petralona taverns

Designing your city break in Athens can be pretty simple if you follow the guide above.

However, for an unforgettable weekend -or even more days- make sure to also check out the hidden gems of Athens.

They will help you get to know the city well and avoid touristy places.

Make Your Trip Easier

Airport Transfer
If you want to get to and from Athens Airport with peace of mind, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with Welcome Pickups. Their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, but it is totally worth it. They use local, English-speaking drivers, who will wait for you even if your flight is delayed and introduce you to the city during your ride.

Accommodation
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. They offer a price guarantee and 24/7 support in case of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

Activities
From day trips to Greek islands to Acropolis Guided Tours, GetYourGuide will help you find some unique ideas for your trip.

Car Rental
If you decide to rent a car while in Athens, check Rentalcars. It compares the most reliable companies and returns the best prices with free cancellation.

Free Athens Tours
If you have limited time or want a local guide to introduce you to the city, check GuruWalk. They offer free tours, and at the end, you give them the amount you think is fair.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you if you get sick or injured while abroad, or if you lose your luggage or your flight is delayed. On my trips, I use SafetyWing as it’s affordable and has a simple claims process.

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