Overall, Athens was the cheapest capital we have visited so far; Budapest is coming very close, but it depends a lot on the season. We visited Athens in March 2012 and although still technically winter, we had the pleasure to enjoy pretty decent weather.
What makes Athens an awesome budget travel destination? The many free things to do here (among other things like cheap entrance to sites and cheap food).
1. Changing of the guard
Most travelers do know about the change of the guard in front of the Parliament. Every Sunday at 11 a.m. you can watch a larger number of Evzones performing the changing of the guard in the Syntagma Square.
But, aside from this, you can also see the change of the guard right in front of the president’s house, in the same area of Syntagma Square.
2. A walk in the National Gardens
It may not be the nicest thing to enjoy when it rains – like we had the “pleasure” on a Sunday – but on a sunny day , the area is a lovely option to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
3. State-owned Archeological sites during winter (Nov 30 to March 31)
The Acropolis, The Greek Agora, the Roman Forum, the Temple of Olympian Zeus…and several more sites and museums can be visited for free every Sunday during winter.
4. A walk in Monastiraki flee market
There are plenty of cheap trinkets to buy, but if you don’t plan to spend anything, just go for a walk.
5. A walk in Anafiotika
The upper area of Plaka looks like…an island. The reason? Residents of Anafi – a Cycladic island – moved here and decided to build the houses just like on the island. Most of them are not inhabited but the tiny streets and the colorful shutters make for lovely photos. And don’t miss the cat.
The following museums can be visited for free, ALWAYS:
- Museum of Popular Musical Instruments (1-3, Diogenous Str., Plaka)
- Railway Museum (4 Siokou Street)
- War Museum (2, Rizari Street & Vasilissis Sofias Avenue)
- The Hellenic Children’s Museum (14, Kidathineon Street)
- Municipal Gallery of Athens (51 Piraeos Street)
7. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
Construction begun in 1842 and the church is very interesting. When we visited it was under renovation.
8. A walk in Plaka
Colorful shops and tavernas, the playful cats and the relaxing atmosphere.
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(c) all photos by Cristina P and may not be used without permission