Athens City Self-guided Walking Tours in Greece
I should have come here in Athens city a long time ago.
But as with so many other noble and worthy destinations, Athens found itself on my long list of cities called someday.
But here we are long overdue, in the birthplace of classical Greece, and one might argue, of Western civilization.
And while the Greece of yesterday is undeniably fascinating, I am here for the Athens of today. For years, Athens had a reputation as nothing more than a grimy layover, unnecessary evil to be endured on your way to the middle of Santorini, or Catalonia.
And for years that reputation was deserved. Decades of chronic underinvestment followed by crushing economic collapse brought the city and this country to its knees.
The grime has mainly been converted into a lovely Patna in recent years, and the graffiti is now more art than anarchy. This is a very wonderful revival.
If you give Athens the time, the payoff is huge. Athens airport lies 70 miles to the east of the city. The airport is relatively new and be thankful for that because when it opened in 2001. It was greeted with headlines celebrating the lack of stray dogs that infested the old airport.
It was that bad. Now it is a clean, compact and efficient Airport.
The Metro will get you into Athens city center in about 40 minutes from a station just outside the airport.
The journey will cost you 10 euros, which is disproportionately high compared to the usual Metro fares.
But the journey is easy and the ticket includes transit to your final destination.
You can also take a taxi just outside the terminal. The journey will cost 38 euros during the day 5am to midnight, and 54 years between midnight and 5am.
This is a fixed fare, so make sure you confirm that with the driver before you start your journey.
25 years ago, this city was a nightmare to get around.
A neglected metro system that hadn’t been expanded in more than a century has led to a city choked with traffic.
But the possibility of the Olympics returning to its origial location in 2004 inspired the city to act, greatly expanding the metro system.
Plus the introduction of tram and suburban railways went a long way to alleviating the horrendous traffic.
Let’s be clear that the traffic is still awful, but it’s less awful than it was so getting around the city is much easier than it used to be.
Besides the obvious benefits of a newly revitalized public transportation system, modern infrastructure, better reliability, that kind of thing. You also have component parts that have grown up together.
So you get the holy grail of public transport integration. The one year or 20 regular standard ticket that you get out of any ticket kiosk on any form of transport means unlimited travel on buses, trams, trains Metro anywhere in Athens except to the airport for 90 minutes.
You can also get a four euro 50 ticket valid for 24 hours, a nine Euro weekly ticket or a 22 Euro tourist ticket which is valid for three days and includes one metro ride to the airport and one from the airport.
Something your 90 Minute daily and weekly tickets don’t allow you must validate your ticket before you begin your journey on any form of transport.
You could do that as you pass through this turnstiles or on one of the dedicated validation machines.
Despite what I wrote about some of the bad traffic, a cab is a good way to get from point A to point B. Yellow taxis can be found all across Athens and may be hailed on the street or via a myriad of applications such as this one, which is by far the most popular Taxi app in the country.
Now, you’ll pay the same as you would hailing a taxi off the street but with the app, you will get a preview of the fare beforehand. And in the cash phobic world
we find ourselves living in now that Great thing about using the app is that you can pay through it as well. Finally, and I know you all tired of hearing me say this, but it’s a hill I will absolutely die on.
The best way to experience the city is to walk at streets. And fortunately for you and me, Athens is a great city to do that in. Many of the major roads have been pedestrianized and all the major monuments have been linked with a pedestrian route.
Yes, the roads can sometimes be a little bit of an adventure to cross but it’s the same in New York, Paris, Mumbai and Shanghai, you’ll be fine. I am like the mayor of Athens around. Really, aside from being the culinary mayor of Athens, Karolina diritti is an accomplished chef and the bureau chief for culinary backstreets food tours.
So I can think of no better person to guide us through the Athens gastronomic goodness.
This place is one of the most famous places in offense for this type of bread, glory,
glory, a Greek staple and a delicious one at that. It’s like our bagel. And just like the hallowed bagel, this delicacy has a lot of variety.
That’s the classic version. That’s the crispy one sunflower seeds. This is topped with cheese. This is stuff with feather. This has the raisins. These are braided,
if you asked me original is always best.
So these are very popular, have been popular for centuries. And that’s the Catania. This is Mr. Lee as the owner, baking nonstop.
And that’s no exaggeration. The team here have been baking 24 hours a day for generations to keep the good people of Athens plied with delicious glory.
Back in the generation of my grandparents, traditional Greek breakfast was not a big thing. You know, it was something very simple. A cup of coffee or tea, and maybe a coolie or maybe a cookie. And then they had something in between around 10 o’clock.
You say I love this city already. Time for a post breakfast breakfast. A traditional Greek pie. That’s right. In Athens pie is breakfast food. And you can only respect that. And your best bet is to visit Harry’s kitchen and see husband and wife team Harris and you early salaried us the cheese buys is with three Jesus butter unsalted dough, which is like ricotta, and yet from Crete which is like a mild pecorino. And this one is vegan. It’s got Orleans and balsamic vinegar and tide. But because they cook everything with fresh ingredients, it makes a huge difference.
I still think about that pie. I’m not even kidding. I would eat these every day. Yeah.
People do it every day. I think these are the most charming streets of Athens. Yeah, they’re wonderful.
I mean, I never would have even looked at Yeah, I mean
that’s Karolina leads us through the streets of Athens, it becomes clear this city is full of hidden gems, little local treasures worth the hunt. And our next stop was no exception. A bustling municipal market with its treasures of sea and land has a few tavern shaped tricks up its sleeve, including Greek Metsa culture, which we discuss it for a glass of support, and a couple of beers.
When you visit a traditional seafood article, you go to the Tripura Rico and you only get a menu with the drinks.
Each person gets a tiny little bottle, which is basically one round and they bring you one small plate, only one small plates and they put it in the center of the table to share. When the plate is empty and your drink assembly the second plate arrives.
But you don’t order they bring various philosophy in in the in the order like they have to start with because this has an intense flavor, you know it’s strong, so it gives you a taste buds. Okay. So what happens is that they need to bring you first flavors that are strong, spicy, salty, smoky to recover your taste buds.
And then the more you go, the more rounds you do, the milder the play was become. So you may end your meal with a grill fix or a grill trip.
And these are some seriously strong flavors raw marinated in vinegar and salt with a dash of red pepper. I’ve never had muscles like this before in my life. That is not what I expect. Got it. That’s to listen. Every plate packs a punch from marinated anchovies so good to a unique combination dreamt up by Karolina herself.
Whenever I come here I get the trials and I will get sausage combination. Amazing It works.
And as is customary after a drink or two Yeah, let’s say two, we cap things off with two locking and pork. super lucky at that. It might come as a surprise that in Greece, lamb souvlaki or lamb anything really isn’t much of a thing. The more you know, grilled over oak charcoal source from Matheson served with onions, tomato and parsley and no sauce.
Because that way the pita doesn’t get soggy that you can feel the meat and the charcoal flavor on it is so good.
And after that campaign, the mayor of Athens definitely gets my vote Jamar.
Greece is part of Europe and uses the euro as its currency which keeps things nice and simple.
Cash and credit cards are frequently accepted, so you’ll have no trouble there either. In comparison to many other European capitals, Athens is extremely inexpensive. I’ve been surprised by how cheap fantastic food and drink can be in the city if you stay away from the tourist traps.
And on that note, let’s do the rundown cup of coffee it costs around two euros 30. Find a beautiful Greek barrel cost you anywhere from two to five euros. So choose wisely. And for the most reliable indicator of a nation’s cost the good old Big Mac pretty difficult to find in Athens, there’s just two McDonald’s in the whole city.
But if you’re really jonesing, they’ll cost you around three euros and 30 cents, but there’s better options in Athens. Tipping, as my friend and local Athenian Sophie told me tipping is a thing here, but like many European cities, it’s appreciated, but not expected.
So rounding up to the nearest euro and a taxi or adding 10% to a meal you really enjoy. It’ll go a long way. When I asked Greek friends about safety in Athens, the most consistent answer I got was it’s complicated. Generally, yes, it’s a safe city with the usual caveats that accompany a major city.
Watch your bags in your pockets on public transport don’t fall for the usual scan, that kind of thing. But what is reasonably unique about Athens is the nocturnal transformation that small pockets of the city seem to undergo areas that are bustling with tourists and commuters during the day.
Become shadowy in volatile environments after the sun has gone down if you stray too far away from the main thoroughfares, but let’s be real, show me a major urban center that doesn’t experience something similar.
So I offer that information with a healthy dose of circumspection. If you’re comfortable in big cities or environments, there is nothing here, it’s going to push you out of your comfort zone.
Here’s another STD and paradox areas that felt seedy and rough during the day, transformed into a vibrant, welcoming enclaves of food, music and art as soon as the sun went down, many of which we returned to night after night.
Moreover, areas that hotel staff and tourism guides described as akin to Bogota in the 1980s were some of our favorite parts of Athens. Yet, areas that were fortified by huge international hotel chains were in avenues littered with use needles and brothels.
A potent reminder not to take anything at face value in Athens. As we wandered the streets of Athens one morning, Greg belched out one of his trademark nuggets of pettiness. He said, it’s not surprising that the cradle of modern civilization resembles so many different cities. And he’s right.
Walk around like we did and you get hints of Mexico City, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Beirut, all within a few 100 yards of each other. I don’t really know what I was imagining what I imagined Athens, but it certainly wasn’t anything like what I found. Is it rough around the edges?
Absolutely. Is it busy as hell? Yep. Is it full of character and noise and flavor? More than I could possibly have imagined?ήταν