Athens – the travel hub of Europe is rich in culture and history, filled with spectacular archeological sites, cuisine that is adored around the world, and hospitable people with a smile. The Greek capital is definitely a city you should visit at least once in your lifetime! First-time visitors to Athens are immediately struck by its charm, lively people and color filled streets. Here is some practical information and tips to help you when planning a first-time trip to Athens, Greece. Your Travel Checklist includes everything you need to make your planning easy.
Don’t Forget Your Passport and Check if You Need a Visa
Top on your travel checklist – don’t forget your passport and check if you need a visa! Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that visas are not required by the EU member countries. Most travelers from non-EU member countries will also not need a visa to visit Greece, including citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia. Visitors from non-EU member countries may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. For entry into Greece, make sure your passport has at least six months of remaining validity. It’s no wonder Athens has become one of the easiest destinations for first-time visitors!
Book Your Tickets Early
Book your tickets early! The earlier you book your flight or cruise, the more you will save on tickets - allowing you more spending money to enjoy on your first-time trip to Athens! Athens, Greece, is a popular holiday destination, particularly between mid-July to the end of August. Therefore, booking your tours, shore excursions, and activities well in advance is also wise. Piraeus - Athens tours and shore excursions are in high-demand and tend to sell out quickly, so don’t miss a great deal by waiting until the last minute.
Plan Your Athens Itinerary
Here are some things you need to do when it comes time to plan your Athens itinerary. First, try to learn about the best things you can see and do in Athens before you go. Athens has something for everyone! The Travel Insiders will help you discover the best attractions in Athens, the best museums in Athens, the best views in Athens, the best neighborhoods in Athens, the best street food in Athens and… the best shopping in Athens!!!
Many first-timers like to include a day trip from Athens on their itinerary. Discover ancient temples, medieval monasteries, lush landscapes and the most stunning coastlines on one, or even several day trips. You might like to include a day trip to Cape Sounion & the Athenian Riviera and witness one of the best sunsets in Greece, Delphi – the Oracle of Apollo or Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Ancient Olympic Games.
Plan Your Athens Activities
After you’ve decided where you’re going to go, you’ll want to decide which activities to enjoy. Perfect for history buffs, Athens sightseeing tours for first-time visitors cover all the must-see highlights. Athens shore excursions for families and kids cater to the individual requirements of younger travelers so they can comprehend everything and never be bored, making their experience both educational and fun! Athens is a city filled with hip, lively things to do and districts to explore. Explore local life and venture off the beaten path to discover the hidden gems in the backstreets of Athens’ coolest neighborhoods. Also a haven for all shopping lovers, its streets are full of surprises - the perfect place to find the ideal souvenir and bring home a bit of Greece.
Not merely catered for history buffs, the Greek capital is booming with delicious, cheap yet healthy selections that cater to all tastes. And what better way to experience the culture of the city than to sample its street food!
Take an afternoon sunset tour and visit the Lycabettus Hill, the highest point which allows for a 360-degree panoramic vista over the bustling city below. Then, enjoy a nightcap at one of the old town’s establishments - the best way to end the perfect day!
As a first-time visitor to Athens, you might be interested in hiring a tourist guide. Travelers have access to things that they would not be aware of otherwise. They learn about culture in-depth from an insider. They can cover more places, especially when there is very little time, as is the case for cruisers.
Book your Athens Tour/Shore Excursion in Advance
Athens is a great budget-friendly destination compared to most European capitals. From world-renowned ancient ruins to inexpensive street food, Athens offers private and joined activities for all tastes and budgets. By booking in advance you’ll be able to skip more lines and find more deals targeted toward you.
Athens - Piraeus private tours may be adjusted according to your preferences! Therefore, you choose where to go and what to see.
- Athens at a Glimpse - Acropolis Site & Plaka (4-5h)
- Private Athens Tour - New Acropolis Museum, Acropolis Site & Plaka (6-7h)
- The Best of Athens Museums & Sights (Full day)
- Athens Sunset Tour – Acropolis site & Lycabettus Hill (4h)
Athens - Piraeus joined tours cut down costs without sacrificing quality while catering exclusively to small groups. The Travel Insiders boast cheaper shore excursions than cruise lines and offer low-priced deals to Athens with budget-friendly joined tours.
- Premium Skip-The-Lines Athens - Piraeus Joined Tour (5h)
- Athens - Piraeus Joined Tour - The Highlights of Athens (4-5h)
- Athens - Piraeus Joined Tour - The Ultimate Athens Experience (7h)
- Athens-Piraeus Joined Tour with On-Board Guidance - Budget tour (4-5)
- Athens Joined Street Food & Sightseeing tour - Athens Sights and Bites (5h)
Book Your Accommodations in Athens
In Athens, you will find accommodation choices of every type, from luxury resorts to low-priced hotels. Some of the safest neighborhoods to stay are centrally located in Athens. Another rental option on the rise in Athens is Airbnb rentals. Athens receives many visitors from May through October, therefore, we suggest you book as early as possible.
Learn a Few Common Greek Words
Greeks are friendly people eager to help if you try to speak some Greek and love it when they hear a stranger speaking their language. So, learn a few common Greek words and you will see some big smiles on their faces as you try to communicate.
- Hello = Yasou
- Good Morning = Kaliméra
- Goodbye = Antío
- Please = Parakaló
- Thank You = Efharistó
- Yes = Ne
- No = Ohi
Pack Your Bags
There are certain things you shouldn't forget when you pack your bags before setting off for Athens; your sunglasses, bathing suit, sun cream, some light clothes and a couple of flat shoes or comfortable sneakers for walking. Also, have a light sweater for the chilly evenings.
Take your camera and take home plenty of memories and photos. Remember that you are not permitted to use flash in some archaeological sites or museums because it damages the quality of the marble exhibits.
Get Your Gadgets Ready
You can buy a cheap SIM/data card in Athens so make sure to unlock your cellphone before you go. Internet connection is pretty easy as well. You can connect in the several free Wi-Fi spots, such as cafés and restaurants, squares or malls in Athens. A plug adaptor might be necessary for your gadgets and chargers as Greece has 220V electricity.
Prepare for Your Arrival
Arriving in Athens by air: Athens International Airport, Greece (AIA) is considered to be among the best in the world, according to a survey by AirHelp, the air passenger rights specialists. Whether you are visiting Greece for business or for pleasure, The Travel Insiders’ airport transfer services may take you to your preferred destination in luxury and comfort. Because arriving at the airport of your destination is a treasured moment, especially for first-time visitors!
Arriving in Athens (Piraeus Port) by cruise ship: The port of Piraeus is the main port of Athens where cruise ships and ferries regularly dock, especially during the summer months. The Travel Insiders’ port transfer services are always pleased to share the renowned Greek hospitality with you and to take you to your preferred destination. Upon arrival, your driver will welcome you at the port, holding a sign with your name and our company logo.
Have Some Cash with You When in Athens
Try to have some cash with you when in Athens. The official monetary unit of Greece is the Euro. You can exchange your currency to Euro at the airport, in the banks or in currency exchange offices. You can also withdraw some from ATMs that are found almost everywhere. All major credit cards are accepted, however, there are many shops and restaurants that do not accept any.
Travel Safe with The Travel Insiders
Athens, Greece, is quite safe to travel around. The only crime you might encounter is pickpockets in crowded places. Pay attention to your wallet and do not leave it exposed. Women and solo travelers do not need to be afraid when walking alone, just stay away from some specific areas of Athens at night. Any other time or place is safe. No reason to worry in touristy areas like Plaka. Be especially careful when crossing the street because many drivers do not stop at pedestrian/zebra crossings. Also, make sure you take your travel insurance documentation with you so that you have all the details if needed.
The Travel Insiders travel agency is licensed by the Greek Ministry of Culture & Tourism. All tourist guides are also certified by Ministry of Culture & Tourism. All vehicles provided are fully insured and travelers’ insurance is covered during transfers. The Travel Insiders provide all guests with 24/7 contact numbers and guarantee assistance. When traveling with The Travel Insiders, you are always in good hands!