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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Athens on your mind? Now that all the tourists have left the city, there’s no better time than now to plan a trip to the Greek capital. Flights are cheap, hotel room offers are easy to snatch and city sightseeing doesn’t have to cost a thing. Here’s our guide to visiting Athens for free.

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City Sights

Changing of the Guards – Just like London, the Greek changing of the guards attracts thousands of spectators. The whole thing only takes 15 minutes but a real budget tourist wouldn’t pass up chance to witness this cultural experience in Syntagma Square. Try to keep your smirk straight as you watch the Evzone guards goose-step in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in pleated skirts and bobble-topped shoes.

guards

Acropolis – You can spot the Acropolis from many parts of the city but few compare to the view from Thissio. Order a coffee (not free) from a cafe in the pedestrian square on the corner of Apostolou Pavlou in Thissio and take a table outside. The Acropolis rises above the trees and its really something marvellous.

Museums – Athens is home to a ton of museums but only a handful of them are free. The Popular Musical Instrument Museum is one for the music-aficianandos while The War Museum should keep history buffs occupied for a few hours with their collection of ancient war weapons.

Good to know:

Athens has a number of free admission days for its most popular attractions. If you’re set on seeing the most for the least amount of money, make sure you book your flights to Athens with these dates in mind. The Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Kerameikos, Olympeion and the Roman Agora are free on the following days: March 6th, April 18th, May 18th, June 5th, National Holidays, first Sunday of the month (except July, August and September when it’s the second Sunday of the month) and every Sunday from November 1st to March 31st.

Experiencing Athens

Athen’s oldest neighbourhood

Plaka is right in the heart of Athens and is the city’s oldest district. If you want a look at a local’s Athens then this is the place. The area’s antique charm and pedestrian-only streets are certainly nice. Alfresco dining is a must in this area to really enjoy the business of the streets.

plaka

Beach holidays without leaving the city

Athens beaches are hardly more than a thirty minute trip outside the city away. The Attica coast is right at your fingertips and best of all, it’s a lot cheaper than a stay at a beach resort on a Greek island. Some beaches are private and charge admission but there are also free ones, like Kavouri and Vouliagmeni.

Bird’s eye view

Lycabettus Hill – You could take the funicular up to the top of this hill but if you’re on a real budget, walking up is completely free and only takes 20 minutes. Head for the white-washed chapel on the top of the wooded hill where you can catch some of the most spectacular views of the city. Legend has it that the hill was created when the goddess Athena dropped a rock in this spot.

Like to travel for free? We’ve created dozens of free city guides on the Traveller’s Blog from Venice to Vancouver, Paris to Hong Kong.

Imgs: panoramas, ryan ran / Flickr cc.

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