As we often receive messages on how expensive is Athens, here is an article about the basic costs that a tourist should know before visiting the Greek capital. As the general cost is a very personal issue, we can’t name a daily budget for a visit to Athens but we can list possible costs and then… you do the math depending on what you want to do or see.
Is Athens expensive?
Athens is certainly not cheap, but it is not very expensive either. In comparison to other European capitals, we would say that Athens is somewhere in the middle. All depends on what type of traveler you are and how much budget you wish to spend during your visit.
As for accommodation, for example, there are all types of hotels in Athens: from luxurious hotels in Syntagma that cost 100-150 euros per night to small hostels in Plaka that cost 10 euros per bed in dormitory. Some of these accommodations also offer breakfast, which can save you a lot of money spent in cafeterias for breakfast or snacks.
As Athens has a very good transportation system, it is not necessary to spend money on a taxi. You will find the Athens metro line very useful as it connects the most central parts of the city, where the important sights are found, and also connects the city of Athens with the airport and the port of Piraeus. The ticket fare (2015) for all transportation means in Athens is 1.20 euros for 70 minutes and the metro ticket from the airport to the centre of Athens and the port of Piraeus is 8 euros.
Entrance ticket for sightseeing
Sightseeing is the main thing to do in Athens. There are many sites and museums that a tourist can visit in the Greek capital. For the main sights, there is a Special Ticket Package of 12 euros per person that includes entrance to the following monuments and sites: the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the Museum of Ancient Agora (Stoa of Attalos), the Temple of Zeus, the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos and the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos. A must-visit museum in Athens is also the Acropolis Museum (ticket entrance 5 euros). In general, tickets for private museums in Athens vary from 4 to 7 euros.
Restaurants and bars
Just like hotels, types of restaurants also vary in Athens. There are restaurants, taverns and grill houses in all quarters of Athens. The majority of tourists choose a restaurant in the historical triangle of Athens: Syntagma-Plaka-Monastiraki. In Syntagma and Monastiraki, there are many grill houses with souvlaki and other meat dishes. The cheapest meal in Greece is one pita souvlaki (wrapped souvlaki) that costs about 2 euros and you can even take at hand. There is also a full plate with souvlaki that costs about 7-8 euros.
In Plaka, restaurants are mostly traditional taverns with homemade dishes. Some taverns organize Greek nights with live bouzouki music. A general cost of a meal per person with beer or house wine is about 20-25 euros in such taverns in Plaka. In a walking distance from Syntagma, in the quarter of Kolonaki, visitors will find ethnic cuisine, such as Mexican food, sushi bars, Chinese restaurants and more.
Upscale restaurants are also found in the region of the Acropolis and in hotel premises. In such restaurants, a three-course meal with bottled wine starts from 50-70 euros per person and rising.
*All these costs are valid for the present writing time, which is the year 2015. They may change in the future.