One might assume that Athens, with its millennia of continuous history, would be a difficult-to-navigate warren. But, in fact, the center of Athens is extremely compact and easy to get around. Most of Athens’ attractions are located in and around the city center, so with a few quick tips it’s relatively simple to get around.
Walking is the most pleasant way to see Athens’ tourist attractions, and it’s also an incredibly efficient means of getting around in the city center. The Acropolis sits in the middle of the city and provides a great beacon: You always know where you are in the city relative to the Acropolis.
One of our favorite walks is from Monument of Lysicrates to the Agora, winding through the magical side streets of Anafiotika. Tucked into the side of the Acropolis, this romantic cascade of narrow streets feels like a step back in time. Some of our best-loved lunch spots, such as Vyzantino Restaurant, are dotted through here, as well.
Down slope from here, the sidewalks of Athens are wide and the cafe life is exuberant, making a long stroll through the city to the Agora easy and pleasant. One of our favorite stops is the Varvakios Market, which we explore on our Beyond Feta food tour of Athens. We also love the feeling of moving from the quiet of ancient history into the energy of modern life in just a few meters, with colorful graffiti, pop-up installations, and lively wine bars dotting the curvy avenues. Psirri is a particularly lively neighborhood for street art. It’s an easy city to learn with your feet, to trace where the neighborhoods melt into each other and how the fabric of Athens culture twists and layers over itself.
The city, though ancient, boasts a modern and comprehensive metro system. With Syntagma Square and Monastiraki as the main transfer junctions, it’s possible to cover the distance of the city with ease. The metro connects the Athens International Airport and the Port of Pireaus to the city center, and accesses the Suburban Railway to the north. Metro rides cost 1.40 euro, though there are reduced price options and multi-day tickets available as well.
Taxis in Athens are inexpensive and readily available. Though, as in any big city, it is possible to get taken advantage of, keep in mind that most cab rides within the city shouldn’t exceed 5 euro. Most trips will cost around 3 euro. This is significantly cheaper than most major Europeans cities, which allows a lot of freedom and flexibility when seeing Athens’ tourist attractions. If you spend the day walking and are too tired to return by foot, or if you’re interested in exploring the outlying neighborhoods, it’s excellent to have the choice to take a taxi. Context can arrange a taxi transfer from the airport or port for you. It is not customary to tip the taxi drivers when seeing tourist attractions in Greece.
With so many things to see in Athens, there’s no reason to miss the scope and awe of this splendid city due to transportation. Athens is charming in every way, and ripe for exploring whether by foot, taxi or metro.