Backpacking Greece:Athens,This Is My Athens

2.04.2015 Athens, Greece

I drank a shot of Ouzo on the Rooftop bar of my Athens Backpackers hostel,feeling up the fragrances of Anise, Spices and of course Alcohol as ingredients,watching the lighting at Acropolis I visited the other day,chatting with travelers from Israel and Australia at night.Never In my life had I tasted a shot which was standalone sufficient.It was cold and it kept me warm.

Athens TBEX Afterparty : Where I also met another fellow Indian Blogger

As I danced my way in one of the Bar Hopping Trails of my hostels,I realized there’s more to Athens than the History which is most often talked about.Sadly I didn't carry my cellphone that night and hence except fond memories that lasted till 3 o' clock in the night,I cannot upload pictures here from the various pubs we went to.I don't even remember their names but know that the Tour that started from my City Circus hostel went around pubs and bars and live bands in Monastiraki.

Greece is a delight for party goers
While Mykonos Island is listed top 10 best places to party in the world.
Athens too offers amazing joints to free your soul :)

One such was a pub which looked like a garage from outside but when inside was crazy!They served local beers,fusion drinks and cocktails.At the end we danced and danced with shots of Ouzo on another such pub just near my hostel.

City Circus Hostel at Monastiraki - Loved this one!

Athens Backpackers at Makri Street,Acropolis is awesome too!

From my hostel's balcony
Both City Circus and Athens Backpackers cost 22 euro per night
i.e Rs 1500 as per current conversion rate

If you thought,I would just talk about my high tales,you would be surprised to know that Athens has good food,shopping and the best hostels I have ever stayed in.I still would be talking about History in my later posts after I discuss islands,but let’s keep this lighter for time being.

For those who do not drink 'drinks',there are other plenty of options!

If you want to know why you must or mustn't visit Greece over other countries click here

/*This trip was part funded as a result of win worth Rs 1 lakh from Skyscanner.In that 1 lakh,I chose my stay and flights to Greece,France and Italy and a part of Turkey*/

My schedule for the trip was

Athens (6 days) : 2 days Athens Backpackers Hostel,4 days City Circus Hostel
Santorini(3 days)
Mykonos(2 days)

Enrolling for a free walking tour just as I landed wasn't my idea.It was only after a discussion with Greece Tourism,I got to know that there is a Voluntary Group consisting of Greek locals(Athenian) who takes around the city for free out of their passion to highlight the facets of the city we are interested in. Called This Is My Athens Greeter Program” a series of mails followed before my visit as part of interaction,on what I like and what I don’t.Do I like history or culinary or culture or shopping?What time would be suitable for me as this was for 3 hours.

One thing you'd find plenty in Greece are the "CATS"

This time,I decided to do history on my own and leave the rest to the insiders.You don’t often get across people of same age who explains the city as it is supposed to be seen.Not much is written about Athens on internet either.

Greek signboards and names of dishes are different from our names or the words we are used to using.Written in Greek you may find it unfamiliar at first but slowly you would blend in!Greece doesn't have a language problem though,almost 90% of them understand and speak English.The signboards too are written in English,just that Greek names are very difficult to pronounce and read for us.

Reaching Athens:Flight To Hostel,Local Public Transport

View from Athens Airport
The Escalator is to the Metro

I flew in Athens,Greece from Istanbul,Turkey by Ryan Air.Now many of us,when we travel,we have a certain image of a foreign land where Tour Agents welcome at Airport or else we live in the first fear that reaching our booked hotel would be hell.

For those who are first timers to Schengen countries,refer to my earlier post on how to obtain Schengen visa.I got my visa in 11 working days for Greece.

Athens Metro - The most convenient of all

Greece has a great public Transportation.There is no reason why you mustn't take it.It’s so well-organised at all hours that even for a while If I was alone anywhere I wouldn't feel that I would get lost or reaching home was impossible.

There are two ways to travel from Airport to City Center i.e Syntagma Square. Syntagma in Greek means arrangement and is the central square of Athens. Syntagma Square is also where all the protests happen,when they happen.We did witness one of the silent protests but nothing that could harm us in any way.

Inside Syntagma Square Metro Station:You would see this if you happen to look up!

 Either you can take an Airport Express Bus or a Metro.Since I was staying at Athens Backpackers And Studios at Makri Street,Acropolis initially;I had to take X95 Bus to Syntagma Square costing me around 5 euros and then walk a little for about 7 minutes down to my hostel.During my prior mail exchange with hostel,I had asked for an early check - in and directions to the hostel.

Metro lines

The another option was more simpler.From Athens Airport take a Blue line metro to Syntagma costing 8 euros and then a Red line metro (towards Helliniko) to Acropoli which is the first station.Initially,I thought since I have to change Metro lines,It might be a little complicated but as I stayed on for days;I realized metros are the best mode of travel in Athens.Even if you wouldn't know which line to take,you can always ask at the counter or follow the numerous boards that tell you the route and the stoppages.In fact the first and the last time I used the bus was from the Airport to Syntagma just when I landed and then used the metro from Syntagma to Acropoli because I wasn't so keen on walking.Both Bus(on your left from Metro),Metro(Center) And Taxi Stand(on your right from Metro) are at Syntagma Square.

You can buy Metro card valid for 24 hours,48 hours etc worth 3 euros,10 euros ,depending on how long are you travelling and then unlimited travel by every mode of transport including buses,metros are included in that.If you travel individually without buying passes within city(except Airport),It would cost you euro 1.4 for 1.5 hours of travel on all modes that includes metros,trams,trolleys and buses.

The last metro leaves at 11:30 pm and first goes at 5:30am.It takes 40 minutes to reach Syntagma from Airport and the Airport train goes every 20 minutes.Buses run 24/7.

Just as a word of precaution:

Unless you have no other option(no trains,no buses),avoid taxis or know their rate beforehand from locals or hostels.A few of them are cons and they might take you on a merry go round around the city and you wouldn't even know until the bill comes because from every point you would see Acropolis on top.I took a taxi from Syntagma once,as it was raining and I had no other option,but wasn't cheated as was told.The guy turned out to be nice and started conversation with me on being 'Indian in Greece'.Well that's another story but..

This was advised from my Athens backpackers hostel who told me in case if you do not want to walk from Syntagma and take a taxi anytime to Hostel,it would cost you 4-5 euros,no more than that.

 Wandering in Athens:First Glimpse 

Everytime I go Europe,I pinch in the bubble of 'Non-Bland' food
The European food in every European country is delicious
Except if you know what to eat!

Gyros and Souvlaki : Both very yummy and easily available.

I arrived at Athens Airport 5:30 pm and after collecting luggage and stuff,was in hostel at around 8pm. The first glimpse of Athens at night was a surprise for me.I expected Greece to be more expensive than Turkey.But Athens had similar rates as Turkey.Food for 1 euros,Shopping for 1-2 euros,It was quite a city on budget. I was excited as I was staying near to Acropolis,the historical site.Except if you visit islands,Athens is quite reasonable.

Turkey and Greece have very similar food
In Turkey this is called Simit,in Greece this is called Koulouri
It's a road side food made of sesame.

Baklavas and Delights in Greece,yes!

So as I walked out of Acropoli station I asked a few locals about Makri Street,I landed up with three guys who joined me on my walk to Athens Backpackers.On reaching there,we got to know that this one was full but they had another Athens Backpackers chain just a street down on which our booking was done.As I reached my hostel,I was hungry.The search for food didn't take me long,there are plenty of shops on the way.So I grabbed a pizza for a euro,and with the first bite thought of my pleasant sleep that I was going to have that night.

Here Fish Cafe with Athens Backpackers
Both my hostels served breakfast as complimentary

At hostel,I always request a lower bed if available.Sometimes it is,sometimes it isn't. But that’s OK. Just for the first timers,depending upon your convenience you can choose all female or mixed dorm while booking at the hostel. I have stayed at both,doesn't make much of a difference as everyone comes to just crash in when tired and make friends.

Later I found a relief to my hunger every time I was outside.I would munch in Chicken Gyros,Souvlaki with Grilled Pita,Greek salad and Greek yogurt whenever I felt like as they were readily available almost everywhere , were affordable for 1 or 2 euros and were yummy.

Wandering in Athens: Talking Home 

After I had landed in Greece,my Turkish Sim wasn't working.Most of these hostels have free WiFi. The best way to talk is either through Skype or Viber connecting to Internet.I used Viber mostly.

Getting a Sim with top up is a costly affair.It can cost you anywhere between 15-20 euros plus an extra for Nano Sim(which I have).So,I chose to not recharge.The cheapest of the lot is wind,which was right next to my hostel.

If you do not feel like talking over WiFi,you can get Matrix Sim card from back home for Europe which comes out cheaper.

Next morning,I woke up lazy because I had quite a few days in Athens to spend.Downstairs,we were getting fish and chips,buns and burgers,which was quite nice breakfast as part of the hostel.

Walking Athens:This is my Athens

Vicky from 'This Is My Athens' takes me to Bubble Tale

As I exited towards the National Garden Exit on Syntagma Square,I couldn't recognize Vicky from “This is my Athens” who was supposed to take me around.My phone wasn't working.And so I reached the nearest shop where I made a call on request to her number.She told me she’s just there in white and blue.May be we missed each other.I turned around,and we exchanged hugs.

 Syntagma Square has a parliament in front.Walking down the streets will lead you to couple of interesting shops on both sides.This can also be reached while walking from Monastiraki metro station.In fact,my second hostel was in Monastiraki and I loved walking down.So,let’s see what “This is my Athens” got me to.

The musical instrument Laterna played in Greece

‘Laterna’ used to be the old musical instrument still played at many parts in Athens.In fact as part of the activities by the needies in Greece,I saw many playing this one!As we walked towards the interiors,Vicky pointed me towards a church which I said to that I wasn't much interested in visiting these even though I did peek in as I knew I could any day come to them but mainly the more cultural and food part of Greece.Take your time,show me the best hideouts,I said to her.

Eggplant Dishes in Greece are a must have
One such in Mousakka.

 So here we were next.The Eolou street where we have the Bubble tale,we get Yogurt mixes with Thai fruit bubbles which was quite awesome.

Ta Serbetia was where we get the best Sweets .Evripidou street was the road with the spices.

Mirch : The Indian Takeaway

Avramiotou s.i.x dogs cafe

The lfestou street had the flee market from where I got a jacket worth 5 euros. Ermou street had all the brands.We will discuss shopping in the next post.One of the places which we went had a secret garden with the cafe in Avramiotou s.i.x dogs.

Central Fish And Meat Market of Athinas Varvakeios

Since Greece is by the sea,we have Fish and Meat as part of their cuisine.So Athinas Varvakeios was where the central fish and the meat market was located.It was where I met an Indian at one of the shops,who was equally excited to see me.He told me if I needed any help or assistance I can always get in touch with him.

Eridanos river flows below the Monastiraki Square and standing there you could see
a thin stream of water flowing

As we crossed Monastiraki,Vicky pointed towards the section that still has river flowing underground.The Eridanos was the third in size river of ancient Athens in terms of water flow.The Eridanos river flows below the Monastiraki Sqaure and you can look from above and see the water flowing.

Soon in further blogposts,you will see full travel video of Greece and Islands,my experience on what to do and what to avoid and a lot more.


  1. This is such an informative post. Really enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks Kalpanaa :) I wish that soon you get to go Greece

  3. Very useful post! Greece is on my agenda for this year. Looks like you did enjoy your stay in hostels in Greece. I was planning to, but wasn't very sure about it. Maybe I will give it a go! :)

  4. Exhaustively informative!! Thank you!!

  5. Great trip by you!
    I have fond memories of the place. Thanks for the mention dear. :)

  6. It looks like you had a blast!

  7. Indrani had to mention you,your articles are superb.Wish we could travel together someday to some place :)

  8. @Mridula:I did Mridula,It's an interesting place :)

  9. @Saishree You must.I think its way way better than living in hotels.Hostels give you a local flavour of a place plus most of them are centrally located.

  10. @magiceye:Thanks magic eye.Hope you get going to Greece soon :)

  11. We had ataste of Acropolis land last June.Going thru ur blog was taking us again thru those friendly streets.


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