£20 IN... ATHENS
Athens is a dark horse.
People think of the Acropolis, overpriced drinks and Piraeus port (where you get the ferry to the islands). But Athens is actually killing it.
This is where ancient ruins cuddle up to Banksy-style street art and where you’ll find industrial bars, hole-in-the-wall souvlaki and tiny streets stuffed with record shops and vintage garb. It’s bohemian-grunge at its core.
And it can all be yours on the cheap…
Free ShizEven though Athens is one of Europe’s most affordable capital cities - you don’t get much for nothing…
The National Gardens are free (and beautiful) and there’s a number of second rate museums with no entrance fee (looking at you Museum of Popular Instruments) but you’ve gotta spend something to get a taste of this city.
Go to monastiraki - the sprawling bohemian district - for a great flea market and rows of antique shops and second-hand stores. Retrosexual has some freaky shiz and Kilo Shop is a vintage store that charges by weight - you can buy a bunch of t-shirts for chicken feed.
If you came to Athens for the ancient culture - but you’re also a stingy bastard - head to the metro stations. Yep loads of artefacts were uncovered when they were building the underground and they’ve left them on display at Syntagma, Panepistimio, Acropolis, and Monastiraki metro stations.
Under a FiverThere’s no need to waste money in spenny restaurants here - the best food is dirt cheap. You could happily eat Greek souvlaki (tender cubed meat in a kebab with tzatziki and salad) for every meal.
Get it almost anywhere but Kostas is something special. It’s been open since the 1940s and uses a secret recipe tomato sauce - £2 each.
Or for extra kick try Mirch's Indian-Greek fusion souvlaki. Tandoori chicken pieces with a spicy sauce for about £3.
Any meal should be finished off with a bag of Loukoumades. These are Greek dough balls covered in sugar, cinnamon or your choice of chocolaty, fruity sauce. Get em at Lukumades for £3.
Drinking can be a bit heavier on the wallet - cocktails especially. Head to six d.o.g.s for one (£5) to sit in the candle-lit patio garden. Like a kind of urban rock garden, this place has tables hidden in the walls and an indoor dance floor if the night’s heading that way… (it is).
Under a TennerRooftop bars are a way of life in Athens (lucky twats).
Couleur Locale is the most hidden. Find it at the top of a run down building in Monastiraki (good luck). It does a mean brunch (£6) and cheap drinks all night (£4).
Another great way to get in the city’s sweeping views is the rooftop cinema (£7). Cine Paris is one of the oldest cinemas in Greece. Inside’s stuffed with old-school movie posters and outside’s got the massive screen and the looming Acropolis just to your left.
Splashing OutThere’s something missing… Oh yeah ‘the world’s most perfect building built by the most advanced civilisation of its time’. That old nugget.
You’ve gotta see the Acropolis - it’s freakin amazing.
At £20 it’s not a steal but it’s only the most important architectural site in all of Europe. Climb up to the Parthenon and explore the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (which still holds ballets and theatre events).
Makes you think of that old saying, ‘Athens wasn’t built in a day…’ Wait..