Athens is an amazing city where ancient Greek ruins coexist with graffiti-painted high-rise buildings and noisy highways. Slums surround fashionable areas, and on the winding streets, you can find fragments of ancient columns, Turkish buildings, and a Byzantine temple, to the wall of which a restaurant will be attached. The high hills offer stunning views of the city, the sea, and the mountains, family restaurants serve generous portions at low prices, and hotel prices remain affordable even in the high season. We will tell you how to relax in Athens and save because there are many ways to have fun for free.

1. See the changing of the guard in front of the Parliament building

Opposite the Parliament, plateia Syntagmatos takes place every day in the changing of the guard (5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the new hour). And on Sundays from 10:45 to 11:15, there is a solemn changing of the guard with the closure of the main street, an orchestra, a march, and a procession of 150 people. This is an interesting spectacle in which the very unusually dressed guards of the presidential guard – evzones – participate. They wear white stockings with garters, a white skirt, a vest, and a red hat with a long brush, and their shoes are nailed and decorated with large pomponoms.

2. Visit the ancient ruins and visit the ancient churches

Visiting the Acropolis and the Agora are paid. Still, in addition to these world-famous attractions, there are many ancient Greek ruins in Athens, which can be viewed for free: the Panathinaikos Stadium, built of white marble in 329 BC, and on which, after its restoration, the first Olympic Games in modern history were held, the arch of Emperor Hadrian, built-in 131, the most interesting mausoleum of Prince Philopappus, built next to the Acropolis in the 2nd century, and the Lyceum of Aristotle, founded by the great philosopher in 334 BC Valuable historical artifacts can be viewed in the windows at the metro stations of Monastiraki and Syntagma. We also recommend visiting the two oldest Christian churches in the city – the Church of Kapnikaréa, built in 1050, the Church of the Holy Apostles of Solanki, built in the 10th century, and the wonderful Agios Eleftherios Church, whose marble walls are covered with elegant carvings.

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3. Stroll through the historic center of the city

Athenians believe that a walk through the ancient streets of the historic center will allow you to get to know the city better than visits to museums and guided tours. In addition, many Greek streets are the same age as the Acropolis and boast a rich history.

In the Turkish district of Plaka, there are ancient baths and Byzantine churches with amazing frescoes and mosaics. Winding streets descend the hill next to the Acropolis, as in the days of Ancient Greece. One of the most beautiful streets is Dionysiou Areopagitou, which skirts the Acropolis and descends to Philopappos Hill and goes through the Thissio district, where you will find the best family restaurants in the city. Thisio flows into the Monastiraki area, which is known for its huge flea market, where on Sundays, in addition to old and antique dealers, street musicians, acrobats, and magicians gather.

4. Climb to the observation decks in the Athenian hills

Athens stands on high hills, from the tops, there are breathtaking views of the city and the sea. The city’s most complete and colorful panorama and the best view of the Acropolis open from Mount Lykavittos, the highest point of Athens. At its top, in addition to the site, there is an open-air theater and the chapel of St. George. The second most popular hill among the locals is the Areopagus (Areopagus hill). In ancient times the Athenian court sat, and today from it, you can see Athens and the mountains surrounding the city from above. Philopappos Hill is remarkable in that it is located so close to the Acropolis that you can see all the details of the temple and statues from it. Strefi Hill is the quietest and most sparsely populated hill with a panoramic platform, on the slopes of which there is a garden.

5. Learn more about Greek culture and art in museums

The most popular complex of museums in Athens, which includes the Acropolis of Athens, the ancient Agora, the Hadrian’s Library, the Archaeological Museum of Ceramics, the Roman Agora, as well as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, can be visited free of charge every Sunday of the month from November to March, also on all Greek public holidays (January 1, 6, March 25, May 1, August 15, October 28, December 25 and 26*), in addition, Museums are open free of charge for visitors on Christian holidays: Clean Monday, Good Friday, Holy Easter and other significant dates (March 6, April 18, May 18, June 5, September 27, the last weekend of September). From March to November, you can visit museums for free every first Sunday of the month, except for July, August, and September.

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* On these days, museums may not work full-time.

Also in the city, there are several museums, the entrance to which is always free:

  • Museum of Greek folk instruments, where 1200 instruments of different times are stored: ancient mandolins, lutneys, cymbals, drums and tambourines.
  • Epigraphic Museum of Athens, with a collection of Greek inscriptions of different eras – clay and stone tablets of the times of Ancient Greece, papyri, manuscripts.
  • The DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art is a non-profit organization that constantly hosts exhibitions of contemporary Greek artists.
  • Museum of the History of Greek Costume, with a collection of 25 thousand pieces of clothing and accessories from all over Greece. Also in the museum there are copies of costumes of the Minoan, ancient Greek and Byzantine eras.
  • Municipal Art Gallery, where 2.5 thousand works of Greek masters of the 19-20 centuries are collected. Many creations were bought from collectors, others were received as a gift.

6. Go on a free city tour

Photo: @ypsilon_67 / @teodorally / Instagram.com

Athens has a rich selection of free walking tours: Tours2Greece offers excursions conducted by locals, where they will not only tell the history of the city but also share the addresses of good restaurants, shops, and bars. Athens Free Walking Tour will tell myths and legends about gods and heroes, inextricably linked with the history of Ancient Athens. GuruWalk offers an interesting tour of the best examples of street art of the Exarcheia district, where artists and anarchists live.

7. Get acquainted with contemporary art and street art on the streets and in galleries

Photo: @alexandros4k / Instagram.com

Athens is covered with street art. Graffiti can be found everywhere: on ancient ruins, high-rise buildings, mountains, and cars. The state does not fight street art, so street artists can freely paint anything and anywhere. The street art center is the exarcheia district, which people of creative professions have long chosen due to low prices, a relaxed atmosphere, and an abundance of bars. On the streets of Exarchia, you can find the works of world-famous masters of street art (Os Gemeos, Fikos, Sonke, iNO, STMTS).

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Also in Athens, there are many excellent galleries of contemporary art, where young and already famous artists are exhibited. A full list of events and galleries can be found on the website (http://athensartmap.net/). And we advise you to visit the most interesting exhibition spaces:

  • Medusa Art Gallery – the most talented young Greek artists exhibit here.
  • Taf is an independent gallery and theater located in a dilapidated building in the center of Athens, in the evenings there are often free concerts.
  • Qbox Gallery – here are exhibited Greek artists who have gained international fame, such as Megan and Murray McMillan, Paolo Colombo, Stephanie Stein.

8. Relax in parks and gardens


You can walk and have a picnic in one of the parks in the city. The most convenient park is the National Gardens Park – it occupies 15.5 hectares in the heart of Athens, next to the Parliament. In the park grow several thousand species of plants and trees brought from around the world. Also, there are ancient ruins with columns and a living corner with peacocks, goats, and geese on its territory. Other gardens and parks are located much further from the city center, but also deserve attention: in the Botanical Garden (Diomidous Botanical Garden) plants grow from all over the world, the park (The Stavros Niarchos Park) lies on a hill overlooking the sea and the city, and there are many playgrounds, and a huge park (Syngrou Estate) is open around the clock, it is clean and beautiful, there are many fountains.

9. Sunbathe and swim on the beaches in the warm season

In the vicinity of Athens, there are many private beaches, the entrance to which costs money. Still, there are also several frees with clean water and all the necessary amenities: the pebble beach of Votsalakia Castellas, located in Piraeus, next to the port of Castellas. Elliniko beach can be reached by tram or metro from the city center. It is always crowded. The sandy beach of Eden in Paleo Faliro can also be reached by public transport, there are always many visitors with children and pets, the entrance with which is allowed.

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