There is a certain type of traveler—we don’t have a name for them—who have a benevolent streak that co-exists quite happily with a hunger for travel and love for a bargain. This strange mix finds its expression when the opportunity arises to visit a place where some sort of calamity has struck, and they see the chance to do some good, while at the same time enjoying low prices, sparse crowds and grateful locals.
There is no better current example of a place matching this description than Athens. The Greek capital has seen plenty of demonstrations over the last year, but none have descended into the sort of situation that would cause tourists to reconsider a trip there; indeed, with agreement reached over the bail-out, a sense of “new normalcy” seems to have arrived. The people of Greece may not be happy about the state of their economy, but they are resigned to it, and life goes on.
Which presents great opportunities for our benevolent bargain hunters: frankly, there’s never been a better time to visit this wonderful country, especially if you plan to use Athens as your base. Flight prices have tumbled, hotel rates—especially for those prepared to do some research—have reached lows not seen in years, and as for things to do… well, Athens is like Rome on steroids!
So, if you feel ready to pump some much needed money into the Greek economy, here are some of our favorite activities; besides these, take a few minutes to visit the Athens page and you’ll find an amazing range of options, both inside the city itself and on day trips outside the capital:
- The Delphi Day Trip from Athens takes you to the most famous site of ancient Greece, home of the Temple of Apollo.
- The Athens Half-Day Sightseeing Tour is a brilliant way to orient yourself and get close to the key sites, including the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well as the modern city and its key public squares and buildings.
- The Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon Tour is one of my favorite tours world-wide… and that’s saying something, because I’ve been on a lot of tours! Lord Byron was a visitor and felt the need to leave some graffiti behind (“Byron”… not very imaginative, but it’s stood the test of time), though you may want to consider the modern day penalties should you decide to emulate his feat.
- The Santorini Two-Day Experience offers you the chance to visit a Greek island without straying too far from your Athenian base. And if you are visiting just one island, Santorini is such a good choice, its brilliant blues and whites, so emblematic of the Greek experience. Plus its atmosphere and cuisine are quite unique.
- Get the most out of your budget and try a Super Saver Tour. The City Sightseeing Tour plus Half-Day Cape Sounion Trip and Athens Sightseeing Tour plus Delphi Day Trip allow you to visit two beautiful, fascinating Ancient Greece locations; in addition, the Sightseeing Tour plus Mycenae and Epidaurus Day Trip and City Sightseeing Tour and Half-Day Cape Sounion Trip plus Mycenae and Epidaurus Day Trip and City Sightseeing Tour and Half-Day Cape Sounion Trip plus Delphi Day Trip combine the best of the region in easy-to-book packages.
- I could go on and on: the Athens Small Group Food Tour and the Athens Photography Walking Tour are both well worth considering, and of course for the day of your arrival you could not do any better than one of our Hop-On Hop-Off tours, getting you out into the Greek sunlight and helping reset your body clock at the same time!
So, check out those flight prices, book yourself a 5-Star hotel at 3-Star rates, then visit Viator.com (or the Viator mobile app on your smartphone) to see our wide range of tours in Athens and other Greek destinations. There really never has been a better time!
- Rod Cuthbert