Budget-smart travelers to Athens, rejoice! Athens has a great number of free activities and the dreamy climate to enjoy the city without spending money, and our economically-friendly top ten list of free things to do in Athens is the perfect place to start planning. Let's organize our freedom into two categories: completely free- meaning absolutely no additional expenses required, and generally free- which means there might be some peripheral costs such as getting there or requiring a meal.
Our favorite free activity in Athens is the luscious green space spanning the area around the Acropolis called "Philopappou," also known as the Hill of the Muses. Beautiful flagstone paths and trails with picnic tables make this a walkers paradise. Climb up Areopagos Hill for a sweeping view of the city at any hour, but especially after dark. On the opposite side of the Acropolis is the little village of Anafiotika, a maze of narrow paths between white-washed houses, sleeping cats and pots of flowers.
The War Museum off of Vassilis Sofias Avenue is our favorite free museum and an excellent way to get acquainted with the long-stretched military history of Greece. The best day to visit is on a Thursday when the nearby Benaki Museum is free as well so you'll have a two-fer.
From Vassilis Sofias Avenue you can enter the National Gardens, a botanical wonderland with a small animal zoo, fish ponds, and some Roman ruins. Cut through to Syntagma and catch an hourly change of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or watch them doing their elaborate stretch on the half hour.
Our favorite "non-museum" museum is the exhibition of old tombs, urns, and amphorae in the Syntagma metro station. It's as good as a museum without even requiring the cost of a metro ticket as the ticket validation machines are lower down. Speaking of tombs, the first cemetery of Athens is as beautiful as any garden in the city and a good way to get acquainted with some famous names in Athens' history, such as Melina Mercouri and archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann.
It's true that the street market of Athinas Atreet doesn't charge admission; walking through the meat stalls and piles of fish can be very entertaining, particularly for photographers- on the other hand making a few purchases of rare spices, fresh and dried fruits can add to the experience.
Free activities that might need a public transportation ticket or short taxi ride include the beach at Alimos or the romantic coastline surrounding Sounion (accessible with the orange KTEL buses.) While the temple of Poseidon does require an entrance fee, the space offers plenty of off-site places to scramble along the craggy cliffs, swim and take pictures of the temple from far.
There are quite a few "free admission" days in Athens when the museums and archaeological sites don't charge:
- Every Sunday between November 1- March 31
- 6 March in Memory of Melina Mercouri
- 18 April for International Monument Day
- 18 May for International Museum Day
- 5 June for World Environment Day
- the last weekend of September for European Days of Cultural Heritage
- 27 September for International Tourism Day
- Greek holidays: 6 January, Orthodox Good Friday (12:00 - 17:00), Orthodox Easter Saturday and Monday, Orthodox Monday of the Holy Spirit, 15 August, 28 October.
Also the following groups of people are usually
admitted free with ID:
Please note that hours and guidelines are famously inconsistent in Greece. Always check hours the same day you plan to visit and stay flexible to stay happy.
- Children under 12 years old
- Students under 19 years old
- People over 65 years old
- People with special needs and their attendant
- Holders of the cards: ICOM, CIMAM, AICA
- Journalists, guides, soldiers.
Robertou Galli Street
Strolling around the birthplace of democracy...
Vassilissis Sophias Avenue and 2 Rizari Street
From the stone age to the present day... read more
Main entrance on Amalias Ave. Two other entrances from Vassilisis Sophias Ave. and Irodou Attikou Street.
Once the royal family's garden - now shared by all... read more
Prytaneiou & Erechtheos
Meat, Fish, Fruit, Herbs, Spices... read more
Amalias Street and Syntagma Square
Cape Sounion Peninsula
Romantic sunsets blessed by Poseidon... read more