Hello my dear Travellers !!
If you are planning a trip to the beautiful islands of Greece, Athens has got to be one of your destinations!! With it’s rich culture and history, the city is a treasure box filled with amazing architecture, rich culture and loads of port side and beach side cafes and restaurants with delicacies from around the world to enjoy a romantic date or a fun evening. The wine and Cheese are a must try in Greece!
If you intend to self tailor your itinerary to Athens, taking the Hop on Hop off buses across the city will be pocket friendly and fun! It is actually the Best mode of Transport in Athens.
The city’s main attractions are covered within 3 major lines for all the Hop on Hop off operators or the Get on Get off bus as some may call it : The Pireaus line that goes to the Pireaus Ports and the beautiful Mikrolimano Harbour; the Athens line which takes you to the famous historical attractions like the Parthenon, Acropolis, Plaka market etc…; and the Rivera Beach line going right up to the Glyfada terminal and the Vouliagmeni Lake Beach.
If you take a cab or even separate busses to each of these places, this can cost you anywhere between 100-200 Euros across all these areas. As for the Hop on hop off busses, you can get the ticket for 15-20 Euros per person. This ticket can be used for two days and you can travel to any of the destinations these lines offer.
For quick access to the originating bus stop, I suggest staying somewhere near Syntagma square, as that is the central location to all major tourist attractions. You can also choose to stay in the Plaka area. Commuting from these places is the easiest and the locations are well equipped with many cafes, super markets, frequent taxis passing by and is very safe as well. This will help you save both Money and Time, than if you were to stay somewhere away from the city.
Some major Tips to keep in mind while taking the Hop on Hop off busses are:
1. Bargain at Syntagma Square
Well, there are about 3 to 4 operators and each one has a different price though the lines that they travel to are almost the same. I wanted to take the yellow Athens Open tour bus from Syntagma Square. But the price the ticket seller quoted was 25Euros per person. And we were a group of four.
The blue bus – Sights of Athens tour operator, was giving the same lines at 20Euros, but this operator was less frequent at a couple of locations. We talked the Yellow bus operator into giving us the tickets at 15Euros per person. 🙂 Only thing is do not ask him for a deal in front of other people standing there. Also make your intent clear that you would take the other buses otherwise! The agents for all the operators are standing near by, and that is also the starting point of all the buses.
After getting the discount I asked him for a selfie with me and he obliged. If you bump into him do say a hi! from me with this picture! Who knows? You may get a better discount! 😉 You will find him right in front of PeriKafe opposite Syntagma square.
2. Hop on Hop off tours on Viator
If you are sure of the days and timings you will be there in Athens, you can also consider booking your tickets on the Viator app.
Here is one of the links to the Yellow bus Athens Open tour operators. You can find the other tours on the app or site as well by just searching for Hop on Hop off tours in Athens. The tickets on this site will show you one day plus one day free. That’s how they sell it at Syntagma square as well. So need not worry about getting the extra day free. You can book on Viator usually upto 2days in Advance from the day you want to travel, but I would suggest you book at least 4 days in advance, specially in the peak tourist seasons.
3. Monument Timings matter
The Parthenon and Acropolis, the Panathenaic Stadium and all the museums have specific closing times. Do check them before you make your plan. I would suggest you cover the main city in the morning hours so that you don’t have to hurry through the monuments which are a must see. The Plaka market can be done towards the evening or at night. It’s open in the summer months. You can also prebook your tickets on various online sites to avoid long queues, specially at Parthenon.
4. Audio Guide of the City
What’s more? You do not need a tour guide, as they give you audio in about 15 languages and a map along with the timetable, while you are in the bus.
The audio tells you about the significance of each stop in the journey and also tells you to get down at this stop if you want to visit the particular attraction. At some places like the Panathenaic stadium, you will get a free audio device with the tickets, explaining history and guiding you through the stadium. At some other attractions, you can get tour guides outside the attractions if you really want one.
Overall the Hop on Hop off tours can help you save upto 100 Euros if you are travelling alone. Even if you are in a group of 4, it will help you save upto 100 -150 Euros in total just in commuting across the city, as a taxi takes only 4 people at a time. It is hassle free and will save you more time than having to stop taxi drivers and bargain with them everytime from one stop to another. And the stops are not very far from the actual attractions. Most are right in front of the attractions, making it all the more simple to spot and catch the bus in time.
BONUS TIP 🙂 Most cab drivers in Athens do not understand or speak much English. So if you are planning to take a cab, keep Google Translate handy!!
So guys these are some of the tips that will help you make the most out of your trip to Athens without compromising on the experience. I will be posting soon about the most interesting things to do in Greece, where most tour packages won’t take you and many itineraries won’t tell you! So stay tuned for more if you are planning a trip to Greece soon!
Ghoomte Raho… Ghumaate raho… And do share your experiences with me on my Facebook page… Tips Tricks and Travel or mark your pictures with the #TipsTricksTravel 😀