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ruthdelacruz | Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Ruth dela Cruz is a travel and lifestyle blogger in the Philippines. She loves writing about her travels. Drop her a note at admin@ruthdelacruz.com. The internet knew her as @ruthilicious.

Snaps @ruthilicious

January 30, 2018

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips

Athens Greece Budget Travel Guide 2018


Greece is (was once) a dream. 😍  It may not be the most popular travel destination for Winter Vacation but we did fly and welcome the New Year in Athens.

Sharing with you stories, travel tips, itinerary, budget and photos from our recent Winter Greek Holiday.




Disclaimer: if you are looking for a budget travel guide to Greece, this may not be the best blog for you (but hey, keep on reading, I have practical travel tips for you!). It is not the luxurious type of trip either. I usually travel and take services that are simple, yet comfortable for me. I treat travel as a vacation and reward. I want to make sure that whenever I travel, I get the most of the experience and I find balance in exploring and documenting the experience. 

Greece Visa for Filipinos

Philippine Passport Holders need a Schengen Visa to enter Greece. You may refer to my blog post on how we applied for Schengen Visa in Greece Embassy for the requirements and application tips. 


Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips

Going to Athens: Manila to Athens

From Manila, you can book a flight via Scoot with the low fare price of Php 10,000++.  Total flight time from Manila to Athens is 16+ hours (with 1 layover in Singapore).  You have the option to book a flight with 2-hour layover or 21-hour layover - which gives you time to roam around Singapore (we did! en route back to Manila). 


Scoot fares to Athens start from PHP10,403 from Cebu, PHP10,704 from Clark, PHP11,198 from Kalibo and PHP10,754 from Manila. However, keep a lookout for Scoot’s monthly Take-off Tuesday promotions available on their website (www.flyscoot.com/ph-take-off-tuesday)! 


Greece is 6 hours behind Manila so make sure that you consider that when booking a hotel and plotting your itinerary. 

When flying to Athens, you will arrive at the Athens International Airport. It is a 45-minute drive from the city proper.

You can read my blog review on my flight from Manila to Athens via Scoot. 

FOREX | WIFI Connection in Greece | Local SIM Card

Current exchange rate per oanda.com is 1 Euro to Php 63.3116 Peso (as of this publishing January 30, 2018). I usually bring USD when traveling to another country. If you do not have USD, I would suggest that you just withdraw money via ATM in Greece. The loss on currency exchange is really high when converting from PH to USD to Euro. I notice though that using credit card gives me less losses vs exchanging money. 

I would suggest that you check with your credit card company regarding additional rates and charges when using credit card abroad. I have BDO Mastercard Gold, BDO American Express and UnionBank Visa Platinum, and I don't get charged for using them abroad. 

When we exchanged our USD in the airport FOREX desk, we were charged 10 euros for the fee. But the woman told us to just keep the receipt so we would not be charged the next time we exchanged money. I was so occupied about the delayed baggage that I didn't give much attention to it. 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips

It is recommended that you get a local SIM Card when traveling so you can connect with local contacts. I do not usually turn on my roaming but I make sure that I have my WhatsApp installed in my smartphone so international contacts can still call me. As for the WIFI connectivity, there are services now that offer Pocket Wifi like Klook and Welcome Pickups. 


Getting Around Athens: From Athens Airport to the Hotel

Athens has a very efficient transportation system. You can get around via MRT, bus, taxi, Uber or Welcome Pickups. 

If you are traveling solo, take the train:

Take Metro Line 3 (Aghia Marina – Douk. Plakentias - Athens International Airport), which connects the Athens airport with the city center. Trains run every 30 minutes, 7 days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The trip from/to the Airport to Syntagma station (Athens center) lasts 40 minutes.
Info from Visit Greece. 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips

... or Bus

EXPRESS Bus routes connect directly the Athens (city center & greater area) and Piraeus (port) with the Athens International Airport (AIA) “Eleftherios Venizelos”. Service is provided on a non-stop basis seven days a week including holidays (24/7 operation). 


Info from Visit Greece. 


Taxi, Uber or Welcome Pickups

If you are considering taxi or Uber, I would suggest that you get the service of Welcome Pickups
It is a very convenient service with friendly driver. It is like having a relative pick you up at the airport. We got picked-up on time (he even called and emailed because of the delay we encountered when we arrived)

Welcome Pickups Athens Review
Niko of Welcome Pickups

Welcome Pickups Athens Review
He has a Mercedez that he converted into a taxi

Welcome Pickups Athens Review
Welcome Gifts (we felt like VIPs!)

Welcome Pickups Athens Review
Gifts from Athens International Airport 


As soon as we met up with our Welcome Pickups Driver, he handed us a Welcome Gift from Athens International Airport and escorted us to our taxi. 

Included in our Welcome Pickups Airport Package are:

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Sim cards & Wifi hotspots
Skip the line attraction tickets
Local souvenir boxes
A free Welcome Bag and local map

We enjoyed our ride to the hotel and our driver Niko even brought us to Lycabettus Hill to see the whole view of Athens. 

Where We Stayed in Athens

We stayed in 2 hotels in Athens, and 1 hotel in Kalambaka (Meteora). 

We were glad that we got to stay in the city center, near the Acropolis area where everything is just walking distance. This saved us time and money.

Electra Hotel Athens


We stayed for 4 nights in Electra Hotel Athens which is just walking distance to tourist spots like the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum and other places to visit in Athens like Syntagma Square, Monasteraki (good place to find good food!), Plaka (lots of souvenir shops in this place), Thissio, and Ermou Street (a long street with just shops!).

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018


 Hotel prices are a bit pricey in Plaka area but we thought it is better to stay in this side of Athens because we could stay late and/or easily go back to hotel whenever we need to use the toilet 😁

The Electra Hotel Athens has really good customer service. Read my story about my delayed baggage. 



What to Wear in Athens

I found it tricky to pack and list what to wear in Greece. I had to consider the weather, and the beautiful instagrammable places that we would visit.  😁 I packed a lot of dresses - which I ended up not wearing because of the weather and the baggage that got delayed.  Comfort is always the priority for me. 

Had to buy new clothes because of delayed luggage 🙁

If there is any tip that I would share, you have to have these essentials:

Good Coat 
When traveling to a cold country, you have to have a good coat. Always. I packed 2. 
Comfortable Walking Shoes 
I brought heeled boots but ended up using my Chuck Taylor because we mostly walked the entire trip and we did a lot of hiking.
Heavy Scarves 
I love how printed scarves can easily dress up my all-black ensembles.
Thermal Wear 
Wear them and layer shirts, sweatshirts and jackets.
Hand Gloves 
I still survived without my ear muffs but hand gloves are essentials.

I recommend the following stores for shopping for Winter Clothes: 

Stradivarius (very affordable coats and jackets - some are even made of wool)
Terranova (for gloves, sweatshirts and accessories)
Uniqlo and Debenhams (for thermal wear)
H&M (for affordable heavy scarves
Zara (really good coats and long-wearing pieces). 


Greece Itinerary 

DAY 0

Flight to Athens from Manila (would be good to flight at night)

Day 1

Arrival in Singapore (choose a 2-hour layover)
Flight to Greece
Arrival in Greece
Check in at the Hotel
Acropolis Museum
Acropolis Rock
Explore Plaka
Shop at Ermou Street

Day 2

Explore Monasteraki
Explore Pysri and Thissio 
Syntagma Square for New Year

Day 3

National Garden
Zappeion Hall
Panathenaic Stadium
Brettos Oldest Distillery in Greece
Changing of Guards
Souvenir Shopping at Plaka Area

Day 4

Bus Pickup for Day Cruise
Flisvos Marina Port
Hydra Island
Poros Island
Aegina Island


Day 5

Transfer to New Hotel
Bus Pickup to Delphi
Delphi Archeological Site
Depart to Kalambaka
Overnight in Kalambaka


Day 6

Depart for Meteora
Meteora Monasteries Visits
Back to Athens

Day 7 

Welcome Pickups Tour with Driver Niko
Corinth Canal
Mycenae Museum
Throne Room of Agamemnon
Nafplio
Mycenae City Walls

Day 8 

Flight Back to Manila

(I will write separate posts featuring places we visited via tour)

Must-Visit Places in Athens

I highly suggest that you visit the tourist-y places in Athens on your first day for you to better appreciate its beauty, culture and people's ways of life. The places below are just walking distance to each other. 


Acropolis of Athens

Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
 Theatre of Dionysus

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
The Parthenon

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Acropolis Museum

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
I love this photo

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
I was surprised to see metals because it is under construction

The nearest toilet around Acropolis is the one in the Acropolis Museum. I almost died. Haha Rodel is the living witness of my struggles 😄 

Syntagma Square
Snytagma Square 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Plaka 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Panathenaic Stadium which is the only one in the world built with marble.

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
One of the alleys in Plaka 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Inside the Acropoli Train Station is the preserved excavation site that now serves like a museum. I really love Athens!!! 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Ermou Street is 1.5 km road and the main shopping street in Athens

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Guards Parade at the Syntagma.
I chanced upon it en route back to hotel after church. Every hour, you can witness the Changing of Guards Ceremony in Syntagma  

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
The Zappeion is a building in the National Gardens of Athens 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
Blogger Pose


Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
There's a thrift shop for jackets and coats in Monasteraki Flea Market

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
There are also dark alleys and streets in Greece

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
This is my favorite photo from this set

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget 2018
My camera wasn't able to capture the beauty of the 
Acropolis of Athens which lights up at night


Excuse me : Signomi
Thank you : Efharisto 
(if you are several people - being served in a restaurant or cafe:
We thank you (is better) Efharistoomay
 Good morning / good day (until about 1300 or so!)  : Kalimera
Good Afternoon or Good evening :  Kalispera 
Good night Kalinihxta
How much is this? : Posso Kanay Afto?
How far is it? : Posso makria eenay?
Excuse me, where is....... : Signomi, poo eenay.......? 
Do you have a toilet? : Eheeyete Too-aletta?



My Greece Impressions | Observations | Travel Tips 

Greece is such a beautiful country with great architecture and history preserved in beautiful landscapes and alleys. I love the sunny yet cool weather when we visited. Greece offers us wonderful view of the sea, city and mountain views. I love how everything feels so light and in shade of peach and pastels.

Greeks are generally friendly and easy-going.

Greeks love coffee and good conversation evident by coffee shops and cafes in every street and corner. You guys should try the Greek Coffee (it is more like Turkish Coffee). 

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips


Toilets are not marked as "CR" (comfort room) but "WC" (water closet)?  🚽

Bottled water are usually priced at 1 euro.

A decent meal in a restaurant costs around 12 to 15 euros.  

Coffee and cappuccino is at 3 to 4 euros.


Greece Starbucks Mugs

Of course Greece Starbucks Mugs are popular souvenir. Mug costs 12.95 euros

People do not expect you to leave a tip. You can tip as much as you want or not give a tip at all. 

Just like in other European countries, fastfood restaurants like McDonald's have codes in their toilets (you can locate in your receipt) so not just anyone can use them.

Some places in Greece like Meteora/Kalambaka still use a squat toilet. 😲

My tip, if you want to use a toilet, buy a bottled water. I used this trick a few times.

We didn't see a convenience store (not even a 7-Eleven) in Greece, but I spotted Pharmacy (look for the Green Greek Cross). 

Purchases more than 50 euros are qualified for Tax Refund. Ask for it at the cashier when settling your purchases. Allot  time to claim your refund at the airport. 

Around Athens, we spotted a lot of really cool vandals and graffiti that add to the character of the place.

There are dark alleys too, but they are quiet, clean and still instagrammable.

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips

Most of the sanitary napkins I have bought are too thin (bring your own if you are traveling).

There are a lot of stray animals in Greece - like dogs and cats. Interestingly, locals feed them.

There are shops that offer FREE WIFI connection like Zara and Body Shop in Ermou Street. They come handy if you ever get lost and would need Google Maps.

Always check the operation hours of Museums. They are mostly closed on Holidays; same goes with retail shops and malls.

Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips

The most popular food in Greece is Gyros. Don't forget to order Greek Salad and Yogurt (ah, so good!), Baklava, Bougatsa, and Moussaka

Greeks have big appetite and the orders are usually good for 2.

For souvenirs, you can buy olive oil soap, olive oil, ref magnet, and erotica displays. 🙈🙈🙈


Greece Travel Budget

Our Greece Travel Budget is for a comfortable travel that enabled us to experience the most of the country. This is not a budget travel yet not a luxurious one.

We set aside Php 5,000 for each day for food, transportation and museum entrance fees. This does not include airfare, hotel and tours.

Pocket Money: 7 days x Php 5,000 = Php 35,000
Hotel (Electra Palace Hotel) 4 nights x Php 8,000 = Php 32,000
Hotel (Stratos Vassilikos) 3 nights x Php 5,000 = Php 15,000
Tour (Cruise) Php 5,000 ++ 
2-Day Tour in Meteora Php 7,500 ++
Airfare: you can book a flight from Manila to Athens for as low as Php 10,754
(TIP: There's a promo happening on the first Tuesday of February! First to grab fares as low as PHP9,899 to Athens!!!)

Note that you can find hotels at 35 euros per night in Athens. 
You can be flexible with your budget. In the morning, we usually have a big breakfast, by lunch time, we were still full - and we usually just have early dinner.



If you are looking for a cheap airfare to Greece, check out www. flyscoot.com

Scoot fares to Athens start from PHP10,403 from Cebu, PHP10,704 from Clark, PHP11,198 from Kalibo and PHP10,754 from Manila. However, keep a lookout for Scoot’s monthly Take-off Tuesday promotions available on their website (www.flyscoot.com/ph-take-off-tuesday)!


Athens, Greece: Travel Guide, Itinerary, Budget, Impressions and Practical Tips


We did enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors of Greece. I am glad we didn't end up eating cup noodles despite the challenges I faced on the first few days. 😁

I hope that you find this blog post helpful. Feel free to share or bookmark this page. Tag me on your photos once you made it in Greece! 🏴󠁧󠁲󠁨󠁿 Follow @ruthilicious on Instagram and Twitter.



*Special thanks to Scoot and Athens International Airport  ❤️


Check us #RuroinGreece