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7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Athens (Travel Guide)

Last updated on May 13th, 2024 at 04:19 am

7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Athens (Travel Guide)

Athens is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in Athens for your next trip.

Athens is a city steeped in history and culture, attracting visitors eager to explore its ancient monuments and vibrant street life.

However, like many tourist destinations, Athens has its share of traps that can ensnare unsuspecting travelers. Here’s how to spot and avoid these common tourist traps in Athens, enhancing your visit with more authentic experiences.

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A lot of budget options are available for accommodation in Athens near the Acropolis area. You can stay in a dorm room or a room from €10-25, while you can stay in a budget hotel for as low as €50. There are so many to choose from depending on the season and what type and how luxurious you want your stay to be starting from €100. 



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Tourist Traps to Avoid in Athens

1. Restaurants in Plaka and Monastiraki

7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Athens (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: Many restaurants in these areas, especially those directly facing the main streets and squares, tend to be overpriced and offer tourist-oriented menus, which may not be authentic or of the best quality.

Alternative: Venture a little deeper into side streets or other neighborhoods such as Psiri or Exarchia, where many locals dine. Here you’ll find more authentic Greek cuisine at better prices.

Read here best breakfast in GreeceGreek food and best drinks in Greece

2. Souvenir Shops Around Acropolis

Why to Avoid: The shops surrounding the Acropolis and other major attractions often sell souvenirs at inflated prices. Many of these items are not locally made but imported and generic.

Alternative: For genuine Greek souvenirs, consider visiting smaller, local shops away from the main tourist spots, or check out the Athens Flea Market in Monastiraki, where bargaining can lead to better deals on authentic goods.

3. Cliche Greek Nights

7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Athens (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: Some venues offer “Greek Nights” with traditional dancing and music. These can sometimes be overpriced and offer an inauthentic experience tailored to what tourists expect rather than authentic local culture.

Alternative: Look for live music nights at local taverns in less touristy neighborhoods. Many of these do not charge an entrance fee and offer a more genuine experience of Greek music and dance.

4. Hop-On Hop-Off Buses

Why to Avoid: While convenient, these buses can be expensive and unnecessary in a compact city like Athens where many attractions are within walking distance, or easily accessible by the city’s efficient public transport system.

Alternative: Use public transportation such as the metro, which is less expensive and often quicker. Walking around Athens is also a viable option to soak in the city’s atmosphere.

5. Overpriced Cafes with View of the Acropolis

7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Athens (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: Many cafes and restaurants charge a premium for views of the Acropolis. While the views can be stunning, the food and drinks may be overpriced.

Alternative: Visit one of the many public viewpoints such as the Areopagus Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views for free. Bring a snack or drink from a local store to enjoy while you take in the view.

6. Taxi Scams

Why to Avoid: Taxis in Athens can sometimes be prone to overcharging tourists, especially around airports and ferry ports.

Alternative: Always insist on the meter being turned on, or even better, use a ride-sharing app where the price is fixed before you ride. For airport transfers, consider using the metro or a pre-booked airport shuttle service.

Read Here how to get from Athens airport to city center and Athens airport to Piraeus

7. Street Vendors Selling “Ancient Artifacts”

Why to Avoid: It’s common around tourist areas to find vendors selling what they claim are “ancient” artifacts or coins. These are almost always fake and buying them can also be illegal.

Alternative: If you’re interested in authentic Greek art or artifacts, visit reputable galleries or shops that provide provenance for their items.

Navigating away from these tourist traps will help you enjoy Athens more authentically and often more satisfyingly. Take the time to explore like a local, and you’ll discover a richer Greek experience.

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