4 Days Greece Budget Itinerary in Athens & Santorini
April 22, 2020
Table of Contents
Our Greece Budget Itinerary
Travelling to Greece had always been on the top of my travel destinations bucket-list. For this Greece Budget Itinerary, firstly, I’d like to highlight that travelling to Greece is not as expensive as you’d think it is. I will outline how we planned our trip on a budget as we go along in this article. My friends and I had decided to plan an entire 2 weeks itinerary to Europe and we started off our journey with a 4 days’ stay in Greece. There is a Scoot flight that travels non-stop to Athens from Singapore. Here, I’ll share with you how you can make the best use of your time in Greece in just 4 days.
How to get around Greece: Athens & Santorini?
1. How to get around Athens
Option 1: Public Transportation
You can easily take the metro line in Greece to reach your hotel on arrival at Athens International Airport. Upon arrival, look out for signs that state ‘to trains’. You will need to exit the main airport building, cross a street and walk up a flight of stairs to the metro station. This should take you about 5 – 10 minutes.
You can purchase a metro ticket at the machines for buy one at the counter. Both cash and card payments are acceptable. Take note that the first train departs from the airport at 6.30am and the last one departs at 11.30pm.
– A single ticket journey to the city center will cost you €10. – You can also consider purchasing a tourist ticket that will be valid for 3 days. For just €22, It includes a return trip to the airport along with unlimited transportation in the city centre.
Option 2: Uber / Beat / Taxi or Private Hire
Alternatively, Uber was our main mode of transportation in Greece as it was convenient and affordable. However, I did read in several forums online that Uber has recently been banned in Greece and the locals use another ride-hailing app called Beat. You may want to download this app in case Uber no longer works there. Alternatively, you can also book a private car hire in advance for your convenience.
Option 3: Sightseeing Tour Bus
The Athens Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour (€22.50) gives you flexibility and ease of travel within the city. You can hop off and wander through Athens’ landmarks like the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, National Library, and more, inclusive of a pre-recorded commentary available on the bus.
2. How to get around Santorini?
Option 1: Car Rental
We rented a car in Santorini and it was the best decision we made on our trip. You’d be able to enjoy drives along cliff sides with amazing coastline views. You can book a car with Santorini Car Rental company here. Overall, the price was affordable and the booking process was fast and convenient. We paid a total of €111 (inclusive of full car insurance) for a 3-day rental. You will also not be required to pay an advanced booking fee for your car reservation.
Navigating in Santorini is also simple with the use of google maps.
Option 2: Public Transportation
KTEL is the bus transportation company in Santorini that operates buses from Fira to all over the island. Each bus ticket for a one-way trip costs around €2 to €2.50. Tickets can be purchased on buses with cash payment.
As all bus routes come from Fira, there isn’t a direct bus route from for e.g. Oia to Kamari. You will then have to board a bus from Oia to Fira and switch buses to get from Fira to Kamari. The buses depart about once every hour, you can find the schedule at the following link to their webpage here.
Bus operating hours: 7am to 10pm, Daily
Getting from Santorini Thira Airport to Kamari / Oia / Fira
By Private Transfer or Taxi
You can book a private car transfer (€15/pax) from the Airport to wherever your hotel is situated on the island. This is usually the best option if your flight lands late at night.
By Public Transportation
Note that all public buses go to Fira only. You will need to transfer bus at Fira to go to anywhere else on the Island.
Airport to Kamari: Board the KTEL bus to Fira from the Airport. Alight and switch bus to one heading to Kamari. (Journey: 40 minutes, Cost: €4) Airport to Oia: Board the KTEL bus to Fira from the Airport. Alight and switch bus to one heading to Oia. (Journey: 50 minutes, Cost: €4) Airport to Fira: Board the KTEL bus to Fira from the Airport. (Journey: 10 minutes, Cost: €2)
Our 4 Days Greece Budget Itinerary
Here is the map indicating the attractions in Athens & Santorini (by camera pink icon) and our accommodations (purple bed icon).
Our Scoot flight from Singapore to Athens was priced at 400 Singapore Dollars for a one-way ticket (as we were flying home from Budapest), but the price for a round-trip ticket is roughly between SGD 600 to SGD 800, still very affordable for an 11-hour flight! After arriving in Athens International Airport, we called for an Uber to our accommodation. Our first activity of the day was to climb Mt. Lycabettus.
Day 1 to Day 2: Athens, Greece
Day 1 – Lycabettus Hill
First up on your Greece Budget Itinerary would be to visit Lycabettus Hill. Lycabettus Hill is Athen’s highest peak at 277 metres where it will give you a beautiful panoramic view of the city centre. It is recommended that you arrive at sunset timing to enjoy the scenery and also have the best lighting for your photos. Orizontes restaurant sits at the top of the hill with glass panels where you can sit at and enjoy a meal while watching the sunset.
Getting to Lycabettus Hill: Step 1: Take a taxi/uber to Lycabettus Cable Car along Aristippou Street in Kolonaki (15-minute ride from Hotel) Step 2: Buy a ticket to take the funicular or cliff railway up the hill. A round-trip ticket will cost you €7. Step 3: Queue to get on the funicular
Day 2 – Visit the Acropolis
For Day 2 of our Greece Budget Itinerary, there is no way one can miss visiting the ancient Acropolis. A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis were built as far back as the 5th century BC and is an iconic landmark symbolising ancient Greece.
There are also guided tours (€69) available if you’d prefer to have someone to take you around.
Prices for Acropolis Entrance only: April to October: €20 November to March: €10 For children under 18 and students, Acropolis tickets are priced at €10
Day 2 – Getting from Athens to Santorini Island
You can get to Santorini by either Plane or Ferry. We decided to take a plane even though it is more expensive, as you’d save a lot of time. The price of our air ticket from Athens to Santorini was at €74 and it takes about 50 minutes to get there. On the other hand, the price of taking a ferry will cost you €59 for a 5-hour journey.
We took an evening flight to Santorini and arrived at about 9pm. Our car rental company picked us up at the airport and showed us to our car. It was parked just across the the road from the airport arrival venue.
Day 3 to Day 5: Santorini, Greece
Day 3 – Roadtrip to Oia and Fira + Visit Kamari Beach
To me, the most exciting part of our Greece Budget Itinerary was when we had a whole day of fun exploring the towns of Oia and Fira, simply because of the spectacular views and great weather. Try out different restaurants, have a cocktail overlooking the entire town, trek down to Amoudi Bay and take a cable car up or ride a donkey. You’d be able to find so much to enjoy in these gorgeous towns and remember to stay for the sunset in Oia before heading back.
If you did not rent a car, consider booking the Santorini Traditional Bus Day Tour with Oia Sunset (€41). They will take you to main attractions on the island including Akrotiri site, Red Beach, Emporio town, Perissa black sand beach, Wine museum, and Oia for the Sunset. It’s a good deal for a full-day tour.
Day 4 – Cruise Ship to a Volcano Island and Hot Springs
We decided to Book a Tour to Tholos Naftilos & Hot Springs (€28) on Day 4. Departing from Fira at 11am, our boat docked at Erinia Harbour, a small volcano bay. Here, you will be given an hour to trek up to the top to view the active craters. The road up is rocky and can get pretty steep at some points, but it’s still a relatively easy hike that can be completed in flip-flops.
Next, we moved to the island of Palea Kameni to enjoy swimming in the hot springs. The water temperature ranges at about 30 to 35 degrees celsius and mixes continuously with sea water currents, hence it is just mildly warm in certain parts of the ocean.
Day 4 – Cliff Jumping at Amoudi Bay
After our cruise which ended at about 3pm, we drove up to Oia to trek down to Amoudi Bay for cliff jumping. There is a tiny island in the middle of the bay with a vertical rock drop that makes it perfect for a jump.
The location of the cliff jump can be a little difficult to find as you will not see it by the road side after you’ve parked.
How to get to Amoudi Bay: 1. Set your google maps to this area and park somewhere along this road (or you can just walk down the hill if you’re not driving). The further down you can find a space to park the better.
2. Walk down this staircase towards the restaurants and continue walking along the side of the ocean. You will eventually reach a rocky path (far right on photo below). Continue walking along this route till you see people cliff jumping on a tiny island located in the middle of the ocean.
After visiting Santorini, our next stop was in Dubronik, Croatia. Our flight departed at 4.30am in the morning so we returned our rental car at 3am. My love for the sun, sand and sea would place Santorini has one of the top destinations I’ve been too. There are still so many other greek islands to explore, and it’s a place I’d definitely come back to visit again.
Greece Budget Itinerary | Most Affordable Places to Stay in Greece
Where to stay in Athens on a Budget?
The hotel we stayed at was called Evripides Hotel. Priced at just SGD 87 per night, it is located 700 metres from the nearest train station – Monastiraki. It is easy to get to this hotel from the airport as you can take Metro Line 3 to reach it directly.
Where to stay in Santorini on a Budget?
The most popular places to stay in Santorini are in Oia, Fira, Imerovigli and Kamari. If you’re looking to stay in one of those hotels with a private pool overlooking the sea, then you’ll have to book a place in either Oia, Fira and Imerovigli. These are the cities that you can find the famous photo-worthy white & blue buildings in Greece. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable accommodation alternative, you can stay in Kamari.
The hotel we stayed at was called Katrakis Sea View, located just a 1-minute walk away from Kamari Beach. We had an amazing stay here as the room was clean, and we could see the beach from our balcony. Parking was also easy for us as there was a huge parking space right outside our hotel. The total price we paid for 3 nights here was at SGD 451.
Weather in Greece | When is the best time to visit?
In general, the best time to visit Greece is during spring and early summer (April – mid June) and autumn (September – October). During these months, the weather is pleasant with little rain and lots of sun. The hottest months from July and August are peak summer months where it gets very crowded in popular islands like Santorini. It is better if you can avoid going to Greece during this period to avoid the crowds. We actually visited Santorini back in mid-July 2017, I did not find the crowds much of an issue (though it can get packed at certain places) and had a very good experience there overall. The sun was shining everyday and the hot weather made it perfect for beach activities.
December to March is their Winter season where you can expect some rain with temperatures average about 10 degrees celsius. Most hotels and restaurants on the islands will be closed during winter from mid-November till March as well, so it is not a good time to visit Santorini due to the limited options.