My second day in Athens started off with a 20-minute walk to Omonia Square.
I arrived around 10am and bought a ticket for the red hop-on hop-off bus – which included an extra free day – for €22. I figured this was a great deal considering Athens is quite a lot larger than I was willing to attempt on foot, and it included a Beach/Riviera line as well. Today I chose to do the Beach/Riviera line because it was a shorter tour, the buses only came once an hour (as opposed to every 15 minutes on the Athens sights line), and I had gotten there a bit later than intended. I grabbed a DELICIOUS cheese pastry thing from a nearby bakery and waited for my bus. (What would soon appear to be a running theme.)
Here are my pros and cons of the Beach/Riviera Tour:
–> A lot cheaper than paying for public transport.
–> Free wifi onboard.
–> Easy to understand and follow the map.
–> Audio guide onboard with free headphones.
–> You can get off at any stop to explore, and then get on again when the next bus comes.
–> My buses were consistently 20-40 minutes late, and when they only come hourly, this makes it hard to plan your stops.
–> If you end up missing your bus, you have to wait another hour at your stop for another bus to take you to the next one.
–> A LOT of waiting around, in my experience.
Still worth the money? Yes. Even though I ended up having to wait forever for some of my buses, I still got to see everything I wanted to see along the coast, and all that transportation/use of wifi was essentially €11; definitely cheaper than any other way to see the beaches.
The beaches were beautiful, and after walking for a while I found the entrance to one of them, paid the €4 entry, (this was apparently the cheapest of all the beach clubs) and found myself a lounge chair in front of the waves. It wasn;t warm enough to swim or lay for hours on end as there was a bit of a cold breeze. I stayed for about an hour, leaving myself time to walk back to the bus stop and catch the bus without having to wait forever, or so I thought. My bus was 40 minutes late – super annoying – but I eventually got on again and went to the next stop.
I didn’t get off at every stop as I didn’t feel there was enough to do for an hour at each, so I just picked the most popular few. My next stop was Vouliagmeni Lake, which was a stunning natural spa lake, with what I decided was a too-pricey-for-me entrance fee of €12 if you’re wanting to swim. They kindly let me in to take photos for free though!
I didn’t spend a lot of time in here, so I wandered out and down to the beach across the road to kill the rest of the hour. Here I was met with the clearest blue water I’ve ever seen, and even though it wasn’t hot enough to swim by my standards, I wished I had worn my swimsuit so that I could. I settled for dipping my feet in while taking photos. I found a ton of secret alcoves all along the coast, so make sure you keep an eye out for little pathways and staircases that take you down to the sea because it’s definitely worth taking them, even if you’re not swimming.
I ended up strolling down the opposite side of the road too and found a little ice cream shop that sold “waffins”, which were tiny little bite-sized waffles covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar – so good! I arrived at my bus stop 4 minutes late but considering the track record of the buses had assumed this would be fine. Nope. This was the one time the bus had been on time, naturally. I went back to the beach and sat on some rocks overlooking the ocean for the next hour, not ideal but also not terrible. I have since found that I am cursed with my buses/trains/planes, (basically any form of public transport) and they’re almost always delayed or canceled. Patience is key!
I went back to Omonia Square and walked back to my hostel via Falafellas – a falafel street food style vendor. It was so so delicious, and I wish I had some right now. Nothing beats Greece’s falafel.
I got back and my roommate, her two friends and I decided to go out and check out the nightlife. We hit up a few bars, discovered the drinks were SUPER expensive – €8 for a 250ml vodka cranberry!?! That’s $12NZD! – and then moved on to a dive bar with comfy couches where we spent the rest of the night. My roommate and I left around 3am and walked home (taxis are expensive and we felt pretty safe), and to this day I’m not sure when the other two left! After walking so much all day, bed felt comfier than ever.