[Updated 9 August 2019]
Planning another getaway to enchanting Europe without burning a hole in your pocket? There’s no need to wonder anymore, Greece is the country to visit next! Let this country impress you with their blend of modernity and enchanting history.
From majestic ancient ruins to idyllic island destinations and delectable Mediterranean cuisine, it’s time for your Greek adventure with this budget itinerary 😉
Credit: FlyScoot on Facebook
The best time to visit Greece is in spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). With these seasons in mind, you can find the best flight deals on Skyscanner or Google Flights. Depending on the season, you can score flight rates between RM2,500 to RM3,500 (round-trip) from Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad. From time to time, Singapore Airlines and Scoot offer good flight deals too.
Day 1: Athens
Travelling from Athens Airport to the city (1h)
Credit: 이재성 on Facebook
Skip the taxis and head to the city with Athens Airport Metro for €10 per person (one-way)! Catch the Metro Line 3 from the airport station which will bring you to Syntagma Square, the centre of Athens (along the blue line). If you are going to travel around on the metro, you could also purchase a 3-day tourist ticket from the airport. At only €24 (RM113) per person, it includes your train ride to the centre and short train trips around Athens.
Cost: €10 (RM47) per person
If you are travelling light, you can stretch your euros and take the airport bus instead! At only €6 (RM28) per person, you can take the x95 Athens Airport Bus to Syntagma Square and this route runs for 24 hours.
Checking in to your accommodation (30 min)
Depending on your choice of location and accommodation, there are many backpackers hostels and budget stays that are priced below €50 (RM236) per night. For easy access to restaurants and public transportation, the best areas to stay in Athens are Monastiraki, Plaka, Koukaki, and Syntagma.
Credit: Acropolis Hostel on Facebook
If you don’t mind sharing a space with other travellers, this hostel has dormitory that comes with a city, landscape or garden view. Since it’s located 10 mins away from the city centre, look out for nearby attractions such as Taf the Art Foundation, the Tzisdarakis Mosque and Plaka District. Living up to its name, you can actually get a good view of the Acropolis from the hostel’s rooftop too.
Athens Studios & Backpackers
Credit: Athens Studios & Backpackers on Facebook
Situated in the heart of Athens, Athens Studios & Backpackers is a good hostel choice that comes complete with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and friendly dorm-mates. Besides that, it comes with free Muslim-friendly Greek breakfast spread too – fresh bread, spreads, salads, honey as well as tea and coffee! This accommodation also offers female-only dorms and studio apartments for families.
Watch the Changing of Guards in Syntagma Square (1 hour)
Credit: Chuyan94 on Flickr
After checking in and washing up, catch the ceremonial changing of the Presidential Guards in front of the Hellenic Parliament building! Known for their precise timing and incredible, the guards change every hour around the clock! Catch them on a Sunday where they wear an all-white uniform.
Address: Syntagma Square, Pl. Sintagmatos, Athina 105 63, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hours
Explore Athens like a local with a Free Walking Tour (2-3 hours)
Credit: Athens Free Tour on Facebook
What better way to see the sights and sounds of a city than with a local Greek? Get acquainted with the beautiful city of Athens with a free walking tour which will bring you to the classic sights and a little touch of modern life in Greece! It will take about 2 to 3 hours, led by a knowledgeable local guide and you might even make a friend or two during the tour! While this tour is available daily, advance booking is required to make it an authentic experience with a small group size!
Meeting point: Arch of Hadrian, Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias 50, Athina 105 58, Greece
Tour schedule: Daily, 9.45AM, 5PM and 6PM
Duration: 2.5 hours – 3 hours
Cost: Free (do note that advance booking is required)
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Have your first bite of authentic halal local food for lunch (1-2 hours)
Credit: Raja Munshi Janjua on Facebook
After the fun and informative tour around the city, it’s time to savour some delicious Greek cuisine at Raja Jee! Food fresh off the grill, meat seasoned to perfection and hot toasted Greek bread, you will not be disappointed here. For those on a tight budget, get their delicious falafel wrap, which costs only €2! Alcohol is also not served here, so it is perfect for Muslim travellers.
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: Raja Jee, Zinonos 11, Athina 104 31, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 9AM-10.30PM
Trace Athens’ Islamic heritage (1-2 hours)
Credit: @lethaswan on Instagram
Contrary to popular belief, Greece has deep roots in Islamic history which date back all the way to the 14thcentury. Not to be missed is the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art, the largest and oldest museum in the whole country! Here, you can immerse yourself in the Islamic world where the museum preserves hundreds of artefacts such as ceramics and jewellery. Retreat back to your accommodation for a good rest before an early and eventful second day!
#HHWT Tip: The museum also provides free audio-guided tour using QR codes! This tour is only available in Greek, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.
Cost: €9 per person
Have a mini museum-hopping adventure at metro stations (1-2 hours)
Credit: Nuci Bregvadze on Facebook
Peer into the stations’ nooks and crannies and you will find yourself looking into Ancient Athens! Some metros in Athens are decorated like a mini museum complete with excavated areas, artefacts, clay cups and 6thcentury old oil lamps. As an added bonus, the stations also act as galleries for contemporary Greek artists. Hop from Monastiraki station to Syntagma, Egaleo and Akropoli stations for some fascinating history of Athens! In Monastiraki Station, take some time to see the ancient remains of a settlement dating back all the way from the 8th century BC. Now, who would’ve thought metro stations could also be great places to display these priceless reminders of a great culture!
Enjoy Indian and Pakistani flavours in Athens at Makkah Restaurant (1-2 hours)
Credit: Makkah Restaurant on Facebook
Explore off the beaten track and you’ll find Makkah Restaurant that is known for their flavourful Indian and Pakistani cuisine. With the dishes prepared using halal meats, you can spot various kebabs, hearty rice and colourful curries that will tempt you! You can’t go wrong here if you are looking for halal, spicy cuisine. Lip-smacking is an understatement.
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: Makkah Restaurant, 15, Anaxagora 13, Athina 105 52, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 9AM-10PM
Day 2: Athens
Have an enchanting day exploring Acropolis! (4 hours)
Your trip to Greece is simply not complete without a visit to the Acropolis! Put on your walking shoes and start your day as early as you can to make full use of your day. Purchase the Acropolis combo ticket which covers 7 different areas: Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Temple of Zeus, Keramikos, Hadrian’s Library, Roman Agora and Aristotle’s Lyceum. Step back in time and be mesmerized by these UNESCO-registered spots!
If you are considering to visit just some of the spots, you could just get the €20 (RM95) Acropolis ticket which covers the Acropolis and the North and South Slopes during the summer (come winter, the tickets are reduced to €10 (RM47) per person). Remember to charge your camera batteries – the views around these historic sights are breathtaking!
#HHWT Tip: Queues here can be as long as 2 hours especially during summer, so it’s best to come early at 7 AM. You will have the best chances to take amazing photos without hundreds of other tourists!
Address: Acropolis of Athens, Athens 105 58, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 8AM-8PM
Cost: €30 (RM142) per adult (Combined or special package ticket; all year round; no winter discount)
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Replenish your energy at Vegan Beat (1-2 hours)
Credit: @veganbeatgr on Instagram
Refuel at Vegan Beat known as the best go-to spot for all-vegan menu, and it’s only a 3-minute walk from Monastiraki Metro Station! You can get your hands on a fresh Greek salad or aloe mango salad. If you’re craving for something hearty, try the mushroom burger, quesadilla and club sandwich.
Halal status: The restaurant serves an all-vegan menu and does not serve alcoholic beverages on the premise
Have your prayers at Athinais Cultural Centre and visit the local mosques (2h)
Credit: Madame Novia on Facebook
While you are here in Athens, take some time to visit the several mosques dotted all around the city where you can meet some local Greek Muslims! The ones nearby the city centre are Masjid Al-Salam and Masjid Al-Farouk. There is also a prayer hall that you can use in Athinais Cultural Centre.
Visit the oldest neighbourhood in Athens, Plaka (1-2 hours)
Credit: @makris_petros on Instagram
Nestled in the centre of the city, the neoclassical buildings, narrow alleyways and old-world charm make it a perfect evening for a leisurely stroll. Several museums such as Frissiras Museum and the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments are also worth a visit. If you aren’t into museums, you can continue your Greek adventure by exploring the tiny settlement, Anafiotika in Plaka itself. The quaint whitewashed houses give it a Greek-island vibe – you would probably forget that you are actually still in the city!
Credit: ahmetnca on Instagram
Address: Plaka, Athens, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hours
Try some of the tastiest and healthiest vegetarian meals at Vegan Nation (1-2 hours)
[Updated 10 Aug 2019: Do note that Vegan Nation is currently under renovation and will be closed indefinitely]
Credit: Vegan Nation on Facebook
An eclectic mix of different fast and healthy meals, you will be spoilt for choice here. Vegan Nation prepares almost everything from moussaka, sushi to Lebanese rice, sugar-free milkshakes and decadent desserts! Only fresh food is made daily and the all-vegan menu will definitely leave you craving for more healthy food. And yes, they have vegan ice-cream too – a great guilt-free way to end your fun-filled day!
Halal status: The restaurant serves an all-vegan menu
Day 3: Santorini
Travelling from Athens to Santorini (1h or 7h)
Credit: Chen WeiHsuan on Facebook
There are many ferries that can take you to the scenic Santorini. Begin your journey to Santorini from Athens (Piraeus) on the Blue Star Ferries at 7.25AM and arrive at 2.50PM (Blue Star Delcos). Once in Santorini, travel around using the K-Tel Public Bus – the most expensive leg will set you back at only €2! Make sure you keep those €2 coins with you, they will definitely come in handy.
Cost: The tickets can range from €39 to €76 according to the season and operates 365 days a year.
Apart from ferries, there is also another option to take a flight from Athens to Fira. With budget carriers such as Ryanair and Volotea, you can get pretty good deals from €144 round trip, depending on the flight season!
Check-in your backpacker’s hostel or cosy AirBnb (3o min)
Head to your accommodation for a wash-up and prayers. We recommend staying in Fira or Imerovigli for convenience and affordability. There are plenty of hostels around the town if you are tight on budget, and you can also opt to stay in a caldera through AirBnB if you are willing to spend a bit more!
For the budget-conscious: Fira Backpackers Place
Credit: Fira backpackers place on Facebook
For budget accommodation, this hostel is the best choice! The best part of all is the main Santorini bus station, main square, supermarkets and museums are all at the doorstep of this accommodation. There are also female-only dorms and private rooms.
Cost: From USD48 on Hostelworld
For big groups and families: Santorini Cave House on Airbnb
If you are coming in big groups, we recommend booking this cave house through Airbnb! This traditional cave house atop a caldera (cliff) has unobstructed views of the Aegean sea and a volcano! Mini markets and the main town of Fira are only steps away. With a fully equipped kitchen, beds and veranda, this cosy accommodation is ideal for families and groups of friends!
Cost: From USD464/night for 6 people (per person: USD77)
#HHWT Tip: Visit from March to May and in October and November to enjoy cheaper accommodation prices!
Explore the maze of meandering alleys in Oia (2 hours)
No trip to Santorini is complete without a stroll along the cobbled streets of Oia! Known as the most beautiful and quaint town around, look past the crowds and it will take your breath away.
Treat yourself to the best vegan ice creams in Santorini at Lolita’s Gelato (1 hour)
Credit: @alicenbg on Instagram
Although not an exclusively vegan gelato parlour, there’s still plenty of vegan options and sorbets to choose from at Lolita’s Gelato! Offering scoopfuls of homemade heaven, be sure to try their orange and lemon sorbets! At €2.50 for a small cup that comes in two flavours, we won’t be surprised if you come back here more than once. Their warm and friendly service – and delicious gelato – will make you scream for more ice cream!
Cost: Starting from €2.50
Halal status: While this eatery is not exclusively vegan, their flavour options include vegan gelato and sorbets (lemon and orange flavours)
Take in the amazing views of the sunset from Oia Castle (2 hours)
A Santorini sunset is breathtaking regardless of where you are, but it is most picturesque from the Oia Castle at the northern-most tip of the island. Enjoy the moment as you view the bright white and blue of the church contrasting with the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. Remember to reach here early to enjoy the best views!
Enjoy your dinner at Jaipur Palace Indian Restaurant (1 hour)
Credit: Jaipur Palace on Facebook
For the best Indian vegetarian food in the whole of Santorini, end your day with a tasty dinner at Jaipur Palace Indian Restaurant. There is plenty of vegetarian options for you to choose from but you definitely should not leave without having a taste of their biryani! From time to time, they will have halal meat and poultry available, but do remember to ask their staff members first. With their exceptional food and friendly service, you will definitely be impressed!
Price: €1.50 – €10.60
Halal status: This restaurant has a vegetarian menu
Day 4: Santorini
Get your adrenaline pumping and rent a quad bike (2-3 hours)
Credit: Santorini Moto Car-Atv-Scooter Rentals on Facebook
For a fun and easy way to get around the beautiful island, buddy up and rent a quad bike! You can explore the island all at your own pace and discover areas that are not easily accessible by bus. What better way to explore Santorini on a budget!
#HHWT Tip: If you are nervous about driving on busy roads, just head towards the black sand beaches of Perissa and Kamari. It is a very easy drive with almost no traffic!
Soak up some sun at the Black Beach (Perissa) (1-3 hours)
Credit: Yonatan Fadida on Facebook
If you love the sun, sand and beach, you will enjoy lounging here! The volcanic activity on the island is evidenced here at this beach where the sand is black. It is also the place to be if you are after some water sports. Just don’t forget to apply some sunscreen!
Treat yourself to traditional Greek food in a local restaurant at local prices in Santorini – only at Mike Grill House (1-2 hours)
Credit: @d.m.eason on Instagram
Welcome to seafood heaven! At this unpretentious gem known as Mike Grill House, you will not be disappointed with their very fresh and traditional food cooked to perfection. The mixed seafood grill is their house speciality, but if you aren’t a huge fan of seafood, you can also order their highly recommended gyros and souvlakis. Big portions, friendly service, reasonable prices and authentic Greek dishes right in Santorini, what more can you ask for?
Do take note that pork is served in the restaurant, but if you inform the friendly staff they are able to prepare halal dishes separately. They even have their own halal slaughtered meat!
Halal status: While the restaurant offers seafood options and halal meats, do note that pork is served in the restaurant. You may request for the halal dishes to be prepared and cooked separately.
Address: Messaria Santorini, Thíra, Kikladhes, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 11.30AM-12AM
Admire the beauty of the Red Beach (Akrotiri) (1-2 hours)
Credit: @syahtokkure_fundmanager on Instagram
For the chance to up your Instagram game, make your way to one of the most scenic and interesting beaches that you won’t find anywhere in the world. You will simply be mesmerized by the contrasting red colours of the volcanic rocks, that surround the crystal clear waters. For an otherworldly landscape like something right out of a science-fiction movie, it is not to be missed!
Wander through the streets of Fira town (2 hours)
Credit: @annaa_9 on Instagram
You haven’t been to Santorini if you haven’t visited Fira town! By far the largest and busiest part of the island, the town consists of alleys filled with shops selling souvenirs, artwork, jewellery and whatnot. With every corner comes a unique surprise – you can’t leave without buying a thing or two.
Marvel at the gorgeous views of the sea from the Three Bells of Fira (1 hour)
Having adorned a million postcards of Santorini, the Three Bells of Fira is the picture-perfect church which attracts many visitors from all over the world. Capture the signature photo of the blue-domed church bells overlooking the caldera to your hearts’ content!
Have a guilt-free healthy dinner at Falafeland (1 hour)
Credit: Falafeland Santorini on Facebook
Heaven for vegans, this Muslim-friendly eatery named Falafeland is the healthiest street food corner in Fira! Their falafel is freshly made and everything on the menu is vegan, so you can have some guilt-free Greek dinner (or supper) here! Do try their highly raved falafels and baba ghanoush (aubergine) sauce!
Price: €2.50 – €7
Halal status: While the eatery serves an all-vegan menu, do note that alcoholic beverages are served on the premise
Address: Fira, Thíra, Kikladhes, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 11.30AM-10.45PM
Day 5: Back to Athens
Do some last-minute shopping and hunt for souvenirs at Monastiraki flea market (2 hours)
Credit: @luptilu on Instagram
Depart for Athens by Blue Star Ferries at 6.45AM to reach the city at 3PM. After checking in your accommodation, head to one of Athens’ most popular markets which is a paradise for bargain hunters! In the early evening, the place also comes alive with musicians, jazz bands and street performers.
Credit: christzsch on Instagram
A quirky street market with a jumble of antique shops, trinkets, and souvenirs, Monastiraki flea market definitely has something for everyone. Who knows, you could also be coming home with an antique piece that you’ve always wanted to put in your house (a gramophone anyone?)!
End your Greek adventure with your last sunset at Philopappos Hill (2 hours)
Credit: Stuart Chugg on Facebook
For a breathtaking view of the iconic Acropolis at sunset, make your way to Philopappos Hill from the market!
Satisfy your cravings for halal meat and spicy food at Indian Chef Restaurant (1 hour)
Credit: Indian Chef on Facebook
We know you will probably crave for spicy food after five days, so look no further than at Indian Chef restaurant! Fans of spicy food can pick a variety of dishes such as chicken vindaloo and lamb curry.
Price: €2 – €15
Halal status: While the restaurant uses halal meats and offers a vegetarian menu, do note that alcoholic beverages are served on the premise
Address: Leoforos Syngrou 55, Athens, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 12PM-12AM
Day 6: Back to Athens
Time to say goodbye to Athens
Credit: Athens International Airport on Facebook
Take the metro along the green line for a direct train to the airport. If you’re going back to Singapore, Scoot’s flight from Athens to Singapore is at 11.30am. If you’re heading back to Kuala Lumpur instead, flights like Etihad and Emirates will usually leave Athens in the afternoon to evening, so you still have some time to squeeze in some last-minute shopping!
Train cost: €10 per person
Now, it’s not as expensive as you would expect a European destination to be, right? Time to take the next flight out to Athens and begin your Greek adventure!