After months of walking in circles around my home, I was ready for a change of scenery.
I didn’t have the funds for a long holiday after a winter of combined work and travel in Thailand and Indonesia, so I started planning a ‘workation’.
What the heck is a Workation?
It is a combination of the words work and vacation, and that’s what it means.
You continue to do your work but from a ‘holiday destination’.
You work remotely in a fresh environment, so when you finish your work hours, you have time to explore the city, visit a museum, hike in nature, or go to the beach.
I go on workations multiple times a year. On my other blog, Nomadic Earnings, I tell you how I do that: My Story: Combining Work and Wanderlust
Choosing my Destination for my Workation
There are so many gorgeous places in Europe where I love to be for 5 to 6 weeks!
Lissabon, Coimbra, Braga, and Porto to name a few of my Portuguese favorites. Then there are all those beautiful cities in Italy, like Rome, Florence, Puglia, and Bologna. Spain, France, Kroatia, and Tsjechia have dozens of great destinations too. My list is long!
But for a smooth work-and-travel-getaway, I need more than just a great city.
I have a checklist for my stay, with important points:
- Excellent Wi-Fi
- Affordable and comfortable housing
- Desk or workspace, no working from my bed anymore for me 😉
- Attractive hiking possibilities nearby
- Interesting cultural life
- Pleasant Weather
- Good Food
Why Athens in May?
My father has an apartment in Athens that ticks all the boxes off my list above, which wasn’t occupied during the weeks that I wanted to travel, so this time it didn’t take me long to choose my destination! Lucky me.
I love Athens in May. I like the food, the weather, the vibe of the city, and the fact that it is close to the harbor that brings you to the Greek islands, so I will be back in May 2024.
Finding an affordable place to stay in Athens
In case I don’t have an apartment waiting for me, I start preparing for my long-term stays with a search on Airbnb and booking.com. Many hosts give discounts if you stay for a month or longer.
A quick search for rentals in Athens during May 2024 provided me with a list of affordable and comfortable apartments in the area that I like, starting at 650 euros per month.
I search specifically for apartments with a desk/workspace and excellent Wi-Fi, a balcony is a nice bonus.
Planning my day – Finding the Right Balance between Work and Vacation
One of my friends joined me during my first 2 weeks in Athens. She had never been there before, so we planned a lot of sightseeing and urban hikes with coffee and lunch breaks.
This motivated me to be super productive in very few work hours per day 😉
Our work schedule depended on our plans for the day.
Some days we worked in the morning and we left just before lunchtime, with no obligation to come home early because the work was already done.
Other times, we left in the morning for a museum or a hike, had lunch in a taverna or at home, worked for a few hours after lunch, and left again for dinner and an evening stroll.
For the next 2 weeks, I was alone. No need to compress my work time to the minimum, because I have been to Athens multiple times. Less planning, more go with the flow.
During my last week, my father joined me. This asked for a different approach altogether! I had to plan my work time very strictly, or I wouldn’t get anything done, between our strolls through Athens, museum trips, and elaborate lunches.
Urban Hiking in Athens ‘off the beaten track’
Nothing wrong with climbing the Akropolis to visit the Parthenon of course. It would be silly to miss this tourist highlight when you stay in Athens. But once you have visited it, I advise you to get away from the crowd and climb other hills with spectacular views of the city or the Parthenon, with fewer tourists around.
Hiking Back to Health in Athens
When I had my workation in Athens, I was on a waiting list for surgery, and not fit at all.
In the Netherlands, I had difficulty dragging myself outside of my home, to commit myself to my daily walk. It was something I must do, but I didn’t feel joy doing it.
This changed the moment I arrived in Athens.
Sometimes, all we need is a change of environment! There were a few days that I was too sick to walk and stayed on the balcony, but most days I was eager to go for a walk.
I walked at least 10.000 steps per day for the whole month of May.
Some of the Musea I recommend in Athens
Because I am a slow traveler, I have plenty of time to visit all my old-time favorites plus some newly discovered ones.
If you’re on a short city trip to Athens, my personal choice would be the Akropolis Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art.