We had been wanting to make our way over to Athens for a long time, but things kept getting in our way (a pandemic certainly didn’t help). We finally managed to get a couple of friends to agree to visit with us, and before we knew it, we were headed to Athens.
When we were planning our visit we spent a long time researching and planning, so we thought we’d summarise our experience up in one post; so if you’re trying to plan the perfect escape room break in Athens, read on – the way we did things may not suit you, but this worked well for us.
Where to stay?
Athens has many different areas and all seem to be very distinct from each other. We looked into all the areas, their proximity to escape rooms, accommodation cost, and safety of the area.
In the end we found a lovely place on AirBnb that was in the Koukaki area. It roughly worked out around £600 for seven nights and had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large balcony – perfect for evening meals and drinks.
Koukaki was a lovely area, ok our place didn’t have a view of the Acropolis but we had multiple great restaurants nearby, supermarkets on our doorstep, many amazing bakeries, and a couple of tap-rooms (perfect if you like beer from microbreweries.)
The area was also well connected thanks to tube and tram links. We were also able to walk from our place to both Paradox Project venues in less than 20 minutes.
Koukaki may not tick your boxes but if (when) we visit Athens again it will be our first choice location.
Athens has a pretty good tube network, although not as big as London’s, it’s very easy to navigate and remarkably cheap. We only used it on one day but for a day pass it cost us just over €4 each.
Like any major city, there are some areas of Athens that did feel a bit unsafe. We walked a fair amount over the city and had no issues and in the beautiful October sunshine it was a delight to be outside.
Our most utilised form of transport were the taxis. Coming from UK taxi prices we found the Athens taxis to be extremely good value, especially if the cost was being split between four people.
The taxis are easily identifiable as they are all yellow so you really can’t miss them. We didn’t ever hail a taxi on the street, instead we used an app called ‘FREE NOW’, which seemed to have taken over from ‘Beat’ and is the local/European version of Uber.
FREE NOW was seamless and highly efficient for us. Athens isn’t a massive city and I’m not sure we ever really spent more than 30 minutes in a taxi and never spent more than €25 for the pleasure.
You can use the app much like you would use Uber, Lyft, or any of the other various private hire taxi apps. Enter your destination, confirm your location and it will give you a price estimate for the journey. You can then choose a quick taxi, a nice taxi, or an electric/hybrid taxi – all the same price, just the waiting time could change. You’re able to track the driver so you know when he’s arriving, track your journey, and everything is done digitally so no need to worry about cash. Taxi was definitely our preferred mode of transport.
I must admit, I’m not really a connoisseur when it comes to food, my favourite meal is a burger, but I was blown away with the quality and price of the food in Athens.
If you do happen to stay in Koukaki, we found a lovely place called Karminio which served great quality food all day, and it was extremely reasonably priced. Also in Koukaki was a bakery called Charitos that was largely responsible for a good amount of weight that I put on – amazing breakfast, lunch and snack food there!
We did a food tour (booked on AirBnb) which was a great way to see some cool areas and eat some proper ‘local’ food off the tourist track. Highlights were peinirli, souvlaki, spanakopita and loukoumades – amazing!
Ok, now to the real reason we visited Athens, the escape rooms. Athens has some truly incredible escape room experiences and there are lots of them all over the city. We were only in Athens for a week so had to be very specific about the experiences we selected, but it’s worth noting that escape rooms in Athens generally open later in the day, and they last longer than one hour – so it can be hard to fit in as many escape rooms in a day as you’re perhaps used to.
If you want to read reviews of all the games we played, then you can click on any of the links below. The games we selected to play were:
- The Mansion – Paradox Project
- The Bookstore – Paradox Project
- The Music Academy – Paradox Project
- Cosmos 05 Death in Space – Escapepolis
- The Butcher Resurrection – Escapepolis
- El Exorcista – No Exit
- Evil in a Box – Exitus (temporary escape room)
- Wake Up – Station 33
- The Dark Side of the Elements – Exit Plan
- Chapel & Catacombs – Lockhill
- The Sanitorium – Lockhill
- Woman in Black – Coven Escapes
- Lilipout – The Art of Escape
- Ice Tiki – Way Out
- Through the Mirror – G-Factor Group
- Freedom for Sale – G-Factor Group
- The 7 Mysteries of Pharaoh – G-Factor Group
Most of these games were played later in the afternoon or late at night, but one or two venues did have flexibility to open up a bit earlier so that we could fit in more games – so if you’re trying to fit in a game and not sure if there is a slot, it’s always worth contacting the venue to see if they can squeeze you in. One thing that was an alien concept to us was that for most of these games you actually pay after you play – that took some getting used to.
Many of these games could be summed up in one word, ‘incredible’, and to have so many world class games so close together was like a dream come true. If we were pushed and had to select only three must play games, then at a push, I’d say;
- Chapel and Catacombs – Lockhill (Terpeca 2022 #1)
- TL;DR: Amazing set, great story, 100% immersive
- The Bookstore – Paradox Project (Terpeca 2022 #13)
- TL;DR: Sprawling set, great puzzles, 3 hours long
- Ice Tiki – Way Out (Terpeca 2022 #41)
- TL;DR: 100% Fun, light-hearted, a true adventure
The problem with Athens is that there are too many escape rooms to fit into one trip. But thanks to the high quality and low price point, we’ll be back and already we have a number of other TERPECA winning games in our sights!
One pro tip that I would give, is to play the games in the order they were created. We played the games at Paradox Project in the order they were created, and although The Mansion wasn’t our favourite game, it meant the story made sense when we played The Bookstore as it followed on. We played the Lockhill games in the wrong order so they had to tweak the story a little – in hindsight we should have played all of their games and played them in the correct order, but we didn’t know this and just went with timings that fitted our schedule.
We didn’t just play escape rooms, we also did some ‘regular’ tourist stuff; flea markets, the beach, historical sites, and a food tour. If you’re planning to visit cultural stuff, particularly the Acropolis then we’d advise you buy your tickets in advance from the official website, and make sure you get there before it opens – it’s worth it. You can also buy a multi site pass which is only €30 (€10 more than just the Acropolis) and this gets you one time access to other sites like; Acropolis And Slopes, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Olympieion, Kerameikos, Aristotle’s School.
Athens is an incredible city and should be on the ‘must do’ list for all escape room enthusiasts. We’ve played some incredible games but Athens has really changed our views on what escape rooms can be.
If you’re planning a trip to Athens and want any help or advice, feel free to drop us a message on here or on our various social media profiles.