Athens is a great place to start living your dream of working remotely in this pretty, wild world. It is cheap, has great cafes to work in, amazing history, awesome food and a healthy mix of tourists and Greeks to bump into and make friends with. I have written this blog to give you an idea of how to make your first remote working journey as smooth as possible.
1. Your arrival day is a write off
Don’t book yourself into do work on the day you arrive. You will be exhausted and not functioning properly. You will also be keen to explore and make friends. Make sure you enjoy your first day of any new place and get yourself settled before doing work.
2. If you are looking to have a social network, live in a hostel.
Honestly, living in a good hostel is way more fun than having a hotel room to yourself. You have instant access to cool people who are all on their own travels and are always up for adventures. I am currently staying in the Pella Inn hotel in Monastiraki. It is amazing! All the people I have met, staff and guests, are active, fun and have interesting stories. They are friends that I definitely would want to see again. Working remotely and staying in a hostel allows you to make friends from across the globe and have people to explore with on your breaks.
3. Do your research and find a good café that you can do your work
So obviously, working remotely is not all fun and games. To make sure you get a big bulk of your work done each working day, you will need to find yourself a café to work from. Do your research so you don’t waste your time. A great place I found was Poems and Crimes (which is around the corner from Pella Inn). It is also a book and art shop. The staff are friendly and helpful, and I even met a client from just chatting to the gentleman beside me. Ideal working conditions. Well worth a try.
4. If you want to make friends with Greek locals… go and talk to them
So if you want to make friends with local Greek people… do it! Just go out and chat to them. A good way to make friends is by volunteering in your spare time, taking up a skill (I’ve been invited to Tango lessons by a wonderful Greek), or even just chat to the person beside you in a cool bar. If they are nice, I’m sure they will take you to all the hidden and cool spots that only Greeks know about. I ended up in a funky greek bar/club the other night as a result… wish I could tell you the name!
5. Ask local Greeks where THEIR favourite place to eat and THEY would order
So if you want to try yummy Greek food then ask the locals what THEY would eat and where. All of a sudden you aren’t eating in tourist traps, you’re paying cheap prices and eating authentically in your temporary home. A great place is this hole in the wall down the Psiri Alleys. I'll let you explore and find it for yourself.
6. Try not to get distracted with holiday life and forget to work.
Remember you are not here on holiday, you are working remotely. It’s REALLY hard sometimes. Especially when you have made loads of friends and are constantly being invited to cool places. Money matters, if you want to prolong your travels, so go and work. Meet up with your new friends afterwards…. Or plan to go on a hike or adventure beforehand. But make a promise to yourself that you will do work that day for 6 to 8 hours. Value your time and your business. You won’t regret it in the long run.
7. Be vigilant for muggers
Athens is renowned for its pickpocketers. Especially on trains… I got unfortunately mugged on my third day here. Only my wallet, but still not nice. If you do, give your bank a call, cancel your cards. Realise it’s just money and with my bank a card was sent out in 72 hours. It’s not the end of the world, so don’t let it ruin your trip… but still be vigilant and careful with your stuff.
8. Go to these bars!
If you're bored of generic pump, cheesy tunes.... or delightfully authentic greek music (let's face it, variety is the spice of life right?), then you should try these bars!
Brettos in Plaka serves the best warm Raki (a greek delicacy and a perfect dessert after a yummy Greek meal). The bartender is really friendly and chatty!
Gazi in Monastiraki is pretty cool, full of friendly greeks and the drinks are delicious. The vibe is not to be missed.
S.I.X Dogs in Monastiraki is probably the best beer garden that I've ever been to (and trust me, I've been to a fair few!). If you are looking for something to inspire... go here. The cocktails and energy of the place are great.
8. If you forget anything, you can always buy it
There are shops for everything. If you forget anything, ask around and you will find.
9. Bored of Athens, why not go explore somewhere else?
Greece is beautiful and the beauty of working remotely is that you can work anywhere with wifi. Go find your own adventure! Life can be sweet sometimes.