Looking for a holiday packed with adventure this year? With two back-to-back public holidays in August this year, you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime European adventure without breaking the bank and using up all your annual leave! Book a multi-city trip with Skyscanner using Athens as the springboard to other exciting destinations and you can save big bucks and find yourself exploring the world famous Parthenon in historic Athens, following the trail of Count Dracula in Transylvania or drawing inspiration for your next novel from JK Rowling in the cafes of Edinburgh!
With regular connections to Athens on budget airline Scoot (one-way tickets from S$300), Athens makes a great gateway for exploring Europe and further afield with a multi-city itinerary. Multi-city tickets are a great value way of flying to more destinations and often cost less than a direct return ticket. Find out more about booking multi-city tickets here.
What can I do on an Athens stopover?
Athens can justly lay claim to being the ancient capital of the world. Home to democracy, drama and one of the world’s most best known mythologies, modern Athens is littered with ancient landmarks from Byzantine churches and ancient theatres to one of the world’s greatest historical landmarks, the Parthenon. However, it’s not all about the old here; hang out in the cafes and bars of the happening Monstariki and Plaka districts and be sure to take a day trip out to the sublime healing springs at Limni Vouliagmenis for a swim in the crystal clear waters of this volcanic crater. Hikers should look into walking some of the stretches of the Menalon Trail in Arcadia and enjoy sleeping in historic mountain villages along the way.
Multi-city itineraries at a glance:
1. Best of Greece (from S$1188)
Singapore – Athens – Santorini – Crete – Singapore
Sample the best of Greece with this great value multi-city itinerary that will take in the historic sights and sounds of this amazing country. Once you have explored the taverns of Athens and wandered around the Acropolis, it is time to fly down to world famous Santorini, renowned for its whitewashed Cycladic houses, deep purple and orange sunsets and multi-colored beaches. You are sure to fall in love with this place immediately. Bring out your inner tomb raider and explore Akrotiri to catch a glimpse of how the Minoans once lived before heading to Art Space for wine tasting and art in ancient wine caverns. Next stop on this itinerary is to the island of Crete, blessed with magnificent beaches, history that leaps from the pages of famed Greek myths (heard of the Minotaur?) and gorgeous cobblestone towns and villages that invite exploration, such as Hania, a historic town with a magnetic charm.
2. Eastern Mediterranean Explorer (from S$1260)
Singapore – Athens – Istanbul – Antalya – Singapore
Sample the best of the eastern Mediterranean on this multi-city itinerary that will take you from historic Athens to bustling Istanbul and down to the postcard perfect beaches of southern Turkey. The short hop brings you to Istanbul, one of the most populated cities in Europe and which straddles both Asia and Europe. Choose to stay in Sultanahmet, close to the key tourist attractions of the city and you will be rewarded by great access to the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofia and the Topkapi Palace, beautifully presented attractions that show the city’s tumultuous history at the meeting point of both eastern and western cultures. Be sure to take the ferry up the Bosporus to the black sea, stopping off at one of the many small towns on the way for an addictive flaky borek, packed with salty cheese or savory meat and a cup of sweet apple tea.
Round off your adventure with a bit of quality beach time at stunning Olu Deniz on the south coast, famed for its blue lagoon, water sports, paragliding and access point to the Lycian Way hiking trail – this is truly one of nature’s great outdoors playgrounds! Those that still have a thirst for a bit more adventure may want to take a trip to ancient Ephesus or Pamukkale, the inland spa known as the “cotton castle’.
3. Off the beaten path in Georgia and Dubai (from S$1199)
Singapore – Athens – Tblisi – Dubai – Singapore
This brilliant itinerary takes you a little way off the beaten track to one of the region’s most up-and coming destinations – Georgia. Once you’ve got the most out of Athens, hop to Georgia, perched the edge of the Caucasus region and fast gaining fame for it’s amazing hospitality, stunning mountain villages and watchtowers and delicious food and wine. Start in the capital, Tblisi, where you will be surprised by the profusion of funky bars, cafes and hotels nestled alongside stately villas, though for the best views you will need to get to the Narikala Fortress, the Persian Citadel that dominates the city’s skyline. However, to get a real feel for Georgia, you need to get out into the sticks to places such as Svaneti or Kazbegi to enjoy mountain scenery so stunning you will definitely be back for more.
Brash Dubai is quite a change from laid back Athens and Tblisi, but beneath the city’s obvious globalized commercial side, there is plenty of culture to be discovered here at Deira Souq and the Al Fahidi Historic District. Max out your Emirates trip by heading deep into the desert to enjoy some wadi bashing, or, even better, book a spot on a dhow cruise from Musandam to be awed by the desert fjords of Oman.
4. On the trail of Dracula (from S$1176)
Singapore – Athens – Bucharest – Warsaw – Singapore
From Athens, it is only a short hop to Bucharest, capital of Romania, where your hunt for gothic charm and Count Dracula begins. Bucharest is a misunderstood city and certainly does not pull in hordes of holidaymakers, making it a fun place for adventurous tourists. A must-visit here is to the former residence of the dictator Ceausescu, who lived here in opulence until he was summarily executed in the streets in 1989. The Museum of the Romanian Peasant is also well worth a look for its insight into traditional Romanian life. However, to really get a feel for the country, you need to head to Transylvania, to enjoy gothic villages, bear sanctuaries, and for vampire hunters, a night at Hotel Castel Dracula will be enough to chill even the most hardened of horror movie fans.
Suitably frightened, it is time to head north to Poland’s Warsaw, a city with a rocky past and a very buzzing present. Having survived the horrors of WW2 and the Jewish ghettoes, Warsaw now has a positively upbeat and youthful feel to it, so head to one of the city’s many cool and superb value pubs and bars to see how the city lets its hair down. Get to grips with the city’s history at the amazing Warsaw Rising Museum, detailing the doomed resistance to the Nazis, before exploring the Royal Castle and enjoying a hot chocolate in a cafe on the Old Town Square. After dark, there are plenty of options for night owls including renowned craft beer bar, Cuda na Kiju, and other more offbeat nightlife options around ul. Wicza.
5. King’s Landing and the White City (from S$1241)
Singapore – Athens – Belgrade – Dubrovnik – Singapore
Enjoy the highlights of the Balkans on this excellent value multi-city itinerary that will have you partying by the Danube and transported to King’s Landing from Game of Thrones. After enjoying the best of Athens, the short hop to the Serbian capital of Belgrade will take you to the heart of the Balkans. The city is noted for its nightlife, so if you are a clubber, this could be an offbeat paradise. For those who prefer to rise early, a tour of Belgrade Castle will reward with tales of bloody battles and heroism, as will the views from the top of Mt Avala, the highest tower in the Balkans. Fancy a taste of something local? Head to Dva Jelena for top Serbian fare, folk music and rustic Balkan vibes.
Your next port of call is Dubrovnik, Croatia’s tourist jewel and setting for many of the King’s Landing scenes in Game of Thrones, so if you are fan of this show, be sure to sign up for a tour and find yourself transported into this magical realm. Take a ferry out to the thickly forested island of Lokrum to enjoy a day swimming in the Med or exploring the ancient Benedictine monastery on the island. Plan to visit in the summer for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival to enjoy late nights, live opera and theatre and a whole lot of cultural fun.
6. Harry Potter and the Athens of the North (from S$1220)
Singapore – Athens – London – Edinburgh – Singapore
If you are a Harry Potter fan, then this could be the ultimate multi-city itinerary for you! Once you have exhausted London’s amazing markets such as Borough and Portobello, enjoyed a walk along the Southbank then sign up for the Warner Bros. studio tour – the Making of Harry Potter and get lost in the Great Hall. Another good spot for Potter fans in swinging London is at Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station where you can be snapped in your favorite Potter outfit on your way to catch the Hogwarts Express.
Edinburgh, quite possibly the UK’s most beautiful city, is also a bit of a Mecca for Potter fans. JK Rowling wrote the majority of her Harry Potter books here, and many of the buildings in the city served as inspiration for places featured in the books. Follow a self-directed walking tour to sit in Spoon, on the site of the café where Rowling wrote several chapters of her books as a young writer, or check out the façade of George Heriot’s School, rumored inspiration for Hogwarts. Once you’ve had your fill of Potter, hunt down great haggis at the Arcade Bar, hike up Arthur’s seat for blustery city views and take a ghost tour of the old city at night to find out more about this city’s dark and fascinating history.
7. The City of Lights and Luxurious Monaco (from S$1111)
Singapore – Athens – Paris – Nice – Athens
Get your fill of feta in Athens before jetting across Europe to the iconic “City of Lights”, Paris. Start your Paris explorations out with a wander around Marche Bastille. Snack on artisan cheeses and scrumptious pastries, before working off those calories with a walk around Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Here you’ll find the final resting places of global luminaries such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Frederic Chopin. An afternoon chilling in the Tuilieries is a must before delving deep into the Louvre or the Musee D’Orsay. Round off your Paris experience with a slow sunset walk along the River Seine. Nestled between Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, it’s a good spot to watch the Parisian night unfold around you.
After two cities, it’s time for a quality bit of beach time. Take a short flight south to Nice to enjoy walks along the Promenade des Anglais and long dips in the inviting Mediterranean. The Cours Selaya flower and food market is a great place to pick up some authentic local food. Those of an artistic bent will want to head to Musee Matisse to browse the eclectic collection of art. If you want to see the epitome of European high society life, take the 23-minute train ride to world famous Monaco. Sip coffee at cafes overlooking the luxurious yachts and snap selfies in front of the glam Casino de Monte Carlo.
8. Fiesta in Spain (from S$1361)
Singapore – Athens – Barcelona – Ibiza – Singapore
Fly from Athens to the other end of the Mediterranean on this multi-city itinerary that’ll have you awed by architecture and raving in some of Europe’s most famous clubs. Barcelona is packed with architectural gems including the world famous La Sagrada Familia in L’Eixample, a district stuffed with gorgeous Modernista architecture. Be sure to try some of the modern interpretations of Catalan cuisine at the highly recommended Suculent, where you’ll be able to feast on prawn ceviche and steak tartare. If you fancy tapas, head next door to La Barra del Suculent. Football fans can enjoy a dream come true with a stadium tour of the world famous Nou Camp, or better still, visit during the season and catch the mighty FC Barcelona in action!
The party island of Ibiza is a short flight away in the Balearic Islands and if you visit in summer, you’ll be in for a dance music treat as the best DJs on earth head to the island’s clubs where you’ll be able to party away until dawn. If clubbing isn’t your thing, the island is blessed with beautiful beaches at the Trucador Peninsular and plenty of history to explore in Ibiza Town. Be sure to try some of the island’s dishes including sofrit pages (a hearty stew of meats and sausages) and paellas de Marisco, the local take on a paella, which goes down wonderfully well at sunset by the beach!
First published on April 2019. All prices are correct at the time of writing.