A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Athens vs. Helsinki for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Backpackers

Should you visit Athens or Helsinki?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Athens and Helsinki. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Athens

Athens is a ancient, vibrant, and energetic city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Helsinki

Helsinki is a coastal, environmentally conscious, and waterfront city. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Athens and Helsinki: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Home to the Acropolis
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Athens or Helsinki?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Athens than Helsinki, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Athens is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, and big city activities, while Helsinki is known for its shopping and impressive beauty. Athens is more touristy than Helsinki and is known for its ancient temples and landmarks as well as its influence as the birthplace of democracy. It is also home to The Acropolis. Helsinki is popular for its rich culture that includes traditional elements as well as an active subculture scene.

The Acropolis
The Acropolis

How is Athens different from Helsinki?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Helsinki and Athens. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Athens or Helsinki?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens is a world-class destination for its museums and history. Also, Helsinki is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

The museums and tourist attractions in Athens are world-renowned. As a historical capital of the world, this city has countless museums and archeological sites including the famous Acropolis, the National Archaeology Museum, and the Ancient Agora.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Helsinki. Many of the city's sights and attractions center around nature and the water. Major hightlights of the city include the Fortress of Sveaborg, Seurasaari open-Air Museum, and Temppeliaukio Rock Church. The city is also home to The National Museum of Finland.


Is the Food Better in Athens or Helsinki? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens is a world-class destination for its restaurants. Also, Helsinki is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Many restaurants in Athens have been singled out for their culinary prowess. Make sure you try the souvlaki, moussaka, and dolmades at any of the many local restaurants throughout the city.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Helsinki area. Food in town is all about local flavors and simple ingredients. The dishes let the flavor speak for itself without fancy cooking techniques or complex flavor combinations. Many of the restaurants are locally sourced with traditional ingredients. You'll find a lot of seafood, herring, grilled sausages, pancakes, and desserts.

Is Athens or Helsinki Better for Nightlife?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens is a world-class destination for nightlife and partying. Also, Helsinki is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

People head to Athens just to party. There are all-night dance clubs as well as local bars and chill live music venues.

Helsinki has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. The nightlife scene is at its best on weekends when the city center comes to life with parties, dance clubs, and student activities. Many of the best clubs and bars are concentrated in the city center. Weekends are a bit calmer and things quiet down a lot.

Is Athens or Helsinki Better for its Old Town?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens is a world-class destination for its old town. However, Helsinki does not have a historic old town.

The historic old town of Athens is revered around the world. The city's "historic triangle" is between Syntagma, Omonia, and Monastiraki Squares. This area is also at the political and financial heart of the city.

Helsinki does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Athens or Helsinki?

Athens
Helsinki

Helsinki is great for its shopping areas. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Helsinki. The city is great for shopping, with many brands focused on sustainability. There are local boutiques as well as name brands. Flea markets and vintage shops are also popular.

Athens is a great destination for shopping. Most neighborhoods have a shopping street but head to Ermou Street for some of the city's best shopping.

Is Athens or Helsinki Better for Families?

Athens
Helsinki

Both Athens and Helsinki are very good family-friendly destinations.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Athens. With its rich history, beautiful outdoor activities, and kid-friendly food, Athens is a fun place to explore with the whole family.

Helsinki is a very family-friendly place to visit. The coastal setting offers many activities that kids and adults alike will enjoy. This capital city has a calm atmosphere with plenty of parkland to explore. The shoreline is dotted by islands where you'll also find a zoo and a fort. Kids will also enjoy exploring the islands by boat.

Is Athens or Helsinki Better for Couples?

Athens
Helsinki

Helsinki is great for couples. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

Helsinki is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. The city's many parks offer the perfect setting for a picnic or a walk. There are also botanical gardens, evening boat rides, and saunas that will help you enjoy a romantic trip away.

Athens is a nice destination for couples. The city is historical, fascinating, and romantic, making it a beautiful place to explore as a couple.


Is Athens or Helsinki Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens is a world-class destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Helsinki is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Athens is extremely popular for backpackers. The city has long been established as a backpackers destination with budget friendly food and plenty of hostels around town.

Plenty of backpackers visit Helsinki. With its active nightlife scene, vibrant atmosphere, and inclusive personality, this city is a fun place for backpackers, but you should expect to pay a premium for the experience. Many backpackers avoid the city because they have heard how expensive it is. There are a few hostels around that will help you keep costs a bit more manageable.

Is Athens or Helsinki Better for Students?

Athens
Helsinki

For students, both Athens and Helsinki are very good places to visit.

Many students visit Athens. International students will appreciate the rich history, archaeological ruins, and unique opportunities that are available here.

Helsinki is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city has an active student life with plenty of culture and nature. It's active nightlife scene and beautiful natural areas make it a wonderful place to study.

Is Athens or Helsinki Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens and Helsinki both offer very good public transit to get you around.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Athens. The city's metro system has 3 lines that connect to bus, tram and commuter rail lines.

Public transit in Helsinki is fairly effecient and thorough. Transit options include bus, tram, metro, commuter train and ferry services.


Is Athens or Helsinki a more walkable city?

Athens
Helsinki

Athens is a very popular place for its high level of walkability. Also, Helsinki is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

Athens is a very walkable city. You'll find the city's most walkable area's in the historical heart, where there are many pedestrian only streets and shopping areas.

Helsinki is a somewhat walkable city. Many neighborhoods are easy to explore on foot. The air is also clean and the setting is refreshing.

For even more information, also check out Is Athens Worth Visiting? and Is Helsinki Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Helsinki or Athens?

How long in Athens or Helsinki?

It's fun to spend time in either Athens or Helsinki. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Athens due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Athens, and 2-4 days is enough time in Helsinki.

Families should spend more time in Athens than Helsinki. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Athens, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Athens than Helsinki if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Athens.


  • How many days in Athens or Helsinki? Ideal Length of Stay
    Athens 3-7 
    Helsinki 2-4

One day in Athens or Helsinki?

Athens is a big city with plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Helsinki. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Athens or Helsinki?

Athens is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Helsinki is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Athens or Helsinki?

Athens is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Athens, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Helsinki. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Athens or Helsinki?

Athens is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Athens has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the waterfront destination of Helsinki. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in Greece, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Greece, The Best Budget Tours to Finland, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Finland.


Which place is cheaper, Helsinki or Athens?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Athens is €127, while the average daily cost in Helsinki is €139. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Athens and Helsinki in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Athens 63
    Helsinki 73
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Athens 126
    Helsinki 146
Compare Hotels in Athens and Helsinki

Looking for a hotel in Athens or Helsinki? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Athens


Hotels in Helsinki


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Athens Hotel Prices and Helsinki Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Athens 27
    Helsinki 22
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Athens

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Athens:


  • Airport Bus for Two
    6.40
  • Metro
    1.50
  • Metro
    2.00
  • Metro from Airport to City Center
    8.00
  • Taxi from Airport
    35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Athens

Also for Athens, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • VIP VAN Athens Airport Transfer 1 - 8 persons: $141
  • VIP VAN Athens Airport Transfer 1 - 4 persons: $89
  • VIP High Class Limos & Chauffeurs Transfer to Athens: $65
  • VIP Ferry Ticket from Piraeus Port To Mykonos & Private Transfer included: $249
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service in Athens HTL-APT (ATH): $63
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service in Athens APT-HTL (ATH): $63
  • Transfer from/to Piraeus Port and Athens city centre hotel: $40
  • Transfer from/to Athens International Airport to city centre: $125
  • Transfer from/to Athens Airport and Athens City Centre: $196
  • Transfer from RAFINA PORT to ALL ATHENS & PIRAEUS HOTELS, up to 4 customers: $97
  • Transfer from Piraeus port to Athens Airport and Vice Versa 22:30PM - 06:29AM: $123
  • Transfer from PIRAEUS PORT to PIRAEUS HOTELS, up to 8 customers: $88

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Helsinki

Also for Helsinki, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private City Highlights Tour with Transfer: $735
  • Guided Tallinn Day Tour from Helsinki / Include hotel transfers: $218
  • Helsinki Private Transfer: $158
  • VIP Airport transfers in Helsinki region: $151
  • PRIVATE Helsinki VIP Transfer: $147
  • VIP Transfer HELSINKI: $147
  • Helsinki Airport (HEL): One-Way Transfer to/from Helsinki: $144
  • Helsinki Stopover Tour with Round-Trip Airport Transfers: $138
  • Helsinki Airport VIP Transfers: Exclusive Comfort&Efficiency: $133
  • Helsinki Airport (HEL): Transfer to Helsinki Cruise Terminal: $129
  • Private transfer from Helsinki Airport with Meet & Greet: $128
  • Helsinki West Harbour Cruise Terminal: Transfer to Helsinki: $113

Is it cheaper to fly into Athens or Helsinki?

Prices for flights to both Helsinki and Athens change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Athens 37
    Helsinki 34
Typical Food Prices in Athens

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Athens:


  • Ice cream
    3.00
  • Souvlaki
    2.20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Athens

For Athens, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Hard Rock Cafe Athens with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $24
  • Hard Rock Cafe Athens with Set Lunch or Dinner: $26
  • Street Food Tour Market & City Centre: $42
  • Foodies’ Favorite Food tour: $46
  • Greek Street Food Tour: $51
  • Middle-eastern Cuisine Cooking Class with Meal: $52
  • Street Food Tour with Local Guide and 7 Tastings: $57
  • Traditional Greek Cooking Class and Organic Lunch on Poros: $60
  • Greek Traditional Vegan Cooking Class with Meal: $63
  • Alternative, truly authentic food tour in secret Athens: $63
  • Oriental Kitchen Cooking Classes in Athina: $64
  • Street Food Tour with 7 Tastings: $64

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • FOOD Tour with Rooftop Bar Visit in Helsinki: $105
  • FOOD Tour with Roof Top Bar in Helsinki: $108
  • Helsinki Food Tour Including Tastings: $163

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Athens 36
    Helsinki 27

Tours and Activities in Athens

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Athens.

  • Ancient Corinth Canal Epidavrous Nafplio Private Tour 8Hours: $180
  • Apostle Paul's Footsteps in Athens Christian Private Tour 5Hours: $150
  • Athens Gems & Charms for the First Time Cruiser: $75
  • Athens Private Day Tour Best place to visit: $272
  • DELPHI and THERMOPYLAE: Full Day Private Tour Visit Arachova 8 H: $203
  • Essential Athens Highlights Half-Day Private Tour with Flexible Options: $259
  • Highlights Athens History Tour: $36
  • Layover Private Tour in Athens: $245
  • Mycenae Lions Gate Epidaurus & Nafplio Full Day Private Tour 8H : $191
  • Private Full Day Tour in Delphi: $212
  • Self-Guided Tour at the Romantic Island of Hydra from Athens: $283
  • Traditional Villages Full day Tour in Santorini: $59

Tours and Activities in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Helsinki Highlights Tour: the Top Sightseeing Spots: $141
  • 2-Hours Private Modern Boat Tour in Helsinki Archipelago: $283
  • 3 Hours Helsinki Stopover Tour from Airport: $98
  • 3-Hour Helsinki Private Walking Tour: $234
  • A Finntastic Walking Tour in Helsinki: $26
  • Adventure Day: $44
  • All-in-One Helsinki Shore Excursion for Cruise Ships: $1,039
  • CITY Tour with Food Tasting in Helsinki: $105
  • CITY Tour with Food Tasting in Helsinki: $147
  • Cozy Guided City Tour: Helsinki & Porvoo: $96
  • E-Bike rental / Self-Guided tour to Seurasaari: $52
  • First Time in Helsinki Tour: $330

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Athens 23
    Helsinki 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Athens

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Athens:

  • Liquer tasting in Polykala's Distillery Show Room in Athens: $17
  • Greek Wine Tasting: $23
  • The NightCrawlers | Athens Pub Crawl: $26
  • Athens Speakeasy & Alternative Bar Crawl: Discover Hidden Gems: $38
  • Greek Wine Tasting Experience with a Sommelier: $43
  • Old Town Athens Wine Tasting: $52
  • Wine Tasting Odyssey in Athens: $52
  • Greek food and wine tasting: $53
  • Best rated Acropolis Wine Tasting : $53
  • Wine Tasting with a Sommelier under the Acropolis: $59
  • Wine Tasting and Storytelling in a Historical Square in Athina: $60
  • Acropolis Private Wine Tasting @ Finewine store : $61


When comparing the travel costs between Athens and Helsinki, we can see that Helsinki is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Athens Expensive? and Is Helsinki Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Athens or Helsinki?

Athens has a larger population, and is about 31% larger than the population of Helsinki. When comparing the sizes of Athens and Helsinki, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Athens or Helsinki?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Athens or Helsinki in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Athens and Helsinki. Most visitors come to Athens for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Helsinki because of the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Athens is generally much warmer than Helsinki. Daily temperatures in Athens average around 27°C (81°F), and Helsinki fluctuates around 17°C (62°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Helsinki this time of the year. In Athens, it's very sunny this time of the year. Athens usually receives more sunshine than Helsinki during summer. Athens gets 357 hours of sunny skies, while Helsinki receives 275 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Athens usually receives less rain than Helsinki. Athens gets 6 mm (0.2 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Athens 27°C (81°F) 
    Helsinki 17°C (62°F)

Should I visit Athens or Helsinki in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Athens as well as Helsinki. The autumn months attract visitors to Athens because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Helsinki this time of year.

Athens is much warmer than Helsinki in the autumn. The daily temperature in Athens averages around 19°C (67°F) in October, and Helsinki fluctuates around 6°C (42°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Athens this time of the year. In the autumn, Athens often gets more sunshine than Helsinki. Athens gets 206 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Helsinki receives 90 hours of full sun.

Athens usually gets less rain in October than Helsinki. Athens gets 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Athens 19°C (67°F) 
    Helsinki 6°C (42°F)

Should I visit Athens or Helsinki in the Winter?

Both Helsinki and Athens are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Athens this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Helsinki for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Helsinki. In the winter, Athens is much warmer than Helsinki. Typically, the winter temperatures in Athens in January average around 10°C (51°F), and Helsinki averages at about -6°C (21°F).

Athens usually receives more sunshine than Helsinki during winter. Athens gets 143 hours of sunny skies, while Helsinki receives 39 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Athens usually receives more rain than Helsinki. Athens gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Athens 10°C (51°F) 
    Helsinki -6°C (21°F)

Should I visit Athens or Helsinki in the Spring?

Both Helsinki and Athens during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Athens for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Helsinki in the spring for the natural beauty.

Helsinki can get quite cold in the spring. In April, Athens is generally much warmer than Helsinki. Daily temperatures in Athens average around 16°C (60°F), and Helsinki fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

It's quite sunny in Athens. In the spring, Athens often gets more sunshine than Helsinki. Athens gets 226 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Helsinki receives 183 hours of full sun.

Athens usually gets less rain in April than Helsinki. Athens gets 25 mm (1 in) of rain, while Helsinki receives 41 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Athens 16°C (60°F) 
    Helsinki 3°C (37°F)

Typical Weather for Helsinki and Athens

Athens Helsinki
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 10°C (51°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) -6°C (21°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Feb 11°C (51°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) -7°C (20°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Mar 12°C (54°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) -3°C (27°F) 34 mm (1.4 in)
Apr 16°C (60°F) 25 mm (1 in) 3°C (37°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
May 20°C (68°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 9°C (49°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Jun 24°C (76°F) 6 mm (0.2 in) 15°C (59°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
Jul 27°C (81°F) 6 mm (0.2 in) 17°C (62°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Aug 27°C (81°F) 8 mm (0.3 in) 16°C (60°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 24°C (76°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 11°C (51°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
Oct 19°C (67°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 6°C (42°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 16°C (60°F) 51 mm (2 in) 1°C (33°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Dec 12°C (54°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) -4°C (26°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)