our team

Tina

Founder Photo of Founder Tina

In 2005 I was at the highest point of my career: I was one of the youngest marketing directors in the country, had a great salary, a hefty bonus, a corporate car and a very safe and steady life. In 2010, the Greek crisis hit and the country went into freefall. I was left without a job, a car or even medical insurance, and there was little perspective of finding a new job any time soon.

Well, what’s new there? It’s the story of thousands of people around the world. What was new to me was the fear. No one had ever prepared me for that. I had done everything my parents and teachers had told me to do. I had been first in my class, studied at a good University, got a Master’s degree, learnt four foreign languages (and let’s not forget piano and ballet).

Two years later, still without a job, I was running out of money and hope, and the fear was still there. And then one day I became very tired of being afraid. So I decided to create a job for myself that I would like. I didn’t analyze what the market wanted, or business strengths and weaknesses, like I had always done before. Instead, I thought – what do you love doing?

I love travelling and exploring and understanding how people live in other places. I love peeking into their windows, no matter how improper that may be. And this is what I decided to do in my own city. I created my first Food Tour and went out there and did it, and people loved it. And this is how Alternative Athens was born. Out of fear and love.

I am now back to a comfortable life. Not secure, but a life less ordinary for me and, hopefully, for those co-travelers around me.  Of course the journey doesn’t end here. I always remind myself that what goes up must come down -at any time – and this makes me think about all the simple things that really matter in life.

The fear may still be there. But now I know that whatever it takes and wherever life takes me, I can make it. And this is a comforting thought to go to bed with in a country like Greece today ☺.

Photo of Travel Designer Elissavet.

Elissavet

Travel Designer

"I remember when I was about 17, my friend asked me what my plans for life were. Sincerely, I had no clue. I had some scattered images in my head of how I imagine myself. Like photographs. The only thing in common, I remember, was that all these images were in some far lands, with unusual landscapes and distant cultures. Living abroad was something I use to fantasize a lot as a kid. It was a constant change and an excitement over new things that attracted me."

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Photo of Guide Andreas.

Andreas

Guide

“I grew up in a neighbourhood called Nea Smyrni. The first settlers here were refugees from Asia Minor. People in our neighbourhood are proud of where they come from; they respect history because many of their grandparents or great-grandparents were lost or had to emigrate following the end of the conflict between Greece and Turkey.”

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Photo of Guide Tania.

Tania

Guide

“I was about five, and I was taking part in a school celebration. Dressed in a traditional costume like all the other members of my “troupe”, I was waiting to recite the lines of the poem I had painstakingly learnt by heart. At last, my turn came. But when I stood behind the microphone, my mind went blank and my mouth went dry. Tears welled up in my eyes. Terrified, I glanced over at my classmates who, grouped behind the wings and dressed in their own slightly silly costumes, were waiting to act their part."

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Photo of Guide Vassia.

Vassia

Guide

"There is a book I like a lot. Its final sentence reads: “It is never too late to have a happy childhood”. I was in my early twenties when I read it and my childhood had been relatively happy. But I tend to take stuff written in books very seriously. Why had the author chosen to end a book about an improbable love story with this sentence?

It was around that time that I started to travel."

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Photo of Guide Niko a.k.a. Rude.

Niko a.k.a. Rude

Guide

"It must have been at the end of middle school when I discovered graffiti, although my fascination with drawing and the arts had been with me a lot longer. My new hobby began stealing ‘precious’ time I could have used for studying for school. I realised that action had to be taken..."

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Photo of Guide Zoé.

Zoé

Guide

For the most part, my adult life was spent drawing lines.  Working in architecture and urban planning meant that I spent most of time observing cities from above, ground plans and master plans, orthographic projections, bird’s eye views.

 

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Photo of Marketing Manager Hara.

Hara

Marketing Manager

"I took this selfie in the secondary school of a remote village in northeastern Ghana. One thing was obvious in every single trip. Africa reveals the best version of each one of us."

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Photo of Guide Laura.

Laura

Guide

I started performing on the streets in Rome and realized very early what the audience wants to see on the streets of a city. It is not the best juggling trick or acrobatic skill. What they really wanted to see was me smiling and looking  them into their eyes - sharing playfulness.

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Photo of Guide Elizabeth.

Elizabeth

Guide

The French poet Arthur Rimbaud once wrote that "Eternity is the sea mingled with the sun " and I guess there' s a little bit of truth of that in me.

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Photo of travel designer Penny.

Penny

travel designer

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

It all started during the period when the Greek crisis reached its zenith. A combination of many fruitless attempts in the Athenian job market as well as a huge loss in my family pushed me to search for a new start point; I was dreaming of my future in an island, so I took a job in one.

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Awards & Accolades

Testimonials

"We were able to get a good sense of the city as well as make some good connections with a variety of shops and eateries that we returned to later on. Diana was an amazingly energetic guide, very engaging and accommodating. Bring comfy shoes and an open mind and you will have an unforgettable day in Athens :)"

Boris S-California

"We went to beautiful places, historic places, trendy places. It was a great experience. It was much more then just bar hopping. It was having drinks with your Greek friend."

Edward Q

"Our tour guide was perfect. She knew how to gage the group, she gave us enough information for it to be enjoyable without turning this into a university class. It was simply pitched perfectly. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it 100%.It made the Acropolis and all of the ruins come alive, make sense and really enjoyable."

Njaire1, TripAdvisor