Flights and Hotels to Greece
Did you know that Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities with recorded history dating back to over 3, 400 years? That alone was enough to entice me to visit Athens.
A Little Bit About Athens
Athens, capital city of Greece, is the birth place of some of the world’s greatest eras of art, learning and philosophy. It is widely regarded as the ‘cradle of Western civilization’.
With a population of over 800, 000 within its 39km2, Athensis the 4th most populous capital city in continental Europe. It’s as crowded and busy now as it was two thousand years ago.
Getting To Athens
Reaching Athens seemed to be harder then getting around it. At the moment relatively few countries offer daily direct flights to Athens, or if they do, it is only the odd one here or there. In order to get from Malta to Athens, which is geographically very close, I had to fly 2.5 hours to Munich and then south another 2.5 hours to Athens. There was one direct flight leaving from Malta on Friday which took a little more than one hour.
There, of course, is a long ferry ride from Italy as a possibility. And while international trains were cancelled in 2011 after running for over 100 years, the train lines recently returned this year and you can now get in from Sofia or Belgrade via rail.
Getting Around Athens
The train system within Athens is extensive and easy to use. When I arrived and found a taxi to the city was going to cost me over €50, I decided to make my way in by train. Josh and the kids were coming to Athens a little later, and since I was by myself I was feeling quite adventurous.
The train station was directly opposite the airport and cost me around €13 to the city centre. Once I reached Syntagma, I took a taxi to my hotel for €10 – saving over 50% compared to taking the taxi all the way. That’s a few extra gyros!
We used the trains both times we were in Athens, before and after our Greek Island experience, and they ran on time for us. A train ticket including a change of lines was €1.40 euros each (AUD), kids were free. If you only needed the one line then it was cheaper (at €1.20), but if you wanted to go further, say to the port, it was the higher price.
Where To Stay
We stayed at several places in Athens.
Our first choice was Hotel Platon, located on the Faliro coast, 3.5 km from the port of Piraeus and 7.5 km from the centre of Athens. It was an easy walk across the road to the train station which could take us direct to the city or direct to the port.
Hotel Platon is a friendly family-owned hotel, compact and quiet but with a modern frontage. The lift was petite, fitting no more then 1 adult and 2 kids. We had 2 double rooms next to each other on the 2nd floor. As like most hotels in Athens, smoking is allowed indoors, however if the hotel room door remained shut, the smoke in the hallway did not waft into the room.
It was very basic and would be a great choice for budget travellers, setting you back less than €35 per night. Ideal for a night’s stay if you are just looking for a place to sleep. The included breakfast was a generous home made tray of toast, cereal, juice, eggs and cake. Yep, cake for breakfast! The kids loved that.
Stay here if: You need a cheap room close to the port and/or city.
Tip: Leave your door closed to avoid hallway smoke getting into the room.
After our Greek island trip we stayed at the Oscars Hotel. This hotel was more centrally located by the Larissis Railway Station, just 2 stops from Syntagma. Notably, there was a rooftop pool with views of the Acropolis and sprawling metropolis. Across the road was a large supermarket where we bought dinner one evening to eat on the rooftop. A buffet breakfast was included which had some room for improvement and fell short of the high standard of Greek hospitality we experienced at Platon.
This hotel is well suited for business people and tour groups. Prices are low and typically will cost less than €45 per night.
Stay here if: You want to be close to the city.
Tip: Eat a supermarket lunch or dinner on the rooftop for a cheap meal option with delightful views.
The night we were due to leave Athens we had booked a hotel close to the airport since we had to be there at 2am. On our way to that hotel our taxi driver revealed that it was nowhere near the airport and that he could take us to one much closer. We conceded to his advice and he dropped us off at Hotel Pantheon.
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