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Going to Athens, Greece?!

Travel Forums Europe Going to Athens, Greece?!

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1. Posted by Antidote (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey guys,
Message me if you are planning to visit Athens. I can direct you o a few good places so you can save time wandering around.
Safe travels.

2. Posted by Antidote (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hahaha... by which I meant, "save time INSTEAD OF wandering around". Yeah, that makes more sense.

3. Posted by kb7678 (Budding Member 40 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I am going with 3 friends to Greece for 1 week in August - flying into and out of Athens. Where / What do you suggest we do / see...we dont want to spend the whole week in Athens and would like to pack as much into the week as possible.
Any suggestions would be fantastic.

Thanks. :)

4. Posted by monkeycat (Full Member 109 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

just came back a few weeks ago from Athens. A word to the wise. It gets very very hot in August, couuple that with the pollution it can get very unpleasant.

Apart from the area around the Acropolis, Athens is a dump. It really is one of the ugliest cities I have ever seen, and after a week, during which i was mostly working i admit, I wanted to get out asap.

Now I've got the negative stuff out the way, I did find it amazing to be there. If you are going to the parthenon (sorry, when you go to the parthenon) go first thing in the morning. Be there when the doors open and you'll miss the busloads of invading hoards of tourists. I was there in march and it was unbearable. Also it will be cooler.

THe museum of archeology is amazing, but decide what you want to see and be selective. There is just too much otherwise.

I stayed one night in the Athens backpackers, which was close to the Parthenon and centre, and cheap enough if you are on your own. And you get to meet people. Beware the extras though €5 to use the laundry, and the internet is pricy. Apart from that, lovely and friendly.
Another friend stayed at the hotel Cecil, which is cheapish, and sid it was good and central. THere is also a place called Hotel Tempi ( I have heard good things about it, but it was full for when i wanted to go, so cannot confirm or deny anything.

The area to go out at night is called Psiri. There are hundreds of bars, clubs and restaurants there, some of them loud, some not, all of them packed with people. Had a lot of fun and some good food.

By the way beer and drinks are not cheap as you think they are going to be. you can get really cheap Giros (ie kebabs) though for abour €1.30, though after a few days you start to want something else! Did eat mighty well though, just beware the men trying to drag you into their restaurant. Go where the locals seem to be, and if you do happen to be dragged in and then don't like what you see, just leave with a polite "no thanks".

Also waiters tend to expect you to order everytthing at once and then leave you alone. This is kind of nice, except that when you want something, or you are used to them keeping the drinks coming, you tend to end up very thirsty, and the waiters are nowhere to be seen. They still except a tip though, though i get the impression that locals only leave a bit of small change. Ten per cent is a hell of a lot.

Oh, TAXIS!!!!!!
They will try and rip you off. All except the lovely man who refused to take the full fare when we couldn't change a €50 note.
Make sure you can see the meter.
Tariff 2 ONLY applys after around midnight / 12.30 and holidays. Not sometime on sunday afternoons, cos it's my birthday, you're coming from the airport / train station etc.
They tend to put a packet of cigarettes or a credit card in front of the taximeter where it shows what tariff they are on. Ask them to remove it. If not, i think that on tariff one the increments go up in 2 cent stages and on tariff 2 in 3 cent stages, so you should be able to tell that way.....I may be wrong about this.
Some taxis have an automatic printed receipt. Only accept what is on there.
Some can charge you around €1.50 if you phone for a taxi and more if you book one for the following day or at a specified time. Don't let them try and charge you all kinds of extras without seeing the rate card.
ANY DOUBTS, either ask to call the police or if you are staying in a hotel or going to some touristy place like a restaurant, ask the owners of the place to come and check it out. Most Atenians are a bit embarrassed by this behaviour and will willingly make sure you aren't being ripped off. If the driver is right (though he never was in my cases), he will not mind speaking to the hotel / police....funny though, they never ever accepted my proposals.

Apart from them, the people i met were very friendly and helpful.


5. Posted by monkeycat (Full Member 109 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

oh Nafplion was fantastic in the pelloponese, and went to myceane nearby.
Loved it

6. Posted by Antidote (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey kb7678, and everyone else,

Haha I liked how Tom practically... attacked Athens, but other than that, liked it. :) OK, here's what a local has to say.

1. Yes, indeed, Athens can get unbearably hot in the Summer, especially in August. I believe the best time to visit Athens is in May/June. Not that you want be able to have a good time or get things done in August; it will just all be done in hotter weather.

2. A tourist needs only wander around the areas of Syntagma square, Ermou Street, Monastiraki flea market, Psyrri, Plaka, Thisseio and the Acropolis and old Agora. Of course, if you are staying for more than a few days it's worth visiting other parts of Athens, like Kifissia (greenest and richest area in Athens) in the north and Piraeus (not really Athens, but it's the main port, has a number of good spots) in the south. If, however you only have a few days, I would recommend finding accomodation around one of the aforementioned areas, and doing all your wandering around on foot, rather than depend on taxis.

3. Which brings me to the taxi issue. True, some people will try and... give you a tour of the city before taking you to where you wanna go, especially if it screams that you are not a local. That's not a rule, of course, but it could easily happen. What I recommend, apart from trying to avoid taxis as much as possible just to be sure, is looking up where you wanna go on a map, so that you have a rough idea of where you should be heading. Oh, and, of course, only pay what the meter says. If you can, try to ask the driver how much it will cost to get to where you are going before you get in the cab. They know, roughly. Will they tell you the truth? Well, at least you can say "no thanks" before you even get in and try your luck elsewhere.

4. In case you have more than a couple of days in Athens, I recommend taking day trips to other cool sites. Exaples: Sounion peninsula, Meteora, Delphi, Nafplion and Myceane (well done for going there Tom). All are between 2-4 hours away.

To conclude... I believe Athens is a great experience. If you play your cards well you can have an awesome time. With a few tips from locals beforehand you can avoid just being lost in a big city, and get straight to the point. Especially if you only have a few days here, by the time you are sick of the smell of Gyros and all the tacky Parthenon memorabilia, it'll be time to go. And let me just quote two American friends who came to visit a month ago: "Wow... you LIVE here!!!"

Hope this helps... Safe travels to all.

7. Posted by Antidote (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Mykonos and Santorini are pricier than the rest of the islands... especially the former.

8. Posted by DaniellaW (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

My boyfriend and I are coming from Canada in May and we don't know the cheapest way to get there. We are flying into London on the 13th of May. We were thinking of flying Ryan Air to Ancona, Italy and then taking a ferry or something. Or is there a cheaper a way to do this? Our final destination is Ios. Thanks for the help.

9. Posted by Antidote (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey Daniella,
I've never done this before myself, but I can tell you for sure that if you plan to take a ferry from Ancona to Greece you are probably looking for over a day spent on a ferry; never a good idea. Now, I'm sure the ferry ride is the cheapest way to get to Athens; the thing is, thought, I can't imagine it being less than, say, 50 euros, right? Well I would spend a little more if I could, and do this much more comfortably...
I think what I would do is fly to Milan (I assume you are flying from London; if that is correct the flight for Milan-Bergamo arrives at 9:30am) and then take Easyjet to Athens, a flight that leaves at 1:10pm on Sundays and around 12:30 on weekdays. The benefits of that route is that you'll get to Athens faster, and not on a ferry. Plus, you get to fly straight to Athens instead of arriving to Patras by boat and then having to take a bus to Athens. Money-wise I think you should expect a total of like 100 euros total.. not bad at all for a flight from London to Athens.
Now, the only issue you should really look into, is that Ryanair will usually say they fly you in one city, but actually fly you to one CLOSE to the promised one. In this case, Ryanair flies you to Bergamo, while Easyjet leaves from Milan Malpensa airport. So, given also the tendency of Ryanair to arrive late, you should make sure that there is enough time to allow you to get from one airport to the other. I unfortunately do not have that information (and I'm intrested to hear what the answer is!).
OR, you know, you could fly STRAIGHT to Athens.. but then you'd have to pay around 50 euros more (definitely worth it for some people).
I hope I am right on this, maybe other people can back me up. But I personally would do anything to escape a day-long ferry ride!
Hope this helps... good luck!

10. Posted by monkeycat (Full Member 109 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Easyjet also do flights direct from London to Athens.
If in doubt, there is a very handy website called that lists and tells you the prices of all the budget airlines to and from all the countries in Europe. Very very useful for comparing prices.

To Antidote. Sorry i wasn't intentionally trying to attack Athens. I had a lovely time, and the Greek people I met were on the whole very friendly and quite a few went out of their way to help me. Because of my work I was travelling around quite a bit of Athens, not just the centre, and I was surprised at how ugly some areas are, but you are right, the area around the Parthenon is lovely, and I loved the parks. just don't talk to me about taxis! I had to use them 3 or 4 times a day at least, and apart from once, the drivers tried to rip me off (as you say, it's difficult to pretend you're local). After a bit, it kind of wears you down.