Athens in Greece - travel and visitor guide.
Ways of Travelling to Athens - flying there or by using the Greek ferries.Flights to Athens. Being the capital of Greece, Athens is serviced by many types of airlines - from charter flights through low-cost to "proper" scheduled flights such as BA. The flight time from London Heathrow to
Athens international Elefterios Venizelos Airport is around 3 hours 45 minutes. The very modern spacey airport - which was opened in 2001 - is located near Markopoulo and around 30 kms by road from the centre of Athens and about 45kms from Piraeus.
Getting from the airport to either of those destinations is quite easy - various "X" bus services leave frequently from the Terminal 24 hours a day, or the metro provides non-stop services and of course there are taxis available. Typical taxi cost
(at the time of our last visit - so prices will of course have increased) down to the Ferry Terminal area of Piraeus was 35 Euros and the price into the centre of Athens was around 35 Euros. Both these taxi rates increase by around 10 Euros for journeys between midnight and 0500hrs.
There are several ferry terminals near Athens with the huge port at Piraeus being the busiest - apart from the main route out to any of The Cyclades Islands it is possible to get boats to and from just about any Greek Island (as well as to Italy etc.).
Note: there is a superfast ferry providing a service to Kea from Piraeus - this then goes on to Syros etc.). Ferries also leave from Rafina (particularly to the Northern and Eastern Cyclades) and from Lavrio (mainly to Kea) - note Lavrio is around 60kms from the Airport so transferring is quite
expensive and the above-mentioned islands can be reached by using Piraeus. Getting information about ferry schedules can be a little difficult - several
web-sites give information and let you buy tickets on-line but these only mention confirmed ferry-schedules - often Greek islands have local services perhaps just plying between two or three local islands and these are not published.
Hotels and chosing where abouts to stay in Athens. There are of course many hotels in Athens - with the most hotels expensive generally situated within walking distance of the Acropolis.
This is where prices for a 5 star hotel can go anywhere from 130 Euros upwards and although rated 5 star can vary enormously in what you get. 2 and 3 star hotels
in Athens are obviously way cheaper but you should not expect too much if you only want or are able to pay 40 or so Euros a night. If travelling in or out via Piraeus - which is seamlessly connected to Athens - then perhaps staying down at the port is a consideration.
However Piraeus is not the best place in the world to wander around and you will not get anything very nice to stay in unless you pay well over 80 euros a night (although deals can be had by using the web or perhaps a Greek travel agent).
Eating and Drinking
Much of the night-life in the city is centred around the Plaka area right in the heart of the old sites - the Acropolis itself is sat up on a small hill and the narrow streets below are lined with drinks bars, cafes and tavernas all offering views - and often
charging accordingly. However there are plenty of places to eat where you do not have to pay a fortune for the view if you look around - with a meal for two plus wine easily possible at around
30 euros or so. Similarly with prices in the various bars - it's certainly best not to buy any drink without knowing the price beforehand.
Warning - pickpockets. This quite a problem especially round Plaka, the tourist sites and on the Metro - the answer is don't carry things such as passports, credit cards and so on - just take a bit of cash and ensure it's well zipped up.
What to see in Athens and about Touring around the many Ancient Sites in Athens.
Entrance Tickets: You can buy individual tickets to the various locations which is fine if you only want to go to one or two sites.
The alternative is to get a multi-site ticket which on our last visit cost 12 Euros and was valid for 7 days - note that anyone under 18 is allowed in free (according to the ticket office). This allows you to visit seven different places including The Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysos, Keramikos
Cemetery and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. If you are an EEC resident and 65 or over the ticket becomes half price but you obviously need to have proof of your age. Similarly E.U. students are able to visit the sites free of
charge but do need a student identity card - students from elsewhere can get redduced price entry ticket but need to have the same proof. There are several Metro stations to pick from if you are not staying at Plaka - Acropolis Station
has Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus close by as well as of course the Acropolis itself. If you go to Monastiraki Station its just a short walk down via the Stoa of Attalus and Ancient Agora to then reach the entrance to the
Acropolis. Syntagma Station is close to the Parliament which is itself situated within the extensive National Garden.Note:
All of the sites are easy to reach by foot but it can get
very hot wandering around after a while - nearly all of the locations have drinking water available from "coolers". It is well worth buying your bottle of water (which you really do need to have) at a supermarket or drinks machine before getting anywhere near the Acropolis since prices demanded there are totally outrageous.
Please see our Touring and Sightseeing in Athens
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