Athens has a good airport
Stay in Athens
Anyone who travels to Greece, flies to any island or vacation on the mainland cannot avoid experiencing Athens sooner or later. Without getting to know the Greek capital, the experience of Greece is incomplete. Athens is not only the center of the country, but also of European civilization and the birthplace of our democracy. The present and history are close together everywhere, so close that when strolling through town you can stumble upon historical artefacts even next to the most modern cafés, restaurants and shops. Above all, the cityscape of downtown Athens is characterized by the direct juxtaposition of modern architecture and impressive antiquities, in this abundance, in my opinion, at most comparable to Rome. And above everything, the Acropolis towers, always to be seen from different angles, no matter which alley you are strolling through.
A stay in Athens can be planned well at the beginning of the holiday. If, for example, you still have a quiet time on an island ahead of you, two or three days in the bustling metropolis is a perfect start to a holiday in Greece. After a wealth of intense impressions in a very short time, you leave the mainland, perhaps quite leisurely by ferry, and devote yourself to the other, the rural side of Greece. With lots of nature, sun and sea.
From Athens airport to the city center
There are several ways to get to the city center from Athens Airport. Depending on your personal inclination, you can weigh up the factors of time, costs and comfort against each other.
The X95 express bus starts right in front of the airport building and its terminus is Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens. The X95 runs all day at a frequency of 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the day of the week and the time of day. The journey takes about an hour, although the traffic conditions in the city center can also cause delays. Traffic is very fast on the Attiki Odos expressway, but once you've rounded Mount Ymmitos and turned towards the city center, traffic jams can mess up your schedule. The X95 bus is the cheapest option for this.
Express buses at the airport: www.oasa.gr/content.php?id=airlines
Real-time information for X95: telematics.oasa.gr/en/#lineDetails_1025 [...]
Metro / subway
The metro stop can be reached in a few minutes via a pedestrian bridge in front of the airport. From here only line 3 goes, and since it is a terminus, it is easy to find your way around. The line crosses the city center, and if you want to get off somewhere here, the Syntagma or Monastiraki stops are ideal. The journey takes around 40 minutes, which is not only faster than taking the bus, but also more reliable, as the metro is of course independent of traffic jams. In contrast to the bus, the metro takes a break at night, between 11:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. The metro ticket is a little more expensive than the express bus, but compared to the taxi or rental car, both are of course a lean solution.
Metro Line 3, "Airport Routes": www.stasy.gr/index.php?id=70&L=1
The taxi rank cannot be overlooked when leaving the terminal on the arrivals level. Many years ago, a tourist-friendly fixed price regulation for taxi rides between Athens Airport and the city center was established. There is only a day and a night tariff, and you are chauffeured to each destination within a defined zone, which roughly includes the Acropolis and Lykavittos Hill. This fixed price, which incidentally also includes any extra costs such as the toll on the Attiki Odos, has ensured that the inexperienced traveler is safe from a non-transparent arrangement of the fare.
Taxis at the airport: www.aia.gr/traveler/access-and-transportation/taxi-and-limousine/
What may seem expensive and time-consuming at first can be an interesting alternative: A rental car offers the greatest possible flexibility when driving from the airport to Athens, and it does not necessarily have to cost a lot. The counters of the car rental companies are in the arrivals hall, and many have their rental cars in the parking lot not far from the building. The distances are short, the formalities are dealt with quickly, and you can sit in your own car ready for departure just 20 minutes after receiving your luggage. If you want to move independently in Athens and not only want to walk through the Plaka, the rental car is a helpful thing. In the past few years we have only chosen this variant and generally paid around EUR 20 per day, plus petrol. I can recommend Check24.de to choose a good offer. I think two things are important: First, 100% repayment of the deductible and "premium protection", which saves financial trouble in the event of damage. And secondly, the pick-up within the terminal, as this eliminates the need for rental companies who take you to their rental car station located far outside the airport by shuttle transfer. You should save yourself the time it takes.
To enumerate the possible contents of a multi-day stay in Athens would go beyond the scope at this point. Even if you only spend two or three nights in the city, there is so much to experience. A visit to Plaka is of course a must, because even if the old town is very touristy, this conglomerate of souvenir kitsch and handicrafts, rustic taverns and modern bars, souvlakishops and frozen yoghurt shops has such a unique character that Athens is unimaginable without the Plaka . In addition, you should visit the Acropolis to see it from above and not just from below, and then the really sensational Acropolis Museum. A little shopping in the Ermou, watching the changing of the Evzones in front of the Parliament, relaxing in the National Garden and watching the sunset from Lykavittos - the days in Athens fill up quickly and will be remembered for a long time.
Hotels in Athens
I can promote the following hotels with a clear conscience, because we know them from personal experience and have stayed there many times.
The name makes perfect sense, because the Central Hotel Athens is located on Apollonos, in the middle of Plaka. It can even be reached on foot from Syntagma Square. From the hotel you can quickly reach the Adrianou, which runs in an arch across the Plaka, and you are almost in the middle between the Acropolis and Monastiraki. The Central Hotel is surprisingly quiet, especially the rooms facing away from the street on the upper floors are nice, some of them have a view of the dome of a neighboring church. From the "Thea Terrace Bar" on the roof you have a great view of the Acropolis.
A for Athens
The A for Athens Hotel is located directly on Monastiraki, almost on the corner of Plaka. The location is therefore predestined if you not only want to visit Plaka, but also the neighboring districts of Thissio and Psirri, which primarily have nightlife and gastronomy to offer. The metro stops at Monastiraki almost on the hotel's doorstep. Once we were lucky enough to be able to spend the night in a room with a panoramic window facing the Acropolis. It's pretty close here, and if you can see her lying in bed, brightly lit, you certainly don't draw the curtains at night. The location on Monastiraki naturally creates a certain background noise, but you don't necessarily have to sleep through your time in Athens. The location of the A for Athens is really impressive. The upper two floors, with a roof terrace and a view over the city to the Acropolis, serve both for the breakfast buffet and for the evening operation of the cocktail bar.
The 360 Degrees Hotel is also located directly on Monastiraki Square. As far as the situation is concerned, the above applies equally. The interior of the rooms in 360 Degrees is modern and stylish. This hotel also takes advantage of the privileged location and offers a cocktail bar and a restaurant on the upper floors, with the obligatory roof terrace. This is generously dimensioned and you have a great view of themontiraki square and the acropolis.
We got to know the Zafolia Hotel when we were in Athens by car for the first time. The hotel's own underground car park is an absolute plus if you want to park your car safely and easily. The hotel is a bit out of the center, on Leoforos Alexandras. What the view of the Acropolis is elsewhere, the view of Lykavittos is here. The mountain with the distinctive summit church is located in the immediate vicinity south of the Zafolia Hotel. From the roof terrace you also have a surprising view over Athens to Piraeus. There is also the pool for hotel guests, which is not unsuitable for cooling off after a day in the hot summer city.
There are constellations in which it is not possible to travel from your own home to Milos within a day. Only if the flight lands in Athens in good time so that you can catch a connecting flight to Milos on the same day will the trip be successful without an overnight stay. This is often not the case, especially in the off-season, because then there are significantly fewer flight connections than in summer. The same applies to the ferries, which on some days do not even go to Milos in winter. In the high season, on the other hand, there is a good chance of getting further after just a short stay at Athens Airport. My personal record for the Frankfurt-Athens-Milos route is a good 4 hours. But if you do it sensibly, you should plan at least two hours for the time at the airport in Athens, otherwise it can quickly become tight in the event of delays with the onward flight.
So what to do if you have to stay overnight in Athens? My very clear recommendation is to schedule the flights - if possible - so that you can spend a nice evening in the city and sleep in the next morning. If you are forced to stay overnight, you should at least benefit from it. If, on the other hand, you arrive in Athens on a late flight, rush to the hotel and catch the early morning flight to Milos after a night that is too short, the stay will only cost you money and nerves.
It is ideal to land in Athens in the afternoon at the latest. Then it takes about one and a half to two hours to reach your hotel in the city center. So there is still time for a walk through the old town, maybe also to the parliament. You should keep in mind that restaurants, cafes and pastry shops are open into the night, but the shops close around 8 p.m. So you should explore the streets of Plaka in good time, then go out for dinner and then maybe after a walk at the foot of the Acropolis in one of the roof top bars or at vrettos have something alcoholic. If you then start your onward journey to Milos in the afternoon, be it by plane or ferry, you can also have a relaxed breakfast. The forced overnight stay in Athens thus becomes an eventful stopover in a city that is really worth seeing.
If you arrive late in Athens and fly to Milos early the next morning, a trip to downtown Athens is inefficient. Most of the time, there is only one overnight stay at the airport, although the options here are manageable: Either you stay at the "airport hotel" Sofitel, which is comfortable, relaxing and quite expensive. Or you spend the night in the terminal, which is inconvenient, not relaxing and completely free of charge. There is no middle ground, we know both variants from our own experience.
The Sofitel Athens Airport offers very comfortable rooms with extremely cozy beds. Since the windows are incredibly soundproofed, you can sleep very well, even though you are almost directly on the airport premises. The alternative is lying around in the airport terminal hoping for some sleep. The concept of the modern airport is intended to avoid precisely that, because there are deliberately no unobserved corners and no connected seating and thus reclining options. In addition, it is bright, strongly air-conditioned and both the announcements and the music, which is actually pleasant during the day, hardly allow you to rest at night.
No overnight stay at all and still visit Athens? This is possible as long as you have several hours before the onward flight and you have good nerves. Probably the most sensible and safest option is to just wait at the airport, even if the stay is five hours or more. The most exciting and entertaining variant, on the other hand, is to quickly deposit your luggage in the luggage storage at the end of the arrivals hall, take the Metro 3 to Syntagma or Monastiraki, and enjoy a coffee there. The time required for the whole thing in reverse order should always be kept in mind.
In addition to such a short trip to the city, there are other alternatives to avoid hours of waiting at the airport. For example, you can reach Rafina in around 30 minutes by rental car, where you can spend time on the beach or at the port. And if you feel like shopping, you can pass the time in the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, which is only 20 minutes by car from Athens Airport.
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