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Athens - Travel Tips

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Parthenon from Stadium

Parthenon from Stadium

I flew to Athens from Edinburgh via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. The first flight was on 25th December and the other at 01.15 on the 26th. Both were excellent.

I had a long wait between flights in Istanbul, but that is part of the price you pay for getting a flight on Christmas Day. The cost was £206. It included my checked in bag (30kg) and I had an emergency exit seat on the 1st leg - it was not booked but TK put me there to let a family sit together in the row I had chosen.

Panathenaikou Stadium

Panathenaikou Stadium

TK has in flight entertainment on its flights out of Edinburgh, and serves a full complimentary meal with drinks. Both are good quality.

My flight home on 1st January was on easyJet, and direct. It cost €228. That price includes the extra cost of a checked in bag (15kg) and an emergency exit seat to give extra legroom. Needless to say easyJet does not provide free catering, nor any in flight entertainment.

Akropolis and Parthenon

Akropolis and Parthenon

Had I been able to book earlier I know I would have been able to get a much cheaper deal on flights, but I was held back while waiting for my employer to decide what the office arrangements would be for the end of December.

I stayed in the Sofitel at Athens Airport on the night I arrived. My flight got in at about 2am, which is to late to take the metro into the city. The cost was €141, without breakfast. It is literally across the street from the airport, so ideal in the circumstances. Breakfast is an eye-watering €25.

Hadrian's Arch

Hadrian's Arch

Most of my time was in an Airbnb apartment in the Koukaki neighbourhood. It cost £321 for 6 nights. I could not fault it. It was ideal, and just as advertised. It is located a short walk from Syngrou-fix metro station, making travel to and from the airport quite simple.

I took the metro from and to the airport. It takes around 40 minutes to/from Syntagma Square. The cost was €10 each way. The service is only every 30 minutes which makes for quite a long wait if you have just missed a train. However, the airport has display screens to keep you advised, and the train times are also published on the website of the city’s transport authority.

Ariston Pie Shop

Ariston Pie Shop

My top tip for Athens is to take the gastronomy tour I went on. It cost €65 - for a 4 hour tour and a huge amount of delicious food. I learned a lot, the food was great, and it was a lot of fun.

Posted by IainT 17:40 Archived in Greece Tagged food greece athens turkey istanbul flights airlines Comments (0)

Athens and Airbnb

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Sunset on Hogmanay

Sunset on Hogmanay

My December visit to Athens brought me a a special experience. My Greek Airbnb hosts invited me to their home for their New Year’s Eve party.

I was astonished, and was not sure if they were just making a gesture, but decided to go. Their home is only 2 minutes walk from their Airbnb apartment.

Apartment Living Room

Apartment Living Room

There were about 20 people there divided quite evenly between my generation - 50s and 60s - and youngsters in their teens and early 20s. I speak no Greek, so all the conversations were in French or English.

Arriving about 9.30pm, very soon we sat down to a massive dinner which needed a full 2 hours to finish - all kinds of Greek home cooked goodies, with as much local wine as you felt like drinking. The youngsters were all going out right after midnight, so that was my cue to leave as well on account of my lunchtime flight home on 1st January.

Apartment Living Room 2

Apartment Living Room 2

One interesting thing is that my hosts’ two children are both at university in Paris, and speak perfect English as well as French. Their cousins are at university in Cambridge and Birmingham. The first person I got talking to after I arrived does the same work as I do, but for a Greek MEP.

It was a lot of fun and a lovely experience.

Posted by IainT 09:47 Archived in Greece Tagged people greece athens Comments (0)

Athens

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View Athens on IainT's travel map.

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

I am back. I am revisiting Athens after 10 years.

The end of December is a good time for me to escape because office rules force me to take some holiday time, and then the office is closed for a total of 4 days (with a weekend in between).

Here I am, enjoying winter sun and a lot more daylight than Scotland offers in December.

Sunshine!

Sunshine!

I have an Airbnb apartment in the Koukaki neighbourhood, which is an easy metro journey from the airport - €10, 60 minutes and 1 change of line. Koukaki is just south of the Akropolis and Syntagma Square is a 25 minutes walk - or 2 stops on the metro.

Koukaki

Koukaki

I have a full week here, and the plan is to take it easy and try to avoid thinking about Brexit.

So far (Day 3, but Day 1 was taken up by travel) the highlight has been a Greek gastronomy walking tour. It lasted just over 4 hours, and not a minute was wasted!

It was fascinating.

Dairy

Dairy

I am no stranger to Greek food, but to be guided and educated about it by a local was a lovely experience. We even walked around the fish and meat market. The organisers claim we sampled 15 different foods. I lost count, but all were delicious.

Olive Shop

Olive Shop

You can see it all on this clip (4 hours condensed into 6 minutes).

Gastronomy

We had a different guide, but the same tour.

Posted by IainT 08:04 Archived in Greece Tagged food greece athens Comments (0)

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