Before you get too excited, read below to find some great tips about travelling to Athens. If you plan ahead, you’ll ensure that your Athens vacation is the best it can be!
Getting to Athens: Using a Greek Travel Agent
You might be frightened about using a travel agent you’re not familiar with – especially from a foreign country. Have no fear, using a reputable Greek travel agent is probably the safest and most affordable way to schedule your visit to Athens.
There are several reasons why using a Greek travel agent can help your travels go more smoothly. One, they are very familiar with the Athens area and can direct you to the right hotel, activities and travel methods during your stay. A travel agent who is not located in Greece will not always be able to provide the best possible options. Second, a Greek travel agent often has access to more discounted packages for hotels, rental cars, cruises, resort packages, tours, airline tickets, etc. So, you will probably save money on your overall travel expenses by using a Greek travel agent. Third, if you run into problems during your stay, get lost or lose something, a travel agent who’s actually located in Athens will be able to assist you directly. If your travel agent is located thousands of miles away, you’re pretty much on your own!
Ferry Schedules and Travel Agents
Ferry schedules are a whole other ball park when it comes to planning your trip. By using a Greek travel agent, you’ll have access to the most up-to-date ferry boat schedules. Ferry boats are used to travel to and from the Greek islands, so you must be able to schedule your ride at the right times if you plan to visit any islands while in Athens. The problem with ferry schedules is that they’re are usually released and changed at the last minute. So, even using the Internet to research your own schedules will not always be accurate. The last thing you need is to be stranded on some island!
Recommended Hotels in Athens
When planning your trip to Athens, be sure you understand where your hotel is located, what rating it has and the expense of staying there. Many hotels and resorts are available in Athens, but you want to be sure it will meet your needs. The best way to know for sure is to talk with a travel agent and explain the type of room and price you desire.
Great areas to stay in Athens include Makrianni, Plaka, Thission, Syntagma, Koukaki and Monastiraki. These are within walking distance of many of the major attractions and sights in Athens, so you can avoid driving downtown as much as possible. Also these areas all border the Acropolis and its surrounding archaeological park. Shops, restaurants, taxis, ferry ports, buses, etc. are all nearby these areas as well.
Below is a list of some great hotels in Athens, some being upscale and others being family-oriented or inexpensive.
The Avra Rafina is a great three-star hotel that’s located near the ferries. It’s a great place to stay if you want to be away from the city life of Athens and take a visit to the islands.
Hotel Athens Plaza
This is a fine hotel that has a building on Syntagma Square as well as one building that sits away from the Grande Bretagne. It’s elegant and the price shows it!
Armonia Hotel The Armonia Hotel is located out of the center of Athens at a quiet beach location. It’s close to the airport with easy access to cruise ships and ferries. The rooms are of high quality, and it offers a swimming pool.
Electra Palace Hotel
The Electra Palace Hotel is an A-category hotel that has been renovated recently. It has an indoor pool, comfortable rooms and great views of the Acropolis. The location is in the Plaka and only two blocks from Syntagma Square.
The Astor Hotel is an A-category hotel that is located only a half a block from Syntagma Square. It offers a delicious breakfast at the restaurant, a roof garden, gift shop and more! A conference room is also available for meetings. The rooms are well-furnished and have central heating, air conditioning, color television and radio. Upper-level rooms have balconies.
Athens Cypria Hotel
This hotel is located on a small street just a couple of blocks from Syntagma Square, and near the shopping street that welcomes pedestrians – Ermou. It’s also close to the Plaka and the archaeological sites.
The Adams Hotel
The Adams Hotel is family-owned and operated. It has been completely renovated and all rooms now have television, bathrooms, air conditioning and some have balconies with a terrace. It’s located on a quiet street in the Plaka, and is only a block from Kydatheneon Street. Although not fancy, the renovation helped this hotel tremendously with comfort and appearance!
This hotel is in a neo-classical building located in old Athens. It’s near the Ancient Market and the New City Market. The central pedestrian street is also nearby. The Lycabettus Hill, the Syntagma, the Acropolis and the Philopappus are all near as well.
The Hotel Attalos is located near the Monastiraki Flea Market and Metro Station, and only a five-minute walk to the Acropolis and Plaka. It offers air conditioning for the rooms, breakfast and a rooftop cafe where you can view the Parthenon.
St. George Lycabettus
This is a deluxe hotel that has its own restaurant, bar, swimming pool and more. It’s located in Kolonaki and is only a 15-minute walk to Plaka. Rates are really good if you travel in August.
The Hotel Hilton
The Hotel Hilton is a deluxe hotel with four restaurants, a health club, shops, in-house movies and more! There are many great features about this hotel, but if you stay here, you’ll have a long walk to the Plaka.
Hotel Divani Acropolis
Another hotel in the deluxe category, the Hotel Divani Acropolis offers a restaurant, great rooms, a roof garden, a pool, air conditioning and heat and conference facilities. It is only a five-minute walk to the Acropolis and the Plaka.
The Athens Central
This is a lovely hotel located in the Plaka that has been renovated to a more modern style. It offers a great view of the Acropolis and city from the roof garden and many of the rooms. The rooms have air conditioning and television. The hotel has low rates also.
Hotel Royal Olympic
The Hotel Royal Olympic is located only ten minutes from the Syntagma and the Plaka. It offers air conditioned rooms with satellite television, a restaurant and bar, a garden pool and more!
This is another deluxe hotel with in-house movies, a health study, shops, a bank, four restaurants, etc. It is located 20 minutes from the Plaka if you go on foot.
Museums in Athens
While in Athens, don’t forget to tour some of the city’s unique museums. Athens has museums to suit all tastes. Whether you enjoy art, culture or a modern theme, a museum awaits. Below is a list of the most popular museums in Athens.
- National Archaeological Museum
- The Benaki Museum
- The Goulandris Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art
- Kerameikos Museum
- Museum of Greek Folk Art
- Jewish Museum
- National Gallery
- National Historical Museum
- Museum of Popular Musical Instruments
- Byzantine Museum
- War Museum
- Greek Historical Costume Museum
- Theatrical Museum
- Frissiras Museum of Contemporary Greek and European Painting
- Acropolis Museum
Athens has a nightlife that’s constantly on the move. You’ll never grow bored during your trip. In the evenings, you can dine at fine Greek restaurants, enjoy live music, go dancing or whatever suits your fancy. There are theatrical shows and dinner theaters where you can enjoy a variety of entertainment. Much of the activity at night can be found in the Plaka, Psiri or Thission areas.
Use the information above to make the most of your visit to Athens. You can enjoy a great getaway if you plan ahead!
Touring the Museums of Greece
Greece offers hundreds of museums, whether in the main cities, on the islands or in remote villages. There are museums everywhere in Greece, and they each focus on different aspects of Greek culture and history. Below is a list of museums with a brief description of each. Be sure to visit a museum in the area of Greece you visit.
Museums in Athens, Greece
National Archaeological Museum
This museum ranks in the top ten museums in the world and offers its collection display in a lovely building near Alexandras Avenue. The museum has a cafe, gift shop and sculpture garden.
The Benaki Museum
This is a multi-floored museum with every level moving up in history. The bottom floor displays the most ancient items.
The Goulandris Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art
This Athens museum offers a great collection of old Cycladic art. It opens daily except Sundays and Tuesdays.
This museum is located at the ancient Athens cemetery at the bottom of Ermou. It’s just past the Monastiraki Flea Market. The museum has tombstones and pottery.
Museum of Greek Folk Art
Here you’ll find wood carvings, embroideries, jewelry and traditional folk art. There are also fabulous ceramic collections.
The Jewish Museum in Athens offers a display of artifacts and art from Jewish communities. You can also learn about the Holocaust here, which makes the visit worthwhile.
At the National Gallery you’ll find a terrific collection from Greek painters and also international artists, which includes some impressive sculptures.
National Historical Museum
If you love learning about the history of war, you should definitely visit the National Historical Museum. Here you’ll get to learn about the Greek War of Independence and see some fabulous artifacts from the war.
Museums on the Greek Islands
There are also some great museums on the Greek islands. Every island has its own history and culture. The museums display these differences. Here are some popular island museums along with a brief description of each.
Archaeological Museum of Chania
This museum is located in the Venetian monastery of St. Francis and offers many treasures such as prehistoric artifacts from caves, finds from the city of Chania, Minoan finds from Chania and coins and jewelry from historic times.
Archaeological Museum of Corfu
Here you’ll find interesting exhibits from the excavations of the ancient town of Corfu, Cassiopi and Thesprotia.
Archaeological Museum of Paros
This museum was founded in 1960 and offers visitors a chance to see archaic and classical sculptures as well as pottery and sculptures from the Neolithic up to the Roman period. Also, there’s a Mosaic floor that dates back to Roman days.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
This Rhodes museum is located in the Medieval building of the Hospital of the Knights and contains collections of classical and Roman sculptures, Mosaic floors from the Hellenistic period and more.
While in Athens, Greece you will want a cell phone for use and with the local GSM service you’ll be amazed at how much better the service is in Athens than back home. Virtually everywhere in Athens and Greece, yes even islands and mountains, is covered by superb GSM cell phone service. With a local service provider all your incoming calls are 100% free and calling the states is just $.84 / minute. Or, to be 100% sure, you can rent a satellite phone and as long as you can point it to the southern hemisphere you’ll get service across Europe. Free incoming calls day and night from every country on earth and only $1.99 to call any country, always.
For more information on renting/buying these type of phones and getting this type of super low cost service take a look at http://www.planetomni.com or call 800-514-2984 inside the States or 925-686-9945 from outside. They ship worldwide and are based in California.
Cell phone use overseas. In 99% of the world the local cellular service standard is called GSM. We use this in the states as well. When combined with a SIM CARD (which usually goes under the battery of the phone) the phone is able to communicate and the SIM CARD also holds the telephone number and memory for pre-paid credit. Rates can be extremely low using this system. For example in 99% of all SIM CARDS incoming calls are free and calls to the states can cost a trifle. Such as, from the UK to the USA 7 cents/minute, from Israel 22 cents, from Australia 27 cents. Yes, USA Dollar cents! There are today even prepaid service providers in the USA offering rates of 10 cents per minute to call anywhere in the US to any type of phone. No contracts, no credit card checks, no bills. Pre-paid always means no minimums no contracts, no obligations. You only pay for the calls made. You’ll need an unlocked GSM tri-band or quadband UNLOCKED phone. You can buy factory unlocked phones and sim cards for more than 170 or the 193 countries on earth from http://www.planetomni.com Tel. #800-514-2984