City Break Athens: from the Acropolis to Piraeus
During the 4-7 June, we enjoyed an Athens city break. It was a city break related to the first Blue Air flight operated on the Constanta-Athens route.
City break Athens
City break Athens started on the morning of June 4, participating for a while the inauguration of the route. The sirtaki was danced in the "Departures" terminal of "Mihail Kogalniceanu" International Airport and the cake was cut in the presence of Mrs. Corina Martin, of the local officials and of the Blue Air crew. The aircraft was greeted with the traditional salute of water cannons.
The boarding process went well, being the only scheduled flight for that time of day. I took off at noon for the warm and arid land of Athens. It was a quiet flight of 1 hours and 30 minutes, during which time we enjoyed the view and the lunch served on board the aircraft. To our surprise, Blue Air provided the catering service (a soda / coffee, a Neapolitan and a sandwich).
We took off in a cool, cloudy weather, but Greece welcomed us with sunshine and temperatures over 30 degrees. As I landed, I felt the warm, dry air of the Mediterranean climate. I felt the holiday air!
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA)
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) opened its doors on 28 March 2001, being the main airport of Athens and the Attica region. It has 2 long tracks: 3800 meters (03L / 21R) and 4000 meters (03R / 21L). Currently, it is transiting over 18 million passengers annually. It is a hub for Aegean Airlines, Ryanair and Olympic Air.
The airport is not complicated. The formalities are done quickly and the waiting areas are provided with bars, cafes, shops etc. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the relaxation areas (Terminal "Departures") are equipped with sockets and USB ports for charging electronic equipment.
Transport in Athens
Once we arrived at the airport, we started looking for the most convenient way to get to Athens. The airport is approximately 35 kilometers from the center of Athens. As transport options: express buses, metro and taxi.
Rates range from 3 to 8 euros for public transport. The taxi also reaches the 50 EURO, a variant for the comfortable. We documented, asked, and pointed to the signs until we reached the subway station.
We made some calculations and decided to take Tourist Ticket for 3 days (72 hours from first composting). We paid 22 EURO / ticket for unlimited access to buses, trolleybuses, trains and subways. A round trip between the airport and Athens is included. To our luck, we had to get to Megaro Moussikis station, we had a direct subway. On the airport segment - Douk Plakentias, the subway runs on the surface and is considered a suburban train. Then it goes underground and becomes the 3 line of the subway. When you want to travel to the airport, pay attention to the subway you will board. Not all 3 line liners arrive at the airport.
The price of a ticket is 1.4 EURO. It is valid 90 minutes on all means of transport, except for the journey to the Airport and the X80 line. One day ticket on all means of transport, except on the route to the airport, costs 4.5 EURO.
For the airport, the standard ticket for express buses is 6 EURO. The subway to / from the airport costs 10 EURO in one direction. The ticket for one trip / 2 people costs 18 EURO, and for one trip / 3 people it costs 24 EURO.
I can say that on the transport side it was very easy for us, especially since all the signs are in English and Greek. With a little attention and a google maps, you have no way to go astray. I think it's valid anywhere in the world, the internet should be.
Best Western Ilisia
I stayed at the Best Western Ilisia Hotel, located in the central area of Athens and at 10 minutes from Megaro Moussikis Metro Station. I won't stress too much about the hotel. I can say he deserves the 3 stars. It was clean, comfortable, staff very friendly. But at breakfast, it is very weak. For these reasons, our morning time was around 10: 00. At the many restaurants and cafes we had around, it wasn't worth the effort to wake up in the morning for a powdered juice and a corn from the corner.
A great advantage of the hotel lies in its location. It is located in the center, very close to Megaro Moussikis subway station, bus stops and within walking distance of the most important attractions in Athens.
Acropolis - Philopappos - Panathenaic Stadium - Temple of Zeus in Olympia
For tourists, Athens means some interesting sights, most of them in the city center. Acropolis is read on everyone's lips when it comes to Athens. Then Panathenaic Stadium, Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Philopappos Monument. Plus many other museums.
We arrived at the Acropolis ...
... then we went up to the Philopappos Monument. From here I could photograph the Acropolis, but also the sea.
We also passed the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as Kallimármaro. It is the only stadium in the world that was built entirely of marble. It has an 50 000 seating capacity. After its renovation in 1895, it hosted the opening ceremony of the modern 1896 Olympiad.
The Panathenaic Stadium was also used at the 2004 Olympic Games. Here was the "archery" competition and the marathon women's and men's final point. The Panathenaic stadium has been used for various shows as well.
On our trip, we also passed the Temple of Zeus in Olympia. The archaeological site Olympia was inscribed in the 1989 year on the list of UNESCO world cultural heritage.
For Greece, these are an important part of the country's wealth and are worth a visit at least once. The Greeks even make money from "stones".
St. George's Church, Mount Lycabettus
If you want to see Athens from above, we recommend you go up to St. George's Church, Mount Lycabettus. It is the highest point in the capital of Greece, approximately 300 meters above sea level. Legend has it that Lycabettus was a haven for wolves, hence the name.
Once you get to the top, you will enjoy superb pivelists over Athens. There is also an amphitheater and restaurant on Lycabettus Hill.
I also witnessed the descent and collapse of the Greek flag.
Athens beyond the Acropolis
If you are arriving in Athens and are not interested in traditional Greek sights, you can visit the Attica Zoo. The largest zoo in Athens covers an area of 20 hectares, being located in Spata suburb. Here you can admire over 2000 animals, representing 400 species. In Athens you can also find smaller zoos, such as the National Garden in Athens.
Also from Athens, you can escape for one day on one of the islands near the city. With 100 EURO you can visit Aegina, Poros and Hydra.
Piraeus harbor and beaches nearby
The fireplace of the city of Athens has no opening to the sea or beaches. But metropolitan development swallowed 58 of municipalities, including the city of Piraeus with its ports.
For those interested in the beach, you can travel from Athens to the southern suburbs, such as Alimos, Palaio Faliro, Elliniko, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. Here you will find sandy beaches, which are run by the Greek National Tourism Organization.
From the center of Athens is about an hour by tram. From the Syntagma market you can take T4 and T5, which have a common route to Palaio Faliro.
The culinary experience in Athens
I finally left the culinary experience in Athens. The Greeks are known for their developed appetite and large portions. This time they did not qualify for the dish.
Athens is littered with numerous restaurants, cafes and bars. It is important to eat well and hydrate. The sun is merciless, and the normal temperatures are above 35 degrees in full summer season. So you will not travel too long on the streets of Athens until you find the first restaurant or cafe.
Prices vary depending on culinary preferences. I also ate the 20 EURO portion, but also the 5-7 EURO. One liter of water costs about 1.5-2 EURO at the restaurant. Something cheaper at neighborhood stores.
We can say that 2-3 days were not enough to fully discover the Athens metropolis and we will certainly do our best to reach the Greek capital. We plan to enjoy a longer Athens city break next time and insist more on the beach and visit the parks and zoo. Maybe a getaway to one of the islands.