The Best Hotels in Athens – Updated March, 2015

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The Best Luxury Hotels in Athens

  • Hotel Grande Bretagne • Syntagma • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +30 210-3330000
    The best hotel in Athens. Situated on Syntagma Square in the center of the action and walking distance to nearly all major attractions. The spa, rooftop restaurant, and bar are wonderful – the latter worth a visit even if you’re not a guest.
    Grande Bretagne Hotel on Syntagma Square.
  • InterContinental Athenaeum • Koukaki • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +30 210-9206000
    Rooms are huge and some have amazing views of the Acropolis. The swimming pool is great. The hotel is located a 20 minute walk from the Plaka and a free shuttle bus runs guests to the main tourist spots every 30 minutes. There’s also a tram and metro station nearby to take you to Syntagma Square. If location is of prime importance then this might not be your place, but the hotel itself is a great choice.
    Athenaeum Intercontinental in Athens.
  • Hilton Athens • near Kolonaki • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +30 210-7281000
    Good sized rooms, the best swimming pool in Athens, and exemplary service make it a great pick. Located a 15 minute walk from the Plaka and Syntagma Square in a quieter section of the city (not far from the trendy cafes of Kolonaki). A nearby metro station connects you with everything.
    Hilton Athens swimming pool.
  • King George • Syntagma • Check Prices
    Hotel phone:+30 210 322-2210
    Wonderful location (adjacent to the Grande Bretagne) with Syntagma Square at your door, shops all about, and the Plaka and Acropolis a short walk away. Rooms are beautifully decorated. Staff top notch.
    King George Hotel on Syntagma Square.
  • The Westin Astir Beach Resort • The Coastal Beaches • Check Prices
    Hotel phone: +30 210-8902000
    Stunning setting on a private peninsula on the stretch of coast south of Athens. Great beach, pool, restaurants, kids club, and every kind of outdoor activity you can name. 10 minutes to the shops, restaurants, and nightlife of Glyfada, 20 minutes to the airport, and 40 minutes into central Athens. A free shuttle bus takes you into Glyfada (the hotel will pay for a taxi if the shuttle is delayed or full).
    Westin Astir Beach Resort
  • Electra Palace Hotel Athens • The Plaka • Check Prices
    Hotel Phone: +30 210-3370000
    The best hotel in the Plaka. The rooftop pool has amazing views of the Acropolis (there’s also an indoor pool in the basement). Beautiful grounds in a great location with restaurants only steps away. The large triple rooms are good for families.
    Swimming pool with view of Acropolis at Electra Palace Hotel.
  • Royal Olympic Hotel • near The Plaka • Check Prices
    Hotel Phone: +30 210-9288400
    One of Athens’ best hotels. Central location – cross one busy street and you’re in the heart of the Plaka. Acropolis and Acropolis Museum are a short walk away. Rooftop restaurants has incredible views of the sights. Suites are huge and luxurious.
    Swimming pool, sun beds, and deck at Royal Olympic Hotel near historical sights.

Where To Stay in Athens

The neighborhoods below are centrally located, safe (though be careful in Omonia at night), and within walking distance of the most popular tourist attractions. If you’re still unsure of where to stay (after reading this) then find a hotel in the Plaka.

The Plaka – My favorite neighborhood in Athens. Yes, it’s very touristy but it also has a lively and friendly vibe. It’s a pedestrian-friendly warren of ancient streets nestled at the base of the Acropolis (the one must-see attraction in Athens). The Plaka is filled with restaurants, tourist shops, and hotels. Sights include the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments, and the Museum of Greek Folk Art. Served by Monastiraki station on metro lines 1 and 3. • Photos of the PlakaRecommended Hotels: Electra Palace Hotel AthensAthens Gate HotelNew HotelAva HotelAll Hotels in the Plaka.

Koukaki & Makrigianni – After the Plaka, this is my favorite area of Athens to stay. Like the Plaka the area looks up at the Acropolis. It’s an easy walk from here to the Plaka and Syntagma but has a more local flare and not so touristy. Lots of restaurants and cafes. The area is served by Akropoli and Sygrou-Fix stations on metro line 2. • Photos of Koukaki & MakrigianniRecommended Hotels: Divani Palace AcropolisRoyal Olympic HotelAthenaeum Intercontinental • All Hotels in Koukaki.

Kolonaki – A residential neighborhood northwest of Syntagma Square that’s filled with upscale shops, restaurants, boutique hotels, and cafes. Sights include the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and National War Museum. It’s walking distance from here to the Plaka and the Acropolis. Served by Syntagma station on metro line 2 & 3 and Evangelismos on metro line 3. • Photos of KolonakiRecommended Hotels: Periscope HotelSt. George Lycabettus HotelHilton AthensAll Hotels in Kolonaki.

Monastiraki – North of the Plaka and having a similar feel. The neighborhood is a little less touristy and has more antique, arts and crafts, and clothing shops than the Plaka. Also home to the large Flea Market every Sunday morning. Thissio is to the west and is quieter and greener still. The area is served by the Monastiraki station (lines 1 and 3) and Thissio station (line 1). Line 1 is a direct route to Piraeus making Monastiraki a good choice if you have an early ferry to catch. • Photos of MonastirakiRecommended Hotels: A for AthensAthens Center Square HotelCecil Hotel360 DegreesAll Hotels in Monastiraki.

Syntagma – The business and tourist hub of Athens. Here you’ll find 5 star hotels, restaurants, shopping, banks, airline offices, and the Greek Parliament buildings. Served by Syntagma station (lines 2 and 3). The National Historical Museum is located in the old Parliament building on Stadiou street and the National Gardens are a cool and shady retreat from the sweltering Athens’ summers. • Photos of SyntagmaRecommended Hotels: Hotel Grande BretagneKing GeorgeHotel Athens LycabettusAll Hotels in Syntagma.

Psirri – As you move north from Monastiraki you enter the trendy neighborhoods of Psirri and Gazi (an old industrial area that now teems with boutiques, galleries, shops, night clubs, and warehouses converted to upscale restaurants). The area is great for nightlife but 1 or 2 wrong turns can put you on some seedy streets so I wouldn’t recommend this area for a first time visitor to Athens (though it’s better than staying in Omonia).• Photos of PsirriRecommended Hotels: City Circus (budget hotel/hostel) • All Hotels in Psirri.

Omonia – North of all of the above neighborhoods is the rather grim district of Omonia which is best avoided at night (but fine through the day). You may find yourself here if you’re walking to or from the excellent National Archeological Museum in Exarheia. Omonia has many of Athens budget hotels (some are great value, others just very cheap). Served by Omonia station on metro lines 1 and 2. • Recommended Hotels: Hotel FreshAll Hotels near Omonia Square.

Piraeus – The port of Athens where the ferries arrive and depart for the islands. There’s not much here for tourists besides the ferries but if you need to catch an early ferry staying here is a perfectly fine option. In high season there are always tourists milling about the area near the port and the metro station so you need not fear an early morning departure or a late night arrival. It’s about 30 minutes by metro (on line 1) from downtown Athens to the port. • Photos of PiraeusRecommended Hotels: Triton Hotel Piraeus (a very basic but clean hotel close to the ferries for Santorini, Mykonos, and other Cycladic islands) • Piraeus Theoxenia Hotel (a block farther from the port than the Triton and the nicest hotel in Piraeus) • All Hotels in Piraeus.

What Hotels Have the Best Location?

The Plaka is the best area to stay in Athens. It’s very central for seeing all the best historical sights in Athens (except for the National Archaeological Museum which is a little out of the way and requires a short metro or taxi ride). It’s also busy day and night and feels very safe.

But you don’t have to stay right in the Plaka to get that safe, busy, central feeling. Being a little outside the Plaka area is fine too. Syntagma Square, Monastiraki, and Koukaki neighbor the Plaka and there’s no clear boundary as you leave the Plaka and enter these neighborhoods.

The following hotels all have great locations in central Athens and are an easy walk to all the major sights in the area. The Acropolis, the Plaka, the Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, and a half-dozen historical sights of Ancient Athens are within walking distance of all the hotels listed below.

  • Electra Palace Hotel Athens – The best hotel location in the heart of the Plaka. Great views of the Acropolis. On a quiet street but steps from shops and restaurants.
    Location of Electra Palace Hotel
  • Electra Hotel – On a funky pedestrian-only street, close to Syntagma and walking distance to the Plaka and Monastiraki metro station.
    Location of Electra Hotel
  • Divani Palace Acropolis – In the non-touristy neighborhood of Koukaki. Close to the Acropolis and steps from the Acropolis Museum.
    Location of Divani Palace Akropolis Hotel
  • Ava Hotel and Suites – Great location in the Plaka and a stones throw to Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
    Location of AVA Boutique Hotel
  • The Athens Gate Hotel – Very close to the Plaka and Acropolis Museum and directly across from Hadrian’s Gate and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
    Location of Athens Gate Hotel
  • Royal Olympic Hotel – Close to Hadrian’s Gate and across a busy road from the Plaka and Acropolis Museum.
    Location of Royal Olympic Hotel
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne – Athens’ best hotel right on the city’s most famous square. The Syntagma Metro Station is steps away from the hotel.
    Location of Grande Bretagne Hotel
  • King George – Directly beside the Grande Bretagne on Syntagma Square.
    Location of King George Hotel
  • NJV Athens Plaza – Beside the King George Hotel and on Syntagma Square.
    Location of NJV Athens Plaza Hotel
  • Plaka Hotel – In the Plaka and close to Monastiraki metro station (which has a direct link to the Piraeus ferry port so is perfect for catching early morning ferry departures).
    Location of Plaka Hotel
  • Phaedra Hotel – Great location in the Plaka
    Location of Hotel Phaedra
  • Best Western Amazon Hotel – Very close to Syntagma Square and a short walk to the Plaka and the Acropolis.
    Location of Best Western Amazon Hotel
  • A for Athens – Steps from the Monastiraki metro station (for direct trains to the Piraeus ferry port and the airport).
    Location of A for Athens Hotel

The 3 Best Budget Hotels in Athens

  • Athens Center Square Hotel – This is a wonderful hotel with a rooftop bar with views of the Acropolis, good free breakfast, and trendy large rooms. It’s a 5 to 10 minute walk to Monastiraki Square and metro station. A good popular restaurant and the Athens Central Market are steps away from the front door. The caveat is that it’s located down an unappealing side street in a less-than-beautiful area. Though it feels a little unsafe it’s heavily trafficked and perfectly fine for most people. But if you’re a single female traveler you might want to stay at the Phaedra or Myrto which are a little less polished but have more central locations.
    Center Square Hotel: The best budget hotel in Athens
  • Hotel Phaedra – In the heart of the Plaka and the best located budget hotel in Athens. A popular pedestrian street is just outside the door. The Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, and Hadrian’s Arch are all very close. Single, double, and family rooms available.
    Phaedra Hotel– Cheap hotel in the Plaka
  • Myrto Hotel – Very close to Syntagma Square (the metro and airport bus). This is the cheapest hotel in central Athens that isn’t terrible. It’s definitely rough around the edges (the carpet in the rooms is in bad shape) but the rooms are clean, the location great, and the staff super friendly. If you have an early ferry or plane to catch they’ll give you your breakfast the night before so you can store it in the fridge and eat it in your room the next morning.
    Large room in Myrto Hotel

Video of Athens’ Best Hotels

A quick guide to the best hotels in Athens.

Hotels Shown in Video (in order):
Grande Bretagne (luxury)
The King George Hotel (luxury)
NJV Athens Plaza (moderate)
St George Lycabettus (luxury)
Royal Olympic Hotel (luxury)
Athens Gate Hotel (moderate)
Divani Palace Acropolis (luxury
Ava Hotel and Suites (luxury)
Electra Palace Hotel (luxury)
Electra Hotel (moderate)
Best Western Amazon Hotel (budget)
Myrto Hotel (budget)
Phaedra Hotel (budget)
Hotel Byron (budget)
A for Athens Hotel (moderate)
Plaka Hotel (moderate)
Athens Center Square Hotel (budget)
Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel (moderate)

Map of Athens

Yellow Pins – Top 10 Things To Do in Athens
Blue Pins – Top 15 Hotels in Central Athens
Green Pins – Bus and Trains to Airport and Ferry
Blue Area – Area of Athens that is best to stay in
Red Area – Plaka Area of Athens

Hotels on Map
Grande Bretagne (luxury)
The King George Hotel (luxury)
St George Lycabettus (luxury)
Royal Olympic Hotel (luxury)
Divani Palace Acropolis (luxury
Ava Hotel and Suites (luxury)
Electra Palace Hotel (luxury)
NJV Athens Plaza (moderate)
Athens Gate Hotel (moderate)
Electra Hotel (moderate)
A for Athens Hotel (moderate)
Best Western Amazon Hotel (budget)
Myrto Hotel (budget)
Phaedra Hotel (budget)
Hotel Byron (budget)
Plaka Hotel (moderate)
Athens Center Square Hotel (budget)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When is the best time to visit Athens and Greece?

For the Greek islands high season is from late June until the end of August. For Athens it stretches significantly longer as it attracts more visitors that are there for the sights as much as the sun. So look for big crowds starting in late April and early May and lasting until late October or early November.

The best time to visit Athens (to do sightseeing) is from April to June, September, and October. If you plan on visiting the Greek Islands and spend time on a beach then the best months to visit are June and September.

Q. What are the best hotels in the Plaka (and near the Acropolis)?

  • Electra Palace Hotel – Awesome location in the Plaka. Fantastic rooftop pool with great views of the Acropolis. There’s also an indoor pool if you’re visiting in winter or need a break from the sun. The free buffet breakfast is very good. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0337 8000) • Reviews
  • New Hotel – Fantastically trendy and fun hotel between the Plaka and Syntagma Square. (p.s. They have a pillow menu.) (Hotel phone: +30 21 0327 3000) • Reviews
  • Ava Hotel Athens – Great hotel close to the Acropolis. All suites have kitchenettes. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0325 9000) • Reviews
  • The Athens Gate Hotel – Large triples and connected rooms for families. The rooftop restaurant has wonderful views of the Parthenon and breakfast is free. (Hotel phone: +30-210 9238 302-3) • Reviews

Q. What are the best hotels in Syntagma?

  • Hotel Grande Bretagne – A great hotel right on Syntagma Square. Hotel phone: +30 210 3330000 • Reviews
  • King George – Like the Bretagne, this is one of Athens’ best hotels and located on Syntagma Square. Hotel phone:+30 21 0322 2210 • Reviews
  • Hotel Athens Lycabettus – Good value hotel half-way between Syntagma Square and Kolonaki. Rooms are clean, most are small, but there are larger triple and family rooms. (Hotel phone: ) • Reviews

Q. What are the best hotels in Kolonaki?

  • Periscope Hotel – Located in the cafe-and-gallery neighborhood of Kolonaki and walking distance to Syntagma Square, the Plaka, and the Acropolis. A great pick for those who want to be close to everything but in a more authentic Athenian neighborhood. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0729 7200)Reviews
  • St. George Lycabettus Hotel – Up a steep hill (no walk here with luggage) and offering great views of Athens and the Acropolis the St. George is one of Athens’ most luxurious hotels. The rooftop restaurant is wonderful. (Hotel phone: ) • Reviews

Q. What are the best hotels near the beach in Athens?

Q. What are the best hotels in Athens for families?

  • Ava Hotel Athens – The service and amenities of a 5 star hotel with the friendliness of a family run B&B. A perfect location on a quiet street in the Plaka. Great breakfast and close to the Akropoli metro station. Some rooms have kitchenettes. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0325 9000) • Reviews
  • Astor Hotel – Great location. A very good breakfast is included and served on the rooftop restaurant with amazing views of the Acropolis. Large triples and quads are available for families. Furnishings are bit dated but the hotel makes a good mid-range choice near Syntagma Square and its metro stop. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0335 1000) • Reviews
  • The Westin Athens Astir Palace Beach Resort – Located outside the city on its own private peninsula. Wonderful beaches, pools, restaurants, and activities. Hotel phone: +30 21 0890 2000 • Reviews
  • Palmyra Beach Hotel – Good value hotel. 2-bedroom family rooms sleep 5. Nice pool and close to shopping, restaurants, and Glyfada beach. The tram to central Athens (30 minutes) is just outside the hotel. (Hotel phone: +30 210 8981183)Reviews
  • City Circus – Nice budget hotel/hostel with a large quadruple room perfect for families. Walking distance to the Plaka. (Hotel phone: +30 21 3023 7244)Reviews
  • Tropical Hotel – Budget hotel outside the city. Triples and family rooms available. Swimmable beaches are nearby. Easy access to airport and Piraeus ferries. Tram to central Athens is nearby. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0981 3993)Reviews

Q. What is the best hotel near the Athens airport?

  • Sofitel Athens Airport – Large rooms with a nice pool, sauna, spa, and free wi-fi. Directly across the road from the international arrivals terminal. (Hotel phone: +30 210 354 4000) • Reviews

Q. What are the best beaches near Athens?

To the south and east of Athens lies a string of beaches and beach towns that grow progressively nicer as you get away from the city. The Athens Tram runs all the way along the coast to Voula (where there’s a nice beach). If you’re going farther than that you’ll need to hop on a bus.

Most beaches require a fee to enter. In return you get nicely groomed sand, a snack or restaurant, sun chairs and umbrellas, and sometimes access to restrooms, showers, changing rooms, beach gear, and water slides. There are small beach coves that dot the coastline as well. They offer smaller crowds but with few or no amenities. If you’ve rent a car you can drive along the coast and stop where ever you see a patch of sand. It will usually involved scampering down from the road above on a footpath wondering where the heck you’re going.

  • Kalamaki – The closest beach to Athens. Not the best beach but it’s decent. About 45 minutes by tram from Syntagma.
  • GlyfadaAsteras Glyfada is family friendly with a children’s playground and watersports (cost: €7.50). Take the tram to Glyfada and walk along the coast to Asteras.
  • VoulaVoula A beach is very family friendly with snack bar and water slide. Take the tram to the last stop and the beach is right there. (cost: €7).
  • Vouliagmeni – Astir Beach is hip and very nice (cost: €15). Take the tram to Glyfada and then take bus 114 to Astir.
  • Varkiza – One of the best beaches in the area complete with great sand, a water park, volleyball, and tennis (cost: €12.) Take the tram to Glyfada and then bus 116 to Varkiza.

Q. What are the best things to do in Athens?

  • The Acropolis and Parthenon – If you only have time to visit one attraction in Athens this is it. The Acropolis Museum is a short walk down the hill from the Acropolis and is a good complement to the main site.
  • Ancient Agora – Wander around the commercial and social hub of Ancient Athens. The Plaka and Monastiraki Flea Market are nearby and the 3 together make a good walking tour.
  • Athens Central Market – Tired of the ancient sites? Here’s a loud chaotic taste of modern Athens. A fantastic collection of olives, cheeses, spices, oils, and meats. Also called Varvakios Agora.
  • Mt. Lycabettus – The best views of Athens from the huge hill behind the Kolonaki district. Walk up or take the fun funicular tram to the summit.
  • National Archaeological Museum – Greece’s best museum is a 20 minute walk from the central sites. This is a must-do attraction.

Q. How Should I Book Hotels in Athens? is the best site for booking hotels in Athens. It’s reliable, easy to use, has the best rates, and offers free cancelation for most hotels.

If you’re visiting Athens between May and October you should book your hotel as soon as your plane tickets are booked – ideally at least 2 to 3 months in advance.

That said, many rooms are still available with little or no notice so there’s no need to panic if you’ve left it until the end. If you arrive without reservations and want to hunt for a place on your own then head for the Plaka (which has the highest concentration of hotels) and walk the streets popping into any place you see.

If you’re staying for longer than a week then renting an apartment or flat is a great idea. is my favorite site though there are many good ones for renting vacation homes.

Q. What airlines fly to Athens?

For flights from North America you’re best to search on but for flights within Europe you’re better to book through a discount airline like the ones listed below. These discount, or charter, airlines historically don’t appear in a Kayak search (but this is changing and for the summer of 2015 more and more of the discount airlines are appearing in Kayak searches). And these budget airlines only fly within Europe so they’re not of interest to travelers from the US or Canada – unless they’re planning to stop in Western Europe on their trip to Greece.

  • Olympic Air – Flights from many European cities to Athens. Connecting flights to Greek islands available.
  • Aegean Airlines – Flights from many European cities to Athens. Connecting flights to Greek islands available.
  • EasyJet – The airline with the most flights to Athens from cities like Rome, Milan, Paris, London, and Manchester, as well as many more.
  • Air Berlin – Flights from Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, many more German cities, Paris, and Copenhagen to Athens.
  • FlyThomasCook – Flights from Manchester, London Gatwick, and Birmingham to Athens.
  • Thomson Flights – Flights from Manchester, Birmingham, and London Gatwick, and more UK cities to Athens.
  • Lauda Air – Flights from Vienna to Athens.
  • NIKI – Flights from London, Paris, Copenhagen, Munich, Berlin, Milan, Rome, Vienna, and more European cities to Athens.
  • Germanwings – Flights many European cities to Athens.
  • TUI Fly – Flights from many German cities and Vienna to Athens.
  • Transavia – Flights from Paris, Amsterdam, and many more European cities to Athens. to Santorini.
  • Norwegian – Flights from Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen to Athens. Connecting flights to New York City.
  • Meridiana – Flights from Rome, Milan, Verona, and Bologna to Athens.
  • Condor Air – Flights from Dussledorf, Hamburg, Bonn/Cologne, Frankfurt, and Munich to Athens.
  • Jetairfly – Flights from Brussels to Athens.
  • Edelweiss Air – Flights from Zurich and Geneva to Athens.
  • Air Baltic – Flights to Athens from Riga and other European capitals (though as of spring 2013 not showing many flights).

Q. How do I get from Athens to the Greek Islands?

  • Air – The quickest way to get to far flung islands like Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Samos, or Corfu. But for closer islands like Naxos, Paros, or Mykonos it can be quicker (when you consider getting to the airport, getting through security, and waiting for your plane) to take a ferry. Pretty much all islands are within one hour of Athens by air. Olympic Air has multiple flights every day to all the popular islands. Check the Olympic Air schedule. Aegean Air has a similar schedule with flights from Athens to all the Greek islands and also more flights from Thessaloniki. Check the Aegean Air schedule (pdf).
  • Ferry – The most popular and authentic way of getting to the islands. Buying and planning ferry trips before arrival is tricky (see below) but doing it after arriving in Athens is easy. Ferries rarely sell out so you can purchase tickets a day or two before (or even the morning of), take the metro to the ferry terminal and hop on board. However, if you want a cabin or need to take your car you should book well in advance. See Also: Athens to Santorini by Ferry
  • Bus – This is really bus and ferry – but if you buy a combo ticket the bus goes straight on board the ferry and you don’t have to deal with arranging the ferry portion of your ticket. Buses are primarily used for getting to the Ionian islands of Corfu, Kefallonia, Zakynthos, and Lefkada – as well as other cities on the mainland and Peloponnese. Travel times to the Ionian islands range from 6 to 10 hours. You can’t book bus tickets in advance so you need to go to the bus station and buy tickets. Buses are air conditioned but do not have toilets on board. There are stops about every 2 or 3 hours to have a snack and use the restroom. This is an old schedule of buses leaving from Athens. You’ll need to phone to find out the current schedule (Terminal A phone: 210 512 4910). In summer, show up at least 90 minutes in advance to ensure a ticket.

Q. Where do I buy ferry tickets in Athens?

If you’re arriving by plane into Athens and want to continue to Santorini by ferry you’re best to purchase ferry tickets at the airport. By booking right away it will give you the largest window of time before your ferry. If you’re planning to spend 2 nights or more in Athens then this should be plenty of time to ensure a seat on pretty much any ferry (high speed or catamaran) – as long as you don’t need a cabin or are taking a vehicle. The Aktina Travel Agency has a 24 hour desk on the arrivals floor at the airport that sells ferry tickets.

You can also buy tickets in the city. Travel agents that book ferry tickets are easy to find. But by waiting until you get into the city you’re losing a little bit of time. Maybe you go to your hotel, have a swim, grab a bite to eat, and then head out to buy your ferry tickets. By that time it’s evening and everything is closed. Now it’s the next morning before you’re buying them. Do it at the airport, get it done and out of the way – then no worries.

Lastly, you can buy tickets at the Athens port (Piraeus) just before you get on the ferry. Allow at least 2 hours to get to Piraeus, buy the tickets, and find your boat. It’s busy and a little chaotic around the port – especially in the morning when a majority of the ferries leave.

If you bought tickets in advance (on the internet) then you’ll likely have to pick them up in Piraeus. This is another reason why buying in advance is a pain. It’s essentially the same as buying in person but now you have to find the specific company as opposed to just buying from the first travel agency you see as you get to Piraeus. (Of course, you do have reserved seats or a cabin so that can be important – but as far as the hassle factor it’s probably worse having booked in advance.)

Q. How often do ferries depart for the Greek Islands?

Pireaus is the main port for Athens. Below is a list of routes that leave from the port for the Greek islands in the Aegean. Ferries for Corfu and the Ionian islands leave from Patra and Igmoumenitsa. Ferries for the Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, and Skyros) leave from Rafina.

The best website for ferry schedules is Most people will find themselves on either the Blue Star Ferries or the Hellenic Seaways Ferries. To best site to book ferries in advance is on the websites of each company (not with a travel agent who will charge a fee) Blue Star booking and Hellenic booking pages for each company.

The Highspeed ferries (e.g. Hellenic Seaways) will occasionally sell out during the months of July and August (and especially the week of August 15). The larger conventional ferries (e.g. Blue Star) very rarely sell out – though once again, the week of August 15 can see some fully booked ferries. Outside of these times it’s fine to buy your ticket the day before traveling or even the morning of travel.

The following ferry frequencies are for high season.

High Speed Ferry Services from Pireaus to Select Islands

Aegina: 40min/€14/hourly
Chania (Crete): 7.5hr/€36/daily
Chios: 6-9hr/€32/daily
Folegandros: 3.5hr/€57/1-3 daily
Heraklion (Crete): 6.5hr/€40/daily
Hydra: 1.5hr/€26/8 daily
Ios: 3.5hr/€55/3 daily
Milos:: 2.5hr/€55/3 daily
Mykonos: 3 hr/€55/3 daily
Naxos: 4hr/€52/3 daily
Paros: 3hr/€50/6 daily
Poros: 1hr/€32/6 daily
Santorini: 5.5hr/€62/3 daily
Serifos: 2hr/€43/2 daily
Sifnos: 3hr/€50/3 daily
Spetses: 2hr/€35/6 daily
Syros: 2.5hr/€45/3 daily
Tinos4hr/€52/3 daily

Regular Ferry Services from Pireaus to Select Islands

Aegina: 1hr 10min/€10/hourly
Chania (Crete): 8.5hr/€27/daily
Folegandros: 7.5hr/€30/4 weekly
Heraklion (Crete): 8hr/€30/2 daily
Ios: 7hr/€33/5 daily
Milos: 7.5hr/€34/2 daily
Mykonos: 5.5hr/€32/2 daily
Naxos: 5.5hr/€31/5 daily
Paros: 4.5hr/€30/4 daily
Poros: 2.5hr/€13/3 daily
Santorini: 9 hr/€35/5 daily
Serifos: 5hr/€23/2 daily
Sifnos: 5.5hr/€31/5 daily
Syros: 4hr/€27/4 daly
Tinos: 2.5h4/€29/daily

The port is large and it can take a while to get from the metro station to where your ferry is boarding. Take a look at this map of the Pireaus port to get an idea. You’ll see the metro stop labeled Electric Railway Line 1 on the upper right side between E5 and E6. Ferries locations can change but as a general rule: E1 – Rhodes and the Dodecanese. E2 – Crete, Chios, Lesvos, Ikaria, Samos. E3 – Crete vehicle entrance. E6 and E7 – Cyclades and Rethymno. E8 – Saronic islands (Aegina, Hydra, Poros, Spetses, Salamis, and Angistri). E9 and E10 – Cyclades and Samos. E11 – Cruise terminal A. E12 – Cruise terminal B.

Q. Is Athens safe for tourists?

Athens is a big city and as such the usual advice for traveling abroad applies (be aware of what’s going on around you, put your money in a smart place, if you’re a man don’t fall for women who ask you into a bar to buy them a drink – this is an old Athens trick).

Staying at hotels in or near the Plaka neighborhood is recommended. Avoiding the Omonia district is also recommended – although this is far from a no-go zone, it looks worse than it actually is.

As for the riots and protests that periodically arise in the city – these are political rallies that are focused on the government. Tourists are almost never the target. The protests usually occur in the city center around Syntagma Square. They’re easily avoided. If you see a large crowd of chanting Greeks approaching, quietly move in another direction, and you should be fine.

Often when people ask, “Is it OK to travel to Athens?”, what they mean is, “Could my plans be compromised by a strike, protest, or riot?” And the answer to that is yes, it’s possible, but still not very likely.

The most likely threat to your travel plans would be a ferry strike that delays your trip to or from the islands. For this, the best remedy is to have a few days of extra travel time on either end of your trip. Ferries are more likely to be canceled due to windy weather than a strike or riot, but in either case, having an extra day or two (especially at the end of your trip) to rearrange your trip and ferry ride, should correct the problem.

See Also

126 questions and comments

  1. Ferry from Santorini to Athens

    Hey Dave. Great site. We fly out of Athens early morning of May 19. We have a place to stay in Athens the evening of the 18th. Is there a ferry that leaves in the morning from Santorini that would give us a half day or so of sightseeing in Athens? Which one would be best for that?


    1. Dave

      The earliest day ferry on May 18th is the SeaJet but that doesn’t get to Piraeus until 17:00 (and you would still have to get into Athens and check in at your hotel so that leaves almost no time to see anything). You’ll have to either do a ferry the day before or the night ferry that leaves Santorini at 12:40am on the 18th and gets to Piraeus at 9:45am. The ship is the Prevelis and it does have sleeper cabins.

    1. Dave

      A very nice hotel: new, trendy, art-deco. Great location that’s walking distance to metro, Acropolis, and all the major tourist attractions in the area. It is on a busy/ugly street but the charming Plaka is just a few minutes walk away.

  2. Booking Ferry Tickets in Advance in Late July and Early August

    Hi Dave,

    I’ll be travelling to Greece this summer. Specifically, I’ll be going from Santorini to Mykonos on July 30th and then Mykonos to Athens on August 2nd. My dates are not flexible at all. Given the challenges of booking ferry tickets in advance (i.e., online), is it risky to wait until we arrive in Santorini on July 27th to book our ferry tickets or would you recommend booking in advance? If so, which company do you recommend going with?

    Thanks so much for your help and guide :)
    Alyssa Buzzelli

  3. Piraeus and Ferries to the Cyclades


    We’re heading to Greece for the first time in June 2015, two fifty year olds with our 14 yo niece :)
    She has a great interest in going to Santorini, so I’m studying a crash course in planning some time in the Cyclades. We’re thinking 3 nights in Santorini & three nights in Naxos.

    We’re looking at the slow ferry Piraeus-Santorini on 15 June. We’ll be arriving back in that area after driving around the Peloponnese…possibly from Nafplio. It appears that the slow boat leaves quite early. We’ll need to drop our rental car (back in Athens, or maybe at the port). Is there anywhere recommended near the port that we can crash late just to sleep & catch the early ferry?

    After three nights in Santorini we’ll ferry to Naxos on 18 June. Do you have a recommended neighborhood or region on Naxos? At that point it will be near the end of our holiday and we’ll be craving some peaceful relaxation.

    We need to ferry back to Athens to connect with a flight to IST for our big flight home. My gut tells me not to try to make a close connection. We’re thinking slow ferry Naxos-Piraeus on 21 June (there appear to be two…am & pm) for an overnight & day in Athens before flying to IST for an airport hotel, etc. for our flight home on 23 June.

    Any of your thoughts on this plan are welcome. Thank you for your good work,

    Joan & Dave (& Sophia, too)
    Sonoma, California

    1. Dave

      In Piraeus the best hotel is the Piraeus Theoxenia – but still very affordable. They have large and small room sizes and are an easy walk to the Santorini, Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos ferries.

      In Naxos, I prefer staying in Naxos Town. There are many hotels that are by St Georges’ beach that are in a quiet neighborhood but afford easy access to the beach and are a short walk to the restaurants of Naxos Town. And yes, be back in Athens a day in advance of your flight as anything can happen with ferry schedules.

  4. Centrotel vs Areos Hotels

    Hi Dave! Thanks for putting in so much effort in your site! I’m planning a trip to Athens and Santorini in May.

    I’m looking at Centrotel Hotel and Areos Hotel for our stay 3 days in Athens. Are these 2 hotels any good? I’m kind of confused on which neighborhood they belong to. Safety and proximity to train stations are very important for us as it’ll be just be the 2 of us. Thanks!

    1. Dave

      Both are good hotels in an okay neighborhood (not great but not unsafe). Both hotels are about 5 minutes walk from Victoria metro station. From there it’s only 2 stops to Monastiraki station which is in the heart of the tourist area. You can also walk from these hotels to Monastiraki/Plaka area in about 20 minutes. Areos is in a slightly more appealing location as it’s very close to the National Archaeological Museum (the best museum in Athens) and 10 minutes from Exarchea neighborhood which has lots of cafes and a great gyros/souvlaki shop that has cheap and delicious food.

      1. VAT in Greece

        Thanks so much for the reply Dave!

        I’ve another question that I’ll need your advice for. We’re planning to leave Athens for Santorini via ferry. Can I do my VAT refund at the ferry terminal? If not, how else can I get my VAT refund as I would be flying to Istanbul (transit at Athens) after santorini.

        Thanks in advance!

        1. Dave

          You should be able to do it in Athens airport on your way through. You can also submit by mail too (as long as you get the VAT form filled out before you leave the shop where purchases were made).

  5. 5 Days in Athens and Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    It is an amazing blog that you have put in, with lot of information, details along with pictures! I love it and the fact that you reply so much in detail and putting in effort to the questions asked here. I also thought of reaching out to you! :) My husband and I are travelling to Greece for Easter break and will be there from 2nd April to 6th April, though no time is enough to completely enjoy the beautiful, surreal Greece, we could only manage 5 days. So here’s our itinerary for 5 days, it would be really helpful to get your advice on it and I have a few questions below as well.

    2nd April: Reach Athens around 9:00 A.M. Have booked Poseidon Hotel in Palaio Faliro, so planning to take bus X96 and reach hotel around 11:00 A.M. Leaving hotel around 1:00 P.M. to Syntagma Square and take the 24 hrs ticket. Now is it better to visit Acropolis and surrounding area as if we start at 2:00 w’ll probably have like 3-4 hours there or is it less time, by what time most of the tourist spots close and since the Hop on-Hop off buses run even in night, is there something we can see even after sunset. (Or will hire a car for 5 days)

    3rd April: Trip to Lefkadas (I have heard the route is very beautiful to drive and it is better than the Zakynthos. I now time is less, but isn’t it worth visiting, or you suggest some nearby city or place to go for a day trip)

    4th April: Trip to Delphi

    5th April:
    1. Flight to Santorini. Reach Santorini around 8 a.m. and go to one of the beaches for breakfast (Kamari or Red beach, Which one do you recommend?)
    2. Then visit Akrotiri as it opens at 10:00 a.m. Then head to town of Fira (Or should we also go to Ancient Thira?)
    3. There are boat trip for volcano island and hot spring, since we both don’t know swimming, will it still make sense to go there, haven’t seen an active volcano ever, so may be a good experience, but I read without swimming you cannot enjoy the Hot springs.
    4. Have lunch in Fira around 2:00 P.M., is there something to see if we don’t do the boat trip, I had heard something about the cable car.
    5. Take the hiking route from Fira to Oia, reach around 4:30-5, roam around and watch the amazing sunset from castle ruins there.
    6. Relax a bit and head out to Fira and enjoy the evening hustle bustle there and then headout to Airport for a 22:10 flight back to Athens.

    6th April: Leaving early around 9:00, start Hop On Hop Off bus to see Anceint Agora, Temple of Zeus, Placa, National Archaeological museum, back to hotel around 5:00 P.M. Reach airport around 7:00 P.M. (Or will have a car hired for travel.)

    Looking forward to your advice!

    1. Dave

      You have a lot planned and it seems like a very tight schedule. Be prepared to not be able to do all that you have planned.

      – Why stay in Palaio Faliro? Not much out there and takes time to get to city center. Why not stay in central Athens when you’re so limited with time?
      – Lefkadas is a long way from Athens. If you enjoy driving I suppose it could be OK but a long way to go to have to turn around and drive back almost immediately. Nafplio is a better destination for a day trip from Athens.
      – Delphi is also a long day trip from Athens. It’s much better to try to arrive in Delphi the night before and get an early start on the Delphi sites before the tour groups arrive.
      – Akrotiri and the hike are both great. Can’t see how you’d get much more than this done in one day. Kamari would be best for breakfast.
      – Your final day in Athens seems like a good plan.

  6. Athens to Crete to Santorini to Mykonos to Athens

    Hello Dave,

    I am planning a trip to Greece late July/early August and really appreciate your informative posts to help me navigate and plan my vacation. I arrive in Greece after a busy tour of Italy on the 21st and plan to spend 3 nights in Athens. On July 24th I plan to travel to the islands (Crete, Santorini, and Mykonos). I was tentatively going to fly to Crete as it is much faster and then take a ferry from Crete to Santorini, Santorini to Mykonos and Mykonos to Athens. I am finding it quite difficult to navigate the ferry schedules and want to be sure that I can island hop in this manner so I can book accommodation as I know it fills up quite quickly.

    24th Arrive in Crete (stay 6 nights)- Leave 30th to Santorini

    30th Arrive in Santorini (stay 4 nights)- Leave Aug 3rd to Mykonos

    Aug 3rd Arrive in Mykonos (stay 5 nights)- Leave Aug 8th to Athens

    Is this a good length of time at each island or is there another island that I must see?

    I really appreciate your insight and ideas so I can get started on booking accommodation,


    1. Dave

      Sounds like a great plan and yes there are ferries for that entire route (in summer). You have your days well allotted (I might recommend more days in Santorini than Mykonos but that’s personal preference). Certainly there are many other islands you could see but these 4 are great ones so I’m sure you’ll love them.

  7. Athens to Santorini to Mykonos

    Hi Dave! Awesome site!
    I’m planning on traveling Athens > Santorini (16th May; plane), Santorini > Mykonos (19th May; ferry), Mykonos > Prague (21st May; plane via Athens). Do you think this is enough time? Also, which ferry is best for Santorini > Mykonos on this date?
    Much appreciated!

    1. Dave

      Yes, that’s enough time. Not a lot but enough. The best ferry from Santorini to Mykonos the Hellenic Seaways ferry at 11:40.

  8. Athens to Santorini to Paros/Naxos

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you very much for this very helpful website! My wife and I are planning to visit the Greek islands for seven nights. After spending one night in Athens, we have reserved three nights on Santorini. Therefore, we have four nights remaining. We would really like to visit Naxos, to see the villages and beaches. We have also heard some nice things about Paros, and we were thinking about combining Naxos and Paros for those four nights (i.e., two nights on Naxos, and two nights on Paros). We would return to Athens for one more night, and then depart. In your opinion, is this something that can be done? Thanks for your advice!

    1. Dave

      Yes, this is easy to do. There is a Blue Star that goes directly from Santorini to Naxos to Paros every day so it’s very easy to go from Santorini to Naxos (2h 30min) and then Naxos to Paros (1h 15min). You can buy the Blue Star tickets when you first arrive in Athens at any travel agent (you’ll see many in the Plaka with sandwich boards that say ferry tickets).

  9. One Week in Athens and Santorini

    Hi Dave,
    What a lovely site! Thank you for such helpful information.

    We have a week in Greece (reaching Athens Saturday night and leaving Santorini next Saturday afternoon). We love historical stuff but would also like to do justice to what Santorini has to offer. We are traveling with a nine month old for the first time. Hotel/Area recommendations in Athen and Santorini based on this would be very helpful.

    Thanks in Advance!

    1. Dave

      The best area of Athens to stay is the Plaka (or neighboring Monastiraki area) – great for seeing the sites, eating outdoors, and getting the metro to the ferry port. In Santorini the towns along the caldera are all a little challenging for families with children but Oia is the best of them as it’s relatively flat and stroller friendly.

  10. Luggage Storage in Athens

    Hi Dave, we’re arriving in Athens from Zakynthos early in the morning and are planning to take the last ferry to Santorini. Do you know if there is a place where we can leave our luggage in Athens while we do a city tour? Thank you!!


    1. Dave

      There are storage lockers at Omonia and Monastiraki metro stations. (The ones below are at Monastiraki.) Some can be out of order but there are a fair number of them. They’re fine for backpacks but not large suitcases.
      Luggae storage in Athens.

  11. Flights from Athens to Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    Great info on your site! I was wondering if you could give me any info on flights from Athens to Santorini?
    Costs? Time tables? Airlines?
    Any info would be helpful. My travel dates will be the last week of August.

    Thank you,
    Dana Hawkins

  12. Ferry Port to Airport Connection

    Hi Dave,

    Two of my friends and I are planning to go to Santorini but we are departing from Rome to get to Santorini. I’ve heard taking the ferry is a great experience and I’m trying to find a way to be able to do this. I was thinking of flying from Rome to Santorini. Our final destination afterwards is to Paris. I was thinking of taking a ferry from Santorini to Athens that will leave at 645am and arrive at 245pm in Athens. I’ve read it takes 90 minutes to commute to the airport from Piraeus port. However, my concern is the flight we want to take (hasn’t been booked yet) is at 520pm. My question is do you think this will leave enough time to make it to our flight? Have there been major delays in taking ferries during the summer time? We are planning to leave from Santorini July 22 and we have a flight to catch on July 23 at 1pm in Paris CDG. Hope you are able to read this and respond. I would greatly appreciate your input!


    1. Dave

      That is not a lot of time to make that connection. It can take 90 minutes by taxi or bus to get from Piraeus to the Athens airport and you’d be traveling during rush hour. The ferry could easily be 30 to 60 minutes late. I would not feel comfortable making those plans but that’s not to say it wouldn’t work out. Personally, I would plan on taking the ferry from Santorini the previous day. (There’s also a SeaJet ferry that gets in a little earlier at 2pm but those ferries are delayed more often than the Blue Star so I still wouldn’t book it.)

  13. Airport Transfer in Athens – How Much Time is Needed?

    Hi Dave,
    Firstly, awesome website. my wife constantly asked me this and that about our plans, and every time i would just reply “ask dave”…

    My wife and I are planning to travel 7 days to athens. 9 May – 16 May.
    2 nights – Athens (bluestar ferry to Santorini 0730)
    3 nights – Santorini (highspeed 5 to Mykonos 1140)
    2 night – Mykonos (olympic air to Athens 1610)

    On the last day from Mykonos we are planning to catch a 16:10 – 16:50 flight (olympic air) to El Venizelos airport.
    And my flight back home is at 19:25. I decided I would not stay at Athens on the last day, as the airport is apparently a little far from the city area. Is the airport the same? Could i make it in time for the transfer? An earlier flight would have to be at 1155-1230 and it would be much too early.

    Any suggestions would be great. thank you.
    Wian Tony

    1. Dave

      There are no guarantees with flights but I will say that I would be fine with making that booking. I would feel very confident that I would make that connection. The flight from Mykonos and you’re ongoing international flight are in the same airport (same terminal) and it’s easy to get from one to the other.

  14. 9 Day Honeymoon in Greece

    Hi Dave,

    Excellent pages, details and information. Its great if we have consultants like you!
    Have planned 9 days trip – 15th June to 24th June from India.

    Current plan is 15h in Athens, 16th checkin to 20th checkout (4 nights) Santorini, 20th checkin to 23rd checkout (3 Nights) in Mykonos and 23rd-24th half day in Athens. 24th afternoon have a flight back to India.

    Our agenda is caldera views, beaches, adventure sports, relaxation, Bella Aurora in Santorini and Partying, sight seeing and exploring in Mykonos and not much interest in archealogical sites. Do you advise I should try another island – Say Crete/Paros etc and reduce the no of days in Santorini & Mykonos?

    I’ll be on a honeymoon, but we both like to travel and explore.

    Await your kind reply.

    Siddharth Malani

    1. David Post author

      I think your current plan is great. Adding islands will only make you feel rushed. There is lots to see in Santorini and Mykonos so you won’t get bored with the days you have there. Certainly Crete should not be added as it’s a very big island and requires at least a week to get around. Paros could make a good stop for one night if you really wanted to see another island but I’d stick with what you’ve got planned.

  15. Good Coastal Area near Athens

    Dear Dave

    My husband and i are coming to Greece from the 1 May to the 16 May.

    – we are spending 1 day in Athens, staying at Hotel Apollo
    – then doing a 2 day Delphi tour
    – then taking a ferry to Mykonos for 4 days
    – and Santorini for 5 days
    – we then have our last 2 days in Athens before flying back to South Africa

    I wanted to know which other coastal areas in Athens are good to stay at?

    Thank you


    1. Dave

      Nafplio is the most interesting city near Athens and has a great location on the coast, 2 hours southwest of Athens (in the Peloponnese). The best beaches near Athens are Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza and Voula which are about 45 minutes to an hour southeast of Athens.

  16. Hotels in Athens for Family of 5

    Hi Dave,

    Your website has been very helpful as I plan my family trip to Greece is May. I do have one question for you regarding Athens. My family and I will be staying in Athens 2 separate nights, 1 week apart (May 17th and May 24th). We would like to be close to all the sites on May 17th because that is when we will be doing our touring. We would like to be close to the airport on May 24th because we will be leaving the next day from there. What hotels do you suggest for us, as we are a family of 5. Our first priority it safety, our second is cleanliness. We would really appreciate your help! Thank you very much!


    1. Dave

      For a family of 5 you are limited for choice (unless you get 2 separate rooms). A for Athens and the Plaka Hotel both have family rooms but I think they only sleep 4. You have a choice between Myrto Hotel and Hotel Katerina. Myrto is definitely rough around the edges (beds and carpets are well worn) but the staff is very friendly and it’s in a good central location. Katerina is in a less desirable neighborhood (northwest of Omonia) but it’s a much nicer hotel.

      The best hotel near the airport is Sofitel Athens Airport – directly across the street from Arrivals level and about 2 minute walk from the terminal. It has a very nice pool. (You would need to get 2 rooms at the Sofitel.) No other hotel close to the airport makes much sense – you’re better off staying near a metro station and taking the train out in the morning.

  17. Athens, Meteora, Santorini

    Hi Dave, our family is going on a package tour of Turkey on April, and we are planning an extension of 5 days to Greece, flying in from Istanbul to Athens on the eve of the 7th (Tues.) and returning to Istanbul for our midnight flight back home on the eve of the 12th (Sun.)

    We are mainly interested to tour Athens – Acropolis, the museum, Syntagma, Plaka etc. Meteora, and Santorini – Fira, Oia, Akrotiri, is it possible to cover these areas given our limited time (maybe 3 days Athens and 2 days Santorini) or we’d be better off omitting one area, also it will be the week of the Orthodox Easter during our visit, can you please advice us on how to plan our itinerary to maximize our stay as there might be some sites closed during our visit? Athens/Meteora first before Santorini or the other way around? Taking the ferry or flying to Santorini? Cost and time are also considerations, we are travelling with an elderly and a 5-1/2 year old. Any advice or input you can give us will be of much help.

    Many thanks,

    1. Dave

      I think you’re fine visiting Athens and Santorini but fitting the Meteora in too is tough. It takes 4 or 5 hours from Athens to the Meteora by car, bus, or train – so you’re looking at 9 or 10 hours return. It’s possible but I don’t think I’d use your limited time in Greece being on a bus or train (unless this is a highlight you just have to see).

      I would spend 3 days in Santorini and 2 in Athens. Pyrgos, Santorini is magical during easter and particularly on Good Friday.
      Pyrgos, Santorini during Easter.
      (photo of Pyrgos during Easter by Klearchos Kapoutsis)

      It would work best if you go directly to Santorini on first arriving in Greece then return to Athens on Saturday morning (flying both ways of course) and spend your days in Athens at the end of the 5 days.

      1. Athens on Easter

        Thanks so much for replying Dave. A few more questions, If we’ll be spending the last 2 days (Sat & Easter Sun) in Athens would you know if the archaeological sites and museums be open on those dates? I think I saw something on a website regarding closures of sites and museums during Easter Sundays, but the post was a few years ago, would you happen to know if it is applicable this year? How about the shops and restaurants in the Plaka area would they be open?

        Is Akrotiri open all the days of the week? Which beach in Santorini is best for a young child.

        Are cancelled or delayed flights to and from Santorini due to weather conditions common during April months?

        Thanks for the big help.


        1. Dave

          It changes a little very year but most likely tourist sights open for reduced hours on Saturday and tourist sights closed on Easter Sunday. Restaurants in the Plaka and Monastiraki will be open and busy all weekend. Small shops will probably be open on Sunday but larger stores and department stores closed. Buses and trains will be running.

          Monolithos has the most gradual slope for kids entering the water. But there’s a lot more in Kamari and Perissa so I think I’d still choose those beaches. That said, you probably won’t be swimming in April unless you’re very brave. The water will be freezing. Akrotiri should be open all the days you’re in Santorini. Flights from Santorini are rarely canceled but occasionally they’re late.

  18. Where To Book Ferry Tickets in Athens?

    Hi Dave,

    Fantastic website! Where’s the best place in central Athens to pre-book ferry tickets? We’re travelling from Piraeus to Santorini then on to Heraklion in July, after a week in Athens, and would rather avoid both pre-booking and booking at the airport desk.

    Thanks and best,


    1. Dave

      The best place to book ferry tickets is the travel agent closest to your hotel. Ask at your hotel or walk out the front door and you’ll probably find a shop within 200 meters on any main street. They usually have a sandwich board out front, with “Book Ferry Tickets” on it. Any place will do, they all have the same prices.

  19. Culture Activities In and Around Athens

    Terrific site! Thanks for curating it.

    My wife and I will be traveling to Athens in late March/early April to scout for a future food and culture study abroad program. Any must do/sees in this realm from your perspective? And, any suggestion for food focused island excursion from Athens? We typically like areas that are more traditional and that have fewer tourists. While distant islands would probably fit the bill more, closer sites would probably more efficient and economical considering our available time – a couple of days.

    Any guidance would be much appreciated!


    1. Dave

      The Central Market is a must for foodies. I took Greek language courses at the Athens Centre when I was in my 20s and loved it. Hydra and Aegina islands are both very popular with Greek tourists so have more of a Greek feel than some of the touristy islands. Both are a very short ferry ride from Athens.

  20. Scenic Place near Athens

    Hi Dave,

    You have been quiet helpful in planning our trip.

    We would have 2 full days in Athens where we prefer to go out of athens to a near by place. Looking for a scenic place where we can relax, go around, get the cultural feel of Greece.

    Is there any place you can suggest?

    Thanks a lot for your help as usual.


    1. Dave

      Nafplio is the most beautiful and charming town near to Athens. It’s about 2 hours away by bus which makes for a long day trip – much better if you could stay overnight (which maybe you intended, I couldn’t tell from your question).

      1. Getting from Athens to Nafplio

        Thanks a lot, Dave. Yes, we intend to stay there for couple of days. We can leave Athens by 3pm on 14th May, stay there next 2 days, 15th and 16th May and start back on 17th May morning.

        Is there any other way of transport than by bus?


        1. Dave

          Taxi would cost about €130 and take 90 minutes. Can also take the train to Corinth and then taxi from there – which would be cheaper. But there is no train from Athens all the way to Nafplio.

          1. Good Hotel in Nafplio

            Thanks a ton. Sounds great. Would be great if you can help me with the best places to stay there. Kavya

  21. September in Athens and Santorini

    Hi Dave, I have questions about hotels. What is your opinion of Alice Inn Athens, in terms of safety, cleanness and location convenience? What about Sunset hotel in Santorini? Thanks again for your help, much appreciated!

    1. Dave

      The Alice Inn is in a good safe location. It’s about 5 minutes to the airport bus (Syntagma Square) and 8 minutes to the metro to the ferry port (Monastiraki). Both Syntagma and Monastiraki have direct train to the airport. Sunset Hotel is in Firostefani and has several restaurants within just a few minutes. Fira is a 10 to 15 minute walk and Imerovigli about the same in the opposite direction.

      1. September in Athens and Santorini

        What about Adrian Hotel in Athens? Is it safe, clean, easy to get to ferry port and airport?

          1. September in Athens and Santorini

            Perfect. Thank you so much. We will book Adrian Hotel for our first two days in Athens and Sunset Hotel for six days in Santorini. One more hotel question, how’s Best Western Amazon Hotel? We need a hotel for the last two days of our vacation in Athens. Not sure to go back to Adrian or try Best Western Amazon. Thoughts?

          2. Dave

            The Best Western Amazon is a nice hotel. It’s right on the border of the Plaka and 2 blocks from Syntagma Square – it’s a little ugly from the outside but perfectly fine. I like trying new places – you always get a subtly different experience staying at a different hotel so I would mix it up.

  22. Small Group Tours of Athens

    We are interested in taking some day trips while staying in Athens in mid-May 2015. Do you have any recommendations for tour companies that offer small group tours? We want to avoid the herds of cruise ship travelers, but also join a small group. Private tours are very expensive so we are looking for high quality, small group offerings. Many thanks for all of your excellent information.

    Tripp Garick

  23. Family Hotel in Athens

    We are a family of 4 visiting from London in early May. (The children are ages 10 and 13.) We would like to spend 3 nights in Athens before heading to Santorini for 5 days. We then fly directly from Santorini to Rome.

    1) Can you recommend a good hotel for kids, preferably with a pool?
    2) If you could name the top 5 things to do in Athens for kids/adults what would they be?
    3) Should we buy the Blue Star ferry tickets in advance on their website?
    4) Should we pack food for the ferry or can we buy breakfast and lunch on board?


    1. Dave

      1) Good family hotel with pool/so-so location: Dorian Inn. Good family hotel no pool/great location: Electra Hotel.
      2) Top 5: Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Historical Sights in the Plaka (Hadrian’s Arch, Hadrian’s Library, Agoras, etc), National Archaeological Museum, Shopping and Eating in the Plaka and Monastiraki neighborhoods.
      3) No need to buy in advance but do buy as soon as you can after you arrive (you can even buy at the airport).
      4) There’s food onboard the ferry and it’s ok but I like to pack at least one full meal. There are sandwich/bakery/cafe shops opposite the Blue Star ferry and to your left as you come out of the metro (can’t miss them) that sell sandwiches, coffee, baked goods and treats. Load up there before you get on the ferry.

  24. One Day in Athens – Where to Stay? What to Do?

    We have one day in Athens. We bought our tickets and planned our island visits a while back. We only planned for 1 night in Athens and now are regretting it somewhat as Athens seems to have plenty to see. We land at Athens International Airport at 7:05am. We have tickets the following morning on a Blue Star ferry to Mykonos. So we have almost a full day to explore Athens.

    1) Where should we stay in Athens? Budget is not an issue just want to be somewhere central that will allow us to put down our bags and head and to see the sights? What hotel do you recommend that is 4 or 5 star?

    2) Given that we’ll have limited time what should we do during our day in Athens?

    Thank you,

    1. Dave

      The Electra Palace is a wonderful hotel with a great location in the Plaka. Walking distance to all the sights that are ringed around the Acropolis.

      2) Go directly to the Acropolis Museum after you get to your hotel. (It will likely be to early to check in but any hotel with store your bags for you.) The museum opens early and is quiet fairly quiet until about 10:30 so this should be your first stop. After an 1 to 2 hours head out the door and up to the Acropolis. On the way you’ll come across Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus – both are worth a look. You’ll need another 2 hours at the Acropolis. Your ticket to the Acropolis will get you free entry to the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and The Temple of Olympian Zeus. All of these are within walking distance of each other and are in or near to the Plaka. In the evening have dinner in the Plaka or in the streets around Monastiraki Square where the tables spill out onto the sidewalks and there’s a great atmosphere.

  25. Fira to Airport/Day in Athens

    hi dave..
    hats off to u ..its such an incredible blog…i have two questions..

    1) We are a family of two adults and one 7yr kid..we are planning to take 8.20 morning Ryan air flight from santorini to athens in june..we will be staying in Fira close to the bus terminal..all the bus schedules that i have seen show that buses to monolithios(airport) starts only after 7am…are there any airport buses leaving fira before that ?

    2) We will be reaching Athens airport at 10 am ..our connection flight back is in evening 5.30…can you suggest any activities possible during this time??
    thank you so much

    1. Dave

      The 7am is the first to the airport that I know of. Taxis are cheap though.
      In Athens head for the Plaka area (either by train to Monastiraki, bus to Syntagma Square). If you get a taxi take it directly to the Acropolis Museum, then walk up to the Acropolis and down through the Plaka. You’ll have to start heading back to the airport by 3pm but you should be able to see a bit in that area.

  26. Hotel near Athens Train Station/ Hotel near Meteora

    Hi Dave,

    First, I just want to say how helpful your website has been. My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon to Greece this May, and all of your tips/advice have been incredibly helpful.

    My question is this: we are arriving early on Sunday, May 10th (12:45am) and plan to get on the train the next morning to Kalabaka (the 8:30am). Is there a safe, clean hotel near the train station that we could go to just to crash for the night before we get on the train? Even if it’s 15 minutes or so by cab. I’d rather have a driver pick us up than take public transportation or be walking too far that late at night, especially after an international flight.

    Also, any recommendations for hotels in Kalabaka (we won’t have a car, so a central location is best)

    Thanks in advance for your help

    1. Dave

      Hotel Oscar is right across the street from the train station. Good, clean, inexpensive. But there is also a metro station at the train station so you could stay at any hotel close to Syntagma Square (and station) and take the metro 4 stops in the morning to the train station. Syntagma Square is where the 24 hour airport bus stops.

      In Kalabaka the best hotel in the area is the Divani Meteora (great views of the Meteora) and for budget hotels there’s the very friendly Hotel Meteora.

  27. Hotel near Zea Marina

    Hi Dave I will be spending 4 days at the end of Feb working in the Marina Zeas area. Could you please suggest accommodation (budget). Is the beach area between mouth and port safe?

    1. Dave

      The Phidias Hotel is very nice, safe, and one block from Zea Marina. There are cheaper hotels in the area (but not so nice) and the single room at the Phidias goes for around $40 which is very good value. (There are larger rooms as well.)

  28. Nafplio – Hotels and Things To Do

    Do you have suggestions for Nafplion? Where to stay and what to do for a family with 2 preteen daughters? We would love to be within a short walk of the town and the beach, if possible. Snorkeling and/or water inflatable rides would be lovely. We have about 4 days to spend there. Thank you!

    1. Dave

      Nafplio is all about walking and exploring. The 2 fortifications are very impressive and have incredible views. This is a marvelous town and one of my favorites in Greece. Be sure to stay in town. There is great swimming at Arvanitia Beach in town (though it’s a small pebble beach). Karathona is 3km outside of town (walk, taxi or bus) and is a long sandy beach.

      Amphitryon Hotel is the best hotel in Nafplio and also has family rooms with sea views.

  29. Annie

    Dave, just wanted to say I am so appreciative for the thorough and practical advice you provided. I feel quite prepared for the trip in June to Athens and Santorini after reading all the information in your blog.


  30. Overnight Ferry from Athens to Santorini

    Hello Dave, Great Website!!

    We are thinking of taking a ferry from Athens to Santorini and then back a few days later, all in May. We are looking for overnight ferries with sleeping cabins. Are these available in May? Where would we best find these schedules?

    Regards, Jim Mair

    1. Dave

      There are no overnight ferries from Athens to Santorini in May. The closest is a evening Blue Star ferry that leaves Piraeus at 18:00 (on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday) and arrives in Santorini at about 1am. There are 2,3, and 4 berth cabins that you can get. From Santorini to Athens there’s a Blue Star ferry that leaves Santorini at 1:25am (on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) and arrives in Piraeus at 7:45am. You can book these online through the Blue Star website.

  31. Athens to Naxos to Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    This is the best site around! Thank you!

    My 18 year old son and I are traveling to Greece in June 2015. So far itinerary is 3 nights Athens(A is for Athens Hotel) 3 nights Naxos(TBA) and 4 nights Santorini(villa Illias). We are taking the ferry to Naxos and then again to Santorini. We will fly back to Athens from Santorini.
    My questions:
    1. Should we buy tickets in Athens for the Naxos to Santorini leg of our ferry trip? Are they available to buy in Naxos? Is it the ferry coming from Pireaus that takes us to Santorini from Naxos or do we have other options?

    2. Our flight from Santorini to Athens arrives by 10:00 a.m. and our international flight to the United States leaves at 1:30. Am I correct to assume that it is the same airport and all should be well with connections?

    Thanks for your advice!

    1. Dave

      1. You can buy the Naxos to Santorini ferry tickets anywhere – in Naxos, in Athens, at the Athens airport. You want the Blue Star ferry from Naxos to Santorini so you can access the open air decks and see the caldera as you approach Santorini. This ferry is large and only rarely sells out and rarer still in June so you can buy your tickets at any time after you arrive and be fine.

      2. Yes, domestic and international flights both use Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos). It has a direct train to downtown Athens and regular bus service so it’s easy to get into Athens with the amount of time you have.

  32. Hotel with Good Location in Athens

    Hi Dave!

    GREAT Blog and resource for Athens & Santorini! Very informative and I glad I came across it.

    What would your recommendations be for hotels with the following criteria:

    Walking distance to markets, shops, restaurants…(right in the middle or just a few blocks away)
    Walking distance to Acropolis and other major Athens sites…(a short walk)
    Reasonably priced with views of the Acropolis (or similar site) from the hotel room and/or restaurant.
    English speaking staff…

    Right now my top choices are Plaka, Divani Palace Acropolis, Electra Palace Hotel…

    We will only be in Athens for a few days, so we would like to be in the best location possible. We would put the location of the hotel above any other amenities and views of the Acropolis. It would be nice to find a hotel that was in a location where it was only minutes to markets, shops, restaurants, and Athens sites.


    1. Dave

      Divani Palace Acropolis is a great location for the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum but is a little removed from the markets, shops, and restaurants – still walking distance for sure, but not right in the thick of things. The Plaka and Electra Palace have great locations.

      A For Athens is another hotel with a great location, views of the Acropolis, and very good value for what you get.

      1. Day Trips from Athens


        Amazing how quickly you replied. Really appreciate your work and blog!

        Thanks for the recommendations, I will take a look at all my options and hopefully make a decision soon! We are planning to do 6 nights in Athens with half the time in the city center and then the other half of the time in Lagonisi.

        Two other questions for you…1) What would you recommend at the best day trip from Athens? An island would be nice, but it doesn’t have to be. Somewhere to go for great sight-seeing, views, markets, culture? 2) During our time in Lagonisi, will we feel secluded from the rest of Athens and be far enough away from the “hustle & bustle” of the city to relax and enjoy the weather?

        Thanks again!

        1. Dave

          The best day trip from Athens is the island of Hydra – no cars on the island so great for walking about. It’s one hour from Athens if you get a fast ferry (catamaran). The slow ferries take 3 hours or more.

          Lagonisi is far from the hustle and bustle of the city and has nice beaches.

  33. Ferry to Santorini in the Evening

    Hi Dave,
    We will reach Athens airport on 28th Jan 2015 around 15:30. Is there any Night Ferry available from Pireus port to Santorini?

    1. Dave

      There is not an evening ferry to Santorini in January. There is however an evening ferry on the 28th to Naxos. It leaves Piraeus at 17:30 and gets to Naxos at 22:45. You’d then get the following morning to explore Naxos (great old town) and could then catch the Blue Star the next day (the 29th) as it goes from Piraeus to Santorini. It leaves Piraeus at 7:25am gets to Naxos at 12:50 and then to Santorini by 15:10. So essentially you’re choosing between spending the night in Athens or spending the night on Naxos (and breaking a long ferry ride into 2 shorter trips). Hope that helps.

  34. Hotel in Piraeus or Athens

    Hi Dave.

    We arrive at the Athens’ airport at 12:30pm and have the rest of the day there. We are catching the Blue Star ferry to Mykonos the next morning (as you recommend).

    For our one night in Athens should we stay in Piraeus so it’s easy to catch the morning ferry or stay in central Athens? What do you recommend?

    Also, what will the weather be like in Athens in early June?

    Tina M.

    1. Dave

      Definitely stay in Athens. You should get to downtown Athens by 2pm which will give you time to see the Acropolis, maybe a quick visit to the Acropolis museum (it closes at 4pm Monday, 10pm Friday, and 8pm every other day), walk around the Plaka, and q evening dinner near Monastiraki. Getting to Piraeus in the morning is easy on the metro and it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference as the train only takes 20 minutes from Monastiraki and drops you right by the Blue Star ferry to Mykonos. There’s nothing much to see in Piraeus so staying there would be a waste of a half-day.

      Athens weather in June is hot and beautiful.

  35. Plaka or Kolonaki

    Hi would you please recommend if staying in the plaka or kolonaki wld be best for first time visitors? Im traveling with my mother and my two children 10 & 12 in late March. Coming to meet my father who lives in Markopoulo for the first time. But may be without car so wanted to be close to attractions. I like vibrant towns . Or any other places you may suggest are better.

    1. Dave

      Definitely the Plaka. The Plaka is close to everything and has a great atmosphere (though busy for sure). Many more places to eat than Kolonaki. Kolonaki is nice but you’ll be walking 10 to 20 minutes to see any major sights. Though there are a few good museums close to Kolonaki but these aren’t high on the list of things to do for most first time visitors.

      If I did stay in Kolonaki it would be at the wonderful St George Lycabettus Hotel. The best views in Athens, a handful of cafes and restaurants just out the door. Perched near the top of a hill so you would be taking a taxi a fair bit (or getting your exercise). But if I wasn’t staying there then I’d be in the Plaka.

  36. Affordable, Safe Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave! Such a fantastic site! Probably one of the best guides to any town/city ive found online.

    We are planning a trip with our 1 year old son in early June. Flying to Athens then we plan to rent a car then immediately drive to delphi and meteora, spending 1 night in each town. We go back to athens for 2 nights before going to santorini for 4 nights. We return to athens stay again for 2 nights before we leave for our flight.

    1. We plan to stay in Imerovigli as we prefer to stay someplace away from the crowd but with easy access to public transportation. We dont mind a non caldera view from the hotel but hope to find a place thats near a place with a view. We are looking at Aelia by Eltheon. Any thoughts on this place?

    2. The arrival time of the ferry from santorini is late at night. We prefer to return to Athens right away. Is taking the train safe at this time with a baby and luggage? Although taxi is always an option, any advice how we can avoid taxis that charge us extra? Are there any hotels that arrange piraeus pick up?

    3. Looking at an affordable, safe place to stay in athens. We prefer to stay somewhere with access to the metro to the ferry and to the airport. looking at attalos. Any other recommendations thats near monasteraki probably?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Dave

      1) Aelia is in a good location – but you’re right, no caldera view. Views look east and you get the sunrise but not the sunset. It’s a 2 minute walk to the bus stop (for Fira and Oia). A 5 minute walk to views of the caldera. It’s got a great pool. And you always get good value when your hotel does not have a caldera view.
      2) Yes, the Athens to Ferry Port train is safe at all times of day – and especially when a ferry arrives as you’ll be part of a large group of people making their way to the metro. Taxis lineup just outside the ferry so they’re very quick and easy to grab. Before I get in a cab I enquire about how much it will cost and whether they’ll be using the meter. Whether this makes a difference I don’t know. But I feel that showing some interest in the cost and that I will be watching the meter might make a ripoff slightly less likely. Email your hotel and ask how much a cab costs from Piraeus to the hotel. If you’re charged much more than they suggest threaten to phone the tourist police – that does usually help.
      3) A For Athens Hotel has the best location for the metro to both the airport and ferry. Literally steps from the Monastiraki Station exit. Attalos is fine too. It’s about a 3 to 5 minute walk up Athinas street from the metro. That street is busy and has lots of foot traffic until late at night. It’s not a pretty street and can feel a little sketchy but I’d describe it as safe.

      1. Hotel Close to Tourist Attractions in Athens

        What hotels would be best for staying near the major tourist attractions of Athens? Traveling with an elderly lady (90) who is able bodied, but wants to walk to most of the sites from the hotel. Wanting to travel March 21 – April 4 this year. Any advise would be appreciated.
        Joyce Forte

  37. Monastiraki Flea Market

    Hi Dave!
    Great and informative blog! I am going to be in Athens for just one day, a sunday. I would like to hit the monastiraki flea market and the new acropolis museum. ( I have seen the Acropolis on a previous trip.) My flight is in at 12:40 pm ATH.

    What is the best and fastest way to get to Herodion hotel? Also, how long does the Monastriaki market go on a sunday?

    Thanks for your help

    1. Dave

      To get from the airport to your hotel the fastest way would be a cab. It will cost €35 through the day. It’s flat rate so there should be no extra fees for tolls or luggage. Both metro (€8) and bus (€5) will get you quickly and cheaply to Syntagma Square but from there you’ll need to walk (about 15 minutes or more since you won’t quite know where you’re going), taxi (about €10), or metro one more stop (after changing trains). So the taxi is clearly easier and faster.

      The market goes on all day into the evening when the restaurants get very busy and there’s an almost festive air to the neighborhood. The Acropolis Museum is open until 8pm (and usually quiet after 4 or 5pm) so you could visit the flea market first then come back to the museum for the last few hours. But … the Monastiraki area is great for a late dinner so not sure what’s more appealing to you.

      1. Pamela

        Thank you for a quick response! I am actually thinking that I might change hotels and stay at A for Athens instead, so I can hit the market first and then wind down to the museum by 5pm and then back to the Monastiraki area for dinner and be in the area for hotel.

        Do you have comment on the difference in the hotels? Or other suggestions?


        1. Dave

          A for Athens is great and you can’t have a better location. It’s steps (and I mean steps) from the metro that goes to both the airport and ferry port. (It’s 10-15 minutes from the airport bus location though so I wouldn’t take the airport bus – stick with the metro.)

  38. 1 Day in Athens/ Airport Transportation

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the wonderful insights to Greece. Im planning to travel to Athen and Santorini in June 2015. As i have a tight schedule plan, just hope you could give some guidance. I have about 6 hours in between from my arrival in Athens (1050Hrs arrival time) to my departure to Santorini (about 1925Hrs departure time). Just wondering if it will give me sufficient to visit the Acropolis and the Monastiraki square before my flight to Santorini. And how should i travel to these places to and fro the airport.

    1. Dave

      Yes. You should be fine for a quick trip into the city. Take the metro to Monastiraki station. After walking through immigration/customs walk up one level to arrivals. Follow the signs to the Athens Metro. It’s about a 3 minute walk. Buy a ticket before going down to the trains. The trip into the city should take about 40 minutes. Get off at Monastiraki station. From there you’re a few minutes from the Plaka and several sights of ancient Athens. The Acropolis is a 20 minute walk from that area (mostly going up). Trains run about every 30 minutes. I’d get back to Monastiraki station by 5pm to catch the train back. Some trains will go to Plakentias station some all the way to the airport. If you take a Plakentias train that’s fine but you’ll need to get off at the last stop and then wait for the next train coming that goes to the airport (so I just wait for the one going directly to the airport as it makes no difference).

      1. Ath

        Thanks for the additional inputs on the trains. Crossing my fingers that I don’t get lost or missed my flight. Great work you have here!

  39. Budget Hotel in Athens with Pool

    I am planning a trip to Athens for my husband and 11 year old daughter for June 2015. I desperately want to find a hotel with a pool as we’ll be in Athens for a week but won’t be able to get to the islands. But the only hotels with a pool are quite expensive. Can you recommend a hotel with a pool that is in the budget to mid-range category? Thanks.


    1. Dave

      The Dorian Inn is an inexpensive hotel with a great rooftop pool. It also has triples and family rooms. The location is in a somewhat gritty neighborhood but very close to the a metro station and 10 minute walk to Monastiraki (loaded with outdoor restaurants).

  40. Staying in Syntagma

    Hi Dave!
    We are travelling to Athens for 3 nites and staying in a hotel on Syntagma Square then on to Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. From Crete we travel back to Athens then the following day leave for the airport in the morning to travel home. What do you think about staying at a hotel on Syntagma for the last nite in Athens? We will will have the afternoon and evening in Athens. Can you suggest afternoon sightseeing and restaurant in that area?

    1. Dave

      Syntagma is a great area to stay. It’s handy for getting to and from the airport by metro or bus. The Acropolis should be at the top of your list of things-to-do. Other suggestions would be walking around the Plaka and Monastiraki neighborhoods, seeing the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Athens Central Market, hitting the cafes of nearby Kolonaki and walking up Lykavittos Hill (or taking the funicular). Lots to do within walking distance of Syntagma Square.

  41. Florence to Santorini for a Weekend

    Hello Dave!
    Your blog is unbelievably helpful. I need your help in attempting to get from Florence to Athens to Santorini. We are two college students on a strict budget traveling Thursday afternoon until Sunday night the second weekend of October. If you could at all suggest the order in which we should plan out trip that would make it less confusing/costly, please let me know.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Dave

      Unless you can find a direct flight from Rome or Milan to Santorini (try Meridiana airlines) I can’t see how you’d make this work. If you flew to Athens on Thursday, the earliest ferry you could get to Santorini would be the Blue Star on Friday morning which would get you to Santorini Friday afternoon. To get your flight back to Italy you’d need to take the Saturday ferry back to Athens. Or if you’re flight were late enough the 7am Blue Star on Sunday morning getting you to Piraeus at 3pm – and you’d still have to get to the airport. So you’d have at most 2 nights on Santorini and more likely just one night. That’s a lot of traveling for such little time there.

        1. Dave

          Absolutely. That will give you half of Friday, all of Saturday and Sunday, and returning to Athens on Monday. Not a long trip but enough to make it worthwhile.

          1. Monika Gierula

            Where in Santorini would you recommend staying? We are flying from Milan to Athens Friday morning, leaving for Santorini Saturday morning, returning to Athens Tuesday afternoon & flying back to Milan Wednesday morning. We need somewhere to stay that doesn’t require much transportation, as we have no car. We prefer somewhere with an enjoyable nightlife but also close to the beach. Hostels with dorm room style housing are not a problem.

  42. 1 Night in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    After going through your site thoroughly we (My Husband and I) are planning to take Blue Star from Santorini to Athens in October. Based on that we will be reaching Piraeus port at around 23:25 , but due to exigency we have to take our flight from Athens (Bergamo) to Milan the next day early in the morning at 9:00 am.
    Please suggest if we can roam around in Athens in the night either in Piraeus /Bergamo or anywhere which is close to the airport
    How possibly can we spend one night in Athens. We don’t wish to ruin our night by sleeping. So please kindly suggest if you have a better option.

    Thank you way in advance

    1. Dave

      Go to the Plaka and Monastiraki areas of Athens and walk around. They’ll be busy until early morning, lots of restaurants, cafes, and clubs, and very safe. The metro from Piraeus goes straight to Monastiraki. When you’re ready to go to the airport take the metro or bus X95 from Syntagma Square.

  43. Athens in January

    Hi Dave,

    So glad I found your blog – such good info! We are going to Athens in early January (and I know that’s prob not the best time of the year but it’s the only time we had available). Any tips for going there during that time of the year? Will the Blue Star be running for us to take a trip into Santorini or is it cancelled often in Jan? Thanks so much!

    1. Dave

      Athens is great in January – as long as you’re ready for coldish weather. The tourist attractions are nearly empty, though the parthenon will always have some visitors. Athens is loaded with great places to eat, drink, and party and no tourist crowds to deal with. The Blue Star runs all year long and cancellations are few, even in January. Of course, Santorini will be very quiet in January.

  44. Fly or Ferry from Athens to Islands?

    If I’m visiting Athens, Santorini, and Mykenos for my honeymoon for 10 nights, in which order should I visit the islands and which mode of transportation (air or ferry) do you recommend for each? We fly into Athens. Thanks, Dave! Your sight is amazing and so helpful!

    1. Dave

      Traveling into and out of Santorini by ferry is special – great views of the cliffs and caldera. But to and from Mykonos doesn’t matter much. Flying is faster … but it’s not very far from Mykonos to Athens so you’re not saving much by flying. I’d stick with ferries the whole way. The large ferries (e.g. Blue Star) are more enjoyable than the high speed ferries which don’t have open decks to walk about so I’d also recommend them. Cheers.

  45. Islands near Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Can you please suggest a very near Island to Athens, we would like to have a short sightseeing nearby Athens … just like Santorini, but Santorini is 8 hours via Ferry from Athens.

    Please recommend.

    Thank you,


    1. Dave

      Both Aegina and Hydra are wonderful islands not far from Athens. Aegina is 40 minutes to an hour by ferry from Athens. Hydra is 1.5 to 2 hours. Hydra is probably worth the extra effort. Ferries leave regularly from Piraeus and there’s no need to pre-book tickets.

  46. Airport to Athens to Santorini

    Hello. My husband and I are going to Athens Sept. 10 for just four days before going somewhere else. What is the best/cost effective way to get from airport to Athens? We’d like to see Santorini and booked Kima Villa for one night. It was ranked well on trip advisor; is it okay? Given our limited time, we planned to ferry over to Santorini on Friday morning, and fly back to Athens Saturday night. We mostly just want to hike and see the views. Would it be better to just fly both ways to save time during the 2-day visit or just make it a day trip with flights both ways? Also, is there a shuttle from the ferry port to Oia directly, without having to change in Fira? And, is there a shuttle from Oia back to the airport? Thank you for your help. We’ve travelled a lot, but never this part of the world.

    1. Dave

      Both the metro and the X95 bus are cheap and easy ways to get from the airport to downtown Athens. The bus is better if you have lots of luggage or are arriving in the middle of the night (the metro stops between 11:30pm and 5:30am). The metro is better during rush hour as the bus can be a slow trip through heavy traffic. The bus is slightly cheaper. If you can get the early flight to Santorini and late flight back (not sure that’s still possible booking so late) then flying would be better. From Port to Fira by bus costs €2.2. Fira to Oia: €1.6. Taxi from port to Oia is €25-30. But there is nothing direct (nor to the airport).

  47. Hotel Close to the Acropolis

    We would like to stay close to the Acropolis, preferably an area that has a view of the acropolis. What area of Athens should we be searching in? Thanks.

    1. Dave

      Both the Plaka and Monastiraki neighborhoods are right below the Acropolis and you can see the Parthenon whenever you look up (as long as there’s not a building in the way). They’re both very touristy (Monastiraki less so) but fun to explore. On the opposite side of the Acropolis (which sits on a large hill) are the neighborhoods of Koukaki and Makrigianni – which have a lively feel, lots of cafes and restaurants like the Plaka, but populated with plenty of locals. It’s an easy walk to the Plaka area and the historic sites found there. All 4 neighborhoods are great for being close to the Acropolis.

  48. When to Leave for Piraeus

    I am taking a 7:25 departure from Piraeus. I plan to take the metro from Athens to Piraeus. What time should I leave Syntagma in Athens to arrive in good time for the ferry?

    1. Dave

      It takes 30 minutes by metro to get from Syntagma to Piraeus. If you’re going to the Cyclades (Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, etc) those ferries are a 5 minute walk from the metro. Other destinations are a longer walk – some quite far. If you’ve already bought your ticket that’s easiest, buying in Piraeus can take 5 to 15 minutes. So, leaving Syntagma by 6am should be fine for anything destination and buying your ticket. A little later if it’s the Cyclades and you’ve bought your ticket already.


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