The Best Hotels in Athens

Updated: October 21, 2016

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Athens Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

  • The best neighborhoods in Athens for tourists are the Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma, and Koukaki – all are walking distance to the Acropolis and other top historical sights.
  • Athens is a great city. You might have heard it’s ugly (and some areas are) but there’s lots to see within the walkable central area. It has the Acropolis and the two best museums in Greece. The streets are filled with great food and lively restaurants. Athens can easily fill 2 full days of quality sightseeing. Recommended stay: 1 to 3 full days.
  • Athens is packed with tourists from May to October. Book hotels early for the best deals.
  • The best luxury hotel in Athens is the Grande Bretagne on Syntagma Square. (10 minute walk to the Acropolis.)
  • The best boutique hotel in Athens is the Electra Palace Hotel in the Plaka. (5 minute walk to the Acropolis.)
  • The best restaurant in Athens is Psaras (Fisherman’s Taverna) – magical location on the steps of the Plaka with fantastic traditional Greek dishes.
  • The best bar in central Athens is Brettos in the Plaka. Great friendly vibe.
  • Most ferries to Santorini, Mykonos, and the Greek Islands leave between 7am and 8am from the Piraeus ferry port. If you’re catching one of these ferries then stay close to the Monastiraki metro station (which has quick direct trains to the ferry port for just 1.40€). If you take a taxi it doesn’t matter where you stay.
  • Taxi from the airport to downtown hotels costs 38€. From downtown hotels to the ferry port costs about 15€.
  • Good hotels close to Monastiraki Station (for easy access to the train to the ferry port): A for AthensPlaka Hotel360 DegreesAdrian Hotel
  • Good budget hotels in Athens: Phaedra Hotel (Plaka) • A for Athens (Monastiraki) • Athens Center Square (Monastiraki) • Myrto Hotel (Syntagma/Plaka)
  • Don’t stay in Omonia Square, near the train station, or in Piraeus. They’re not unsafe but gritty, ugly, and unnecessary.
  • Best Tours in Athens: Ancient Athens Private Walking Tour (4 hours) • Hidden Athens – Plaka and Athens Hills (4 hours) • Half-Day Athens Food Tour (4 hours) • Greek Cooking Lesson & Dinner (3 hours) • Day Trip to Delphi (10 hours)

The Best Hotels in Athens

1. Hotel Grande Bretagne – Syntagma Square
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.
The best luxury hotel in Athens: The Grande Bretagne near the Acropolis and Plaka

2. King George – Syntagma Square
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.
The best hotel views of the Acropolis: King George Hotel in Syntagma.

3. Electra Palace Hotel – The Plaka
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.
The best hotel in the Plaka: Electra Palace Hotel

4. Royal Olympic Hotel – near The Plaka
Hotel Phone: +30 210-9288400
A great hotel with a wonderful central location – cross one busy street and you’re in the heart of the Plaka. Acropolis and Acropolis Museum are a short walk away. The rooftop restaurant has incredible views of the sights. Suites are huge and luxurious.
The best hotel near the Plaka: Athens Royal Olympic

5. Hilton Athens – near Kolonaki
Hotel phone: +30 210-7281000
Good sized rooms, the best swimming pool in Athens, and exemplary service make the Hilton 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.
The best hotel swimming pool in Athens: Hilton Athens.

6. InterContinental Athenaeum – Koukaki
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.
The best business hotel in Athens: Athens Intercontinental.

7. Westin Athens Astir Palace Beach Resort – The Coast
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).
The best beach resort near Athens.

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 Neighborhood

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.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

A view of the Plaka neighborhood from the Acropolis.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

Brettos Wine Bar in the heart of the Plaka. Many places are very touristy but this cool little bar gets plenty of locals too.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

Historical sites like the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and the Stoa are sprinkled around the Plaka neighborhood.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

There are many quaint and friendly restaurants throughout the Plaka. Most are pretty good but for better quality food and prices try to leave the main thoroughfares and find a restaurant down a quieter street or alley.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

The Plaka has lots of tourist shopping.

The Best Hotels in the Plaka

Monastiraki Neighborhood

Neighboring the Plaka and having a similar feel, Monastiraki is also a great area to stay with many places to eat and shop. The neighborhood is a little less touristy and has more antique, arts, crafts, and clothing shops than the Plaka. It’s also home to a large Flea Market every Sunday morning. The area is served by the Monastiraki station (lines 1 and 3). Line 1 is a direct route to both Piraeus and the Athens airport making Monastiraki a good choice if you have an early ferry or plane to catch.

Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

Monastiraki Square is a great area to stay in if you need to catch an early ferry or flight. Monastiraki metro station (the building on the right) has direct trains to both the ferry port of Piraeus and Athens International Airport.

Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

Monastiraki is filled with great restaurants that serve traditional Greek food. The area is a little less touristy than the Plaka and the restaurants attract more locals.

Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

A street in Monastiraki with the Acropolis perched overhead.

The Best Hotels in Monastiraki

Koukaki Neighborhood

After the Plaka and Monastiraki, this is my favorite area of Athens to stay. Like the Plaka and Monastiraki the area sits at the base of the Acropolis and looks up at the Parthenon. It’s an easy walk from here to the Plaka and Syntagma but the area has a more local feel and not so touristy. There are many local restaurants and cafes on the streets and squares around the neighborhood. The Koukaki (and Makrigianni) area is served by the Akropoli and Sygrou-Fix stations on metro line 2.

The Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

Looking down from the Acropolis on the Koukaki neighborhood and the Acropolis Museum (large building with black windows).

The Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

There’s a large farmers market in Koukaki every Sunday.

The Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

There are lots of good local restaurants in Koukaki where you won’t see another tourist.

The Best Hotels in the Koukaki

Syntagma Neighborhood

The business and tourist hub of Athens. In Syntagma you’ll find 5 star hotels, restaurants, shopping, banks, airline offices, and the Greek Parliament buildings. Served by Syntagma metro 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.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

Syntagma is a hub for getting around Athens. You can catch the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus here as well as the bus to the airport.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

Syntagma Square at night with the Greek Parliament buildings in the background.

The Changing of the Guards at the Greek Parliament buildings on Syntagma Square.

The Changing of the Guards at the Greek Parliament buildings on Syntagma Square.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

The Syntagma metro station is in the middle of Syntagma Square and has direct trains to the Athens International Airport. To get to the ferry port you need to change trains in Monastiraki.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

Athens’ best hotel, the Grande Bretagne, overlooks Syntagma Square.

The Best Hotels in Syntagma

Kolonaki Neighborhood

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.

Kolonaki neighborhood in Athens.

Kolonaki is northwest of Syntagma and a 15 minute walk from the Plaka. Here you’ll find small boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and stairways (Kolonaki is on the side of a hill and depending on where you’re going can require lots of steps).

The Best Hotels in Kolonaki

Piraeus Ferry Port

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 an option (but I would still recommend staying in Athens). 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.

Recommended Hotels in Piraeus

photo credits

What Hotels in Athens 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 border 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)

See Also

252 Questions and Comments

  1. Public Holidays in Athens – What's Open?

    Hi Dave – great website and info thank you – we are booking Electra Palace on your recommendation for the weekend of 25/27 February 2017 – the Monday is a public holiday in Greece so do you know if everything wlll be open as usual or do some of the attractions close?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      During a public holiday public transportation will be running though likely at a reduced schedule. Tourist shops, restaurants, and cafes will be open. Banks closed. Most (government-run) historical sites are closed on major holidays. The big holidays are January 1, March 25, April 12, May 1, December 25 and 26. So, you’ll be fine for your February visit.

  2. Hotel near Athens Airport

    Dave – your site has brought me so many great suggestions and I feel so confident about my trip now! I do have a one inquiry though…on my return, we spend one night in Athens…arriving from Santorini in the late evening and heading home from Athens very early the following morning. We are looking for a decent but not overly pricey hotel for just one night that is near the airport. Do you have a suggestion?

    Thank you!
    Kirsten Dahlhauser

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Athens Airport Sofitel is very nice (good pool too) and is just steps from the airport. It’s a 4 star hotel but rates are not that expensive. It’s definitely the best choice near the airport.

  3. Athens and Santorini in November

    Hello. My husband and I are planning a trip to Athens and Santorini in November, arriving on the 20yh and leaving on the 26th. We will be staying for 2.5 days in Athens first then take the ferry to Santorini to spend another 2.5 days there before flying out from Santorini to Athens then Athens going back home on the same day.

    My questions are:
    1. Is November still a good time to visit Greece?
    2. We are having difficulty booking a hotel in Oia maybe either because a lot of the hotels are closed this season or are just really fully booked. We found though Asteras Villas in Fira and it looks promising. Is this a good choice? We would like a nice hotel with a good view and is quite accessible to restaurants where we could spend my birthday comfortably. We checked out your top hotel suggestions in Oia and all have no availability on our travel dates. Would you have other suggestions?

    Thank you.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Athens and Santorini can be great in November as long as you’re not expecting sunny days at the beach. Weather can be anything from cool to warmish. Skies will most likely be clear but cloudy and overcast is definitely a possibility.

      For Santorini hotels, Asteras is a fine choice. Nice views and great location. If Oia is your preferred location good hotels there that appear to have availability in late November included Delfini Villas, Fanari Villas, and Armeni Luxury Villas.

  4. New Year's Party in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Thumbs up for this wonderful website full of extremely useful info!

    I’m planning to go to Athens to celebrate New Year’s there along with by 2 friends (we’re 3 girls). The plan is to stay at Electra’s, but we still don’t know where to spend New Year’s Eve. I tried searching for a class A restaurant/bar in Athens, that would be perfect for such an eve, but I still can’t find anything. Any tips? What would you recommend for such a night? thanks a lot for your help:)


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      For something fun, slightly formal, and festive I’d go with the party at the Grande Bretagne (reservations a must). For something more easy-going (and last minute) I’d wander to the bars and cafes along Adrianou street – very lively and fun. Kuzina is the best restaurant on that strip and has a great rooftop area with wonderful views of the Acropolis (they have heaters if it’s cold out).

  5. Athens to Naxos

    Hi Dave, my husband, daughter and I will be arriving in Athens April 12, 2017 at around 1215 pm and will be travelling to other countries in Europe after Greece. I am planning to leave our 2 luggages in the airport upon arrival so we can go to Naxos (2 days) via plane or ferry then ferry to Santorini (3 days) then fly back to Athens for 4 days until we leave for Vienna. What time will the ferry be to Naxos on April 12 (not available on the website)?
    Will we have enough time to leave our luggages in the airport then go to the port to catch the ferry on the same day? or I am also thinking of taking the flight from Athens to Naxos, if available? Or should we stay overnight in Athens and take the ferry to Naxos the following day April 13 which will limit our time in Naxos (overnight only) so not too keen on this.

    When will the tickets for the ferries and planes be available on the website?

    Thank you for your help

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      In mid-April there probably won’t be a later ferry in the day going from Athens to Naxos. The only ferry will be the early morning Blue Star that leaves around 7 or 7:30am. So it’s either fly directly to Naxos from Athens or wait for the next morning’s ferry to Athens. (Or better yet, fly Athens to Santorini, as this is the longest leg, and you’ll save the most time by flying.)

  6. Luxury Hotels in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    I really have to Appreciate all the details that you have given for all the Places, They are the best for those cities/islands :).

    I would love to have your Suggestions regarding my Greece trip that i’ve planned in August end with my wife, Pls let me know if the Hotel/Resort choice is right in Mykonos and Santorini.

    In Athens we will be staying for 2 nights in Grande Bretagne.

    In Mykonos we will be staying for 4 nights in Bill and Coo Suites and Lounge.

    In Santorini we will be staying for 3 nights in Cavo Tagoo.

    From Mykonos to Santorini we are going by Ferry, Athens to Mykonos and Santorini. Back to Athens we are taking Flight.

    Would love to hear back from you.

    Puneet Dalmia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      All those hotels are wonderful. Bill and Coo in Mykonos is a little out of the way so plan on taking a few taxis while there. I just stayed at the Grande Bretagne a few weeks back and it still has a ton a charm that makes it the best hotel in Athens. Cato Tagoo in Santorini is brand new so everything will be new and shiny.

  7. Fly or Ferry from Athens to Santorini

    Hello Dave,

    First, I just want to say Thank you. Your website is first class! It has all the information and I have planned a trip to Athens and Santorini in October ‘16 with my wife and my 2 year old baby. I am planning 3 days in Athens and 4 days at Santorini. I’ve got all details on hotel details, thanks to your blog.

    Due to this short trip, I am not sure if I should take the ferry or flight to Santorini. Also I’ve read about its slow process and waiting times at Santorini airport, do you have any info on this? Specially as I am travelling with a baby.

    Thanks once again and keep blogging.

    Mathew Francis

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I much prefer taking the ferry. Yes it does take longer than flying but the ferries leave early and the fast ferry (the Helenic Seaways) gets you to Santorini in about 5 hours. It’s far more relaxing than dealing with airport security.

  8. Romantic Restaurant with View of Acropolis

    Hi Dave!

    Your website has helped me plan what I think will be an incredible honeymoon in Greece. Question for you. Our last night will be our only one in Athens – we’ll be coming from Paros, arriving via ferry around 3PM. We have a 10AM flight the next day, so really one evening. I’d love to see the Acropolis and have a nice view of the sunset that evening, potentially over dinner. We’re staying at the Intercontinental – do you have any recommendations for a restaurant or location to do this?

    Thank you!

    Chris Saxon

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Strofi has wonderful views of the Parthenon and great food. It’s on the quieter, less touristy side of the Acropolis (close to the Acropolis Museum if you wanted to squeeze that in) and about a 20 minute walk from the Intercontinental. Reservations recommended.

  9. Where To Go (Off the Beaten Track)

    Hello Dave!

    What a fantastic website you have! I have been researching Greece for over two weeks now and have posted on forums etc for advise but have come up with nothing to help me. (lots of insults however) There is a lot of valuable info here so thank you!
    Our plan is to go to Greece in July has gone from exciting to complicated. Where do you go? So much to choose from. Do you do the Cyclades or the off the beaten track? What an incredible country!

    I have two questions for you:

    1) Accommodation in Athens: I am not usually a hotel type of person, we are more adventurous and try to stay in more alternative, quirky places. We use AirBnB a lot and love the lovely apartments and interacting with the owners, reading their guide books, cooking in their kitchen on occasion. (love shopping at local markets) Its more personal and rewarding but I feel Athens might be different (not enough time, rushing, ferries to catch or tours to do) and I will be travelling with my 8 year old son and probably without an internet connection to start with so maybe a hotel will be more practical as they can help, call us taxi’s to the port and so on. Do you know of any quirky, hip, different hotels or boutique guesthouses that aren’t too expensive?

    2) We have no idea where to go and have learned of late that for two weeks its best to choose two islands close together and leave it at that, that anything else is impossible. How does one even begin to choose between say the Cyclades and the Sporades? We do prefer the less crowded and touristy areas (but impossible to find in July I know) and like culture, food, people, pretty towns, ports and beaches over ruins and history although we will spend a day or two visiting some of them as its sacrilege not to. We love nature and authentic experiences although Santorini looks like a must and understandably so. These are the ideas we had:

    1) Peloponnese and perhaps Kythera (do some exploring in this area, perhaps visit Kalmata)
    2) Hydra and Spetses
    3) Sifnos and Santorini
    4) Thessaloniki and Skopelos (5 days in Thessaloniki and a week in Skopelos)

    We have two weeks for the above and my son and I will have an extra 5 days on our own before joining my husband on the 11 th of July which is when the two weeks starts so we could do say Santorini on our own from Athens? Which Itinerary makes the most sense from a practical point of view? Connections, ferries, for us etc plus being worth seeing or do you have any other ideas or must sees/do’s?

    Two adults plus one boy age 8 – well traveled, love adventure. Renting a car is an option but not necessary unless we do mainland over islands.

    Any advise or suggestions would be hugely appreciated!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, July is high season – it usually gets into full gear after the 20th. Accommodation prices also go up accordingly. Still, it is ultimately a buyer’s market and the fixed government rates are usually only adhered to when the demand is close to capacity. That means that if you decide on an itinerary it’s probably wise to slot in some bookings to be on the safe side. Let’s take your own suggestions one by one.

      1) Peloponnese and perhaps Kythera (do some exploring in this area, perhaps visit Kalamata)

      You can tour the Peloponnese in a hire car making a clockwise or anticlockwise circle and easily fill up your two weeks. Places to visit would be the Argolis peninsula with the archaeological sites of Epidaurus and Mycenae and a stay at either cosmopolitan Nafplio (hotel bookings essential) or beachside Tolo. Move south along the coast to take in the third (eastern leg of the Peloponnese) where a visit to mystical Monemvasia would be on everyone’s agenda. You can ferry your car to Kythira from Neapoli for a 2-3 day visit. Known as ‘little Australia’ for its many Greek migrants who went there, Kythira has spirit of place and it grows on you slowly. You might find that you don’t want to leave when it’s time to head back to the mainland. You can ferry it to Gythio – thus saving you some driving – and then you are well placed to tour the austere (for some), but beautiful Mani peninsula. Kalamata is a busy southern Greek town. Is it worth it? Don’t linger … Go to Koroni, Finikounda, and Methoni over on the first (westernmost) leg and linger there. If time allows, take the long road back to Athens via Olympia and Patra, or head back on the fast highway that runs from Kalamata to Athens.

      2) Hydra and Spetses

      Both are popular Greek and international holiday spots. You won’t need a car on either – as there aren’t any, at least not for tourists and private motorists. Of the two, Spetses is for beaches (which you can get to on hired motor scooters) and you can get around town on hired horse and buggies. Hydra is for haute cuisine, fashion, and hobnobbing with yachties. Only one decent beach to speak of and you have to walk a far way to get there. Nice, but not as nice as your next two suggestions …

      3) Sifnos and Santorini

      Not the usual combination – Santorini commonly gets paired with Mykonos, or either Naxos, Paros, or Crete – but a doable one. Both islands share the same Cycladic culture, but Santorini is primus inter pares. It’s flashy, spectacular, busy, international, popular, and generally pricey. Sifnos is prim, proper, pretty ,and not logically connected to Santorini from the point of view of transport. In summer you usually have a couple of fast catamarans per day and the odd conventional ferry. Sifnos is the archetypical chill-out Cycladic island.

      4) Thessaloniki and Skopelos (5 days in Thessaloniki and a week in Skopelos)

      An unusual thought here unless you like big, busy, and hot cities. Most Salonicans choose to leave their city in Summer as it can get quite stuffy. That said, it’s a culturally and gastronomically superb city probably better enjoyed in cooler times, but it’s worth including as an antidote to the ever-frenetic Athens. Hellenic Seaways conveniently run a fast catamaran from Thessaloniki to the Sporades so you can quite easily put this package together. Consider doing 2-3 days in Thessaloniki then split your time across the three main Sporades islands – Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonnisos. All three islands are well inter-connected. The fourth Sporades island of Skyros is only linked by a once a week ferry.

      The other possibilities are truly endless, but the general trend is for travellers to combine mainland and islands. Travellers generally choose islands based on their groupings: Ionian, Cyclades, Sporades, Argo-Saronics, Dodecanese, and NE-Aegean and it’s wise not to try and mix-and match too broadly. You could do a week covering the northeastern Peloponnese then combine that with either a couple of Cycladic islands or even Spetses Hydra, or go for option 1 or 4 in their entirety.

      As for Athens, and whether to hotel or AirBnb. I would probably spend 3 nights in Athens (two full days are perfect for sightseeing) and stay in a central and efficient hotel. AirBnb is good for longer stays and that’s not needed for Athens (particularly in the July heat).

  10. Hotels in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini

    Hi Dave! Thanks for creating such a great site – we’ve been using it to plan our entire Greece Itinerary – my boyfriend and I will be traveling there in May. We’re on a budget but are willing to spend a little more for a bit more for a nicer place. We’re having a bit of trouble finding a nice, safe hotel in Athens for the weekend in May. Lots of the nicer hotels are booked or are very expensive given peak travel season and the weekend. We’re deciding between:

    Hotels in Athens
    Athens Ledra Hotel
    Intercontinental Athenaeum
    Divani Palace Acropolis
    Theoxenia Palace Hotel

    What are your thoughts on these?

    Also, can you advice us on Santorini and Mykonos – for the islands, we want to spend a little more on a luxury hotel:

    Hotels in Mykonos – we’d like to be in Mykonos town.
    Hotel Belvedere (we’re getting a good rate, but a little out of our budget – is it worth it?)
    Apanema Resort
    Semeli Hotel
    Tharroe of Mykonos Hotel

    Hotels in Santorini – we’d ideally like to be in Fira w/ Caldera view.
    Mill House Suites (pretty good rate, definitely out of our budget, is it worth it?)
    Aressana Hotel
    Cavo Bianco
    Tamarix Del Mar

    Anything we’re overlooking?

    Also, we might be willing to spend more on the Santorini hotel and save on Mykonos — we expect to be in our hotel more in Santorini (after doing some research). If that was the case, what would you do?

    Thanks in advance for your help 🙂


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      In Athens, go with the Divani Palace (great location) or the Intercontinental (a little more of a walk but very nice). The Theoxenia Palace is a long way from central Athens so avoid that unless you have no interest in seeing the sights. In Mykonos, the Belvedere is the best choice but Semeli very good as well. Both have great locations for Mykonos Town. Apanema is not as central but still walkable to town. Tharroe is a similar distance from town but not as easy a walk (but closer to good beaches). In Santorini, Aressana is the nicest of those hotels and a super-central location (but no direct caldera views). Mill House has great views but a 10 to 15 minute (beautiful) walk to Fira’s shops and restaurants. Cavo Bianco and Tamarix Del Mar are both nice hotels but located in the beach town of Kamari – a 15 minute drive from the caldera.

  11. Good Destinations on Mainland Greece

    Hi Dave – I am planning to travel to Greece for two weeks at the end of August / beginning of September. The first week is already planned for Santorini and Mykonos. I’m more interested in your opinion on a couple options for the second week. Currently thinking on flying back to Athens on Sunday, renting a car at the airport and then go on a road trip to the Peloponnesian peninsula, returning to Athens on Friday (to spend 2.5 days in Athens). Couple questions for you:

    1) With that time frame – 5 nights – what would the highlights of the drive be? Where would you stay? Other tips/advice?

    2) Any recommendations or advice for renting a car at the Athens airport? Any pain points to be aware of? On the way back, is there another location that we could drop off the car, other than going all the way back to the airport to drop off? As mentioned, we will be staying in Athens at the end.

    3) As we are still looking at options for the post Santorini/Mykonos leg, do you have any recommendations of another 5 or so day itinerary prior to returning to Athens? Whether on the mainland or another island or two?

    Thanks so much, and your blog is such a wealth of helpful, practical knowledge for everyone.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Assuming that you want to do the Peloponnese in order to catch the main archaeological sights, then there’s a fairly logical route to follow and it can all be done (just) in your five allocated days. An anticlockwise route is recommended starting with your first day’s drive to the delightful (and popular with Greeks) town of Nafplio. It’s a 165km drive if you go straight there, but if you take in the wondrous amphitheatre of Epidaurus on the way it will be 198km. That makes for a great busy day’s touring and sightseeing. Be sure to book a hotel in Nafplio in good time as even the end of August and beginning of September can be a busy time for Nafplio.

      Next day you may care to take a stroll around Nafplio – famous for its role as the capital of the fledgling Greek State after the war of Independence – take in the panoramic views from the Bourtzi or fortress that dominates the town. After lunch, head on out and visit the sites of Mycenae and Tiryns which are located 24kms north of Nafplio. Mycenae in particular is particularly popular and quite a striking archaeological site. Now the Peoloponnese is pretty large so you may care to return to Nafplio for your second night rather than head-on southwards. If you are game, you could head-on southwards and down the coast for an overnighter on the east coast at the little town of Leonidio. That will take you about an hour and half driving and will make a convenient overnight break for the next suggested loop.

      South of here are two choices: making a loop around the third finger of the Peloponnese while visiting the pretty islet fortress of Monemvasia – it would be a very pleasant night’s stop – or you could attempt to get a taste of the Peloponnese’s ‘Scotland’ and drive across to the the remote Mani Peninsula (the middle finger) with a stop in perhaps Oitylo, with the magical Diros caves to be visited a little further south.

      With only two nights left in your plan you may face an dilemma. Do you head up and westward to take in Olympia which is inconveniently located in the north-west sector of the Peloponnese (almost 200 kms from Oitylo), or opt for a fishing village by the sea experience at the foot of the third leg. Choose from Koroni, Finikounda ar Methoni. It’s still a fair way back to Athens from here (285 kms), but a fast highway run from Kalamata and you’d make good time. If you choose to go to Olympia, you be spending a lot of time on the road driving.

      It’s a good idea to pick up your car at the airport as picking it from downtown Athens means you have to negotiate Athen’s characteristically chaotic streets. OK if you’ve done it before; not so OK if you are a newbie. Try Argus Car Hire for good rates. It will cost you a LOT more if you attempt to drop it off at any other place other than were you picked it up from. You can easily jump on the airport train to get back to Athens.

      Your last questions begs indulgence! If you’ve been on Santorini Mykonos there is every likelihood you will want more of the island experience. Stick to islands in the same group (the Cyclades) and consider the pairs of Paros and Naxos, or if you like something with more of a traveller twist, consider Sikinos and Folegandros.

      For the mainland, if you want the ultimate road trip, visit the hanging monasteries of Meteora in Thessaly then do go visit Greece’s (almost) hidden gem destination the Zagoria villages of Epirus. September will be a great time to visit them. They are discreet, slate-roofed villages were you can dine on hearty wild boar, scrumptious cheese pies and wash it down with the local firewater called tsipouro. If you feel like walking all that off, then hike along the bottom of one of Europe’s greatest canyons – the Vikos Gorge. It’s a comfortable day’s drive back to Athens from the main centre of the Zagoria villages, Monodendri. Food for thought.

  12. Greece in September 2016 from Singapore

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for this wonderful and helpful website. I am travelling to Greece in September 2016 with my husband. After my research I have selected the following hotels for my stay. Let me know your suggestions on the same.

    Athens: 2 nights in Hotel Areos
    Firostefani: 2 nights in Smaro Studios
    Akrotiri: 2 nights in either Blu rooms or Fishermans House
    Mykonos: 2 nights in Lithos by Spyros and Flora

    Also, I have split my Santorini stay into two so I can experience both the areas. Do you think this looks fine?

    Do let me know if you have better recommendation on hotels in similar budget range.

    Thank you!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Areos is a good budget hotel and super close to the National Archaeological Museum (the best museum in Greece). Lots of restaurants nearby but not the most beautiful area. The Plaka and Acropolis are a 20 minute walk.

      Smaro Studios are great for the price with a good central location. I’d much rather stay here for all 4 days than split my time with Akrotiri (though both hotels you’ve found there are nice).

      In Mykonos, Lithos by Spyros is a great hotel in a quiet area – short walk to a nice (but not fantastic beach). Mykonos Town is a 12 to 15 minute bus ride away. Great choice if you’re looking for something relaxing, not so great if you want nightlife and lots of choice in restaurants.

  13. NJV or Electra Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave,
    Great site. Ill be traveling to Athens in June. I usually stay at Athens Lycabettus Hotel which is now closed. I will be in Athens for 3 nights before we go off to Kefalonia. Im torn between the NJV Hotel and the Electra hotel on Ermou. We love to walk around while in Athens and visit cafes and restaurants. Which one of the two would you recommend over the other and why? Also price is similar on both. Thanks again, John

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Both nice 4 star hotels. Not a huge difference – both have great central locations (they’re about 3 minutes from each other) near Syntagma Square. Electra is on a pedestrian-only street and a little closer to the Plaka. NJV is perhaps ever so slightly more luxurious.

  14. Where To Meet in Athens Airport?

    Hi Dave,

    Love your website! I’ve been searching for an Athens airport terminal map online without much luck. We are flying to Athens in June via Air Canada, and need to meet up with one passenger arriving via United Airlines. Any idea how close these two terminals are to each other?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It is all one terminal and not really that big. Certainly big enough to miss each other, so you do need a meeting spot but don’t be expecting Heathrow (or even Vancouver). One idea is to meet in front of this travel agency. It’s on the lower arrivals level (after you exit customs and immigration) and is pretty easy to find.

  15. Best Day Trip from Athens

    HI Dave – for a day trip from Athens, which would be better? Aegina, Angistri, or Hydra?
    Thank you for this great website!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      All fine day-trip destinations in their own right and all quite doable in a day, but what is “better” depends very much on what you want and who you are, so I’ll try to cover all angles. First the obvious: day trips to all these islands start at the Port of Piraeus where the ferry berths are all clustered together in the more central part of the port so it’s an easy walk – not requiring a taxi – to the berth from the metro station. A number of ferry companies and types of ferries from conventional to hydrofoil to open-deck car movers service the three islands, so you’ll not be short of options and departures are almost hourly for Aegina and Angistri, less so for Hydra.

      Aegina is an obvious choice because it is closest (just) of the three. There are also more direct ferries to Aegina and you have the choice of two disembarkation ports: the town of Aegina itself and the smaller port of Souvala on the north coast. Most quick day visitors head for the main port of Aegina, stroll around the busy, animated town, maybe take a horse and cart tour, have a fish lunch in a back street taverna, maybe sit on the town beach for a while then head on home back to Piraeus. That said, Aegina is a large island and is worth hiring a car for the day to explore (if you have the time, interest, and budget). While it is not a common holiday destination for foreign visitors, there is a resort scene of sorts on the eastern side of the islands at Agia Marina and the little southern port of Perdika is worth a drive for a waterside lunch beside a pretty little harbor strewn with fishing boats. If you start early enough, you can comfortably circumnavigate the island in a day. Archaeology fans may care to divert to the rather splendid, yet oft-underlooked set of ruins of the Temple of Aphaia near Agia Marina. Overall, Aegina is a lived-in ‘Greek’ island where many Athenians have holiday homes, or to which many landlocked residents flock on weekends to get a taste of the seaside close to home, so Aegina can get busy – even in Winter. Foreign visitors tend to overlook Aegina and if they do decide to come across, they often do little more than potter around Aegina Town port as I mentioned earlier.

      Angistri is not so obvious, though it inevitably and alluringly tempts first-time visitors to the Argo-Saronics as it is visible, shimmering on the horizon just over the water from Aegina. Ferries to Aegina commonly continue on to Angistri, though you can, if you choose, go directly to Angistri from Piraeus thereby saving you time. This rather small island comes generally as a pleasant surprise to most visitors and garners its fair share of repeat day – or even longer stay – trippers. It’s a compact, cosy, and personable island and one where you immediately sense its intimacy and relaxed space. It’s a place that feels a lot further from Athens than it really is. The port of Skala is the hub of all activity and you could do little more than loll on its flat, sandy beach, sip a frappuccino under the shade of a tamarisk tree next to a re-assuringly blue and white Cycladic-style church and read your Kindle. After Athens, Angistri can feel like paradise. But there’s more. Scooters are easy to hire and a slow (and careful, as the road gets winding in parts) ride to the other side of the island is the obvious add-on excursion. You’ll pass the other (main) settlement of Megalochori on the way, pass a couple of beach opportunities on the west side before passing though the third village Limenaria and descending into the little cove of Aponisos. Here a swim and lunch at the little taverna awaits trippers who made it this close. Angistri is also infamous as the hideout island of the 17th November terrorist group member Dimitris Koufodinas who took refuge in a cave on the east side of the island before finally surrendering to authorities.

      Now Hydra is in a category – nay – class of its own. Long favoured as a weekend retreat and holiday destination for international play-people and yachties, Hydra is unique in that, apart from the street cleaning vehicle and a few unloading utilities, there are no private cars on the island. People get around in horse-drawn buggies. Expensive yachts crowd its proportionately small harbour, boutique stores pepper its undeniably quaint streets, and up-market lodgings offer all that travel-weary punters may seek or desire. Eating out is unquestionably a quality matter and attire is generally urban-nautical chic. So yes, a great spot for a day trip, but is Hydra you? Also, it is farther out than the other two islands, so it does take a bit of extra time getting to it – and in that case opt for the faster hydrofoils or catamarans, or whatever is on offer at the time. You will have to walk a fair way to get a swim on Hydra too, though the coastal walk out to Vlychos beach is pleasant and the beach is about the best it gets.

      So in summary: Aegina and Angistri are better for day-trips because of their proximity and the frequency of supporting ferries. Hydra is better for a weekend trip, because if you turn up on a day trip, you may just regret not staying on a tad longer to savour its unique ambiance.

  16. Luxury Hotel with Pool in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    I would love your advice. I am very confused about what to do I have 3 days in Athens Greece was going to stay at the Hotel Bretagne for one night and then go to the beach resorts in Athens for the other 2 night to relax with the family. I was looking at the Westin the reviews were not very good do you have any other recommendations? Or should I just stay at the hotel Bretagne. The only reason why I picked that hotel because of the reviews and the pool. I almost booked the Ava Hotel love the bigger rooms (traveling with my 13 year old son), no pool traveling in August very hot!! Need help Laura from Colorado.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Grande Bretagne is wonderful. Two nice pools (one inside and one outside) and convenient central location. The Westin is nice too but not nearly as luxurious. Instead you get a huge pool and nice beach. I’d say 2 nights at the GB and 1 at the Westin would be a nice mix. The Westin is closer to the airport so that might work if you’re catching a plane after your stay.

  17. Refugees in Greece


    Thanks very much for this site. My boyfriend and I are visiting Greece in June of 2016 and are very excited. We are flying into Athens and then heading the next day to Mykonos and Santorini for 3 days each and then back to Athens. Although we are looking forward to the trip we are becoming increasingly concerned about what we have read regarding the escalating refugee/migrant crisis in Greece. I understand, and have been assured by our hotels, that Mykonos and Santorini themselves are very minimally affected. My main concern is Athens in general and specifically the port area where many refugees are channelled through. We will be taking a ferry from Athens to Mykonos and then from Santorini back to Athens. Is it safe to walk around Athens right now with such an influx of refugees? Should we try to avoid the port area and book a flight instead? We will be travelling with all of our luggage and cash on us so I am a bit concerned being around so many people who find themselves in a desparate situation. I do feel for their situation and it makes me glad to know that Greece is helping them – but at the same time we want to be safe while we are travelling, know what to expect, and take neccessary precations. Thanks for your help.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It’s not an issue at all. There’s no reason to think they are any more likely to commit a crime than a local or a fellow traveler. I wouldn’t hang out in Piraeus with or without a refugee problem (plan to arrive an hour before your ferry’s departure) and the refugees tend not to hang around the places that have lots of travelers (and certainly will not be in Mykonos and Santorini).

  18. Hotels in Athens and Santorini

    My travel partner and I are SOOOO excited about the Greece trip! We are traveling to Athens, Santorini, Crete and back to Athens in June. A travel agent has us in Herodion Hotel in Athens and Astro Palace in Santorini. DO you know anything about these hotels and locations? We want nice hotel but also very close to all of the sites. We don’t want to spend the $700 per night for the luxury hotels but want a nice moderatly priced one.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Both are very nice hotels. Herodion has a great location near the Acropolis Museum and Plaka (and below the Acropolis itself). Astro Palace is just outside of Fira and requires a good 10 minute uphill walk to get the caldera’s edge and views of the volcano. The views you see on the website are east towards the open sea and not of the caldera (not a deal breaker but some expect caldera views and are disappointed).

  19. Hotels in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini

    Hey Dave,

    Awesome site. Incredibly helpful. I almost I feel I KNOW greece.

    I am travelling with a group of friends to a greece between 27th May to 8th June. 5 Couples to be precise.

    Just wanted to get your opinion on the hotels we have booked:

    Hotel Evripides – Athens
    Villa Varnali – Mykonos
    Villa Anto – Santorini

    If you can spare some time, some pros and cons about each of the hotels would be very helpful.

    Vimal Shah

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Hotel Evripides in Athens is a great value hotel. Inexpensive yet nice clean rooms. Nothing fancy. The neighborhood is ugly and will appear unsafe when you first arrive but is generally fine. Lots of trendy restaurants and bars are nearby and metro and Plaka are a 5 to 8 minute walk away. I don’t know Varnali but appears to have a good location walking distance to Mykonos Town and bus station (but will involve a walk up a hill to access). Villa Anto is a 10/12 minute walk from Fira. Small family-owned place that’s clean and cheap.

  20. Location of Amalia Hotel in Athens

    Hello Dave.
    Wonderful website and recommendations. I and my husband are planning to visit Athens in the first week of May and staying there for 2 days before we sail to Santorini. I was thinking to book Amalia hotel in Athens is it good? And also I have to take ferry early morning from Piraeus to Santorini. So is it good location to stay. I really want to stay near Plaka area. Thanks, Harshi

    1. DaveDave

      Amalia is a good value hotel with a central location. It’s less than a 5 minute walk to the Plaka. For the train to Piraeus you can choose between a 2 minute walk to Syntagma Station (take the train to Monastiraki and switch to a Piraeus bound train). Or a 12 minute walk to Monastiraki Station and take the train directly to Piraeus. Both are easy, just depends how much you want to walk.

  21. Met 34 Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Great site and recommendations! We’re heading to Athens for a few days in May. Have you heard of MET 34 Hotel in Syntagma Square/Plaka? I believe it’s a new hotel and I couldn’t find any reviews. Any information would be much appreciated.

    Jenny Miclat

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I have not heard of it but it looks nice and certainly has a central location.

  22. Intercontinental, Hilton, or Radisson Blu in Athens

    thanks for the very informative blog. Need your advice, I am considering to stay at the Intercontinental, Hilton, or Radisson Blu Park Hotel on hotel point redemptions. You mentioned Hilton and Intercontinental are recommended, is the walking distance to Plaka from Hilton significantly different from Intercontinental ? Would appreciate your thoughts on Radisson Blu too. thanks!

    1. DaveDave

      All 3 of these hotels are a 20 to 25 minute walk from the Plaka – but in different directions. The walk from the Hilton to the Plaka is probably the most pleasant. The walk from the Intercontinental is the shortest (or rather, you’d get to the Acropolis Museum and the outer edges of the Plaka in about 15 minutes), but the area right around the hotel is busy and not terribly appealing. The walk from the Radisson Blu goes through the roughest section of central Athens – more ugly than dangerous – but it’s very close to the National Archaeological Museum which is the best museum in Greece. Both the Hilton and Radisson Blu are a short walk from a metro station if you didn’t want to walk.

  23. St. George Lycabettus in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Amazing and very helpful blog.

    My fiancé and I are thinki about staying at the St. George Lycabettus for a week at the end of March. It kindle ticks all the boxes (rooftop pool, gym, area, peice etc) What are your thoughts?

    We’re looking to have an all-round experience of everything that Athens has to offer, so any further pointers are very much welcomed. Happy to offer the same if you ever come to Edinburgh!

    Stuart McCluskey

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The St George is wonderful with great views of the city. The only caveat is that you won’t be walking out your door and enjoying the Plaka or Acropolis. It’s a good 20 minute walk to the major historical sites and center of the action. And coming back it’s all uphill. It’s a pleasant walk most of the way (err on the side of a more southerly route and you’ll avoid some ugly areas of Athens). That said, I’d expect that you’ll take at least a few taxis. There are some nice restaurants and cafes near the hotel – and there’s a little lane steps from the hotel that fills with locals drinking and eating at a few outdoor restaurants.

  24. Athens for 2 Days

    Hi Dave, nice blog you have there. I will be visitng Athens for 2 days before sailing to Santorini for my honeymoon. What would you recommend me to do within these 2 days? Would it be good idea to take a local tour? Lastly can you please recommmend me a good tour agency website that I should look for? Thanks Dave! You the man!

    Ten Wei Peng

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Among the travel agencies that get good press are Fantasy Travel and Dolphin Hellas Travel, both of which offer a variety of one and two day excursions and longer packages. My pick of these would be the one day Athens tour with Fantasy travel which lets you see the main city sights then enjoy a coastal drive to a very romantic spot – Cape Sounion. This will cost around €120 per person. Dolphin also does 10, 12, or 14 day Honeymoon packages that include islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, Syros, Rhodes and Crete. Though I never recommend people do extended package tours of this sort, it’s there if you’re interested.

      Apart from the tours, ideas include a moonlight dinner on the top of Mt Lykavittos (a rocky hill right in the middle of Athens); a lunch with rustic wine and hearty fare in the middle of Plaka (Athens’ old village quarter); walking up and around the Acropolis at sunset and stopping off for drinks with a view; taking in the culture in one easy hit at the fabulous new Acropolis Museum. Or, if you’re really adventurous, make up your own day trip by taking a fast boat from the port of Piraeus to the Saronic Gulf island of Angistri, hire a scooter and ride to the far southern end of the island at Aponisos and have a fish lunch on the beach before taking a swim in the much-improved waters of the Argo Saronic Gulf.

  25. Grande Bretagne in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    I was thinking about staying at the Hotel Grande Bretagne for 1-2 nights for my honeymoon (taking a flight to Mykonos the next morning). I have 2 hesitancies:
    1. I normally like more modern luxury hotels (and this seems to be much more classical, but beautiful).
    2. You said Hotel Grande Bretagne was your favorite hotel, but then Syntagma Square was not even in listed your Top 3 neighborhood choices.

    What would be your suggestion for my fiancé and I given what I listed above?

    Thank you!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      1. You’re right, it is more classical luxury than modern luxury.
      2. Syntagma Square is, like the name suggests, pretty much just a square with restaurants, shops, and hotels surrounding it on three sides (the Greek Parliament is on the fourth side). Walk a few minutes and you’re in the Plaka. A few minutes more and you’re in Monistiraki.

  26. Sarah


    What would you recommend for a day and a half in Athens–May 2016? We definitely want to see the Acropolis and eat a nice Greek meal. We probably will not take the metro, but do a lot of walking. Lastly, King George or stay in Plaka?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Despite being a big bustling metropolis, Athens is a surprisingly good city to walk around. It is certainly easier than using a car or taxi and all the main sights (except for the National Archaeological Museum in Exarchia) are within reasonable walking distance of each other. The metro is handy for getting from one end of the central city block – say, Omonia to Syntagma or Monastiraki quickly, but the greatest distance from one end of the central city block is no more than 2 KMs, so it’s all quite walkable.

      Get a map of central Athens and familiarise yourself with the key geographical reference points. Syntagma (Constitution) Square with its Metro station is the epicentre; its other counterbalance is Omonia Square (also with a big Metro station) and Monastiraki adjacent to the old Plaka district is the third point of the triangle. The Acropolis and the main archaeological sights lie to the south. This is where you will probably want to focus your stay in Athens and do your walking.

      Get a multi-site archaeological ticket (€20) – basically the cost of the entry ticket to the Acropolis and visit a further six archaeological sites at no further cost. Apart from the obvious and still stunning Acropolis with its Parthenon temple you would probably want to walk around the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus to name a few – all within walking distance of each other. The new and magnificent Acropolis Museum (separate ticket) should not be missed.

      At night wander the length and breadth of the Plaka district which roughly runs from Nikis street near Syntagma to the Monastiraki flea market. This essentially pedestrian-only area is chock-a-block full of gift shops, restaurants, cafés and bars and you will find plenty of places to eat. The more obvious eateries are along Kydathineon Street. For the more authentic Greek restaurant walk to the Psyrri district to the west of Athinas street and radiating around Plateia Iroön (Heroes Square). The area can feel a little seedy, so it’s not for everyone, but I don’t consider it unsafe.

      Additional excursions might be to the summit of Mt Lykavittos (take the rack and pinion train if you don’t fancy the steep climb and you can always walk down) and a walk in the cool National Gardens abutting Syntagma Square is a great respite from the bustle of Athens. Close to the gardens are three more excellent museums: the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art, the War Museum, and the Byzantine Museum all located close to each other on Vasilissis Sofias Blvd. All the above will fill your one and a half days very easily.

      As for hotels, the King George is wonderful and very central. The Plaka area is great too – but it’s only a 5 minute walk from the King George so not a huge difference.

  27. Athens Hotel after Long Flight

    Arriving to Athens early evening after 14 hours of flying. What can you recommend for hotel to overnight before heading down to Nafplio the following day. Will be back to Athens a few days after to see the sites. That part I have planned out.


  28. Best Beaches near Athens

    What are the beaches like near Athens? We fly from Rome to Athens and then have 10 days in Greece. We are thinking of spending 2 days in Athens before traveling to Naxos and Mykonos. 1 Day seeing the sights and then 1 day at a beach near Athens. Can you tell me what are the best beaches close to Athens? Are they easy to get to from downtown? Does this sound like a good plan?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      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 take 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.

      All that said, since you’re on your way to the islands (where the beaches are wonderful) I wouldn’t waste a day at the Athens’ beaches. They’re good but nothing incredible.

  29. Athens during New Years

    Hey Dave great page lots of useful info.

    I’m planing a trip to Athens from the 31st December to 6th January 2015. Looking for some local information on the festivities that will be taking place (new years eve parties and such). And any other information you think I should know.
    Will most likely be staying in plaka.

    Thank you so much in advance,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There’s not a lot of official things going on but as far as restaurants and bars there’s plenty to do. People tend to stay home for New Years and then go out to bars after that. Syntagma is the center of anything “official” going on.

  30. Santorini and What European City?

    Hi Dave,
    Love all reading your site for all the tips. I’m planning my honeymoon for early October 2016. Settled on Absolute Bliss we believe in Santorini. Now the debate is whether to stay all nights at Absolute Bliss or divide our stay between two hotels (want infinity pool and private jacuzzi terrace) and also whether to go straight to Santorini or stop in Athens first. I can’t stand the idea of flying all the way to just Santorini without visiting at least one other European city. Should we consider another city possibly in Italy or just do Athens? Or another city that would be a good visit? My husband won’t have patience for the ferry ride so either way our transport to Santorini will be by plane. Thanks!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      If your in Santorini for 2 to 4 days then only stay at Absolute Bliss. If it’s more than that then definitely try a different town and hotel. There are direct flights from Santorini to Rome and that would be my first choice for a second destination in Europe.

  31. Cheap Hotel in Athens / Getting to Airport in the Morning

    We are on a 700am flight out of ATH. We were hoping to stay near Monastiraki metro station and catch the metro, but I’m not sure that there is enough time to do so that early in the morning? Would you recommend staying in that neighborhood and taking some other form of transportation (taxi), or spending the night closer to the airport (if so, can you recommend a budget hotel)?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The first train from Monastiraki to the airport leaves around 5:50am so train is not an option for you. There is a X95 bus that leaves from Syntagma Square to the airport 24 hours a day – and costs €5.

      Hotel Myrto has a good location steps from the Plaka and a 5 minute walk to the airport bus. It’s cheap, clean, simple, and has a very friendly staff. If you ask they’ll give you your breakfast (bread, nutella, meat, cheese, cereal) the night before to keep in your fridge. You can then eat at any time in the early morning before leaving for the airport.

  32. Large Villa Rental in the Plaka

    My name is Antonia Vrioni and I am the owner of a high quality villa in the area of Plaka, Athens, Greeece.

    The villa is being rented for the first time and will be rented on a weekly basis commencing on January 2016. It is high quality villa of 370m2, totally renovated, having 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, including a housekeeper. The villa was owned by an English lady and has been characterized by the Greek authorities as a piece of art as well as a conservatory monument of the ancient city of Plaka/Acropolis.

    The view of the Acropoli at the villa terrace is spectacular. The villa is located in an excellent and central location 5min. walk from the Acropolis tube station and 5min away from the Acropolis museum. The market of Plaka area is a booming market now days having people visiting the area all year round (due to Acropolis). I believe the Plaka villa can well be combined with a package for people wanting to visit Athens’s ancient monuments for a few days and then move on to a Greek Ionian island.

    I want to add that the Plaka villa is a pioneer of its kind…. being a private and luxurious villa within the center of Athens in the area of the Akropolis (Plaka).

    If you are further interested, please contact me on my email, so I can send you further details as well as photos. If you want to contact me please call me at my mobile 00306934 145505.

    Thank you
    Antonia Vrioni

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I do not know Antonia and can not vouch for this villa, but it sounds nice. The Plaka is a great area for tourists to stay in. Thanks for the information Antonia.

  33. Girls Trip to Greece

    I’m in the very early stages of planning a girls’ trip to Greece next April and I just want to say thank you for this website and all your valuable information!

    Leah L

  34. Credit Card or Cash in Greece

    Hi Dave,
    Great blog for all the helpful tips for travelling around, thanks a lot! Can we use credit cards in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini? Was in mainland Greece this June for 2 weeks, only cash accepted.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Shop, restaurant, and hotel owners definitely prefer cash. When you pay with a credit card it goes into their bank account and then the withdrawal limits apply (so, in effect, they’ve given you something but they haven’t truly gotten the payment in return). Some places do still take credit cards – but be prepared to use a lot of cash. ATMs have no limits for tourists (beyond what your account or bank has stipulated). If you reserve hotels through you can just about always pay with a credit card if you really have no other means.

  35. Metro from Ferry Port to Athens

    Hi Dave – You’ve been so helpful in our trip planning, appreciate it! A few other questions…

    Our ferry arrives from Santorini to Piraeus at 11:30PM, I see the metro runs till midnight so we’ll probably miss it. If we can make it, we take the green line, correct (staying at Phaedra Hotel)? If we miss the metro, would you recommend having our hotel reserve a taxi pick up for us or will there be taxis there that late?

    What about Santorini port to Villa Maria Damigou metro bus?

    Thank you!!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There is only one metro line in Piraeus (yes, the green line) and it goes directly to central Athens. Get off the ferry quickly (get down to the car deck early and be at the front of the scrum – which will be large) and go directly to the metro station across the street (follow the crowds, can’t miss it, about a 3 minute walk). Get off at Monastiraki station. Find Adrianou Street (which is a short black away) and walk down it (pedestrian only). It will take you directly to Phaedra Hotel. If you don’t make it to the metro station in time there will be plenty of taxis in Piraeus to take you downtown.

      In Santorini, the main bus station in Fira will post a bus schedule for buses going to the port a day before. Check it and find when the bus for your ferry leaves. If you miss this bus it can be hard to get to the ferry as all taxis are booked up around ferry arrivals and departures and there won’t be a second bus.

  36. Good Hotel near Larissa Train Station

    Hi Dave, thank you for this wonderful website with so much information on Greece! I have a question, my wife and I would be flying from Mykonos to Athens around noon and we are thinking of taking the next day morning train to Meteora. Are there hotels relatively near the Larissa train station you would recommend so it would not be too rush for us? This is also the last leg of our holiday and we would have around 4 days left in Athens, so planning to either visit Meteora first or later. What are your thoughts?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Oscar is the best hotel near the train station (and right across the street). I would do the Meteora first and return to Athens for your final days – but no great difference either way.

  37. Island Close to Athens with Great Beaches

    Hi Dave,

    Awesome site! Just a quick question – my husband and I plan to fly to Athens on 26th September (arriving just after midday) and fly back out late afternoon on the 30th. We were thinking of perhaps spending 2 nights in Santorini and 2 nights in Athens, though that seems a little rushed when factoring in all the too-ing and fro-ing via ferry/flight.

    Can you please suggest a slightly nearer island to Athens that we might spend 1.5 – 2 days at. We’re not into the partying scene but enjoy a bustling town with lots to see and do. Great beaches would be a bonus.


  38. Plaka Hotel or A For Athens

    Hi Dave,
    Between A for Athens and Plaka Hotel…which is the better hotel for a two night stay in Athens before heading to Santorini.
    Your website has been a wealth of knowledge for our honeymoon!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Both are very nice and good value. The Plaka Hotel is on a nice street but you’re a 3 or 4 minute walk from the metro station (with trains to ferry port and airport). A for Athens is on a uglier/grittier street but you’re about 30 seconds to the metro station. That’s not a huge difference but if you’re catching an early ferry to Santorini then even that 3 minute walk down quiet dark streets at 6am can be a little intimidating. Otherwise, no big difference.

  39. New Hotel or NJV Plaza?

    Hi Dave- this website has been amazing in planning our trip at the end of August. While we were originally hoping to stay at the Electra Palace but it is sold out. We Are now between the New Hotel and NJV Plaza. Which would you recommend?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The New Hotel is, uhm, brand new with new furnishings, which is nice. NJV has a nicer location on Syntagma Square. Otherwise pretty similar and they’re only a few minutes walk from each other.

  40. Hotels and Restaurants in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini

    Hello Dave,
    Thank you for all the information on your sites. My daughter and I have booked our trip to Greece. we are not looking for partying but, more of sightseeing, beaches, and food. Was just wanting your opinion on a few things.
    1. The hotels we are staying at :
    Best Western Amazon, Athens
    Petinos Hotel, Mykonos
    Margarenia Studios Hotel, Santorini
    Then back to Athens
    2. Good food near these hotels
    3. Best beaches close to any of these.
    4. I have not booked our transfers from any of these places yet what would you suggest ? Flying, or ferries?
    Thank you,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Good food:
      –In Athens: This street is about an 8 minute walk from your hotel.
      –In Mykonos: Bonatsa is the best restaurant near Petinos Hotel. Nicola’s Taverna (on Agia Anna, a 10 minute walk away) is even better.
      –In Santorini: There are good restaurants on Perissa Beach, about a 10 minute walk from Margarenia Studios – but for the best restaurants you’ll need to bus, taxi, or hired car into Fira (and the other caldera towns).

      Best Beaches:
      –In Athens: The best beaches are 45 minutes to an hour drive outside the city towards Glyfada.
      –In Mykonos: Petinos is steps from Platys Gialos beach, one of the best on Mykonos.
      –In Santorini: Margarenia is a 10 minute walk from Perissa beach which is very nice.

  41. Ferry Tickets and Honeymoon Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave, so I’ve been leaning heavily on your site as I plan my honeymoon to Greece, travel dates: 9/23/15-10/3/2015. I read through lots of other people’s questions and your answers before just deciding to ask my own questions 🙂 So here goes:
    We’re staying at Athen’s Gate for 2 nights then we’ll likely take the Blue Star ferry to Mykonos. From what I’ve read we’re ok to purchase our ferry tickets on the 23rd, which is two days prior.
    We’ll be staying at Rocabella Hotel in Mykonos for 3 nights then taking a ferry again (not sure which one yet) to Santorini.
    Staying in Santorini for 4 nights at Homeric Poems Hotel then flying on Aegean Airlines back to Athens.

    So my question is since we’ll only have 1 night back in Athens (the night of 10/2/15) and then need to depart for the Airport the next day, our international flight will depart at 11:20, what hotel would you suggest?
    We’ll likely do one attraction (likely one that we missed out on one our first 2 days), but most importantly a nice ‘final’ dinner, a comfortable nights rest, shower and awesome breakfast before we have to travel all day.
    Thank you in advance for all your great info, time and effort!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You should be fine getting the Blue Star ticket 2 days in advance but have it be the first thing you do once you arrive in Athens. If you’re worried about it then book in advance on the Blue Star website and pickup at the port on the morning of departure.

      The most romantic hotel in Athens is the Electra Palace in the Plaka. Close to everything and many good restaurants within a very short walk. That would be my choice.

  42. 2 Days in Athens

    Fantastic website! MANY THANKS!!!

    My family of 4 (2 adults, 1 college student, 1 high school student) are traveling to Athens and getting on a 10-day cruise. We plan to stay in Athens for 3 nights. We are a little “spoiled” regarding accommodations, and therefore prefer luxury hotels. However, we would also like to be near the quaint cafes and restaurants. We would like to walk to the tourist attractions from the hotel. My daughter and I would also like a hotel with a pool and prefer one with a terrace where we could view the acropolis.

    * What hotel would you recommend?
    * What sites would you recommend touring over 2 days?
    * What restaurants would you recommend?

    Abby Gilkey

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Electra Palace Hotel is the most charming hotel in Athens and has the location and the pool you’re looking for. The top sights in Athens are the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, and the National Archaeological Museum. And wandering around the Plaka offers many sights too. My favorite area to eat in Athens is here.

  43. Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you for such a phenomenal site – never come across a site with such valuable information.

    We fly into Athens the morning of June 23rd and planning on checking out morning of June 25th and heading to Santorini and then checking out to head to Mykonos on the 29th and ending our trip heading back home from Athens on July 3rd at 1pm.

    Hoping you don’t mind providing your input on some transportation options and accommodations that we are looking into. This trip is for our 5 year anniversary and wanting to take in as much as possible but not breaking the bank.

    1. Fresh Hotel Athens – do you know of this hotel and proximity to the airport, major sites in Athens and port of Athens?
    2. We have looked into Ferry options but not sure if we should book ahead of time based on your suggestion. We would be interested in taking a flight from Athens to Santorini for the interest of maximizing time on island vs. being at sea but can’t seem to find any site that will provide flights at the rates that you have noted in the travel options. Do you think we are risking finding a ferry if we don’t book ahead of time? Cost of ferries on the sites I have been looking are around $100-125 Euros for two people. If flights are cheaper or the same we would prefer to fly – not sure if you have suggestions on what route we should take.

    In Santorini we were looking to stay at the Crown Suites in Kamari –
    1. Any feedback/reviews on this hotel?
    2. How far of a bus ride is it from the port to this side of the island?
    3. If we want to see Thira and have dinners on that side of the island, is it practical to stay in Kamari and travel back and forth for the days we aren’t staying at the beach?
    4. In the youtube video you mention the part of the island where you can go swimming to the hot springs, are there lockers at the entry points for leaving bags if we both want to experience it?

    After a few days in Santorini we are planning on leaving Santorini on the 29th of June and heading to Mykonos where we are looking to stay at Fos Suites or Ftelia Bay Mykonos – can you recommend what is the best area of the island to stay at for good beaches, views and restaurants, sites to see? We are not looking into clubbing but want to be able to see the sites and walk places.
    1. Do you know if these hotels are close to such locations and also how far from the port should we take a ferry from Santorini?
    2. We can’t find ferries from Mykonos to Athens except for night Ferries, does this mean the early morning departures are full or don’t exist? The reason I ask this is because we fly out of Athens on July 3rd at 1PM, do you think we are cutting it close trying to leave that morning and should we go back to Athens at night on the 2nd?

    My husband is telling me I shouldn’t bother you with all of these questions but I hope you don’t mind as your passion in your video and the site has truly intrigued me.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can provide on any of the items above.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      1. Fresh Hotel is nice – trendy, clean, modern, small rooftop pool. Location is a short walk from central touristy area. It can feel a little gritty here but not unsafe, still lots of foot traffic all around day and night. This not a picturesque area but I think most people would describe it as fine. The metro station at Monastiraki is a flat 10 minute walk away where there are direct trains to both the airport (45 minutes) and ferry port (20 to 30 minutes).
      2. Check for flights. If you take a ferry I would probably book in advance for this time of year.

      1. Crown Suites in Kamari has simple clean rooms. Very large pool (this is what you get staying in Kamari that would cost you a fortune if you stayed on the caldera side of the island), close to the beach.
      2. Bus ride from Kamari to Fira takes about 15 or 20 minutes. From there you take different buses to Imerovigli or Oia.
      3. If most of your interest lies on the caldera side of the island then I would stay in Fira or one of the other caldera towns. No sense wasting time commuting.
      4. No lockers, you’d have to leave your bags onboard the ship as you swim. I wouldn’t take any valuables but I’m sure they’ll be fine.

      1. Ftelia (boutique, trendy) is the nicer hotel but Fos Suites (simple, clean) has a much better location if you want to be walking distance to good beaches and restaurants. They’re both about the same distance from Mykonos Town (though Fos has better transportation to and from town). The beaches near Ftelia will get more wind in the summer months.
      2. I would take the Blue Star (less bumpy than the highspeed ferries) to Athens on July 2. There is a ferry that leaves Mykonos at 13:45 and gets to Piraeus at 18:30 – leaving lots of time to take the metro into Athens and have a nice final meal in the Plaka. There is also a later ferry that goes to Rafina leaving at 19:50 and getting to Rafina at 23:00 (if you wanted to skip central Athens).

  44. West East Suites in Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    Firstly thank you for such a helpful website answering all the right questions!

    Was just wondering if you have any insight into the new West East Suites in Imerovigli. They come up as a new option in when I research some of you top 15 hotels in Santorini you suggest. Obviously new and no reviews etc. Any inside word from the man who appears to know all about the island?
    With thanks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      West/East is a new hotel about a 10 minute walk north of Imerovigli. It’s trendy and has a great pool though, to be honest, it lacks a little in character. But it certainly has great views and a hip modern decor.

  45. Royal Olympic, NVJ or Amalia Hotel?

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you so much for wonderful info that you have here!
    We are a couple with a small baby (18 months) and we will be in Athens for the first 4 days of August. I kindly ask you what would you recommend between these hotels: Royal Olympic, NVJ or Amalia Hotel? The price is not an issue. We just want to be very clean, nice and comfortable, as we are traveling with our baby boy. (I imagine it will be really hot Athens in August…)
    Also, we will have the return fight from Athens at 8am. do you recommend us a taxi or may we take a bus to the airport?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Royal Olympic is the nicest and most luxurious of those hotels. It has a pool (the NJV and Amalia don’t) and is just a couple blocks from the shops and restaurants of the Plaka. NJV and Amalia are very handy for catching the airport bus and the metro (direct trains from Syntagma station to the airport). Both are a little farther from the bustle and pedestrian-friendly streets of the Plaka (about an 8 to 10 minute walk). The street that Amalia is on can feel a little gritty but is otherwise fine and safe. Getting to the airport is easiest by taxi but the airport bus is quick and efficient and runs every 10 or 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, from the main Syntagma stop. The first metro train of the day departs Syntagma at 5:40am and gets to the airport at 6:18am which is just enough time to catch an 8am flight. If you do stay at the Royal Olympic then bus and metro are not as convenient and a taxi is definitely the best option.

  46. Athens Gate, Electra Palace, or King George Hotel in Athens


    Thank you for all of this incredible information! We are heading to Athens for one night in August for our honeymoon and have narrowed it to three hotels: Athens Gate, Electra Palace, or King George. For just being in town for one night, would you have a recommendation of either of those three hotels, or something completely different?

    Thank you in advance!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      All are great hotels with good locations but the Electra Palace is my favorite of those mentioned. It’s steps from the vibrant main pedestrian street that cuts through the Plaka. The hotel itself is very charming and the most romantic of the 3.

  47. Trip Planning Help: Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos


    You are just amazing. Really you are! You have no idea how much to help others with what you do when they most need it (vaca time after work/life stress the rest of the year)

    Going to stay in Athens 3 nights, then Mykonos 2 nights and Santorini 3 nights. Just booked this way due to hotel availability etc. (staying at Grand Bertrange, Kouros, and then Anteliz Suites). I have two full days left before flying back from Athens. Should I do Crete on those two days or can I back track to Naxos? Are there flights from Naxos to Athens daily? I have a 9pm flight out of Athens back to the US so it it feasible to fly Naxos to Athens or Crete to Athens?

    Please help! Also let me know about the hotels I picked in Mykonos and Santorini.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would do Naxos for 2 days over Crete (which is much larger and hard to see in just 2 days). On most days there are 2 flights per day from Naxos to Athens. Book your flight first (they sell out quickly) before your hotel to be sure that plan works for you.

  48. Is 1 Full Day in Athens Enough?

    Hi Dave,

    Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you for writing such a detailed blog – it’s the best blog I think I’ve seen and it’s proving incredibly helpful when trying to plan an itinerary.

    Myself and a mate are due to land in Athens on a Sunday evening in a few weeks time, and we’re due to fly out of Mykonos the following saturday (so 6 full days). We both love heading to the beach and relaxing in the sun, but we’re also looking for a good time (bars, restaurants, nightlife), and we’re currently thinking of trying to see all of the main sites in Athens in a day and catch a ferry to Mykonos early on the Tuesday morning. Are we cutting ourselves short of time in Athens, or can we still make the most of it in one full day and 2 nights? We’re planning to stay in the Monastiraki area and use this as a base to explore. Do you have any useful tips for what we simply must see and do in both Athens and Mykonos?

    Any help you can give would be really very much appreciated!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You will not see everything in 1 day but if you get an early start and keep moving all day (many attractions stay open until 8pm) then you can see the highlights. Most of the top sights are in the Plaka/Monastiraki neighborhood so that makes a good base.

      The 2 top sights in the central area are the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. After that you have the Roman and Ancient Agoras; the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysos; Hadrian’s Library; Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus; and the Monastiraki Flea Market. The one top attraction not in this central area is the National Archaeological Musuem which is a 20 to 30 minute walk from the Plaka (or a metro or taxi ride away). It’s the best museum in Greece so getting there is recommended but with the location it can be hard to find time. It could be a casualty of your abbreviated visit.

  49. First Time to Greece for Solo Female

    I just found an awesome flight from Vancouver to Athens, so scrambling to organize my first trip to Greece (leaving in 2 weeks). Going to be landing in Athens June 7 – fly back to Vancouver June 15 (in the morning). So only REALLY have 7 days to see things. I am a 37 female traveler who loves beaches, culture, cute fortress like towns – not seeking parties filled with 20 year olds, not wanting to be isolated. Would be keen to fit in some sort of physical activity each day through tours or something too.

    I am trying to figure out where to go (I am happy to pick a few places) between: Santorini, Naxos, Paros or Mykonos (keeping in mind I figure I should explore Athens for a day). Hoping you can tell me (pretend you are a 37 female solo traveler who has never been to Greece):

    1. What islands would you pick and for how long each?
    2. Advice for travel routes?
    3. Advice for best place to situate myself at each island (so that I am not isolated but not too far from beaches)?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would do Santorini for 3 nights and Naxos (better beaches) OR Paros (more nightlife, possible day trip to beautiful island of Antiparos) for 3 nights. Then 1 day to explore Athens (lots to see in Athens but it’s possible to get most of the top attractions done in one very full day). Of course, you could instead do 2 nights on the 3 islands but that only gives you one full day on each – better to have 2 full days on each and less travel. You can take the Blue Star to visit all 3 islands – it’s the same ferry that does a Athens-Paros-Naxos-Santorini-Naxos-Paros-Athens loop. On Santorini any caldera village is a great place to stay but Fira is the best if you want to explore the rest of the island on a limited schedule. In Paros stay in Parikia (more activity, nightlife) or Naoussa (quieter, more charming). On Naxos stay in Naxos Town (Chora).

  50. Where to pick up ferry tickets in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for all this helpful info!!
    Where in Piraeus can we pick up the ferry tickets? I booked online through the Blue Star Ferrries website since we needed a cabin.
    Also, can we pick them up a night before? We leave at 0730 so it would save time in the morning too!
    Thanks a lot!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You pick them up at the Blue Star kiosk in Piraeus at gate E7 – when you exit the metro station at Piraeus you cross the street and it’s to your left. You can’t miss it.

      Here’s a picture of the kiosk (taken from the deck of the Santorini ferry).
      Where To Get Ferry Tickets in Athens

      Yes, you can pick them up the night before but I wouldn’t make a trip all the way out to Piraeus only to get the tickets. Just be sure to be in Piraeus 45 minutes to an hour before departure.

  51. Hera Hotel in Athens

    I LOVE YOUR SiTE…. it has absolutely the best info!!!!
    I will be getting on the blue star from Piraeus on June 10th, 2015 at 07:30. Will be staying at the Hera hotel. So not close to Monastiraki station. Also will be travelling with a 7 month old and 4 yr old. Will I be able to find a taxi that early from the hotel? and will you recommend one?
    Also at the port in Santorini would it be better to take the bus or taxi again to my hotel?
    Thanks a bunch!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Have your hotel call a taxi in advance (the evening before) – don’t walk out the door of your hotel looking for a taxi at that hour. In Santorini the bus is very easy and is waiting at the port for all ferry arrivals. Taxis cost more, of course, and sometimes there isn’t enough for everyone arriving so a bit more chaotic. But if you’re going to a hotel not in Fira or not walking distance from the bus station then taxis are a lot easier.

  52. Stanley Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave!

    Thank you for the helpful information!!
    I going mid June to Athens and i booked a room at “The Stanley” Odysseos 1- Karaiskaki Sq, Metaxourgeio, Athens.
    Is it a good and safe location?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It’s an OK location – I wouldn’t call it central. It’s a 20 to 30 minute walk to the Plaka and Acropolis. It is very close to the a metro station which runs directly to Syntagma but to get to the port or airport you’d need to change trains en route (not a huge deal but is a small hassle). I would call the area safe but still rough around the edges and not an area you’d want to hang out at 2am in the morning.

  53. Athens to Santorini to Rome

    Hi Dave,

    Great writing and information.
    My wife and I are going to Athens for a work function on 30 may – 3 June and we are planning to spend 1 night at santorini before going to Italy. To save time, we will be flying from Athens to Santorini. Is there a direct flight from Santorini to Rome on Thursday 4 June? And is one day enough to see Santorini?
    Harry lim

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There are direct flights from Santorini to Rome on the weekend (June 6 and 7) but not June 4. One day is not enough to see a lot of Santorini but it’s better than nothing – 2 or 3 days would be better though.

  54. Athens to Mykonos to Santorini to Crete in 8 Days

    Hi Dave, we’re 6 friends traveling to Athens in June arriving on June 18. We were thinking of staying in Athens for 3 nights before heading off by sea to Mykonos for 2 nights, Santorini for 1 night and then Crete 2 nights before heading back to Athens. First off do you think this is do-able or simply too stressful? Secondly, we’ve been trying to find a decent hotel in Athens from 18-21st but all seems to be fully booked! Is there a large event or festival happening that week in Athens? Carl

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, that seems like too much to me. Especially with Crete being so large and far from your origin. Better to add an island between Mykonos and Santorini (Naxos is great) or just stick to 2 islands (Mykonos and Santorini). I would leave Athens to the end of your trip which then builds in some buffer time for catching your flight home if ferries are missed or canceled. I would recommend 2 nights on Mykonos, 2 nights on Naxos/Paros/Ios, 2 nights on Santorini, and 2 nights in Athens – or 3, 3, and 2 if you only visit two islands. Athens is very busy from late May until early October and finding a hotel can be tricky. Book something ASAP.

  55. 360 Degrees Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Your website is so helpful! I am glad I found it. What are your thoughts on the 360 Hotel in Athens? Have you been there?

    Also, we are flying into Athens and taking the ferry that day to Milos. We were going to buy our tickets online so we are sure to have a place on the boat but it sounds like that might not be necessary based on what I read from your part on the ferries and the Piraeus port. What do you recommend? We are staying in Athens on our way out of Greece after we are in Milos.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      360 Hotel has a great location in Monastiraki and is steps from the metro station that has direct trains to the Piraeus ferry port (so perfect if you’re arriving by ferry which it sounds like you will be). There’s a great rooftop bar/restaurant that is very popular with locals.

      If you’re traveling in July or August then I would probably buy ferry tickets in advance just to be sure – though you then need to pick up the tickets in Piraeus which is a small hassle but worth it. Outside of July and August you’ll be fine either way.

      1. Liesl

        Thank you so much! It is so helpful to have input from someone who knows the area!

  56. Flight to Mykonos, Connection in Athens

    Hi Dave,

    I am flying into Athens on 6/18 arriving at 9:30am. We are going straight to Mykonos and would like to fly there. Olympic airlines has a flight at 10:50am from Athens to Mykonos. Do you think we can make that flight? There is a 1:25pm flight as well that is offered but I feel like that may be too long of a wait at the airport. Would appreciate your advice!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Personally, I would book the 1:25pm flight as the 10:50 one is too close for me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the connection. Athens airport is not huge and it’s fairly easy to get from one flight to another. It also depends where you’re flying from. If you’re arriving from outside the EU then you’ll need to go through immigration (which adds more time). If you’re flying from within the EU then there won’t be any immigration to pass.

  57. Athens Gate Hotel

    Hi Dave, this is a brilliant blog! So informative & I’ve been reading it now for the last couple of months to get some ideas on areas to stay, things to do, food, beaches, etc… One question for you, we’ve decided to stay in Firostefani for 6 nights, doing 2 nights in Athens before that. For our Athens Hotel, we choose the Athens Gate hotel, looks ok.. not sure if you have any advice on that one? In Firostefani we were looking at Agnadema Apartments, looks ok and reviews seem pretty good. Any concerns?
    Thanks, John

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Athens Gate is a good hotel with a great location. Turn the corner and the Plaka is right there with the Acropolis Museum and Acropolis just beyond that. Agnadema has great views and is a 10 to 15 minute walk to the shops and restaurants of Fira – also closer places to eat in Firostefani.

  58. Santorini to New York City (connection in Athens)

    Hi dave,

    I’m flying from Santorini to Athens on Olympic Airlines on Sept 5th at 2:30pm arriving at 3:15pm. My flight home is at 4:40pm from Athens to JFK on British Airways.

    Am I leaving myself enough time? Will my bags get checked in all the way to JFK at Santorini? Or will I have to collect my bags and re-check in at Athens for my flight home to NY?

    Should I take an earlier flight?

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks again!
    Bob L.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would take an earlier flight. Your bags will not be checked through and you will need to collect them and re-check them in Athens. The connection is possible to make but I personally would not book this itinerary.

  59. Athens, Mykonos, Santorini

    Hi Dave

    Congratulations on the amazing blog! I am planning a trip to Greece in June 2015 and after reading your blog I realized that I wasted a lot of time earlier doing unncessary research when all the info i needed was right here.

    So, we get into Athens on June 21, 2015 around 11.00 PM. (we’ll fly in from India). I will have my husband, my 9 month old daughter, and my in-laws (both 62 years and fairly active) with me.

    My plan is as below:
    Take the 7.30 am Blue Star to Mykonos on June 22 (the airplane type seats for the 4 of us. Should we take a seat for our daughter? are there any discounts for infants?) and stay the night of 22 and 23 there. Take an early ferry to Santorini on June 24 (I couldnt find it on Blue Star though). Stay the night of 24th in Santorini and spend the whole of 25th exploring Oia and Fira and take the night ferry on June 25th (Blue Star is offering a ferry at 1.30 in the night that will reach Athens at 7.30 in the morning the next day. I plan to book the 4 bed outside cabin (only that seems available). Spend 26 and 27th in Athens and take the Aegean Airways flight to Prague on 28th.

    Do you think this plan is very tiring? I could maybe book the return from Santorini via Ryan Air but I am not sure how much luggage we ll be allowed to carry.

    Could you also suggest a good area to stay in Athens. We only plan to see Acropolis and Parthenon and would like to minimize taking cabs.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      That’s a very aggressive schedule but doable. I would probably take one of those nights in Athens and add it to Santorini. On Ryan Air you will get charged for extra baggage but still might be worth it when you’re on such a tight schedule. You baby will be free if she doesn’t take a seat. If you buy a seat for here then it will cost 50% of the adult fare. There isn’t a Blue Star from Mykonos to Santorini but read this page for info on the ferries between the 2 islands.

  60. Airport to Athens Taxi

    Hello Dave – The $35 taxi fare from airport to city center is per person? Or do they charge per trip?

    Thank you

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      That will be the rate for the trip and not per person. But … Athens does have some weird taxi norms, whereby a taxi driver will often pick up another passenger (and another) and charge them individual rates for the portion of the ride that they take. But … that won’t reduce the rate you pay. But … this rarely happens on taxi rides from the airport to Athens.

  61. Athens and Santorini with Teens

    Hi Dave
    We are planning a family trip to Greece to arrive in Athens on the night 26 June 2015 and then fly to Santorini on the morning of 1 July 2015 and fly back from Santorini to Athens on the night of 3 July 2015. Travelling 6 Adults & 4 teenagers. Plan is to spend 4 whole days in Athens sight-seeing and 3 whole days in Santorini sight-seeing. In Athens, plans to see The Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Ancient Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, historical Sights in the Plaka (Hadrian’s Arch, Hadrian’s Library, Agoras, etc.), National Archaeological Museum, Athens Central Market, Monastiraki flea market and Ermou shopping district, shopping and eating in the Plaka and Monastiraki neighbourhoods. Is there anything else to do in around Athens seeing that will have more time on hand? Maybe a day trip somewhere close by. Any suggestions on hotels with family rooms in and around Plaka & Monastiraki? Nothing too expensive. In Santorini, any suggestions for family on accomodation, nothing to expensive? Undecided whether to stay on the caldera side or the beaches. Any suggestions.
    Regards Devan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      For hotels in Athens both Dorian Inn and Myrto Hotel are friendly budget hotels with large family rooms. Myrto has a great location on the border of Syntagma and the Plaka. Dorian has a not-so-great location close to Omonia but does have a pool and it’s still an easy walk to Monastiraki/Plaka area.

      In Santorini Villa Agnadi has large family rooms and a great pool. It does not have caldera views but is an easy 15 minute walk to central Oia and there’s a bus stop directly opposite the hotel with regular buses going to Fira.

      Other things to do in Athens are to climb or take the funicular up Lykavittos Hill, take a tram or bus out to the beaches near Glyfada, and make a day trip to the islands of Hydra or Aegina (about an hour from Piraeus by hydrofoil).

  62. Stay in Athens or Piraeus

    Hi Dave, we’re take the highspeed ferry from Santorini to Piraeus, arriving there at 17:00. Our flight home is at 8am the next day. Would you just book a hotel at Piraeus our would you opt for Athens? (We are planning 3 days there already at the start of our trip.) Would be nice to be able to walk around after the ferry, have a nice meal, but i’m unsure if Piraeus is a safe and enjoyable environment.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would take the train into Athens and stay there. The area around the Plaka and Monastiraki are great fun at night – alleys are filled with late night diners. It’s a highlight of being in Athens. Piraeus is safe (it’s always pretty busy) but is a long ways from enjoyable.

  63. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  64. New Hotel in Athens

    Hi Dave. What do you think of the New Hotel in Athens? We are only there for a night. Julie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  65. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      For those dates and those routes I would book ferry tickets in advance. Book with Hellenic Seaways and then pickup tickets at Pelican Travel in Fira, Santorini.

  66. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  67. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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).

  68. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  69. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  70. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  71. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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).

  72. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  73. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  74. 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

  75. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.)

  76. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  77. 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 The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      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.

  78. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  79. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  80. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  81. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  82. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  83. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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

  84. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  85. 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

  86. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  87. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  88. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  89. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  90. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.)

  91. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  92. 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.


  93. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  94. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  95. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  96. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  97. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  98. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  99. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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

  100. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.)

  101. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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!

  102. Cheap Hotel with Large Family Room

    Can you recommend a budget hotel in the Plaka with a family room for 4. Thanks.

  103. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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).

  104. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  105. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  106. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  107. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  108. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  109. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  110. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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).

  111. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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.

  112. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini 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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