|Colin Murison Small's|
If you have not been there for a few years, you will be surprised to see how the city has changed. Gone is the smog – still plenty of traffic, but smart new trolley-buses, trams and above all a metro (as spacious, clean and smart as Moscow’s) which serves the airport. The narrow streets of the Plaka area still fascinate and the views of and from the Acropolis (now with brand new museum) are fabulous.
OA from Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick; easyJet from Luton and Gatwick; BA from Heathrow.
Pedestrian areas have expanded greatly, making boutique shopping and al fresco eating and drinking less hazardous; indeed open-air eating is one of the joys – you can often have lunch outside even in January. Good centre for day excursions by coach and boat. Terrific choice of restaurants – the Psirri area is the place to go now, rather than the Plaka. Athens has become as pleasant as most Euro capitals – and sunnier than almost all. Watching the Greeks – just as they watch you – can be fun.
The traffic can still be noisy and slow. The waiters often seem to have majored in off-handedness but it doesn’t spoil the food (though the chef may already have done so).
A wealth of museums, most of them beautifully modernised. If you tire of palely loitering we can introduce you to a local company who have devised a great variety of imaginative activities, ranging from tours of Athens on foot (including a 460 BC themed walk led by two actors), by bicycle or minibus with really informative guides. There is an unusual trip to the ancient silver mines at Lavrion; cycling, walking and hiking on Mt. Hymettus; and even bungy jumping, rafting and canoeing in various locations within easy reach of Athens.
Enquire about: flights + accom'n at St George Lykabettus
& Hotel Achilleas
Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Hotel Arion
Hotel Plaka's roof terrace
These are two more hotels under the same management. Just moments away from Monastiraki metro station and almost as close to the ancient agora, the hotel has a stunning roof terrace with wonderful views of the Acropolis.
*** Air-con, TV, fridge, safe-box, hair-drier. B&B.
Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Hotels Plaka & Hermes
Hotel Athens Centre Square
This recently renovated hotel of 54 rooms is equidistant from Monastiraki and Omonia metro stations, so very convenient. It overlooks the bustling fruit market and is just across the road from the fish market, within which you can track down one or two traditional tavernas - no frills, but excellent food. There are panoramic views from its roof.
*** Air-con, free WiFfi, fridge. TV.
Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Hotel Athens Centre Square
Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Blue Sky Hotel
Enquire about: flights + accom'n at Fenix Hotel