A few days in Greece, advice please

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Jan 15th, 2006, 11:08 AM
  #1
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A few days in Greece, advice please

Another couple (that we've traveled with before) and my husand and I are spending a few days in Greece before heading off to Egypt. We arrive in Athens November 10 around 6:30 p.m, and leave either the 13th or 14th (haven't decided yet) on the EgyptAir 1:35 p.m. flight).

We'd like to relax and get a flavor of Greece for those few days. Would it be best to stay in Athens for those days, take day trips, or what? Our budget is somewhat limited. One couple in mid-fifties, the other mid-sixties, fit, active, adventurous, experienced travelers, but also able to relax and watch the world go by.

I've been researching budget/clean/central hotels and apartments, and have a few in mind, but advice on this would also be welcome. As this is the beginning of a trip we'll still be talking to each other! so sharing wouldn't be a problem.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 11:42 AM
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There's plenty to see and do for three days in and around Athens. Day trips to the closest islands, Aegina and Hydra will only take a couple of hours.

Advice on hotels would be easier if you stated your budget considerations.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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Eve -- My husband and I spent a few days in Athens and stayed at The Attalos Hotel near the Plaka. It runs about $90-$100/night for a double, and has a lovely rooftop bar that looks at the Acropolis (with a nice inexpensive beer for a nice end-of-day lounge). The Attalos has a very helpful, friendly staff, and clean comfortable basic rooms.

I would stay in Athens for the three nights you have and look at a day trip out of the city.

The only downside to Athens is the pollution -- the smog is 10x worse than the worst day here in the Mile High City with a nice big fat inversion on us -- if you're from Colorado you know all about our old brown cloud.

Happy travels,

Jules
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Jan 15th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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The Attalos Hotel has a range of room quality, but "basic" certainly fits all of them. I've been in a room so small I could barely get around the bed to get into the bathroom (also tiny) and I've had one that was very large with an equally large balcony and Acropolis view. Since we used both rooms just to sleep, it didn't matter. The rooftop bar is wonderful whether you're staying there or not. One of my greatest memories of Greece is sitting outside that bar, and the full moon rose over the mountain at the same time the lights came on at the Acropolis. Unbelievably gorgeous!
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Jan 15th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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I have never been to Athens in Nov however on several trips in May I have never noticed the air pollution to be too bad. I suspect that Nov will be more like May.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Wow -- help already!

Brotherleelove2004: I was hoping you would reply--I've been reading your good advice to other travelers. Our budget would ideally be under $100 per night per couple. The more under the better--clean, cheap, central and cheerful.

I was getting confused with all the trips advertised, and they seemed to be more extensive and comprehensive than what we should do on our first trip to Greece/Athens. I'm glad to hear day trips would be possible for us, and would be more low key and relaxing. Should we wait until we get to Athens to book? Should we take organized tours, or can we use public transportation easily for these day trips?

Jules: I hadn't found that hotel; looks ideal both location and pricewise. Great to hear from a fellow Coloradoan. Why aren't you watching football? 15 minutes to go. Hope Pittsburgh wins so the Broncos can play this next most important playoff game in Denver.

Postal: Thanks for confirming Jules recommendation. You gave me goosebumps reading your description. Getting so excited--can't wait for next November.

Stanbr: As you have made several trips to Athens, what is your recommendation for getting to and from the airport?
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Jan 15th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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I add my vote for the Attalos, especially since it was refurbished for the Olympics. But there are plenty of hotels in this price range in the Plaka Area.

http://www.thesaurus.gr/athens_hotels_plaka.htm

Yes, you can wait until you get to Athens to book. Ask at your hotel for recommendations or find a travel agency nearby for assistance. Public transportation inside the city is very efficient, and obviously if you go over to one of the nearby islands you'll be taking a ferry from Piraeus.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 03:34 PM
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While I've read about air pollution in Athens and heard stories from fellow travelers, during my one three-day stay in October 2000, the sky was a perfect blue. So clear skies are possible.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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I've been in Athens when the SMOG was so bad it made me sick enough to have to lie down with a blinding headache and a sore throat. And when I left Piraeus on the ferry by the time the ship was about 10 miles from port all you could see was a thick brown haze, nothing on shore was visible. It was as if Athens had disappeared! If anyone goes to Athens in August, BE PREPARED!!!
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Jan 15th, 2006, 10:46 PM
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Smog seems to be a problem in the summer. You are not going to see much of a problem in November.
There is a new metro subway line from the airport to the Plaka area of Athens. It's called the blue line. It is 12 euros for two people. It takes about 45 minutes from the airport to the Monastraki station. The Monastraki station is about a 2 minute walk to Attalos hotel. For $100 per night you you will have trouble finding a better hotel in Athens, for location economy and value than Attalos. It's not a 4 star hotel but on a budget I havn't found a better value. Four 2 couples at this price you can both take separate rooms and still be talking in the morning.

My advice is if you have only 3 days stay in the Plaka area of Athens. There is more stuff to do than you will be able to handle in that time.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:06 AM
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I also stayed at the Attalos and agree that for that price it is a very good choice with an ideal location. Very close to the Plaka, the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the Monastiraki flea market (Sundays), the Psiri neighborhood for restaurants, and the Central Market. All worthwhile places to spend your time in Athens.

If you day trip to the islands, it is easy and inexpensive to take a ferry on your own from Piraeus. We picked Aegina, which has a beautiful temple and a picturesque port. There are one day cruises from the tour companies that visit three islands including Aegina, but these are much more expensive.

During my visit in March, there was no visible pollution problem. You can check out my pictures on line at:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-b9k6sz


My trip report is at:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34589254
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Jan 16th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Evecolorado -- don't worry. I watched more football this weekend than probably any other woman in the state, if not the entire country. Being from Seattle, it was a very good weekend of for this household. I barely missed a snap.

But nevermind the Hawks, GO BRONCOS.

Jules
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