Athens & Mykonos - Trip Report

Jun 2nd, 2002, 08:34 AM
  #1  
Bill
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Athens & Mykonos - Trip Report

We flew to Athens from Glasgow (via Amsterdam) with KLM. Unusually for this route, which we have taken a good number of times, there were no delays and we arrived at the new Athens Airport at Spata close to 19.00

The airport itself is large and impressive with amazingly fast baggage reclaim even though a number of flights had arrived close together. What was especially good was not being ‘bussed’ from the aircraft to the terminal as used to happen at the old Hellenikon airport. After retrieving out baggage, we walked out of Arrivals into the new terminal. In front of us was a line of banks and exchange offices (all open). Two ATM machines were available. My bank debit card (Cirrus) was accepted no problem and I was now the proud owner of my first set of euro notes. This part of the Arrivals terminal is well signposted for bus and taxi services and we reached those, just outside the main doors, in less than a minute.

As we were tired after a long journey, we decided to get a taxi to our hotel in the centre of Athens. In approx 40 minutes, we were deposited in Omonia Square. Unfortunately, the taxi driver did not know the hotel or the street it was located in and as my directions were obviously pretty bad we asked that he take us to Omonia instead. I was confident that I could then find our way to the hotel as it should only be a short 10-minute stroll from the square. After still trying to get our bearings for a few minutes (the square has changed greatly due to major construction work for the new Metro), the taxi driver re-appeared and hustled us back into his cab. He’d spoken with some other cab drivers who had given him proper(!) directions to the hotel. The cost of the cab was 18 euro.
 
Jun 2nd, 2002, 08:36 AM
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bill
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Hotel Stanley (http://www.agn.gr/hotels/stanley/stanley.htm) is an old friend of ours and we stayed there a number of times. We had dinner already reserved (done online) in their rooftop restaurant and were not disappointed. Excellent food under the stars with a backdrop of the floodlit Acropolis. The meal for two cost around 50 euro and our lodging (including breakfast) was 120 euro (online rate).

We took a taxi back to the airport in the morning to catch our flight to Mykonos at noon. No queues at the Olympic check-in and four desks were manned. The flight left right on time at 12:00 and the aircraft was a two-propeller ATR72. The trip to the island took only 30 minutes, was comfortable and we arrived at the islands newly re-furbished airport. Again, luggage retrieval seems to have improved and in a few minutes we were outside the terminal to catch a cab to our hotel (www.rochari.com). The journey time was about 8 minutes, the cost six euro. The Rochari (another favourite) is in the town district of the same name.

Mykonos town was very busy with thousands of Greek students who were enjoying their last day of the annual trip to the island (an after-term holiday excursion every May). The town looked fresh and welcoming, full of dazzling whites and blues, windmills and pelicans. Daytime temperatures were hitting 28 degrees but the sea was a bit too cold to swim in! It also got chilly in the evenings and some warmer clothes needed.

The next three days were spent strolling through the very beautiful main town, catching up with old friends, and enjoying way too many Greek coffees. I did not notice any real increase in costs since the introduction of the euro although the general feeling amongst other travellers was that goods were slightly more expensive. One restaurant I’d recommend was called Passaggio’s in the Rochari district. Very good food in an extremely pleasant location and sheltered from the breeze coming in off the sea. Staff was helpful and courteous and the bill came to only 60 euro for a dinner for two.
 
Jun 2nd, 2002, 08:38 AM
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bill
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During our time on the island, we visited Ag Yainnis (10 minutes by taxi from the town and a pleasant trip to a very quiet part of the island) where much of the movie Shirley Valentine was filmed. Our last night on Mykonos we spent at a Name Day celebration in a traditional Greek farmhouse owned and run by a local family, friends of ours for years. That in itself was a great experience as was the food, much of it fresh from the farm. Oh, the starter was a Mykonian delicacy, sea urchin. Definitely an acquired taste!!!!

Our flight back to Athens on the Wednesday morning was at 06.55 to give us a full days sightseeing in Athens before our journey home to the UK on Thursday. Flight again was on time and for the first time during any of the inter-island flights we’ve taken over a number of years we had a great commentary from the pilot who helpfully pointed out the islands such as Naxos, Tinos, and Syros.

Returning to the Hotel Stanley we decided this time to use the bus service from Athens airport to the city centre. We used the Express Line E95 service to Syntagma Square and the ticket cost was only 2.9 euro. The great thing was that the ticket is valid for ONE journey to or from the airport plus unlimited journeys on Athens buses, trains, trolleys, and metro for the rest of the day. This was a good deal for us as our day had been planned to take in the major sites such as Syntagma Square, Plaka, the Acropolis, and Kerameikos in particular and having the metro system to those areas (or closeby) really helped. We did get to visit all of them too. There is now a 10 euro multi-ticket available at the Acropolis which gives access to the major sites including Kerameikos and the Greek Agora. Again, due to the time of year, most of the sights were quiet and there were no lines.

We had a light lunch in the Plaka which was cheap and cheerful at only 10 euro a head and enjoyed just sitting in a small square under the trees watching the world go by. That evening about 10pm, our final one, we returned to the Plaka to soak in its unique atmosphere but found that almost all the shops were closed. Again, we were reminded that it was still low-season. Our dinner on the Wednesday evening was at Virtues Restaurant in Karaiskaki Sq and its cost was only 55 euro for two. I recommend it.
 
Jun 2nd, 2002, 08:39 AM
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bill
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We returned home from Athens mid-afternoon the following day. What folks here may be interested in is that the only restaurant we could find at the airport was a McDonald’s. A very nice McDonalds though that had a dining area with spectacular views of aircraft taking off and landing. Departure security was tighter than I had ever seen before and just after we had been searched, we were handed a questionnaire seeking our opinions on the security procedures and staff helpfulness.

Happy to answer any questions you may have.
 
Jun 2nd, 2002, 01:45 PM
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Sheila
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As you know, Bill, we went through the new Athens airport in both directions and had much the same experience as you. We had 1hr 20 minutes to make a connection at 3 in the morning and were worried about it. We did the whole thing in less than 20 minutes.

Much more worrying was the McDonalds factor

Glad you had such a good time. What dates were you away?
 
Jun 2nd, 2002, 02:58 PM
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bill
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hi Sheila

It was just a short trip this time - Saturday 18th to Thursday 23rd May.

Bill
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 05:45 AM
  #7  
Julie
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Very useful report. I'm sure lots of people will appreciate the info about the new airport. Thorough info on connections, prices, etc. Your time on Mykonos sounded wonderful. Thanks.
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 12:35 PM
  #8  
Ronnie Frey
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Bill

Thanks for the information. ws helpful as we will be traveling to Athens and maybe some islands in July. we only have 1 week so notsure if we will make it to mykonas but you have made it sound very intresting.
 
Jun 7th, 2002, 08:19 AM
  #9  
jane
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Can I ask please how much the tickets were from Athens to Mykonos? Is there a bus service fromn Mykonos airport to the town centre?
 
Jun 7th, 2002, 11:56 AM
  #10  
Bill
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Jane

We used Expedia and the cost of the round-trip tickets from Athens to Mykonos was ninety pounds.

I'm not aware of a bus from the airport to the town but a few years ago Olympic did have a service. I'm not so sure that it is still operating. Taxis are very cheap to the town centre as it's only a few miles. Also, if you have already booked accommodation chekc with your hotel as they might provide transport. There were many hotel mini-buses waiting at the terminal for their guests.
 
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