This was a trip I took a couple of years ago, and some details (such as flights to Greece) may have changed. However, the hotel and ferry sailings are still the same today. Also, any prices for fares have been updated.
An early start for the 6.30 flight from Edinburgh airport to Athens. This was the first part of a two-city trip which would include Rome. The EasyJet flight to Athens International airport was on time and uneventful. I took the train from the airport station to Larissis station (1e40) in the city centre from there it was a 30-minute walk to the Plaka hotel. There is also a metro link to the centre which would have been more convenient, but I prefer the train.
The Hotel has now been upgraded since I stayed there but there is still the rooftop terrace and bar with views towards the Acropolis and over the city. Night time view from the roof top terrace The hotel is also central for the shopping district of Monastiraki with artisan shops and stalls as well as the restaurants and taverns.
There is also a famous flea market here and the metro station is under the square. Walking to the Acropolis from the hotel takes about 15 minutes or about an hour when stopping for coffee on the way. It is quite a climb up the hill, but it is well worth it. The ticket price into the site is about 20e depending on the tour you take. It is advisable to take water and a good pair of shoes if you are walking although there is a metro station at the eastern end of the site.
Athens from the Acropolis
Theatre of Dionysus Eleutherius
After about an hour and a half, I returned down the hill after visiting the museum and had a late lunch.
Later in the afternoon, I had a drink next to Syntagma square and visited the Olympic Stadium. The heat was quite fierce, so it was very pleasant to sit with a drink on the rooftop terrace after dark.
My last full day in Greece (it was only a two-day stopover), so it was time to leave the city. I took a train to the Port of Piraeus, a journey of about 15 kilometres to catch the 8.50 Flying Dolphin to Aegina (30e return).
The journey takes about 40 minutes.
Port of Piraeus
Aegina is an island close to Athens, so it was perfect for a day trip. The ferry back to Athens was at 16.00 hrs so I had the whole day to explore Aegina town. There are some cruise ships that call in to the port during the season from May to October.
The town is just a walk over the road from the port and there is transport should you wish to visit the beaches dotted around the island. A lot of Athenians come here to get away from the city and it can become very busy at the weekends. After a walk along the shore, I went for a beer at the Alvi bar and restaurant. In fact, I spent quite a long time here talking to the locals. The garden is ideal for relaxing over a drink and a meal. There are many other restaurants all along the waterfront.
Too soon it was time to take the ferry back to Piraeus and head back into Athens. A quiet last night before back to the airport tomorrow for the trip to Rome. A full-on culture fest this week!