Hello. My spouse and I found great prices to Athens the beginning of December, roundtrip from our airport to Athens for the two of us under $1,000! Couldn't pass it up. We've never been to Greece, but have been to most of the other countries in Europe. I realize this isn't the "ideal" time for most to go to Greece, but we're okay with whatever the weather delivers. For first timers to Athens, where would be the best area for us to stay. Two adults, mid 50's, don't mind walking. Any advice for be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
How long do you have? Athens is a sprawl. RS recommends getting in, seeing the biggies, and getting out. We were there in 2009 on the RS tour and stayed at The Acropolis Select Hotel. Small, well situated, walking distance to the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the metro which can take you to the excellent archeological museum. But, you should consider 2-3 days in Athens then moving on. And, if you use the metro it's pickpocket central, so wear a money belt, nothing in your pocket you're not prepared to lose. Lot's to see in Greece. We enjoyed the island of Hydra, a short ferry ride from Athens, (overnight there if you can, charming in the morning), the town of Napflion, a few hours away and so much more. Much depends on how much time you have.
We'll have seven full days. We want to stay in Athens with possible day trips from Athens.
Then consider Napflion (Napflio) and Delphi as well as the islands of Hydra and Aegina both of which are reachable by ferry or hydrofoil. You'll need a car or book tours for non-island day trips. If you can pry yourselves away from Athens you could stay elsewhere and circle back to depart from Athens.
Most first timers stay in Plaka, the (mainly) pedestrianised area just under the Acropolis. It has a number of hotels and restaurants. We quite like the Phaedra Hotel
If you’re happy to be a few minutes walk away then it might be worth looking at the Attalos
These are just a couple of thoughts but there are dozens of others in the area.
Alternatively, if you want to be somewhere a bit more off the beaten track, it is worth looking at Airbnb apartments. There are a lot available in Athens at the moment. Two areas worth checking are Ano Petralona - near the Acropolis but still a neighbourhood - and Pangrati - a bit further out but giving a real idea of Greek life.
Have a great trip.
A budget for accommodations is always helpful for recommendations. There are a huge number of places to stay in all the popular areas: Monistiraki Square, Sygtagma Square, Plaka, etc. at budgets for everyone.
If you are a savvy and budget minded traveler I would recommend the Attalos Hotel On Athinas St. Clean, safe and centrally located to everything one goes to Athens for. Superb roof-top bar/garden with outstanding views of the Acropolis and all of Athens. Obviously there are a lot of other options but it's our go-to-place every time in Athens.
December will not be hot, let alone warm, but it may be better than where you live (depending on where you live of course)
Athens is Athens, a city of millions so everything is open but there'll be far less tourists which may make it ideal. Fewer tourists at the Acropolis, Agora, Kerimikos Cemetery and all the other usual tourists spots may make it far more enjoyable than having to deal with pushing and shoving tourists.
Lots of non-touristy areas to explore and wander around. Museums, tavernas, shops, and expecially the Central Markets on Athinas St. Don't overlook Anafiotika on the north side of the Acropolis.
Check out Matt's Athens Survival Guide for lots to do:
Thanks Alan and TommyK. Not sure with AirBnB. Had a bad experience in Norway not long ago. Both of you have recommended the Attalos Hotel. Will definitely look at that. Our budget is approx. $150 a night but less is always better. Thought about getting a room with a balcony, but in December doubt we'll be sitting on it much. We're not in our room much for anything other than sleeping and showering but would still like comfort, breakfast and in a centrally located, safe area. I have a friend who went to Athens in July a few years ago.......oh my, the crowds touring the Acropolis!! Too many people! My friend stated a few people had fainted from the heat. The weather doesn't bother me, unless I was planning on swimming (which we're not) we're fine with cold weather. Deal with it every winter here. Had thought about trying to go to one of the island from Athens for the day, am confused by how easy or difficult that would be. I'm sure there will be enough in Athens for us to do for 8 days but if we could go to a Greek island for the day, that would be nice.
Candi: You can get an outstanding deal at the Attalos far below your budget. December will have very low prices for 2. Check out the Website and do a test booking and you'll be amazed at the cost. Even a room with a balcony is a bargain for December. Who knows, you may luck out and have a sunny mild December day to spend a little time on the balcony.
Look for lots of hotel choices at booking.com. We liked the Herodion, just south of the Acropolis and west of the new Acropolis Museum, with nearby pedestrian streets and Metro station. But there are many choices and I think you'll be OK in your price range that time of year.
There's a lot to see in Athens, you could fill your week with extra time for cafes and exploring. Or consider Nafplion and/or Delphi. Both are possible as day trips but better as overnights. Getting between them takes awhile though and is best done with your own car. Hydra is one option for a nearby island, but Aegina is closer. The islands won't be as appealing in December as in the warmer months -- personally I'd skip them.
Nice move to snag that great airfare. You really can't go wrong. And if you're used to NYC weather you should be OK in Greece, especially Athens.