Please sign in to post.

Flying into Athens in the evening- rental cars, lodging

Hello,

We are arriving in Athens at 8:15pm on April 8. I wanted to do the often-suggested idea of grabbing a rental car at the airport and heading to Nafplio right off the bat (saving Athens for last). However, the late hour concerns me. I am fairly optimistic about being able to get a rental car at that hour (but does anyone know for sure?), but am concerned about where we can sleep that night. I don't picture hotels/lodging in Nafplio as keeping late hours, but I could be wrong. Anyone have experience with late night travel like this? Thanks!

Posted by
2414 posts

First place, you will be exhausted if u are coming from USA. Also you 've never driven in Greece before, and you want to do it after dark???? Especially when it will take you 45 minutes minimum, maybe more, to get thru passport control, claim bags, & hit the ATM for fomr Euros. No no no bad idea. . MUCH better idea to go to a nearby hotel, have something to eat & crash. Then next AM, have a nice breakfast, back to Airport, pick up car and off you go, on the big intercity highway that skirts Athens & zips you along to the Corinth Canal area. Then you can enjoy the lovely spring morning, catch a glimpse of the sea... if you feel like it, hop off the biggie highway where the sign says "Isthmia" and spend 20 minutes or so at the OLD Bridge... the only way you get a good look at the Corinth Canal (sooo deep sooo skinny). Then back onto big highway, and 15 KM later, hop off on RH side & go 5 miles to See NEMEA -- the overlooked gem, the "Olympia wannabe" Sacred Games site. Ruins, temple columns, FAB stadium with racing-blocks 2300 hrs old -- and NO tourists. Then on to Nafplio by noon.

One good place for o-night, medium-price, is Hotel Avra, http://www.hotelavra.gr/, which has a free shuttle 24/7 (only requirement is, at time of booking, you specify needed to/from shuttle times, so they can plan). It's 25 mins away, right on a beach (in Rafina) has a cafe on premises, or plenty of other tavernas nearby.

Posted by
3079 posts

Our first trip to Greece, we also arrived at the Athens Airport after 8pm. We were heading the next day to Hydra island by ferry, then on to Napflio a couple days later, after renting our car. But that first night, we were really tired.

We stayed at Peri’s Hotel ( https://www.perishotelapt.gr/ ), where they phoned out for a nearby restaurant to deliver a great supper to our room, saving time and energy. We had just enough time to eat, before we absolutely had to get some sleep. Worked well, so we could greet the next day. Peri’s provides an airport shuttle, and could pick you up that first night, then take you back to the airport the next day, if that’s where you’re looking to rent your car. You’d save some overall rental fees by starting your rental on Day 2.

Nemea is, as janet describes, a sight and site to definitely see!

Posted by
19 posts

This is our exact situation, where my husband booked a flight from Chicago and we arrive at 9:00pm. Our first destination is Napflio and so, instead of driving at night - looks like we'll stay at the Sofitel right at the airport as it will be late and we would've been travelling for almost 24 hours with three tween/teens. The amount of $ we will spend on two rooms at the hotel - we could've spent on airfare that had better arrival times.........My husband is insisting on renting the car when we arrive so at to not waste time the next day.

Posted by
3079 posts

If you rent a van, you all could sleep in it, by the side of the road - LOL! Seriously, don’t take jet lag lightly, and Greece is that much farther away from home for most people, than, say, France, Germany, or Italy.

And you’ll discover soon after hitting the road, that many Greek drivers who are coming at you around a blind curve, cut the curve short, and will be aiming at you, driving partially in your lane! It all works out, as long as they get back in their lane before they hit you, but it’s still very unnerving, especially at highway speed. So be ready to take evasive maneuvers if necessary, and it’s best for a driver to be rested and have their wits about them. The old saying, “watch out for the other guy,” holds true in Greece. And that “other guy” might be another tourist, new to Greece, looking for their next turnoff or admiring the scenery while they should be focused on the road!

Posted by
4498 posts

I agree with others, stay in a hotel nearby the airport that evening and head out 1st thing in the morning. Plan to make some stops along the way (Cornith or Epidavros) and you will not be sorry.

Posted by
735 posts

You'll be tired after a long flight. I would not want to rent a car upon landing and driving to Nafplio. Even though the road is good it will still be unfamiliar, dark and it won't be safe.

No problem getting a rental at that time but do the right thing by staying overnight somewhere.

No sure where you got the "often-suggested idea of grabbing a rental car at the airport and heading to Nafplio" from but most experienced travelers would not recommend it. If you were flying to a destination that would be a different thing.

Still at that later time of the night stay overnight.

Posted by
186 posts

If money is not a concern, the Sofitel is a crosswalk away from the airport and you can pick up your car rental with ease the next morning.

Posted by
430 posts

Maybe grab the car at the airport and drive part of the way to Nafplio - say Corinth - and spend the night. Then get up and visit Ancient Corinth, Nemea and Mycenae on your way to Nafplio the next day. Not too far of a drive and you'll probably be a bit "wired" after you land anyway.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks, everyone! We are in agreement with April’s husband—want to get the rental car that night at the airport to avoid returning to the airport the next morning. We then plan to drive only a small part of the way to Nafplio before spending the night, then make the drive to Nafplio in the morning, hitting the suggested sites along the way.

Posted by
2414 posts

If you just want to drive 10-15 minutes away, you can check modest-rate places such as Peris Hotel, or Pantheon Hotel --- or if you go for chains, Holiday Inn Attika, about 20 mins, right on the big highway,

If you are up for driving an hour -- there's a spot half way to the Corinth Canal, right on the Saronic Gulf, called Hotel Cokkino -- http://www.cokkinishotel.com/en/ -- recommended by others on forum. However you'd have to get off the Biggie Highway and follow these directions -- https://www.cokkinishotel.com/en/πρόσβαση-τοποθεσία-hotel-cokkinis/#content -- which could be challenging in the dark. It would mean that you could wake up the next AM & step out on a balcony with a sea view.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the hotel recommendations, Janet. Hotel Cokkinis looks perfect for our first night!