Please sign in to post.

hotel near Athens Airport and drive or not

I am booking places for our May/June trip to Greece and am trying to decide about our last night. We will be driving a rental car from Meteora back to Athens. We can either return it the day before we leave or the morning of our flight for no difference in cost. We are talking to Athens Rental Car who we rented from before. Our flight is at 9:20 am on Tuesday June 7.

I am considering staying at Avra Hotel in Rafina which does have a shuttle service. So my questions are:

If we stayed there, should we return car and rely on shuttle service? My husband wondered about how difficult the drive is between Rafina and airport. I wondered how often the shuttle service runs. We would need to take it both ways if we return the car.

In reading reviews about Avra Hotel, the most positive comments are around the shuttle service. So I wonder if there somewhere else you would recommend, if we have a vehicle. I would like somewhere we can walk around and get dinner but not be too far from the airport.

Posted by
2119 posts

When we left Athens, we just went ahead and stayed at the Sofitel for our early morning flight. I know it’s pricier but it sure was simple to walk across the street to our flight. If you decide to go this route, keep checking prices on the Sofitel website. I was able to adjust down about $100 by being vigilant as our trip approached.

Posted by
21665 posts

You indicate a 9.20 am flight. Is it a direct flight back to US or connecting flight in Europe? Either way you need to be in the airport somewhere between 6.30 and 7 or so. Will the car rental be open for a return at that hour? Personally, I would return it the night before just in case there is a problem in the morning. I prefer to eliminate all potential problems on the day of departure.

Posted by
3254 posts

BethFl, Like Valerie we opted to stay the night at the lovely Sofitel Hotel next to the airport. We returned to Athens from Santorini. We had a good nights sleep & enjoyed a delicious leisurely breakfast before the short walk across to the airport. There are several restaurants at the airport or at the Sofitel. I booked the hotel months in advance and snatched a “good deal.” We didn’t feel it was worth staying in the city again since we had stayed 5 nights prior to our tour. Great to hear you are returning to Greece. Looking forward to your trip report!

Posted by
1593 posts

Another vote for returning the car the night before given your early flight and need to be at the airport at zero dark thirty. It would certainly be less stressful on that travel day. We also opt to stay at a hotel right at the airport. It may cost a bit more but definitely worth it.

Posted by
964 posts

Hi Beth. We stayed at the Sofital and Avra over the years. Sofital is so convenient and it gives you an extra half hour of sleep beforee you have to get tot eh departures.

Avra is quite nice. Its 200 meters from a beach about 400 meters to the ferry terminal and is right beside the main central square where you will find locals, kids and tavernas. Its price will likely be half what the Sofital .

As I recall we had an earlier flight than you do and the Shuttle service times their departures according to the flight schedules. It takes about half an hour for teh commute.

Posted by
1645 posts

Stanbr-- would you take shuttle from Avra or keep rental car. I was thinking less waiting with car. We drove rental car on Santorni to the ferry port from Oia and it was easier than dealing with shuttle. But maybe returning to Athens airport would be more difficult?

I have stayed at an airport hotel before and while convenient, I would prefer not to. I just don't like spending last night in Europe in a hotel room.

We are flying to Zurich from Athens and then on to Miami.

Posted by
1299 posts

Beth

Pre Covid we stayed in the Avra a couple of times a year. It’s comfortable and has a good breakfast. The one downside is that you can get a bit of noise from ferries revving up early in the morning.

The shuttle is very reliable. They set off hourly on the hour from the hotel and the trip takes around 30 minutes. The first trip is at 3 in the morning. There are details here

https://www.hotelavra.gr/uploads/editorfiles/files/avra_hotel_shuttle_bus.pdf

Rafina is a nice little town with a number of nice restaurants. We always enjoy a last meal out on the square, with plenty of Greek life, the night before leaving Greece.

Cheers
Alan

Posted by
2812 posts

One thing to note about Avra shuttle... for it to be free, they do want you at time of room booking to also indicate use of shuttle, and timea you will need it. THat's so they'll be sure to be staffed for that time .... i.e., if no one's taking it to airport before 6 am, it won't have to run at 3, 4 & 5 am. And if u are landing late & need a shuttle at 11 pm, they need to know that in advance. Seems like a very reasonable request.

Posted by
1645 posts

Thanks for all the input. It has changed my thinking but in an unexpected way.

My husband is like the majority here who would prefer an airport hotel for a 9:20 am flight while I really want to have one last night in Greece. We had stayed in town for a 7 am flight out of Naples five years ago so I really wasn't expecting this reaction. (Of course, there was no airport hotel so no choice.) The $315 a night cost for Sofitel on booking.com helped persuade him to my preference.

But I have not actually bought airline tickets. I was waiting for a new credit card I want to use to arrive this week. There is an alternative that goes through Dulles that leaves at 12 pm. It only has a two hour layover which is why I had eliminated it. But we have Global Entry and my brother in law lives in area if we do in fact get stranded. My husband was much keener on this option if we don't stay in the airport hotel.

So we will leave later and stay in Rafina. (And choose seats in the front of the plane!)

Posted by
2812 posts

Good for you Beth, knowing how to deal with a stubborn spouse. So much nicer on last night, sitting in the little Rafina square under a tree, rather than outside that Soulless Sofitel, staring out on airport flatlands!

Posted by
1645 posts

Well, everyone has different risk tolerances and preferences. It is clear that if I want to spend the last night of a trip enjoying Europe I need to book mid day not morning flights.

In this case, procrastination worked in our favor.