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How many days in Athens?

Hello,

This is my second time in Athens. Again, it is the starting point of a cruise in the Mediterranean. I have to decide how long I'll stay in Athens before the cruise begins. I've had to split my stay there into two locations, both near the Acropolis, the first in the

I loved the Dionysiou Areopagitou, did not like Plaka except for the part just below the Acropolis. I deliberately avoided the rest of Athens, it appearing to be a charm-free concrete jungle of cars, ugly contemporary high-rises, etc. I have no interest in nightlife, shopping, either. It's hard to know whether whether quiet cafe-bookstores or small chamber music venues exist in Athens. Or where to find listings of lectures, recitals, other cultural events, etc.

My question is whether 8 days is too long. It would stretch my stay in Europe to almost 4 weeks (I'm traveling alone).

Has anyone stayed in Athens not to do the tourist circuit but just as a place to relax, read, take short walks in the neighborhood, visit a museum or two when the spirit moves them (the Acropolis Museum is splendid)? I felt I didn't have enough time the first time I went (three days) so going back seems to make sense. I could imagine staying in a city I really liked for several weeks. So I wouldn't be a tourist exactly nor a long-term resident. Somewhere in between, I guess. I like to get to know places, at my own pace, and dislike group tours, for the most part.

But I wonder if 8 days is too long and that I'll be impatient hanging around Athens until I go to Piraeus to begin the cruise.

Any thoughts?

Posted by
536 posts

8 days in Athens may seem too long if you do not appreciate the very lively, noisy and polluted atmosphere of this city.
That said, here's something to keep you busy for two days:

If you are looking for a bookstore café, I know one that you might like and which is right next to your favorite neighborhood.
It's the "Little Tree Books and Coffee" 2 Kavalloti street.
It's quiet, open quite late and they have good pastries. Maybe the pastries comes from Takis bakery which is nearby and is the best in Koukaki district which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Athens.
You can also visit the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
which has an impressive library , a very pleasant large park, a huge esplanade where you can sit and have a drink in front of the dancing fountains.

To get there there is a free shuttle with the SNFCC logo which leaves from the bus station in Syntagma Square or from Sigrou Fix (south of Syntagma) or by bus or Trolleybus but it is a little more complicated.
There are also musical, artistic or dance events but you have to look at their agenda.

https://www.snfcc.org/en

Posted by
8611 posts

We have stayed in Athens four days each time we went to Greece. That seemed about right.
Why not go to beautiful, historic Napflion for at least half of those eights days? It is a two hour drive there, rent a car or take a bus. Or fly to Crete for most of that time.

Posted by
406 posts

8 days in Athens may seem too long if you do not appreciate the very lively, noisy and polluted atmosphere of this city.

I've selected two locations, both in neoclassical buildings. Noble Suites seems quite nice but I do not have a room or suite with a terrace/balcony. Kyria Boutique House is the alternative and the suite there is on the first (second floor, U.S.) floor, again without a balcony or terrace. The rooftop terrace is accessed by a spiral staircase. It has a great view of the Acropolis. Some who have stayed complained that it was not open outside of the breakfast hours, but the management asserts the contrary. The suite seems rather dark. Anyway, I chose places that I would feel comfortable for a few days, as I don't want to spend day after day tourist-attraction hunting.

I actually did find the bookstore you mention did scouring Google maps for points of interest close to the Acropolis Museum (a place I could spend a full or half a day in. My immediate reaction was: Fantastic! I'll be popping in over and over.

As I recall, it was spacious, luminous, and had a cafe-restaurant, so I can keep up (reading up) on Greek art and architecture). The Archaeological Museum I did not feel find particularly comfortable but its collection, of course, is first-rate.

Thank you for all the other suggestions and the links. I wish the francophone community had a site the gathered together cultural events.

Posted by
1330 posts

I often happily spend a week or so on my own in Athens. I enjoy staying in a neighbourhood - Pangrati is a favourite - and using local markets, cafes etc. There is a lot of concrete but there is also a lot of variety when you get down to a more local level. It’s really a city which repays getting to know I think.

In terms of listings the best bet, assuming you don’t speak Greek, is probably Ticket Services which has an English translation

https://www.ticketservices.gr/

Athinorama is better for more small scale events but it’s only in Greek. If you were keen it would be possible to look at pictures to see if something is, for example, an orchestra or heavy metal band and then put the text of whichever you prefer through Google translate

If you don’t fancy the city life but still want to spend extra time in Greece you might consider Nafplio. A favourite town of many of us here and only three hours away by bus.

Alan

PS on my version at least the text of your original seemed to jump.

Posted by
406 posts

We have stayed in Athens four days each time we went to Greece. That seemed about right.
Why not go to beautiful, historic Napflion for at least half of those eights days? It is a two hour drive there, rent a car or take a bus.

That IS an idea I hadn't considered before: spending time outside of Athens. The cruise will stop in the Bay of Itea with possibility of excursion at Delphi. I've been a big fan of Greek mythology all my life.

Napflion I've read up on in my guide books. Getting there from the octopus tangle of Athens is the issue but I'm sure it can be done if not comfortably.

Posted by
3720 posts

We stayed in Athens four nights. Two nights before our RS Tour. We felt this was ample time to enjoy what Athens brings. As suggested up thread Nafplion would be wonderful for another several nights! We enjoyed our stay in Athens at Hotel Hera. Short walk to the museums, and the Acropolis. Our favorite restaurant was Mani Mani and just minutes away. Enjoy your planning!

Posted by
1330 posts

Getting to Nafplio is actually fairly straightforward. You can get a taxi from the centre to the bus station for under 20 euros and there are frequent buses. Times are here

https://www.athensguide.com/practicalinfo/busschedulesA.htm

The people in the ticket office, which is on your left as you enter, are used to tourists who don’t speak Greek. Having bought a ticket go past the snack bar and out into the bus garage. The Nafplio stop is across to your left right next to the gate out of the garage.

On the way back ask for a ticket to the metro. The incoming bus makes a stop at a metro station before the bus station, and the direct metro connection saves getting a taxi.

Alan

Posted by
323 posts

If having a balcony is important to you check availability at the AthensWas Design Hotel on Dionysiou Areopagitou. We stayed there and enjoyed the location very much on a shaded pedestrian street near the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. (The name AthensWas is all one word.)

Posted by
996 posts

I always stay a minimum of 2 days in Athens when I go to Greece.

Like any city there are places you don't go to but for the most part I like it.

Athens deserves a minimum of two days with three better. Lots of options for day trips like the nearby island of Aegina or Hydra.

It's very quick and easy to get to Piraeus. It's more than just a place to get a ferry: https://www.destinationpiraeus.com/index.php

Here's a great website for Athens the touristy and non touristy Athens with "hidden" neighborhoods where you'll find more to do in Athens than you think:

https://www.athensguide.com/

I can recommend these areas of Athens to check out:

Anafiotika on the side of the Acropolis. It's like being in a small village in the Cyclades

The Central Markets where you'll probably find food you won't see back home.

Kerameikos Cemetery is way ancient Greeks are buried. Very tranquil and spiritual.

There are more places to check out in Athens but you need to do your research.

Posted by
406 posts

I've almost decided that 8 days is too long to stay in Athens because my cruise starts.

The reasons are:

(1) I'm not fond of tourist hotels (hip, concrete, glass), and the older boutique hotels appear not to be soundproof (from the street or other rooms).

(2) Other than the Metro, I don't want to navigate buses, schedules, etc. I prefer to be on foot, or if I have to, use a taxi (is there Uber?).

So maybe 3 days will be enough, which would allow me to stay in one place rather than move around (an airbnb apartment). I do love Greek food, though. Maybe that's what I'll regret most about not staying longer.

Posted by
35 posts

(2) Other than the Metro, I don't want to navigate buses, schedules, etc. I prefer to be on foot, or if I have to, use a taxi (is there Uber?).
Blockquote

Read this: Uber or Lyft in Athens!

Posted by
1383 posts

I might suggest this Airbnb in the Koukaki neighborhood. It was lovely- spacious, clean, very comfortable. There was a lively cafe across the street, but if you closed the windows and sliders completely insulated and quiet. Excellent air conditioning. Host was extremely accommodating and responsive. I would for sure stay again here. Two balconies, both very nice.

https://abnb.me/N3X19EBEIsb

I also second Nafplio, and the Hotel Omorfi Poli. Lovely location, friendly hosts, excellent breakfast.

https://www.booking.com/Share-2lgCQZ

Posted by
406 posts

I might suggest this Airbnb in the Koukaki neighborhood. It was lovely- spacious, clean, very comfortable. There was a lively cafe across the street, but if you closed the windows and sliders completely insulated and quiet. Excellent air conditioning. Host was extremely accommodating and responsive. I would for sure stay again here. Two balconies, both very nice.

Thank you, AMann. Unfortunately, it's booked. I didn't check back to my posting until this evening. I'll be staying, as it turns out, in Koukaki/Acropolis. The place definitely looks pretty nice.

If this trip goes well, I'd seriously consider coming back regularly to Athens, so maybe the next time...

Posted by
406 posts

Actually, I did decide to stay 8 days in Athens prior to my cruise. I'd like to get to know the city more in depth, as I was fascinated by aspects of it during my first trip there. I was also turned off by the touristy side (Acropolis, Plaka...) and the concrete bunker high rises.

Posted by
536 posts

You don't want the touristic side but you don't like the non-touristy side either while wanting to know the city in depth..

We don't really know what you want.

The world is what it is, it will not change to please you during these 8 days.