We will be flying from SMF-LAX-LHR. Oct 20 '09. After a 9 hr. layover in London we will arr. in ATH at 2:35am. (ouch) Any advice on getting into ATH at that hour? Also looking for convient lodging close to the port. Not at the port as per advice. We will be taking off for the islands as soon as possible.We are seasoned travelers, but 2:35am!! Any help, greatly appreciated.
There are express buses 24/7/365 from the airport into central Athens (X95) and to the ferry port (X96) of Piraeus. They leave the airport every half-hour or so and cost 3.2 euro. Catch them outside exit/entry door 5 on the arrival level. There's a ticket booth out there. Validate your ticket inside the bus in the little machine. Taxis are also available but will cost you double at that hour, about 70 euro into Athens or to the port.
It'll be around 3:30 by the time you're ready to leave the airport and it'll take about an hour to reach the port. Depending on where you're planning to go by ferry you don't really need to find a hotel. Piraeus isn't exactly a 'nice' place to wait, so I suggest you wait at the airport until about 2 hours before your ferry departs, then take the bus. You can actually buy your ferry tickets at the airport from the travel desk of Amphitrion Holidays in the Main Hall between exit/entry doors 2&3. They're open 24/7.
Great advice from Lee. I would have suggested the same. We just had friends on that London-Athens flight a couple of weeks ago. They stayed at the airport until 6.00 am and then got to the port and caught their boat for Folegandros at 7.30 am. They hung out at the airport which is MUCH SAFER than hanging around in Piraeus at that time of night. If you need a hotel, their is a decent Holiday Inn very close to the airport. Its okay to crash for a night, if need be. Beware of the "cheap" hotels close to Glyfada and Voula. Quite a few are brothels, as our friends found out on their way back to London!