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Suggestions for a layover in Athens

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Dallas, Texas
posts: 4
reviews: 15
Suggestions for a layover in Athens

We're travelling to Santorini in early May 2013. Due to the airlines unexpectedly changing our flights, we now have a longer layover in Athens, arriving at 3am on a Sunday and leaving at 6pm later that day.

We figured we'd tough it out and go without getting a hotel room for the ~3 hours we could sleep. Looking for any suggestions on things to do! What time does the city typically start to wake up (since we'll be arriving so early)? Thanks!

London, United...
posts: 10,374
reviews: 8
1. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

Well, it's your holiday, but if you don't want to stagger around like zombies after a flight from Dallas and then arrive in Santorini completely zonked, I'd seriously consider getting a room and get a few hours' sleep and a shower.

But I'll leave it to the Athenians to give you the early morning ideas you've asked for. The one thing I would say is that - as long as you're awake - stop whatever you're doing and get to the Acropolis a little before it opens at 8, so you can see it in peace and quiet.

Edited: 5:32 pm, February 13, 2013
Dallas, Texas
posts: 4
reviews: 15
2. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

Thanks for the input. We'll actually be coming in from London, so not as bad as a straight flight from Dallas to Athens!

Athens, Greece
Destination Expert
for Peloponnese, Stoupa, Finikounda, Petalidi, Athens
posts: 6,145
reviews: 55
3. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

First thing to think about, if you don't have a through ticket & need to collect your luggage, leave it at the airport,

http://www.aia.gr/flash_files/imap.asp

Pacific storage on the far right of the airport map.

By the time you have come through, got your bags & then stored them I would grab a coffee, then get the bus into the centre (Syntagma square). You could watch the changing of the guard if you arrive somewhere near on the hour, there will be no crowds that early, although being a Sunday the one to see is the full ceremony at 11am. (Be there by at least 10.30 for that, it gets very busy).

Alabastron's suggestion of making sure you are at the Acropolis gate just before opening, you get up there without the crowds or the heat.

Once you have done that it is up to you how much more you feel able to fit in, you will already have the Acropolis ticket, which has all the others attached to visit any of the sites you wish. There is also the Acropolis museum of course (separate ticket, 5 euro) & the opportunity to have a chill out lunch up there with a view to the Acropolis.

You will need to get a bus back to the airport around 3.30-4pm to give you plenty of time to retrieve your luggage & check in for the Santorini flight.

Athens, Greece
posts: 595
reviews: 8
4. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

I'd get the bus straight in to Syntagma, then at the bottom of the square, grab a coffee and some breakfast at the cafe called Everest (24hrs open), next to McDonalds. Wander up to Parliament and catch the 5am or 6am changing of the guards - it will be perfect, you'll be about the only ones there (later in the day, it's very crowded). Then (since sights open at 8am) wander to sights that can be seen without them being open. Zappeion - Kalimarmaro Stadium - Temple of Zeus, Hadrian's arch. This should eat up another hour or so. Then once the sights open at 8, you'll have plenty to do.

Also note there is a military parade in front of Parliament at 11am, which you may or may not want to catch....

5. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

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Edited: 6:09 am, February 14, 2013
London, United...
posts: 10,374
reviews: 8
6. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

London-Athens IS better than Dallas-Athens. No jet-lag, at least, but it's a four-hour flight, and you'll still have been up all night. I think I'd want a shower, if not a nap!

You might be able to do that at the airport if you want to:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189400-i194-k1995…

athensairport-2001.gr/athens_airport_lounges…

But I can see why you wouldn't want to waste a minute. I wouldn't either, and you've had good advice from Yiassas and Panionara.

I've got one idea to add. Athens in the very early morning is simply wonderful. I think I'd wander around Anafiotika as the sun rises. Anafiotika is the cluster of little white houses you can see on the slope of the Acropolis hill. You can reach it by heading uphill towards the Acropolis from Plaka (just keep going up until you can't go any further). It's like being in a Greek island village, and magical in the early morning light.

Athens, Greece
Destination Expert
for Peloponnese, Stoupa, Finikounda, Petalidi, Athens
posts: 6,145
reviews: 55
7. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

Anafiotika at sunrise, great idea!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
posts: 30,055
reviews: 33
8. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

Hey and welcome alirom27:-) Great advise.. I echo all the great suggestions! Just to add something to the mix.. if possible for you to change your tickets on the flight to Santorini?;-) Assuming you are looking at a flight.. both www.olympicair.com/ www.aegeanair.com/ usually have a super early morning flight out around 6a.. thereabouts.. would be a perfect connection;-) IMO, may be worth the change fee, whatever, to just head out directly and get your vaca started at a more relaxed pace on the isle?;-) Am assuming you've already alloted some time for Athens at the end for a bit?;-) Just some food for thought! Have fun.. and enJOY!

Portsmouth, United...
posts: 4
9. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

You may need to get a taxi to the centre of Athen at that time of the night- the service buses from the airport don't start running till 5am ish. I get the flight from London to Athens which is at 22.15 and arrives at Athens airport at 4am ish and i usually have a coffe while i wait for the 1st service bus, as the taxi is expensive.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
posts: 30,055
reviews: 33
10. Re: Suggestions for a layover in Athens

Hey SAR2526:-) If you mean the dedicated airport express bus X95 to Syngagma Square.. they do run 24/7 .. maybe not as often during the wee hours of the night, but do run round the clock.. unless something has changed?;-) If something did, am sure the locals would have advised;-) Keep enJOYin' all!