Monday 17 September 2018

10 THINGS TO KNOW: Athens, Greece

  1. Watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding. For reals though. Even though their Greek characters were based in America, some of their characteristics are so similar. Our taxi driver would say jokes to us on our drive from and back to the airport and he said them so flatly but while smiling that we weren't sure if he was joking or not. Just like in the movie when the brother and cousin said to Ian: "We're gonna kill ya!" while smiling. Not sure if they're joking, not sure if they're serious. Humour is different guys... but you just smile through it and hope they really are joking!
  2. Stay somewhere close to a Metro station. It will open up your exploration because they all connect to each other. All trains and stations have everything in Greek and English with the train announcements also being in both.
  3. Like in our family review, do not buy a ticket to the Acropolis at the ticket office outside the Acropolis! Buy a 'Special Ticket' which is only €10 more than the usual Acropolis entry cost. Buy the 'Special Ticket' at one of the other sites included in the special ticket (e.g. Hadrian's Library where there is never a line). Then when you're ready to see the Acropolis, use your Special Ticket you have already bought to go straight through to the Acropolis entry without waiting in line for a ticket.
  4. Summer is busy. Especially at the Acropolis. Try to avoid going to the Acropolis during summer. We did find that the rest of Athens wasn't overly crowded considering it was summer. 
  5. They do not charge for water if you ask for it at a restaurant. Nor do they charge extra for sitting like they do in Italy. 
  6. They do not have Deliveroo or any one food delivery service. Nearly all takeaways have delivery but they have their own individual ones and it's old school calling for a delivery - except Dominoes. They do have an online delivery service but you need a Greek mobile number. We didn't get delivery as everything was so close anyway.
  7. A lot of the food places in Athens are open until extremely late at night to sometimes 2 or 4am! Perfect for the midnight food cravings!
  8. TRANSPORT: Uber says they are up and running in Athens but after doing some research online, we found there were complications between Greece and Uber and it can make it difficult for Uber to run in Athens. There are some hit and miss stories where some have used Uber and been successful (with some off-the-side contract signage in case the driver is stopped by authorities) and some have tried using Uber and have gotten nowhere. We were lucky with our host to have a taxi organised for us for pick up from the airport and we were able to keep his details and organise a pick up from our apartment back to the airport. It may be more expensive than Uber, but with the hit and miss stories we preferred to use a taxi driver we knew would be there for us. And he was... at 4am! Instead of using Uber, there is an app that locals use for taxis called Taxi Beat. It is just like Uber but for all the taxi drivers (most taxi drivers do not belong to one taxi company). The only difference with this app is that sometimes, even with the app, payment is still to be made directly to the driver in cash. Also transport related, there is usually a flat fee for taxi drivers to take you within certain areas of Athens. That fee rises when it's early in the morning. Be aware of that as well. There is a train that takes you directly to the airport which is €10 each but if you are in a party of 3 or more, it's cheaper to get a taxi for a flat fee of €35 to the Athens city area without hauling your luggage to the train.
  9. Just like Italy, their produce section is different. In Italy, there is a machine in the produce section where you print the price sticker and stick it on the produce bag yourself before going to the check out. In Athens, there is a worker in the produce section who weighs and prints the label for you. Bear in mind, it may not be all supermarkets so just observe when going into the produce areas while in Athens and see what everyone else does before going to the check out! Also, like in everywhere we've been in Europe, plastic bags are not free. You bring your own bags or buy their reusable ones.
  10. You do not need to know Greek to travel there successfully. It's definitely helpful but you can survive without it - but learn the basic manners at least. Most people in the tourist areas and food places can speak English. Every ticketing machine and sign is also in both Greek and English as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment