I flew to Athens from Edinburgh via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. The first flight was on 25th December and the other at 01.15 on the 26th. Both were excellent.
I had a long wait between flights in Istanbul, but that is part of the price you pay for getting a flight on Christmas Day. The cost was £206. It included my checked in bag (30kg) and I had an emergency exit seat on the 1st leg – it was not booked but TK put me there to let a family sit together in the row I had chosen.
TK has in flight entertainment on its flights out of Edinburgh, and serves a full complimentary meal with drinks. Both are good quality.
My flight home on 1st January was on easyJet, and direct. It cost €228. That price includes the extra cost of a checked in bag (15kg) and an emergency exit seat to give extra legroom. Needless to say easyJet does not provide free catering, nor any in flight entertainment.
Had I been able to book earlier I know I would have been able to get a much cheaper deal on flights, but I was held back while waiting for my employer to decide what the office arrangements would be for the end of December.
I stayed in the Sofitel at Athens Airport on the night I arrived. My flight got in at about 2am, which is to late to take the metro into the city. The cost was €141, without breakfast. It is literally across the street from the airport, so ideal in the circumstances. Breakfast is an eye-watering €25.
Most of my time was in an Airbnb apartment in the Koukaki neighbourhood. It cost £321 for 6 nights. I could not fault it. It was ideal, and just as advertised. It is located a short walk from Syngrou-fix metro station, making travel to and from the airport quite simple.
I took the metro from and to the airport. It takes around 40 minutes to/from Syntagma Square. The cost was €10 each way. The service is only every 30 minutes which makes for quite a long wait if you have just missed a train. However, the airport has display screens to keep you advised, and the train times are also published on the website of the city’s transport authority.
My top tip for Athens is to take the gastronomy tour I went on.
It cost €65 – for a 4 hour tour and a huge amount of delicious food. I learned a lot, the food was great, and it was a lot of fun.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2020