Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Hotels to stay at in Athens.

Athens is the capital of Greece and an ancient city with lots of history and culture. In March I had the opportunity to visit Athens with my blogger friend Heidi Roberts who blogs at kitchentalksandtravels. We often travel together, last year we went to Create. You can read about my Create adventures here.

On this recent trip to Athens, we had the opportunity to stay at three different hotels in different locations. It allowed me to enjoy the central Athens and the Athenian Riviera.We spent three nights at the Kubic, two nights at the Athenian Riviera Hotel and 1 night at the Villa Orion

Kubic Athens Smart Hotel  (Agiou Konstantinou 26, Athens 104 37/Tel: +30 21 1402 1695) is the first smart hotel in Athens. The hotel is conveniently situated near the metro station Omonia making it easy to get into central Athens for sightseeing and dining out.

The Kubic is a very modern hotel, it’s bright and airy with a contemporary décor. The hotel has a reception area, lots of sitting and working area and a fully stocked bar too. Breakfast is served next door in the adjacent building and there is 24/7 room service available.

The bedrooms are standard sized and have a lovely open plan décor. They have ensuite shower only bathrooms, separate toilet and are modern in décor. All the rooms have a flat screen TV, free WI-FI and the smart-room technology. 

Each room has a tablet that controls the room ambience by adjusting the lightening, and you can turn on/off lights and change the colour to suit the mood, control the TV and close and open the blinds using the tablet. I loved this facility as everything was so easy to control at my fingertips. There is a safe in the room as well so that you can restassured all your valueables are safe.

In the room there is also an Alexa type control called “AskMike” which is super handy for finding out local information, weather, get tips and hints and also play music. Its something the hotel is trialing and I must say it was really fun playing with it.

In addition to these smart gadgets the Kubic also has in their bedrooms a smartphone that has WI FI and data. Guests are encouraged to take the phones out and use the free data and make both local and international calls. Having the smart phone was super handy especially when we were out and needed to call for taxis, use maps and navigation and get tourist information. This also meant that all my international calls home were absolutely free!! Now that is a great saving in its self.

The Kubic has lifts to all the floors and you can also reach the roof terrace via a staircase from the top floor. The views from the terrace are really gorgeous and there is a lovely open area to enjoy a drink or two.

Buffet style breakfast is plentiful with a large choice of continental and cooked foods as well as cold meats, fruits, cereals, breads and cakes. Our stay at the Kubic was really comfortable and I would highly recommend it as it’s the perfect location for visiting the sights in Central Athens

We also stayed at the Athenian Riviera Hotel (Danais 7, Vouliagmeni nr Athens 16672/Tel: +30 21 0890 0000) It is situated outside of central Athens near the town of Vouliagmeni and is closer to the beach. The hotel is set in a quiet residential area, only a short taxi ride from Eliniko station and in only a five minute walk away from the beach. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and a mini outdoor swimming pool area with sun loungers.

The rooms are well furnished with traditional style decor. There is free WI FI, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, en suite shower and toilet. Room service, laundry service and a safe is also available. All the room have a terrace/ balcony so that you can sit out on them.
Breakfast is also plentiful with a large choice of continental and cooked foods as well as cold meats, fruits, cereals, breads and cakes. The hotel restaurant also offers lunch and dinner. We did eat in the hotel restaurant on both nights of our stay and the meal was very enjoyable.

Staying at the Athenian Riviera was very relaxing and we enjoyed the serenity and the calmness of the hotel and its surroundings. I would highly recommend it if you want a quiet hotel to say at near to the beach. Getting into Central Athens will take a 20 minute taxi ride or a few stops on the Metro.

Our last night we stayed at the Villa Orion (4 Ioanni Metaxa, Voula 16673/Tel: +30 21 0895 8000). This is a clean and comfortable hotel in a residential area in Voula. The rooms are standard sized with an ensuite shower and toilet. The décor is of traditional style, the beds were comfortable too. The rooms have a TV and free Wi-Fi. There is a small a bar and an outside garden with seating.

There is a complimentary Continental breakfast and Room service is available 24/7.

The tram and bus stops are just 50 yards away from Villa Orion Hotel, allowing guests to reach the International Airport and the Piraeus port within 25 minutes.
The staff are very helpful and pleasant, this made our stay was very comfortable. The room rates are very a reasonable making it an affordable hotel to stay at.

We had a complimentary stay at the Kubic and The Athenian Riveria Hotel, all views and opinions are of my experience of the stay.

You can read more about my Athens travels in the posts below:

Friday, 19 April 2019

Things to do in Athens

What to see in Athens?

Athens is the capital of Greece. This beautiful city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, such as the Acropolis, a hill top with the beautiful Parthenon sitting majestically on it.  
You can easily do all the sights in Athens in a day if you make an early start. You can also get a hop on hop off pass on a tour bus which allows you to get on and off at all the sights throughout the day. The passes are an inexpensive way to travel around to see all the key sights. There are options to get a 24 hour pass or 48 hours. You can get the hop along buses to go all over Athens, including the Athenian Riveria and the port of Piraeus where you can even get a fairy to the Island of Hydra and enjoy a day out or a short stay.

I would highly recommend that you visit the Acropolis first as it’s the biggest historic sight and a must visit. The climb if done leisurely with lots of photo stops will take approx one and half hours. On route you will see some beautiful temples and amphitheatres.

The acropolis which was once the city of Pericles, was destroyed, by Persians on the eve of the Battle of Salamis (480 BC) It was later transformed into a city of temples, which has come to be regarded as the zenith of Classical Greece. It is known as the rock of the city and on top of it you will find The Parthenon, which is the largest Doric temple ever completed in Greece. It is built completely of white Pentelic marble and is the most iconic site to visit. 

The Parthenon

The walk up to the Parthenon is spectacular with beautiful views of Athens and the surroundings. It was exhilirating to finally reach the top and get a customary photo in front of it!

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

When you're visiting the Acropolis site, the path leads west from the top of the Stoa of Eumenes to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This large amphitheatre was built in AD 161 by wealthy Roman Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Regilla. It was excavated in 1857–58 and completely restored in the 1950s. 

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus  remains one of the Athens's main venues  for festivals. Many shows, concerts by well known singers and musical performaces are still held there in this day and age.

Walking further up the Acropolis to reach the Parthenon you will find various remains of the Greek temples and monuments such as the Pandroseion which was a sanctuary dedicated to Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Cecrops.

The Pandroseion

The Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

The Erechtheum

Other places to visit are:

The Acropolis museum
You will find this museum on the southern slope of the Acropolis. It has on show the collection from the Archaic period to the Roman one, but the emphasis is on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC.  . It showcases artefacts and finds found on and around the Acropolis site. The museum Is built over an ancient Athenian neighbourhood that was excavated and found and you can see the remains through a central opening and glass floors that exposes the ancient Athenian neighbourhood.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
It is the largest Temple situated in the centre of Athens. The temple at the start was made of 104 Corinthian columns which were 17m high with a base diameter of 1.7m. Sadly now only 15 of this magnificent columns remain.

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture
A museum spanning on three floors showing treasures from the Bronze Age. It is a must visit for ancient history lovers.

The Ancient Agora
Another great place to see in Athens is The Ancient Agora, here you will find The Temple of Hephaestus. There is also a museum exposing objects discovered on the site, some statues and a scale model of the Agora.

The Plaka is the area of winding streets around the Acropolis. It's renowned for its small shops, restaurants, and local architecture. It’s the perfect place to unwind, enjoy a coffee or some lunch and to pick up some souvenirs.

Monastiraki has ruins of Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, with a museum exhibiting Athenian artifacts. There is also a flea market on Sundays where you can pick up some souveniers and feel the buzz of Greek Life.

There are many other museums and places to visit if you are staying longer. Getting around Athens is fairly easy.The metro is convenient and cheap as are the local buses. Alternatively you can hire a car from Global Rent a Car as its not too dificult to drive around the city although parking is not as easy in the city centre.

You may like:
Things to do in Athens

You may like Heidi's posts here about Athens:

Athens is just one of the  beautiful places in Europe to visit. There are so many wonderful and Cheap European destinations to visit. I am definitely adding them to my bucket list.