I’m stuck on Greece. I have a huge crush on Greece. I <3 Greece. You get the picture. Greece has everything in great abundance that I seek when travelling–scenic beauty including both mountains and seaside, ancient to modern history, glorious weather, friendly people, and delicious food. It’s the standard I use to compare all other places. The picture above from Santorini inspires me every time I look at it.
So why is Athens, the capital city of Greece, so disparaged? When I researched Athens before our first visit in 2009, I was prepared to dislike it. Friends who had been there and articles I read called Athens dirty, crowded, choked with traffic, hard to get around, and a place to leave as quickly as possible. I read only grudging praise about the improvements made for the 2004 Olympics followed by blame for the 2004 Olympics as a cause of the economic decline of Greece.
None of this bode particularly well so I was definitely pleasantly surprised when we arrived. The Metro train system into the historic center from the airport is clean and attractive with excavated artifacts encased for viewing at stations, like mini museums. Then when you get your first view of the Acropolis, with the Parthenon perched on top, the sight can’t help but impress you with the glorious history alive in this city.
I selected a typically European hotel, small and basic but it has a terrific view, Wi-Fi, and a great breakfast included in the price. The helpful and accommodating staff didn’t cost any extra either. The Acropolis View Hotel is located in the historic center and has a view of the Acropolis from the rooftop garden as well as from the balconies of a number of rooms. I, of course, requested a room with a view at a rate of around $50 per night. I see the best rate now listed by Trivago is $66. I’d still pay it.
European hotels aren’t for everyone. If you’re a Hilton kind of traveller who can’t live without all the amenities of a four or five-star hotel, you won’t be impressed by a two star European hotel. For me, it’s fine. This hotel is small but clean and charming, with an elevator (I’ve been to many hotels without one), and European bathrooms are always great, in my experience. (My husband who is broad-shouldered doesn’t necessarily share my view on bathrooms, however. Some showers have been a bit snug for him and this is one of them.) The breakfast is amazing–various meats, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, breads, cereal, pastries, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, coffee, tea, and juice. There’s even a panini machine which was a hit with my husband. A big breakfast is a must for us. We typically book hotels that include breakfast, eat enough to provide fuel for the day, and pay to go out for one meal a day in the evening.
For our $50 per day, here’s what we got.
And here’s the view from the Acropolis looking down at our hotel. The hotel sign is circled in red.
The location is very convenient for seeing the historic area on foot which I will tell you about in my next post and a short 10 minute walk from the Acropoli Metro station where we arrived from the airport. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. More on that to come, too.
We like this hotel so much we stayed there when we returned in 2013. And, when we return to Athens again in the future, I will certainly try to book this hotel. If this post sounds like I’m advertising for Acropolis View Hotel, I am, sort of, but they don’t know it and they aren’t paying me.
Next time: Seeing the sights in Athens