Travel Tips : Yoga Retreat, KYTHNOS, May 2019.
Here is a little bit more information and some useful travel tips.
Unfortunately from Johannesburg there are no direct flights to Athens.
Flights can be booked via Dubai with Emirates. This is a great option if you are a Discovery Health member. Depending on your status you qualify for a discount rate, go via Kulula Airlines
Turkish Airlines also fly via Istanbul. If you are South African check out Travelstart
Be sure you check the stop over times, these can vary from 2hrs to 18hrs. The good thing is most airlines send your baggage directly to Athens so you don’t need to worry about collecting it and rechecking in during your layover.
Ideally when booking give yourself a night in Athens. The ferry times can be quite early. I found it useful to break the travel time before heading to the island. Likewise give yourself a night or two before heading home after the retreat.
When landing in Athens, the airport is about an hour by train from the city. The cost is 10 euros to get your ticket. Very easy, much like the Gautrain. The train station is a little walk from the airport terminal. There is also the option to take the bus. It is a bit cheaper but can take longer. Alternatively a taxi is approximately 50 euros.
Athens is a very similar city to Johannesburg. Very industrial parts mixed with beautiful neighbourhoods. Plenty of street cafe’s, bars and markets to wander through.
Walking through the streets of Plaka
Please do be safe walking around, especially at night.
There are so many sites to see in Athens. I would definitely make time, if you can, to explore.
- Acropolis & Museum
- Plaka and Monistriaki
- Changing of the guards at Syntagma Square
- Temple of Zeus
- Olympic stadium
- Nightlife is also incredible, my favourite was Noel Bar
Pictures of the Acropolis
View of the Acropolis
I made the mistake of not pre booking tickets for the Acropolis and other sight seeing activities. The month of May fortunately isn’t a major peak season but check out Trip Advisor
Pre booking will save you some time. And if you block book, there are some decent discounts to take advantage of.
I stayed at a Hotel called the Athenaeum Grand Hotel
I booked fairly well in advance and got a really good rate on Booking.com . It is a much newer hotel, and a good halfway point from the old city to the Piraeus harbour. They also offer a free daily shuttle from the hotel to Acropolis. You can even arrange an airport shuttle with them. I took the train to Shugyo-Fix station and from there you can either taxi or walk about 2km to the hotel.
Most of the hotels on Booking.com offer specials, airport links and shuttles from the hotel to the old town.
Airbnb.com also has some really affordable options. It just depends on how you prefer to travel.
Lots of people smoke in Athens so make sure if you are a non-smoker that your Airbnb is non smoking.
Major train stops are Syntagma Square, Acropolis, Monistriaki and Shugyo Fix. These are close to the old town, Acropolis sites etc. You can also get even cheaper accommodation at the port of Piraues but then you are travelling much further for your site seeing. At least 30min by taxi.
Athens has lots of public transport options, taxi’s, underground and trams. It is very easy to walk from place to place. The distances from tube station to station are very close. Much like in London or any other big city in Europe.
Ferry tickets to the island from Athens can also be pre-booked. There are two ports in Athens. Piraeus and Lovria. We can only book these closer to the time since they are less frequent out of season.
Typical view you can expect during the ferry ride
Ideally we would like everyone to book the same ferry ride to the island and back again to Athens.
The ferry ride is really lovely and luckily not too long from Athens to Kythnos. Approximately 3 hours and ticket prices range from 16-30 Euros. Remember you can buy your own water and snacks for the ferry ride. This is much cheaper than what is sold on the ferry.
Catherine and I will be arriving earlier in Kythnos to make sure we are there to welcome you.
It is going to be such an adventure we can hardly wait !
*please note certain prices mentioned are subject to change depending on inflation rates in Greece fro 2019
My favourite the Noel Bar
The Noel Bar
Overlooking Syntagma Square