From Acropolis to

Visiting Greek Islands

Going to a Greek Island on your own does not have to be an intimidating experience. Just follow these simple instructions and you will have an adventure which can be duplicated a few thousand times, or as many times as there are Greek islands.

For the sake of convenience I will use the island of Aegina as our sample island, though of course you could substitute any island of your choice. I chose Aegina because it is close to Athens, only an hour by ferry, half that by Flying Dolphin, and because there are boats leaving every hour so I don't have to wake up early to catch a morning boat, the majority of which leave between 7 and 9 am and I won't need to buy an advance ticket. If this was an early boat you will have asked the concierge at your hotel to have a taxi waiting for you at least an hour and fifteen minutes before the boats scheduled departure. If you tell the taxi the name of the boat, or which island you are going to, he will know exactly where to go. From downtown Athens to Pireaus should cost about 10 Euros. Don't count on the ferry leaving late and you making it in the nick of time. I have actually missed a ferry by a foot. I could have jumped but I did not want to risk falling into the murky waters of Pireaus, (plus my girlfriend was on crutches).

From Athens the 040 goes from the bottom of Syntagma square to Pireaus and the new 049 goes from Omonia to Pireaus. There is also a stop near the Acropolis museum on Vas Amalias Street near Hadrian's Arch on the Plaka side of the street where you can catch the X80 express that goes from Syntagma to Pireaus.

You can also take the Metro, as I do by following the steps that follow. Because I am only doing a day trip there is no need to check out of my hotel, nor is there any need to bring my luggage, which makes traveling today a breeze. All I have is my digital camera and what I am wearing. You may want to bring a day bag with a towel and bathing suit. Your first step is to find the train station closest to your hotel. Most likely this is Monastiraki in the flea market, easy to locate. You can walk down Metropolis or Ermou streets or follow Adrianou until you hit Hadrian's wall at Aeolou, make a right and then your next left on Pondrosou. Inside the train station there are machines to buy your ticket. It's about a euro and a half to Pireaus so stick a coin in and press the buttons until it reads one 1.50. Then when it rejects your money and does not give you a ticket walk up to the friendly guy at the booth, or stand in line and buy two tickets so you don't have to do this again when you come back.

As you face the train tracks you have a choice. Left to Kifissia or right to Pireaus. Go right but not before sticking your ticket into the little orange box to have it validated (or invalidated since once you get off the train it is useless after 90 minutes). Then walk down the stairs. Wait on the platform for the train to come and when the doors open, hop aboard, just as you would in your own country. Watch out for pick-pockets. They like to create a disturbance and then grab your wallet. But if you have read my article Defeating the Pick-pockets you have nothing to worry about.

Above the doors in the interior of the car is a map of the metro line as it is today. There is one green line that goes from Pireaus to Kifissia in the northern suburbs and that is the one you are on hopefully. There are a couple other lines that zig-zag around it which are red and blue and if you started in Makrianni or Syntagma you probably were on one of these lines to get to Monastiraki. The trip to Pireaus is about twenty minutes and actually sort of entertaining if you look out the window. You will see neighborhoods like Moschaton and Kalithea where you will probably never walk, but are quite nice. Around Thission there are archeological ruins right next to the tracks and at Faliron you cross over a river! Well it's not much of a river. You would not want to swim or wade in it since the percent of water versus other substances is a little low, but at one time it was a real river that emptied into the Faliron Delta where the big Olympic indoor stadium is now.

When you get to the last stop in the old Pireaus station walk to the front of the train. You can drop your ticket in the garbage unless you plan on returning within 90 minutes, for example if you miss your ferry. Better hang on to it just in case. If you keep...

Source: www.greektravel.com
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