Things to Do During a Layover at Athens Airport
Undoubtedly, layovers at the airport are considered a colossal waste of time and a “necessary evil” to get to your desired destination. But what if they are not? Waiting at the airport allows you to do things you‘ve never had the time to do and even clear your mind. You never know: perhaps your next layover at Athens Airport won’t be a real letdown but actual fun!
Do you Have a Short Layover at ATH Airport?
Short layovers are perfect for getting to know the airport amenities. The relatively new Athens International Airport is fully kitted to offer you an unforgettable stopover experience. Are you wondering how you are going to spend your free time at ATH Airport? Just take a look at the following suggestions:
1. Do your Homework about Athens Airport
Check out all the info about Athens Airport before your scheduled flight. In that way, you will be familiar with the airport facilities, be aware of all the available services and exploit the time spent there. In any case, you should first find out where your gate is so that you can plan your layover without worrying about missing the next flight.
2. Eat, Drink, and Shop at Athens Airport
Even if airports are notorious for their bad food, you will find out that after a thorough search, you can come up with hidden gems at ATH Airport. Every airport offers interesting culinary options if you just look into it. Choose among a wide variety of restaurants and fast foods, have a drink to relax, or fling yourself into endless shopping at Athens Airport.
3. Tie up Loose Ends
Spend waiting time at Athens Airport doing whatever tasks have to be done. Using the airport’s free Wi-Fi, you can arrange your emails, do necessary video calls, and even finish a presentation. Please note that the airport’s Wi-Fi is free for the first 60 minutes. After that time, all you have to do is re-enter the airport’s Wi-Fi to start a new 60-minutes session.
4. Read a Book
Do you remember the promising book you bought but never had the time to read? Now is the time! Grab a drink or coffee, make yourself comfortable and finally start the book!
5. Make a Schedule for your Journey
Organize your trip while waiting at Athens Airport to make the most of it. Make a to-do list, note your preferences and interests and get to know your destination seamlessly and stress-free.
6. Treat Yourself!
Take a look at Athens airport’s available services and facilities. Have your hair done, do a manicure-pedicure or relish a massage or beauty treatment. Do you still consider layovers annoying?
7. Layover Time may well be Cultural Time!
Athens International Airport offers many cultural options. After all, you’re in Greece. Hence, museums and sightseeing are in order. You can choose from the Acropolis Exhibition, housing showpieces from the Acropolis Museum and interesting replicas, while near Entrance 3 of the second airport level lies a limited museum area with artifacts found at the nearby Mesogaia area. Another exhibition dedicated to El. Venizelos, the great Greek politician after whom the airport was named, is also located in the Departures area. Finally, the airport hosts periodical art collections and cultural exhibitions from time to time.
8. Enjoy Family-Time
If you are traveling with your children, you’ll probably be even more stressed about your layover at the airport. However, El. Venizelos shelters a specially designated playground area just next to El.Venizelos Exhibition. Addressed to children from 2.5-9 years old, the airport playground is fully equipped to give children amazing playtime.
9. Visit Athens Airport’s Lounges
Check out which Athens airport’s lounges are only for airline members and which can be accessed on pay. Airport lounges are the perfect way to spend a layover. Comfortable seats, quiet and cozy environment, tasty choices, and drinking options will offer you the premium services you are looking for.
10. Visit the Nearby Airport Hotel
Sofitel Airport Hotel is located only 50m from the airport’s exit doors. Thus, even if you don’t have the time to book a room, you can enjoy the premium drinking and dining services from the panoramic-view hotel’s roof or even relish the provided spa treatments.
11. Sleep at Athens Airport
If you need to rest but you are traveling on a budget, look for the airport sleeping areas. You’ll find chairs without armrests comfy enough to close your eyes for a while.
Long Layovers are Ideal to Meet Athens
During a long layover (7-9 hours), staying in the airport isn’t advisable. Unless you are really tired, you should head off to catch a quick glimpse of historic Athens. Are you a “history lover”? Do you like shopping? Do you prefer alternative ideas such as wine tasting? Make up your mind and enjoy your spare time at Athens Airport!
The Sightseeing Tour
Athens city center gathers some of the must-see attractions of the city. Thus, you can leave the airport and head to Syntagma Square, the actual heart of the city hosting the Greek Parliament. From there, you can walk across to Ermou street, the city’s main shopping street, and head to Athens Cathedral. Monastiraki, a huge pedestrian flea market area, and Plaka, a picturesque Athenian neighborhood with scenic houses and plenty of dining and drinking options, are within walking distance. On your way, you’ll also pass by the Temple of Olympian Zeus, another important historical monument of Athens.
The Majestic Acropolis
Acropolis is also located in Athens city center. “Acropolis” is the name of the entire citadel complex, whereas the famous temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athina -Parthenon temple- is located on its highest level. Please keep in mind that climbing to Parthenon is a long way, and there is usually a long queue to enter the archaeological site. That’s why Acropolis shouldn’t be combined with other attractions, but it is better to have plenty of time in front of you to enjoy the prominent monument! What’s more, on your way up, you’ll come across other historical sights, such as Erechtheion, Dionysos Theater, etc. The perfect end for your visit to Acropolis is the adjacent Acropolis Museum, a relatively new museum housing the Acropolis findings.
Our Tip: If you don’t have time to visit Acropolis, you can climb to the neighboring Filopappou Hill, which offers amazing views of the Acropolis and the nearby areas.
The Museum Options
Apart from the Acropolis Museum, one of the most impressive and well-known museums of the city, without doubt, Athens offers its visitors various alternatives. The National Archaeological Museum is listed among the world’s finest, while the Museum of Cycladic Art houses findings from the island Cyclades Area. Finally, the Benaki Museum is also nearby and hosts the collections of the private collector Emmanouil Benaki.
Choose a Tour
The ideal way to visit as much sightseeing as possible during your Athens airport layover is to book a tour. Both private and group guided tours introduce visitors to Athens. Choose a tour of the famous historical landmarks in Athens city center or even get to visit the area of Sounion, located 50km from Athens, where the Temple of Poseidon is to be found.
The nearby Attica Zoological Park
If you opt for a near-the-airport yet unforgettable alternative, you can visit the Attica Zoological Park, only 10 minutes away from Athens Airport. The zoo is home to more than 2000 animals and promises a memorable experience for both adults and, of course, families.
The Ultimate Shopping Option: McArthurGlen
If you are a “shop until you drop” type of person, you’ll simply love spending your airport layover at the tax-free McArthurGlen. The shopping village, 15 minutes from ATH Airport, houses famous brands and designers at outlet prices, a playground, as well as many dining options.
What about Wine Tasting during your Layover?
If wine-tasting sounds appealing to you, you’ll have some serious picking to do. Georga’s family, Gikas Winery and Papagiannakos Domain are only some of the top options, located up to 20 minutes drive from the airport. In any case, two things are advised: don’t drink too much, and don’t lose track of time and miss your flight!
Go for a Swim!
Forget all about sightseeing, shopping, etc. If the weather allows it, just go for a swim. Plenty of beaches are located close to the airport. From the nearby Porto Rafti (18 minutes away) and Kokkino Limanaki in Rafina (23 minutes away) to Kakia Thalassa (a 24-minute drive), Vouliagmeni (35 minutes far away) and Kape Beach (a 42-minutes drive), if swimming isn’t a good idea or you are simply not into it, just go and enjoy the view and the fresh fish at the local tavernas.