Guidebook Updates for Greece

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on Greece, we post them here. (Of course, it’s still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you’re set for a great trip!

Across Greece

  • Some ferry routes indicated on the full-color map of the Peloponnese are not operating anymore. This updated map shows a more accurate representation of ferry lines currently operating.
  • International train service has resumed between Thessaloniki and Belgrade (Serbia) and Sofia (Bulgaria). Given that connections are still sparse, for most travelers flying remains the best way to reach Greece.

Athens

  • At the Acropolis Museum, you can enter without a ticket to shop at the museum store or to visit the restaurant on the upper floor.
  • The rooftop terrace at Filistron (Φίλιστρο) restaurant in Thissio has closed, but its indoor space still welcomes diners.
  • The Olympic Traveller tour service is now part of Greek Travelling, and offers tours of Athens as well as sites beyond Athens, including shore excursions and multiple-day tours to Meteora and the Peloponnese.

For books printed before April 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Taverna O Thespis restaurant has closed.

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Public-transit tickets have new prices: Basic metro ticket-€1.40, bus/tram ticket-€1.20, Metro ticket to airport-€8, express bus to airport-€5, 24-hour metro/bus pass-€4, seven-day metro/bus pass-€14.
  • The city’s main tourist information office has moved to a convenient new spot on the pedestrian street leading to the Acropolis Museum, and has slightly longer hours (April–Oct Mon–Fri 8:00–20:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00; Nov–March Mon–Fri 9:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00; on pedestrian street leading to Acropolis Museum at Dionysiou Areopagitou 18–20, Metro line 2/red: Akropoli; tel. 210-331-0392, info@gnto.gr).
  • The airport branch of Athens’ tourist information office has closed.
  • Public bus #200 is no longer running. (However, bus #035 can get you from Athinas street, near Monastiraki, to a stop near the National Archeological Museum, and taxis are fairly cheap).
  • Compendium Bookstore has moved to a spot far outside the city center. The smaller branch of the Eleftheroudakis bookstore has closed (the main branch on Panepistimiou/Eleftheriou Venizelou still very much open, though it has moved a few doors down to #11).
  • Local guide: Faye Georgiou is another good Athens guide who really knows her archeology (€50/hour, tel. 210/674-5837, mobile 697-768-5503, fayegeorgiou@yahoo.gr).
  • The hours for sights in Greece are constantly prone to change, so make sure to check online or with the tourist information office for current opening times before you head out for the day.
  • Hotel Kimon has a new email address: info@kimonhotelathens.com.
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne has a new email address: info.gb@starwoodhotels.com.
  • Ouzou Melathron, in Monastiraki, has closed.
  • The rail line between Kiato and Patra, en route between Athens and Patra, is closed for construction as a faster standard-gauge line is being built. In the meantime, travelers have two options: 1. ride the regular replacement bus (operated by the Greek rail system) between Patra and Kiato, and the train between Kiato and Athens (covered by railpasses), or 2. take Superfast Ferries’ direct bus between Athens and Patra (takes about 4 hours, not covered by railpasses; customers headed to Athens can buy tickets on board ferry — bus departs soon after ferry arrives in Patras; buses from Athens leave from the Superfast Ferries office).
  • Ferries: There may no longer be high-speed catamaran service between Piraeus (Athens) and either Mykonos or Santorini; it’s also possible that the other ferries are running a bit slower than the times cited in the guidebook (e.g. ferries between Athens and Mykonos are more likely to take 6 hours, rather than 4.5).

Hydra

  • Alkionides Pension is now significantly pricier than it had been, but its rooms have been smartly renovated, making it still a good value (Db-€80, Tb-€96, apartment-€100, breakfast-€7.50).

  • Nefeli Hotel no longer rents rooms by the night, but instead offers self-catered accommodations you can rent on a weekly basis.

For books printed before April 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Taverna Leonidas has closed.

Monemvasia

  • The Upper Town is inaccessible to visitors while a structural-reinforcement project is underway; it’s expected to last until at least the summer of 2015.

Mykonos

For books printed before April 2014, the following may apply:

  • Ferries: There may no longer be high-speed catamaran service between Piraeus (Athens) and either Mykonos or Santorini; it's also possible that the other ferries are running a bit slower than the times cited in the guidebook (e.g. ferries between Athens and Mykonos are more likely to take 6 hours, rather than 4.5).

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Several of the tavernas on St. Monis Square have closed. (Fortunately countless charming restaurants are tucked in the town's winding back lanes.)

Nafplio

  • The bakery on Staikopoulou street has closed.
  • Lathos Bar has closed.

Olympia

For books printed before April 2014, the following may apply:

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Local guide Niki Vlachou now has a website and email address: www.olympictours.gr, niki@olympictours.gr.
  • Parking: Contrary to the "P" parking icon on the map on page 278 of Rick Steves Greece, there is no public parking immediately south of the Archeological Museum at the Sanctuary of Olympia.
  • As of our most recent visit, the sanctuary of Olympia is open mid-April–mid-Sept Mon–Sat 9:00–19:00, Sun 8:00–15:00; may be open one hour later mid-April–Aug; off-season hours generally daily 9:00–15:00 — though most likely at least a little longer, especially in early fall and late spring. Last entry generally 45 minutes before closing.
  • As of our most recent visit, the Archaeological Museum is open mid-April–mid-Sept Tue–Sat 8:00–19:00, Sun–Mon 9:00–16:00; may be open one hour later mid-April–Aug; off-season hours generally daily 9:00–15:00 — though most likely at least a little longer, especially in early fall and late spring. Last entry about 30 minutes before closing.
  • The Museum of the History of Olympic Games in Antiquity now costs €2, and is open Mon–Fri 9:00–16:00 (closed Sat–Sun).
  • Taverna Dionysos and Taverna Gefsis Melathron have closed permanently.
  • We no longer recommend Katakolon Express.
  • A new tour company, Olympic Traveller, offers a package combining round-trip transport from the cruise port to Olympia with a two-hour guided tour of the site and museum, likely with recommended local guide Niki Vlachou (€35/person, groups never larger than 25 people, mobile 697-320-1213, info@olympictraveller.com). For €15 less, you can skip the guided tour in Olympia, but enjoy a narrated ride and quick pick-up times (they won’t dally at the port waiting for the bus to fill up).

Santorini

For books printed before April 2014, the following may apply:

  • Ferries: There may no longer be high-speed catamaran service between Piraeus (Athens) and either Mykonos or Santorini; it’s also possible that the other ferries are running a bit slower than the times cited in the guidebook (e.g. ferries between Athens and Mykonos are more likely to take 6 hours, rather than 4.5).
  • The youth hostel in Oia has closed.

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

Fira

  • The replica frescoes from the Petros Nomikos Conference Center have moved into the new Santozeum (€5, May–Oct daily 10:00–18:00, closed Nov–April, on Gold Street near the cable-car station — look for bright orange lettering, tel. 22860-21722).
  • The beautiful Kamares Apartments were wildly misplaced on the map on page 429 of the second edition of Rick Steves Greece; instead they’re on the very south end of town.

Oia

  • Lauda Traditional Rooms and Apartments has closed.

Other Sights on Santorini

  • The archaeological site at Akrotiri has reopened, with more than 30 buildings now excavated and viewable in a new structure that makes it easy to explore the ruins. Ramps let you climb around and through the streets of the prehistoric city, where careful observers can pick out sidewalks, underground sewage systems, and some ceramic vases left behind. However, the most interesting items discovered here — wonderful wall frescoes, fancy furniture, painted ceramics — are on display elsewhere, mainly at Fira’s Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens (€5, one-hour guided tours-€10, open Tue–Sun 8:00–17:00, closed Mon, last entry 30 minutes before closing, tel. 22860-81939. Akrotiri is reachable by frequent buses from Fira (roughly hourly, €1.80; from the bus stop, backtrack up the road a minute or two) or taxi (€18–20).