About This Listing
Located in a very quiet neighbourhood and yet very close to the cosmopolitan side of the Pagrati region, as well as downtown Athens and the major attractions, this apartment is a great place to begin your exploration of the city life and monuments.
A cozy apartment located on the border of Virona and Pagrati (Athens centre) that has been fully renovated in 2010. The place comfortably sleeps 3 people, in an optimal 'best of both worlds' location (read on about the neighborhood).
You have full access to the whole apartment and it's amenities. A well equipped kitchen is available for you as well as a beautiful bathroom with a washer and a small (private) back yard. The place has a big double sized bed (queen size) with a new comfortable mattress and a couch in the bedroom. In the living room there is another couch that opens up into a single bed. There is also a cot (pliable bed) available in the closet. A baby crib is available upon request as well. A high speed ADSL internet (LAN and wifi) connection is included of course.
Our street is a small one with very little traffic which promises quiet sleep not characteristic of the Athens center. At the same time, within only 1 block there is a 24/hr snack/coffee shop, a major super market, a late hour mini market, 4 souvlaki/fast food restaurants, and in general, a street corner that never 'sleeps' (Filolaou and Arrivou).
This is truly a 'best of both worlds' deal!
The place is also very near the Pagrati Mall (Village Cinemas), the Ymittou cafe-bars, the Pagrati Alsos Park, the Panathinaic stadium and abundant local transit options , as you will see in the next section. The public transit available features a 24/7 trolley linking you to the heart of Athens (Syntagma, Omonoia, Exarcheia, etc). which can save you a lot of cab fare if you want to go to bars in these other notable areas.
About the areas, from wikipedia:
- Pangrati or Pagkrati (Greek: Παγκράτι) is a neighborhood in the Municipality of Athens, Greece. It is bordered by the Kolonaki (Κολωνάκι) neighborhood to the north, the Kaisariani (Καισαριανή) Municipality to the east, the Vyronas (Βύρωνας) Municipality to the south, and the Mets (Μετς) neighborhood to the west. It is not to be confused as a separate suburb, as it is part of the Athens city proper. However, it is frequently mistaken as such, possibly because of it bordering the actual suburbs of Vyronas and Kaisariani.
One of the most important landmarks of Pangrati is the Panathinaiko Stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The First Cemetery of Athens, the official cemetery for the city of Athens, lies within Pangrati.
- Vyronas (Greek, Modern: Βύρωνας, Ancient/Katharevousa: Βύρων - Vyron ) is a suburb in the northeastern part of Athens, Greece. Vyronas started as a commune and later became a municipality. The city is named after George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, the famous English poet and writer, who is a national hero of Greece.
It is located south of Attiki Odos (number 65), also known as the Hymettus Ring in the Katechaki interchange and east and northeast of Vouliagmenis Avenue. The forest of Hymettus lies to the east.
--Theatro Vrachon, host to the Vyronas Festival takes place every summer and the Vyronas Cultural Centre
Buses: There is the 2O3, the 2O4, the 2O9, the 14O and O54 (5 buses in total)
Trolleys: #2, 4 and 11
Metro: 15-20 minute walk to Evangelismos metro station (1.5 km).
Note that the trolley no 11 works 24/7 and links you to heart of Athens (Syntagma, Exarcheia, Omonoia).
From Syntagma there are 24/7 transit to the Athens airport and to Pireaus (the port of Athens).
Finally, with the 140 bus you can get to the Glyfada/Voula beaches in 20-25 minutes.
Also from the house, it is an enjoyable 25-30 minute walk to the Acropolis area, Syntagma or Plaka. During this walk, you will pass by..
- Panathinaic stadium, the site of the first modern Olympics 1896 (10 minute walk) (en.wikipedia*org*/wiki/Panathenaic_Stadium)
- Zappeion-Syntagma, the Modern Parliament garden (15 minute walk)
- Acropolis (Parthenon) - Plaka areas (25-30 minute walk)
I have made a detailed online map documenting the above plus other sites of interest for my guests.
We will provide you with city maps and site information brochures as well as towels, sheets, etc. Feel free to request anything else that we may be able to help you with to make your stay an unforgettable and safe adventure!
--Please do not smoke in the house. There is a small terrace/yard you can smoke in.
--Please DO NOT dispose of toilet paper or any other garbage down the toilet bowl. There is a garbage disposal in the bathroom for this. This is something which is often practised in Greece, as pipe systems are relatively small and tend to clog up and create a mess.
--Please DO NOT leave the hot water switch turned on for more than 25 minutes.
Unlike many countries, hot water in Greece is often not instantly available 24/7. This means you have to open the switch on the electric board that heats the water. There is a small 20 litre tank which needs no more than 20 minutes to reach maximum heat temperature. For a one person quick shower 5-10 minutes will be enough.
Athens for a month? Where do we start...This flat is nestled in a very quiet "blue-collar" neighborhood on the border of Vyronas and Pangrati. Food and living essentials are a block away. Great bakeries, butchers and wine shops are less than a 5min walk. For a 10min walk on certain days of the week there is a large open market for produce and goods which we frequented often. The bus is easily accessible as described and we used it often. The flat itself is on the first floor of a 3 story building, and some noise could be heard occasionally but noticeably. For those used to an upstairs neighbor its no different. It is very spacious and includes an outside terrace (however being in Athens in March it was a bit cold/rainy for the terrace to be of use) Being there for a month we cooked at the flat often and the kitchen had all basic needs covered. Our only wish would be that the hot water would last just a bit longer than 5mins when we showered. Our host Kostas was more than helpful when looking for things to do and see in Athens. He could easily be reached at anytime and actively checked in with us to ask about our stay. We went out for drinks and sightseeing more than once and wish we could have hung out more. This flat had everything that we were looking for, such as easy transportation and close enough to nightlife, markets and good eats. Yamas!
It's a bit hard to write the review about the property as Kostas was so nice and I enjoyed my stay in Athens quite a lot. But I feel that I was misguided by other reviewers and I have to balance things slightly. In short the district itself is rather cool 4.2/5. Transportation/location is not very convenient: 3.2/5. The amenities including WiFi are somewhat poor: 2.9/5. The communication/check-in/check-out experience is outstanding: 5/5. Cleanliness is superb (let's not be picky): 5/5.
More details. Kostas is extremely cheerful and nice person to talk to (I only communicated with him online though). Upon checkin I met Georgia, Kostas' mother. Who was the most nice and friendly person in the world! If there is a contest for the best AirBnb host mother, she should win, in my opinion. The apartment was the cleanest I've seen in Europe by far. And it is spacious! But it was dark. Let's say: the photographs shown are a bit too artsy. They represent your feelings when you are in love with the place and with Athens! :) But not the reality. In fact, there is a lack of sunlight (artificial lighting could be better, too). Another problem was poor sound-isolation. When you sit in the living room, you hear people walking by behind the entrance door. You even see the silhouettes as the door made of (opaque) glass. If you try to sleep with bedroom windows open (which you will want in summer as there is no AC) you'll hear all sorts of sounds: people talking and yelling (noisy neighbors), music playing, dog barking and so on. For me it was a bit uncomfortable. The apartment was supposed to be "fully renovated in 2010". Well the bathroom indeed looks very new. Though some things are a wee cumbersome (the toilet is too close to washing machine, for example). The hot water. Yeah, you have to turn on the heater for 15 min, then turn off and so on. Outside the bathroom some power outlets are shaky, some door handles do not work. There were lots of amenities, all essentials in abundant quantities. But I was unable to find scissors (who needs them when you are traveling, right?:)) and bottle opener (scratched my hand while trying workaround). But there is a pizza knife which is awesome! Then you have a backyard. Not that it's picturesque (you get me? ;)) but it adds some fun. You sometimes feel like you live in a personal cottage or something. You can dry your clothes outside and so on. WiFi was infuriating. Connection losses, speed drops, etc. No predictable availability, no Skype video calls. Had to reboot the router 1-2 times a day. It could not break just the day before my arrival. So the problem was there and was not addressed. Some things could use some care from time to time.
I never respond to reviews. This is the 66th review here on airbnb and the first time I ever respond. This is because I believe you has been unfair. There are a lot of cultural and personal value judgements always involved in our perceptions, so I understand your point of view until a certain point.
However, unlike your other airbnb travels in central apartments of major European capitals (with prices 2 and 3 times higher let it be noted!), Athens is somewhat different indeed.
For example, the hot water heaters is a very common thing in all of Greece. Very few houses will have a 24hr boiler here, mostly high class dwellings, or some large and modern apartment buildings, but even these don't always have this facility.
Also, the 'noisy neighbours' or 'music playing outside' is hardly avoidable in the centre of Athens. I've lived for more than 16 years in Athens and I can assure you it is very difficult to find a place that is more quiet than this one and so close to the heart of the city. The fact that you don't hear cars from the bedroom because we are on a very small street is already a good hint (Athens centre has very high car noise pollution). Your comment that "You sometimes feel like you live in a personal cottage or something" already points in this direction. That being said, yes, it is a residential area, and maybe Greeks tend to be a little louder at times in relation to other (mostly western) European standards. It should be noted that I have never received a complaint about noise before.
The public 'transportation/location' you say is not very convenient, yet you don't provide any justification for this at all. The area is probably amongst the most well served by public transport. There are 3 trolleys and 4 buses nearby, one of them (the 11) being one of the few 24hr buses available in Athens. Specifically, the distance to trolley 4 which takes you to the Athens centre (passing by Syntagma, Omonoia, the National Archeological museum, etc) is 190m from the house in the direction towards centre and 240m direction from the centre (return). The 209 which takes you to Syntagma-Zappeio is 270m and 190m respectively. The buses 140 (Glyfada beach), (phone number hidden), (Athens centre, metro Evangelismos) and the trolley 11 are 290 m and 240m respectively. All these options are 3 minutes or less by foot!
This once again is the first time someone ever complained about it. I can only assume that part of your problem was that you didn't benefit from the neighbourhood tour I give my guests when I'm in Athens, and also you did not look at the detailed map I provided outlining this information. You never asked me for any specific directions/tips for visiting locations either. If that's not it, than could it be a cultural thing again? If that is the case, well it is one thing to say Athens transport is not as good as the one in Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen or Helsinki, and quite another to say the house does not provide transport options..
Many guests have told me that the place is actually bigger than it appears in the photos. You also say the place is "spacy". And you say the place was the cleanest you had visited in Europe by far! At the same time though you say that the photos are too "artsy"! The photos of the house were taken by an airbnb appointed professional photographer. I did not take them myself. This is how airbnb can certify they are a true representation of the place.
I am really sorry about the bottle opener. We had one, but as we check now, we can confirm that it is missing. This is absolutely necessary to have of course. I thought I also had a pair of scissors as well, but the truth is I had not checked to see if they are still available to guests. But things such as these are usually handled in a very simple way: You contact the host and say "hey do you have a pair of scissors", the host brings you a pair and that's it. You never mentioned any of these before and you stayed quite a long time at the house. I really wonder why. Instead you just waited to write this in the review. Almost with a certain cryptic joy I sense.
Actually from this list of complaints, the only things that you mentioned was the noise from the neighbours and the wifi. And for the wifi I'm really sorry about the problems you had. I know from time to time there were some ip conflicts and the router had to be restarted. I've had other IT professionals (like you) stay and work from the house but nobody has ever complained about it at all. A couple of people have written really good words about the internet connection in their reviews. In your case it seemed very pronounced, and I did not doubt your word. I contacted the technical support and, as I told you back then, they said there was nothing that they could do directly. They said just wait and see if the problem persists. I was also unsatisfied by this, and - after a lot of talking with them- I will be changing internet provider (regardless of whether or not there is a severe a problem as you describe).
One last thing about the wifi, for the record. Before Eugene booked the place, I told him that we could upgrade the connection from a 24 Mbps download and 1Mbps upload ADSL connection to the new VDSL with up to 50Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload for a 20 euro fee per month. I figured that as an IT professional who will make heavy use of it (as he told me) he may very well desire the increased bandwidth (especially the upload increase). Eugene told me yesterday the bad connection hurt his business during his stay. Yet he never ever mentioned the upgrade as a possible solution. I don't know what he could be thinking, I am not Eugene. But I know that if I was having a horrible time with the internet and my business was affected, I would not think twice about doing the upgrade. Or at least I would discuss it as a possible solution. But guess what - and I see a pattern here- Eugene never mentioned this at all!!
I value feedback and try to improve things as much as I can. However, I have an (unprovable) hunch that there may also be some other sort of (unmentioned and unknown) dissatisfaction at play in this review. In any case however, Eugene you are extremely picky my friend. Like 5.4/5. If you ever come to Athens again, I hope you find a place that suits your needs. I really don't think this will be easy. Not with the same budget, that's for sure. Take care.
We didn't meet Kostas in person because he was on a trip at the time of our stay in Athens, but we communicated through e-mails. Regardless, his positive spirit matched with other reviews: he was very helpful and friendly, responded to each question with effort and enthusiasm.
However, the best part was yet to come. As beginners in Airbnb we misunderstood cancellation terms (clarity of which could be another topic) and made an irreversable move which, we realized later: a) was to our financial damage and b) could be understood as criticism to Kostas.
Kostas acted like an experienced Airbnb expert in best possible will and neutralized consequences of our unintentional mistake, in hope that our first Airbnb experience "doesn't register as a totally negative one", as he wrote. Phew! He passed this accidental "good-will" test with distinction and we had a free lesson to read and think twice before clicking around.
The neighborhood was charming and quiet, with a supermarket, 24-hours fast food restaurant (excellent Suvlaki wrap for 2 EUR!) and various small shops (hairdresser, optician, pharmacist etc) within 3-min walk. Just a little bit more (10min walk) and you can relax in quiet taverns and bars in squares, protected from sun by natural shade under tall trees, surrounded more with Athenians than foreign tourists. Athens' main attractions (Plaka, Acropolis etc) are within 1/2h walk, or 3-4 EUR taxi drive. There is a bus line too, but we didn't use it.
The apartment was good, equipped with all needed home appliances (fridge, freezer, cooker, oven, TV, filter coffee machine, wired and wireless Internet, heaters...) - can't remember of anything missing. The bathroom was newly refurbished.
The apartment is in the ground floor, with exclusive access to a small inner yard. It is surrounded by tall buildings so one might feel lack of light (it looks brighter on photos).
Good price/quality ratio.
Kostas' place was everything I was looking for: out of the bustle of downtown, very near the Institute I was going to every day, the right size, the right price. Clean, tidy, with Wifi and just one block from a major street with shops, cafes, souvlaki places, etc. I stayed for a month, and have no complaints. Kostas was out of the country, so I did not get to meet him. But the person he had handling the check-in was really personable and smart and fun. And Kostas even called a few times, to make sure everything was ok, and to see if I had any problems. Zero complaints.
We stayed at kostas place for three weeks and used it as a homebase for island hoping. It had everything we needed and the bus was easy to find. Unfortunately Kostas was out of town when we stayed, but he made himself available to our questions everytime. He even took the time to call us and tried to get his friend to show us around town. Just like the rest of these reviews, you can only rave about his hosting.
The reservation was canceled 27 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.
This host has 15 reviews for other properties.View Other Reviews
About the Host, Kostas
Hi I'm Kostas, a Greek-Canadian who grew up in Montréal and lived (mostly) in Athens since the late 90's.
I am a web developer and somewhat of a geek who is often caught evangelizing about the potential of the internet age, open source and information technology in general. I have studied Sociology, Philosophy and some Environmental Science. I play the guitar, like to write, mumble and sing your blues/folk/pop/rock thing, although I pretty much enjoy listening to most musical genres.
Having grown up in the multicultural environment of Montréal I really enjoy meeting folks from all over the world. I have had a blast here on Airbnb, have met some amazing people and look forward to meeting you too!
I try my best to be a model host and cater to the different needs of my guests, so don't hesitate to contact me!
UPDATE: For the second half of 2015 I will be out of town but I will do my best to accommodate you.