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Fam Trip to Athens with Aegean Airlines/Greek NTO

Fam Trip to Athens with Aegean Airlines/Greek NTO

Hot on the heels of the inaugural Aegean Airlines twice-weekly flight from Dublin to Athens, the Greek National Tourist Office teamed up with the airline to host an agents fam trip to this historic city.

Breakfast at the Hotel  Grande Bretagne in Athens.

Breakfast at the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens

According to the Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), arrivals to Greece from Ireland grew by 4.5% in 2015 (from 69,532 in 2014 to 72,654 visitors in 2015) and by an impressive 63% in 2014 (from 42,575 in 2013 to 69,532 visitors in 2014).

Typical street scape in Athens

Typical street scape in Athens

Athens is considered to be Europe’s historical capital and one of the world’s emblematic cities.

On arrival the group embarked on an itinerary that was packed with a menu of culture, food, hotel inspections and a climb to the top of the Acropolis.

Hotel Grande Bretagne

Hotel Grande Bretagne

After a refreshing visit to the Hotel Grand Bretagne Spa it was time for an inspection of the ‘grand dame’ of the capital’s hotels. This hotel is to Athens as the Shelbourne is to Dublin.

John Spollen checks out his Athens branch .

John Spollen checks out his Athens branch

Located in the centre of the city’s commercial district, Hilton Athens is just 25 minutes from Athens International Airport by a direct subway. The hotel is also just a few minutes’ walk from many Athens attractions.

Galaxy bar and restaurant on the roof of the Athens Hilton .

Galaxy bar and restaurant on the roof of the Athens Hilton

The Athens Hilton was the accommodation provider for the fam trip. The hotel has 506 rooms, all with a private balcony and city, mountain or Acropolis views. There are  four  restaurants and two bars, including a rooftop bar that has to be one of the top bars of its type in the world, complete with a view of the Acropolis. There is a heated indoor swimming pool and large outdoor pool, together with a superb spa.

Hilton Athens Hotel

Hilton Athens Hotel

Probably the highlight of the trip was the Delicious Athens Food Trail with a wonderful guide, Diana Kantaroglou, who led the group on a total immersion into Greek foods through the streets of the Plaka district. She even stopped the traffic to allow the group to cross the busy streets in safety.

The group stock up cold meats.

Fam group stock up on cold meats at Miran, the oldest gourmet food shop in Athens

“Athens is a busy city, the people are friendly and proud of their city and history, and it has got plenty to offer depending on your interests,” said John Spollen, Cassidy Travel. “There is so much to do in Athens you just have to know where to go. Luckily I did on a recent trip  with Aegean Airlines and the Greek National Tourist Office, so now I can say with absolute certainty that Athens is just the perfect city for history lovers, foodies, shoppers and party goers. I am hoping to return to Athens for another weekend visit soon.”

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John Spollen, Cassidy Travel

“I thoroughly enjoyed my recent fam trip to Athens courtesy of Aegean Airlines and the Greek National Tourist Organisation,” said Peter McKiernan, Travel Counsellors. “Athens has lots to offer the tourist from a historical, cultural and gastronomic point of view, with some great hotels too. Now that Aegean Airlines is flying direct from Dublin, I will definitely be offering Athens as a city break option to my customers.”

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Peter McKiernan, Travel Counsellor

“I never thought about Athens as a city break destination up to now, but it certainly is on my list after this visit,” said Lorraine Kenny, Ask Susan.

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Lorraine Kenny, Ask Susan

“I was really impressed by the friendliness of the people and the professionalism of the industry people that we met, ” said Jim Vaughan, JustSplit.com. “I definitely intend to return to Athens and will recommend it to my customers.”

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Jim Vaughan, JustSplit.com

“The hospitality was amazing and I had never thought of Athens as a destination for a city break or longer – it is a great destination,” said Edina Torok, Map Travel

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Edina Torok, Map Travel

Aegean Airlines now fly direct from Dublin to Athens,the operates twice a week on Monday and Saturday.

 

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Michael Flood is the Editor of Ireland's leading travel industry publication, Irish Travel Trade News. With more than 35 years experience, he has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry and the travel and tourism world.

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