My name is Michael, Account Manager at Travelmediate Benelux. A few months ago we organized a FAMtrip to Greece for our clients and I would like to tell you all about it!
We arrived at Schiphol Airport around 6.30 pm for introductions and our flight with KLM to Athens. It was very quiet and after everyone arrived we passed through security in around 5 minutes, now that you can leave everything in your bag, even bottled water, which was new to us and a great experience 😉. Since it all went so smoothly, we still had enough time for a quick bite. We boarded the plane at 20.50 and left right on time, 3 hours later we landed in Athens.
Despite it being 01:30 local time, it was still quite busy at the airport. As we travelled just with hand luggage we walked straight outside and Alexia from The DMC Greece was already waiting for us. During the 30-minute ride she tells us a bit about Athens and the surrounding areas. After arriving at the Royal Olympic hotel we were all allocated our rooms and went straight to sleep. To our surprise we all got a Panorama Suite, with a very spacious room including a large bath and separate sitting area. We woke up with a stunning view on the Temple of Zeus…. Awesome!
After a short sleep of about 6 hours (no time to waste!) we had an introduction to The DMC Greece by Ileana during breakfast. She gave us a small insight into what they can arrange for our clients, and we could tell they had so much to offer! Besides Incentives and group travel they also have a cruise and leisure department.
After this presentation we got a tour through the hotel. The Royal Olympic is very centrally located, everything is within a walking distance of 10 minutes. The hotel itself can be described as very classic in terms of decor, everything is perfectly clean and the beds are wonderful. On the top floor you will find the breakfast restaurant with a view of the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus.
Our first activity was a drive through Athens with our guide Stelios, a real historian who tells his story with great passion. During the drive there we made some stops at places of interest: The Olympic stadium of the 1st modern Olympic Games of 1896 – the Parliament building with the guards in front and many churches & museums.
After the bus tour we arrived at the parking lot of the Acropolis. From here you could see a lot of stairs which will bring you to the top of the hill where the Acropolis is built. From below this looked like quite a climb but in the end it wasn’t too bad. Our guide tells us all about the mountain Acropolis and the temple Pantheon. Very interesting to see, hear and read how the ancient Greeks built this complex. We have learned a lot from him!
We then left the Acropolis behind us and walked to our lunch address: Hill Athens Rooftop Restaurant. Here we were spoiled with an incredibly extensive lunch of no less than 5 courses!! Everything was delicious and the view was phenomenal. There are multiple rooftop restaurants in Athens but this one distinguishes itself by the quality of the food. After we finished the lunch we were taken by our guide Vassilis who showed us Athens by foot!
During this tour we made 3 stops: Glyko tou Koutaliou (tasting fruit in reduced sugar) – Tasting Mastika (sweeter variant of Ouzo) and Making a Komboloi (necklace to be busy with your hands). After this last activity of the day, we walked fast to the change of the guards at the parliament. The guards stand in the same position for an entire hour. After this hour they will change, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After a quick freshen up, it’s time for a tour through the Grand Hyatt hotel followed by dinner. This hotel is located on the busiest street in Athens and is often used for conferences, a modern hotel with very nice rooms.
The next day we are picked up at half past nine in the lobby for a few hotel site visits and viewing locations for groups. The 1st stop is The Margi Farm – a farm that produces their own olive oil, vegetables, herbs and fruit. It is often booked by people who love animals and nature and a perfect location for weddings, events and parties.
Next is the Divani Apollon Palace hotel, an ideal hotel to combine beach & city during a city trip. The 2nd hotel is diagonally opposite: the Amarilia hotel – this hotel is a bit smaller and more cost effective. The last hotel is The Margi Hotel (yes, it belongs to the previously mentioned Margi Farm). At this incredibly beautiful luxury boutique hotel we enjoy our delicious lunch.
Now it was time for some relaxation, 2 free hours at Astir Beach. This beach is a fee paying beach as it is the only beach in the area with facilities such as showers, toilets and restaurants. We had a nice swim in the water and enjoyed the Greek sun at the beach bed, those 2 hours flew by unfortunately. Then back to the hotel to freshen up for the last part of the day: a tour of the Intercontinental Athens hotel. This hotel is perfect for large groups and conferences!
During dinner at the rooftop restaurant we enjoyed the amazing view of the Acropolis. Here we said goodbye to Illeana because we wouldn’t see her tomorrow before we flew home. After the dinner we went into Plaka, the old town of Athens, for a drink. Lots of nice bars, clubs & restaurants for a snack, party and a drink.
Unfortunately it was already the last day of this amazing FAMtrip. For the last time we enjoyed the beautiful view over Athens. The last activity was a walking tour through Athens with guide George. Our 1st stop is tasting Greek coffee & very sweet baklava – 2nd stop Ouzo tasting, very early in the morning and the last one Mastika with (spicy) goat cheese in Brettos Bar. You should take a look here just for the decoration of this bar! After the tour we had some time for souvenir shopping and finished our stay with a light lunch (we were still full because of the very sweet baklava 😉)
After the great lunch we headed back to the airport for our flight to The Netherlands. Time literally flies by in Greece and before we know it, we have landed in Amsterdam. Now it’s really time to say goodbye to the group and thank them for the great time. We have learned a lot about the destination of Athens and our knowledge has definitely increased! I would like to thank our DMC partner The DMC Greece for the organization and good care during our trip, we lacked nothing!