Athens is one of the most popular and favourite destination for business, leisure and culture travellers. The first impression you get when you arrive by plane in a country is that of the airport. The plane journey is over. So far so good. How complicated will be your way through passport control and picking up your luggage? Well. No worries at all since as we repeatedly realized, Athens International Airport is one of the least complex airports in the world. It Is big of course but it is also easy to walk around and to find everything you need. And moreover, is very clean, modern, with all amenities and services that an international airport must offer.
The building is constructed on 3 floors. On the ground floor is the arrivals hall. On the first floor the departures and on the third floor there is a restaurant and a cafeteria from where you can watch planes landing or taking off. On this floor, there is also a museum. In one part of the museum are ancient exhibits which were found on the same grounds when the construction works were carried out for the airport.
After going through passport control, pick up your luggage and head to the exits where you go through customs control if you travel to Greece from a non-Schengen country. On your way to the customs area, there are some mini duty-free stands that you may want to stop by for some last-minute shopping. Immediately after customs you walk out and find yourself in the publicly accessed area which is a long wide and spacious corridor that takes you from one side of the airport to the other. Left and right there are sitting areas, free internet hotspots, banks, ATMs, car rental companies, travel agencies, kiosks, pharmacy, newsstands, flower shop, hairdresser, coffee shops and of course toilets.
And along the way, there are the exits that will lead you to the where the taxis and public transport stations are.
It is always a good idea to arrive ahead of the requested by your airline time since as previously mentioned Athens International Airport is big, and it gets very busy all year long but more so from March to October and during holidays and weekends all year long.
Checking-in is easy if needed to be done at the airport but the waiting maybe longer than expected so be prepared. Same stands for the luggage drop-off. As soon as these two tasks are completed you can head on to passport and hand-luggage control for all Extra-Schengen flights or just hand-luggage control for the Intra-Schengen ones.
Please be aware that the hand luggage control is very serious and strict so make sure you are not carrying with you by mistake any of the prohibited items.
Eleftherios Venizelos is a “silent” airport. No announcements regarding flights, boarding etc are done therefore make sure to follow the electronic boards for all information you may need.
As soon as you go through the formalities then you can enjoy the fantastic duty-free shopping. The first part is the traditional duty-free shops with cosmetics, drinks, chocolates, tobacco, cigarettes and so on and then start the boutiques of all kinds of International brands and goods. Jewellery, shoes, clothing, gifts, watches, luggage, electronics… In between, there are coffee shops and several places for a quick and healthy bite depending on your taste.
And of course, plenty of sitting areas everywhere. This we find it as a plus since we have travelled in airports that we could not find a place to sit for hours.
In case you are smokers, it is good to know that the Athens International Airport is a non-smoking airport but there are enough designated areas that you can enjoy a cigarette or a cigar. Especially in the Extra-Schengen zone, the designated areas are very close to the gates and usually next to a coffee shop.
As for accessing the online world at Athens International Airport, you can enjoy free Wi-Fi every time you visit it.