With Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United still in with a chance of making it to the Champions League Final in Athens now is the time for the supporters to start planning their trip to the final.
Any Liverpool fan who was in Istanbul in 2005 will never forget that night; there is no better place to enjoy the final than the city it is played in, even better if you manage to secure those illusive tickets for the Champions League Final.
Last year Arsenal fans had an easy ride to Paris, there were so many options for them, fly, drive or take the Eurostar straight through to Paris. Athens is a different matter, there needs to be lots more planning, and unfortunately the airlines have beaten us to it in the planning stakes.
British Airways have already put their prices up if you want to travel to Athens to see the game. Heathrow to Athens, leaving on the Tuesday returning on the Thursday will cost £150 the week before the final, try going the week of the final and is already £450 and that can only go up as we get closer to the game. Easyjet are no better with a similar hike in prices. For Liverpool or United supporters the cost is even more to fly BA from Manchester.
So where does it leave the average English fan, at first glance it looks like we will be watching the match down the local pub again, but there is an great alternative, especially if you have not booked your summer holiday yet.
Most people who visit Greece visit the Greek Islands, so why not do the same, if you decide to take a week over the trip you can turn it into a great holiday plus a short trip to Athens for the final. The best bit is that this is cheaper than flying direct to Athens and you get a 7 day holiday for free! You could even surprise your girlfriend or wife with an offer of a romantic trip to the Greek Islands, and she needn’t know your true intension until your team reaches the final!
Thomson Holidays are currently selling 7 days at the Gioie Di Mare in Zakynthos (also known as Zante) for just £175 per person from Gatwick or £255 from Manchester, this is based on 2 people sharing a twin room leaving on Monday 21/05/2007. That is £275 cheaper than the BA flight and you get a hotel on a lovely Greek island thrown in for free!
If you would prefer to travel on the Sunday First Choice have 7 days in Maria Studios for £221 again based on 2 people sharing. Currently both tour operators have plenty of other choices in accommodation if you would prefer a better quality alternative.
Once you are in Zakynthos there is a ferry and bus to Athens that leaves 4 times a day, takes 5 hours and costs around 20 Euros each way. On the day of the big game you can leave Zakynthos 07:30 arrive in Athens around lunchtime, enjoy the pre match atmosphere, watch the game and party the night away. The first bus leaves Athens at 05:45 so catch up on your sleep on the way back, no need to get an expensive hotel room in Athens for the night.
All these prices quoted are correct at the time of writing, but the travel industry is notorious for changing prices. Prices go up and prices go down on a daily basis, but for this trip, as long as the English teams stay in the Champions League, the prices are much more likely to rise than fall.
If you are an optimistic supporter now is the time to plan you trip to Athens.
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