The Best Taxi Driver’s “George Taxi” in Athens, Greece
There is a little known, best kept “secret” in Athens. And I am about to share it with you Dear Reader.
If you are anything like my bipeds, there is something rather intimidating in trying to use public transportation in a country where you can’t read the signs. It’s not a language barrier thing… that they can manage… the alphabet is very literally … different. It’s cyrillic.
Add to that, the particularly long trip that is Ottawa to Athens, jet lag, huge crowds, few taxi’s and drivers known for cheating you out of every Euro …and you have a recipe for disaster. This is where George’s Taxi comes in.
These guys … are genuinely awesome.
We booked our drivers ahead of time, letting them know what we needed (in our case – dog friendly driver!), and pre-negotiated the price for each pick-up and drop-off. We were given contact numbers in case our flights were delayed (as you know THAT happened!) and when we finally landed in Athens, it was the best moment ever to know … someone was waiting for us!
Our driver Kostas was there, with a big sign and a smile. He right away grabbed our bag, asked about all the delays, and asked if we were alright. He wanted to know if we needed a few minutes … maybe needed a coffee or glass of water? He was genuinely concerned for our well-being. He quickly got us on our way to our hotel where he knew a pool and comfy bed would sooth our frazzled nerves.
It was like having a good friend meet us and welcome us to Greece.
He told us a lot about what we saw outside our window. Telling us about the impact the Olympics had on Athens and more. He brought a smile to our tired faces. Made us feel welcome, made us happy to be in Athens and in such capable hands. We got a little mini tour and history lesson on our way to the hotel. But we also knew that if all we wanted was just calm and quiet – that was not a problem. Kostas was perfect, a real gentleman in fact.
So, who is George? And what is his Story Anyway?
Years and years ago, George Kokkotos (just love that name!) sold his restaurant in New York to return to Greece where his family and heart were. He had saved enough money to start his new life in Athens, but it was more difficult than it had been in the USA. In order to support his family, he became a taxi driver. But being a taxi driver in Athens is difficult. The fares are very low and gas is very very expensive.
But George did not give up! Instead he decided to become the best taxi driver in Athens. He began to study his country’s history so he could act as tour guide. His English became a great asset often translating for lost Anglophone tourists. He reached out to travel agencies, offering his services to help transfer people from airports, to hotels, to ferries and trains; anything to make the Greek experience easier for travelers! The true heart of hospitality was beating in this man’s chest.
Then he began to take people on excursions around Athens, to the Parthenon, the museums, shopping trips (he has saved many people money by being able to bargain on their behalf), and to places like the temple at Cape Sounion where you can see some of the most beautiful sunsets. He expanded to taking people to places like Delphi, Meteora and the monasteries on top of those big rocks, and to the Peleponisos too. He took people on day trips to historic Naphlion, the former capital of Greece, Mycenae and its impressive ruins, Corinth with the canal and the fortress above the city and many other places. On all the excursions he made a point to stop at beaches, quiet taverns, remote churches and monasteries because when you see Greece like this you have the freedom to see everything and to stop and look at anything that captures your interest.
Lately, he has also taken Greek-Americans who are searching for their lost relatives or ancestral towns and villages where he is able to translate and locate family members and has witnessed many happy reunions. His favourite thing to do is to take people to out of the way beaches that most tourists will never see.
Back to our experience with George’s Taxi!
What will the drivers from George’s Taxi do for you? Pretty much anything you need! They will pick you up from the airport terminal, your hotel, apartment, train station, or cruise ship terminal. They will also assist you in your travel. They even provide translation service! Have a day trip in mind? They can help!
What did we hire George’s Taxi to do? Simple: Pick-up at the airport to the Acropolis Hotel, then from the hotel to the ferry very early the next day. On our return from our sailing trip, a pick-up from the ferry in Athens back to the Sofitel Airport Hotel.
Waiting for a taxi when you leave the airport or ferry in Athens is a form of insanity. It’s a mad, crazy rush to find a cab along with everyone else. Whether getting off the plane or ferry we found our driver there, smiling, holding a sign with our names on it. There was something comforting in having someone meet us that spoke English. It was especially nice to see Kostas again, a familiar face in a sea of strangers. With everything pre-negotiated in terms of price, there was no fear of being swindled. Our driver even walked into the hotel with us on our first day, making sure everything was fine and helped us check in. Knowing Kostas was there, making sure we were not left stranded made us feel like we had an ally – just in case there were any problems – it was hugely comforting. Especially when traveling with a canine.
Kostas was a gem. He showed up in the brand new Mercedes Taxi, fully air-conditioned and very comfortable. He drove carefully so as not to jiggle us about. There was no smoking in the car. Everything was clean and proper.
You can see why George’s Taxi has earned an international reputation for quality, innovation, and outstanding service since 1983. After all, they were the FIRST in Greece to offer luxury taxi services and informative private tours at reasonable prices and continue to be the best. To guarantee the best service they chose the Mercedes Benz E-class as there car (painted pale yellow) and recruit only the BEST professional English speaking drivers with spotless driving records. You don’t have to fear for your life in the crazy traffic that you find in downtown Athens.
So whether you are in Greece for a layover, mini-vacation, extended holiday, call George’s Taxi to help plan your trip exactly as you want it. Stress free.
Have you ever hired a pick-up or drop-off? What was it like?