The sale of counterfeit student identification is a problem that keeps surfacing in Athens. Unscrupulous travel agents sell student fares to students and non-students along with fake International Student Identity Cards. So beware.
Official travel services in Athens that are affiliated with the ISIC are: CTS Student Travel Center, 62 Akadimias; International Student and Youth Travel Service, 11 Nikis St. (second floor), Syntagma Square, and the USIT (Irish student travel service) office, Filellinon Street, Syntagma Square.
Students who carry legitimate ISIC cards (sold at 400 campuses in the United States) are eligible for reduced rates on international air fares, savings up to 25% on ferry travel from Greece to various Mediterranean ports, and a 50% reduction on admissions to the Acropolis Archaeological Site, Acropolis Museum, Byzantine Museum, National Archaeological Museum, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Theater of Dionyssos.
Also, any traveler under age 26 is eligible to buy reduced rail tickets in Greece for travel to other points in Europe. Rates can be cut as much as 40%.
Among other trips, young visitors to Greece can hike Mt. Olympus. According to the Greek National Tourist Organization, there is a clean, low-cost youth hostel in a village at the base of the mountain, and two climbers’ huts for use during the hike.
Although the village hostel is open all year, youths should hike between May and September.
The closest youth hostel is in Lithochoro, a small town on the eastern slopes of the mountain a few miles from the coast. It’s on the main highway that links Athens with Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki. The Lithochoro youth hostel is at 3 Doumbioti near the main square.
You don’t have to be a member of the International Youth Hostel Assn. to use this facility. It has small dormitory rooms, plus private and family rooms. Hot water is available for showers, and there are laundry and ironing facilities.
The hostel warden, Irantos Costas, is a winter sports teacher. He provides guests with topographical maps and gives advice on climbing gear and other pertinent topics. The trek takes two days, and you can store your luggage at the hostel.
There are two hostel-like refuges on the mountain, run by Greece’s mountaineering clubs. The hostel warden in Lithochoro can make reservations for you.
For more information on travel to Greece, contact the Greek National Tourist Organization at 611 West 6th St., Suite 1998, Los Angeles 90017, phone (213) 626-6696.