7.5 to 8 hours private tour
(private transportation + guidance all the way + Athens city bus tour + Guided tour of the new Acropolis Museum + Guided tour of the Acropolis and the Parthenon + Plaka and Monastiraki + one of the extra activities you will choose from)
For those of you that have more time at their disposal while your cruise ship is docked at Piraeus port, we have designed a fully customizable tour, that will help you see and experience as much as possible in one day in Athens. Below you will find some information about the must-see monuments in Athens, but in case you have visited them before, or you would prefer to visit some other archaeological sites or museums instead, we can work together on further customizing your Athens full day tour.
This tour includes most highlights of Athens, one can see in a day. Athens is a city with a lot of history, great architecture, old districts, some of the best museums in the world and a lot of great restaurants where someone can taste famous Greek cuisine recipes. Since you will be on a cruise and you have limited time available, we have designed for you a tour that can help you experience Athens the best way and make the most of your visit there.
The tour with the licensed tour guide and the private vehicle will start from the port of Piraeus. Officially Piraeus is considered to be a different city, but you can say it is one of the suburbs of Athens. Along the way you will keep seeing and hearing explanations about the different parts of Piraeus and Athens, such as the Kastela and Mikrolimano ports. Since Athens hosted the Olympic Games in 2004 and most of the Olympic settlements were located on the southern suburbs of it, you will cross an Olympic Venue and you will follow an open free way that will bring you right at the center of Athens. While being amazed by the first views of the Acropolis and its Parthenon that you will be having from inside your private vehicle, you will also be impressed by the view of the massive remaining marble Corinthian columns of the temple of Zeus which still stand in the triangle between the Acropolis, the Panathenaic stadium and the Zappion Mansion which once used to be an Olympic Committee building. If you would like to stop and get off for a closer visit of either the temple of Olympic Zeus or the Zappion Mansion, you could ask your guide to do so. Next comes the Panathenaic marble stadium of the 1896 Olympics where you can stop for photos or even for an inside visit. The sightseeing will proceed passing the Parliament house, the Sydagma square, the Athenian Trilogy consisted by the Academy, the Library and the University buildings, the semi-byzantine building of the first eye clinic building in Europe and the church of St. Dionysios which is the Metropolis of the Catholic church in Athens. The drive will proceed through the Stadiou Avenue and the other side of Sydagma square, the Arch of Hadrian and will either end by the statue of Melina Merkouri and the pedestrians street between Plaka and the Acropolis or closer to either the Acropolis or the museum, depending from where your walking private guided tour will start from.
At the New Acropolis Museum, characterized as one of the best museums in the world, is where you will spend approximately 1 and a half hour, seeing parts of the excavations of the ancient city through its glass floor, an amazing exhibition of "Kores" and "Kouroi" statues, the Karyatides e.t.c. As you will be ascending the different levels of the museum, you will reach the top floor, all glass, where admiring the remaining pediments and frieze of the Parthenon you will also have an excellent view of the Parthenon itself. This is the next best view of the Parthenon, if any of you for any reason would prefer to not climb up the Acropolis hill.
It is 156 meters(about 600 feet) up to the top of the Acropolis and most of the ancient marble paths are still there, for you to walk on and to "travel" with your imagination, back in the glorious "Golden Age of Pericles", when most of the Classical period monuments you will admire were built. Climbing up you will see and hear explanations about the Filopappos hill, the Herodium Odeon, the Dionysius theatre, the Pnyx hill - birthplace of Democracy and the Areopagus hill.
Stopping before the Propylaea, you will have an excellent view of the temple of Wingless Nike and the Ancient Agora, where Socrates, Plato and Aristotle introduced great philosophical schools. Walking through the Propylaea you will reach the top and you will see the breathtaking Parthenon and the Erechtheion temple opposite it, where the Karyatides stood instead of columns to support the roof.
At the end of the private guided tour, you can either enjoy some free time to explore on your own and take pictures of the roof tiles of the buildings in the Anafiotika and Plaka districts below, the Lycabettus hill e.t.c. or you can descend with your tour guide and enter for a walk the Plaka area. Alternatively you can walk down passing parallel to the Ancient Agora of Athens and end up at the Monastiraki (Flea market) area for some free time to shop, dine or stroll around. Plaka is one of the most famous districts of central Athens and one of the few parts of the city which remain untouched, full of neoclassical buildings where people still reside, as well as several gardens, terraces and squares where small traditional restaurants are serving their specialties. Monastiraki (Flea Market) is a very interesting walk through small shops one next to each other that practically sell everything from Antique items and Art to used clothing and gramophone records. If you are interested, among the many shops that sell leather ancient Greek style sandals, you can also visit one of the most famous, the Melisinos Sandals Workshop, which is located very close to the Monastiraki square. In Monastiraki you will also be able to taste pita gyros, since some of the most famous restaurants of this kind are located next to the square.
Afterwards, and before returning to Piraeus, you can enhance your experience by choosing one of the following activities.
1. WALK AND TASTE IN ATHENS
This is a bonus you can add on your Athens experience and a unique experience of tasting along the way specialties and Greek delights that the Greeks love, from the places they love, which in some cases are "holes on the wall".
You will enjoy your guided tour with stops along the way, in order to enjoy snacks as well as pita gyros to go at the end.
The tasting experience per person includes a typopita (cheese pie), a koulouri (bread snack with sesame), a Greek coffee, Greek yogurt with topping and pita gyros to go.
2. A COOKING CLASS
Put your hands in the mix! Learn some of the famous and delicious Greek recipes, by cooking them yourselves. Greece has a long history and tradition in cooking. The Greeks have always been lovers of healthy and good quality food, since the ancient times. Ancient recipes have survived throughout the centuries but have also been influenced and modified throughout the years by different cultures and cuisines that Greeks have come in touch with.
Athens has thousands of restaurants, but some of the most favorite for the locals to dine, are in the historical and old parts of central Athens. From some of the restaurants we have chosen for you, we will take you to a traditional one, where the old barrels, the simplicity of everything and the warm welcome smile of the owners, will fascinate you as soon as you step in.
You will learn how to make your own "mezes" which in Greek is a sacred word for gastronomy, since it means something very tasty, that you always accompany with ouzo, beer or wine with your friends. After that you will be served the food you cooked, as well as other specialties of the restaurant. House wine and sodas will also be included.
3. DINE IN A TAVERNA IN PLAKA, OR MONASTIRAKI
We have carefully selected some restaurants in the Plaka area and Monastiraki, since these are some of the most touristy and crowded areas in Athens and just the nice seats or view of the restaurant, cannot complete your experience. There are some restaurants in Plaka where even the local Athenians love to dine, getting away from the crowded tourist parts of Plaka.
In Plaka we can offer you a dining experience in one of the oldest tavernas, where Mr. Michalis will personally take care of your menu and will talk to you about the fresh ingredients he uses in his kitchen, as well as about how proud he is of his "mousaka". The best in the city he always says!
Alternatively, we can make your experience a bit different, if you choose to taste gyros, tzatziki and the famous pita breads in the oldest and most popular taverna in Monastiraki. Outdoors, in a small yard if the weather permits it, or indoors surrounded by so many pictures of the famous Bairahtaris owner and all the celebrities from around the world, that have eaten his gyros.
4. VISIT THE INDOOR MEAT - FISH AND SPICE MARKET OF ATHENS
This will be a challengeable experience. If you don't have "agoraphobia" which is the Greek word for fear of crowds, since the place gets pretty crowded in the morning and if you don't think you will mind the smells of fresh products such as fish, meat and spices, which are in display all around you, this is an experience you shouldn't miss having. This Market is inside a very historical building of the 19th century, next to the Athinas Street, that is also famous for the neoclassical architecture all around it. You will be able to see how the Greeks like to buy their fresh food and how the merchants bargain with them, having the prices per kilo marked on everything, but also advertizing them by crying out very loud, trying to get their customers' attention.
Mingle with the locals, take unique pictures and prepare your appetite for a Greek lunch afterwards, if you would like to.
5. EXPERIENCE A COOKING CLASS AND A VISIT IN THE GASTRONOMY MUSEUM
Meet the Greek food heritage and learn more about the Cultural and Historic aspects of Greek gastronomy through periodic exhibitions. You will be guided through the exhibitions of tools and utensils that were used in the past and in some places even up until today for the preparation of some of the most famous traditional Greek dishes. After that you will put on your apron, follow the instructions of the chef and create your own Greek meal! Then you will taste the fruits of your labor in a luxurious and cozy environment and you will enjoy a full meal including your own creations together with options from the restaurant's menu. At the end of your visit, you will also be given a booklet with the recipes you have prepared, to always remember.
In case you are not interested in the cooking part, we could only arrange for your visit through the exhibition of the Gastronomy museum.
6. VISIT AN EXTRA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OR MUSEUM
For those of you interested in taking in as much information as possible about the Greek history its monuments, we could add on your guided tour an extra visit of either an archaeological site or a museum of the many there are in Athens. Therefore after the guided visit of the Acropolis and its Museum, you can have a coffee or lunch break and then continue your guiding experience with the visit of either the Ancient Agora, or Keramikos, or the National Archeological Museum, or the Benaki Museum, or the Cycladic Art Museum, or the Byzantine Art Museum.
If there is still time available, before taking the road back to Piraeus, you can use some time for shopping or walking around the city's center.
At the end of the tour your tour guide will escort you back to Piraeus. On the way you will be able to discuss your experience in Athens and ask questions you may have.
The order of the visits on this tour might change, according to your guides judgment, depending on the weather, traffic or other reasons that might affect the timings and your enjoyment, which is our main goal.