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Athens Tips, Suggestions, Examples to Enjoy!

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From visiting Athens for three days in 2006 prior to starting our first cruise, there is much to enjoy here. It is a large city of about four million people. Much of the city is urban, newer growth, so-so and average. BUT, the stars in Athens are superstars!!! Below are some picture examples. I rate the top three as the Parthenon and Acropolis Hill, the Plaka and the National Archilogical Museum. Parthenon construction began in 447BC and was completed in 432BC on the spectacular Athenian Acropolis hill. We had a wonderful retired teacher as our guide there and she gave us great, interesting details on how it was constructed. It is rated as the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. As you can see from the pictures, we had a great, beautiful sunny day there! Wonderfully nice place to see this history and all that is nearby in Athens.

 

We stayed at the nice and highly-rated AVA Hotel that was right nearby in the heart of the highly-enjoyable Plaka. This dining and shopping area is totally full of charm and interest, plus being handy to the Acropolis and other historic areas. The National Archaeological Museum is not right nearby, but it is well worth the trip by subway to get there. It is the most important archaeological museum of Greece and has a very important international collection of antiquities. Its artifacts cover a period of more than 5,000 years, from late Neolithic Age to Roman Greece. You can follow that timeline history and better understand how the Romans "borrowed" the great designs of the Greeks to "share" with the world.

 

You can do much of Athens well in a day or two. On one of our three days there (besides resting up from the long trans-Atlantic flight), we did a day-trip to the Peloponnesian Peninsula seeing Corinith, Nafplio, the Mycenae fortress-town of that Aegean civilization and Epidaurus with its great outdoor theatre with perfect sound. Happy to post more pictures and/or answer questions. It is worth the added time in Athens and nearby.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

ParthenonPosing.jpg

 

 

Outdoor theatre adjoining the Parthenon:

 

OutdoorTheatre.jpg

 

 

On Acropolis hill:

 

OnAcrop.jpg

 

Acrop.jpg

 

 

One sample from famed National Archaeological Museum:

 

NatArch.jpg

 

 

At night in Plaka:

 

PlakaNight.jpg

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Don't miss the changing of the guards at the parliment building. Very cool (or as my 5YO niece described "guys carrying guns wearing skirts with pompoms on their shoes -- and the shoes clicked really loud")

 

The National gardens (next to parliment) are also very nice.

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Don't miss the changing of the guards at the parliment building. Very cool (or as my 5YO niece described "guys carrying guns wearing skirts with pompoms on their shoes -- and the shoes clicked really loud")

 

To supplement, the ceremony is every hour on the hour, with a much longer one on Sunday morning.

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We had a truly awful visit to the Acropolis in early October (cruise on Solstice). We were on a (shared) private excursion that day, and I had thought that we would go straight (8am) to the Acropolis, but in the event it was after 11am by the time we arrived there. Even though we had tickets (bought at the first site we visited, the Temple of Zeus) it took almost 30 minutes to trudge up to the top - in step with all the other people doing the climb. It was so crowded and so horrible that we turned straight round and came down.

 

Maybe we hit a bad time - there was at least one other cruise ship in port so you can imagine that there were lots of excursion coaches - but I have a feeling that you need to get there early or late to get a good experience.

 

I'd love to go there again but I think it will have to be in the context of a shore-based trip.

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Thanks for sharing....Awesome pics

 

THANKS for the kind comments and the other suggestions on options while in Athens! Below are a few more visual samples/examples from this charming and historic city. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

A view from our AVA Hotel balacony of Roman relics in Athens:

 

RuinsFromHotel.jpg

 

 

Outdoor dining in the Plaka. Lots of music and fun, plus good food:

 

PlakaDining.jpg

 

 

National Arch. Museum treasures from Greece’s great history:

 

NatMusTreasures.jpg

 

 

 

Night opera performance at outdoor theatre right below the Parthenon:

 

NightOpera.jpg

 

 

A view from below the Parthenon:

 

ArcopHill.jpg

 

 

Mythos is the beer to enjoy while dining outdoors in Plaka:

 

MythosBeer.jpg

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THANKS for the kind comments and the other suggestions on options while in Athens! Below are a few more visual samples/examples from this charming and historic city. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Night opera performance at outdoor theatre right below the Parthenon:

 

NightOpera.jpg

 

 

 

Hey Terry, how did you arrange to attend the performance at the theater above? That looks like something I'd really enjoy. Did you plan it in advance or did your hotel help arrange it -- please share details!

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Hey Terry, how did you arrange to attend the performance at the theater above? That looks like something I'd really enjoy. Did you plan it in advance or did your hotel help arrange it -- please share details!

 

I did some checking ahead on the summer opera website and saw their schedule. Then in the afternoon, I just walked up and got tickets for the evening performance. It was nice to see. People were pretty dressed up for the program. Very classy and nice to experience it in the evening as the sun was setting. It's a big theater. Here are some added notes on what we saw, a website, the theater, etc.

 

Greek National Opera , Othello by Giuseppe Verdi

Conductor: Loukas Karytinos, Directed by Spyros A. Evangelato

http://www.athensinfoguide.com

June 13-15, Giuseppe Verdi’s Othello by Greek National Opera

50 or 65 Euro for seating zone A or B

telephone 011+30 210 9282 900

daily 9-2, 6-9 daily, ticketed 3 weeks out

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an ancient open-air amphitheater, at the foot of the Acropolis. The 5,000 seat theatre, specially designed for musical and dramatic performances in 161 AD, was commissioned by the wealthy Roman benefactor, Herodes Atticus, in memory of his late wife. Decorated in marble and monumental in size, it has served as a vital part of Greek culture since ancient times when musicians, dancers, dramatists and poets performed in festivals for the favor of the gods.

 

Does this help?

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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I did some checking ahead on the summer opera website and saw their schedule. Then in the afternoon, I just walked up and got tickets for the evening performance. It was nice to see. People were pretty dressed up for the program. Very classy and nice to experience it in the evening as the sun was setting. It's a big theater. Here are some added notes on what we saw, a website, the theater, etc.

 

Greek National Opera , Othello by Giuseppe Verdi

Conductor: Loukas Karytinos, Directed by Spyros A. Evangelato

www.athensinfoguide.com

June 13-15, Giuseppe Verdi’s Othello by Greek National Opera

50 or 65 Euro for seating zone A or B

telephone 011+30 210 9282 900

daily 9-2, 6-9 daily, ticketed 3 weeks out

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an ancient open-air amphitheater, at the foot of the Acropolis. The 5,000 seat theatre, specially designed for musical and dramatic performances in 161 AD, was commissioned by the wealthy Roman benefactor, Herodes Atticus, in memory of his late wife. Decorated in marble and monumental in size, it has served as a vital part of Greek culture since ancient times when musicians, dancers, dramatists and poets performed in festivals for the favor of the gods.

 

Does this help?

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

That's great, thanks so much for the info. I'm tentatively starting to plan a land trip to Greece with some time in Athens and I know I would really love to do this.

 

:)

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That's great, thanks so much for the info. I'm tentatively starting to plan a land trip to Greece with some time in Athens and I know I would really love to do this. :)

 

Appreciate the kind comments. That

http://www.athensinfoguide.com

website only now has event posted up till the spring of 2010. You might have to wait till within a month or two of your visit in order to see a full listing of what is schedule while you are there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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Do you know what time they do the changing of the guards?

 

Every hour on the hour, with a longer very extensive ceremony on Sunday morning around 10:30 or 11 AM. (Sorry I do not remember which because I have not been in Athens on a Sunday yet.)

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Appreciate the kind comments. That

http://www.athensinfoguide.com

website only now has event posted up till the spring of 2010. You might have to wait till within a month or two of your visit in order to see a full listing of what is schedule while you are there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Terry your pictures and enthusiasm have kick started mine planning for our upcoming May8th to 22 NCL Gem cruise.

 

Could you offer some first hand advice? We arrive in Pireaus at 7am set sail at 6pm, could you offer me a plan? We are early 50's good shape and love photography. Thanks Karen

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Terry your pictures and enthusiasm have kick started mine planning for our upcoming May8th to 22 NCL Gem cruise.

Could you offer some first hand advice? We arrive in Pireaus at 7am set sail at 6pm, could you offer me a plan? We are early 50's good shape and love photography. Thanks Karen

 

THANKS, Karen, for the nice and kind comments! Without knowing your exact budget and travel interests/style, I will offer a couple of general suggestions. At the start of this thread are more details. I'd arrive in port and take a cab to the Acropolis Hill area. Get a personal guide you hire there on site to take you around up there and see the wonderful Parthenon. You'll learning lots of interesting details on how it was built, etc. Then I would walk to the Plaka that is right next door. Maybe have lunch there at one of the outdoor cafes, etc. If you're into history and art, the National Archaeological Museum might involve another cab ride from the Plaka. Some will say you can take public transit to get around in Athens and that you need to be careful on how some cab drivers will charge you. YES, that's true, but there is also the "time-efficiency" factor to consider. You could also get a personal driver who can take you around Athens and/or nearby to see some of the other sites. The new Parthenon Museum is now open and has lots of nice options to see. Tell us more on your interests, budget and "style" for such a visit to Athens. It is a big, big city, but in my view the Arcopolis and Plaka are the two must-see's and they are very close and handy to each other. Does this help? Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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THANKS, Karen, for the nice and kind comments! Without knowing your exact budget and travel interests/style, I will offer a couple of general suggestions. At the start of this thread are more details. I'd arrive in port and take a cab to the Acropolis Hill area. Get a personal guide you hire there on site to take you around up there and see the wonderful Parthenon. You'll learning lots of interesting details on how it was built, etc. Then I would walk to the Plaka that is right next door. Maybe have lunch there at one of the outdoor cafes, etc. If you're into history and art, the National Archaeological Museum might involve another cab ride from the Plaka. Some will say you can take public transit to get around in Athens and that you need to be careful on how some cab drivers will charge you. YES, that's true, but there is also the "time-efficiency" factor to consider. You could also get a personal driver who can take you around Athens and/or nearby to see some of the other sites. The new Parthenon Museum is now open and has lots of nice options to see. Tell us more on your interests, budget and "style" for such a visit to Athens. It is a big, big city, but in my view the Arcopolis and Plaka are the two must-see's and they are very close and handy to each other. Does this help? Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Terry I hate to admit I am not a "real history buff" but really enjoy looking at beautiful things for just that their beauty not necessarily why they are, or how they became that way. So I am looking to enjoy many aspects of Athens, not just running from museum to museum. We love photography and that includes buildings and people. We also love to have a meal or drinks in places we visit. We love the independence of doing it on our own and usually save tours for places that are far from port or maybe safer by doing an excursions.

 

Thanks again for any and all ideas. Karen

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Terry I hate to admit I am not a "real history buff" but really enjoy looking at beautiful things for just that their beauty not necessarily why they are, or how they became that way. So I am looking to enjoy many aspects of Athens, not just running from museum to museum. We love photography and that includes buildings and people. We also love to have a meal or drinks in places we visit. We love the independence of doing it on our own and usually save tours for places that are far from port or maybe safer by doing an excursions. Thanks again for any and all ideas. Karen

 

THANKS, Karen, for the added info! Nothing wrong with loving "beauty" versus history! My top three would still stay that same on "beauty" to see and enjoy in Athens. You can't go wrong with Acropolis, Plaka and National Museum. That museum is just that, BUT its collection has such a nice range of good-looking stuff, you can't go wrong. It usually is not that crowded as it is at a little distance from the Acropolis/Plaka. I would suggest checking at a nearby library or bookstore for their Eyewitness books on Athens. Look at the pictures! See what hits your eye, interests and heart for the most "beauty" and charm in Athens. The Plaka has lots of great outdoor eating places, shops, people activities, music playing, etc.

 

Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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Terry I hate to admit I am not a "real history buff" but really enjoy looking at beautiful things for just that their beauty not necessarily why they are, or how they became that way. So I am looking to enjoy many aspects of Athens, not just running from museum to museum. We love photography and that includes buildings and people. We also love to have a meal or drinks in places we visit. We love the independence of doing it on our own and usually save tours for places that are far from port or maybe safer by doing an excursions. . .

 

I'm with Karen on this -- much of what is beautiful in Athens is related to the history. The Acropolis area is gorgeous -- lots of details to photograph, great views from the top of the hill of the rest of the city. Be certain to take the time to explore the acroplis area below the hill (the area around the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereuse).

 

Much of the marbles and other stuff in the museums are also beautiful (even when ignoring the history :) )

 

Also, behind the Tomb of the Unknown solder on Amalias street, at the top of Syntagma Square is the National Garden (fka "Kings Garden"). It is beautiful and peaceful.

Edited by Onessa

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There is a little red train that leaves from the front of the New Museum and does a circuit through the city. PLEASE BE WARNED ;), we asked how long the circuit would take and were told 1 hour - wrong - it took 1 1/2 hours which meant the 1/2 hour we had up our sleeve had gone :( and we had to catch a E20 taxi to be sure of being back at the ship on time. The train ride was not expensive, can't recall exactly how much, but we thoroughly enjoyed the overview of the city or did until anxiety set in :eek: as we watched the time ticking by. Apart from that it is an incredible city and we loved our visit there.

Have fun, Misty

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I'd arrive in port and take a cab to the Acropolis Hill area. Get a personal guide you hire there on site to take you around up there and see the wonderful Parthenon. You'll learning lots of interesting details on how it was built, etc. Then I would walk to the Plaka that is right next door. Maybe have lunch there at one of the outdoor cafes, etc.

 

This is exactly what we are considering doing for out port time in March. What is the price range for the guides that we will encounter there?

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This is exactly what we are considering doing for out port time in March. What is the price range for the guides that we will encounter there?

 

I don't remember the exact cost. These guides are licensed and have to meet very specific requirements. My recollection was something like $60-80 for the two of us. Not cheap. I think we negotiated a little. Was it worth it? Absolutely! We learned lots, got all of our questions answered and she was able to take a great picture of us. How often in your life do you get to one of the most famous places in the whole world? After you have spent lots and lots for your cruise, airfare, etc., don't pinch pennies too much at a great site like this where you want to really understand that history, how it was built, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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I don't remember the exact cost. These guides are licensed and have to meet very specific requirements. My recollection was something like $60-80 for the two of us. Not cheap. I think we negotiated a little. Was it worth it? Absolutely! We learned lots, got all of our questions answered and she was able to take a great picture of us. How often in your life do you get to one of the most famous places in the whole world? After you have spent lots and lots for your cruise, airfare, etc., don't pinch pennies too much at a great site like this where you want to really understand that history, how it was built, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

That's not too bad. Thanks for the info!

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I don't remember the exact cost. These guides are licensed and have to meet very specific requirements. My recollection was something like $60-80 for the two of us. Not cheap. I think we negotiated a little. Was it worth it? Absolutely! We learned lots, got all of our questions answered and she was able to take a great picture of us. How often in your life do you get to one of the most famous places in the whole world? After you have spent lots and lots for your cruise, airfare, etc., don't pinch pennies too much at a great site like this where you want to really understand that history, how it was built, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Terry how long was your tour? Thanks Karen

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Terry how long was your tour? Thanks Karen

 

It was about two hours. I went back and checked my photo file where it has the times recorded on when each photo was taken. Handy thing to be able to go back and check! A nice feature that many digital does as you shoot each picture. This included going through with her the Arcopolis Museum that was on the hilltop then in 2006. It's now in its new location from which you can look up to the Parthenon. She was a wonderful guide with great insights and helpful background.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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It was about two hours. I went back and checked my photo file where it has the times recorded on when each photo was taken. Handy thing to be able to go back and check! A nice feature that many digital does as you shoot each picture. This included going through with her the Arcopolis Museum that was on the hilltop then in 2006. It's now in its new location from which you can look up to the Parthenon. She was a wonderful guide with great insights and helpful background.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Thanks. Speaking of Digital Cameras your pics are so beautiful what do you shoot with? Thanks Karen

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I think he use a Nikon D50 camera :p (if you want see the exif properties of an image use this website: http://regex.info/exif.cgi -copy paste the image url in form)

 

Hi to all members. My name is Makis, I'm from Greece (Athens) and I can help you with any information you need about Greek ports and places. I've go 14 cruises at Greek islands and Turkey with various ships.

 

Welcome Makis, I can see you just joined cruise critic.

 

If you were arriving from Piraeus and only had 8 hours to explore Athens what would you do and how? Thanks so much

 

We are also going to Santorini, Mykonos, Iraklion, Crete and Corfu so any ideas for those ports would be helpful.

 

Thanks again and Happy New Year to all, Karen

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