This whistle-stop Athens tour is packed full of all those must-see Athens spots as well as those hidden gems that can only be found with a local by your side. Dive into the very soul of Athens and discover exactly what makes this city so very special - including and aside from all that ancient history.
Start this historical Athens walking tour by meeting your local guide in Syntagma Square, the most important and crowded square in Athens, surrounded by impressive neoclassical buildings. The best known is the Grande Bretagne, once a royal palace but now a luxury hotel which has housed everyone from Churchill to Madonna.
At the upper end of the square see the Evzones, the guards of the Constitution, and the tomb of the unknown soldier. The Evzones are traditionally dressed with 17th and 18th century clothes: an impressive white skirt, red hat, and an old rifle. The changing of the guard happens every hour, and you simply cannot tour Athens without seeing this spectacle! Watch the ceremony while your local guide explains the tradition.
Next on this Athens tour you'll jump on the metro and travel to Acropolis station. Traveling between these stations is like stepping back in time; both have exposed ancient ruins behind glass, discovered during the excavations for the metro system. But these are just a taster of the ancient ruins to come.
You'll exit the station and take a walk around the walls of famous Athens Acropolis, passing by the Ancient Agora. Walk along ancient roads, admire new architecture, and hear about the customs and traditions that still exist today. This is the central hub of classic Athens history, and you'll hear the stories behind this monument from your local guide. Please note that this is an overview of the Acropolis, and the tour does not go inside.
Afterwards, explore the Plaka area. Shop for souvenirs along Adrianou Street, where you can find local products such as ouzo (Greece's national alcohol). You'll also see shops that specialize in olive oil, sponges, icons, leather sandals, and bags - something you won't experience on other Athens tours.
Continue walking to Diogenis Square, under the impressive wall of the Acropolis. See Hadrian's Arch, built in honor of one of the most glorified Roman emperors. Directly behind it you can see the ruins of the Jupiter (Zeus) Temple as you taste and feel the history of Athens.
Pass by the National Garden and Zappeion, to arrive at the white marble Panathinaiko Stadium. It was here that the first Olympic Games took place, and where the 2004 Olympic marathon ended.
Finally, you'll be taken back to present-day Athens to admire some of Athens' more modern architecture. Walk through the new city highlights, where life goes on in modern rhythms. See where locals wander, shop, and gather. Visit the Kolonaki area, which is the heart of today's Athens.
The Athens walking tour comes to an end at the Academy of Athens, where you are free to continue your own personal exploration, or your local guide can tell you how to get back to your ship, where you can digest all that history!
Please Note: Entrance fees to certain locations on the tour are not included in the price of the tour itself. This tour begins in central Athens, and is an approximate a 40-minute taxi ride (not included in the tour price) from the pier. The tour ends at the Academy of Athens.
Reviewer: Nina Wynn
Loved our guides, but because we were in port for a short period of time we were limited in what all we could see. Touring the Parthenon would have made this the perfect excursion.