Private Parthenon with Free Time in the Plaka
After meeting your professionally trained and licensed guide on the pier, you will depart for the center of Athens, approximately 30 minutes drive from the pier. You will visit the Acropolis of Athens. This monument is recognized as the culmination of Greek architecture, art and sculpture. In the second half of the fifth century B.C., Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city-states of the ancient world. As thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists under the guidance of Athenian statesman Pericles and the sculptor Pheidias, set out on a ambitious plan to transform the rocky hill of the Acropolis into a unique monument to thought and the arts. You will view The Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 B.C. as the focus of the Acropolis building complex. Dedicated to the goddess Athena Pallas or Parthenos (virgin), it's main function was to shelter the monumental statue of Athena that was made out of gold and ivory. You will see the Erechtheon, started in 420 B.C. as a temple for religious rituals, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis which blends Doric and Ionic building principles, and the small temple Athena Nike, which stands on a protruding mass of rock, protecting the gate to the citadel.
From the Acropolis, you can also look down on the Ancient Agora, Tower of the Winds, Herodes Atticus Theater, and the Theater of Dionyssos from your lofty perch.
After descending the Acropolis, enjoy a city orientation drive viewing such sights as the Temple of Zeus, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the former Royal Palace which is now the Greek House of Parliament. You will pass by the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, and the National Library. Next, you will proceed to the Panathenian Olympic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. After a short photo stop at the Olympic Stadium, you will continue on to the Plaka, one of the oldest parts of the city, where your guided portion of the tour ends.
Bordered by the Acropolis to the south and the Ancient Agora to the west, the Plaka is the historic heart of Athens. Blending with the adjacent Monastiaki district the Plaka area seems to have a little of everything from the ancient ruins of a Roman forum, the Greek Agora, and Byzantine influenced churches, to restored 19th century neoclassical homes and modern day stores, boutiques and cafes sprinkled throughout. After making suggestions for additional touring, shopping or where to sample some Greek food, your guide will say their goodbyes and you will have approximately one hour to explore on your own.
The Plaka area is home to several museums including the Benaki Museum, the Kanellopoulos Museum, the Museum of Greek Musical Instruments and the Greek Folk Art Museum to name a few. For shopping you will find Greek souvenirs, clothing as well as Greek jewelry shops along many of the larger streets. Greek gold jewelry is often better priced than other European countries as the labor cost is less and is also very unique.
For a quick, inexpensive taste of traditional Greece, order a pita-souvlaki or gyro from a walk up window and eat it standing up. Be aware that any time you sit at a cafe in the Plaka, you pay for the experience, and outside seating carries a higher charge than inside seating. If you want to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal, look for where the locals are dining, which is almost never on the major streets, but usually on smaller side streets such as Kydatheneon. At the designated time and location, your driver will be waiting to take you back to the pier. Guests wishing to stay longer in the Plaka should let their driver know, and will need to arrange their own transportation back to the port.
Please Note: In winter months, the tour itinerary may be altered due to opening times at the sites and limited daylight. Tours on Sunday require a supplement for guides and driver. This tour offers customized departure times between 7:30 AM and 7:00 PM. If your preferred departure time is not listed, please contact us to place your request.
Reviewer: Ellin S
Our tour guide was so knowledgeable I felt like a PhD professor was our guide. She pointed out such cool information like the sides of the Parathenon were curved inward to better improve the illusion it was built straight. She also knew the history of the area and era extremely well. I couldn't rate her higher!