Exclusive Athens with Free Time in the Plaka
For guests wanting a general orientation, a little history, time for shopping and exploring on their own, or even an optional visit to the Acropolis, this is the perfect exclusive Athens tour for you or your group, offering more time in the city than cruise line tours.
You will drive to the center of Athens, approximately 30 minutes from the pier. Upon arrival, your professionally trained guide will narrate during a city orientation, 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.
A photo stop will be made outside the Panathenian Olympic Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. From here, you will continue on to the Plaka, one of the oldest parts of the city.
Upon arrival at the Plaka, your guide will give you a time and specific location to meet for your transfer back to the pier.
Your guide will then begin an optional tour for those guests wishing to climb the famous Acropolis. As this is an option, admission to the Acropolis site is not included in the price of your tour. The entrance fee is approximately 20 EUR, and they do not accept credit cards.
The Acropolis of Athens is recognized as the culmination of Greek architecture, art and sculpture. During your visit to the Acropolis (from Greek meaning above the city), you will view The Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 B.C. as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Its 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. The guide will lead you up, narrating as you climb. The guided portion of the tour ends upon reaching the Parthenon, allowing you free time to browse on your own. Those guests taking the Acropolis option will have approximately one hour of free time after you descend. Your guide will depart after the Acropolis tour.
For those guests not climbing, you will have approximately three hours of free time to explore.
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.
The Plaka area is home to several nearby museums including the Benaki, Kanellopoulos, the new Acropolis and the Greek Folk Art Museum, to name a few. For shopping, you will find Greek souvenirs and clothing, as well as jewelry shops. Greek gold jewelry is often better priced than other European countries as the labor cost is lower.
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. At the designated time and location, your guide will be waiting to take you to the transportation for the drive 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.
Due to crowds, traffic or other conditions out of our control, the order of the tour may be changed.
Reviewer: Aylmer Yan
The experienced tour guide had made good arrangements with timing and explained to us in details the history of all aspects in the Plaka. We also had sufficient time to walk around and take photos ourselves during the free time.
Reviewer: Kyla Adams
We loved the tour! The bus ride from the cruise ship was good with lots of history provided on the way. The Acropolis/Parthenon was wonderful, although of course it was crowded. The guide was knowledgeable and the free time in the Plaka after was just enough to walk around and enjoy some greek yogurt, but not enough to visit any of the other ruins/museums in the area unfortunately. We would love to come back to Athens someday with more time to explore, but we will not hesitate to book more excursions on our next cruise with this company.
Reviewer: Sandy Fletcher
This was not a usual day as the cab and trains had gone on strike. Guide did a good job of keeping the group together and shared a lot of interesting information. We were provided with a bottle of water due to the heat, which was appreciated.
Reviewer: richard longpre
good guide , good explanations enjoyed the tour
Reviewer: Paige Rawson
Perfect way to see Athens. Just the right amount of free time in Plaka after visiting the Acropolis. We walked as a group around the Acropolis which allowed for questions to be answered.