Athens, Greece, is a vibrant metropolis city that is home to some of the world’s most amazing ancient wonders. During a Mediterranean cruise, you can marvel at these sights while in port in Athens, Greece. Here is what to expect when cruising to Athens and some tips on how to spend your day.
Where Your Ship Docks
When visiting Athens via cruise, your ship will dock in the city of Piraeus, which is only about seven miles from Athen’s top things to do. Piraeus has restaurants and shops, but you won’t want to spend much time there; the true allure of this port of call lies less than ten miles away.
Getting From Piraeus to Athens
Though you may have a bit of a hike to get to it depending on where along the harbor your cruise ship docks, the metro station in Piraeus is quite doable to walk to, and from there it’s just a 20-minute metro ride into the city center of Athens. However, if you want to make things easier on yourself getting into Athens, consider a shore excursion. Celebrity Cruises has a large variety of excursions to do while in port in Athens, and you’ll be met by your tour guide right by the ship and taken into Athens on a comfortable, air-conditioned bus where you’ll begin exploring sites old and new.
Things to Do in Athens
The big must-do in Athens is the Acropolis, built in the 5th century. This is a large site with many ancient structures that you’d be wise to do on a guided tour. Unless you’re very knowledgeable in your Greek history, once you’re up there and standing amid the Parthenon and other structures, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re looking at. There isn’t much in terms of information boards and to fully appreciate walking around where Plato and Socrates did, you’ll want an expert regaling you with stories and facts while you wander the grounds.
Shore Excursion Ideas for Seeing the Acropolis: If you want some free time to explore Athens on your own, the Explore Athens and Ancient Acropolis excursion is just four hours and takes you to tour the Acropolis, plus you’ll see some other famous sites on your drive through Athens to get there. If you’d like your whole day to be effortlessly handled for you, check out the Taste of Athens shore excursion, a 7-hour excursion which visits the Acropolis and some of Athens other top sites.
Want to soak up even more Acropolis knowledge? Head to the Acropolis Museum after you leave the actual site of the Acropolis. Here you’ll see the actual statues of the women holding up the Erechtheion Temple at the Acropolis. (The ones displayed at the Acropolis are replicas.) You’ll also see many other statues and historical artifacts that have been found at the Acropolis during excavations.
Temple of the Olympian Zeus
Believed to have been constructed in the 2nd century, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus is still impressive to behold despite the fact that it’s number of columns have now dwindled to 15 of what was once over 100. Adding to its allure is the fact that it’s in the middle of a large park surrounded by busy roads. It’s like you’re stepping from bustling, modern society back in time the second you step through the gate to enter the park from the street.
Arch of Hadrian (also referred to as Hadrian’s Gate)
This arched structure dates back to the 2nd century and was constructed in honor of Hadrian visiting Athens. It signifies the gateway between the old and new towns of Athens, Greece. Look for the inscription on it and come to your own assumptions about what the words mean – scholars haven’t been able to ever come to a conclusion.
Plaka is considered Athen’s “Old Town” and is chock-full of charming pathways, eclectic shops, and charming cafes with lovely outdoor seating. There are also historical sites sprinkled all around Plaka that you’ll come across so keep your eyes peeled for them.
If you love shopping, head to Monastiraki Flea Market, which is located adjacent to the Plaka neighborhood and has some great deals to be found.
These are just some of the many sites you can see in Athens. If you’re ready to book your Mediterranean cruise so you can explore this iconic city, visit Celebrity Cruises or speak with your travel agent.