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Athens (Piraeus), Greece Athens brought the world drama, history, poetry, and philosophy. Once home to the world's most powerful and civilized empires, Athens is now the world's foremost archaeological playground. The towering columns of the Parthenon still stand in homage to the virgin goddess Athena. The Parthenon sits atop the Athenian Acropolis and watches over the city where it can be seen from just about anywhere in Athens. Make it a point to visit the incredible Acropolis Museum on your cruise to Athens. The joint effort between two architects, one American and the other Greek, this outstanding building was completed and opened to the public in 2009. It focuses primarily on the Greek period dating to 5 B.C., considered to be the apex of art, culture, and philosophy in ancient Greece, but it also has artifacts from the Bronze, Roman, and Byzantine Ages. There’s even a Plexiglas walkway from which an excavated section of an old Athenian neighborhood can be viewed. In addition to an abundance of historical riches, modern Athens has plenty on offer—from scenic beaches to restaurants with superb Mediterranean cuisine and bustling central markets.

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Tip from Travel + Leisure

Syntagma Square Metro Station

In a city as venerable as Athens, history pops up in unexpected places. Head inside the Syntagma Square (a.k.a. Constitution Square) metro stop to see artifacts uncovered during the construction of the subway, from skeletons to pre-Christian plumbing.

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