Piraeus

The bustling port of Piraeus, made famous by classic films like Never On Sunday and Stella, is a brief metro or taxi ride from Athens. It is one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean and one of the largest cities in Greece. Look past the massive ferry port for lively cafes, trendy, open-air restaurants and neo-classical facades – the city’s architectural treasures include the Municipal Theatre and Town Hall. South of the railway station at Navarinou, the din of the city’s market area rises, as fishmongers and fruit and vegetable vendors compete for customers (there’s also a flea market here on Sunday mornings). If you’re looking for a bit of quiet, travel east to one of the city’s smaller ports, Pasalimani, which once harboured the Ottoman fleet. It was also one of Themistokles’ major naval ports, with dry docks for almost 200 triremes, but today plays host to a fleet of pleasure craft. If you’re travelling to or from Athens by metro, don’t miss the Electric Railways Museum of Piraeus in the former post office in the Piraeus Railway Station.

Highlights


The Propylaea and the Temple of Athena Nike – Welcome to the Acropolis

The Propylaea is the famed entrance to the Acropolis. Beside the Propylaea stands the temple of Athena Nike Wingless Nike), which housed the wooden statue (xoanon) of wingless Athena, which signified she would never leave Athens.

The Acropolis – Stroll Through Classical Athens

This historic hill, which carries the Parthenon atop its broad shoulders, is dedicated to Goddess Athena, the city’s protector.

Parthenon – Dedicated To Goddess Athena

The Parthenon was inaugurated in 438 BC. It is one of the only Doric order temples built entirely of marble, and the only one with relief decoration on all its decorative marble panels (metopes).

The Erechtheion – A Temple Shared by Athena and Poseidon

The Erechtheion is a marble edifice of the Ionic order. The eastern section of the temple is dedicated to Athena Polias, the western section to Poseidon-Erechtheus.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Herodeion) – A Theatre of Exquisite Acoustics

From the Acropolis, you can look down toward the glorious Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an ancient theatre with exceptional acoustics that is still in use, particularly during the long Attic summer. This is one of the many places where ancient Athens and the 21st century city intersect.

Plaka – Athens AA Hundred Years Ago

A stroll through this picturesque neighbourhood below the Acropolis is a visit to Athens as it was over a century ago. Dense with beautifully restored heritage buildings, Plaka is perfect for your urban ramble. Visit the quarter’s museums and its wonderful shops; then sit down in the golden Athenian sun for a cup of delicious Greek coffee and some people-watching.

Syntagma Square – The Centre of Athens

Syntagma Square is located in front of the Greek Parliament building, which was once the Bavarian-style Royal Palace. It was completed in 1842 and was initially called Palace Square. From his balcony at the palace, King Otto proclaimed the First Constitution of Greece. Do not miss the great photo opportunity with the ceremonial changing of the traditional guards in front of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is repeated every hour!

The National Gardens – Fauna and Flora in the Heart of the City!

These lie adjacent to the Parliament building and until 1974 were called the ‘Royal Gardens’. The gardens were conceived in 1836 and even today you can see ancient ruins, columns and mosaics. In 1927, the gardens were opened to the public and thus became a national entity. It is an oasis of nature with various wild and domesticated trees, decorative bushes, exotic flowers as well as man-made lagoons and fountains.

Excursions


Athens Monuments and the Acropolis

Duration: 3.5 hrs
  • Acropolis + Parthenon
  • Propylaea
  • Athens Niki Temple
  • Erechtheion Panathenian Stadium
  • National Library
  • Athens Academy
  • Omonoia Square
  • Syntagma Square

Athens Tour and the New Acropolis Museum

Duration: 3.5 hrs
  • Olympieion
  • Parliament
  • Panathenian Stadium (Kallimarmaro)
  • Omonoia Square
  • Syntagma Square
  • Plaka
  • New Acropolis Museum