Visiting Greece has been a dream come true, just the thought we were able to visit for a lot less is still very surprising to us. Yes, we have been traveling using points and miles since 2015 but looking back we are still so blessed to try something new and gather wonderful memories.
Well back to this trip this was our first time visiting Athens and we knew there were some great places to visit but many things we had no idea about for that reason we wanted to include those things you should know when visiting Athens, Greece.
On this trip, we booked an 11-day cruise, one of the stops was Athens, Greece it can be a challenge to enjoy it in just one day but we did. As the day was finishing we knew this was a place we would like to go back and visit. I hope you enjoy our tips and things to know.
This is one of the places that it can get very hot so visiting the island early is beneficial. We started our self-tour at 8:30 am and the weather was cool but in the sun you can feel the heat a little. It gets hot as the day continues. Luckily that day it was cloudy so helped keep your day feel much cooler. If your first stop is to visit the Acropolis start early this location is about 30 min away from the port.
Just thinking how hot it feels when walking in areas under the sun with no protection is why this is a must. Wearing an outfit that feels comfortable to protect you from the heat will make your visit more pleasurable. Wear comfortable shoes nonslip shoes. There is a lot to see in Athens so you want to be comfortable walking. There is a lot of walking once inside to see all the historical places Athens has to offer as well. If you are not used to walking. Now would be a good time to start walking before the trip.
Living in Florida I could go without drinking water for a while and not feel a thing. But on this trip being under the sun for many hours, it did affect me a bit so I recommend staying hydrated. The sun is right on top of you while you are walking. One way to guarantee to get cold water is taking a double insulated water bottle (artic or yeti) with ice so the water stays nice and cold.
Visiting from the Cruise Port
It is very easy to visit the city from the port. The distance is not far at all as soon as you come out of the port. Right away you will be approached by taxi drivers in our case they offer about 20€ euro per person but if you walk ahead you will see other options like the hop on and bus tours. The stops on each vary but the prices are pretty much the same (at least during our visit). If you know the areas you would like to visit you can choose that specific bus tour. There were about 2-3 Hop-on hop-off companies out there after you pass the taxis. You can check with them and find out what routes they take and how much they charge. They pretty much go to the same places, but maybe in a different order. Like I mentioned earlier the Acropolis which is the hottest place to visit was our first stop early in the morning and it was about 30 min away. Getting there early will not only save you with the sun but also crowds of people.
Know a little bit of the history of Athens
While walking into the entrance we had a couple asking us if is worth getting the tour the reason they asked is due to the price, in addition, they had to pay for the tour which was over $150 or 150€ (can’t remember) is what they told us. If they knew a little bit about the history they would cancel the tour. For that reason, you can save on taking a tour since learning the history will help you enjoy the ruins. Google and youtube is your friend.
All that comes to mind is temples, mythology, and Zeus. Both of my sons couldn’t stop talking about Greek mythology when they were younger so visiting the Acropolis is a must at least for us. Acropolis entrance prices vary in the areas you like to visit. Acropolis is one price and other smaller sections are a different price. But you can pay to visit all for not much of a difference. During our time there Acropolis was 20€ Euro per person just to see Acropolis with the North and South Slopes. 30€ per person was for everything else. For example, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, with other archaeological sites such as Hadrians Library, Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Archaeological Site of Lykeion were not included in the regular 30€ Euro admission of Acropolis. Getting there early will help you avoid lines. Of course, you can send more money to skip the line and get a tour but if you plan your day right you can save that money to see more of Greece.
Personal Tours are offered before the ticket purchase but you can go in on your own. Please, know it gets very hot even early on in the day. Take plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes since the floor is not level and at times it gets slippery. There are steps you need to go up and down so make sure you are able to do that in your current health.
Before entering Acropolis make sure you have plenty of water. During our tour on top of the Acropolis, we didn’t see any shops where you can buy water and only saw one bathroom called WC and one small water fountain. If visiting Acropolis is beneficial to plan ahead in case.
Visit the National Archeological Museum
It is a few steps away from Acropolis if you are doing a Hop on Hop off tour. Most places to visit in Athens aren’t free. The museum is about 20-25 mins on the bus depending on traffic. The tickets are either 5€ April 1 until October 31 and 10€ from November 1 until March 31. Depending on the time of year you will be there is what you will pay. There is a 3-day pass that’s 15€ that includes the National Archaeological Museum, Epigraphic Museum, Numismatic Museum, and Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens. This museum is full of artifacts and greek sculptures. Of course, you cannot see and visit all these places in one day. So pick and choose the ones you want to see while are you there. There is a lot to see in the museums which take a lot of time so remember that when you are there. That way you have enough time.
As we were walking around and taking the hop-on-hop-off bus you can bus there are a lot of places you can choose from to eat at. We usually take a look at TripAdvisor and find places that have the best reviews. Then after that check the location and price. Usually all the places in Europe are expensive. Some more than others. Eating out can get expensive so don’t go crazy so that you still have money to see all you can in Athens. There are also plenty of dessert places to eat your greek yogurt or gelato. We didn’t have any problems asking for a sample of flavors before purchasing. So pick the one you want.
Visit an Antique Market
While we were on the Hop-on hop-off bus we were able to see an Antique Market. Not only was it an Antique market but they also had modern things. We walked around this place and were able to see many different Greek items for sale. We also were able to stop at an authentic Green pastry shop. All I can was wow. They had a lot to choose from and the people who worked there were very nice. Now thinking about it all the people we saw in Greece were nice to use. I do believe they are very welcoming to visitors. After buying what we wanted we then waited for the next Hop-on hop-off bus.
No matter if you are visiting for a day or a few days. There is not a need for a car. All the places you want to see you can see if a Hop-on hop-off bus, walking, trolley or metro. It’s not expensive to pay for public transportation in Athens, Greece or in our European countries. All the trips we have taken to Europe countries we rented a car once and that was in London. It will also be the last time in London especially. Traffic is horrible in all the tourist areas. When we were there this year we use the metro for everything. So don’t worry about renting a car in European countries. Their public transit system is way better than the US.