The magnificent Acropolis, visible from almost every part of the city, is the hub around which Athens still revolves. This temple city, built in the 5th century BC, serves as a daily reminder to Greeks of their heritage and the city’s many transformations. All over the urban basin, rooftops and balconies angle toward the landmark, a block of milky marble atop a steep-sided hill. Pull up your own chair, settle in and allow time to appreciate the Acropolis’ many moods, as the light shifts and the clouds cast their shifting shadows.
Layers of History
The cultural and social life of Athens plays out amid, around and in landmarks that are centuries old, if not millennia. The remnants of Ancient Greece get the most attention, of course, thanks to a little thing called democracy. Oh, and mythology, and drama, and philosophy. But don’t overlook the ‘later’ years: thousand-year-old Byzantine churches, for instance, which squat, unruffled in the middle of streets and attached to hillsides. Ottoman traces can be seen in architecture and in food. And the neoclassical style of the 19th century adds elegance all over the centre.
Although Athenians have endured difficult circumstances since the start of the economic crisis in 2009, the city as a whole crackles with energy in art shows, political debates and even on the walls of derelict buildings, as Athens has become one of Europe’s most noted spots for street art. Creative surprises lie around nearly every corner, so be sure to leave room in your schedule for spontaneous discovery: buy a ticket to that dance show that’s just starting as you walk by, or sit down at the restaurant where the musicians are setting up. You’ll be rewarded.
Day 01 : Athens Arrival
Meet at Athens airport and transfer to the hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure. Athens is an amazing city to discover on your own with its numerous museums, parks, and the shopping areas of Kolonaki, Hermou, Voukourestiou Street, Monastiraki and Plaka.
Day 02 : HALF DAY ATHENS SIGHTSEEING
Breakfast in the hotel. Pickup from the hotel for your half day city tour. See Syntagma Square, the House of Parliament, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier, the Athens Academy, the University, the National Library and the Hadrian’s Arch. Pass by the Temple of Olympian Zeus and visit the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896. On the Acropolis visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally “the harmony between material and spirit”, the Parthenon. Continue and visit the place where at last the statues found their home and admire the wonders of the classical era, the museum of Acropolis. At the end of the tour, drop off at the hotel or at the city centre.Remainder of the day at own leisure. Overnight in Athens Hotel.
Day 03 : ONE DAY CRUISE (HYDRA-POROS-AEGINA)
Breakfast in the hotel. Pickup from the hotel and transfer to the port for the full day cruise to the 3 Saronic islands of Hydra, Poros, Aegina. Lunch served on board. At each island, get off the boat to discover each island’s own individual character. Hydra: an artists delight, with boutiques, shops and cafes dotted around the harbour. Poros: a pretty island with chance for shopping. Aegina: The largest of the Saronic Islands, famous for BBQ sea food and pistachio nuts. Arrive back at Athens port in the evening and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Athens hotel.
Day 04 : After Breakfast | Leisure
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