This excursion is an ideal introduction to the city's highlights. Reach the natural fortress of the Acropolis, and with your guide you'll walk up the uneven footpath heading to the summit. Sights include the Propylaea, Temple of Apteros Niki, Erectheum and the Architectural Triumph of the Parthenon. Continue with a city drive and see Constitution Square, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Royal Palace, Hadrian's Gate and the Old Marble Olympic Stadium. After lunch, drive along the scenic coastal road which affords splendid views of the Saronic Gulf and takes you through some of Athens' most beautiful suburbs. Arrive at Cape Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon, standing some 200 feet above the sea at the edge of a cliff. It is one of the most breathtaking and deeply moving sights in all of Greece. Fifteen of the original 34 columns of the Doric order still stand in majestic splendor.
Note: The Acropolis is explored on foot and requires approximately two hours of walking. There are some 75 steps at the entrance and in certain locations the marble is uneven and slippery. Temperatures can reach extreme highs during summer months; we recommend that you drink a lot of water and use suitable sun protection. Please also be aware that there is much less congestion, both at the sites and in traffic during winter time, so tour durations may be slightly shorter than listed in the descriptions; the content of the tour will not be affected. Online price is inclusive of the Pre-book and Save offer.
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Customer Reviews for Best Of Athens & Its Scenic Coast: Pre-book & Save $20
Review 1 for Best Of Athens & Its Scenic Coast: Pre-book & Save $20
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:May
Cruise Date Year:2011
Favorite port:Barcelona, Spain - as a debark (Gem)
We just returned from our cruise - May, 2012. I couldn't imagine going to Greece and not seeing the Acropolis and it was not a disappoinment. Our guide, Alexandria, was knowledgeable, but sometimes talked too much. We were only given a few minutes to actually walk around the ruins on our own. The drive to the next stop was beautiful. Lunch was a buffet of many different Greek foods at a lovely hotel. The lunch was awesome - probably the best food on our entire cruise. The problem was that the entire city of Athens is one giant graffiti mess. The citizens are angry with the government. Alexandria went in great detail about the problem. The young people have taken their anger out on the entire city - literally covering it in graffiti - very sad.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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Review 2 for Best Of Athens & Its Scenic Coast: Pre-book & Save $20
I traveled with:Family
Cruise Date Month:September
Cruise Date Year:2011
Favorite port:Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey
I want to go here next:Panama Canal
Date:September 21, 2011
Ancient Ruins & Mytholoty
A great one-day overview of Athens & Surroundings!
Our very knowledgeable guide, a well educated Athenian woman, met us at the bus shortly after we disembarked and kept up a steady patter of interesting historical, cultural, and geographic facts throughout the trip. The bus tour through Athens was just intended to point out significant buildings and ruins; there were no stops or photo ops. But her background information and stories kept it interesting.
The tour write-up underestimates the challenge of a visit to the Acropolis. During hot, crowded summer months (we were there in mid-September), the heat and humidity were oppressive and the crowds were elbow-to-elbow. Nevertheless, with the use of the Whisper headsets and her shiny umbrella, our guide did a good job of keeping us all together and pointing out the architectural and historical significance of what we were viewing. The steps up to the entrance of the Acropolis aren't too bad - shallow and gradual; but once you reach the top it is downright treacherous. There are outcroppings of extremely polished lumpy marble jutting up everywhere, interspersed with rubble and loose gravel. We saw several slip-n-falls, including one overweight elderly man who suffered a large gash on the shin and had great difficulty in getting back up off the ground. Wear your sturdiest shoes with a nonslip sole, bring a walking stick (I used a monopod) if you are at all unstable on your feet or worried about slipping.
Though I wouldn't have missed it, as a visit to the Acropolis is on everyone's "bucket list", due to the renovation including scaffolding, cranes, workmen, drills, saws, etc. and the oppressive crowds, the appeal as a sacred site was diminished and the photo ops limited. The reconstruction has been going on for ~30 years, and will continue probably for many more decades, so I won't go back again in my lifetime.
The obligatory gift-shop stop that followed was brief and refreshing as the shop was air conditioned and we were served a cold drink. We were soon on our way to an upscale local hotel for a fabulous lunch buffet featuring delicious Greek dishes and the best baklava I've ever tasted. This was a welcome change from the food onboard, which unfortunately does not include much local cuisine. The lunch included wine as well, which ensured that many people had a nice snooze on the bus ride down to the Temple of Poseidon.
The ride to Cape Sounion required about 1 hour and 15 minutes and the guide was silent for most of the way as many people were "resting their eyes". The ride along the coast was quite scenic and enjoyable after we left the urban sprawl of Athens. As we approached the Temple, our guide filled us in on the historic details and mythology surrounding the Temple. Unlike at the Acropolis, we were the only bus at the site, and enjoyed the opportunity to wander around and enjoy the beautiful temple and take many photographs. It was very windy there on the edge of the cliff, but not nearly as challenging to navigate as the Acropolis.
During the return bus ride, our guide entertained us with more mythology and interesting stories, but she started to annoy people when she ranted about the Greek economic catastrophe and corrupt politicians. I wished she was on the Whisper headset so that I could turn her off :)
Due to late afternoon traffic, our bus was 10 minutes late getting back to the ship (all aboard was 4:30 pm), and the guide received a call from the ship wondering where we were; but no worries - if you book your tours through NCL, the ship will not leave without you !
The icing on the cake for me was the fact that the ship passes by the Temple again in the evening on the way out to the next port. We stayed on our balcony until dark admiring it from a distance, marvelling at what it took to build it there and what it must have meant to sailors thousands of years ago.