Easily one of the best ways to get a taste of everything that Greece has to offer is a good ol’ fashioned cruise to Athens. Now just the center of Greek culture, it was once the center of all Western civilization, and there are far too many things to do in Athens to be able to do it all in a single trip. Cruises will typically only stop at a destination for a day or two, so a city with this much culture and history may be a bit overwhelming. To make it a little easier for you, here are our picks for the best things to do during a cruise to Athens.
Top of our list is possibly the most iconic landmark in Greece and one of the first things to do in Athens that cruisers gravitate towards. Some five hundred years before Jesus Christ walked the Earth, a thousand years before the start of the dark ages, and a whopping 2,500 years before the release of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, this rocky outcrop was the site of mind-boggling feats of engineering, a testament to ancient Greece’s architectural splendor. While there are many more acropoleis in Greece, this one is the most well known and it is worth a cruise to Athens just to visit it. Many tourists flock here every day, so if you want to avoid crowds try getting there in the early morning or late afternoon. If you’re looking for a grammable pic, however, then sunset is when you want to be here!
The ruins of the Parthenon are one of the most recognizable features of the city, and a must-see during any cruise to Athens. You will likely know the temple by its iconic bleached-white pillars, but back in the days of its construction, it was actually painted vivid colors of blue, red, and gold. It was created in honor of the goddess Athena, patron of the city of Athens, and was the site of the Panathenaia, a festival held every four years to celebrate the goddess. It was constructed in 438 BC as replacement to two earlier temples, one which never even saw completion, and made entirely of Pendeli marble. Of all the things to do in Athens, getting a pic or two of one of the oldest structures in the world may be both the simplest and most rewarding.
There’s nothing quite like a little window-shopping spree after a day of sightseeing, which is why a visit to the Plaka is next on our list of things to do in Athens. Once you’ve descended from the slopes of the Acropolis, head to Athens’ oldest district, where the streets here are too narrow for cars and are mostly restricted to foot traffic. Here you will find a smorgasbord of boutique shops and authentic restaurants to indulge in. This is the heart of Athenian culture and the best way to get an up close look of what life is like for modern Greeks. This is also your best opportunity to get a souvenir to remember your cruise to Athens with!
You’re probably going to want to get a sweeping view of the city at least once during your cruise to Athens, and for that you will want to head to Lycabettus Hill. This is one of the highest peaks in Athens, and it is the best spot to get panoramic views of the city below. To get here, it is just a short hike up a modest slope, but there are cable cars that will take you to the peak in case you can’t manage the walk (or if you are lazy, we won’t judge). On top of the peak, you will find an old church called St George, a restaurant called Orizontes with a stunning terrace overlooking the city, and an open air theater where concerts are put on in the summer. This is another very popular thing to do in Athens, so check when events are and head there during the off times to avoid crowds.
The Museums in Athens
The last activity on our list of things to do in Athens is to visit some of the many museums that this historic city has to offer. In ancient times, this city was the center of civilization and a leader in art, science, and philosophy, and boy do they have a lot to show for it. There are over 70 museums in the city, which is too many to visit during a single cruise to Athens, but consider the Museum of the City of Athens, the Byzantine & Christian Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the National Archaeological Museum, Benaki Museum, or Acropolis Museum to get you started. Whether you like learning about ancient political struggles, the development of old artistic techniques, or the methods of Greek engineering, there is sure to be a museum to fit the bill!
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