As the epicenter of one of the most fascinating civilizations in human history, Athens is one place that everyone should visit at least once during their lives. The first settlements here sprung up around 3000 BC; people have inhabited the area ever since. For cruise goers, a stop in Athens presents a huge mix of exciting cultural and historical opportunities – as well as the ability to say that they’ve walked where people like Plato and Socrates once did. Sound intriguing? Read on to learn more.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
With the indelible mark that it has made on the consciousness of the entire world, Athens is one place that you simply can’t skip out on. Even if you just make a brief excursion over to the Acropolis, the thrill of being in the presence of such famous landmarks is enough to make this journey well worth it. Top it all off with some delectable Greek cuisine, and you have yourself the makings of an unforgettable visit.
Visiting Athens is a once in a lifetime opportunity; make the most of it by stopping by at least a few of the following key attractions:
Whether you choose to spend the better part of a day there – or if you just stop by to look it over quickly – you simply can’t come to Athens without seeing the world-famous Acropolis. Although the Parthenon dominates in terms of popularity, there are hundreds of other amazing things to check out here.
You’ll never forget that you’re in Athens when you climb to the top of Lycabettus Hill. Even when you’re only halfway up, the views of the Acropolis and other key Athenian sights are mesmerizing. Tired? Take the railway.
The National Archeological Museum
Fortunately, many of the most important works from the Acropolis and from elsewhere around Athens and Greece have been housed in this topnotch institution for years. For that reason, they’ve been stunningly preserved, allowing you to witness first hand what ancient peoples had once valued and treasured the most. In terms of execution, few museums can hope to rival this one – don’t miss it.
Cemeteries are always excellent places to get a feel for the culture and history of a place, and Athens’ Kerameikos is no exception. In addition to numerous intriguing burial sights, the Kerameikos boasts a compelling museum that helps explain many of the stele and other typical parts of an Athenian burial.
Going where the locals go is often the best course of action when you want to find affordable – yet unique – local goods. In that case, you should concentrate your shopping efforts on Kolonaki, a trendy and upscale shopping area where you can find an eclectic mix of different things. Simply roaming the streets of this district is fun, too, so make it a point to stop here if you get the chance.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
Olive oil is a Greek specialty, and you can buy it for incredibly low prices all over Athens. Pick up a bottle or two to remember your trip by; they also make excellent gifts for friends and family back home.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
Considering that nearly every reasonably-sized city in America has a Greek restaurant, it is safe to say that Greek cuisine is well loved. Experience truly authentic Greek cuisine when in Athens by dining at a local restaurant. Souvlaki is one really excellent choice; it consists of meat and vegetables with a signature ’tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is a tangy, yogurt-based sauce that give these sandwiches a delightful bit of flair. You can find this dish all over Athens; it is convenient for tourists on the go because you can eat it as you walk along the streets of Athens.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
The best times to be in Athens are in the late autumn and in the spring. Summers here can be punishingly hot, although it’s not always like that. During the winter, it can rain and even snow a bit in Athens. That being said, winter is still not a terrible time to be here.
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships don’t dock in Athens proper; rather, they dock over at the Port of Piraeus, which is about seven miles from the city.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
Many of the major cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Athens. A few examples of the cruise lines that stop here are Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America and Seabourn. However, there are hundreds of choices in terms of dates, ships, days in port and at sea when it comes to Athens.