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24 Hours in Athens

Thanks to some of the well traveled people who participate here, I've already booked 1 night at Attalos Hotel at the end of August. We arrive in mid morning, and will be starting our cruise the following day, which departs at 4PM. I know that we will arrive pretty tired, and will probably have to get a couple hours of sleep. What makes the most sense in spending a nice day in Athens? We want to have a busy, well balanced itinerary, but not overwhelming. We want to experience a major attraction, I guess Acropolis. Other places of interest are central markets, Parthenon, agora, plaka, syntagma square. Should we walk everywhere? We also want to do some shopping, experience the genuine, no nonsense but delicious cuisine, and get a feel for this incredible city. I hope to use a bit of everyone's input to plan an unforgettable day, and make us want to return. I'm so grateful for all of the kind folks who take the time to share their knowledge in this forum.

Regards,
Phil

Posted by
2907 posts

I don't have any first hand knowledge, but I, too, am planning time in Athens. If you haven't already, take a look at this website: http://www.athensguide.com He provides lots of ideas and lots of photographs.

Posted by
2852 posts

If you want to have a one-day itinerary spelled out, you can get on on this page:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g189400-i194-Athens_Attica.html
--- on the RH side is a list: Top Questions about Athens -- one of them is "Visiting Athens for a Day" There re other topics such as ATHENS Google Maps, "What to Do in Athens" and "Food food food". The other link provided to you is EXCELLENT on Athens and can be more help than we could provide here without hours of keyboarding.

BTW, the Parthenon is ON the Acropolis. The Acropolis is the High (Acro) City (polis) -- basically a huge high rock where the most important and sacred buildings were, In Ancient Greece.

Posted by
3303 posts

Even if it weren't August and I weren't fighting jet lag, I wouldn't try to walk to Syntagma Square from the other places near the Acropolis. If you actually have tenough time to go there, it's an easy ride on the metro.

Posted by
2852 posts

As to walkability, this is a VERY useful online map - http://www.orangesmile.com/destinations/img/athens-map-big.jpg (click & it gets huge, use side "sliders" to move around). It shows that from Hotel Attalos it is a straight-shoot down Ermou (a pedestrianized street) to Syntagma ... about half a mile. It's also about half a mile to the Acropolis entrance. It shows which streets/lanes are "no-cars" (shown as blue-checked) ... so u will see that taxis or metros have to be used VERY knowledgeably to minimize walking ... and these people are brand-new to Athens. A less-walking scenario (using map numerals for orientation::

EARLY MORNING: To entry of (#38-11) Acropolis by 8 or 8:15 to avoid crowds (.5 mile walk or by taxi - €8?) After Parthenon, exit via South side of area (#73) to ACropolis Museum (#24); excellent place for Lunch (glassed-in A/C terrace looking up at Parthenon). Walk E on pedestrianized promenad to ARCH of HADRIAN (#14) and TEMPLE of ZEUS (#21). If you need a little beverage-break around this time, one of my fave little cafes is DIOGENES, a tree-shaded spot with comfy chairs (#17) right behind the Lysikrates Monument.

AFTERNOON: You can wander thru National Garden (#62) up to Syntagma Square (#68) ... on the hour, the Fancy-skirted Palace Guards do a routine (if there's a crowd around beware pickpockets). If you're tired by then (2-3pm??) taxi west on Mitropoleos back to hotel for wee nap. Late in Day, you can enter the Acropolis grounds Near Monastiraki to check out Ancient Agora and Stoa of Atalos (#55). wonderfully-reconstruction of an acnient building ... which contains artifacts discovered in Agora during its 1950s excavation. On far side, Observatory Hill (#64) or Pnyx (Pnika - #18) is great place to view Parthenon golden in late-day sun.

DINNER - An old favorite with tourists but not fakey (no dancing skirt-men, no dish-breaking) is PLATANOS (#35) on Diogenes Street .. and it's on the way back to your Hotel.

NOTE -- Many hotels hand out a wonderful little folded map (advertising a restaurant called SMILES) that shows all these places well. you can mark it up with your various stops.

Posted by
49 posts

Dear Wray, Rosalyn, and Janet,
You were so helpful with the great websites and suggestions. And Janet, such incredible detail for making the most of the 1 day. Thanks so much for your knowledge and time.

Phil

Posted by
963 posts

Best advice I received was take a taxi UP to the Acropolis and then walk down, to the Parthenon museum and then walk around the corners for ten minutes to some great food, maybe 10 min from the Parth. Museum, for example Geros Tou Moria on one of the streets that is all steps,at Mnisikleous 27- nice breezy place, inside and outdoors seating.
At the Attalos, you are close to tourist central, the Plaka, the flea market and some lovely ruins. You can also get on the subway at Monastiraki for a short ride to Syntagma. From Syntagma it is an easy walk to the Arch. Museum, but you probably don't have time. Don't be dismayed by the graffiti nearby, nor the hardware type stores by the Attalos- they are lovely, and can arrange a car or taxi for you to Piraeus.
Or you can take the tram to Piraeus from the yellow building at Monastiraki Plaza ( not the same subway building which is grey and closer to the Attalos) and then take a bus to your ship or a short taxi.
We paid only 20 euro to get from Piraeus to the Acropolis last time, so might be a few more euros.

Posted by
255 posts

Staying at the Hotel Attalos you will be a very short walk to the agora and you'll pass thru Monastiraki Square as you go. You will also arrive at Monastiraki Square on the metro from the airport. As you walk to the Agora, you'll also walk thru the flea market. Really, only a 10 minute walk. Syntagma Square is maybe a 15 minute walk. Great places to eat are on "souvlaki row" off of Monastiraki Square. As you enter the square walking from Hotel Attalos, go to the first street on your left that exits off the square. A souvlaki ordered at the counter is very cheap, sitting down with table service and a bottle of wine is much more but worth it. Sit and watch the people go by. You can also walk up to the Acropolis from Monastiraki Square. It's difficult to explain but it's kind of a straight shot up the mountain and you go by a wonderful taverna that goes along the fence that borders the Agora. Another great place to eat and drink wine. The two most important things to see in that short time is the Acropolis and the National Archeological Museum (take a taxi to the museum) or the Acropolis Museum, which is closer and on the other side of the Acropolis. It has a great restaurant, too.

I alway take an Ambien on my flight over. It's a great sleeping pill for me and I wake up rested and no jet lag. Ask your doctor and try it before you go.

Posted by
963 posts

And do not miss the Attalos rooftop garden with its excellent view of the Acropolis- especially at night--you can have a coffee or an orange juice or an adult beverage, but spend just a few minutes at night gazing upon it- the BEST memory.

Syntagma is not that impressive, you can see it in a few minutes, tho the changing of the guards is fun if your timing is good.
We had, on this trip, a great massage from 'Athens fish spa Hamman', on Aiolou 45, about 2 blocks from the Attalos. They have those flesh-eating fishies in the glass tanks that nibble at toes for 15 minutes, but ignore that, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Make a reservation when you get there, or maybe if your room is not ready yet?A young German man and a nice , pretty Greek woman ( Misa) gave us some of the best massages ever, for 49 or 55 euros for the hour- less than half the price of the ship and more restful! The ' strong pressure ' was exceptionally strong but a great way to detox from the long flight.
Average breakfasts at the Attalos, but it is all the coffee you can drink, eggs and bacon, yogurt,in a nice breakfast room. There are croissants down the block towards the Plaza,across the street for a change, if needed.

Posted by
5241 posts

Melissa is mistaken above about the distance from Syntagma to the National Archeological Museum. It would be a long walk and not a very pleasant one. With your timeframe I wouldn't try to see that museum, though it would be a highlight of a longer visit. She may be thinking of the newer Acropolis Museum, which is right under the southeast corner of the Parthenon and an easy walk from the area of your hotel. It's a great supplement to a Parthenon visit, either before or after the main event. Nice café too.

Posted by
49 posts

Stan, Melissa, and John,

Your photos and details going over the highlights and itineraries for such a limited time is so appreciated . I have printed your responses and will refer to them for sure.

Thanks,
Phil

Posted by
49 posts

With the economy in Greece, is it better to purchase euros in the US or at the airport when we arrive?

Posted by
6868 posts

With the economy in Greece, is it better to purchase euros in the US or at the airport when we arrive?

It's never a good idea to "purchase" Euros ahead of time - it doesn't matter if the given country's economy is poor or stellar (e.g. both Germany and Greece use the Euro and their economies are quite different). You are basically paying a premium for a service you can get a lot more cheaply just by using an ATM once you're on the ground.

Posted by
21709 posts

....is it better to purchase euros in the US or at the airport when we arrive?.... Probably too late to agree with the others since you indicated in your other postings that you have already purchase Euro in the US. The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is always a debit card at a bank owned ATM in the country. Phil, you have been asking questions on this site since 2013, surely you would have read that advice before today.