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3 days in Athens planning

Hi Guys, we are going to be spending 3 days in Athens in Oct. We are planning to see Acropolis & Acropolis museum in 1 day & take Delphi tour the 2nd day. Do you have any suggestions as what to do on the 3rd day?
Also for Delphi do you recommend a guided tour or traveling on your own using a bus?

Posted by
2951 posts

Be sure to visit the National Archaeological Museum. It would be a shame not to go there.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks Lee. How long will it take to see the NAM. Can it be seen same day with Acropolis and Acropolis museum?

Posted by
5267 posts

I'd save the National Archeological Museum for a separate day -- or half day to be more precise. It's not close to the Acropolis or other major sites. The Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, plus the surrounding Agora, Plaka, Monastiraki, and such would be a very full day.

I'd recommend a tour for Delphi for two reasons. First, easier logistics for you. Second, a guide to tell you more about what you're seeing -- on the way there as well as there.

Another plan, if you're flexible about hotels, might be Acropollis-Acropolis Museum-Plaka-Agora-etc. for the first day, then NAM the next morning followed by a bus trip to Delphi that afternoon, and overnight there so you can see the ruins and museum early the third morning when they're less crowded. Then back to Athens, or wherever you go next, that afternoon. You might find an overnight Delphi tour package that would work.

Posted by
2902 posts

I totally agree with Dick's suggestion in Paragraph #3. Get up early -- to Acropolis 8:15 to avoid the crowds, then walk down thru the Agora (BTW, the Rick guide has a great step-by-step tour of Acropolis/Agora), then to Acrop. Museum. Take a breather, have lunch in it's lovely glassed-in terrace looking up at Parthenon, then explore Museum... wander around Plaka, taking in some other sights (Hadrian's Arch, Temple of Zeus both good "walk-by", Syntagma square).

On day 2, after AM in N.A.M, you can do a D-I-Y trip to Delphi, IF you're willing to do some "homework" beforehand &have guidebook or internet printout for the ruins (the museum has GOOD signage) Here's good internet info (PRINT!) http://www.planetware.com/greece/delphi-gr-cen-delphi.htm#GR-CEN-DATHM
and here's a wonderful guide to DIY trip by Mariha, a professional in hotel industry who LIVES in Delphi:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189408-i2078-k5461206-Delphi_day_trip-Delphi_Phocis_Region_Central_Greece.html
-- it's VERY accurate with update shown: bus NOW stops at entrance to Museum/Ruins, and THEN proceeds to final stop uphill about 1/2 mile, at town Center. PRINT THIS & follow!
There IS an overnight trip, but probably wouldn't allow you to do the morning at the N.A.M.... and you'd pay a lot more. As Mariha suggests the best of both is to go D-I-Y & with the savings then hire prof. guide to meet you onsite. Here's the one Mariha highly recommends: http://www.delphi-guide.gr If u cannot afford the guide, here's the DIY that I've advised:

BUS: There's a bus at 10:30am & 1500 (3pm), so get lunch, then taxi (€11-12) from Museum to Liossion Bus Terminal. Bus (€15 each way) takes 3.5 hours (w rest stop) so it will be near sunset when u arrive. I recommend Hotel Pan on Main street... and any local taverna w. mtn view. In AM get up EARLY, at be at site 8 AM... if go to Museum First it's empty... then to ruins... bus groups don't arrive until 10:30. After main ruins site, walk downhill to Tholos tomb, castalian springs. Athens busses 11am, and 3 pm so u get latter.

Posted by
2951 posts

It would be total overload to visit both museums on the same day. Your brain would stop "seeing" what you were looking at.

Posted by
3714 posts

Regardless of the amount of time you have, you always have to make choices.

One thing I wouldn't miss is the museum at Delphi. I loved it's collection of treasures from Delphi, and seeing the Charioteer up close was on my bucket list. We took the late afternoon bus on our own, spent 2 nights and 1 day, and took the late morning bus back. With time challenges, a one-day tour may be all you can do. Just be aware of the time you will spend on the bus, when it leaves and arrives Athens-Delphi and reverse, and how much time you actually have to spend exploring the ruins and the museum.

I thoroughly enjoyed the NAM and the Museum of Cycladic Art and did them both in one day, but I'm a self-confessed nut about Cycladic art. If you have to pick only one, visit the NAM. I was dumbstruck by some of the pieces I saw there.

The descriptions of a day spent at and around the Acropolis sound right on. Keep in mind that going up to and coming down from the Parthenon involves some walking challenges. There is no easy way up or down unless you are in a wheelchair. The Acropolis Museum building is beautiful, but the collection is sparse compared to the NAM. The restaurant is great, both the food and the view from either inside or outside.

Posted by
5267 posts

Just to clarify, I think Lo is referring to the good food and setting at the Acropolis Museum, not the NAM. The NAM has a downstairs cafeteria but not so great imho. (If you want lunch at the NAM, try the café in the big square in front of it, on the right as you descend from the front door.)

And I agree that the NAM has a lot more objects to see, some of them amazing, but the Acropolis Museum displays the sculptures that used to adorn the Parthenon, in a gallery that replicates their actual placement there -- at least those the Brits and others left for the Greeks to enjoy. Plus it has the original "maidens" from the Erichtheon (sp?) on the hilltop, and many other well-designed exhibits, and also an interesting film about the Acropolis' history.

Fortunately, you have time to see both of these splendid museums and visit Delphi (Janet is a fountain of good ambitious advice).

Posted by
5267 posts

That's true, last fall we missed the Cycladic gallery because of staffing shortage. But the NAM is well worth a visit anyway, most of the galleries will be open.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks all. Can you also recommend a small group guided tour for the Acropolis and Acropolis museum.

Posted by
20 posts

Temple of Zeus, , roman agora all of these are included in your acropolis ticket and they don't take much time to view and are centrally located. Don't miss Plaka area