Hello. My spouse and I will be in Athens for seven full days the first part of December. We will be staying at the Herodion Hotel. Will we need to buy tickets in advance for the main sights in Athens such as Acropolis, Parthenon, etc? We're also trying to decide between going to Delphi or Temple of Poseidon. Whichever we choose, can we book that with short notice? Also we'd like to visit either Aegina, Spetes or Hydra for a day. Again can that be arranged with a day or two notice as a lot of our trips will depend on the weather. Advice on which tour group to arrange these trips with? Spouse has also read about protests planned for 6 December. Is this something we should concern ourselves with? Thank you
We stayed at the Herodion and liked it a lot. Very helpful staff who could help you with booking tours to Delphi or Sounion or nearby islands. I don't think you'll have trouble with short notice that time of year, and you're right to stay flexible because of weather.
No need for advance tickets for major Athens sights. The Acropolis is the hill that the Parthenon is on top of, right behind the Herodion. If you have a room in back you can probably see it from your window. Sadly, the rooftop bar and restaurant will probably be closed in December, but try to get up there for the view. The Acropolis Museum is about a block from the hotel and not to be missed.
If "Temple of Poseidon" means Cape Sounion, and you have to choose, then I'd recommend Delphi. There's a lot more to see there. So much, in fact, that you might consider staying overnight.
Aegina is closer to Athens than the other two islands and probably a better choice.
I was in Athens in late April this year. I didn't buy any tickets in advance and didn't wait in line anywhere for more than a few minutes. I bought the Acropolis combined ticket at the Agora, though. There might be a short line if you buy it at the Acropolis.
Don't miss the changing of the guard in Syntagma Square on Sunday morning. The ceremony starts about 10.45 and you should be there 15 minutes or so beforehand to get a good place to stand.
I don't think Hydra is worth it for a day trip. First you have to get to Piraeus. So it's close to 2 hours each way, and not a lot of daylight in December. It was one of the more touristy stops on the RS tour.
Are there any islands that we wouldn't have to travel to Piraeus first? Any advice on 6 December? We had heard that there are protests every 6th. How common are strikes in Greece in December? Had heard that strikes might disrupt our trip. Already booked our transportation to and from the airport to our hotel. I've read that seven days in Athens is too much for tourist. Do you feel that's accurate? Thanks in advance.
How long to stay in Athens Really depends on your tolerance for history, ruins, Museums, long coffee breaks. I spent 4 days in Athens at beginning of trip plus a day at end and could’ve stayed a lot longer...this was October so enjoyed wonderful warm weather. I did one out of town half day trip to Ancient Corinth, the rest of the time I was in Athens. I spent the last night at the Herodion, very nice hotel.
Day I arrived I was informed there had been/was a demonstration in the city centre - did not see any sign of it around the Plaka area.
There are two ways to get to a Greek island, take a boat or a plane. Piraeus is the port of Athens, so that's where the boats sail from.
I agree with Lesley that how long is too long is a matter of taste. There’s certainly plenty to do if you enjoy getting to know a city, especially with a day trip or two.
It’s true that getting to Aegina is about two hours each way, but it’s still easily possible. From the Herodion you can walk down to the Makryani bus stop in 5 minutes and catch a 40 bus. A 35 minutes trip will take you to the Demotiki Theatre in Piraeus and another 5 minutes walk down the hill to the hovercrafts. They run regularly, even in the winter, and take about 40 minutes. Leave the hotel around eight and you can have a fullish day and a nice lunch. Worth doing, I think, if it’s your only chance to visit an island. You can buy a ticket at a kiosk on the day
Yes there will be protests on 6h December. They won’t spill into the tourist areas though and you’ll be fine round the Acropolis for example. There may be a demonstration in Syntagma. If you find yourself heading for a big group of chanting people just turn around and walk the other way!
PS you can also get the metro to Piraeus from Acropolis station. Change at Omonia. It will take about the same length of time.
I would suggest Spetses and the Hydra if you are planning a day trip. You might also check out Meteora, a truly unique place, in central Greece (Thessaly).
While in Athens you could check out the following areas:
Technopolis, the industrial museum in Gazi
Walk on Lycabetttus hill or in the National Garden
Go for shopping at the Monastiraki Flea Market and Plaka District
Have in mind that Athens has many awarded restaurants as well as traditional taverns, street food places and multicultural ethnic cuisine. The best places for seafood are Glyfada and Vouliagmeni in Athens Riviera as well as Piraeus, while in Athens Center, in Plaka and Monastiraki, there are many traditional taverns with mezedes and high quality Greek cuisine. Street food and of course the famous souvlaki, you can find everywhere to eat economically in Athens.
Presumably the OP and her spouse have been and gone from Athens.
Thanks Chani. Yes have been to Athens and back already. Had an amazing time!