Please sign in to post.

Athens & Corinth in the same day?

My family of 5 (3 teenagers) will be arriving in Athens around 10am on Friday the 8th of July. We board our cruise ship on Sat the 9th and leave the port on Sunday, the 10th around 6:00pm. We want to do a guided tour of Athens and we want a tour of Corinth. I have found several tour options offering transport only and guides separately for about $600 US. I was wondering, is it too much to do Athens and Corinth in a one day 10 hour tour? Should we break it up? Also, has anyone used a tour that also offers a guide and driver? Thank you!

Posted by
16796 posts

Will you be arriving from the USA, probably jet-lagged? Will you wilt under an average daily high of 88 degrees Fahrenheit? There's more than enough to see in Athens and you might prefer a siesta to a second tour.

Posted by
4510 posts

I agree with Laura. Jetlag, heat, teenagers and the need for food. Just enjoy all Athens has to offer.

I certainly wouldn't want to be coming back into Athens on Sunday and then try and get to your ship before its departure and risk missing it due to traffic jams or some other event out of your control. And you need time on Saturday to board the ship.

Posted by
4846 posts

I guess my first question is what is the interest in Corinth? Between the Canal and the ancient site, it is worth a stop, but for most it is down on the list. It seems though to be high on yours, so what is driving it.

Point being, if it is important enough, then it can be done, otherwise Athens offers plenty to take up the time.

Posted by
6 posts

@Paul, I am very interested in visiting the places Saint Paul preached in Greece. I love biblical history and standing in the same places I read about my whole life is fascinating to me. With that being said, we are going on a cruise that takes us to ancient Ephesus and I plan to visit the spots in Athens recorded in scripture as well. I don't want to create a miserable day of traveling hours and hours in a car for my family. We live in Houston, TX so we do that already and @RS the 88 degrees will probably be a welcomed relief from our summer heat we'll be coming from in July. :-) On the contrary, our cruise ship offers a Corinth only trip where you ride a boat through the canal and visit the ruins before returning to the ship for departure. We plan on staying an extra day in the Plaka area and touring Athens as well. So I was trying to decide if I should divide up visiting main sights in Athens, from the day in Corinth and honestly if we can even swing Corinth with needing to check in on the cruise ship at 11am on Sat. the 9th.

Posted by
2796 posts

You just don't have enough time and you will most certainly not have enough energy after the long flight from Texas!!

Posted by
6115 posts

Just for reference that 88 degree temp mentioned could very well be wishful thinking. We were in Greece and Turkey (Ephesus) and daytime temps were upper 90's to 100+. The day we went to Ephesus was 107 - definitely take lots of water and wear a hat. Hopefully you'll get lower temps but don't count on it.

Posted by
4304 posts

I don't want to opine on the comparative miseries of Athens and Houston summer weather! ;-)

But I agree that Athens plus Corinth in one jet-lagged day is a bridge too far. Especially if you can visit the Corinth ruins (where St. Paul preached and indeed was arrested) when your ship docks there. Take that opportunity, and spend your Athens time in Athens where there's so much to see -- including the Areopagus, aka Mars Hill, where St. Paul also preached, and the little Orthodox church just south of the ancient Agora which I believe is named for him.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
757 posts

I would devote my time to Athens, especially in July which is the High Season for tourism in Greece. There is plenty to see, do and experience in Athens that will take a minimum of three days to really let it all soak in, and probably more time than that. Corinth is nice and the canal is impressive but there's not much else to see than that. Stay in Athens, enjoy what the city offers: World Class archeological sites and museums, the Plaka, Anafiotika, the Central Markets, shopping, eating, drinking, walking around, hanging out and all the wonders of an Old City with modern conveniences. Athens is one of the best bargains in the World and with the US dollar super strong it's a big time deal!

With the internet, good guide books and research you can do a tour of Athens on your own at your own pace and for free!

Posted by
2417 posts

It is a little unclear, but as far as I can figure out, you have Half of July 8th, ALL of July 9th (you say you board the ship, but I am assuming this can be done at 5-6 pm, since your ship will not depart until 24 hours later), and only breakfast on July 10th since you must board at 11 AM (whY???) for departure at 6pm. Dick, I think you mistook the idea that the ship will DOCK in Corinth during its voyage. I think the ship tour is from Athens & return on FRIDAY july 9.

If you REALLY want Corinth, and the St. Paul rock where he preached, then you'd better do the Friday Corinth tour run by your ship, because otherwise you won't understand anything -- Ancient Corinth is mostly rubble unless you are an ancient-history buff, well-read. And that truly SHOULD include services of a licensed guide, given the hefty price these tours usually charge.

You further confuse me by saying "We plan on staying an extra day in the Plaka area and touring Athens as well." Do you mean you plan to do this AFTER you return from your cruise? I don't see that "extra day" in your pre-cruise schedule. If you DO have a post-cruise day that would be a lovely time to do a guided tour of athens. If there wre just 1 or 2 of you, I'd say do the Athenswalkingtour... well regarded, but that's 36E each. SInce there are 5 of you, that would add up to €180 or more, It might be just as cost-effective AND enjoyable to use a private tour guide. These 1 lists have excellent resources • •http://tourguides.viator.com/Listing.aspx?Country=Greece&Region=Attiki&City=Athens -- reviews of the guides, they can customize a tour for you (i.e. Christian highlights) You'll see how much they charge per hour (ave = 60E) & budget accordingly
https://www.toursbylocals.com/TBL/WebObjects/ToursByLocals.woa/1/wo/Dib6Vc4sjkt9skys5UQqGw/5.29.13.1.1.0.1.3.0.5.0 -- this one is about €600+ for a full 8 hours... transport included for 4 (extra persons take taxis).

In sum, in order to get the most useful info from us, you need to clarify exactly how much time u have and when.

Posted by
4304 posts

I guess I'm confused too about your timeline. From your two messages, it seems like the cruise line wants you aboard at 11 AM on the 9th but won't leave port (Piraeus?) till 6 PM the 10th. And presumably they won't hold you on the ship for those 31 hours, so you hopefully could get off and see more of Athens (or Corinth) during that time. So as for the Corinth tour the ship offers -- is that from Athens while the ship is docked at Piraeus, or is that a shore excursion during a cruise stop at Corinth itself? If the latter, you can just take it when the time comes. If the former, I'd say you should choose one city and Athens would win out for its many sights as well as convenience and cost.

Sorry if I misunderstood you before.

Posted by
6 posts

THANK YOU ALL for the great information. Here's a more clarified version of my schedule and what I'm proposing.

Friday, July 8th - arrive Athens 10:30. After getting to hotel and having lunch try and push through to visit a local museum. Our RS recommended hotel (the Acropolis Select) is near the New Acropolis Museum. I'm also interested in the Byzantine/Christian, Benaki & Cycladic Art museums - does anyone have a favorite among those four?

Satruday, July 9th- we must check in to our cruise ship from 11am - 4:30pm. As stated; we are welcome to leave after checking in, but since we will have our bags and booted out of our hotel in the am, I thought we might like to check in asap so we could hit the ground sight seeing. This day I would like to hire a private guide as @Janet suggested to make the most out of our time. DOES ANYONE HAVE A FAVORITE? And if the sites get more crowded after lunch and it's hotter; maybe we should leave bags at hotel and try to get our sightseeing early? Any advice on getting going early and have less time to make ship check-in verse starting touring after lunch and checking in would be great!!

Sunday, July 10th- Our ship leaves at 6pm and will sail to (Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Ancient Ephesus in Turkey and leave us in Istanbul - we do not return to Athens) we have 3 choices this day before our ship leaves the dock at 6pm.

1. Hang out in the Plaka and return to museums or sites we want to explore more
2. Take cruise sponsored trip to Corinth - includes 1 1/2 hour transfer, cruise through the canal, guided tour through the ruins & return back to ship before leaving. (this would costs us about $525)
3. Take our own tour to Corinth with a driver and guide (but not a cruise on the canal). - this is a similar price.

SO my original question was - should I combine our tour of Athens city with a tour to Corinth but I realize from your responses that I probably don't have an 8-10 hour window to do that and after reading through RS book - trying to see ALL of those sites in one day seems like a daunting tasks! If you see any other holes in my plan, please let me know!

Posted by
6 posts

THANK YOU ALL for the great information. Here's a more clarified version of my schedule and what I'm proposing.

Friday, July 8th - arrive Athens 10:30. After getting to hotel and having lunch try and push through to visit a local museum. Our RS recommended hotel (the Acropolis Select) is near the New Acropolis Museum. I'm also interested in the Byzantine/Christian, Benaki & Cycladic Art museums - does anyone have a favorite among those four?

Satruday, July 9th- we must check in to our cruise ship from 11am - 4:30pm. As stated; we are welcome to leave after checking in, but since we will have our bags and booted out of our hotel in the am, I thought we might like to check in asap so we could hit the ground sight seeing. This day I would like to hire a private guide as @Janet suggested to make the most out of our time. DOES ANYONE HAVE A FAVORITE? And if the sites get more crowded after lunch and it's hotter; maybe we should leave bags at hotel and try to get our sightseeing early? Any advice on getting going early and have less time to make ship check-in verse starting touring after lunch and checking in would be great!!

Sunday, July 10th- Our ship leaves at 6pm and will sail to (Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Ancient Ephesus in Turkey and leave us in Istanbul - we do not return to Athens) we have 3 choices this day before our ship leaves the dock at 6pm.

1. Hang out in the Plaka and return to museums or sites we want to explore more
2. Take cruise sponsored trip to Corinth - includes 1 1/2 hour transfer, cruise through the canal, guided tour through the ruins & return back to ship before leaving. (this would costs us about $525)
3. Take our own tour to Corinth with a driver and guide (but not a cruise on the canal). - this is a similar price.

SO my original question was - should I combine our tour of Athens city with a tour to Corinth but I realize from your responses that I probably don't have an 8-10 hour window to do that and after reading through RS book - trying to see ALL of those sites in one day seems like a daunting tasks! If you see any other holes in my plan, please let me know!

Posted by
2417 posts

May I just say for the record that i hate hate hate the RS forum layout that when you click to answer, makes ALL the previous answers disappear??? so you have to open a 2nd window in order to see them??? RS Webmaster take note!!!

Most of us still don't understand that weird cruise requirement that you board & leave baggage a full 26 - 32 HOURS before departure!!!! Oh well. Anyway here are my thoughts:
FRIDAY -- I'd suggest lunch (you can get lunch on the wondeful Acropolis Museum a/c glassed-in terrace cafe WITHOUT admission to museum!! & v. reasonable). Then Walk EAST on that car-free promenade, (there's a wondeful frozen-yogurt place just near the end. Cross over to National Gardens to do a photo-op walk-by of several landmarks (Hadrians Arch & Temple of Zeus - and on other side go to Cycladic Museum. Why? Not too big, and interesting to teens (cycladic msteious statuettes) and on top floor, a SUPERB 30-min video w teen actors that dramatize Greek customs, religion, education, youth roles etc. Don't tell them, but it's a great backgrounder for your cruise experiences. Return thru another path in the park -- if it's on the hour, you might as well wander by the front of the Parliament because guards change ON the hour (photo op). After dinner, make the kids PACK to hve BAGS Ready to GO in AM!!!!

SATURDAY -- No, do NOT NOT go to ship first... by time u get back, most of day wasted. The Big challenge is to get your Teens UP EARLY. Yes, I know, their hormones make it difficult, but tell them if they don't get up you are checking out at 7:45 so they'll have to sit in lobby in their PJs!! Check out & leave bags in reception storage. Hire your pvt guide from 8 - 12. Have her meet u in Lobby at 8 AM and head for Acropolis ... with luck, few crowds until 9:30 or 9:45 before large tour groups arrive. With her know-how, the Ancient Agora will make great sense & kids will love climbing up Areopagus (Mars Hill) there, where St. Paul Preached. You can whisk thru the Stoa of Attalos (displaying all artifacts discovered in digging there); I loved the potsherds (ostra) scratched w socrates name, votes to "ostracize" him (!!! thrill). By 11, she could get you in to the Acropolis museum for a really quickie go-thru -- she can leave you at the top floor, where again -- a FABULOUS 30-min video of Acropolis through 2,000 years -- graphics, even cartoons, but makes GREAT sense of it all. You can have her explain the exhibits, then leave you to do the video on your own. TO SHIP --
because taxis only take 4 people, you'll require 2. Taxis should be no more than €25 from central athens to Cruise dock, Have the Hotel doorman instruct the driver and tell YOU (in his presence), so there won't be any loooong drives. You MIGHT e-mail ahead to your hotel and explain your problem and see if they can book a 7passenger transfer vehicle. It shouldn't take more than about 40 minutes at most. So you can go back to hotel as late as 3 pm to fetch luggage. But I'm guessing everyone will wait to board late in day... so you'll probably be held up at the ship until about 6pm in Piraeus. It would be silly to go back to central athens just for Dinner. Your ship is somewhere like pier H on this map (click to enlarge) http://www.mappery.com/maps/Pireas-Hotels-Map.jpg THere's a "yacht harbor" area of Pireaus. Mikrolimano --- which is NOT grimy & noisy like the rest of the port. According to my greek friends, Great Fish reastaurants there, Taxi there & back.

SUNDAY - Take the ships trip to Corinth & back ... then you won't worrry about being caught in traffic & ship leaving ... you'll be on its own trip.

Posted by
2417 posts

And as for your question, does anyone have a favorite? Probably not. I do know that people have given great reviews to those VIATOR guides -- and you won't get many responses to pvt. guide stuff on this website because a lot of RS travelers are budgeteers and D-I-Y travellers. So just read the reviews and PICK one. But don't delay ... the top ones will go fast! Also, please do a little "homework" if you can, so you can tell the guide in advance possibly, of any special interests -- that way they're prepared for you. The RS guidebook is very useful -- if you don't have it, have you considered the local library? Or used on Amazon.

BTW, if you want to go all 5 of you in 1 vehicle to the boat here's a useful website where you can tell Exactly what the cost wil be from your hotel to your boat via 6-passenger mini-van https://www.athenstransports.eu/low-cost-transfers-services-taxi-minibus-athens.html ... and another option is -- ASK your Guide! Athenians always "know somebody" who can do the job at a good price!

Posted by
4304 posts

Thanks for clarifying. I agree with Janet's ideas. I'll add that we found the Benaki Museum disappointing, hard to get around, hard to read labels, great stuff mixed in with not so great, and pretty far from where you'll be. If your timeframe allows only one museum, make it the Acropolis Museum. And the big advantage of the ship's excursion to Corinth is the assurance that you won't be left behind on the dock if there's a delay. Have a wonderful trip!