We have just booked our Rick Steves Tour of Greece. We will be arriving Saturday April 7th, while our tour begins later in the day on Monday April 9th. We have just discovered that in Greece Easter Sunday is on April 8th. In fact it appears that from from Friday April 6th through Monday April 9th is a national holiday. So, what will be opened? Restaurants? Any museums? Public gardens? Special more limited holiday schedules for public transportation, say from the airport to our hotel Acropolis Select Hotel? The tour website suggests the following things to do: Goulandris Museum of Cycladic & Ancient Greek Art, Museum of Greek Folk Art, National Historical Museum, Benaki Museum, Temple of Olympian Zeus, National Gardens. However, we are now wondering, if anything would be open. Thank you!
I researched this before my trip this year, ended up arriving a week later. From what I gathered, Athens is pretty empty on Easter. It's a family holiday, so many people leave the city and gather with family in smaller towns where they enjoy the day eating roast lamb and traditional foods. So many shops will be closed as well as many sights. I believe enough restaurants will be open that you will be able to choose what and when to eat. There will be buses and metros. You should be able to take the metro from the airport on Saturday. It's easy to find the metro at the airport, buy tickets and board the train. The metro is very modern and there will be elevators and escalators at the airport and when you transfer at Syntagma Do note that the Select is between two metro stations, Acropolis and Syngrou. Although it's a shorter walk from Syngrou, I recommend the Acropolis station. It's easier and less confusing, and it's a downhill walk. As I recall, at Syngrou it's not that easy to figure out which metro exit to use and which way to walk. Also, you may have to take the stairs up to street level and if you are on the wrong side, may have some difficulty crossing the busy street.
One thing to definitely do on Sunday is see the changing of the guard at 11 am at Syntagma Square (get there by around 10.30 - it begins around 10.40-10.45. You could also do the RS city walking tour. Check the individual attraction sites for closures. According to the official site, the national sights are closed on Sunday but open on Easter Monday. I did see another site that indicated that on Saturday and Monday, the hours would be somewhat curtailed.
On the positive side, this may be a good weekend to get some lovely photos of monuments (viewed from the outside) that would normally be filled with people.
Thank you so much Chani for your quick and very informative reply! As long as we can get food and hopefully a few more euros, we will be fine. Walking around and exploring on foot will be a good way for us to get over our 10 hour time zone change before our tour begins.
You should have no trouble getting money from an ATM. Check if the Mani Mani Restaurant is open. We had our final tour dinner there and I wish I'd known how good it was before my last night. It's a 2 minute walk from the hotel.
If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.