I would be grateful for any sightseeing suggestions in Athens area before and after the RS 14 day Greece tour. Thank you.
If you are there on a Sunday morning at 11 am, I would suggest witnessing the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square. Go to the top of Lykavittos Hill. There are plenty of ruins at the foot of the Acropolis such as the Temple of Hephaestus. There are some tiny old churches in the Plaka.
The view from Lycabettus Hill is wonderful all the way to the sea; take the tram up. Also visit the Cycladic Museum, small and so unique. Near Kolonaki, Syntagma and embassy row.
I assume your Rick Steves’ tour will take you to the Acropolis Museum, If they don’t, visit it on your own! Also, another gem, the Archeological Museum which has many of the real antiquities from sites you will have visited.
Visit Monastiriki area. Will you be in Athens on a Sunday? There is a big market there.
From Syntagma Square head towards the Grande Bretagne Hotel. Walk down the sidewalk on right side of hotel, cross street mid block and start up the hill in Kolonaki. This is Athens’ upscale neighborhood. You will find a street filled with cafes, places to eat not far up. Out of tourist area but very near. Lycabettus Hill is at the top of Kolonaki to get your bearings.
Here's a great website for everything you need to know about Athens:
A couple recommendations:
Central Markets on Athinas St.
Anafiotika on the side of the Acropolis resembles a Greek Village on an island
I'll give you the less-visited ones that we enjoyed, which might not be so well covered in the guidebooks:
- National Garden. Beautiful cool park. After watching the Changing of the Guard, enter the Gardens next to the Parliament Buildings on Syntagma Square and walk across the park towards...
- Panathinaic Stadium. Site of the 1896 Olympics. Mock ancient, but makes good photographs. Interesting Olympic history exhibits.
- Central Market. Every kind of food you would eat, and plenty you would NEVER eat.
And if you have time for a day trip, take a ferry to either:
- Hydra, which really deserves at least two nights, but you could do it as a day trip; or
- Poros, beautiful island town, on the ferry route to Hydra.
You'll get a RS guidebook for Athens and info on what the tour includes and doesn't include prior to the tour. The guidebook is pretty thorough on sightseeing options.
I am appreciative of the time everyone took to respond to my question regarding touring in Athens outside the RS tour.
Mary mentions the tiny old churches in Plaka which captures my imagination. Also the ruins at the foot of the Acropolis which include Temple of Hephaestus.
Suki reminds me to take the tram to top of Lycabettus Hill for views all the way to the sea. Also the small and unique Cycladic Museum she feels is worth our time. She gave detail instructions to walk towards Grande Bretagne Hotel and onto sidewalk on right side of hotel then cross street mid block and go up hill in Kolonaki, an upscale market filled w/ cafes and places to eat not far up. Outside tourist area. Wow.
Tommyk5 mentions Central Matket on Athinas St and Anafiotika beside the Acropolis as it resembles a Greek village on an island. Very helpful.
Darrenblois also mentions Cebtral Market, Panathinaic Stadium for it's Olympic history exhibits. And yes tour does include two night on Hydra. Lucky me.
We were there in 2019. We enjoyed our visit to the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Small but interesting. Nice cafe afterwards.
In the 14 days RS tour it is not specified where you will walk in Athens outside of the Plaka district.
I confirm that the central municipal market is very interesting to see, go there in the morning. If you are there at lunch time there are small traditional restaurants inside the market which are good and not expensive.
Go to Monastiraki Square, a few minutes walk from plaka going west, you will be at the entrance to the Flea Market (Ifestou Street) which is also a place to discover. There's a big "Flea Market" sign above the street
Continuing until the end of Ifestou Street which crosses the Flea Market, turn right into Agiou Filippou Street, cross Ermou Street, you will be in the Psiri district. Another lively area of Athens (very lively on weekend evenings) with lots of bars, restaurants and charming little streets.
The majority of these streets are pedestrianized and you will have shade which is an advantage during the hot weather in Athens
Thank you Paul and JoLui. Makes me smile the reference to pedestrianized streets and Flea market. Christian Musrum W/ "nice Cafe" sound promising. Thank you
Unfortunately, we were not able to arrive more than one day before our tour started, but during our free time on one of the tour days we enjoyed touring the Agora. Be sure you have the RS audio guide app, it’s like having Rick there as your guide. Who is your guide? We had Apostolos and he was awesome!
Yes Apostolos is our guide. Thank you for indicating a rating of “awesome”. I just doubled checked to make sure I had downloaded the Greece episodes from the audio app. and I had. It could have been one of those items I had not done. I do not mind being reminded!
Just for fun here are some images of Athens. Lots to see and do. These were all taken without a guide just us wandering around.
Sallymoxley, you are in for a treat with Apostolos as your guide. It was our first RS tour and he is the standard by which all other guides will be measured. Oh ok, yes I did get a bit of a crush on him…..😜