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Things to do in or around Athens for 2 days before RS Tour?

We are arriving in Athens on May 23rd at night, and our RS Tour of Greece begins May 25th in the evening. So we have all day the 24th and 25th to do something in Athens or a day trip from Athens. Does anyone have ideas to share, of things that will not be covered on the tour? Thank you! (We are going to Santorini and Mykonos after the tour.)

Posted by
2788 posts

We took the RS Greece tour in May and June of this year. We arrived in Athens 2 nights before the tour began and proceeded to visit sights that were not going to be visited during the tour. RS Travel folks provide a list of places that will not be included on the tour whenever they mail you the big package of tour documents. Since your tour is not until next may, you will not be receiving any such information from them for a long time. We have taken 12 RS tours in the last 13 years and always register real early for discounts. Since our departure date is a long ways off, we also purchase the RS guide book that covers our tour even thought we will be getting one much later. For Greece we got RS plus Lonely Planet. Both are available elsewhere on this web site.

Posted by
2788 posts

I also went to the Greece tour site and found a list of items you can click on down in the lower middle and one of them showed, among lots of other things, several places that would not be included on the tour. "Pre-Tour"

Posted by
1396 posts


If it's not already covered I'd recommend a walk on Filopappou. It's the next hill across from the Acropolis and, in my opinion, the place to get the best views of the Parthenon. The back of the hill has recently been opened up a lot more, and you can see signs of the earliest settlements in Athens there.

We've written up our walk there, half way down this page, with a couple of photos which will give you an idea

The Pnyx is also in that area, is interesting itself and has great views back.

Have a great trip.


Posted by
11294 posts

From Rick's tour page on the "Pre Tour" tab, here's what they say:

"Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing in Athens that we do not do as a group: Goulandris Museum of Cycladic & Ancient Greek Art, Museum of Greek Folk Art, National Historical Museum, Benaki Museum, Temple of Olympian Zeus, National Gardens."

Posted by
24 posts

Thank you ALL so much for your great ideas and information! I love all the suggestions. I am deeply moved by how everyone helps everyone on this forum; I hope to be as much help to others as you have been to me.
Safe travels everyone!

Posted by
2211 posts

I had to find a 2015 calendar, but it looks like you will be there on a Sunday. People on our tour raved about the changing of the guard ceremony at Syntagma Sq. I think it's at 11 a.m., but check that. On Sunday, it's a special ceremony. We only had one extra day, but we did lots of walking around to get our bearings. Assuming your hotel will be in the same area as this past year, we walked up the side of the Acropolis Musuem, continued walking up with grounds of the Acropolis on our left and the Plaka on our right. It took us to Anaflotika, which is very cool, and then down the other side to Hadrian's library, etc.. We felt like it helped us have our bearings and enjoy our tour days in Athens more. We were able to absorb the tour stuff without being distracted by our surroundings. You are going to have a fabulous time!


Posted by
975 posts

I always spend more time in museums than tours allow, so the Archeological museum might be worth an extra visit as i thought it was spectacular. i enjoyed the Benaki last year, a walkable distance from the Syntagma square. The changing of the Guard, with the band, does not last long.
and don't know if the group does the walking tours described in the RS guidebook when on the official tour, but we enjoyed those as well.

Posted by
92 posts

The Rick Steve's Audio Europe app for your smart phone has downloadable walking tours that he narrates. The City Walk and the Ancient Agora walks are easily done and were a good introduction to Athens on the day before our tour started in 2012. If you get David Willet as your guide, share a supper with him on a non-group meal night. He will order a variety of food shared "family style" which you would not likely order on your own, but was great eating! And if you like museums, I agree with Melissa that the Archeological Museum could use more time than you do on the walking tour

Posted by
295 posts

I did this tour in July. Here's some ideas of things to do that will not be covered on the tour. Also, after you tour to the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum (when you are on the tour) you can use your ticket to see most other sights-Ancient Agora, Roman Forum, Temple of Zeus, Library of Hadrian, Theater of Dionysus. So save those sight and visit them during your free time after the Acropolis instead of prior to the tour. Instead before the tour I would suggest doing Rick Ancient Athens city walk timing it to see the changing of the guards at Syntagma square. Visit the market and explore the Plaka. Another idea would be to visit the National garden or go to the top of Lykavittos Hill. Great view and a funicular takes you to the top. Also, I love the Greek Ice Coffee. You must try it if you like coffee. I order it medium. that's a little sugar. Great on a hot day.