We are going to Greece for the first time in October 2014 and will be doing the RS Greece tour. I was wondering if you see pretty much everything worth seeing in Athens on the tour itself or is it worth staying an extra day after the tour to see more of Athens. Are the other museums, like the Greek Folk Art, Benaki, Cycladic Art, Byzantine and Christian, and Greek Popular instruments museum worth it? Also, on the tour, are you given enough time to see the National Archeology Museum, since sounds like you head out of town on the bus right after that museum on the second day? Thanks.
David I don't know what you see on the tour. (We don't have RS in England!) Having said that I would really recommend spending the extra day. Both the Cycladic and the Byzantine are well worth a visit. We've written a little about our visit to the Byzantine here. http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Museums.html I like the Greek Popular instument museum but it's fairly small. The Folk Art and Benaki have always left me quite cold, but then some of that is a matter of personal taste. The topics don't really interest me. I'd also recommend a visit to the Keramicos - the old cemetery which gives us our word ceramics - and Philopappou. This is the hill opposite the Acropolis and has the best views of the Parthenon, in my opinion. Again we've written it up. http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Exploring%20Athens.html October is a great time to be in Greece. The weather is generally fairly good and the sites are less crowded. Have a great trip. Alan
David, If the tour hasn't changed since I took it, you'll receive a comprehensive tour of the Archeology Museum with an outstanding local Guide. They usually provide an hour or so of free time after the tour ends. You'll be receiving a LOT of information during the tour (almost to the point of "overload"), so I'm not sure you'll want to return to the Archeology Musueum after that. There may be other sights in Athens that you could see. Click on the "Pre Tour" tab on the website to see what the tour does NOT cover. @Alan, "We don't have RS in England!" Actually, you do in one sense. The RS tours of England are very popular, with at least 15 tours there every year. The Aug. 3 tour is already fully booked and "Waitlist Only". As I recall, the RS Guidebooks are sold in some bookstores in the U.K. Cheers!
I have taken 11 RS tours and before every one of them I get a package from the RS headquarters with important tour information inside. Included is a list of places that the tour will not cover allowing a tour member to visit those places on their own, either before the tour starts or after it is over. You might want to contact the RS Headquarter's Tour Desk to make sure that they are still including that information and when it will be mailed to you. If it is not coming until shortly before your departure date and you need to make airline reservations based on what is not included that you want to see, you should tell the Tour Desk that and see if they can send you that information sooner rather than later. I have signed up for the RS Greece tour that begins on May 26. We will be arriving in Europe only 2 days before the tour begins so we are still trying to figure out our post-tour schedule since we have another week before returning to the US.
My wife and I did the tour in 2012 and were glad we had an extra day there. We flew in early so our day was before the tour started. There are guided walks in the RS Greece book (and on podcasts that you can download) of Ancient Agora and parts of Athens not done by the tour including the Anafiotika neighborhood and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the changing of the guard. We enjoyed the Byzantine and Christian Museum. We also enjoyed just walking through the Plaka neighborhood and visiting with more of the shopkeepers on the final full day of the tour.
I believe you will have more than enough to do and see to make an additional day worthwhile.