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Athens Pre Cruise


Billybob62

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We are on the August 14 Athens to Istanbul Navigator trip and will arrive in Athens the day before the sailing mid-morning. Our hotel is very near the Acropolis. Can we tour the Acropolis the next morning by ourselves and also visit the Plaka area before we head to the ship? If so, what are some recommendations as to what to do the first day, including the best way to get to the hotel from the airport. Does it pay to get a tour guide to pick us up at the airport and take us around that first day. Any and all suggestions are very much welcome.:):)

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You will be very tired that first morning. I suggest you check into your hotel, have a shower, perhaps a short nap (opinions vary on this), then go out and explore on your own. Not sure if you want to do the Acropolis that first afternoon, you could wait and see how you feel. It will be hot, so you might want to keep it until the next day, prior to boarding. Depending on how much you like to walk, you may not need a guide--the traffic in Athens is terrible.

 

We had a pre-arranged cab from the airport, and it was very handy. We used Paul, who also does tours, although he's not a licensed guide, so can't do the Acropolis with you. He's http://www.***** . He also drove us to the ship

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I would hit Acropolis and Agora the first day; especially as your hotel is close. I would climb Acropolis seeing Theater of Dionysus and then walk down the back side to the Agora. From there, I would take a taxi back to hotel. I would go out to Plaka for dinner. The next day, I would go to Syntagma Square for changing of the guard and walk down to Temple of Zeus. If you have time, you can then walk around the Plaka. Return to hotel for quick shower and check out and on the way to the ship. Athens has always been one of my favorite cities.

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We arrive at 10:30 am via Delta directly from Atlanta, a long flight. I anticipate arriving at the the hotel by 12:30 - 1:00, so we have the rest of the afternoon and evening. Since the ship leaves at 5:00 pm the next day, I do not think we need to be there much before 3:00 pm, so we have that morning and early afternoon. Are all the sites doable on our own, should we hire a guide at the sites and are they all within either walking distance or an easy cab ride. Thanks again for the feedback.:):):)

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I wouldn't worry about a guide. Get a good guidebook such as DK Eyewittness Athens Top 10 which you can keep in your back pocket. Any guide you hire for the day can't go in Acropolis; you have to use one of the guides there. It really isn't worth it. Everything is marked in English.

 

If you have extra time second day, I would add the new Acropolis Museum which should be near your hotel. You can also see the old Olympic Stadium, also.

 

All sites I have mentioned are within walking distance although you will be far away from hotel by the time you get to Agora (are you staying at the Intercontinental?). From Agora, you can take Metro back to Syntagma square and walk back to hotel or take taxi. Everything else will be walking distance.

 

The Delta flight is easy; you should arrive well rested and ready to tackly the Acropolis.

 

Try Retsina wine while in Athens. It is acquired taste; I love it but couldn't get anyone else in our party of twelve to drink it so I had to finish the bottle myself. :D

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Are you used to long transatlantic hauls like this? Are you good at sleeping on the plane? (I'm not, so I'm always exhausted,, but you are on a direct flight, that should help.)

 

Have a good look at some of the great tourist maps of Athens that around online. See if you can get a sense of the scale. Everything is walkable, but you do get tired, and, as I said, hot.

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This site REALLY helped us before our first visit to Athens:

http://www.athensguide.com/

 

It's very comprehensive and tells you alllll you need to know. It especially helped us when it came to the food & drink - we knew what we were ordering without having to ask "what is this?"

 

Ahh, Athina...I want to go back!!!

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I would make the New Acropolis Museum a definite must see. It is scheduled now to open in June -- (of course it was originally scheduled to open in 2004). We were able to visit the first floor last year which was open to visitors for a couple of hours day (although it had no exhibits) but it is a fabulous museum. It is built over an archeological dig and there are vast glass panels in the first floor that allow one to walk over the dig and look down into it. It is in Plaka near the Acropolis.

 

Athens has come a long way since the Olympics and we very much enjoyed our three day - two night - pre cruise stay last year.

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