Athens Sightseeing

 

Highlights

Athens Sightseeing Private Tour – Duration 8 Hours

Top Visits

  • Acropolis Hill – Parthenon – Erechtheion – Dionysus Theatre – Herodion Odeon
  • Temple of Zeus – Arch of Hadrian
  • Old Olympic Stadium
  • Parliament – Changing of the Guards
  • Academy of science – Athens University – National Library
  • Ancient Agora – Roman Agora
  • New Acropolis Museum
  • Lycabettus Hill
  • Plaka – The Old City

Itinerary

Sightseeing in Athens starts with the hill of Acropolis which will make your day. On the historical hill, you will have the opportunity to see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Temple of the Athena Nike, the monumental gateway (Propylaea), the Erechtheum and of course the famous Parthenon, the main temple dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena. After the Acropolis, we will head towards the Temple Of Zeus by way of Hadrians Arch and from there we will visit Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. Next driving alongside the National Garden, we will see the changing of the guard (Euzones) in front of the old palace, which is today Parliament House, above the central square of Athens.Athens

After that, we will drive to Panepistimiou Street one of the most historical streets of Athens to see numerous neoclassical buildings still standing and dating back to the late 19th century but more importantly we’ll see the architectural trilogy of Athens (The Academy – The University – The National Library). Then moving into the historical center of the city we will drive up the highest hill of Athens, Lycabettus Hill, where you’ll have the best panoramic view of the city, from the hill of Acropolis to the Aegean Sea. You will be feeling hungry by now so next stop is going to be a traditional Greek tavern with authentic Greek dishes or fresh fish – seafood by the sea.

After lunch, we will visit the two historically old neighborhoods of Athens, Plaka, and Monastiraki, where the famous Andrianou Street is located, and be ending at the flea market (shopping area). Where you will also visit the Roman Agora and the Tower Of The Winds and let’s not forget the Ancient Greek Agora which is considered the birthplace of democracy, philosophy and free speech. In the ancient Greek Agora, you will visit the Temple of Hephaestus (the best-preserved temple in Greece standing largely as built) and a small museum house under the Portico of Attalos. Eventually bringing us to the New Acropolis Museum. A brand new museum opened in 2009 to host all the findings that have been excavated on the hill of Acropolis and its slopes also known as the museum of the senses. It is counted as one of the best museums in the world.

After traveling with us you will have seen the ‘real Greece’ and met ‘real people’. We are content to show you the Greece we know and love. Avoiding the tourist traps. Being a traveler not a tourist.

History

Acropolis:

The Acropolis hill (acro – edge, polis – city), so-called the “Sacred Rock” of Athens, is the most important site of the city and constitutes one of the most recognizable monuments of the world. It is the most significant reference point of ancient Greek culture, as well as the symbol of the city of Athens itself as it represents the apogee of artistic development in the 5th century BCE. During Perikles’ Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.

Propylaea:

The Propylaea is the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Built by the architect Mnesicles with Pentelic marble, their design was avant-garde. To the south-west of the Propylaea, on a rampart protecting the main entrance to the Acropolis, is the Ionian temple of Apteros Nike, which is now being restored.

Parthenon:

The Parthenon. It is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and still remains its international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos (the Virgin), the patron goddess of Athens. It was built between 447 and 438 B.C.E. and its sculptural decoration was completed in 432 B.C.E. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, theparthenon supervisor of the whole work was Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, while Iktinos (or Ictinus) and Kallikrates (Callicrates) were the architects of the building. The temple is built in the Doric order and almost exclusively of Pentelic marble. It is peripheral, with eight columns on each of the narrow sides and seventeen columns on each of the long ones. The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena, made by Pheidias. The rest of sculptural decoration, also by Phidias, was completed by 432 BCE. The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon is a unique combination of the Doric metopes and triglyphs on the entablature, and the Ionic frieze on the walls of the cella. The metopes depict the Gigantomachy on the east side, the Amazonomachy on the west, the Centauromachy on the south, and scenes from the Trojan War on the north. The Parthenon, the Doric temple, the pinnacle of Pericles’ building programme, is beyond question the building most closely associated with the city of Athens, a true symbol of ancient Greek culture and its universal values.

The New Acropolis Museum:

As you enter the museum grounds, look through the plexiglass floor to see the ruins of an ancient Athenian neighborhood, which were artfully incorporated into the museum design after being uncovered during excavations.This dazzling modernist museum at the foot of the Acropolis’ southern slope showcases its surviving treasures still in Greek possession. While the collection covers the Archaic and Roman periods, the emphasis is on the Acropolis of the 5th century BCE, considered the apotheosis of Greece’s artistic achievement. The museum cleverly reveals layers of history, floating over ruins with the Acropolis visible above, showing the masterpieces in context. The surprisingly good-value restaurant has superb views (and reviews); there’s also a fine gift shop.

The Temple of Zeus:

This marvel is right in the center of Athens. It is the largest temple in Greece. Building began in the 6th century BCE by Peisistratos, (but it was abandoned for lack of funds). Various other leaders attempted to finish it, but it was left to Hadrian to complete the work in AD 131 – taking more than 700 years in total to build.The temple is impressive for the sheer size of it. Originally it had 104 Corinthian columns (17m high and with a base diameter of 1.7m). Unfortunately, only 15 remains (the fallen one was blown down in a gale in 1852). Hadrian also put up a colossal statue of Zeus (in the cella) and because he was such a modest fellow he placed an equally large one of himself next to it.

Hadrian’s Arch:

The Roman emperor Hadrian had a great affection for Athens. Although he did his fair share of spiriting its classical artwork to Rome, he also embellished the city with many monuments influenced by classical architecture. His arch is a lofty monument of Pentelic marble that stands where busy Leoforos Vasilissis Olgas and Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias meet. Hadrian erected it in AD 132, probably to commemorate the consecration of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.The inscriptions show that it was also intended as a dividing point between the ancient and Roman city. The northwest frieze reads, ‘This is Athens, the Ancient city of Theseus’, while the southeast frieze states, ‘This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus’.

The Old Olympic Stadium/ Panathenaic Stadium:

greek-gamesThe grand Panathenaic Stadium lies between two pine-covered hills(between the neighborhoods of Mets and Pangrati). It was originally built in the 4th century BCE as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests. It’s said that at Hadrian’s inauguration in AD 120, 1000 wild animals were sacrificed in the arena. Later, the seats were rebuilt in Pentelic marble by Herodes Atticus. There are seats for 70,000 spectators, a running track and a central area for field events.After hundreds of years of disuse, the stadium was completely restored in 1895 (by a wealthy Greek benefactor Georgios Averof) to host the first modern Olympic Games the following year. It’s a faithful replica of the original Panathenaic Stadium. There are seats for 70,000 people, a running track and a central area for field events. It made a stunning backdrop to the archery competition and the marathon finish during the 2004 Olympics. It’s occasionally used for concerts and public events, and the annual Athens marathon finishes here.

The Changing of the Guards:

Although the guards change hourly, there is a big ceremony once a week. These guards, the Evzones, stand motionless at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Getting into this unit is an honor, and they have to be over 6 ft. tall. They wear white tights, a white skirt, a white blouse with full sleeves, an embroidered vest, red cap, and shoes with big pom-poms. but don’t let the outfit fool you, these guys are the best of the best. The uniform is based on the clothing of the Klephts, mountain fighters who fought the Turks from the 15th Century until Greek independence in the 19thz7iajM5cA Century.

The Acadamy of Science:

The Acadamy Building constitutes one of three parts in an “architectural trilogy”. It was founded with the Constitutional Decree of March 18th, 1926, as an Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts. The same Decree appointed its first members, who were all eminent representatives of the scientific, intellectual and artistic circles of that era. Designed in 1859, by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen (1813-1891, the younger brother of the University’s architect, Christian Hansen). It is considered the most important work of Hansen and is regarded by some experts as the most beautiful neoclassic building worldwide. The architect’s source of inspiration was the classical architecture of fifth century B.C.E. Athens, as portrayed in the monuments of the Acropolis. In particular, Hansen imitated the Ionian rhythm that dominates the building of the Academy, from the Erechtheion monument. The essence of all ancient Greek tradition can be found in the building’s sculptural and pictorial decoration; simultaneously the character of that era’s Hellenism and its visions for the future are also expressed.

The University of Athens:

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the largest state institution of higher learning in Greece, and among the largest universities in Europe. The splendid Athens University was designed by the Danish architect Christian Hansen and completed in 1864. It was the first of the Architectural Trilogy to be built. It still serves as the university’s administrative headquarters. To its left is the Athens Academy, designed by Hansen’s brother Theophile. Unfortunately, neither is open to the public.

The National Library:

The National Library of Greece was built at the end of the nineteenth century, as the last of the Architectural of Athens, a group of three neoclassical buildings which also includes the Academy and the University. The building was designed by Theophil Hansen, a Danish architect who had studied classical architecture in Vienna and Athens. (He had also previously worked on the University – together with his older brother Christian, as well as on the Zappeion and the Academy of Athens). Construction of the National Library started in 1887 and was completed fifteen years later. Theophil Hansen died in 1891 and would never see his building completed.The National Library was designed as a Doric temple flanked by two wings and built almost entirely with Pentelic marble. The design of the Doric building was based on that of the Propylaea on the Acropolis. (It is devoid of any sculptural ornamentation; even the tympanum is left undecorated). Two wide winding staircases lead to the entrance of the “temple”. The statue standing between the staircases shows one of the benefactors of the library, the merchant Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos. The building houses a large collection of books, maps, newspapers, and manuscripts in Greek and other languages. Most interesting is the collection of Greek manuscripts, some of which are more than 1400 years old.

Ancient Agora:

In the heart of ancient Athens was the Agora, the lively, crowded focal point of administrative, commercial, political and social activity. Socrates talked about his philosophy here, and in AD 49 St Paul came here to speak on Christianity. The site was occupied without interruption throughout the city’s history. It was used as a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic Period (3000BCE) but it was first developed as a public site in the 6th century BC (the time of Solon). The Agora was devastated by the Persians in 480 B.C.E., but a new one was built in its place almost immediately. It was flourishing by Pericles’ time and continued to do so until AD 267 when it was destroyed by the Herulians (a Gothic tribe from Scandinavia). The Turks built a residential quarter on the site, but this was demolished by archaeologists after Independence and later excavated to classical and, in parts, Neolithic levels. The site today is a grand, refreshing break, with beautiful monuments and temples and a fascinating museum. The museum is housed in the Stoa of Attalos, and its exhibits are connected with the Athenian democracy. The collection of the museum includes clay, bronze and glass objects, sculptures, coins and inscriptions from the 7th to the 5th century B.C.E., as well as pottery of the Byzantine period and the Turkish occupation.

The Roman Agora:

The entrance to the Roman Agora is through the well-preserved Gate of Athena Archegetis, flanked by four Doric columns. It was financed by Julius Caesar and erected sometime during the 1st century AD. In it is the Tower of Winds.The well-preserved, extraordinary Tower of the Winds was built in the 1st century B.C.E. by a Syrian astronomer named Andronicus. The octagonal monument of Pentelic marble is an ingenious construction that functioned as a sundial, weather vane, water clock and compass. Each side of the tower represents a point of the compass, with a relief of a floating figure representing the wind associated with that particular point. Beneath each of the reliefs are faint sundial markings. The weather vane, which disappeared long ago, was a bronze Triton that revolved on top of the tower. The Turks allowed dervishes to use the tower. The rest of the ruins are quite bare. To the right of the entrance are foundations of a 1st-century public latrine. In the southeast area are foundations of a propylon (fortified tower) and a row of shops.

The Hill of Lycabettus:

The name Lykavittus appears in various legends. Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, (Lycos in Greek), which is possibly the origin of its name (means “the one [the hill] that is walked by wolves”). Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a mountain she had been carrying from Pallene for the construction of the Acropolis.

There is a path that leads to the summit Alternatively, take the funicular railway, or teleferik or a drive up to the top. Don’t try to walk up (pilgrims used to, but it’s an Everest for the faithless). The panorama from the top is priceless – all the way to Mount Parnes in the north, west to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf, with the Acropolis sitting like a ruminative lion halfway to the sea. There’s also a cafe/restaurant up there.  Perched on the summit is the little Chapel of Agios Georgios, floodlit like a beacon over the city at night.The open-air Lykavittos Theatre, northeast of the summit, hosts concerts in summer. And many famous artists have performed there.

Plaka – The Old Town:

Stroll through the streets of Plaka – the city’s Old Town. Sprawled over the side of Athens’ Acropolis, this historical neighborhood comprises a maze of cobbled streets lined with Neoclassical architecture, Byzantine churches, and busy independent shops.On the northernmost streets of Plaka is the area is known as Anafiotika — an idyllic cluster of whitewashed houses that are reminiscent of buildings in the Greek islands. Admire Anafiotika’s pretty Cycladic architecture, built by 19th-century workers who emigrated here from Anafi Island. It’s thought the workers were homesick for their native island life, so painted the buildings bright white to remind them of Anafi. Feel like an islander on the mainland.

Entrance Fees

Admission Fees for Sites:

SUMMER PERIOD: 1 April – 31 October

WINTER PERIOD: 1 November – 31 March


Combined Ticket valid for 5 days:

  • Acropolis of Athens
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Kerameikos Museum
  • Roman Agora of Athens
  • Temple of Zeus
  • Archaeological Site of Lykeion
  • Hadrian’s Library

(Valid for all sites) Full : €30,00 – Reduced: € 15,00

Winter : 08:30 – 15:00

Summer: 08:00 – 20:00aiga-ticket-purchase-bg

Acropolis:

Full : €20,00 – Reduced: € 10,00

Winter : 08:30 – 17:00

Summer: 08:00 – 20:00

Acropolis Museum:

Full: €5,00 – Reduced: € 3,00

Winter :

Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday: 09:00 – 17:00

Friday: 09:00 – 22:00

Saturday and Sunday: 09:00 – 20:00

Summer:

Monday: 08:00 – 16:00

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday: 08:00 – 20:00

Friday: 08:00 – 22:00

Saturday and Sunday: 08:00 – 20:00

Museums Ticket valid for 3 days:

  • Byzantine and Christian Museum
  • Epigraphic Museum
  • National Archaeological Museum
  • Numismatic Museum

(Valid for all sites) Full : €15,00 – Reduced: € 8,00

Athens National Archeological Museum:

Full : € 10,00 -, Reduced: € 5,00

Winter – Summer : 08:00 – 20:00


Holidays:

  • 1 January: closed
  • 6 January: 08:00 – 15:00
  • Shrove Monday: 08:00 – 15:00
  • 25 March: closed
  • Good Friday: until 12:00 – 17:00
  • Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 15:00
  • Easter Sunday: closed
  • Easter Monday: 08:00 – 20:00
  • 1 May: closed
  • Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 20:00
  • 15 August: 08:00 – 20:00
  • 28 October: 08:00 – 15:00
  • 25 December: closed
  • 26 December: closed

Free admission:

  • Escorting teachers during the visits of schools and institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education and of military schools.
  • Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card
  • Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS
  • Persons possessing a free admission card
  • The employees of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Archaeological Receipts Fund, upon presentation of their service ID card.
  • The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities.
  • Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age.

Free admission days:free-admission

  • 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
  • 18 April (International Monuments Day)
  • 18 May (International Museums Day)
  • The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
  • Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
  • 28 October

Reduced admission for:

  • Greek citizens and citizens of other Member – States of the European Union who are over 65 years old, upon presentation of their ID card or passport for verification of their age and country of origin.
  • Holders of a solidarity card
  • Holders of a valid unemployment card.
  • Large families’ parents of children up to 23 yrs old, or up to 25 yrs old (on military service/studying), or child with disabilities regardless the age, having a certified pass of large families, certification from the Large Family Association or a family status certificate issued by the Municipality
  • Persons with disabilities (67 % or over) and one escort, upon presentation of the certification of disability issued by the Ministry of Health or a medical certification from a public hospital, where the disability and the percentage of disability are clearly stated.
  • Single parent families with minors, upon presentation of a family status certificate issued by the Municipality. In the case of divorced parents, only the parent holding custody of the children
  • The police officers of the Department of Antiquity Smuggling of the Directorate of Security
  • Tourist guides upon presentation of their professional ID card.
  • University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID.

Amenities for the physically challenged:

Elevator available for wheelchairs, people with diminished abilities and any parent attending two or more infants on her/his own. The elevator is located about 350m. far from the main entrance of the archaeological site.

Users of the elevator should contact in advance for details and terms (+30 210 3214172). The facility is not available during extreme weather conditions and strong winds.

Additional Info

Please take time to read carefully our terms and conditions.

Private Tours are personal and flexible just for you and your party.images

Prices Inclusion

  • local taxes
  • VAT
  • Tolls
  • Baggage charges

Prices Exclusion

  • Entrance Fees
  • Personal expenses (drinks, meals etc.)
  • Tips
  • Visa costs
  • Sightseeing and services other than those mentioned in our itineraries. If in doubt whether something is included in the price of the tour, please inquire.

Drivers

  • Drivers must work under strict legal and time restrictions. Therefore you will be dropped back at convenient stops, depending on the traffic conditions. Our drivers will do their best to drop-offs at your hotel or as near as possible unless stated otherwise. Drivers will be happy to assist and advise you.
  • The drivers are not a licensed to accompany you on your walk to the top of the Acropolis or inside any other site or museum. If you require a licensed guide to tour the sites with you, you need to hire one additionally.

Guides

  • All the guides, on the various tours, lecture in English. A previous arrangement must be made to lecture in another language.
  • A special offer is on for our guests to have a certified tour guide. They will show you on the site and /or museum and happily share their knowledge with you. The tour guides we cooperate with are authorized and have experience in the museums, archaeological, historical and religious sites of Greece. They are ready to meet your expectations, to answer your questions and to guide you thoroughly through Greece.

Useful Tips

Tips

  • Suitable clothing and athletic walking shoes are recommended for your comfortHat-2-512
  • Hats, sunglasses and suntan lotion are highly recommended.
  • Photography is permitted throughout the tour, excluding some museums.
  • Clothing: When visiting Churches and Monasteries entrance will be allowed only to those with proper outfits i.e. Gentlemen (long trousers) and ladies (skirts, not short ones). These are places of worship and we pay them the respect they deserve.

Cancellation Policy

  1. Firstly and most importantly. ALL CANCELLATIONS MUST BE CONFIRMED BY. Olivesea.gr
  2. In respect to Day Tours cancellations. There is NO cancellation fee (deposit or full amount) WILL be refunded. That’s right you will be fully cancellation-policy-imagerefunded 100% the amount you have paid whether it is a deposit or the full amount, just so long as you cancel your reservation at least 48 hours before your service date. Olivesea.gr
  3. Apart from the above cancellation limits, NO refunds will be made. If though, you fail to make your appointment for reasons that are out of your hands, that would be, in connection with the operation of your airline or cruise ship or strikes, extreme weather conditions or mechanical failure. You WILL be refunded 100% of the paid amount.
  4. Let it be noted that, if your cancellation date is over TWO (2) months away from your reservation date, It has been known for third-party providers such as credit card companies, PayPal, etc. to charge a levy fee usually somewhere between 2-4%.
  5. Olive sea.gr reserves the right to cancel your booking at any time, when reasons beyond our control arise, such as strikes, prevailing weather conditions, mechanical failures, etc. occur. In this unfortunate case, you shall be immediately notified via the email address you used when making your reservation and your payment WILL be refunded 100%.
  6. Please take the time to carefully go through the individual terms and conditions for your information and protection. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you have read and understood the various terms associated with your contract in advance to placing any bookings.