A day crammed full of adventure and history sound like a good way to spend your day? Same for us too! This itinerary was pre-babe, but there are definitely some tips to guide you through Athens, even if you only have one day! Why only one day? Well, we took a cruise on Norwegian Cruise lines and this was one of our most anticipated ports. With some planning, you can hit some spectacular places!
Keep on reading for what you should give a go if you can only spend one day in Athens.
Like many large metropolis’ there are many options to get yourself from point A to point, B, C and D. On this day excursion we chose to Uber the city. With a specific timeline, this fit our jam-packed schedule, but most definitely our budget. When you get off at the Piraeus cruise terminal, there will be taxis waiting to offer their services also. We started our day at the Acropolis and then either walked to our destinations or took Ubers to them. Our preference was foot for most of the day, so that we could soak up the culture that is so rich!
Pro tip: Bring a mobile Wifi hotspot! This will help getting around easier and calling an Uber much more reliable!
The Acropolis and surrounding sites
This spot (along with so many travelers) was on our bucket list and, boy, was it magical! My husband and I are history lovers and the opportunity to stand where so much history illuminates the city was just hair raising! To save on time, we did not book a tour, but instead, booked our tickets online ahead of arriving. Upon our arrival, we were able to get through the non-existent line (we were one of the first to get off the boat) and checked through the gate quickly. There were still a lot of people there, but not anywhere near the droves of people we observed as we were exiting about an hour later. A fun way to tour the Acropolis on your own is by downloading the Rick Steves’ Acropolis guide and letting him walk you through your experience. Depending on your travel style, make sure to capture moments from the many vantage points that this spot in the city enables. Check out some of the memories we made!
Near the Acropolis you run in to what is known as the Plaka. This part of the city is the old town of Athens and is filled to the brim with shops, eateries, and hotels. There is so much life teeming in this part of Athens, its fun to take a break and enjoy the atmosphere. Take the time to stop in to one of the many shops, if you fancy a souvenir or stop and taste the coffee! Our particularly favorite stop was for some gelato on what became a fairly warm October day.
The National Archaeological Museum
This was an easy stop that filled our history loving buckets. If you decide to make this a part of your day, you won’t regret it! Athens has so many museums to choose from, but my husband and I love history. Seeing artifacts and exhibits is one of the ways we enjoy immersing ourselves in other cultures, than that of our own. The National Archaeological Museum is the largest one in Greece, so I am sure you can imagine the historical significance sitting within it’s walls. At this museum you can expect to pay an affordable entrance fee, depending on the season, and will be required to check anything larger than a purse in their holding room. Be sure to give yourself at least an hour to soak in past times, if not longer.
Pro tip: You can take photos (non-flash) in the museum, but only for the purposes of non-commercial use. Any other use of the photos taken must receive approval via an application process.
Eat Somewhere Local
We had a quick stop at place called The Yard, where we enjoyed some baklava and Greek coffee. To be honest I’ve never had a bad piece of baklava, so my comparison may not offer much. We enjoyed the Greek coffee and scenery while taking some time to relax before we dived in to the Plaka. One more food related stop we made while meandering the Plaka was for some gelato. I’m sure at this point, our sweet tooth has become apparent. Although we did not partake in more authentic cuisine on this excursion, we absolutely did while in Katakolon and Santorini.
So Much to Do in Athens
One day is absolutely not enough time for Athens! But we made the most of the time we had there. So, to recap, pre-booking and planning goes a long way in making your short trip seamless. Knowing ahead of time how you will be getting around is a bonus as well. For any itinerary where there is a set amount of time, planning allows you to enjoy the purpose of your travel. From sightseeing to daydreaming of an earlier time, Athens is what you have imagined and so much more! Our day trip convinced us that we would go back for longer the next time we make it around to Greece.
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