3 days in Athens

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Aug 1st, 2018, 01:01 AM
  #1
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3 days in Athens

Hey all,

Hoping for some feedback and thoughts on a 3 day Athens itinerary I put together. My wife and I are 32 and 29 and are pretty fast paced travellers and love to exlpore big cities. We will have just come from 13 days on island life so are okay with a couple of jam packed days.

September 12
- Acropolis (go for opening at 8am)
- Temple of Athena Nike
- Parthenon
-Theatre of Dionysus
-Odeon of Herodus Atticus
-Acropolis Museum
-Pass through Hadrianís Arch to Temple of Olympian Zeus
-Panatheniac Stadium
-Zappeion Gardens
-Stroll through Plaka
-Go up Lycabettus Hill for sunset
-walk or cable car???
Overnight in Athens (Athens Studios)

September 13
- Ancient Agora of Athens
-Temple of Hephaistos
- Roman Agora
- Hadrianís Library
- Syntagma Square (14 min walk)
-Tomb of unknown soldier
-Parliment buildings
-National Gardens
- National Library of Greece
- Athens Central Market
- Beertime (in Psiri)
-massive flights of beer
-Wander around Monastiraki and Psiri
-Monastiraki Market
-Street art/graffiti
Overnight in Athens (Athens Studios)

September 14
Day trip from Athens
-Cape Sounion (Temple of Poseidon)
OR
-Delphi
OR
-Cruise to Hydra, Poros and Aegina
Overnight in Athens (Athens Studios)

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Warren
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Aug 1st, 2018, 12:54 PM
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Day One: Very doable especially with the 8 a.m. start for the Acropolis and you are energetic and in good shape. You'll avoid the tour groups and tourists that start showing up around 9 a.m. at the Acropolis and gets progressively more crowded (worse) as the day goes on. You'll spend about one hour or so on the top of the Acropolis taking in the sites and views. Afterward heard downhill (south) past the Odeon of Herodus Atticus. You'll only have wonderful views of it and then further downhill toward the Theatre of Dionysus. Along the way you'll pass more ancient sites before getting to the Theatre which is wonderful plus all the other areas around it.

The Acropolis Museum is right across the road from the exit and will take at least 2 hours to really see everything and be in awe of what you are seeing.

Afterwards heads toward Hadrian's Arch (free) and then enter the Temple to Zeus. Not a whole lot left but a few very impressive columns left standing with one column on the ground. You may want to omit these sites unless you are a history buff and concentrate on the more impressive areas of Athens.

If you still have energy and time you can do the rest but I doubt you'll have time and/or energy to see what you listed.

Day Two:Ancient Agora is a must and is just as impressive as the Acropolis, especially the Temple of Hephaistos which is in better condition than the Parthenon! You could spend quite a lot of time wandering around the Agora, plus the re-created Stoa which is lovely plus the museum housed there.

Then there is Keramikos Cemetery which you have not listed which is another "must". You have not mentioned Anafiotika on the north side of the Acropolis which is reminiscent of a Greek Village. Definitely worth the time to locate and explore. You'll never realize you are in a city of millions.

Then there is the Psiri District which is opposite Monistiraki Square. Not as touristy or crowded as the Plaka with a more local feel to it.

All the other things I feel are being crammed into the time you have for each day. I understand wanting to see as much as possible in the time you have but if you rush around trying to cram in all the sites you want you may lose out on the "feel" of what you are experiencing.

I would forego the day trip outside of Athens and concentrate on Athens. It would take a minimum of three days to fully explore and experience the city.

Check out this wonderful site about Athens for more info:
https://www.athensguide.com/
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Aug 1st, 2018, 01:38 PM
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Very realistic commentary from Crazy Horse. My feedback based on multiple (12? 16?) short stays in Athens:
• MAJOR SITES - If pressed for time, Temple of Zeus can be appreciated as a walk-by, also Hadrian's Library, and even the Roman Forum can be a quickie ... And unless you are a really well-read ancients buff, Kerameikos is quite a hike from all the rest. Zappeion gardens you glimpse on your way thru to somewhere else, such as Benaki Museum, which is open until MIDNIGHT on Thursdays and that day is FREE (also has good cafe & bar). If u are not making time for the (MAJOR) National. Arch. Museum, at least do Benaki - it is very COMPACT, good signage And well-curated; i.e. instead of 3 roomsful of ancient vases, they have 3 cases of really GOOD vases...

• SUNSET HILL I prefer the PNYX , due west of Acropolis -- check this fine map http://www.orangesmile.com/destinati...ns-map-big.jpg (click to enlarge, use side sliders to move around). On this, PNYX is Spelled PNIKA ... it is the Assembly area; you can stand where Pericles orated! U can go up Lykkabettus if you must, but it takes time, it's pricey -- you can have a wonderful sunset wine-sip picnic at the Pnyx!

• FLEA MARKET - Don't waste your time; onc upon a time it may have been interesting now it's all tourist tat.

• PSIRI TAVERNAS - interested in one where real greeks come to listen to music & just get up & dance?? I copied a tip from another thread; go in evening, The later the better:

"This is that Psiri taverna: Η ΩΡΑΙΑ ΠΕΝΤΕΛΗ, where Aristophanes and Aeschylus Streets come together. (actually Αισχύλου & Αριστοφάνους, or Eschilou and Aristofanous) tinyurl.com/z6sdcuz for Google map.
There were just a few people when we arrived at ~2030, almost full when we left at midnight our second visit. The guitar & bouzouki players have similar mellow-looking faces and voices, could be a generation apart. The first night they played that familiar song that starts off slowly then gets frantic fast; I think for our benefit. (I now think of it as the "Route 66" of Greek music, the one that must be played at every gig.) A group came in and were greeted as old friends, bought the musicians whiskeys. Then a table full of 20ish couples. Sometimes people sang along. Eventually a balding man got up and danced, then later a woman, then with her a woman from another table. Sexy ecstatic middle-aged plump unselfconscious dancing, arms in the air. Then another man solo, then two men and a woman with arms around shoulders. Later the guitarist pointed us out as Americanevas, said everyone else was Greek, then "you are Greek too!" When we finally got up to go, he kissed his hand to us as we left.

Try it ... you'll like it ...
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Aug 1st, 2018, 03:11 PM
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FWIW: Short & Sweet three day Athens trip report

Short & Sweet Athens Trip Report
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Aug 1st, 2018, 08:59 PM
  #5
kja
 
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I must admit that I think your plan inordinately ambitious. Of course, it depends on what you want to see and experience and your travel pace, but I would encourage you to think through your priorities so you can decide, on the fly if necessary, what you might skip.

Like crazyh, I wouldn't plan on a day outside of Athens with the time you have. Again, your call!

My time in Athens starts with post # 181 of this trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece
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Aug 7th, 2018, 11:06 PM
  #6
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Thank you all for your feedback!!

I have taken a look at the plan and revised based on some things you guys said. Keep in mind that we are not big museum people. I understand some museums are must sees, and we will definitely do the Acropolis museum and the Ancient Agora one. However, we love photography, wandering around and seeing outdoors sites, people watching, and trying different foods. We both like history, and will love visiting the ancient sites, but would rather spend the rest of the time wandering through the neighbourhoods, eating and taking pictures than being inside for 2-3 hours. That said, here is what I came up with...any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated.

September 12
  • Acropolis (go for opening at 8am) *Buy 5-day pass for 30 euros*
    • Temple of Athena Nike
    • Odeon of Herodus Atticus
    • Theatre of Dionysus
    • Parthenon
  • Acropolis Museum (additional 5 euros)
  • Pass through Hadrian’s Arch to Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Walk to Anafiotika quarter
  • Stroll through Plaka
    • spend a few hours here
  • Walk to Filopappos Hill and Pnyx for sunset (730pm)
  • Overnight in Athens (Athens Studios)

September 13
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
    • Temple of Hephaistos
    • Stoa of Attalos
    • Roman Agora
    • Hadrian’s Library
  • Walk to Keramikos Cemetery
  • Walk to Monastiraki
    • Wander around Monastiraki and Psiri
      • Monastiraki Market
      • Street art/graffiti
      • Beertime (in Psiri)
        • massive flights of beer
  • Cooking class (starts at 530pm)
  • Overnight in Athens (Athens Studios)

September 14
  • 1st Athens Cemetery
  • Panatheniac Stadium
    • audio tour?
  • Walk through Zappeion Gardens and National Gardens to Syntagma Square
  • Syntagma Square
    • Parliment buildings
    • Tomb of unknown soldier
  • National Library of Greece (photo)
  • Athens Central Market
  • Walk back to hotel through Plaka (visit any part we missed)
  • Cape Sounion/Temple of Poseidon Sunset Tour (starts at 5pm)
  • Overnight in Athens (Athens Studios)
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Aug 7th, 2018, 11:28 PM
  #7
kja
 
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The Odeon of Herodus Atticus wasn't open except for performances when I was there. Maybe things will be different during your visit?

I think Hadrian's Library is to the opposite side of the Ancient Agora than the Kerameikos Cemetery. Unless you have a specific reason for circling around (and you might, if timing is a consideration), be sure you consult a map before you commit to a route.

IME, markets are generally better earlier in a day than later.

Again, I'd encourage you to think through your priorities so you can decide what to skip, if necessary, as you make your way through each of these days.
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Aug 8th, 2018, 09:16 AM
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I know you say you are "not big museum people".... BUT -- the National Archeological Museum??? The place where treasures from all over the mainland and Islands are taken to be displayed?? You cannot understand all these major landmarks until you at least Sample N.A. M. To lessen the "pain" of museum going, look to Rick Steves -- his website gives a FREE AUDIO D-I-Y of N.A. M. -- the "TOP 10 things to see at N.A.M>" -- using this, you could get in and out of N. A. M. in 90 minutes, only slightly damaged by exposure to ancient culture. (PS he also gives free audio DIY of Acropolis, and another of AGORA ... vey important to make sense of the latter, which can look like a bunch of stones otherwise).

You could make time for N.A.M on Day #2 -- after the Agora, catch a €6 taxi up there, and grab lunch at a cafe afterwards. You can fit it into your schedule if you skip Kerameikos (not very meaningful unless you've done a lot of Greek history and it's a loooong way, plus a big part of it is a museum ewwww, full of tombstones ewww). Also, just my opinion but the Monastiraki "Flea Market" is oversold, and has changed drastically in past 15 years --- once it did have some unusual stuff (and still has some household goods like old stoves) but today is mainly super-tacky souvenir trash. Also on day #3, Panathenic Stadium can be appreciated as a walk-by, looking thru its gate, unless you want to walk up its seating & down, even if they'd let you.
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Aug 8th, 2018, 12:10 PM
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It's not very often that I would disagree with travelerjan but I feel Kerameikos is gem of an archeological site and often overlooked by many. Yes, it was the cemetery for ancient Athens but it started out as the pottery center for the city.

It's really not that far out of the way if you are coming from Monistiraki Square or coming from the back side of the Acropolis along the street toward Thissio. It's in a quiet spot which is hard to find in Athens and is filled with all kinds of "ruins", monuments, statues, and was part of the Sacred Way from Piraeus to the Acropolis.

The museum is small but lovely and has translations of inscriptions on tombstones. Even though many of the tombstones go back to ancient times the inscriptions will show you how the loss of a loved one hit home . . . then as it does now. Very touching and beautiful.

As far as the Flea Market at Monastiraki, I agree with Jan . . . most of it is junk. If it was one a great place to find artifacts it's now truly "flea market" filled with stuff people want to get rid of. You may find something worthwhile but it's really not that worth spending much time other than just gawking. That side street off of Monistiraki is mostly contemporary goods, tourists stuff and caters to the younger crowd. In fact most of the side streets off Monistiraki is really tourist-oriented.

As far as the museums . . . some of the best in Europe and a showcase for Ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greece.
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Aug 8th, 2018, 12:40 PM
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crazyhorse I was not dissing Kerameikos, I love it myself, b ut then I've been a Graecophile & classical-studies nerd (not for a living, for an interest) for decades ... and OP already has declared himself not a fan of museums ... and if you had to do an either-or Kerameikos VS N.A.M. -- and miss the Mask of Agamemmnon, the statue of Neptune, the Mosaics from Santorini??? Here's a taste from R Steves TV show, on youtube -
but it's just a taste.. here's the audio guide - http://podcasts.ricksteves.com/walki.../AthensNam.mp3
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Aug 8th, 2018, 02:33 PM
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True . . . if one had to pick between N.A.M. and Kerameikos one would opt for N.A.M. I've been to N.A.M. twice and it is truly magnificent to see all the ancient wonders and you have to be amazed at how advanced, beautiful and artistic the "ancients" were to create such beautiful things. Ancient history it may be but it's still awesome to realize that they were people, just like us and they had needs, desires, wants and love of family that rings true today.

Fortunately I've been to Athens numerous time so have been able to visit just about all the sites the city has to offer. Kerameikos is a wonderful area to visit but yes, N.A.M. would be my first option but Kerameikos offers a site that doesn't get the hype of the Acropolis, museums or other better known areas of the city.

I find it hard to believe so many people want to spend so little time in Athens and feel it's not on par with other European Cities. For me it's old-world, funky, lived-in, full of character and characters and is one of the least expensive major cities to spend time in anywhere.


I
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Aug 8th, 2018, 04:45 PM
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crazyh, me too. in my 12 trips I've stayed in Athens at least 16 times (because at beginning + end sometimes), so N.A.M. is old friend... but not always the same. Last time I went there was a special exhibit only on ancient COINS... entire roomful, grouped by subject of coins... one case on Athena, one on Poseidon etc. Spent an hour on this. And beyond the museum the walk there & back (it was a lazy day) was something in Itself.... maybe that will appeal to OP. Map to illustrate -- http://www.orangesmile.com/destinati...ns-map-big.jpg click to enlarge.

Starting at Mitropoleos cathedral, walked up via Kapnikarea and took the pedestrianized walkway to TOWN HALL square -- and ran into a commercial photo shoot for a luxury car! Fascinating to watch actors get in and out of a car 10 times! he he... heading over that big boulevard EL VENIZELOU lined with huge classical buidlings (nat Librar y, Un of Athen ec), and what did I run into? in a little park, a chamber music group of the Athens Nat Symphony playing Strauss waltzes (!!) While a couple waltzed around, he in a Light Blue Tailcoat. Go figure. On way back, on a fancy stretch of AEOLU there was a glass pyramid in the middle, and a glass box on one side... you look down and -- preserved between an H & M outlet and an upscale sneaker store -- was a stretch of road, carved by ancient CHARIOT WHEELS, over 2,000 years old. Athens is an Open Air Museum.
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Aug 9th, 2018, 06:06 AM
  #13
 
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I have walked to the NAM several times. The first I took too many wrong and/or side streets, even though I had a map. I eventually got there. The second time I had more experience with the city and using the map (properly!) I got to the museum without any wrong turns. Both walks were enjoyable and saw things most people miss who don't seek out-of-the-way areas of the city. It was a lot more of a local than tourist experience.

Lots of interesting places all over the city that don't 't get the tourism as other parts making it nice for a change of pace and you'll find archeological sites in out-of-the-way areas that are often missed. They don't compare to the Acropolis but nevertheless are interesting to see them surrounded by modern Athens. I do understand most people don't have a lot of time other than seeing the most popular areas of the city but if you are a regular visitor to Greece then you'll discover it has a lot to offer beside the mass-touristy areas which really aren't that bad.

I've been to the Vatican, Coliseum, Spanish Steps, various piazzas and other areas of Rome and the tourist crowds there are far worse than anything I've seen in Athens.
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Aug 9th, 2018, 11:08 PM
  #14
 
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Some great ideas -thanks! Just one question - We are staying at the Pythagorian Hotel in mid-Sept and want to get a train from the airport to a spot as close as possible, then get the taxi. What station on the airport line is closest to this hotel? Tried reading two diff maps but impossible to tell what is what and if any symbols are actually on the line from the airport.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 06:30 AM
  #15
 
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I would take the cable car up Lycabettus Hill instead of hiking. You will have beautiful views at the top. This is in Athen’s upscale neighborhood, Kolonaki. Lots of good places there to eat too.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 08:07 AM
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Aussie Guy -- Pythagorian Hotel is not in a very good/attractive neighborhood... probably why you got a price you found attractive. The closest station on the "Blue Line" (metro fromairport) is OMONIA about 3 blocks east of the hotel ... a big circle/square which is not terrific at night (drugs, prostitution). just wallk briskly. Another option is to take X95 express BUS from airport, leaves from curb in front of building, goes almot nonstop to Syntagma square... there u could get taxi to the door of your hotel for €6-8? maybe (don't know latest taxi rates).
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