Ancient Greece

Nov 4th, 2016, 07:28 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2016
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Ancient Greece

I am planning to fly to Athens in early June for 9-10 days. It is my first time in Greece and I very much would like to explore Ancient Greece (I am taking a course on Homeric Poetry!). What main attractions should I see in Athens? (2-3 days). From Athens, I have been recommended to go by bus Nauplion from which I can easily visit Mycenae, Tiryns and Epidauros which has the best preserved theatre on the mainland. I also would like to visit Delphi. I was also recommended to visit Aegina island. Any other island?

I would like to hear the recommendations of those who have been in these places. I am travelling alone. I am not young but I am not old. I do not walk with three legs.

Many many thanks!!! Cecilia
ceciliataiana is offline  
Nov 4th, 2016, 09:22 AM
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Sounds like you have a pretty decent plan already. There are several ancient sites around the Acropolis and two or three days should give you ample opportunity to find and explore them all. Of course there is the Acropolis museum and the National Archeological Museums as well.

I would be tempted to do Delphi next. While it can be done in a day it is a three hour bus ride each way so you will have crowds and not a whole lot of time for the museum and the site. I would suggest you time your arrival for late afternoon or early evening. Find a hotel and visit the museum. Enjoy the marvelous view down the mountain to the Gulf of Corinth. Next morning get to the site at opening. You will have it virtually to yourself probably about three hours before the first tour buses arrive.
When you are finished take the bus back to Athens then transfer to Nafplio. There are buses virtually every hour for most of the day.
Olympia Delphi Meteora

Nafplio is a great place for day trips to he nearby ancient sites. Since you do not have time to get to Olympia you could plan to visit Ancient Nemia which also held Panhellenic games and of course Ancient Corinth. Both sites are small and easy to visit in an hour.
It may be a good idea to rent a car in Nafplio which will allow you to visit all these sites at your own pace. Bus transport is available but that's a lot harder to orchestrate your visits.
Nafplio and Peloponnese
stanbr is offline  
Nov 4th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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If you have the time, budget and inclination I strongly suggest you include Ancient Troy (Truva) and Ephesus (Efes) in Turkey to flesh out your Homeric Odyssey.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2016, 06:51 PM
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Oh, I'd love to do that again. Yes, rent a car in, or to get to, the Peloponnese. The roads are very good and well-marked.

Take a day to visit Mycenae, and maybe Tyrins. I'd drive up in the morning while it's cooler. The walk to the summit at Mycenae is not that taxing, but there are spots near the Lion Gates where slippery marble underfoot demands good traction soles. Make that there is much slippery marble underfoot in Greece, period. Maybe there'll be fresh squeezed orange juice at the refreshment stand in the parking lot. If so, drink and extra one for me.
The feeling that Agamemnon might have stood in that spot adds to the mystic glamor of the view.

You could spend a morning in Epidauros (are there performances during that time?) and then if you felt like it drive to Ermione and catch a ferry to Hydra/Idra for an taste of an island. No autos on that one.

Don't forget to sit at one of Nafplio's waterside cafes and gaze at the wine dark sea.

For sure visit the Archeological Museum in Naflio's Syntagma Square, for Mycenean art and artifacts. Including a suit of armor as worn in Homeric times.

The Athens National Archeological Museum, also not to be missed, does not take credit or debit cards, so bring cash for entrance fee.

My daughter and I had a wonderful visit this spring. Maybe you can skim my trip report for tips. I'd so much love to go back.
stokebailey is offline  
Nov 6th, 2016, 07:43 AM
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The ancient agora in Athens is a wonderful site to wander through.

I really enjoyed the ferry ride to Aegina on a sunny day and taking a taxi to the ancient temple there.

When I saw your topic title I thought about time travel to ancient Greece. I would be happy just to travel back in time ten years when I visited Greece. I saw many of the sites you are planning to see and I'd go back in a minute.

Have a great trip.
Nikki is offline  
Nov 6th, 2016, 02:36 PM
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2 full days for Athens will be enough. For the main attractions - the Acropolis, the theatres, the Agora, the National Museum - even one day would be enough. For a second museum and a bit of the Old Town (which is not really old) a second day would be enough.

Then I would leave Athens. Cape Sounion is magical and an easy daytrip from Athens, can be combined with breathtaking beaches.

Delphi is definitly the most magical place in Greece, full of mythology, in a beautifully scenic setting and with some stunning archeology. On the way to Delphi, there is Hosios Loukas, on the the most fascinating Byzantine monasteries from the 10th century (UNESCO World Heritage). An overnight stay near Delphi gives you the opportunity to see Mount Parnossos and the Corycian Cave.

From Delphi, it is an easy drive to the Peloponnese. There is Olympia, Messene (one of my favourite archeological sites, with a 9 km long city wall and the very best stadium at all), Mycenae, Epidaurus and Corinth. Also, there are several mediaval castles like Methoni and Acrocorinth and the Byzantine monasteries of Mystras. And more.

The Americans love Nafplio because it is not a Greek but an Italian city, but you cannot argue about taste...
traveller1959 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2016, 04:11 PM
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This American loves Athens, too. Don't shortchange it.
stokebailey is offline  
Nov 6th, 2016, 06:40 PM
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traveller1959 --
I don't love Nafplio BECAUSE it is an italian city but despite it's being. In actual fact, what I love most is its siting, its geography, and the Greeks discovered that in the era of the Iliad, or earlier.
travelerjan is offline  
Nov 6th, 2016, 11:22 PM
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My very personal opinion: Most people read some basics or nothing at all, then have a quick look and many photos on an archeological site, then rush to next site, repeat, rush to next site. Nothing wrong with that of course, but if you do a course on Homeric Poetry, you may want to take it more easy, exploring each site more indepth, even visit more than one time? There are many aspects and layers to explore and soak in on each site anyway... Or maybe you could focus mostly on sites related on Homer's era rather than in general on "Greek antiquity"? Up to you. I would try to research and make this trip somehow more personal rather than a trip of seeing the "must-dos".
mariha2912 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2016, 07:53 AM
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I'm with Mariha ... reading, homework, background, it all adds so much to the resonance of any Greek site that has a history. Just as examples, in the Argolid area...

• NAFPLIO Old Town is at the end of a large cliff peninsula... and at the very peak, there's a park at the point, where you can look down at the sea all around. Awe-inspiring. The ancient Greeks knew that too... and built a stone wall up there, and if you look very carefully, you'll SEE, below your feet, the very stones fitted together more than 2300 years ago (!). Then go down to the marble town square and nto the small & superb museum -- and you'll see the ONLY Iliad-era suit of armor ever discovered. Woo.

• On the bus route to the popular local beach, Tolo, get off at a crossroad & walk 300 yards down a lane to a tiny rocky cove called Kastraki/Asine. Overlooking the cove is another ancient wall, remains of the fortress of ASINE -- where a small sculptured head was found, known as The King of Asine. Homer mentions Asine as a city that sent boats and warriors to Troy. Two years ago, swimming in the cove, below me I saw huge square rocks, not random boulders, but stones fitted in a line. A pier for those boats?? It gives me shivers.

• At nearby NEMEA, ancient runner-up to Olympia as Sacred Games site (but almost no tourists), you can walk in the actual tunnel where athletes emerged into the stadium, and stand on the starting blocks of the racers of 2300 years ago. Every 4 years NOW, thousands come from all over the world to re-enact ancient games and feel the thrill.
travelerjan is offline  
Nov 10th, 2016, 01:45 PM
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We spent three full days in Athens last summer and I wish we could have stayed longer. I am one of the people on this site that could easily spend a week or more in Athens. I also am interested in Ancient sites and I did extensive research, including many threads on this site before our visit. But my main information came from the very informative “Professor Hale”, from the Great Courses. He has a great course on touring the ancient sites of Greece and Turkey. Here is how we spent our three days... hope it helps you:

Day 1: We arrived at the Acropolis first thing in the morning when it opened. After we entered the site we hired one of the local guides. Then after our tour we climbed Areopagus Hill (Mars Hill), which is right next to the Acropolis. We then toured the New Acropolis Museum, which was wonderful. After lunch and a short break for jet lag, we took a taxi to the National Archeology Museum. This museum was absolutely unforgettable! I will be going back someday. After the museum we took a taxi to Syntagma Square and ended the day with a walk down Ermou Street through the Plaka and had dinner.

Day 2: We went on a self guided walking tour which started at the Monument of Lysicates, then walked through Haidian's Arch and toured the Temple of Zeus, which is right down the street. After, we visited the north and east slope of the Acropolis which includes the Theatre of Dionysus and Odeon of Herodes Atticus. We then walked around the Acropolis and toured the Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds. I was told that the Tower of the Winds had just re-opened for the first time in 200 years! Side note: We bought the total pass at the Acropolis, this pass included entrance to the Temple of Zeus, the North & East Slope of the Acropolis, the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds. We then had lunch at one of those great restaurants on the side of the Acropolis hill. After lunch we took a cab to Mount Lycabettus, I had no idea how big Athens was and the view from the top was unforgettable! So glad we did this…. We then took a taxi back to Syntagma Square and after a short walk toured the Benaki Museum. Then we walked to the Monastriaki area for dinner.

Day 3: Our first stop was the Prison of Socrates, and then we walked up Filopappou Hill. The view of the Acropolis from the top of Filopappou hill is unsurpassed! We were the only people up there and it was totally worth it. Next, we walked to the Pnyx, the birthplace of democracy! Again we were the ONLY people there. We then visited Hardian's Library, and had another long lunch. After a break at our hotel we went on a bus tour to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon.

There were so many other sites, museums and areas we missed, which is great because I can't wait to go back. Wonderful city, wonderful people, wonderful food and some the top ancient sites in the world.

We spent two and a half weeks in Greece and I loved every single minute!

Hope this helped!
Steve255 is offline  

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