Athens- How many days?

Jul 25th, 2003, 06:14 AM
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Athens- How many days?


Many people have voiced their opinion as to the fact that Athens doesn't warrant more than a one day stop-over on the way to the Greek islands. Why is that? Does anyone disagree? If so, please share your reasons with me so as to get a better idea for myself while planning my stay in Greece.

Thanks so much.

newyorkais is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 06:40 AM
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Hi Ross,

I think Athens is definitely worth more than a couple of days. Many people think of a Greek vacation as a trip to the islands, but the mainland, and Athens, have much to offer. The Archeological Museum alone is impressive to see. The Plaka is worthy of a couple of visits, one by day and another by night. Obviously you will want to climb the Acropolis. And take the funicular to the top of Mount L. (I won't spell this one right!) for a fabulous view and perspective of just how HUGE Athens is.

I would also encourage you to take a trip to Delphi and Meteora. There are worthwhile overnight tours to both places. We did a two night tour and really enjoyed it. I've been reading things about Thessolonika which make me want to go back and see that area.

Be sure to visit for some fantastic assistance in your planning.
Grasshopper is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 07:12 AM
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My two cents (and worth every penny): I am well-educated, well-traveled and I enjoy museums and history. Having said that, I must say that during my three or four-day visit to Athens a few years ago I was bored silly...and I am rarely bored. Interestingly, a couple of days prior to my departure some casual acquaintances, without prompting, told me that I'd be bored by Athens. Knowing a tad about Greek history I pooh-poohed these warnings, but they may have nevertheless influenced my perceptions.

The Plaka is cool and the Acropolis, Parthenon and related musems are wonderful, but two days would have been ample.

I will be interested to read of your reactions upon your return.


You're welcome.
Pilchard is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 07:40 AM
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I'm not big on trying to convince others (particularly those whose tastes are unknown) of much of anything, but I really liked Athens. For me, the amount of time to spend there would depend largely upon the length of your whole trip, if you planned to go to Greece again, and what your interests are for the trip.

For me, I loved just walking around in the different areas. Just one day was hiking up to the Acropolis, walking down to the Agora and into the Monastiraki markets, and nosing around in the Plaka neighborhood. Another day, I walked through the National Gardens, went up (by foot - not necessarily a recommendation) to the top of Mount Likavitos, then down into the Kolonaki area, visited the outstanding Benaki Museum, and ate dinner outdoors with a view of the Acropolis.

As many will write, the National Archaeological Museum is amazing. But, I also enjoyed some of the smaller museums (in addition to the Benaki) like the Folk Art Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the small Greek Children's Museum (one of the women who run the Children's Museum walked me through for an hour and told me about all of the fascinating programs that promote art throughout Greek schools - very interesting).

Another American I ran into visiting Athens with her husband said that they "hated the place". She complained of the buildings falling down, the scaffolding (I was there last fall when pre-Olympic work was in high gear), the crowds of people, etc. But, if what an Athenian told me is correct, one reason a large number of buildings appear to be in disrepair is that the owners do let them fall down ... because the city's laws are so strict and difficult to navigate when trying to renovate buildings, some people just choose to let them fall down and rebuild. And, Athens is crowded - I believe something like 40% of the country's population lives there, and the growth was so rapid that the infrastructure is still trying to catch up.

No city is perfect, but I absolutely didn't regret one moment of the 5 nights/4 full days (with a half-day trip to Sounion) spent in Athens - I saw so many fascinating things and met a lot of very interesting people that it was well worth the time for me. However, having said that, I had nearly 4 weeks before moving on to Turkey. Would I have taken more time away from Nafplion, Corinth, the islands, and other sights? Probably not.

Sorry to ramble on but wanted to try to answer your original post. I actually have lots more info on what I did in Athens ... can't imagine too much more would be of interest to most people here, but you're welcome to drop me an email if you want more feedback.

Wherever you decide to visit, I hope that you have a wonderful trip!
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 07:50 AM
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Thanks for all of the posts so far. I will be travelling non-stop to Athens from New York. We will be spending 10 days in Mykynos and Santorini before heading to Amsterdam for another 3 days. I just don't want to allot an extra day to Athens when it could be spent on a beautiful Greek island. We are considering either 1 or 2 days in Athens.


newyorkais is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 08:24 AM
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I concur with what Chicago Heather and Grasshopper wrote; I think you'd be missing a lot to spend only one day in Athens, especially since you will presumably be tired after the all night trip from NYC. I really liked Athens!
grandmere is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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The National Archaeological Museum is closed until April 2004 for renovations in preparation for the Olympics. Because of all the construction around Athens, there is a lot of traffic congestion, noise and dust throughout the city. That being said, there's still a lot to do in Athens. You could easily occupy yourself for several days without a problem.
Jul 25th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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Somewhere on the outskirts of Athens they have a wine festival. You may want to consider it as an evening day trip. Lots of Greek dancing, partying, food, wine, and great fun. We did it about 20 years ago.

I think 2-3 days in Athens would be worthwhile.
Budman is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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I agree that 2 full days are a good idea - but then off to the islands!

And, just for your information, by trip also included going north to climb Mt. Olympus and go to a wedding in Thessaloniki (which was wonderful).
kaudrey is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 10:26 AM
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I loved Athens, Meteora, Delphi and other mainland sites. I was luke warm on Santorini. I spent 5 days on the mainland and 5 days on Santorini. If I went again, I would do 7 on the mainland and 3 on Santorini. Greece is a fascinating country - and the mainland is lovely and culturally and historically fascinating.
julie_Colorado is offline  
Aug 1st, 2003, 02:39 PM
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Only slightly. I had 2 1/2 days there last fall, which was enough to hit the National Museum (closed until early 2004, I think, for renovations), the Acropolis, the Plaka, and some other neighborhoods.

Why? I really only cared about the Museum and the Acropolis.

If you do go, I highly recommend the Athens Cypria hotel (I think that's what it's called), which was listed in a NYT article last summer. Great location (near Syntagma Square), good price (under $100 per night, I think), and the staff were very helpful. If you decide to stay there, request a room on the top floor (balcony w/view of Acropolis).
kristina1 is offline  
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