day tours in Athens

Mar 4th, 2010, 09:54 PM
  #1  
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day tours in Athens

DH and I will be in Athens for 2 days after a short cruise from Istanbul via some of the Greek islands. We would like to do a full day/half day tours of the most important parts of Athens,and perhaps a close by area if time permits.
I've read some quite bad reviews of such tours elsewhere (couldn't find any references here), so I'd really appreciate any personal recommendations.
We have done such day tours before in big cities and found them very useful and interesting. I have mobility problems so walking around for miles is not an option for me.
aless_oz is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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Hi aless_oz

Chat Tours in Athens is a long established company that may be able to offer what you are looking for. Specifically, they have two half-day tours called 'Athens Sightseeing Tour' and 'Sounion'. Find the details at their website:

http://www.chatours.gr/

Over the years I've used them a few times and never once had a problem. Air-conditioned coaches, knowledgeable guides and each tour was done at a pace suitable for me i.e. not rushed!

Bill
billbarr is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Bill - what's your opinion on the Athens Walking Tours? The prices are quite high compared with walking tours in other cities (E34) and they are given in 3 languages. I was on a walking tour in Venice that was in 2 languages and I felt we did not cover enough because the guide had to repeat the same talk twice.
http://www.athenswalkingtours.gr/
adrienne is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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Thanks so much Bill.That's just what I wanted. Have sent them a query re timing of excursions.
aless_oz is offline  
Mar 6th, 2010, 01:12 PM
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hi adrienne

I know of the company but never used them. On Trip Advisor they do have a good number of 5 star reviews but there’s also a few that scored them very low. I also see that you have to pay for visits to most, if not all of the places you’ll be taken to in addition to the 34e ‘tour cost’.

Walking tours are fine for many people but I’ve avoided them. My main reasons for that are I usually have plenty of time, the historical centre of Athens is very walkable and the metro very efficient.

I suggest buying a good ‘historical’ guide book such as the Blue Guide and follow the walks they suggest. Those really are superb. You could then go at your own pace and judge how long you spend at some of the amazing places you’re going to find.

aless_oz I am sure you'll enjoy your tour(s) with CHAT. If they can't accommodate you at the time you'll be visiting there is another company, G.O. Tours, that offer similar. Find them at:

http://gotours.com.gr/

Bill
billbarr is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 05:44 PM
  #6  
 
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When we began researching our trip to Greece our kids said, can we take the same types of tours that we did in Italy.

In Italy we were fortunate to take three walking tours with a company called Context Tours. They offer private tours (up to 6 people). They are expensive, but are worth it!!

I contacted Context to see if they would recommend a tour company in Athens which offered a similar style of tours to theirs. To my surprise, they said that they would begin offering tours in Athens in March. We immediately signed up for their Archaeology walk for our trip in July.

While I have not yet expierenced the Athens walking tours I have to say the Context Tours in Italy were the best tours we had ever taken. The walks were well organized, the guides were extremely knowledgeable, personable, and engaging. They took the time to answer our questions and explained the details of each exhibit, building, painting and associated historial events; key details which escape the typical tour groups.

Yes, these tours were expensive but when you hear my kids talk about our trip to Italy and specially these tours you realize they were worth every penny.

No, I do not work for Context. If you want to hear from others, I would suggest you go to the Italy forum to see what others are saying about Context.
basch0902 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 07:58 PM
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Would you be able to share the contact info for context tours? I wouldn't mind setting something up like that on our trip too!
dana1984 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 06:34 AM
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If you want to avoid big busses and crowds and want a flexible and easier way to tour the city, I would recommend you check with Nikos Loukas of privategreecetours.com. Our family of six booked him last year for a private tour of Athens and he was great. He tailored the tour to our wishes and took us very close to the entrance of the sites we visited, which was very helpful as one member of our family had mobility problems too.
We found this to be the easiest and most relaxed way to explore Athens.
Richard_Shapiro is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Richard, I think the difference between your Nikos L and the Context people is that --Nikos is basically a taxi driver. He is not a licensed Guide and is actually not permitted to accompany you onto the sites to give a guide-talk. I believe Context Tours provides a licensed guide to talk/lecture as one visits an ancient site or a museum. It is consequently quite a bit more expensive (several hundred Euros for a private group of 5-6 people for 3 hours) ... however, it is a different service. Like comparing apples and oranges. Each is worthwhile in its own way but should not be confused.
travelerjan is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 04:49 PM
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One more thing...

If you go to the Context Site you will not find the Athens walks listed yet. Just send them an email and they will provide the information.
basch0902 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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so..what would you suggest be a must see for a half day tour both in Athens and outside of Athens?
anabelle is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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Anabelle, are you saying that you have a half day TOTAL in Athens AND outside Athens?

You are talking half-day (4-5 hours?) Period that's it ... starting at, say, Syntagma Square?

(1) walk to New Acropolis Museum -- if you have no background in Classical Greece and the Parthenon/Acropolis, this will prepare you (very good signage), and awe you... and as you walk around this wonder, you will continually be looking at the Acropolis, through the glass walls. To locate, it's #67 on this simplified Central Athens Map. http://www.cretetravel.com/Athens/At...Athens_map.htm

(2) When you exit, walk 200 yards along the no-cars promenade, to an entry to the Acropolis. Go up, past the ancient theatres, to the Acropolis and Parthenon itself. Take your time. Look over the parapet at the city ... and out to the port ... imagine the Long Walls from Here to there, enabling the Athenians to reach their triremes. (A month ago, renovating the Metro, they uncovered big sections of that 2,500 year old wall ).

(3) At the exit from the top of the Acropolis, take a look at a huge shiny Rock -- the Aereopagus -- where the High Court of Appeals tried important criminal cases in Classical Athens. If there is a lawyer among you (with rubber-soled shoes), make him go up top.

(4) Descend Acropolis on the other side from the way you came up , through Anafiotika ... a tiny settlement of 60+ white-washed (Like Mykonos!) houses built right on the side of the Acropolis, by homesick islanders imported to build Athenian buildings 150 years ago.

(5) Stop in a shady sidewalk cafe. Order a Frappe, made with ice-cream. Talk about what you have just seen. Then take a taxi ... to the port, the airport, wherever you're headed.
travelerjan is offline  
Mar 15th, 2010, 04:27 PM
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As first time travellers to Greece in October 2009 we hired a private driver, through George the Best Taxi Driver in Greece. We actually toured with his son, Dionisis and the experience was awesome and we booked him for a extra day. If you have mobility problems this is the route I would recommend. His email is [email protected]. They will explain up front that they are not tour guides, but they are still very knowledgable and passionate about their country. If you feel you need a guide on the sites they can arrange that. They speak very good English, the vehicle was very clean and non-smoking. We were a group of 5 and had a Van one day and a limo the next, very comfortable, beat the tour buses we were on for other site seeing.
LeeAnne is offline  
Mar 15th, 2010, 06:36 PM
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Sorry I didn't respond sooner. We have 2 full days in Athens, we arrive at 6 pm. so I would guess we might stroll around and get some sleep that night. After which the 2 full days come in.
anabelle is offline  

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