Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

getting a local private tour guides in Athens


getting a local private tour guides in Athens

Old Jun 30th, 2010, 03:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
getting a local private tour guides in Athens

My question is: if we just show up at Acropolis in Athens, Greece, are we likely to get a guide who is there to solicit business? We have traveled extensively in Europe, and I had good experience just picking up a guide in situ, and I was wondering if that will be the case in Acropolis also.

Some background info:

We are taking a Mediterranean cruise this fall. Some of the ports we will be visiting are Valletta, Malta, Palermo, Italy, and Athens and Rhodes, Greece. We are experienced cruise travelers, and we avoid shore excursions organized by the cruise company since they are GROSSLY overpriced.

I always arrange shore excursions myself in advance with the local agencies at a fraction of the cost of the cruise company's offers. This time, I looked at Athens private guides options, and find them to be VERY EXPENSIVE - like, ~$40 per person for a 3 hour walking tour in Acropolis for an organized GROUP tour (not even a small private guided tour) that does not include any entrance fees, transportation and such. Given that Greece is supposed to be one of the more affordable countries in Europe, this seems excessive. I have the feeling that it's because the company that is playing the role of a middlemen is imposing a huge mark up.

Any further input on Rhodes, Valletta, and Palermo would also be greatly appreciated.
tour_mania is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2010, 01:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We paid almost £45 for a five hours tour in Athens by coach. We visited the Acropolis, the Panathenaic Stadium where the Olympic Games took Place in 1896, the Parliament, the central Square called Syntagma, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and some other monuments as well as the new Acropolis museum. All entrance fees and guidance were included in the price. Actually I do not know if it was an expensive tour or not but we were really satisfied by the service we were offered and we enjoyed this tour to Ancient Greece. I found it on this website http://www.athens-greece.us/tours/at...eeing-tour.asp where you can also find some tips on Athens sightseeing. I cannot recall if there were any guides that you could pick up in Acropolis or at the museum. In my opibio, you’d better joined a guided tour that would show you various ancient sites further to the Acropolis and Parthenon ones.
sorayaarlv is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2010, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2 years ago a friend and I arrived at the Acropolis on a Sunday morning in May when the admission was free. A middle aged lady asked if we'd like a tour... she already had an American couple at her side ready to go.

I know a fair bit about the Parthenon and Greek history and had been there before, although it was about 30 years before.... on the other hand,
my friend knew shockingly little about Greece at all and had done no preparation beforehand so I said, sure, why not.

I figured it would allow me to enjoy myself and not have to be explaining everything to my friend.

It was well worth the 20 euros. Maria turned out to be a charming, witty and knowledgeable guide. I found out things I'd never have know about... like they how they scraped 200 pounds of chewing gum from the Acropolis stones in preparation for the Olympics! ;^)

I've never paid for a guide before or since but that time it worked out just great. YMMV

ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2010, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re your grossly overpriced cruise extras... relatives were thinking of a Greek cruise this summer... transportation to and from Syntagma from the ship... 50 euros each! They didn't think anything of it until I told them the metro would
cost them 2 euros! LOL
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Unfortunately tours have become extremely overpriced. We did a full day private tour in Athens not too long ago...let's just thank God I wasn't the one paying for it, but it was nice cause we had our own car, driver, and tour guide.
worldtravel1984 is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,928
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tour-mania --- unfortunately, you cannot count on just picking up a guide at the gate. It might happen... "ParisAmsterdam" got lucky, but you can't count on that. And if you only have one day, you don't want to take that chance. It's more llikely to happen in Crete at the Palace of Knossos... sometimes at Delphi ... but I seldom see licensed guides trolling for customers at the entry gate to the Acropolis. You think the prices of the organized group, reflect huge profits but They are not doing a huge mark-up... Guides are simply not cheap in Greece.

Here's the thing: Guide services are Highly Regulated. A lot of taxis advertise on the internet as a "taxi tour" but it is a misnomer -- taxi drivers are just drivers, they are NOT licensed Guides, and are not even allowed to ENTER the ancient sites OR the museums with the people they drive around. This is strictly enforced.

The Licensed Guides have to go through rigorous several years of training in Greek history, archeology and art and pass very rigorous tests ... as a result, their fees are not low. AND they seem to be very disorganized about marketing their services efficiently . There is a web link to Licensed Guides of Athens, but I have heard that people e-mail them in vain and do not get timely responses. http://wftga.org/page.asp?id=9#Greece --- scroll down to Greece & you will get the Union of Guides for Athens, Corfu, Rhodes, N.e. Aegean, etc. It give the e-mail [email protected]. HOwever If you click on their website -- http://www.tourist-guides.gr/ -- you will find it is only in Greek, German and French. I guess they don't really care to get business from English-speaking tourists!

Tour-mania, the best suggestion I have, is to contact INDIVIDUAL "free Lance"licensed guides from this list I found: it's also only in Greek, GERman or French. Go Figure. http://www.tourist-guides.gr/fr/cont...desguides.aspx
Almost all the guides on the list are in Athens, and they list the languages they guide in.; you could contact the ones that show e-mails, and ask what their price would be for a half-day; give specifics (i.e., meet us at the Acropolis for 90 minutes up there, then 30 minutes in Ancient Agora, then 2 hours in Acropolis museum). Then comparison-shop for prices. OR you could go bold and say "There are 4 of us, and we're prepared to pay xxx for the following services" ... and see what happens.
travelerjan is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Oct 4th, 2019 06:49 AM
Apr 18th, 2018 10:18 AM
May 21st, 2014 05:40 AM
May 28th, 2008 08:28 AM
Mar 24th, 2006 10:48 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information