How much time to spend in Athens

Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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How much time to spend in Athens

Going to Greece on August 28th for 10 days. Plan is to go to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.
Everyone we seem to speak to claims that there is nothing to do in Athens and that we should spend spend less time in Athens and more time on islands.
Any advise? whats worth seeing in Athens?
MyMaleEgo is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:40 AM
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Well, it depends. How important is visiting ruins and museums to you? The more you hunger for heavy cultural sights, the more time you might want in Athens. For most people, though, two days in enough to see Athens. In any event, you'll need at least six days for the islands. IMHO any island is worth at least three nights, keeping in mind you'll lose a portion of the first day to the ferry trip.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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Two days, max. There's the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus and maybe a couple of museums. Athens is a very dull city to look at. Even that guy from Seattle with the glasses and moppy hair who writes those Europe books about back doors doesn't hype Athens, and he likes everything.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Count us in the group that thinks Athens is greatly underrated. We loved it. We were there last fall and spend total of 6 days in Athens and still didn't see/do everything we wanted to. If you're going to 2 islands, I would probably spend more total time on them than Athens.

Besides the usual and obvious historical sights which are mentioned in guidebooks, I'd definitely put the National Archeological Museum and Benaki Museums on a "must do" list. Both are very well done and organized and fascinating. The National Gardens are a wonderful respite from the concrete. Central Market on Athinas St (closed on Sun) is worthwhile as is the Flea Market near Monastriraki Metro station on Sun mornings. Also enjoy the funicular up to Mt. Lycabettus. Strolling through neighborhoods like Plaka and Monastriraki is enjoyable with some good restaurants, shops and people watching (yes, some of it touristy). And don't pass on the neighborhood bakeries on almost every corner - excellent.

[I wrote a detailed trip report which you should be able to find if you click on my name.]

I would not spend less than 3 days.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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If you are the kind of tourist who has no interest in seeing other countries and their capitals, or experiencing their contemporary culture, this most famous sights of antiquity in Athens can probably be seen in a day if it's not too hot, and a day and a half if you also want to visit the museums where much of the booty from the sights is housed.

If you would like to understand something about Greece and don't only go to Europe to see pre-17th century places,, it is a lot of fun to be in Athens if you know where to go enjoy the unique life of the town. I quite enjoy the upscale Kolonaki district sof Athens, with its abundance of trendy, louche, sybaratic, downright incredible cafes, open to the street. I can waste days and nights there sipping iced coffee and stronger. Likewise, its museums are first rate, and its tiny Byzantine churches a fascination. I'm hoping to go back soon to see the new Acropolis museum.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 12:25 PM
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A couple of years ago we spent 4 full days in Athens, plus a couple of half days where we were in transit in and out. It was horribly (and we were told unusually) hot for early June, and at first I wasn't thrilled with the pollution, traffic and congestion.

I thought that we would have more than enough time to see and do what we wanted to, but by the 4th day I was loving Athens and realized that I would have to make a trip back.

As mentioned, there are all of the historical sites and museums to take in, plus the pleasures of just wandering around different areas/neighborhoods.
chepar is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2009, 05:10 AM
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We all have our preferences, of course, but we really disagree with Rick Steves on this one.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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10 days isn't a lot of time.
I'm in the camp who believes Athens has a lot to offer, and deserves a few days.
I'd skip Mykonos, and divide my time among Athens, Nafplio (not mentioned), and Santorini.
On such a short trip, a jet (Aegean Air) to distant Santorini is preferable.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 11:04 PM
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There is lots to see and do in the Plaka area of Athens, Two days is a minimum just to skim the surface.
Here are some pictures of the Plaka area. You will be hard pressed to visit all of these areas and really see them all fullly in two days. There are wonderful museums not included in these pictures so you need to decide how long is right for you.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 02:02 AM
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There is lots to do in Athens, but you have to decide how much time is right for you & how much you want to see. I have been 6 times in the last 11 months & not done it all!
Once you have decided how much time to spend where, make Athens LAST on your itinerary. It's much easier to get a flight straight to your 1st island (most are about 30 mins), where you can get straight into relaxing & saving Athens until last means you only have a short journey to the airport for homeward flights. You don't have the worry of possible delayed/cancelled flights or ferries from the islands!
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