Athens was not on our list of places to go but our cruise stopped there. I am going to be honest; Athens was not a pleasant city. It was dirty, most of the buildings were ugly, the people there were not incredibly welcoming and to top it all off, we couldn’t even find baklava in the market. What kind of decent Greek market doesn’t have gyros or baklava? But in all seriousness, the only thing for us that redeemed the city was the Acropolis.
We decided to jump on a hop-on hop-off tour bus for the city. It picked us up right outside the cruise port and took us to 27 stops between two different routes. We rode the whole thing and it took us about two hours and forty minutes. We bought the tickets ahead of time through City Site Seeing for 20€ per person. When we arrived, we learned that there are a few smaller companies that are a lot cheaper, oops. Anyways, they advertise that the buses stop every 15 minutes; however, on a few stops it took between 30-40 minutes for the bus to come around. Just something to keep in mind as not to miss the ship or planes, etc. We enjoyed stopping at the original Olympic Stadium and a large Greek market on our tour.
After riding around the city we went to the Acropolis and spent around one hour there. The Acropolis was stunning even though the Parthenon was covered in scaffold and construction equipment. The view from atop the hill was incredible!
If Greek Mythology and history is your thing then maybe two-three days in Athens should be plenty of time. If it isn’t your thing, one day may even be a little long to stay in the city. The five hours we spent were plenty for us, we were ready to go by the time we left the Acropolis.
If we ever have another cruise that ports in Athens, we will probably skip the city and head up to Corinth. I hate saying that about a city, but it was probably our least favorite city we visited in our time in Europe overall :/…
They do have the world’s largest domed planetarium, which sounded pretty neat and if we had more time I would have liked to visit the Acropolis museum also, but I don’t think those places would be worth staying an extra day there for.
-You can get a hop off hop on bus tour in Athens for about 10€ – so don’t spend more than that!
-Definitely see the Acropolis, it is 12€ per person to get it, but it’s virtually the only thing we liked about the city
-We spent a bit of time in the largest market in Athens and got some amazing olives and fruit for super cheap – that was also very cool to check out. They had a meat, fish, bread, fruit, and vegetable section that were all cool to walk through.
-Taking a day trip to Corinth is an alternative option to spending a day in Athens you may not enjoy