— One Day in Athens —

Athens, Greece, was a port of call on our 12-day Mediterranean Cruise. Here is what we did with (unfortunately) just one day in Athens.

Acropolis Athens

I must say, I was a little nervous about this port for many reasons: 1) it was our first port on our cruise in a foreign country 2) recent political/economical unrest 3) pick-pocketers 4) taking the metro and 5) the heat, but it turned out to be the most wonderful day!

Acropolis Athens

We were planning to share a cab with Jenn and Nish from the port to the metro station. There were tons of cabs right outside the cruise terminal trying to sell us on all-day tours. We decided we’d be willing to skip the metro and go straight to Acropolis for €20, when we came across a driver who said he would do that. He started to tell us for €10 more per person he’d take us all over Athens and get us back to the ship on time. At first, we almost passed on his offer, but then decided it wasn’t such a bad deal and in fact, it turned out to be an incredible deal!

Acropolis Athens

For €20 per person (including the €5 back to the port) from 7 AM to 2:30 PM, we had a personal tour guide in Athens who took us to places we wouldn’t have seen if we tried to navigate the city on our own.

Greek Flag

Of course, our first stop was the Acropolis.We beat the crowds for sure! They started showing up in hordes as we were making our descent.

Parthenon One Day in Athens

We entered the Acropolis through Propylaea, where after a few minutes what appeared to be teen/young adults in military training came down the stairs with guns and all.
Fascinating, but a little scary.

Acropolis Athens

We also saw the Theatre of Herodes, the Parthenon, and Erecthum (with the ‘Porch of the Maidens’; pictured below).

Porch of the Maidens Acropolis Athens

Mike, our taxi driver, came back an hour and a half after dropping us off, just as he said he would, and took us to Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus.

Temple of Zeus

He stopped on the way and picked us up some Fanta and beers – no charge!
This guy was awesome!

Fanta and Mythos

Next, he took us to Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) just in time for the changing of the guard.

Syntagma Square changing of the guard

Those guys wear unique outfits with poofs on their shoes and they march in a very interesting fashion (think Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks).

Syntagma Square changing of the guard

Next, Mike drove us up to Mount Lycabettus, which provided us with incredible panoramic views of Athens.

Toccara Forget Someday Travel Blog Athens

Then it was off to Panathenaiko Stadium (the only stadium in the world built completely from marble).

Panathenaiko Stadium Athens

Finally, it was time for lunch! Mike dropped us off near the Plaka and Monastiraki Square.

Monastiraki Square Athens

We grabbed a traditional Greek lunch, consisting of feta and pita bread, kebabs and other local cuisine.

Feta and pita

Of course we had to try some ouzo (a potent licorice flavored liqueur). We drank it straight and it was strong! Mike informed us later that we were supposed to mix it with ice and water; we just told him we were trying to be hard-core!

Athens Plaka

After lunch, we wandered through the Athens Flea Market and Plaka. We bought a beautifully painted ceramic bowl as our souvenir from Athens, along with our traditional magnet.

One Day in Athens

By this time, we had seen everything we wanted to see in Athens. Our experience with Mike was nothing but pleasant and we couldn’t believe the deal we got with him! Shame on us for being skeptical and thinking he was out to take advantage of us. He genuinely wanted to show us around the city and give us a little culture. (One funny thing I must mention: Although we trusted Mike and believed he was a genuinely nice guy, we had one scary moment where he stopped the car, turned off the engine and used the key to open the glove box., and I thought “oh god, this is it… Mr. Nice Guy is no more, he’s going to pull out a gun and demand all of our money”, but no… he was just reaching into the glove box for connector cable because he wanted to play us a video of his band on his phone and play the music through the speakers of the car; he’s the drummer in a band! We all breathed a sigh of relief and rocked out to his music all the way back to our ship.)

Chocolate candies

Our last stop before the cruise terminal was the most amazing sweet shop ever!

Baklava

We loaded up on baklava (honey soaked pastries) and watched and drooled as the workers made pastries right in front of our eyes.

Baklava

Mike assured us that they were the best baklava in all of Athens. (We devoured them when we got back on the boat and they were incredible, as was our entire day in Athens!)

Mike taxi driver Athens

Thank you Mike!

Want to keep exploring?

You can check out the other Mediterranean cruise ports we visited on our 12 day adventure!

8 Comments:

  1. Beautiful and vibrant pictures…

  2. Great photos! Just signed up for TBEX, can’t wait to see this stunning city for myself later this year!

    • We were pleasantly surprised with Athens! Beautiful sites, amazing food, nice people! You will LOVE it!

      • Do you remember where and what the name of that sweet shop with all the baklava is? We would love to bring some back home and will be in athens in a week. Thank you and your photos are great!!

        • I could not remember the name of the bakery for the life of me, but after about 20 minutes of research, I finally figured it out- Konstantine Bakery. I am not able to find an exact address for it, strangely enough, but it seems like all of the taxi drivers in the city know where it is! Enjoy!

  3. OMG your post made me smile. So glad you had an amazing time in my adopted city. The taxi driver pic is priceless. Constantanides is a really great sweet shop chain in Greece — to die for stuff. You got a lot done in a few hours and great pics to show for it! Bravo 😀

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