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A tour designed for those who have been to Athens before and are eager for more, but also for newcomers looking for an unconventional and inspirational take on this great city.
Athens is rightly world-renowned for its magnificent archaeological sites and its great wealth of museums, reflecting the city’s famous past as an ancient super-city, a cultural beacon and a major power, especially in the 5th century BC. Fine monuments like the soaring Acropolis, the grand Agora, once the city’s political hub stand witness to this great past and inspire to this day, as do the wonderful works of art on display in the National Archaeological Museum, the Acropolis Museum and elsewhere. Another well-known side of the city is Plaka, the Old Town, with its cobbled streets and Neoclassical mansions.
If you have already visited Athens, with or without a guide, you will have seen all or many of these things. You will also have experienced the famous Greek hospitality and perhaps you might have caught a glimpse of the vibrant modern urban and cultural life that distinguishes the Athens of today, a place where past and present constantly rub shoulders.
But a first-time visit to a great city can rarely do more than scratch the surface: there is always more to see, more to experience, more to savour, more to discover. Less famous sites and museums hold great treasures of beauty and insight; side-streets and back lanes open up new perspectives and vistas; local guides can reveal stories you’ve not heard before and show you their locales; entirely new and fascinating aspects of the place and its history, ancient and modern, can be explored.
That’s what this add-on tour is designed to be: a profound and entertaining experience of another side to Athens. If you want to experience Athens like a connoisseur, to discover the lesser-known gems and to delve deep into the heart of Athenian life, this tour, based on our profound inside knowledge of the Greek capital, is for you.
Average rating 5 out of 5 from 371 reviews for Athens off the Beaten Track, according to AITO reviews.
Day 1: Arrival in Athens. Transfer from airport, about 40 minutes away, to your hotel in the centre of the city. Welcome dinner.
Day 2: Mt Lycabettus wrests itself free of the encroaching city which laps at its base; the views from its summit are stunning and will give you a feeling for the whole city. We then travel a short way down its flanks to the Benaki Museum, a beautifully curated and eclectic collection of artefacts gathered together over the lifetime of a single influential man (Antonis Benakis), which together provide a unique vision of post-classical Greece. In the afternoon, we visit the City of Athens Museum, in a building that was once the residence of King Otto, first King of Greece, who was crowned in 1832 and deposed 30 years later.
Day 3: A day devoted entirely to the Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens, to which it was famously connected by the Long Walls that allowed travelers and goods to move between the two in complete safety. The Piraeus Museum is home to a splendid collection that reveals what life was like here in the ancient world: the astounding Bronze sculptures of Apollo, Athena and Artemis that were discovered here in 1959 are a spectacular highlight. Moving on from here we will spend the day exploring the ancient fortifications, shipsheds and monuments hidden away among the bustling streets, and enjoy a superb sea-food lunch.
Day 4: The day begins with a visit to what was once one of the largest Temples in Ancient Greece: The Temple of Olympian Zeus. We spend the rest of the morning enjoying the superb Byzantine Museum with its fascinating collection of Greek art, artefacts and icons, illustrating the city’s important and fascinating history during an era that is neglected by most tours of Athens. After lunch we head to the tree-clad hills directly to the west of the Acropolis, and explore the Pnyx, seat of the Athenian democracy to see the very spot where Themistocles, Pericles and Demosthenes strived to persuade the people to vote for them, and follow their vision for the future of Athens – in making war, peace and commerce. The views from here down to the Piraeus are magnificent, but it is by the Tomb of Philoppapos, on an adjacent rise, that you can savour the finest view of the Acropolis: a fitting end to the day.
Day 5: Time for a final stroll before transferring to the airport for your onward flight.
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Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport – Athens International (Eleftherios Venizelos)
Departure Airport – Athens International (Eleftherios Venizelos)
Check in time at your hotel in Athens is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives in the afternoon/early evening. Check out time is 12:00pm. We will arrange local transfers from Athens Airport and to Athens Airport on the first and last day of the tour.
The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits.
Citizens of European Union member states, the United States, Canada and Australia do not need to apply for a visa to visit Greece for trips of less than 90 days duration.