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There are many ways to visit Athens and many things to discover, but there can be little doubt that the stunning monuments of the city’s ancient past are its most famous asset. This add-on tour is designed to give you an overview of the most important archaeological sites and exhibitions the city can offer, perfect for a first-time visitor, but also as a “refresher” for those who have seen the city before.
The focus is on the Classical era of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, when Athens was at the height of her political power, ruling the Aegean and reinventing itself a cultural beacon. During just a few generations, Athens left an indelible mark on the history of human civilisation, making enormous contributions to so many fields: sculpture, painting, architecture, philosophy, mathematics, drama, historiography, politics, and the list goes on. It is also the era when Athens experimented with a new form of political organisation: democracy.
The tour includes all major monuments, offering a proper exploration and explanation of each in turn: the park-like Agora, the economic, political and commercial heart of the city; the great Theatre of Dionysos, where Aristophanes, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides first showcased their masterpieces; the magnificent Acropolis, home to the Parthenon, one of the most famous temples of the ancient world; the National Museum, a treasure house of humanity containing some of the most famous works of art ever discovered in Greece, and the superb Acropolis Museum, housing the fascinating material excavated on the sacred rock. These sites, and several more, are visited in a sequence that brings together the distinct histories of each individual place to gradually reveal the grandeur of one of the greatest cities of the Ancient World, to explain what Athens was in depth and to bring the city’s former grandeur back to life.
Average rating 5 out of 5 from 371 reviews for The Heart of Classical Athens, 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 and its setting. Next we explore the peaceful Kerameikos, the ancient city’s most important cemetery for over a thousand years, and set just outside the city walls. In the afternoon it is the turn of the Agora, the political heart of democratic Athens with its wealth of remains from Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times.
Day 3: We begin with the Theatre of Dionysos, on the site where Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes gave their plays to the city. We then follow the peripatos, the ancient track around the Acropolis, before climbing the sacred rock to view the city’s most renowned artistic and architectural achievements. Passing through the great gateway of the Propylaea, we will see the fabled temples of Periclean Athens – Athena Nike nestling on the rock’s shoulder, the Erechtheion with its patient caryatids and the incomparable Parthenon. In the afternoon, a visit to the New Acropolis Museum, where you can see some of the finest ancient treasures a mere stone’s throw from where they were found.
Day 4: The morning is devoted to the superlative National Archaeological Museum, home to the most iconic treasures of ancient Greek civilisation, to which no mere list can do justice. In the afternoon we walk through Plaka, the Old Town of Athens, to view its Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine remains rubbing shoulders with Ottoman mansions and Neoclassical houses.
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.