Travel Tour Reviews

The 7 Best Boat Trips From Athens Reviewed For 2020

When visiting Athens, sometimes you want to get out of the city and explore the wider area away from the crowds.

A cruise along the Athenian Riviera is a great way to escape the hordes and enjoy the tranquil, crystal-clear waters of the Saronic Gulf.

There are several fascinating islands in the gulf which are well worth a visit. On a boat excursion, you can visit remote ancient Greek temples, Byzantine monasteries, quaint fishing villages, wildlife preserves, and swim or snorkel in pristine bays.

There are lots of great cruises from Athens, so it’s difficult to pick just one. I’ve looked at the top-rated cruises and selected the 7 boat trips I believe are the best.

Best Athens Boat Trips

 Athens: Sailing Cruise Along The CoastFull-Day Cruise To Aegina, Poros & HydraGuided Day Trip To Aegina & Agistri Islands
editors choice
Sailing Cruise along the Coast From AthensFull-Day Cruise to Aegina, Poros and Hydra Guided Day Trip to Aegina and Agistri Islands From Athens
Departure Point:Kalamaki Marina at Istion Charter BaseHotel pick-up from AthensPiraeus Metro Station
Departure Time:9:00 AM8:00 AM8:00 AM
Duration:4-5 hours11 hours11 hours
Includes:4-hour sailing yacht cruise, Greek snacks, soft drink or a glass of wine, snorkeling & fishingFull day cruise to Hydra, Poros, & Aegina, buffet lunch, live music, live dancersExpert archaeologist guide, ferries to Aegina & Agistri, guided tours

Be sure to see our other Greece boat tour reviews: Boat Trips From Mykonos, Boat Trips From Santorini, Boat Trips From Corfu.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Athens Boat Trips & Sailing Tours

  1. Sailing Cruise along the Coast From Athens
  2. Full-Day Cruise to Aegina, Poros and Hydra
  3. Guided Day Trip to Aegina and Agistri Islands
  4. Private Cruise with Snorkeling and Swimming From Athens
  5. Athens Riviera Half–Day Catamaran Sailing Cruise
  6. Athens Riviera Sunset Sailing Cruise With Free Wine
  7. Full Day Tour & Sailing to Agistri, Moni & Aegina From Athens

We have reviewed the top rated boat trips from Athens providing overviews and highlighting the details of each. We also make recommendations on staying in Athens in our guide section.


Athens Boat Trip Reviews

#1.  Athens: Sailing Cruise Along The Coast

Sailing Cruise along the Coast From Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Kalamaki Marina at Istion Charter Base
  • Departure Time: 9:00 AM
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Includes: 4-hour sailing yacht cruise, Greek snacks, soft drink or a glass of wine, and snorkeling & fishing equipment

This is a great boat tour if you enjoy swimming and snorkeling. You also get to appreciate the Athenian coastline from the sea and sample some of the local Mediterranean cuisine.

Relax as your yacht sails past the Athenian Riviera toward Vouliagmeni Bay. Once there, the yacht will anchor, and you’ll be given the opportunity to swim or snorkel using the equipment provided.

Next, the yacht will cruise along the coast a little more and explore a few hidden coves. The second anchorage will be just off the coast, and you’ll be served some delicious Greek appetizers.

There you can fish using the supplied equipment. Alternatively, you can opt to swim or snorkel again. If you’re feeling lazy, you can just sunbathe.

Your captain will offer you the chance to learn how to control the sailing yacht. And during your leisurely cruise back toward Athens, you’ll be served traditional Greek tapas and Greek wine.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#2. Full-Day Cruise To Aegina, Poros & Hydra From Athens

Full-Day Cruise to Aegina, Poros and Hydra

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel pick-up from Athens
  • Departure Time: 8:00 AM
  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Includes: Full day cruise to Hydra, Poros, & Aegina, buffet lunch, live music, live dancers, and licensed bars

If you enjoy live music and entertainment, you’ll love this cruise. And this boat tour is also a great way to explore the Mediterranean Islands close to Athens.

You’ll be delighted by the luxury aboard the spacious new “Cosmos” cruise ship. With 5 plush lounges, 5 licensed bars, and top-of-the-range audiovisual systems.

The first port of call is the island of Hydra, where you’ll be amazed by its old-world charms. This is an island that has stood still in time.

You can stroll along its cobblestone streets, admire the unique architecture, and see the donkeys that provide public transportation around Hydra.

Your next stop is Poros, an island of aromatic lemon orchards and green pine forests. You’ll have an opportunity to explore its unspoiled beaches.

The final island on your tour is Aegina. Here you can visit the pistachio groves, and perhaps take an optional coach trip to the ancient Temple of Aphaea and the Byzantine monastery of Agios Nektarios.

And between those islands, enjoy a buffet meal of traditional Greek food while watching live dancing and listening to live music.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#3. Guided Day Trip To Aegina & Agistri Islands From Athens

Guided Day Trip to Aegina and Agistri Islands From Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Piraeus Metro Station
  • Departure Time: 8:00 AM
  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Includes: Expert archaeologist guide, ferries to Aegina & Agistri, guided tours the islands, pistachio tasting, travel insurance, and a swim

This is a great boat tour if your main interest is learning all about the history and archaeology of the Mediterranean Islands near Athens.

Your expert archaeologist guide will be with you from the very start of the tour and will begin by narrating the history of Piraeus, the port from which your cruise commences.

After taking a ferry from Piraeus to the island of Aegina, you’ll have 3 hours to explore the “Island of Artists”. On Aegina, you’ll visit a pistachio grove where you’ll have the opportunity to taste locally produced pistachios.

If you wish, you can hire a horse carriage to take a ride around the historic main settlement of the island.

You’ll take a 10-minute water taxi from Aegina to the neighboring island of Agistri. There, relax on golden beaches while your expert guide explains the local history.

In a local tavern, you can sample some homemade delicacies while admiring sea views.

The return to Athens will be on a rapid Flying Dolphin hydrofoil. After this tour, you’ll be an expert on the history and culture of these unique Greek islands.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#4. Private Cruise With Snorkeling & Swimming From Athens

Private Cruise with Snorkeling and Swimming From Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel pick-up
  • Departure Times: 8:00 AM, 1:00 PM
  • Duration: 6 Hours
  • Includes: 6-hour RIB cruise, bottled water, light refreshments, and snorkel equipment

This is a great tour if you’d enjoy snorkeling around reefs and sunken wrecks. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore unspoiled, uninhabited islands.

You’ll sail as part of a very small group, so you’ll enjoy your captain’s full attention and easily make friends. You’ll be provided with snacks and water to enjoy while you admire the Mediterranean scenery.

You’ll be transported to one of the uninhabited islands in the sea near Athens where you can explore underwater with the snorkel equipment supplied. You’ll see underwater wrecks, reefs, and caverns.

One of the crew members will join you in the water with a professional underwater camera. If you like, you can get free photos taken of your underwater adventures.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#5. Athens Riviera Half-Day Catamaran Sailing Cruise

Athens Riviera Half–Day Catamaran Sailing Cruise

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel pick-up
  • Departure Times: 10:00 AM or 13:00 PM
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Includes: 5-hour catamaran cruise, intimate group of maximum 10 passengers, barbecue meal with wine, beer, or soft drink, towels, and snorkeling equipment

If you’re looking for a fun and intimate swimming cruise for a small bachelorette or stag party, or maybe a large extended family, this is a fantastic cruise for you.

This is an all-inclusive cruise, so you’ll be served a delicious Greek barbecue meal with Greek wine, or beer or a soft drink while you enjoy a wonderful view of the Athenian Riviera.

The captain will drop anchor twice in sheltered coves so that you can make use of the snorkeling equipment provided and swim through the warm, crystal-clear Mediterranean waters of the Saronic Gulf.

While you relax on the deck and soak in the sun, your captain will tell you tall tales from Greek mythology and history. This is a great opportunity to learn about Greek culture while surrounded by its beauty.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#6. Athens Riviera: Sunset Sailing Cruise With Free Wine

 Athens Riviera: Sunset Sailing Cruise With Free Wine

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Kalamaki Marina, Athens
  • Departure Times: Around 3:30 PM (time will vary with sunset times)
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Includes: 4-hour sailing boat cruise, snorkeling & fishing equipment, Greek appetizers, and water or wine or a soft drink

This is a wonderful opportunity to experience a sublime Mediterranean sunset. And because this is a small, private group tour, it’s ideal for stag or bachelorette parties or extended family groups.

On this cruise, you can listen to relaxing music while sipping Greek wine and admiring the Athenian coastline. If you want, your captain will teach you the basics of sailing aboard this wind-powered boat.

Enjoy some traditional Greek appetizers and chat with your English-speaking captain as he tells you about the history of the area.

You can make use of the fishing equipment provided, or snorkel underwater in the crystal-clear waters of the Saronic Gulf. Make sure you have your camera ready for that amazing sunset!

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#7. Full-Day Tour & Sailing To Agistri, Moni & Aegina From Athens

Athens: Full Day Tour & Sailing to Agistri, Moni & Aegina

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Zeas Marina, Pireas, Athens
  • Departure Times: 8:00 AM or 8:45 AM
  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Includes: 10-hour cruise to Agistri, Moni & Aegina islands, coffee, juice, snacks & cookies, Greek buffet lunch with wine or beer or a soft drink, Wi-Fi, and snorkeling equipment

If you want a comprehensive tour of the islands in the Saronic Gulf, this is the best cruise for you.

Your first island stop will be Agistri, where you can relax on the golden beach or join an optional bike tour (€10) between Chalikiada Beach and Melalochori village.

On the island of Moni, you’ll enjoy your authentic Greek lunch with wine or beer or a soft drink. Moni is an uninhabited island and wildlife preserve stocked with wild goats, deer, rabbits, and peacocks.

You’ll remain on Moni awhile to swim or maybe snorkel with the equipment provided. With no people, the water around Moni is pristine.

Then it’s on to the highlight of your tour, the island of Aegina. This island is famous for its traditional white houses, pistachio groves, and red volcanic terrain. It’s also the home of the Temple of Aphaia and the Temple of Apollo.

If you want to do some shopping, Aegina is a great place to find traditional textiles, clothes and jewelry. These make wonderful souvenirs.

On the cruise back to Zeas Marina, you can sit and enjoy fresh fruit and coffee while listening to relaxing music.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


Athens Travel Guide

best sailing cruises from athens

Athens is the origin of much that we take for granted in everyday life. It’s the birthplace of democracy, classical architecture, philosophy, and the Olympic Games.More through good luck than planning, many stunning structures survive from Greece’s Golden Age, so visiting Athens becomes a journey to the very roots of Western Civilization.

There’s much more to see and do in Athens than I can squeeze into this brief travel guide, but I hope it will provide a good starting point as you plan your visit.

Airports & Entry

Athens International Airport is the busiest airport in Greece and the 27th busiest in Europe. It handles around 24 million passengers a year. Since the airport was only opened in 2001 and expanded in 2018, you’ll find the 2 terminals and all the facilities modern. An underground moving sidewalk connects the original main terminal to the new satellite terminal.

What’s unusual about Athens Airport is the presence of an art gallery and 3 museums. If you get bored waiting for your flight, they provide lots for you to see. The Art & Culture Exhibition Area is found on the Arrivals level. They host regular photography and painting exhibitions, book signings, and cultural events.

In the main terminal, the Acropolis Museum features classical Greek exhibits from the Acropolis. On the Departures level, the Eleftherios Venizelos Exhibition displays relics from Greek aviation history in the. In the same area, you’ll find the Exhibition of Archaeological Findings.

Getting back to the modern world, you’ll find mobile charging points around the airport, and free Wi-Fi on the “ATH Free Wi-Fi” network. The free Wi-Fi only lasts 45 minutes, but you can log-in again as often as you like.

If you’re traveling with kids aged 18 months to 7-years-old, you’ll find a children’s play area in the main terminal landside on the 2nd floor. It’s open from 9 am to 9 pm. There are baby rooms and diaper changing facilities throughout the airport on both landside and airside.

With 20 food outlets, you won’t have any problem finding something to eat. Many are open 24 hours. The airport also has a mini market on the Arrivals level, landside and duty-free shopping on the Departures level. Many of the stores in the airport operate 24 hours.

ATMs are located all around the airport on both Arrivals and Departures levels. There are also multiple currency exchange kiosks operated by ONExchange. You’ll find full banking services at the Alpha Bank on the Arrivals level landside, open from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays and 9 am to 4 pm on weekends and bank holidays.

If you have a medical problem, there’s a pharmacy on the Arrivals level, landside, open from 6 am to midnight. Urgent emergency care is available at the airport first aid station provided by qualified members of the National Center for Emergency Care.

The easiest way to get into Athens from the airport is on the Metro. The airport train station is connected to the city via Metro Line 3. The journey takes 40 minutes and there’s a service every ½ hour. There are also services to other cities and archaeological sites provided by the Athens Suburban Railway.

The city bus company, Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA), provides even more frequent services into the city. 4 bus services (X93, X95, X96, and X97) operate from the Arrivals level between Exits 4 and 5. The buses run 24/7 and the X95 to Syntagma (Athens City Center) takes around 40 minutes and departs every 15 to 20 minutes.

Alternatively, the major vehicle rental companies (Hertz, National, Europcar, Budget, Avis, Sixt, and Alamo) have desks on the Arrivals level.

And there’s always the taxi stand, found on the Arrivals level, Exit 3. During the day, the fare into the city center is around €48 but increases to €54 after midnight until 5 am.

Planning Tips

Athens is one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay. Just to ensure you do, here are 5 tips to help you plan your visit.

Tip #1: Watch your purse and your pockets

Pickpockets and purse-snatchers love Athens. The crowds of oblivious tourists admiring stunning architecture provide great prospects for any unscrupulous thief to get rich quick. Watch out for thieves everywhere, especially in the Metro system, around all the tourist attractions, and Omonia Square.

Tip #2: Book tickets in advance, especially during summer

Athens is a popular destination, so tours frequently sell out. Consider booking in advance so that you are assured of the excursions you want to take. Most reputable tour operators offer full refunds for trips canceled with reasonable notice. Just check the refund policy when you book any tours.

Tip #3: Go during spring or fall

Many of the most important attractions in Athens are outdoor, so you’re exposed to the sun. Because Athens is the second hottest capital city in Europe, the summer heat can become unbearable. If you’re traveling with young kids or elderly relatives, you certainly shouldn’t take them during summer.

Personally, I would prefer not to visit Athens in the summer. Not only is it too hot to appreciate the beauty of the city in the middle of the day, but it’s also when the city and its many attractions are most crowded. If you want warm rather than hot weather, go in spring or fall.

Tip #4: Buy unique souvenirs

Pop over to the Plaka neighborhood for some unique souvenirs. Spoons and ladles carved from olivewood, unique Greek products, as well as the usual range of T-shirts and less cultural souvenirs are found in the many gift shops in its labyrinth of old-world alleyways.

There are also many specialist jewelry shops in the Plaka neighborhood, where you can purchase custom-designed and unique items. Many of these stores are owned by artists, like the popular jewelers, Byzantino.

Tip #5: Cash is king

Greece is not a cashless society. You may be used to sticking all your restaurant and transport bills on a credit card, but this probably won’t work so well in Athens. A surprising number of busy restaurants and large stores don’t accept electronic payment methods, so you must be prepared to carry cash.

Because of the pickpockets mentioned above, consider methods to protect your cash. A fanny pack may look unattractive, but it beats getting your restaurant bill and discovering your wallet isn’t where it should be.

Restaurants & Eating Out

Because Athens is a Mediterranean port city, the local food is typically Mediterranean, with frequent use of fish and olives. In fact, a founding myth about the city claims that when competing to become the patron god of the city, the god Poseidon gave them a saltwater spring and the goddess Athena gave them their first olive tree.

Breakfasts typically consist of pastries from one of the many bakeries and a cup of coffee. Common breakfast pastries include the savory feta or spinach pastry, a flaky phyllo pastry, or the sweet Bougatsa custard pastry. Although it is not a traditional Athenian breakfast food, some cafés also sell Greek yoghurt due to tourist demand.

Athens’ streets are riddled with tavernas and cafés. Lunches are long and leisurely. Like in Spain, dinner is typically eaten late. Restaurants usually get busy at around 10 pm. Food is ordered for the table (the group of people sitting together) rather than the individual. This means that portions are often large because they are designed to be shared rather than eaten by one.

The tavernas offer a variety of hors d’oeuvre called a mezedes, which is a small dish of hot or cold food with dips. Mezedes are often eaten while drinking ouzo, a strong anise liquor. My favorite mezedes is saganaki, which is great for any cheese lover. It’s a hard cheese fried to create a crunchy crust and sprinkled with lemon juice. Tomatokeftedes (tomato balls) are another popular appetizer, sweet, soft, and full of herbs and tomato. Mezedes are typically served with a yoghurt dip.

Alongside mezedes, Athenians eat salad. Horiatiki salata (Greek salad) is tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, spicy shallots, and olives, all splashed with virgin olive oil and topped with feta cheese. Because the salad portion is designed to be shared, one person can make a filling meal out of a single serving of salad and some crusty bread.

Perhaps the most famous main dish in Athens is moussaka. This is an oven-baked dish consisting of mincemeat layered with either potatoes or eggplant and topped with bechamel. It’s not an exclusively Greek dish, but the currently popular version originated in Greece. Moussaka tastes best when seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon.

A common variant of moussaka is pastitsio. This is another oven-baked dish with mincemeat and topped with bechamel, but this time layered with pasta and tomato sauce.

Being next to the sea, fish soup is popular in Athens. Different kinds of fish appear in the soup depending upon the season. It’s usually a rich broth with lots of fish, vegetables, and flavored with lemon.

But my favorite main dish is pastitsiopanakopita. This spinach and cheese pie is baked in a filo pastry and heavily seasoned. Unfortunately for me, it’s a messy dish. The filo pastry is crumbly and goes everywhere!

When it comes to desserts, Athenians get messy. Their sweet dessert pastries are drenched in honey or syrup. But these sticky treats are delicious when freshly baked. The most popular variety is baklava, which is layers of filo dough stuffed with chopped nuts, usually almonds or pistachios. Another common variety is kataifi, which looks like Shredded Wheat but is fine strands of pastry wrapped around a chopped nut center, usually almonds or walnuts.

Nightlife & Entertainment

While Athens may not have the reputation for wild nightlife found in other parts of the Mediterranean, like the Balearic Islands, you can still find vibrant nightclubs and lively bars. The different areas of the city tend to attract different crowds, so let’s run through them.

If you’re into clubbing, Kerranmeikos is the place to go. This is where you’ll find the new super-club opened by Lindsay Lohan, simply called LOHAN. With Hollywood financing and Greek knowhow, this club features internationally renowned DJs using the highest quality sound and light equipment. It’s a club dedicated to dance parties. In the same area, you’ll find a selection of popular bars, such as The Blue Parrot and Bios.

The neighboring Gazi area is the place to go for live Rebetiko venues, which is a kind of Greek urban blues music. So, if you want to try something uniquely Greek, then you could skip the super-club and head straight for a Rebetiko bar and spend the night listening to Greek blues and drinking ouzo.

If you’re looking for lively bars, Exarchia is the area favored by young Athenians. There are many popular bars along Emmanouil Benaki Street. But Exarchia is also an area known for graffiti and anarchy. In 2008/9, riots brought conflict between youths and police on these narrow streets. However, that’s only a footnote in modern history. Sandwiched between the University of Athens and the polytechnic, the area is filled with trendy cafés and bars aimed at Bohemian youths.

But if you prefer more sophisticated cocktail bars and hipster hangouts, the two areas to go are Psyrri and Koukaki. Psyrri is a high-class area with lots of bars and a small but lively nightclub called Cantina Social. The most interesting bar to check out is Six d.o.g.s, which is a unique bar with DJs, live music, club nights, and art exhibitions! And if you’re into wine, Materia Prima Wine Bar in Psyrri has a fantastic reputation.

Getting Around

In central Athens, many of the attractions are close together, so walking is a viable option. However, to really see the city, public transport is the best option. You can use the Metro, buses, or trams. To use public transport, you’ll need an ATH.ENA Card.

The Metro is the easiest and quickest way to travel around Athens. The signs and maps can be confusing since some are only in Greek, but the network is simple. There are only 3 lines, and once you get a feel for the system, it becomes easy.

The main Metro station in the center of Athens is Syntagma. This is in the same area as the Greek parliament building and the main city square. Much like the airport, this station also holds a museum. In this case, the museum displays the archaeological treasures unearthed when the station was built.

The buses in Athens are not as comfortable or as quick as the Metro. Also, the bus times tend to be unpredictable and the routes confusing. Bus stops are often difficult to find, and you might need to ask a local for directions. Some of the buses are “trolleys”, which are the same as regular buses except that they run on electricity.

The trams are modern and environmentally friendly. There are only 3 tram services, and they all connect Syntagma Station with coastal resorts and beaches.

Taxis are always an option, but you’ll find them expensive compared to public transport and not as quick as the Metro.

Accommodations

Athens is an extremely popular destination for anybody interested in classical history, Greek language and culture, or simply sunny beaches. Because so many visitors crowd the city every year, you’ll find a broad range of hotels suitable for every budget and taste.

If you’re interested in history, the best areas to stay are around the city center near the Acropolis, like Makrianni, Monastiraki, Plaka, Syntagma, and Thission. The Plaka area is arguably the most desirable location because it’s nestled between the Acropolis and Syntagma Square (main square and central Metro station). Plaka is the quietest and most peaceful area of Athens.

Because of the problem of pick-pockets in Athens, you’ll want to make sure your hotel room has a safe. Whenever you go out, leave anything you won’t need in your safe. Any important documents, credit cards you won’t need that day, and spare cash should be left safely behind.

There are a few very seedy hotels in Athens that you’ll want to avoid. My advice is to check reviews on more than one hotel-reviewing site before booking. You’ll find some cheap hostels and basic hotels around Omonia Square, but the area is renowned for purse snatchers and seediness, as well as legal brothels.

A friend booked a night at the Athens House Hotel on booking.com because the reviews there looked positive, and she wanted to stay somewhere cheap and basic. When she arrived, the hotel’s hygiene standards were abysmal. When she later looked on TripAdvisor, she found the same hotel had a rating of 2 out of 5 stars and featured some extremely alarming reviews!

But, to be fair, the Athens House Hotel is great for economy backpackers. With last minute rooms at $10 or $20 a night, you can put up with bad service and a bit of grime!

If you’re made of money and want to sample the high life, check out the Hotel Grande Bretagne (GB) . A basic suite in the GB will cost around $300 a night, but you get what you pay for. This luxury hotel overlooks Syntagma Square, and you can even watch the changing of the guards in front of the Greek parliament building from your balcony.

The GB has one pool in the basement and another on the roof. There’s also a fully-equipped spa in the basement. The exclusive Alexander’s Bar inside the GB was voted Best Hotel Bar in the World by Forbes magazine, and the GB Roof Garden Restaurant & Bar provides the best views of the Acropolis you’ll find in the city.

If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, check out the Hotel Attalos. It’s not quite so central as the GB, but it also has a roof garden café with fantastic views of the Acropolis for around $125 a night.

The Hotel Attalos is a 15-minute walk to the Acropolis and the same to central Syntagma Square. It’s only a short walk to the Monastiraki Metro Station, so it’s convenient for rapid public transport to all the main attractions. It gets fantastic reviews and ratings on both TripAdvisor and Booking.com.

But when I take my family to Athens, I avoid the crowds and pollution in the city center altogether. Not far from the city, there are dozens of clean and modern hotels along the coastline of the Athenian Riviera. With the great tram connections to Syntagma Square Station, they’re only a short ride away from all the main attractions.

Most coastal hotels are walking distance to the beach, and sometimes their buildings even segue into the sand. They typically offer more spacious and better-equipped rooms for a fraction of the price of city center hotels.

For example, consider Maison 66 in Alimos. This modern hotel is 6 miles from Syntagma Square, which means 25 minutes in a car or 45 minutes on a tram. That might sound like a lot of traveling, but Maison 66 offers a beautifully decorated room with a sea view, furnished balcony, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, en-suite bathrooms with shower cabins, and free Wi-FI for only $80 per night.

Maison 66 is rated 9.1/10 on Booking.com and 5/5 on TripAdvisor! If your family wants to split their time between the beach and the cultural attractions, this hotel or others like it in coastal beach resorts offer you spacious, clean and modern accommodation for a fraction of equivalent hotels in the center of Athens.

Weather

Athens is the second hottest capital city in Europe. It experiences mild winters and long, dry, and hot summers. July and August are extremely dry, and most rainfall occurs between October and April.

Because the weather is relatively fine all year long, you can visit Athens at any time. However, I’d recommend you visit Athens in spring (late March through early June) or fall (late September through early November) if possible.

Spring and fall are when the weather isn’t too hot but still warm enough to enjoy the sun. Winter can be chilly and wet, and summer is just too hot for me. Most tourists visit during summer, which means the streets, attractions, and public transport are all crowded.

In summer, it grows too hot in the middle of the day for comfortable sightseeing. If you plan to visit the Acropolis, the best time of day is the early morning before the midday heat bakes the ground. Alternatively, visit in the last two hours of the site’s opening times. In August, average temperatures range from 730F to 890F.

It’s still pleasant and sunny in the fall, so this is a great time to wander around the Panathenaic Stadium. However, there’s more rain than during summer, especially in November. In November, average temperatures range from 540F to 660F.

Athenian winters are mild, but December sees the most rain. Despite warm average temperatures, snow isn’t uncommon, and it can get chilly on occasions. January’s average temperatures range from 450F to 570F.

Rainfall rapidly decreases between April and June, and the days become warmer. The average temperatures in April range from 530F to 670F.

Attractions

99.9% of visitors to Athens have the Acropolis at the top of their “must-see” list, but there’s more to Athens than its citadel. It’s the capital of a modern nation and the center of Greek culture. But, I’m not going to swim against the crowd right now. The Acropolis is top of my list, too!

The Acropolis looms over Athens and is the most famous attraction in Greece. Archaeological evidence shows the hill has been settled since as early as 4,000 BCE, and the Acropolis as we know it began to take shape in the 13th-century BCE when it was fortified with a wall that still forms part of today’s complex monument.

Most of the structures we see on the old citadel date from the 5th-century BCE. That’s because a helpful group of Persian invaders leveled many of the pre-existing buildings in 480 BCE during the Greco-Persian Wars.

There are many ancient temples atop the hill, including the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, and the Brauronion. But none is more famous or iconic than the Parthenon. Built in 438 BCE and dedicated to Athena Parthenos, this is the most awesome example of Ancient Greek architecture in existence.

Also inside the Acropolis is the Acropolis Museum. This incongruous, modern structure stands 3-stores-high, right beside the Parthenon. However, it does effectively display the artifacts recovered by archaeologists from excavations atop the hill. The highlight is the Parthenon Marbles exhibition on the top floor.

Don’t miss the Theatre of Dionysus. Situated at the foot of the Acropolis and carved into the southern cliff, this is believed to be the oldest surviving theater in the world. The site has been a theater since the 6th-century BCE, but the present structure is 4th-century BCE. If you ever had to read Greek tragedies in school written by Euripides or Sophocles, this is where those famous plays premiered!

The last ancient monument in the city I’ll specifically recommend is the Panathenaic Stadium. Not only is this the only athletic stadium in the world constructed in marble, but it’s also the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.

The stadium began life in antiquity as a racecourse and was transformed into a stadium in 330 BCE. The current marble structure dates to 144 CE and was designed to seat 50,000 spectators. The first modern Olympic Games were held here in 1896.

But Athens isn’t all about ancient antiquity. The heart of the modern city isn’t atop the Acropolis. It’s Syntagma Square. Not only is this where you’ll find the main Metro station, but it’s the central square and location of the Greek Parliament building.

The Parliament building is guarded by Evzones, who are parliamentary guards. Evzones wear special handmade shoes and uniforms and perform an hourly changing of the guards. There is an especially elaborate changing ceremony at 11 am every Sunday.

Pop over to the Plaka neighborhood to see charming houses decked with flower baskets and colorful cafés with outdoor seating. You’ll definitely need your camera as you explore this picturesque area.

The Plaka neighborhood is a great place to sample traditional Greek food and buy unique souvenirs. And if you’ve always wanted to try a traditional Turkish Bath, you can enjoy a steam bath and a relaxing massage at Al Hammam.

And if you want to see where the Athenians shop, check out the Varvakeios Central Food Market. This is where you can get a feeling for the heartbeat of Athens. This market is a great place to sample authentic Greek fresh foods and drinks. Why not try some strong Greek coffee made just how Athenians like it? But note that this market, like many grocery businesses in Greece, is closed on Sundays.

Getting out of the center, consider ascending Lycabettus Hill. This is the highest point in Athens. Sunset is a great time to visit for spectacular views across the city lit by the dying sun. At the top, you’ll find St. George’s Church and Orizontes Restaurant. The restaurant’s rooftop terrace provides stunning views.

You can spend a month in Athens and not see everything, but some people like to explore the wider context and travel to other parts of Greece. Also, in summer, getting out of the capital city helps you escape the relentless heat.

If you want to visit more of Greece, Athens makes a great base. Various Mediterranean islands, such as Aegina, Moni, Agistri, and Santorini, are popular destinations for longer day trips. Or you can enjoy a simple cruise along the Athenian Riviera and enjoy fantastic views of the Greek coast.

Sites Seen
Tour Guides
Value

The Sailing Cruise Along The Coast is our Editor's Choice for the best Athens boat trip with its combination of sites seen, tour guides and value.

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Robert Baker

I had the good fortune to be born in a first-world country at a time when fast international travel became possible for average people. Having shared meals with families in huts with no electricity and dirt floors, I appreciate the "little" things that my fellow Englishmen take for granted. Over the years I've worked in many different fields. I've been an archaeologist in the Scottish Hebrides, an accountant in London, and taught English in China. However,I've never enjoyed any other job as much as writing.

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