Travel Tour Reviews

The 7 Best Delphi Tours From Athens Reviewed For 2020

A pilgrimage to Delphi is essential for anybody interested in Ancient Greek history and culture. The Ancient Greeks believed Delphi was the center of the world, and the Temple of Apollo was their most sacred site. Essentially, this was their equivalent to Vatican City.

The priestess, called the Oracle of Delphi, was the most powerful woman in the ancient world. Rulers, Generals, and important figures in the ancient world approached her for prophecies and sage advice.

There are many excursions to Delphi and I’ve selected 7 top-rated Delphi tours. I believe any one of these tours would provide you with the experience of a lifetime!

Best Delphi Tours From Athens

 Delphi Full-Day Tour From AthensFrom Athens: Delphi Full-Day TourAncient Delphi Full-Day Tour From Athens
editors choice
 Delphi Full-Day Tour from Athens From Athens: Delphi Full-Day Tour Ancient Delphi Full-Day Tour from Athens
Departure Point:Hotel Amalia, Syntagma Square, AthensHotel pick-up or Piraeus Cruise TerminalHotel pick-up
Departure Time:8:30 AM7:00 AM7:00 AM
Duration:11 hoursFull Day8 hours
Includes:Guide, transportation to Livadeia, Arachova, & Delphi, entrance fees to the museums and templesDriver, intimate group tour, and transport to Delphi & ArachovaGuide, transport to Delphi & Arachova, 3-course meal & wine or beer, and entrance fees

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Delphi Tours From Athens – 2019

  1. Delphi Full-Day Tour From Athens
  2. From Athens: Delphi Full-Day Tour
  3. Ancient Delphi Full-Day Tour From Athens
  4. Delphi: Private Full-Day Tour From Athens
  5. Delphi Guided Day Trip From Athens
  6. Delphi Small-Group Day Trip From Athens
  7. Day Tour To Delphi From Athens

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


Delphi Tour Reviews

#1. Delphi Full-Day Tour From Athens

 Delphi Full-Day Tour from Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel Amalia, Syntagma Square, Athens
  • Departure Time: 8:30 AM
  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Includes: Expert guide, transportation to Livadeia, Arachova, & Delphi, entrance fees to the museums and temples, free Athens & Greece map, and Wi-Fi on the coach

This is a great tour if you want to explore the mountainous region north of Athens and pick up some unique and cultural gifts.

But the focus is, of course, the fascinating archaeological site at Delphi, and this tour includes an experienced guide.

An air-conditioned coach will transport you from central Athens to the mountains 70 miles away to the north.

The first stop on the tour is Livadeia, where you’ll have the opportunity to wander around this provincial capital and admire the surrounding mountainous landscape.

The next stop is Arachova, which is renowned for its colorful carpets, bright textiles, woodcut creations, and black wine.

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Here’s a great place to pick up some local handicrafts or specialty wine for your folks back home or your own collection.

And then comes the highlight of your day—the tour of Delphi. The archeological site and ruins here are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The temple at the base of Mount Parnassos was the holiest in Ancient Greece and a place for pilgrimage. The extant ruins date to the 4th-century BCE, though the original temple complex was built in the 8th-century BCE.

The Temple of Apollo is where the famous Oracle of Delphi received petitioners inside a restricted and sacred inner room. These pilgrims visited the oracle, the most powerful woman in Ancient Greece, for her sage advice. It was believed Apollo granted her the gift of prophecy.

You’ll see many other impressive structures, such as the Tholos and the theater. The Tholos is a circular building originally consisting of 20 columns surmounted by a dome. The nearby amphitheater was built to seat 4,500 spectators in 35 rows.

The Archaeological Museum of Delphi holds a collection of amazing treasures, like the bronze charioteer statue cast in 478 BCE. With its rich collection of priceless exhibits, it’s no surprise this is one of the most visited museums in Greece.

 

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#2. From Athens: Delphi Full-Day Tour

 From Athens: Delphi Full-Day Tour

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Choose hotel pick-up or meet at Piraeus Cruise Terminal
  • Departure Time: 7:00 AM
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Includes: English-speaking driver, intimate group tour, and transport to Delphi & Arachova

If you want to visit Delphi as part of a small group, maybe just your family and friends, then this is the best tour for you. With no guide, you have ultimate flexibility as you wander around the ruins.

An air-conditioned limousine, van, or car will pick up your group from your hotel or, if you prefer, from a central location or the Piraeus Cruise Terminal. You’ll travel in this small group with an experienced, English-speaking driver.

Your driver will take you straight to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi, once the center of the Ancient Greek world.

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There you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, the Tholos, and the ancient theater at your own pace.

You’ll also visit Arachova, where you can wander around and admire the traditional Greek homes in this mountainous town.

This town is famous for its handmade craft goods, so it’s a great place to buy souvenirs of your visit to Greece.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#3. Ancient Delphi Full-Day Tour From Athens

 Ancient Delphi Full-Day Tour from Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel pick-up
  • Departure Time: 7:00 AM
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Includes: Experienced guide, transport to Delphi & Arachova, 3-course meal & wine or beer, and museum & temple entrance fees

If you want to explore the mountainous countryside north of Athens, this is a great tour for you. Your tour will take you through the towns of Levadeia and Thebes and past the Castalian Spring to Delphi.

The Archeological Museum of Delphi is one of the most visited museums in Greece. There you can see the incredible Naxian Sphinx.

This monumental marble sculpture stands 7-feet-tall and once guarded the Temple of Apollo atop a 40 feet column and base.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Delphi, with its 4th-century BCE theater, the Temple of Apollo, the Tholos, and other ancient monuments, is the center of the Ancient Greek world.

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As you walk around these magnificent ruins, you can imagine the splendor of this complex when it was the holiest shrine in Ancient Greece.

Once you’ve built up an appetite wandering around those ruins, you’ll enjoy the delicious 3-course meal included in this tour. Wash your food down with a ½ liter of wine and some beer.

This tour also includes a visit to Arachova, which is a great place to buy hand-crafted souvenirs of your time in Greece. Arachova is famous for its black wine, vivid rugs, and colorful textiles.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#4. Delphi: Private Full-Day Tour From Athens

 Delphi: Private Full-Day Tour from Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel pick-up or meet at a central location of your choice
  • Departure Times: 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM
  • Duration: 7 Hours
  • Includes: Expert tour guide and transportation to Delphi

This is a great tour if your main interest is the history of Delphi and you want to enjoy a traditional Greek meal.

This intimate group tour whisks you directly to Delphi and places you in the capable hands of a licensed tour guide.

You’ll be taken on a fact-packed guided tour of the ruins, including the Temple of Apollo, the ancient theatre, and the Tholos.

During your tour, your expert guide will entertain you with facts and stories about this sacred site which the Ancient Greeks called the “navel of the world”.

This tour is a top-rated tour amongst visitors who love Greek history. Your tour will end at the Archeological Museum of Delphi, so you can explore this popular museum at your leisure.

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Here you can view some of the precious treasures donated to the temple by worshipers, including a silver bull statue.

There also you can see the 6th-century chryselephantine statues of Leto, Artemis, and Apollo, draped in gold vestments and jewelry.

You’ll be picked up from the museum and taken to a local restaurant in Delphi village which features views across the mountain valley. There you can enjoy some delicious traditional Greek food (at your own expense).

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#5. Delphi Guided Day Trip From Athens

 Delphi Guided Day Trip from Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Choose hotel pick-up or meet at tour supplier’s office
  • Departure Times: 8:30 AM
  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Includes: Professional guide, transport to Delphi & Arachova, entrance fees to site and museum, lunch in a traditional restaurant, and Wi-Fi on the air-conditioned coach

Most people who have enjoyed this tour rave about the fantastic guide.

She provides a thorough and fascinating commentary on the surrounding mountainous region during the drive to the site and is knowledgeable about the ruins and museum.

The highlight of the tour is the guided visit to the various ruins in Delphi, including the Athena Pronaia Temple, the Temple of Apollo, and the ancient theater.

Inside the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, you’ll be amazed by the well-preserved bronze charioteer statue.

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Your professional guide will bring the ruins to life, helping you to understand their central role in Ancient Greek ideology. You’ll come away from this tour with a profound understanding of Ancient Greek mythology and culture.

After touring the archaeological sites and museum, you’ll be transported to a local restaurant to enjoy traditional Greek food.

During the drive back to Athens, you’ll visit the picturesque town of Arachova for a photo opportunity.

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


#6. Delphi Small-Group Day Trip From Athens

 Delphi Small-Group Day Trip From Athens

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hotel pick-up or meet at a central location of your choice
  • Departure Times: 8:30 AM
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Includes: Expert guided tour and transportation to Delphi

If you’re curious about the history of the Oracle of Delphi, this is a great tour for you. You’ll learn all about the Oracle and her power within the Hellenic world.

Your tour will take you past the Castalian Spring, where Apollo is said to have slain Python, a monstrous serpent.

This is where participants in the Pythian Games bathed and drank to purify themselves before entering the temple complex.

Within the ruins of Delphi, you’ll see the Athenian Treasury, the Stoa of the Athenians, the polygonal retaining wall, and the focal Temple of Apollo, where pilgrims went to seek help and advice from the Oracle of Delphi.

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After your guided tour of Delphi, you may spend some time in the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, where you’ll be amazed by such well-preserved exhibits as the statue of Antinoos, the Treasury of the Sifnians, and the renowned Naxian Sphinx.

Finally, you’ll have time to look around Delphi village and maybe eat a late lunch before the drive back to Athens. On the way back, you’ll pass through the scenic town of Arachova.

 

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


7. Day Tour To Delphi From Athens

 From Athens: Day Tour to Delphi

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Leoforos Vasilis Amalias & Souri Street, Athens
  • Departure Times: 8:20 AM
  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Includes: Expert guide, transport to Delphi, lunch, and Wi-Fi on the coach

This tour is a great way to learn about the importance of the Oracle of Delphi and the Temple of Apollo to the people of Ancient Greece.

During the scenic drive to Delphi, you’ll pass through Thebes, the city where King Oedipus famously married his mother and murdered his father, according to Greek mythology.

Enjoy the beautiful mountain views as you pass the towns of Arachova and Livadeia. In Delphi, your expert guide will explain the significance of the Oracle of Delphi.

This priestess features in many Greek legends and historical events, including King Oedipus’ tragedy, where she provides the key prophecies in the story.

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You’ll see the Temple of Apollo, where petitioners met with the Oracle in her private sanctuary. Other important ruins include the ancient theater, the Treasury of the Athenians, and the Temple of Athena Pronaia.

The Archaeological Museum of Delphi is one of the most visited museums in Greece. Several of the most important relics of Ancient Greece are displayed there, including the Charioteer of Delphi and the statue of Aghias.

After you’ve visited the archaeological marvels of Delphi, head into the modern village of Delphi to enjoy a traditional Greek meal in a local restaurant.

On the return trip to Athens, you’ll stop briefly in Arachova to stretch your legs and perhaps take a few snaps of this scenic town and the surrounding mountains.

 

For tour prices, transportation, and availability:


Athens Travel Guide

best tours of delphi

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.

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The Delphi Full-Day Tour from Athens is our Editor's Choice with its combination of guides, sites seen 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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