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Should you arrived at Athens looking for gleaming whitened temples, you might be aghast to locate much from the city has melded into what seems to become a viscous concrete mass. Among the sprawl and squalor, though, the traditional city still holds its treasures. Raise your eyes 200 ft over the city towards the Parthenon, and also admire the architectural perfection that is untouched by development.
Today this shrine of classical form, this indication of Western civilization and political thought, rules a 21st-century boomtown. To see Athens fully would be to comprehend the essence of a holiday in Greece tradition. Ancient Athens is unquestionably the lure for those countless site visitors that come towards the city. The region is full heritage sites, religious places, museums, and picturesque landscapes.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships dock at multiple piers on the south side of the port. Cruise Terminal A is the main terminal with some small shops, cafes and taxis waiting outside. The previously unused Terminal B, renamed Themistocles, opened in June 2013 approx 500m west of Terminal A at gate E12. A shuttle bus may operate between the two terminals.Both cruise devices are near to the center of Piraeus, and you will find easy train and bus links both to downtown Athens and also the airport terminal.
Local Transportation
A new express bus service, X80, has been announced for service between the cruise terminals and Syntagma Square with only four stops along the way including one stop near the Acropolis. Ticket price is €4 for a 24hr transit pass available from the driver. Buses operate from 7am till 9:30pm, and run every 30 minutes. Route here http://www.oasa.gr/pdf/X80_1_en.pdf
The best way to get into central Athens is by metro. The metro station is a 20-30 minute walk from the terminal following the harbor. You can take a bus but they don't sell tickets onboard but at kiosks, newsstands and mini markets. From the cruise terminal, cross the street and look for a newsstand. If you can't find it or if they are sold out, keep on walking north towards the metro station keeping the harbor on your left to find another one. Tickets are good for 90 minutes (valid for buses, metro or tram) and only €1.40 (May 2014). Once you have a ticket, look for a bus stop going the same direction for the 843 or 859 bus (google maps have the bus stops marked). You will need to validate your ticket onboard by time stamping your ticket in the machines. Ask the driver to stop at the metro station or you can spot it by looking for the pedestrian overpass. http://www.oasa.gr/
You may soon be able to buy your ticket onboard buses for €1.50 though it may take time to implement throughout the system http://goo.gl/8O5EX The transit authority is also investigating e-ticketing options.
If you've decided to walk, you can buy your ticket at self serve machines at the station when you enter but staffed service counters are to your right. Remember to validate your ticket before boarding. If you plan on doing more than three trips, it is more economical to buy a day pass (€4, May 2014, not available at newsstands). You will probably get off at Monastiraki, Syntagma, or Akropoli station (last two require changing lines). Coming back, use the pedestrian overpass to cross the street where you can catch the 843 or 859 bus back to the terminal.
Hanging Out
Piraeus isn't just the gateway to Athens however a city on its own, with decent shops, a seaside, quite a harbor area at Mikrolimano (little harbor, the "yachtie" part of the port) as well as its very own team, Olympiakos.
Must See Sights
A stroll across the various colored marble path, which results in the Acropolis, the traditional "hill city," the capital's historic heart and residential towards the 24-centuries-old Parthenon, the astounding semi-circular Theatre of Dionysus and also the Erechtheion, which is known for the six "maiden" support beams that support its frontage. A number of other historic items are also within the Acropolis Museum.
The Acropolis may be the must-see Athens attraction. Make it happen early (or maybe your ship's schedule enables, go late) if you wish to explore this fabulous site without excessive warmth and crowds. You need to stock on snacks and drinks in the entrance towards the site, because they are unavailable inside (though you can purchase books and postcards). Entrance costs about 12 pounds.
Stroll round the Central Market to obtain a real flavor of Greek drink and food. Be cautioned though, a few of the food stalls -- featuring slaughtered whole lamb and skinned bunnies -- aren't for that squeamish. You may have decent flea market stalls close to the grocery store if the view of everything meat will get an excessive amount of.
Stop into a minimum of one of Athens' many fabulous museums. They range from the Numismatic Museum, former home of archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, the guy who discovered the ruins of Ancient Troy and declared "I've looked evidently of Agamemnon." (Iliou Melathron 12, on Panepistimiou Street open 8:30 a.m. to three p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays) So when you have had an adequate amount of peering at ancient items, you are able to bring yourself back to the present in the Museum of Modern Art.
Explore Central Athens and it is communities. Included in this are Plaka, among the city's earliest districts, which lies close to the Acropolis and it is famous because of its lively coffee shops, bookstores and well-filled antique shops. Use Plateia Syntagma (Metabolic rate Square), with a Metro station, as the guidepost. Plaka lies south of the square, while Kolonaki -- an up market district with classy boutiques, art galleries and restaurants -- reaches its northeast corner. Monastiraki and Thissio (charming historic districts with fine 1800s neoclassical structures along with a good variety of shops and restaurants) mislead free airline of Syntagma.
Should you go to the north of Monastiraki, you will find yourself in Psiri, an old industrial zone that's been transformed right into a haven for the trendy and avant-garde, with a lot of alternative restaurants and offbeat shops. Arty types may also love Bohemian Metaxourgeio (northwest of Psiri), which hosts Athens' Municipal Gallery on Avdi Square.
Acropolis - No visit to Athens is complete without heading to the Acropolis. There are a few temples at the top with the most famous being the Parthenon. Your ticket will include entrance to other archaeological sites including the Agora and South Slope of the Acropolis/Theatre of Dionysos. Since you will pass the South Slope entrance if walking from the Akropoli metro, buying your ticket here could bypass the potentially longer lineups at the main Acropolis ticket office. Getting to the Acropolis early will avoid the crowds, tour groups, and hotter weather later in the day. Admission is €12 (July 2014). Opens at 8am daily in the summer but later at 11am on Mondays. Main entrance is on the west side signposted from either Thissio or Akropoli metro. http://odysseus.culture.gr

Acropolis Museum - This new museum at the foot of the Acropolis showcases some of the site's treasures still remaining in Greece. Be sure to catch the film on the top floor and the original Erechteion statues. Open Mondays for summer tourist season only but not late. Admission is €5 (July 2014). http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr
Athens's latest museum strongly sets a dark tone of Greece's modern era. Taking up a sizable plot from the city's most valued property, the brand new Acropolis Museum nods towards the fabled ancient hill above it but talks-because of an amazing building-inside a contemporary architectural language. The floor exhibit, The Acropolis Slopes, features objects based in the sanctuaries and pay outs round the Acropolis-a highlight may be the assortment of theatrical masks and vases in the Sanctuary from the matrimonial deity Nymphe. The following floor is dedicated to the Archaic period (650 BC-480 BC), with rows of precious statues mounted for 360-degree viewing. The 2nd floor is dedicated to the terrace and small restaurant/bar, which serves mezedes (a far more ambitious restaurant is rumored to stay in the whole shebang). Moving in to the top-floor atrium, site visitors can view a relevant video around the Parthenon before entering the star gallery dedicated to the temple's Pentelic marble adornments, a few of which illustrate a great procession within the goddess Athena's recognition. Frieze pieces (originals and copies), metopes, and pediments are organized within their original orientation. With the ancient and fabled riches now gloriously in view here, a trip with a minimum of two hrs for this grand new museum is extremely suggested.
It's not necessary to look far in Athens to come across perfection. Towering most importantly-both physically and emotionally-may be the Acropolis, the traditional town of upper Athens. The majority of the notable structures about this flat-top limestone outcrop, 512 ft high, were constructed from 461 to 429 BC, once the intellectual and artistic existence of Athens flowered intoxicated by the Athenian statesman Pericles. With the majority of the major restoration work now completed, a vacation to the Acropolis brings up the spirit from the ancient heroes and gods who have been once worshiped here. The view of the Parthenon-the Panathenaic temple in the crest of the ieros vrachos has got the energy to stir the center as couple of other ancient artifacts do.
In the loftiest reason for the Acropolis stands the Parthenon, the architectural masterpiece created by Pericles and performed between 447 and 438 BC. It not just elevated the bar when it comes to sheer size, but additionally within the perfection of their proportions.
Devoted towards the goddess Athena (the title Parthenon originates from the Athena Parthenos, or even the virgin Athena), the Parthenon offered mainly because the treasury from the Delian League, an old alliance of metropolitan areas created to defeat the Persian incursion. The Temple of Athena Nike was built-in 427-424 BC to celebrate peace with Persia. The bas-reliefs around the surrounding parapet illustrate the Victories leading heifers to become sacrificed. When the Parthenon may be the masterpiece of Doric architecture, the Erechtheion is unquestionably the best exemplar from the more elegant Ionic order.
A substantially more compact structure compared to Parthenon, it outmatches, for sheer elegance and refinement of design, other structures from the Greco-Roman world. For that populace, the Erechtheion, carried out 406 BC, continued to be Athena's holiest shrine, for legend has it that Poseidon stepped his trident in to the rock about this place, significantly creating spring water, while Athena produced an easy olive tree, whose produce remains a primary staple of Greek society. A panel of idol judges declared the goddess the champion, and also the city was named Athena.
The Erechtheion.
Another of the major buildings that reside on the Acropolis is the Erechtheion. This structure dates back centuries. While the 6 ladies that currently serve as pillars are reproductions, you can see 5 of the six original ladies in the Acropolis museum that is also located on the Acropolis behind the Parthenon a few meters away.As you work your way up to the entrance of the Acropolis, you pass the stunning Theater of Dionysos. One can't help but be in awe of this ancient masterpiece.
Syntagma Square - This is the city's central square. Beside Syntagma are the parliament buildings where you can catch the changing of the guard. If you are there on a Sunday, there is a more elaborate ceremony at 11am. Syntagma Square is also the site of most government protests so check the news before you visit unless you like the smell of tear gas.

National Archaeological Museum - This museum houses Greek's famous antiquities. Five minutes from Metro Viktoria. Admission is €7 (July 2014). Opens later at 12:30pm on Mondays. http://www.namuseum.gr/
Panathenaic Stadium - Constructed of marble, this stadium hosted the first modern Olympic games.
Beware of friendly locals offering to take you to a bar for a drink. You will be presented an outrageous bill at the end. Single, male tourists are usually targeted by Akropoli metro.
Local Experiences
Corinth, about 55 miles from Athens, may be worth a trip to explore the narrow roads of their old city, view its fine Temple of Apollo and Roman Agora, and sail across the high-on the sides Corinth Canal. Most ships offer tours there.
spiritual heart from the Ancient Greek Language world, makes one other good excursion. The place to find the Oracle at Delphi, this website around the slopes of Mount Parnassus is among the most well-known from the ancient world -- and the most mystical. Don't miss the Springs of Castalia -- where supplicants towards the Oracle purified themselves before entering the sanctuary. Make certain you walk "The Sacred Way," which results in the Temple of Apollo, the traditional Treasuries and also the 5,000-chair Theatre of Delphi. The second dates in the fourth Century B.C. while offering magnificent sights and amazing acoustics.
Take a quick ferry from Piraeus to Aegina, the second biggest island within the Saronic Gulf, which lies 16 maritime miles away (a 35-minute journey each way). You will find excellent beaches at Souvala and Marathon along with the classic Greek monastery of Saint Nektarios and many ancient temples devoted to Athena, Zeus and Apollo. Be sure to buy some scrumptious pistachio nuts to nibble in route back.
If you want a lazy day ashore, you can remain in Piraeus. The Historical Museum of Piraeus consists of bronzes of Apollo and Athena in the Archaic and Classical periods of Greek art, in addition to a fine assortment of funerary stelae. Other points of interest range from the fine Greek Orthodox places of worship of Saint Nicholas, Saint Spyridon and Holy Trinity. For eats, go to the attractive Mikrolimano marina, which has attractive alfresco restaurants.
Ancient Agora
The commercial hub of ancient Athens, the Agora used to be lined with statues and costly shops, the favorite walking ground of fashionable Athenians in addition to a Mecca for retailers and students. Besides administrative structures, it had been encircled through the schools, theaters, training courses, houses, stores, and market stalls of the thriving town. The Agora's showpiece was the Stoa of Attalos II, where Socrates once lectured and incited the youth of Athens to consider his progressive tips on mortality and morality.
Today the Museum of Agora Excavations, this two-story building was initially designed like a retail complex and erected within the second century BC by Attalos, a king of Pergamum. Around the low hill known as Kolonos Agoraios within the Agora's northwest corner stands the very best-maintained Doric temple in most A holiday in greece, the Hephaistion, sometimes known as the Thission due to its friezes showing the exploits of Theseus. Such as the other monuments, it's roped off; however, you can walk around it to admire its upkeep.
Older compared to Parthenon, it's encircled by 34 posts and it is 104 ft long, and it was once full of. 3 entrances: from Monastiraki on Adrianou from Thission on Apostolou Pavlou and climbing down from Acropolis on Ayios Apostoloi, Monastiraki.
Benaki Museum
Before the 2004 Olympic games, Greece's earliest private museum received an amazing face-lift. Established in 1926 by an illustrious Athenian family, the Benaki was among the first to put focus on Greece's later heritage at any given time when many archaeologists were wrecking Byzantine items to gain access to ancient objects. The permanent collection moves chronologically in the first floor upward, from prehistory towards the formation from the Modern Greek condition.
Byzantine and Christian Museum
Among the couple of museums in Europe focusing solely on Byzantine art shows a superb assortment of symbols, mosaics, tapestries, and sculptural fragments (the second offers an excellent summary of Byzantine architecture). The permanent collection is split in 2 primary parts: the very first is dedicated to Byzantium (fourth-15th c. AD) and consists of 1,200 items while the second presents 1,500 artworks dating in the 15th towards the twenty-first century.
Museum of Cycladic Art
Also called the Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation, and funded by certainly one of Greece's wealthiest families, this museum comes with an outstanding assortment of 350 Cycladic items dating in the Bronze Age, including most of the enigmatic marble collectible figurines whose slender shapes intrigued such artists as Picasso, Modigliani, and Brancusi.
National Historical Museum
Artistic highlights of all the duration of Greece's ancient civilization, from Neolithic to Roman occasions, get this to museum a treasure chest beyond compare. Having a massive restoration completed, works which have languished kept in storage for many years are actually in view, reorganized shows are supported by overflowing British-language information, and also the panoply of ancient Greek language art seems more spectacular than ever before. It's most celebrated display may be the Mycenaean Antiquities. Listed here are the stunning gold treasures from Heinrich Schliemann's 1876 excavations of Mycenae's royal tombs.
Withheld in the public ever since they were broken within the 1999 earthquakes, although not to become skipped, would be the superbly restored frescoes from Santorini, wonderful wall art showing daily existence in Minoan Santorini. Other stars from the museum range from the works of Geometric and Archaic art (tenth to sixth century BC), and kouroi and funerary stelae (eighth to fifth century BC). The gathering of classical art (fifth to 3rd century BC) consists of probably the most famous making it through ancient statues: the bareback Jockey of Artemision, a second-century BC Hellenistic bronze restored in the ocean in the same excavation, the bronze Artemision Poseidon (some say Zeus), poised and able to fling a trident and also the Varvakios Athena, one half-size marble form of the gigantic gold-and-ivory cult statue that Pheidias erected within the Parthenon.
Roman Agora. The city's commercial center in the first century BC towards the fourth century AD, the Roman Market would be a large rectangular courtyard having a peristyle that provided shade for those arcades of retailers. Around the north side from the Roman Agora, stands among the couple of remains from the Turkish occupation, the Fethiye (Victory) Mosque. The strangely beautiful mosque was built-in the late 15th century on the website of the Christian chapel to celebrate the Turkish conquest of Athens and also to recognition Mehmet II (the Conqueror). Throughout the couple of several weeks of Venetian rule within the 17th century, the mosque was transformed into a Roman Catholic chapel now utilized as a storehouse. It's closed for the public. Three stages in the best-hands corner from the porch result in the lower minaret, the relaxation which no more is available.
Syntagma (Metabolic rate) Square. Towards the top of the city's primary square stands the Greek Parliament, formerly King Otto's royal structure, carried out 1838 for that new monarchy. It appears a little austere and high for any southern landscape; however it was evidence of progress, the indication of the brand new ruling energy. The building's savior may be the stone's magical change of color from off-whitened to gold to rosy mauve because the day progresses. Recently the square is just about the new frontline of mass protests against harsh austerity measures and also the ongoing financial crisis in A holiday in Greece, along with the base for that citizen movement from the "Indignants."
Shoreline Activities
Perfect for Individuals with Limited Mobility: The Three.5-hour Athens Panorama outing is great for vacationers who can't manage the steep climb and stairs towards the Acropolis. Even though it means only seeing the traditional site from the distance, it is a relatively easy way to take Athens' primary sites, including Hadrian's Arch, the statue of the almighty Byron, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Tomb from the Unknown Soldier, the nation's Gardens, Presidential Structure, Academy and also the College Library. Plus, you go to a hotel for traditional Greek cakes along with a drink, and you will create a shopping stop close to the Acropolis to get souvenirs.
Perfect for Boozers: A seven-hour Taste of Athens tour is a great way to do Athens per day. This tour visits the Acropolis and Ancient Agora, provides you with around an hour to see the shops from the Plaka district and includes lunch with ouzo, wine, Metaxa brandy and entertainment -- though drink an excessive amount of, which could turn to be you. You'll travel largely by bus; however the tour involves about two hrs of walking.
Perfect for Repeat Site visitors: 5-hour Corinth Canal Transit goes by boat across the high-on the sides Corinth Canal, which was forged with the narrow causeway that joins landmass a holiday in Greece towards the Peloponnese. It is a great opportunity to see a great task of engineering close up, however this trip involves a dreary 75-minute freeway drive there and back. Put on cozy and sensible footwear to barter uneven pathways and steps round the canal.
Perfect for Mystics: The nine-hour Discovery Delphi tour involves a couple.5-hour coach journey back and forth from Delphi but consumes spectacular mountain scenery and also the Gulf of Corinth. The tour includes a vacation to the Delphi Museum -- probably the most essential in a holiday in Greece -- along with a traditional Greek lunch then spare time within the village of Delphi. Note: As this trip involves uphill walking and lots of steps, it's wise to consider a sun hat, sun block and a lot of water.
Eating Out
Like the majority of great metropolitan areas, Athens features an array of downtown restaurants suitable for a number of tastes and budgets, although you could find Greek favorites and sea food.
The lively Plaka district, though a little touristy, hosts charming eateries, incorporated the highly suggested Fisherman's Taverna. A popular with local people in addition to site visitors, this restaurant apparently counts Brigitte Bardot among its many fans while offering an excellent taste of old-style Greek hospitality, a comfortable open fire and alfresco dining inside a pretty courtyard. It serves seafood dishes alongside Greek classics, while offering live music each night day except Tuesday. It's wise to reserve ahead.
Non conventional to look at but equally famous because of its meals are Melilotos, with a convenient location (only five minutes' walk from Syntagma Square) and delivers fresh and colorful preparing salads alongside Greek favorites like barbecue pork and phyllo-wrapped cheese and leek pastries.
For any sophisticated taste of old Athens, derive the city's earliest restaurant, Ideal, which sits near Omonia Square, close to the Central Market. Drink in the charming Art Deco interior while tucking into Greek classics like moussaka and veal kebabs, or worldwide dishes including chicken a la Milanese.
Piraeus offers some shopping (especially the open air market) but most folks head to the Plaka District for excellent shopping opportunities of interest to visitors. Note however, that most of the shops in Athens close for afternoon siesta around 1 to 2 pm and do not reopen until 5:30 pm or so. Most of the shops are also closed on Sundays, so be sure to plan your shopping times to accommodate this reality. Ermou Street off Syntagma has designer goods and boutiques. 
What is there to buy?
There are a ton of local products worth considering. Olive oil and local olives are superb, look for local carpets of exceptional quality, designer clothes and leather products (especially shoes) ouzo (the local alcoholic beverage of choice) makes an excellent purchase. In the Plaka, you will find everything under the sun including a very vibrant antique market. Be aware that Greece has a VAT of 17% that is added to all purchases.
Athens has great gifts, particularly hand crafted crafts. Shops stock copies of traditional Greek jewelry, silver filigree, Skyrian pottery, onyx ashtrays and dishes, woven bags, attractive area, made of wool knit tops, and little blue-and-whitened pendants designed as amulets to arrive at agreeable mati (evil eye). A holiday in Greece can also be noted for its well-made footwear (most shops are clustered round the Ermou pedestrian zone as well as in Kolonaki), its real furs (Mitropoleos near Syntagma), and its durable, exclusive leather merchandise.
Shops on Pandrossou sell small antiques and symbols, but bear in mind that lots of they are knockoffs. You'll want government permission to export original objects of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Many museums sell top-quality reproductions or miniatures at good pieces.

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