When visiting Athens on an island-hopping cruise in the Greek Islands, between April and late October, you have so many recreational options available to you. Once you have exhausted all of the main landmark attractions of the iconic historic city, you can depart from Athens on an exciting day trip to a variety of intriguing locations. Our travel experts are on hand to organise an extension at the beginning or end of your small ship Greek cruise. We can arrange a stay in the best hotels as well as private transfers for the best day trips from Athens.
Travel time: 3 hours each way.
The Delphi archaeological site in Greece was once considered to be the centre of the world and one of the most sacred places in the ancient civilisation. The historic UNESCO World Heritage site is situated in a prime spot that is surrounded by the slopes of Mount Parnassus, where mythical Pan and the nymphs lived, and is associated with the god Apollo.
On a visit to Delphi, explore the archaeological site at your leisure. From the Temple of Apollo wander further up hill to the site of the ancient theatre. Originally built in the 4th century BC, the sprawling theatre features 35 rows and can easily seat 5,000 spectators.
The vast complex of ruins includes the circular building of Tholos, which consists of 20 exterior Doric columns and 10 interior Corinthian columns; the Hippodrome, where Pythian Games running events took place; and the excavation site of the medieval village of Kastri.
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Travel time: Located within easy reach of the city centre.
The iconic Acropolis is an archaeological wonder, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and also one of the major tourist attractions in Greece. A guided walking tour is the best way to explore the famous ancient ruins, as you can take in the sights of the entire complex at your pace. You can comfortably make your way around the Acropolis in around 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Open all year round, the Acropolis gets extremely busy in the peak summer season. During July and August, temperatures can soar to 85°F (30°C) and there are few places on site that provide cooling shade. Arrive at the 8am opening time or after 5pm, to avoid the tourist crush. Remember to wear comfortable shoes that are suitable for walking over uneven ground.
The magnificent Parthenon, situated at the top of Mars Hill and Filopappos Hill both offer exceptional views of the entire archaeological site. From Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic vistas of the city. The neighbouring rooftop bars and restaurants are popular places to visit at night, as you can feast your eyes on the fabulous illuminated Acropolis.
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Travel time: 30 minutes each way.
When the Olympic Games began, in the 11th century BC, the festival was initially dedicated to the god Zeus, and later to the celebration of the city of Athens. It wasn’t until 1896 that the first modern day Olympics were held in Athens. The major sporting event took place in the Panathenaic Stadium, and was honoured every four years from the 8th century BC until the 4th century AD. Originally built in the 4th century BC, the stadium was completed restored to host the games.
The Panathenaic Stadium is a historic and cultural monument and the only stadium in the world that is constructed entirely from marble. At the start of every Summer, Winter and Youth Olympic Games, the Olympic Torch is lit at the iconic stadium. The Panathenaic Stadium is open 7 days a week throughout the year. Due to the reflective marble, temperatures inside the stadium can get incredibly hot. It’s best to visit during the cooler periods, in the morning and evening.
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Give our friendly travel experts a call to organise a Cruise & Stay trip in Greece. Before or after your small ship cruise of the Greek Islands, stay in Athens to explore the fantastic ancient culture on the best excursions from Athens.