DAY 12: Piraeus (Athens), GR

11 July – Elegant Athens Tour

(Guide – Viator)

 

[On Shore times 0700 to 1645 (GMT+2]

Monday    11-Jul-2021    PIRAEUS (ATHENS)

SOME OF THE INFORMATION BELOW IS OUTDATED

Port Information

 Other ships in port:

 

Piraeus is the biggest seaport in Greece and among the largest Mediterranean ports. The port also serves the country’s capital city – Athens. In 2014, Piraeus port was ranked Europe’s busiest passenger port – handling over 18,6 million passengers (including on ferries and cruise ships). Port’s container cargo handling is also growing rapidly.

Next to the seaport is located Piraeus Train Station, which has two buildings – one is terminus of Athens Metro Line 1, the other – terminus for standard trains. 

Piraeus cruise terminal

Port’s main terminals for cruise ships are Terminal A and Terminal B. Their berths (a total of 11) are on the southern quays. Between Xaveris and Mioulis docks, at the harbor’s middle is located cruise terminal Miaoulis (A). It can be reached by gate E11. Enter E12 leads to cruise terminal Themistocles (B). It is situated into the Termistokleous breakwater but is not open so often. If it is closed, the passengers from cruise terminal B are transferred to cruise terminal B by a shuttle bus.

Piraeus-Athens cruise port map (printable)
Port Piraeus-Athens cruise ship terminals

List of potential activities/sights

  • 20 minute drive from port 
  • -Car with Driver
  • Athena Parthenos Replica
  • Acropolis
  • Parthenon
  • Acropolis Museum
  • Erechtheion (Temple to Athena and Poseidon)
  • National Archeological Museum
  • Temple of Hephaestus
  • Temple of Athena NIke
  • Plaka (cool street)
  • Temple of Zeus
  • Benaki Museum
  • Ancient Agora of Athens (Marketplace)
  • Panathenaic Stadium
  • Mount Lycabettus
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Stone Theater)
  • Philopappos Monument (Tomb of Caius Julius Antiochos Philopappos)
  • Byzantine and Christian Museum
  • Kapnikarea (Oldest Church in Athens)
  • Areopagus (Ares Rock)
  • Theater of Dionysus
  • National Garden
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Walking Tour

  1. Parthenon
  2. Erechtheion
  3. Propylaea
  4. Temple of Athena Nike
  5. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  6. Theater of Dionysus
  7. Acropolis Museum
  8. Arch of Hadrian
  9. Temple of Olympian Zeus
  10. Panathenaic Stadium
  11. National Garden
  12. Ancient Agora of Athens
  13. Temple of Hephaestus

Recommendations from Amelia and Sara from 2020

 

Disney Excursions

https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/port-adventures/europe/list/piraeus-greece/

Ultimate Tour – Acropolis, Acropolis Museum & Ancient Agora (PI35)

Price: $174.00

Activity Level & Duration: Athletic, 7 to 7.5 Hours

Commune with the ancients on this full-day tour through Athens—climb to the top of the Acropolis, marvel at excavated treasures and dine in view of the ruins. Delight in a visit to the New Acropolis Museum, home to an extraordinary collection of antiquities, sculptures, friezes and more.

On this adventure you will…

  • Board your motorcoach for a scenic 30-minute drive from Piraeus to the heart of Athens. Along the way, pass a host of major sites, including Hadrian’s Arch, the statue of Lord Byron, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Constitution Square, the former Royal Palace (now the Parliament House), the National Garden, the Academy, and the University Senate and Library.
  • Visit the New Acropolis Museum, a stunning blend of past and present, located at the base of the Acropolis, with a direct view of the Parthenon. Spend 90 minutes in this modern 5-story structure designed by architect Bernard Tschumi. The building’s architecture allows the rich collection of antiquities and sculptures to be seen in natural light. On the museum’s top floor, marvel at the frieze from the Parthenon. Then, turn around for a view of the actual Parthenon through enormous glass windows.
  • Climb the 80 steep steps to the Acropolis, the rocky outcrop that dominates the Athenian landscape. Walk through the monumental gateway, the Propylaea, which extends 150 feet across the western side of the Acropolis. From here, the views of Athens below are incredible. Beyond the Propylaea, on the highest point of the Acropolis stands the Parthenon, one of the greatest monuments of all ancient civilizations. Dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena, the white Pentelic marble temple was built between 446 and 437 BC. See the Erectheum, situated on the most sacred site of the Acropolis, where Athena and Poseidon are said to have held a contest to decide who would be patron of the new city.
  • Walk 30 minutes to the trendy neighborhood of Thission for a wonderful yevma, the Greek word for lunch. Sample regional delicacies and taste flavorful local wines. After this refreshing respite, walk along Apostolou Pavlou Street with your guide, who will narrate the history of the ancient Agora, once a thriving marketplace and public forum.
  • Catch a view the Doric-style Temple of Hephaestus, built in 449 BC and still in excellent condition. Enjoy free time to purchase souvenirs and refreshments.
  • Reboard your motorcoach for Piraeus, and on the way, stop briefly at the Panathenaic Stadium to see this marble structure, rebuilt to host the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
  • Return to the pier.

Essential Athens, the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum (PI32)

Price: $129.00

Activity Level & Duration: Moderate, 5.5 to 6 Hours

Set off on a memorable tour that combines a scenic drive through Athens with visits to the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum. Experience the state-of-the-art Parthenon Gallery, where you can view remnants of ancient statues up close and personal.

On this adventure you will…

  • Leave the cruise port of Piraeus and take the scenic route past picture-perfect Zea Marina. Zea was first a naval port built by Themistocles to defend Athens against an invasion by Persians in the early 5th century BC.
  • Arrive in Athens, today a large and modern city—and home to some of history’s most incredible antiquities. Climb up to the Acropolis through the impressive Propylea. Listen to your guide describe the history of these great temples and significant buildings, including the famed Parthenon, one of the world’s greatest monuments. Dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena, the Pentelic marble temple was built between 446 and 437 BC, and its architectural sophistication and Doric style have captivated visitors for centuries. Although the remaining structure appears to be stark white marble, experts now believe that at one time much of the detail work on the building was brightly colored.
  • Proceed to the New Acropolis Museum, which houses a wealth of priceless works, in particular the sculptures that originally adorned the monuments of the Acropolis. This modern building was constructed above the excavations of ancient Athens and is divided into 3 levels and is supported by more than 100 individually positioned columns. On the ground floor, you can view the ancient ruins through a transparent glass floor. The glass staircase leads to a display of archaeological relics from the Archaic Age to the last days of the Roman period.
  • Enjoy the unique experience of the Parthenon Gallery, which has been constructed at an angle of 23 degrees to the building below in order to mirror the actual position of the temple on the Acropolis.
  • Continue on a panoramic tour of this busy capital city and drive by some of Athens’s most famous attractions, such as the University Senate, the National Library and the Academy, as well as the Arch of Hadrian, Constitution Square, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Parliament.
  • Return to the pier.

Historic Athens Sightseeing, the Acropolis and Plaka (PI30)

Price $79.00

Activity Level & Duration: Moderate, 5 to 5.5 Hours

Take off on an incredible journey back in time on this awe-inspiring excursion through Athens—visit the Acropolis, see the key landmarks and stroll through Plaka. Behold the 2,500-year-old Parthenon, one of the greatest architectural wonders of the Western world.

On this adventure you will…

  • Leave the port of Piraeus and drive past the yacht harbor of Zea. The port was first built by Themistocles to defend Athens against the Persian Invasion in the early 5th century BC.
  • Arrive in Athens and visit the Acropolis. Climb up the ancient citadel and walk through the monumental gate, the Propylaea. See the awe-inspiring Parthenon—Temple of Athena the Virgin—built between 447 and 438 BC, during the Golden Age of Athens under the rule of Pericles and management of master architect and sculptor Phidias. Marvel at the delicate Erechtheum, with its unique Porch of the Maidens—the Caryatides. Learn of all the buildings and temples of this once-sacred site and take time to appreciate the outstanding views across the whole of Athens.
  • Continue the panoramic tour to see the Panathenaic Stadium, the world’s only large stadium built entirely of white marble.
  • Pass by and admire the elegance of the capital’s neoclassical buildings such as the University Senate, the Academy and the National Library. Also see the Parliament House in Constitution Square as well as many other landmarks.
  • Walk through Plaka, the oldest part of modern Athens, home to elegant neoclassical buildings, ancient monuments and shops. With an aura of yesteryear, Plaka today is interspersed with traditional restaurants, cafés and boutiques.
  • After some free time, return to the coast and Piraeus.

Best of Athens, Acropolis and the Archaeological Museum with Lunch (PI33)

Prices: $159.00

Activity Level & Duration: Athletic, 6.5 to 7 Hours

Tour the Acropolis, grab a quick bite in Plaka and browse the ancient artifacts at the National Archaeological Museum.  Refuel with a traditional Greek lunch while exploring the most historic section of the city.

On this adventure you will…

  • Board a motorcoach in Piraeus and enjoy a panoramic tour of the city of Athens passing the Temple of Olympian Zeus—one of the largest temples in the Corinthian style—and Hadrian’s Arch.
  • Make a photo stop at the Panathenaic Stadium, built in 1896 to host the first modern-day Olympic Games in the very spot where the ancient Panathenaic Games were held in honor of the goddess Athena.
  • Pass such neoclassical landmarks as the University Senate and the Academy, home of Athens’s first library and university.
  • Continue to the National Archaeological Museum, considered one of the world’s most significant museums of its kind. Here, you can trace the development of Greek art from prehistoric days to the Golden Age of Athens and beyond.
  • Visit the awe-inspiring Acropolis, the ancient temple complex boasting a range of ruins dating back to the second millennium BC. The principal buildings are the Propylaea (entrance), the Temple of Athena Nike, the ancient temple of Erechtheion and the glorious Parthenon, built in the 5th century BC. While here, be sure to take in the incredible panoramic views of the city below.
  • Head to the historic neighborhood of Plaka to enjoy lunch in a typical Plaka restaurant with live music.
  • Enjoy some free time in Plaka after lunch to shop, take photos and soak in the local color.
  • Return to your motorcoach at the prearranged time and return to Piraeus.

Connoisseurs’ Athens – VIP Small Group Tour (PI34)

Prices: $249.00

Activity Level & Duration: Athletic, 7 to 7.5 Hours

Gain a better understanding of the ancient world on this small-group excursion to the Acropolis, the Agora and the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art—lunch included. Visit the must-see landmarks, including the Parthenon, the Greek Theatre of Dionysos, the Roman Odeon of Herod Atticus.

On this adventure you will…

  • Travel from bustling Piraeus, the port of Athens since ancient times, for a convenient drive to Greece’s capital.
  • Arrive in Athens and follow the pathway and steps leading through the massive Propylaea to the rocky outcrop of the Acropolis itself. No place in the Western world better symbolizes the combination of harmony and architectural propriety than the elegant buildings of the Athenian Acropolis. Designed and constructed during the Golden Age of Pericles in the 5th century BC, these monuments have withstood the ravages of time and stand as a beacon to Athens, the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western civilization. You will see the imposing Parthenon, the Temple of the Wingless Victory and the Erechtheum.
  • Go below the ramparts of the Acropolis to see other significant sights of ancient Athens, including the classical Greek Theatre of Dionysos, the Roman Odeon of Herod Atticus and the Agora.
  • Continue to the new award-winning Acropolis Museum to get an even better understanding of the treasures of the Acropolis that have survived through the centuries. Here, you’ll encounter nearly 4,000 artifacts found on the Acropolis, including the impressive Caryatids of the Erechtheum.
  • Take time out to enjoy a gourmet Athenian lunch while taking in the breathtaking views of the Acropolis. Then prepare to see another side of this truly cosmopolitan city.
  • Visit the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art, situated next to the Panathenaic Stadium. This impressive museum opened its doors in October, 2019 and displays art from the private collection of Basil and Elise Goulandris, which includes works by El Greco, Cézanne, Matisse, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Braque, Rodin, Pollock, Modigliani, de Chirico, Bacon and Hepworth, as well as from a number of famous Greek artists. Before concluding your visit, stop to view the museum’s impressive collection of fine 18th-century French furniture.
  • Return to the pier.

Acropolis Sightseeing and Archaeological Museum with Lunch (PI08)

Price: $145.00

Activity Level & Duration: Moderate, 8 to 8.5 Hours

Tour the Acropolis, grab a quick bite in Plaka and browse the ancient artifacts at the National Archaeological Museum. Refuel with a souvlaki—the legendary street food of Greece—while exploring the oldest, most colorful and very walkable section of the city.

On this adventure you will…

  • Meet your guide, board an air-conditioned motorcoach and depart the port of Piraeus. Travel 75 minutes to Athens, passing such landmarks as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the National Gardens, the Old Parliament House (formerly the Royal Palace) and the Academy, the first University and the National Library of Athens. Then, pass by the Panathenaic Stadium, built in 1895 to host the first modern-day Olympics.
  • Arrive at the bottom of the Acropolis, an architectural masterpiece dating back to the Golden Age of Athens. Today, the complex is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Walk up about 100 steps for a bird’s-eye view of the city as your tour guide shares the history and myths of this iconic location. During your 90-minute visit, you’ll see the Propylea (entrance), the ancient temple of Erechtheion, the Temple of the Wingless Victory and, of course, the crowning glory of Athens, the incomparable Parthenon dedicated to the city’s patron goddess, Athena.
  • Descend the Acropolis and enjoy a Greek souvlaki lunch in the historic neighborhood of Plaka. After lunch, enjoy 60 minutes of free time to shop and explore (time permitting) before reboarding your motorcoach for a transfer to your next stop.
  • Continue to the National Archaeological Museum, home to an impressive collection of Neolithic, Cycladic, Mycenaean, Geometric and Archaic artifacts, including pottery and Thera frescoes. The museum was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece. It is the largest museum of its kind in Greece and one of the most important in the world.
  • Note: This tour includes approximately one mile of walking uphill and downhill on uneven surfaces and includes 200 steps (100 each way). Guests are advised to wear flat and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Large backpacks and oversized purses are not permitted inside the site or in the museum. No flash photography in the museum. Long lines and waits might occur and every effort is made to coordinate the best time for visits.
  • The order of sites may be reversed based on traffic, weather and overcrowding of venues.
  • A Whisper System headset will be provided during the tour.
  • Souvlaki lunch options might include Greek salad, pita bread with pork or chicken and a soft drink or water per person.
  • After your 90-minute visit, reboard your motorcoach for the ride back to Piraeus.

All Disney Excursions Know Before You Go

Wheelchairs need to be standard size and collapsible; no electric wheelchairs or scooters will be permitted. Guests must be able to board and disembark the motorcoach on their own.

All these tours include walking at a steady pace, part of which will be on cobblestone, uneven and/or gravel surfaces. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Due to the popularity of some sites, crowding and lines can be anticipated.

Please be aware that there may be ongoing restoration work taking place at sites visited on this tour.

Due to security restrictions at the Acropolis, large bags and backpacks will be prohibited.

All times and distances are approximate, subject to traffic and overcrowding.

Temperatures can get extremely high during summer. Guests are encouraged to stay hydrated and wear hats, sunglasses, insect repellent and sunscreen. An optional umbrella to create shade is also advisable.

Guests are encouraged to bring currency and credit cards to purchase extras such as souvenirs or snacks.

Additional Disney excursions include a 2-2.5 hour bus tour, a Panathenaic Stadium tour, beach tours, cooking tours, Corinth visit, and a 2-hour Agora and Plaka walking tour.

Alternatives to Disney Excursion

There are a lot of ways to travel between the Piraeus Port and Athens City Center/Acropolis.

Taxi

By most reports it is easy and safe to use Athens taxis. Standard Athens taxis are all yellow with a black and yellow sign on the roof. The only down side is that there will be long queues at prime times. Another option is prepaying for a taxi to avoid waiting. One company that provides prepaid one-way rides is Welcome Pickups (see notes in Barcelona also). Part ride-share, part taxi, Welcome has a clear online presence, good reviews, and is recommended on some travel sites.

Welcome Athens – An online quote from the Piraeus Cruise Terminal to “Walking to Acropolis Parthenon” was 32.29 Euro for 4 people in a sedan. The reverse quote was 32.19 Euro. The distance/time quoted was 9 km/11 minutes. It would be wise to allow more time for traffic. Most online sources indicate 20-30 minutes by taxi between the port and the Acropolis.

Hop on Hop Off Bus

There are at least 3 HOHO busses that provide service in Athens. The three companies seem to be Citysightseeing (Red bus), Gray Line (Yellow Bus), and Sights of Athens (Blue Bus). Thus far, I have only researched Red. Stay posted for more on the others soon.

CitySightseeing Athens

https://www.citysightseeing.gr/en/cruise-ship-passengers-1-day-athens-and-piraeus

Transfers to Acropolis/Parthenon A7

  • From Cruise Ship Terminal frequency every 15min, first Tour 08:15
  • Back to Cruise Ship from A7 11:15- 11:45- 12:15- 12:45- 13:15- 13:45- 14:15- 14:45- 15:15- 15:45- 16:15- 16:45- 17:15- 7:45- 18:15 | Duration: 40 min

Interchange with Athens Line

  • When you arrive at the Acropolis & Parthenon (bus Stop A7) interchange you can Hop-On to our Bus for the Athens Line and do the historical centre (duration 90min). Frequency EVERY 15min. To visit the archaeological site of Parthenon allow about 30-45 minutes.
  • 16:45- 17:15- 7:45- 18:15 | Duration: 40 min

What’s included?

CitySightSeeing is the World’s number one Open-Top Bus operator, with sightseeing tours in more than 130 locations carrying well over 13 million passengers per year.

The tours provide the perfect way to see all the best sights and attractions in each city.

Athens Line

This line operates daily and traces the history and culture of Athens and Attica with a commentary in 12 languages. One will hear the story of this city and surrounding area, from Ancient times up to modern times, all from the bird’s eye view up on top deck. What’s more, it gives the passengers the opportunity to save energy for the museums, art galleries, heritage and archaeological sites and last but not least, the fantastic shopping!

Wheelchair  / Luggage

All of our  City Sightseeing  buses have a dedicated area big enough to accommodate any type of wheelchairs. This area can also be used for people to store their prams, suitcases, shopping etc. Note: Wheelchairs have priority.

Redeem ticket at any City Sightseeing bus stop

One can Hop On at any City Sightseeing Bus Stop. Simply present to our escort or driver your e-ticket or a print out or even the transaction on your mobile.

FREE Walking Tour Daily

Meeting Point : Bus Stop A7 Acropolis/Parthenon (Summer Season).

FREE  Glass of Greek Beer

At Bus Stop A1 (except Sundays & Bank Holidays).

FREE WiFi on board of all our buses.

FREE Poncho in case of rain.

10% DISCOUNT on any CitySightSeeing worldwide by presenting your Athens ticket.

FREE Luxury Brochure with a detailed map

REDUCTIONS on several private museums and various shops by presenting our bus ticket. If using the Riviera Line and you use the Vouliagmeni Thermal Lake, Stop B7, your ticket will give you a 3 euros reduction on the entrance fee and a 15% reduction on the food ( NB: Show your ticket to the waiter upon ordering).

Metro

The Metro is an inexpensive, direct way to get into the city center. The only problem is that the Metro station is a 20-40 minute walk from the Cruise Passenger terminal. There is a city bus that connects the two. We can do more research on this.

Athens Metro Map

This website has good summaries of travel options:

https://www.davestravelpages.com/how-to-get-from-piraeus-to-athens

Personal Notes: