From high atop the famous Acropolis of Athens, it’s easy to feel like the whole city is at your fingertips. The UNESCO World Heritage site is the most well-known attraction in Athens, but just a small piece of what makes the city a must-visit for cruisers and travelers alike. As the capital of Greece and with a history thousands of years in the making, Athens draws tourists from all over the world who are interested in enriching their knowledge of world history while also enjoying a modern city with contemporary amenities, culture and cuisine.
Piraeus, the main cruise port gateway to Athens, sees ships from major and boutique cruise lines and is a highlight of many Mediterranean itineraries. The port’s proximity to the sights of Athens makes it a popular stop for shore excursions and day trips. The fabulous mix of history, culture and beauty make Greece the next great cruise vacation you have to book.
Cruising to Athens
People flock to Athens by plane and car, but perhaps the most underrated way to arrive in this magnificent city is by cruise ship. Athens is in a unique position along the Mediterranean Sea which makes it a convenient port of call for any size cruise ship. Booking an itinerary with a stop in Athens compliments a Greek island cruise nicely as guests trade the islands and pristine beaches for a day full of fun and adventure.
Located less than 10 miles from the center of the city, Piraeus is a hassle-free port with a modern terminal and plenty of transportation options to the most popular attractions across Athens. Guests can arrange private transportation through their travel service, or take advantage of the local taxi, bus and metro services when they arrive in port.
Many of the world’s most recognizable cruise brands offer Mediterranean itineraries with stops in Piraeus so travelers are encouraged to visit Athens via cruise ship for a truly unique way to experience this spectacular city.
What to do in Athens
No matter how you arrive in Athens, there’s no shortage of things to do and experience. For history buffs, Athens offers an array of ancient sites of major historical importance. It’s one of the oldest inhabited places in the world with evidence of civilizations dating back even before recorded history. Athens is in a constant state of discovery as archeologists from all over flock to locations in and around the city in the hope of uncovering hidden secrets of the ancient world.
No landmark in Athens is as well known as the Acropolis. On a plateau nearly 500 feet above the city, the Acropolis is a must-visit for anyone’s first time in Athens. Thousands of years ago, the Acropolis was a living testament to the city’s wealth and power. The Parthenon, the most famous building on the plateau, was a temple to the Goddess Athena and was built entirely of massive marble blocks. The temple’s symmetry, beauty and scale made it one of the most impressive buildings of the time period.
Visiting the Acropolis Museum in the heart of the city is an excellent way to learn more about the role the Acropolis played in ancient times. The museum itself is built around the ruins of some of Athen’s earliest residences and guests gain an appreciation for how truly advanced and comfortable daily life was for ancient Athenians.
If you do visit the Acropolis, spending some time in the nearby Plaka neighborhood is a must. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city and the quaint streets are mostly closed to traffic. The result is a collection of boutique shops, outdoor cafes and jewelry makers away from the crowds and noise of the bustling city. Here you’ll find authentic Greek bites like Souvlaki or Spanakopita and some excellent people-watching as well.
Your Athens Vacation
Often called the birthplace of Western civilization, ancient Greece set the precedent for modern art, architecture, philosophy, government and more. Today, the city is a tourist mecca and is more accessible than ever before thanks to the growing popularity of Mediterranean cruises. Cruising to Greece through Piraeus is one of the most convenient ways to see the city and highly recommended on your next cruise vacation!