After meeting your English Speaking driver, you will start your day with a visit to the famous Acropolis Hill. You will view The Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 B.C. as the focus of the Acropolis building complex. Dedicated to the goddess Athena Pallas or Parthenos (virgin), it’s main function was to shelter the monumental statue of Athena that was made out of gold and ivory. You will see the Erechtheon, started in 420 B.C. as a temple for religious rituals, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis which blends Doric and Ionic building principles, and the small temple Athena Nike, which stands on a protruding mass of rock, protecting the gate to the citadel.
From the Acropolis, you can also look down on the Ancient Agora, Tower of the Winds, Herodes Atticus Theater and the Theater of Dionyssos from your lofty perch. In the distance you can see the Temple of Zeus, and the former Royal Palace, now the House of Parliament.
Meet with your driver again and after a short drive you arrive to the Temple of Zeus, the largest Temple ever built in ancent Europe. Originally there were 104 Corinthian columns of which only 15 remain standing. One of the columns actually blew down in a storm in 1852. Hadrian had erected a giant gold and ivory status of Zeus inside the temple with an equally large one of himself next to it. Nothing remains of these statues. It is not known when the temple of Zeus was destroyed but it probably came down in an earthquake during the mediaeval period. Nearby is the Arch of Hadrian which was erected in 132 AD as a gate between the ancient city and the Roman city of Athens. On the side of the Arch facing the Acropolis is the inscription,“This is Athensm, the former city of Theseus” while the other side reads,” this is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus“.
Next, you will proceed to the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. The Panathenaic Stadium is one of the largest stadiums of the ancient times. It is situated at the foot of two small hills of Athens: the Ardittos Hill and the Agras Hill.
In ancient Greece the panathenaic games were held in the Panathenaic Stadium. Around the second century A.D. marble seats from the Odeon of Herod Atticus were added to it. At the time of Turkish domination, the Panathenaic Stadium was nearly devastated. It was rebuilt, though, at the expense of G. Averof and the first Olympic Games of 1896 were held in it.
After a short photo stop at the Olympic Stadium, we will drive you up to Lycavettus Hill to admire the spectacular views of the city. Mount Lycabettus, also known as Lycabettos, (Lykabettos or Lykavittos ), is a Cretaceous limestone hill in Athens. At 277 meters (908 feet) above sea level, the hill is the highest point in the city that surrounds it. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.
After descending the hill, you will enjoy a city orientation drive viewing sites such as the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, and the National Library, the former Royal Palace which is now the Greek House of Parliament. We will then have a stop at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier to watch the changing of the guards ceremony. The uniforms recall different areas and eras in Greek history, with the pleated kilt or fustanella and pom-pom decorated footwear catching the most attention. The kilt may stretch back four thousand years into ancient Minoan times, when the kilt was the common clothing item of Cretan men, usually enhanced with a large dagger stuck into the waistband.
Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!
What makes this tour unique?
This is a great introductory tour of Athens, to help you get oriented and better organize the remainder of your stay.
- Comfortable clothing and sensible, flat-soled walking shoes are recommended. Sun glasses and sun screen are suggested.
- Walking: Difficult.To climb up to the Acropolis, guests must be able to walk over paved, inclined paths, some with steps, then climb a series of steps to reach the propylea. The walking surfaces on top of the Acropolis are uneven.
- Disabled access at the Acropolis is provided by a wheelchair stair climber lift elevator.Please do keep in mind that this is an elevator strictly available to disabled visitors only.
- visitors using a wheelchair or some other kinetic equipment,
- visitors with some kind of physiopathological situation that affects their kinetic ability either permanently or temporarily and
- visitors that have a certified rate of disability whether this is affecting their kinetic ability or not.
- The order of the sites may change due to crowds, traffic and demonstrations.
- We do our best to ensure that every stop described is available for your visit. There are some times when a site or building is closed at the last moment with little to no warning. We assume that those in charge make those decisions based on external information and for the visitors’ safety and we apologize when this causes inconvenience and disappointment.
- It’s always a great idea to bring a bottle of water and sunscreen with you because in the warmer months it becomes quite hot and sunny.
- A hat to protect your head and shade your face is also recommended when spending a significant amount of time in the sun.
- The area around the Acropolis Hill and Syntagma Square (changing of the guards) can become quite crowded, especially during the peak travel months, so be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you.
- Do not accept ‘gifts’ from street vendors approaching tourists. They may offer you roses, but if choose you accept, you will be expected to pay or give a tip for them.
Did you Know?
- Between the ages of 18-20, boys in Ancient Athens spent 2 years training as soldiers. Athenian soldiers had the letter “A” painted on their shield. They also had to pay for their own weapons.
- In Ancient Athens boys went to school at the age of 7. They learnt how to read, write, sing, and recite poetry. They left school at 18 to start their military service.