After you are greeted by your English speaking driver at your hotel, you will make your way to the Acropolis Hill (visit), one of the most photographed and recognizable hills in the entire world.
No visit to Athens is complete without a climb up to the Acropolis (“peak of the city”), where Ancient Athenians of the 5th century BC erected the great temple dedicated to the goddess Athena – the extraordinary Parthenon. The Acropolis of Athens has been a symbol of artistic and architectural excellence, and has been an inspiration for numerous artists from the Roman times to the present day.
You will also see Propylea, the monumental entrance to the sacred area, the Temple of Athena Nike which was dedicated to Athena-Nike (Victory), the Erechtheion with its famous female figures-statues the Caryatides or Maidens dedicated to both goddess Athena and god Poseidon. At the footsteps of the Acropolis Hill, the Odeum of Herodus Atticus and the ruins of the first theatre in the whole world the Theatre of Dionysus and finally the Areopagus (Mars Hill).
After your visit to the Acropolis, we will proceed to The Temple of Olympian Zeus & Hadrian’s Arch (short visit). This colossal ruined temple was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He used his relationship with his Greek favorite Antinous to underline his philhellenism and led to the creation of one of the most popular cults of ancient times.
Your next stop will be the Panathinaic Stadium (short stop). The Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro (meaning the “beautifully marbled”), is an athletic stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancientGreek stadium, the Panathenaic is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble and is one of the oldest in the world.
You will continue on to the highest hill of Athens Lycabettus (also known as Lycabettos, Lykabettos or Lykavittos). At 277 meters (908 feet) above sea level, Lycabettus stands high above Athens, commanding a clear view across the Attica basin and the Aegean Sea (On a clear day you can see all the way to the Peloponnese). Here you will have the chance to capture great panoramic pictures of the entire city.
Lycabettus appears in various legends. Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, possibly the origin of its name (which means “the one (the hill) that is walked by wolves”). Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a mountain she had been carrying from Pallene for the construction of the Acropolis after the box holding Erichthonius was opened.
After this unforgettable view, we will head over the old Royal Palace and today’s Parliament, with the elite unit known as the Evzones in their picturesque uniforms guarding the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier. 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.
The changing of the guards takes place every hour on the hour but the “big” show is on Sundays at 10:45, involving the whole Guard with its officers and a military band, all marching from the Guard Barracks to the Tomb for the Change, and back. Then we will drive along Panepistimiou Avenue to get a glimpse of the beauty of the most famous Athenian Neo-Classical buildings , such as the Numismatic Museum (ex Schliemann’s house) and the Athens Trilogy consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens, before arriving to our next destination the Ancient Agora (visit).
The Agora was the heart of ancient Athens, the focus of political, commercial, administrative and social activity, the religious and cultural centre, and the seat of justice.
The site was occupied without interruption in all periods of the city’s history. It was used as a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic period (3000 B.C.). Early in the 6th century, in the time of Solon, the Agora became a public area.
After a series of repairs and remodellings, it reached its final rectangular form in the 2nd century B.C. Extensive building activity occured after the serious damage made by the Persians in 480/79 B.C., by the Romans in 89 B.C. and by the Herulae in A.D. 267 while, after the Slavic invasion in A.D. 580, it was gradually abandoned. From the Byzantine period until after 1834, when Athens became the capital of the independent Greek state, the Agora was again developed as a residential area.
You will pause for a Greek lunch before exploring the New Acropolis Museum, an incredible modern structure that is home to the Parthenon’s famous artifacts; or the National Archaeological Museum, home to the world’s greatest collection of masterworks of Ancient Greece; or one of several Athens museums highlighting other aspects of Greek culture, such as the wonderful Benaki Museum.
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 the only Athens tour which covers all of the most important sites in the center of Athens without the hassles of waiting in line!
- This is a great introductory tour of Athens, to help you get oriented and better organize the remainder of your stay.
- Allows you to tour Athens with a local driver able to show you the real face of the city.
- Although we are proud that our drivers have been given the title “Driver Guides” for their wealth of information, due to strict Greek laws & regulations that protect officially licensed guides, our drivers can only comment and explain the sights from inside the vehicle, and are not allowed to do so once they are outside the vehicle. Our drivers will also be happy to suggest fine restaurants for an authentic dining experience during your day of touring. If you wish to have a personal licensed tour guide please include this on your request.
- The order of the sites may change due to crowds, traffic and demonstrations.
- Photography is permitted throughout the tour except for the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis and the Archaic Gallery, at the New Acropolis museum.
- Comfortable walking shoes are suggested for this tour.
- The Acropolis may only be accessed by walking uphill. It is a strenuous walk and you must be in good physical condition. There is a pathway, but there are also steps near the top. Keep in mind that the weather may be very hot during the summer.
- Disabled access at the Acropolis is provided by a wheelchair stair climber lift elevator.
- 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 Acropolis Museum is closed on Mondays.
- 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?
- Numerous other temples were erected on the Acropolis in the so-called archaic period, but many of them were either completely or partially destroyed during the Persian invasions.
- The Athenians, worried about losing the Peloponnesian war, cut off the wings of their own statue of Nike to make sure that she wouldn’t fly away and take vistory along with her.
- According to the Greek mythology, the god Hephaestus once tried to rape Athena,the virgin goddess and patron of the city.Unsuccessful, he impregnated the earth instead, resulting in the birth of the demi-god Erichtonios. Raised by Athena, Erichtonios,became an early king of Athens and is regarded as the ancestor of all Athenians.
- In 1687, while the Ottoman forces were operating from the Parthenon, the Venetians bombarded the ammunition trash that was kept inside. This resulted in a huge explosion in which a severe damage was caused to the edifice as well as its sculptures.
- In 1806, Lord Elgin took permission from the Ottomans and managed to remove some of those marble sculptures which survived the explosion. These are now known as the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, and are currently housed in the British Museum in London.
- During a demonstration in front of the parliament (In January 2010), a molotov cocktail was thrown at one of the guardhouses. Although the police informed the Evzones of the imminent threat, the Guards refused to leave their posts and remained on guard while the bomb exploded.
- In no time,the wooden construction was engulfed in flames.the evzone standing next to it didn’t even blink his eyes,let alone move, until his superior came and gave him the order to move. With a scorched and partially smoking uniform on one side, the Evzone did.
Was Athena born a baby?
No. Athena was not only born a woman, but she was also fully armed, waving her pike, which gave her the name “Pallas” (it means the one who is waving something).
From what part of Zeus was Athena born?
Head. Athena’s mother was Métis, another goddess. The Fates had decided that, after Athena, Metis would give birth to a son, who would overturn his father, Zeus, from the world’s throne. To prevent this from happening, Zeus swallowed Metis, already pregnant with Athena. When the time of the birth came, Zeus had terrible headaches, so he asked Hephestus to tear his head apart with an axe (not a problem when you are immortal). That’s how Athena came out.