Acropolis & City Full Day Tour
This 8 hour, full day walking tour through the center of Athens, led by our expert guide, shows you nearly everything you can see and learn about the historic city center. From the stadium that hosted games and tournaments more than two millennia apart, to the glory of the Parthenon, to the center of modern-day Greek political life, you will be hard pressed to find a more complete tour of central Athens’ sights anywhere else! Including the option for a guided driving portion, this full day tour is typically a component of our 2-Day, 3-Night Athens multi-day tour experience.
This full-day tour can last for up to 8 hours, so be sure to be well-rested and ready for a breathtaking day of Greek adventure. Over the course of the day, your guide will walk you through innumerable sights and experiences in Athens’ endlessly fascinating historic districts. Starting at your own lodging, you’ll encounter everything from guided tours of ancient stadiums and temples to more leisurely walks through historic neighborhoods and stops at modern museums and monuments. It’s all the incredible tourist experiences of Athens, combined with exploration of sites and knowledge that only a local would know. Price of lunch and admission to the museums and archaeological sites are not included.The sample itinerary gives you a pretty good sense of how you’ll proceed around the city, but after all, this is your tour, and the sights and sceneries are fairly flexible.
Pickup From Apartment
Start Your Day Right
This is a full-day tour, so your licensed guide will come pick you up from your accommodations at the prescribed time in the morning.
Let the Games Begin!
Sports and athletics have been a part of Greek culture since Rome was just a village on a few hills. Despite falling into ruin near the beginning of the 5th Century CE, the stadium has since been excavated and renovated, and has since become one of the world’s oldest venues still in use. Also known as Stadio Panathinaiko and the Old Olympic Stadium, stand on the marble steps and picture the screaming crowds of more than two millennia ago, cheering on their favorite team of racehorses as the Acropolis and Parthenon loom in the skyline beyond, a vista to challenge that of nearly any modern sports arena.
National Gardens & Syntagma Square
Back to the Present
From the stadium, it’s just a five minute stroll to walk through the National Gardens, a sublime way to spend some time on a spring or summer day. In addition to the normal birds, trees, and statues, you might find some things you wouldn’t quite expect, like a monument to Lord Byron! On the other side of the gardens lies Syntagma Square, home of the Greek National Parliament, where you can stop your tour to witness the changing of the guard! In a city and country so well known for the old and ancient, the gardens and square are a refreshing reminder of Greece’s fascinating and tumultuous more recent past as well.
Hadrian's Arch & Temple of Olympian Zeus
A Little 'Roman' Holiday
After the square, you’ll double back a few minutes down the road to the site of two different and striking works of ancient art and architecture. The Arch of Hadrian, a Roman-style gate standing nearly sixty feet high was supposedly built upon the arrival of the Emperor Hadrian to the Eastern crown jewel of his Empire, served in Roman times as part of a wall separating the “ancient city of Theseus,” by that point already more than a thousand years of age, from the “new” city of Hadrian, which assuredly must have been state-of-the-art for the time. Walk through the gate, and you’ll come face to face with a great relic of the city of Theseus, the Temple of Olympian Zeus. One of the largest Greek temples ever made (it took almost 600 years to complete!), the massive, elaborate Corinthian columns that remain are some of the most jaw-dropping reminders of how advanced these ancient Athenians really were.
Of course, it would take a superhuman to walk all this way without building up a tremendous appetite. Before ascending to the Acropolis (or after, should you so desire), you can stop for a little while to refuel. Luckily, you’ll now find yourself in one of the premier food destinations in the entire world! One of the perks of our licensed guides is their ability to recommend any number of local spots, largely unknown to the tourist world, completely suited to your tastes!
The Heart of Ancient Life
From one huge temple on to the next! Now it’s time to begin the uphill march to the Acropolis, the mother of all Greek sightseeing. While we do offer full-day, complete tours of the Acropolis, Agora, and associated museums, the visit to the Acropolis on this excursion includes stops at the Propylaea, the massive columned gateway that served as entrance to the citadel, the Odeon of Herod Atticus, a 2nd century CE theater, completely restored for frequent contemporary use, the Theater of Dionysus, the single oldest known permanent theater structure in the entire world, and, of course, the Parthenon, only the symbol of ancient Greece itself and one of the most famous buildings on earth! If you’re interested in more, we highly recommend one of our Acropolis-specific tours, but in walking around these parts, you’ll still certainly see enough to satisfy some of your curiosity for the day.
The Soul of Old Athens
It’s just a quick walk down the slopes from the Acropolis to the Agora, which some might call the Greek precursor to the Roman Forum. Once a bustling plaza and marketplace, the Agora was the center of civic and political life in ancient Athens. While not quite as magnificent as the Acropolis (few things in the world are, of course), the Agora is in its own right a treasure trove of smaller temples and monuments dating to the heyday of Athenian democracy. A visit to the Agora also entails a stop at the Museum of the Ancient Agora, housed in the Stoa of Attilus, a completely restored and remodeled ancient portico that has its origins over 2,500 years ago.
An Ancient Final Destination
After a long day making your way through these remarkable if tourist heavy sites, the walking portion of your trip will conclude with a ten minute walk to Kerameikos Cemetery, the hauntingly serene resting place of the ancient Athenians. The cemetery’s stone statues and monuments, in addition to the profusion of diverse ruins and archaeological excavations dating as far back as the 13th Century BCE, are one of Athens best-kept and least-visited secrets, and we highly recommended giving it all the attention it’s worth during your stay.
All of the above is, of course, included in the walking tour. Should you add the option to continue by car, your guide will become a knowledgeable chauffeur, and will continue to guide you to sites including the following.
Shining City on a Hill
If there’s a view of Athens that can top the Acropolis, it’ll probably come from Mt. Lykavittos. This rocky outcrop near the city’s center, which has both a functioning amphitheater and 19th-century church near its peak, was in ancient times sacred to Athena, and a stop here provides a nice sprinkling of nature in the heart of a 3,000 year old bustling city.
After the hill, it’s time to go back to school. One of the oldest schools in the world, in fact: Aristole’s Lykeion! Only discovered and excavated in the mid-1990s, the remains of perhaps the most famous philosophy school in the ancient world were only opened to the public less than ten years ago, so whether this is your first visit to Athens or the most recent of many, this site is a must-see. Along with the neat little museum on the site, the Lyceum is one of the most low-key sites on this tour, but certainly one of the most interesting.
Hit the Books
One of the most picturesque and impressive buildings of modern Athens, the National Library, built in the 1830s, is a quintessential example of Greek neoclassical architecture. While the inside of the library, which houses some of the oldest and most valuable Greek manuscripts in the world, will be of interest to any bookworm, a simple look around this impressive structure highlights the breathtaking union of the ancient and the modern that makes Athens so special.
Hustle & Bustle
The last stop on this tour takes you to the Omonoia square, a modern conclusion to a look around one of the world’s oldest and most cultured cities. While there is nothing in the way of ancient ruins or architecture here, its combination of modern eateries, shops, and boutiques makes it a busy attraction in the center of Athens. A central hub for the city’s busy residents, a drive through the square might be a nice little feather in the cap of experiencing the long and dramatic story of an an incredible city.
At this point, your day is concluded, and your driver will drop you off to spend the rest of the evening as you like, whether than be at your lodging or elsewhere.
Have you already booked accommodations for your time in Athens? If not, let us take care of everything, and stay hassle-free! Our Greek apartments are centrally located, impeccably maintained, and include the possibilities to accommodate anywhere from 2 to 20 guests. All of our apartments come with luxury Posturpedic mattresses imported from the US, kitchens with fully loaded appliances, and, a rarity in central Athens, washing machines and dryers. Several have balconies or verandas, and nearly all have grand views of the city and its landmarks. For more details, see the Accommodations drop down menu above, and go check out our primary booking website at www.greekvacationrentals.com. In the meantime, feel free to browse your options here:
- 2 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 6), 1.5 Bathrooms
- 1 block away from Acropolis & Ancient Agora
- Private courtyard & garden
- Perfect for families
- 4 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 12), 4 Bathrooms
- All bedrooms include en-suite bathroom
- Veranda and rooftop terrace with unobstructed Acropolis view
- Fully stocked luxury kitchen
- Option for private chef and maid services
- 3 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 12), 3 Bathrooms
- Landscaped outdoor terrace (shared with our neighboring Acropolis View Beta apartment)
- Extensive common area/living space, perfect for large groups
- Recently rehabbed/renovated with brand-new kitchen, appliances, & plumbing
- 3 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 8), 2 Bathrooms
- Landscaped outdoor terrace (shared with Acropolis View AlphaPlus)
- 3 Museums within 1 mile; Acropolis & Old City within 2 miles
- Bedrooms are perfect for families with children
- Created especially for large travel groups: combines Acropolis View AlphaPlus & Beta to form 6 Bedroom, 5 Bathroom megasuite that sleeps up to 24 guests.
- 3 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 9), 2 Bathrooms
- Multi-level apartment, perfect for couples and families travelling together
- Two private verandas, plus roof terrace overlooking Acropolis
- Indoor parking included
- Fully stocked luxury kitchen
- 2.5 Bedrooms (sleeps up to 8), 2 Bathrooms
- Downtown location, walking distance to Acropolis
- Two private verandas perfectly overlooking Mt. Lykavittos
- Two farmers markets nearby – perfect for those who love home cooking!