Visiting Athens on a Cruise: Tips & Things to do

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Key Takeaways

  • Athens is a popular port of call for cruise travelers due to its rich culture and history, beautiful beaches, and delicious food and visiting Athens on a cruise an ideal opportunity.
  • Piraeus Port is the most likely port of entry for cruise travelers visiting Athens, and it is easy to navigate. There are taxis and buses available to take you to your desired destination in the city.
  • When visiting Athens, there are several transportation options available, including taxis, buses, the Athens metro, ISAP, and tram. It is recommended to arrange transportation services beforehand to save time and money.
  • For first-time visitors to Athens, some must-see attractions include the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, a highlights tour of the city, a food tour, and a tailor-made tour to fit your specific interests and preferences.

Are you planning your next cruise, and Athens is one of the port calls on your voyage? Did you just get off the cruise ship, and you have no idea where to start exploring this city temple of ancient Greek spirit?

No surprise to that, as Athens boasts not only for its rich culture and numerous ancient monuments but also for its unlimited food and entertainment choices. Everything you see or do in the bustling capital of Greece makes you want to stick around longer.

However, since little time is all you have, here we go: a quick guide for cruise travelers visiting Athens for a few hours or days!

Surely, you are not looking for reasons to opt for Athens as a long stop during your cruise, but if this is not the case, we challenge you with a city destination that sums up all the Greek highlights: rich history, sun, sea, and delicious food!

From the famous Acropolis and the surrounding archaeological sites to the neoclassical buildings in the city center, Athens oozes with culture dating back to the 8th century B.C. And as if that wasn't enough, the mild weather that reaches its hot peak from May to September offers the ideal conditions to enjoy the beautiful beaches near the city!

A capital like Athens, with years of cultural activity, has nurtured amazing spots where you can relish the local vibe, taste the best of Greek cuisine and explore the colorful, energetic nightlife. So, stopping by Athens when on a cruise in Greece is an absolute must!

Things to do in Piraeus Port

piraeus marina wisarut ch shutterstock copyPiraeus port - credits: Piraeus-marina-wisarut_ch/Shutterstock.com

When you come to Athens on a cruise, you are most likely to get off at Piraeus Port, which is massive, but easy enough to navigate. Take a look around and you will spot some Tourist Information Desks, where you can ask for further details regarding Athens and its transportation.

You can either take a taxi to drive you to your desired destination in the city or take the bus right outside the port; thereafter, you can easily reach the railway (ISAP) and take the train towards Athens' city center.

Athens Highlights Evening Tour with Dinner

If you choose to wander around Piraeus, you can navigate your way around the area by taxi, by bus, or -if you don't mind a bit of exercise- on foot; while you're at it, don't miss the opportunity to taste some fresh seafood at seashore restaurants nearby!

Additionally, you can indulge in retail therapy, strolling along Sotiros Dios Street, one of the most popular commercial pedestrian walkways of Athens, offering a wide variety of shops to spend your money on.

How to get around

transportation driver Corepics VOF shutterstock copyTransportation services in Athens - credits: Corepics VOF/Shutterstock.com

You have a number of options when it comes to transportation in Athens: taxis, buses, Athens metro (Athens subway), ISAP, and tram. The thing is that when you are on a cruise port call, having only a few hours to explore the city, it makes you want to waste no time figuring out the way to get to Athens' city center and back to the port.

The best way to solve this problem is to arrange a transportation service beforehand; that way, not only do you save both time and money, but you are also on the safe side in case there are no taxis or public transportation services available due to the frequent strikes that transpire in Athens.

Things to do/Athens tours for those visiting for the first time 

Acropolis aerial view Aerial motion shutterstock copyAerial view of the Acropolis - credits: Aerial-motion/Shutterstock.com

Athens is ready to welcome you to its marvels! Since time is not your ally in your short visit, here we provide you with an Athens checklist for first-time visitors:

- Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
Acropolis is the most distinctive landmark of Athens and definitely something you can’t miss out on! Make sure you book a guided-tour service when you visit Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, in order to fully take in everything about this marvelous, ancient construction with thousands of years of history.

Best of Athens in One Day: Acropolis & City Tour with Transfer

- Athens highlights tour
All the city highlights can be explored with a scenic walk in just a few hours! Wander around Athens' streets and alleys to discover the best of what the city has to offer. Discover the most iconic Athens neighborhoods, such as Plaka and Anafiotika.

Find yourself in places away from the bustle of the city or feel the local vibe around flea markets, street artists, and traditional eateries; you will soon realize that history makes itself eminent in every single spot of Athens' city center.

- Athens for foodies

cretan seafood Mila Atkovska shutterstock copyCretan seafood bruschetta - credits: Mila Atkovska/Shutterstock.com

Food tours are a growing trend in the world of traveling. For first-time visitors or even returning ones, devouring the unique Greek flavors found in recipes of great artistry and rustic beauty is required when visiting Athens, even if it's for a short period of time!

Get to know the places that host the most tasteful food from all regions of Greece – such as cheese, cold cuts, Greek herbs and spices, honey, olive oil, and olives - and discover Athens through a blend of flavors in local eateries or gourmet restaurants. Greek culture is directly linked to our culinary excellence!

- A totally tailor-made tour
We all have some special requirements and preferences when visiting a place, things we would like to visit, do, experience, or taste. Your distinctive needs and specific travel objectives make you a unique voyager.

That’s why you completely customize your experience in the city of Athens, letting our expert service do the rest for you: organize a tailor-made tour and make your short time in Athens unforgettable!

Final Thoughts

Wonders never cease to occur in Athens, and if a few hours is all you have in order to explore the navel of Western Civilization, then a careful selection of activities in a timely manner is all you need. Whether you visit Athens with your family, your friends, or your partner, there is always something to satisfy your need for adventure and cultural experiences, making you fall deeply in love with the city!

Planning your trip to Greece? Get in touch with our travel specialists and design your tailor-made vacation plan!

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get from the port to Athens city center?

How much time do I need to explore Athens during a cruise stop?


What is the best time of year to visit Athens on a cruise?

Can I visit any attractions near Athens during my cruise stop?

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