Cruise Port Atlas | Athens (Piraeus), Greece Day Trips | Attractions

Cruise Port Atlas | Athens (Piraeus), Greece Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Athens (Piraeus): Star Clippers, Voyages of Discovery, Voyages to Antiquity, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Celebrity, Holland America, Costa, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean

Key Attractions: Acropolis, Parthenon, Erechtheum, New Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Plaka, the Agora, Temple of Hephaestus, Agora Museum, Corinth Canal, Delphic Oracle, Delphi Museum, Osiou Louka Monastery, Arachova, Cape Sounion, Temple of Poseidon

The AcropolisParthenon

Port to the Acropolis - 6 miles, 10-20 minutes by taxi
Syntagma Square to Acropolis Entrance - 1.4 KM, 4 minutes, 12 minute walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The Acropolis has been destroyed repeatedly over the centuries. The Greeks continue to rebuild it. After all, it is the central symbol of Athens' Golden Age. The most important structures, the Propylaea, the Parthenon, and the Erechtheum were built during the rule of Pericles, during the 5th century BCE. Despite the poor condition of the monuments, they have a central place in Western history.

It is highly recommended that you visit the Acropolis as early in the day as possible, especially in the summer, when it can be very crowded and there is no shade to mediate the intense sun. The other advantage to an early arrival is descent of the Greek guards from their position on the hill (see port page).  The recently opened New Acropolis Museum is at the bottom of the hill.

The Golden Age of Athens   Classic Greek, Doric and Ionic   Marble Sculptures and the new Museum   UNESCO World Heritage site  

Uneven surfaces    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Parthenon by CruisePortAtlas

National Archaeological MuseumArcheological Museum

Syntagma Square to Museum - 2 KM, 5 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

This is one of the finest small museums in Europe with an emphasis on ancient sculpture, fine crafts and artifacts starting with the prehistoric period through the rule of Rome. Artifacts such as weapons, ceramics with painted illustrations, nude sculptures in bronze and stone and brass, bronze and gold decorations are lovingly displayed in the well-lit museum. Minoan and Mycenaean objects show Egyptian influences. Perhaps the most famous article in the museum is the Mask of Agamemnon, which was found in Mycenae, but was created before the historic king lived. Other highlights include a fine collection of archaic Kouros sculptures and Nestor's cup.

Artifacts from different eras   Sculpture  

    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Posiedon Statue in National Archaeological Musuem by CruisePortAtlas

PlakaPlaka Sidestreet

Syntagma Square to Plaka - .5 KM, 2 minutes, 10 minute walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Plaka is a pedestrian only area on the side of Acropolis Hill that offers shops and restaurants perfectly suited to tourists. While it has little historical significance, it is a great place to spend afternoon and a good jumping-off point because it is so near the center of the city. Our favorite places in the area are Brettos Ouzo Bar and the Psaras Taverna that has great seafood and stuffed grape leaves.

Photo by CruisePortAtlas.com

Rustic Architecture   Greek Food   Typical Retsina and Ouzo  

Varied Walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Plaka Street by CruisePortAtlas

Temple of Hephaeastus

The Agora

Syntagma Square to the Agora - 1 KM, 5 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

While the Acropolis was the spiritual center of Classical era Athens, the Agora was its commercial and political hub, where the public would gather to shop and talk politics and philosophy. This is where Socrates taught the youth of Athens and where business was conducted. It is now a large park just north of the Acropolis. There are two major architectural features. The Temple of Hephaestus, which is one of the best preserved Greek temples of that era and, like the Parthenon, was built during the Periclean period of the 5th century BCE. The Stoa of Attalos was built several hundred years later and has been fully restored and now houses the Agora Museum.

The Golden Age of Athens   Classic Greek, Doric and Ionic   Marble Sculptures and the new Museum   UNESCO World Heritage site  

Uneven surfaces    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo by Temple of Hephaestus by CruisePortAtlas

Cut across the Corinth IsthmusCorinth Canal

Athens to the Corinth Canal - 84 KM, 80 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The Isthmus of Corinth was the site of the ancient and important city of Corinth, the gateway to the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Since Ancient times, the Greeks dreamed of cutting through this narrow strip of land to connect the Aegean Sea with the Gulf of Corinth and the Adriatic. This was the Panama dream of its era, but it did not get built until 1881-1893. Because it is so narrow, it has little importance economically. The canal was cut through more than 325 ft. of stone, of which 25 ft. is below water. It is 4 miles long. It is used primarily by tourist vessels.

The Golden Age of Athens   The narrow isthmus   The narrow isthmus & canal  

    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo by Corinth Canal by SreeBot

Delphi - The Ancient OracleThe Athenian Treasury

Athens to Delphi - 184 KM, 2.5 to 3 hours
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Built onto the side of Mount Parnassus, the Delphi complex is one of the most impressive ruins in Greece and offers a scenic and unique look at ancient Greek culture and spirituality. From the 8th century BCE until 393 CE, the priestess of the Oracle (Pythia) would sit on a three legged stool, inhale a mysterious vapor that rose from the earth, babble incoherently and be interpreted by the Delphic priests. The great men of that era would go there to have their fortunes told, paying handsomely for the service. The importance of the site is attested by the treasuries built at the site by the great cities of Greece. Across the highway from the main ruins are athletic grounds where the Delphic games were held. There is also a museum that houses artifacts related to the Oracle.

The Golden Age of Athens   Classic Greek, Doric and Ionic   Marble Sculptures and the new Museum   Gulf or Corinth in the distance  

Uneven surfaces    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Delphi by CruisePortAtlas

Osiou Louka (Hosios Loukas) Monastery and ArachovaThe Monastery

Athens to Osiou Louka - 169 KM, 140 minutes
Athens to Arachova - 173 KM, 130 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The Monastery of Holy Luke was established in the 11th century and at one time housed the remains of the monk. It features two connected churches with wall paintings of the original period of the monastery and beautiful mosaics and icons designed by Michael Damaskinos, a 16th century Cretan artist who is considered one of the most skilled practitioners of the Byzantine era. It has a beautiful setting overlooking olive groves and a nice cafe. Shorts are not allowed.

Arachova is a nice place to get a lunch on the way to Delphi, but many places are closed during the summer, since this is Greece's premier ski resort with slopes on the side of Mount Parnassus.

The Golden Age of Athens   Classic Greek, Doric and Ionic   Marble Sculptures and the new Museum   Mount Parnassus and vicinity  

Uneven surfaces    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo by Osiou Louka by Mick O'Neil

Cape Sounion and the Temple of PoseidonTemple of Poseidon

Athens to Cape Sounion - 59 KM, 80 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Sounion is the eastern tip of the Attica Peninsula and a place of romantic legend. Many come here to see the sun set through the columns of the Temple, just as Lord Byron did. The romantic poet also left his mark (or someone did it for him), carving his name into the base of one of the columns. It is also the spot where the Aegean Sea got its name. Legend says that Aegeus, king of Greece, leapt to his death off the cliff here, when he believed that his son had been killed by the Minotaur.

The area also has some of Greece's most expensive modern homes.

The Golden Age of Athens   Classic Greek, Doric and Ionic   Marble Sculptures and the new Museum   Gulf or Corinth in the distance  

Uneven surfaces    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo by Temple of Poseidon by Mierlo

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible