The Acropolis is probably the highlight of Athens, but the city has many more corners to explore and behind each of them there are mythological stories that fascinate travelers and locals alike. I tell you all about the best tours to discover them:
1. Guided bicycle tour of Athens
The use of bicycles is very widespread in Athens, that is why there are many tours that use this means of transport to tour the city. The price of these tours, in addition to the guidance of the guide throughout the tour, includes the rental of the bikes. This option allows you to cover a larger area of the city in less time and avoiding crowds, so it is one of the most popular among the guided tours.
In the two tours that I propose, the bicycles used are electric and easy to handle, to avoid excessive fatigue on the part of the traveler. Even so, I recommend that you come to the tour with comfortable shoes (the helmet is included in the bike rental). When you make your reservation you can choose between the different dates and times available.
Three-hour guided tour
The three-hour bike tour of Athens is available in English, Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch. Before starting your guide will give you safety instructions and bottled water for the tour. This is the itinerary for this option:
- Acropolis Hill (the place where democracy was founded)
- Herod Atticus Odeon Theater
- The Acropolis Museum
- The theater of Dionysus (the first in the world)
- The temple of Zeus
- Hadrian's Arch
- The Zappeion Conference & Exhibition Center
- The presidential mansion
- The National Garden
- The Plaka district (a must-see in Athens)
- The tower of the winds and the first water clock
- The agora or Athenian square
- The agora or Roman square
Guided tour of four hours
If this tour is not enough for you, you also have another four-hour bike tour of Athens with tasting of typical products available in English, French, Spanish and Italian. This one has a cost of 66 euros, but it also includes, in addition to the services of the guide and the bike rental, water and food during the tour.
You will be able to taste two Greek delicacies: the Souvlaki (a kind of meat skewer) and the Loukoumades (a very popular Greek sweet). The main stops are:
- The temple of Zeus
- Panathinaikó Stadium (where the first modern Olympic Games were held).
- The Zappeion Conference & Exhibition Center
- The National Garden
- Syntagmatos Square
- The Hellenic Parliament
- The Academy of Athens
- The Museum of Athens
- The central market
- Monastiraki Square
- Hadrian's bookstore
- The tower of the winds
- The Cathedral of Athens
- The neighborhood of Plaka
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you go on these tours from June to September, don't forget to use sun protection as the sun is very strong on the esplanades of Athens.
2. Athens Mythological Walking Tour
I admit that I have a predilection for this tour and lovers of the ancient world will share my opinion once they have taken it. It is a four-hour walking tour of Athens, available in English and French, with the presence of a specialized guide and with a wireless audio system that will allow you to comfortably follow his indications. The best part? It is focused on Greek mythology and it is intended for small groups of 14 people maximum.
What this tour consists of
The tour includes an in-depth visit to the Acropolis in which you will visit its main monuments (Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, Erechteion, Propylae, Theater of Dionysus...) and you will be able to put into context their history thanks to the explanations of the guide. If the names of Zeus, Hephaestus or Athena Ergani are familiar to you, prepare a pen and paper to take note of everything you will discover about them.
Although the tour is focused on Athenian mythology, it does not leave behind historical explanations about the way of life of the city and its evolution since its foundation. If you have to choose only one tour to do during your visit to Athens, this is one of the most suitable for you, in terms of duration and quality of the explanations. Do not hesitate to ask your guide for any kind of recommendations to complete your visit to the Greek capital; he will be happy to give them to you.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The city of Athens has a lot of ancient history behind it, so the explanations of a guide in certain places are essential.
3. Excursions to Delphi from Athens
The city of Delphi was described as "the center of the world" in Ancient Greece and today its ruins are one of the most important archaeological centers in Greece. If you travel to Athens you have the opportunity to visit these ruins that are located just two hours away by road from the Greek capital. In Delphi you will find key historical sites such as the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, the Sanctuary of Athena or the Delphi Museum itself.
There are many tours that go to Delphi from Athens, but I recommend you to choose between these two: the same-day round trip or the two-day tour that includes, in addition, a visit to the Byzantine monasteries of Meteora. Here is what you should know about each of them:
Day trip to Delphi
It includes entrance to the ruins, transfer with pick-up and drop-off from your hotel in Athens and the services of a specialized guide who will accompany you during the tour and give you a guided tour of the most important sites of Delphi including the archaeological museum and the temple of Athena Pronaia (the most photographed place in Deplfos). This day trip to Delphi from Athens is available in English, Spanish, Italian and French.
Two-day excursion to Delphi and Meteora
If you have enough time during your trip, you can opt for this tour that combines the visit to the ruins of Delphi with the visit to the Byzantine temples of Meteora. You will spend the night in a 4 star hotel in Kalabaka with dinner and breakfast included. You can do this tour in English, French, Spanish or Italian.
The two-day excursion to Delphi and Meteora from Athens includes: accommodation, meals with dinner and breakfast, transportation between the points of interest, pick-up and drop-off directly from the hotel in Athens, entrance to the monuments included in the tour and the services of a specialized guide.
4. Private day tour of Athens and the Acropolis Museum
For true fans of Greek culture, this private day tour of Athens and the Acropolis Museum is the VIP option among the tours of the city. It is a private tour of Athens with a totally personalized service; an expert guide will be at your disposal for half a day and can take you to the places of your choice in a luxurious air-conditioned vehicle interspersed with walking tours to the points of interest of your choice.
Pick up and drop off at the hotel is included in the price, as well as entrance to the Acropolis and its museum; take the opportunity to visit this site with your guide during the tour instead of doing it on your own. Spend the rest of the time at more remote sites that are not so easy to see on your own.
To be able to trace the route of this tour is a privilege; the Olympic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus, Syntagma Square, the Dionysus Theater ... there are many options, but if you do not decide ask your guide. He will guide you according to your interests and will know how to make the most of your time. Don't hesitate to ask him for gastronomic or any other kind of recommendations that may be useful for the rest of your trip.
5. Private tour of Peloponnese highlights from Athens
The Peloponnese is a Greek peninsula linked to Athens by the Corinth Canal and located two hours away by road. There you will find places of maximum cultural interest such as Corinth, Mycenae, Nafplio or Epidaurus. In this private tour of the highlights of the Peloponnese from Athens you will get to know them all with an expert guide who will be exclusively at your disposal.
The tour is available in English, Spanish and German and lasts one day. If you and your travel group are interested in Ancient History, I assure you that you will get the most out of this private tour. Wear comfortable clothes and don't hesitate to ask the guide about any recommendations that might be useful during the rest of the trip.
What is included in this tour
- Roundtrip transfer from your hotel in Athens in a luxury vehicle
- Lunch by the sea in the city of Nafplio
- Personalized attention from an expert guide throughout the day
- Flexibility in route planning
6. Day trip to the Greek Islands from Athens
Who doesn't dream of visiting the Greek Islands one day? This excursion to the Greek Islands from Athens makes it possible to visit them in one day departing from Athens, something that would be difficult to do on your own. With this full day Greek Islands cruise you will visit three of them: Poros, Hydra and Aegina.
The tour is available in English, Spanish, French and Italian. A car will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the ship. On board you will enjoy a traditional Greek buffet lunch and a folkloric show to make the most of the time spent moving between islands.
Once you arrive in Poros, Hydra and Aegina you will have free time to enjoy the scenery, do some shopping or join the additional guided tours organized by the cruise. This activity is ideal to avoid being left with the thorn in your side of not knowing the Greek Islands after your visit to Athens.
7. Other popular excursions from Athens
If this selection is not enough for you, there are other places near Athens that you can visit during your trip to Greece. However, for some of them you will need more than a day if you want to see them in depth and take advantage of all they have to offer. Here are three more suggestions:
An island in the Aegean Sea that you have surely seen in photos. Indeed; it is the one with the white houses on the slope of a mountain. It is far enough away from Athens to go and return in one day, but you can plan an inter-island flight and make it one of the stops on your trip. I recommend you avoid the summer months as this is one of the busiest islands in Greece.
In Mykonos there is party, party and more party. It is ideal to go with friends and spend unforgettable nights and sunsets. You can arrive by ferry or plane from Athens or Santorini. Whichever option you choose, save your strength for the visit and book your accommodation as soon as possible.
If you are interested in visiting the temple of Poseidon this is another excursion you can do from Athens, this time without spending more than a day.
8. If you are interested in excursions from Athens, you will also be interested in...
When preparing a trip to Greece, the first thing that comes to mind is its islands. Athens has an impressive culture and history, but lacks the clear waters and paradisiacal landscapes of the Greek Islands. That's why there are different cruises that take you to places near the capital of Greece so you don't have to give up anything during your trip.
If you want more information about this type of excursions, I recommend this article on Cruises in which you will find recommendations and tips that will be useful during your trip.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to enjoy the city to the fullest and tour every corner of it, the tour bus is one of the most efficient ways to do so. Get rid of the idea that tour buses tarnish an authentic experience and discover their benefits in my guide on Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.
Frequently asked questions
What are the main landmarks of Athens?
Most walking tours around the city will take you to the Parthenon, the National Garden, Monastiraki, the streets of Plaka and the Acropolis and its Museum.
What is so important about the Acropolis?
The Acropolis is the most relevant monument of the Ancient Greek civilisation and its most prominent remains. Home to the Parthenon, the Erechtheum and the Temple of Athenea Nike, the Acropolis is a must-see attraction to visitors from all around the world.
Does Athens have a beach?
Yes, in fact it has about 20 of them. Closest beach to the city centre is Edem, between the districts of Palio Faliro and Alimos. If you're looking for a luxury beach experience, check out the beach of Astir Vouliagmeni as you won't be disappointed. And, if a peaceful evening in a rare geological formation sounds good to you, go visit the Vouliagmeni Lake, which is not actually a beach but will offer you a unique experience.