We love to cruise and explore new places, so when picking a cruise itinerary for our first Mediterranean cruise, my husband and I knew it had to include the ancient city of Athens. Ever since I was a child I had wanted to go to Greece , and my husband is a lover of anything historical, so this was really a dream come true for both of us.
We were traveling onboard the MSC Musica, and had one day to spend in Athens before setting sail for the next port. Having only one day meant we had to see the most important things to us, and that’s exactly what we did.
We both were adamant on seeing the famous Acropolis and Parthenon, as well as the Panathenaic stadium, I mean, how could you go to Athens and not see these things? Those were the two “must see” places for us. If we saw more than that, it would simply be a bonus.
The Panathenaic stadium was really cool to see, I could almost envision the cheering crowds back in the day. Or maybe I’ve just seen one too many movies, either way, it was super neat to see.
I tell ya, seeing these places in real life is nothing short of astounding. To walk the same grounds as the ancient Greeks is something almost too surreal to take in all at once. Travel tip: Be sure to allow yourself enough time to really explore this area. We were able to really take our time and wander the grounds.
We spent a good deal of time at the Acropolis and Parthenon, which was perfect because we didn’t want to rush the experience. It was worth every moment. Travel tip: Wear comfortable shoes. It’s quite the hike up countless stairs to this area and there is a fair amount of walking over uneven ground .. so foot comfort is a necessity.
We had more than enough time to see these places. The excursion also took us to a part of the city where we could do some shopping before going back to the ship which was really great. Unfortunately though, I was so into the “shopping” part I neglected to take any photos. Oops!
Highlights: Without a doubt, it was the experience in walking the grounds of the Acropolis and Parthenon, the views from this hill are breathtaking. I loved the feeling of walking on ground that has so much history and is such a landmark of Greece.
Wish we’d seen: I would have loved to have had time to grab a nice lunch at a local place, maybe in a town square where we could just people watch and stroll around soaking up the atmosphere.
Advice: We chose an excursion through the cruise ship that included both of our desired stops, but it would be easy to acquire other modes of tours at the port or by booking online ahead of time. Just keep in mind that cruise ships will not wait for you if you are on a private excursion and run late when returning to the ship. I’ve heard so many horror stories of this happening to people. We usually play it safe, especially when in extremely large cities like Athens and book things with the ship directly. It’s just one less thing to worry about. And always remember to go with a professional, licensed company. There are “crooks” in every country. Always be safe.
Remember, these are the things that were on our bucket list for Athens. There’s certainly a lot more to do.
Here’s some other things you can check out if spending the day in Athens:
1. Hop on – Hop off bus tour
Great way to see the city at your leisure.
2. Visit the Acropolis Heritage Museum
We didn’t take in the museum on our trip, but would have been very interesting I’m sure.
3. Take in a traditional Greek dancing performance
Check out the excursions offered by your ship, or sites such as Expedia for other tour options that include this. We took it in at another port and it was quite entertaining.
4. Experience the local cuisine
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love getting in on the local gastronomy of Greece.
5. Go on a guided walking tour
There are plenty of private companies offering this as an option and is a great way to learn the local history.
6. Take in a Greek cooking class
If you love preparing food as much as you love eating it, this is a tour you’d love. There are independent companies offering these awesome experiences, and maybe even some excursions on your ship as well.
Whatever you choose, it’s bound to be amazing. Athens is a city so rich in culture and beauty and will be some place we definitely want to revisit someday.
Ciao for now!