Athens tours and excursions

Athens tours

Bus tours

Τhe Athens Sightseeing Bus (red line, daily, every 30 minutes), begins and ends its 90-minute tour of the city's top sights from Sytntagma Square (in front of the post office). En-route, attractions include the Acropolis Museum, the Acropolis hill, the Benaki Museum, the Cycladic Museum, the Panathenaic Stadium, the National Gardens and the National Archaeological Museum. You can hop on or off at any of the 15 stops, and the ticket is valid for 24 hours.

Telephone: 210 922 0604.
Walking tours

Athens is well suited to walking, as most sights are centrally located. The ‘Unification of Archaeological Sites' links the city's ancient sites by a 4km (2.5 miles) traffic-free promenade: Dionissiou Areopagitou leads from the Acropolis metro station along the south side of the Acropolis to join Apostolou Pavlou which leads to Thissio metro station. From here Adrianou runs east to Monastiraki, while Ermou runs west to Keramikos. For private guided tours, contact the Association of Greek National Guides.

Telephone: 210 322 0090.

Excursions from Athens

Argo-Saronic Islands

For those short of time, an organised tour group is a good idea. Hydraiki Naval Company runs a one-day cruise around the Argo-Saronic islands, departing from Flisvos marina in Paleo Faliro. The cruise takes in Aegina, famed for pistachio nuts and home to the majestic 5th century BC Temple of Aphaia, lush pine-scented Poros, and most people’s favourite, tiny car-free Hydra. You get a short stop at each and buffet lunch on board.

Telephone: 210 323 0100.
Corinth and Epidaurus

On the Peloponnese, Corinth and nearby Epidaurus can be done as a day trip. Lying 78 km (48 miles) southwest of Athens, although the modern town of Kórinthos (Corinth) is fairly unpleasant, nearby attractions include Ancient Corinth (the Roman capital of Greece), the acropolis of Acrocorinth 39 km (24 miles) southeast and the vast fourth century BC theatre at Epidaurus, which enjoys a spectacular setting, pin-drop acoustics and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is used for the Epidaurus Festival in summer. The site includes the ruins of a spa and sanctuary, plus a museum. Regular buses make the journey from terminal A, Kifissou 100, in Athens.

Telephone: 27530 22009.
Delphi (Delfí)

According to Greek mythology, Delphi stands at the point where two eagles, released to the east and west by the god Zeus, met, thus marking the centre of the world. Soaring high above the Gulf of Corinth, on Mount Parnassos, it was home to the sanctuary of Apollo and the seat of his oracle. Perhaps the best known of Delphi's ancient inhabitants, dating from the second millennium BC, the oracle's predictions affected matters as grand as those of warfare.

Today, the ancient UNESCO World Heritage site lies in ruins but visitors still come in their thousands to see the remains. The excellent Delphi Museum, built in 1903, exhibits statues and offerings from the sanctuary of Delphi. The site includes the Temple of Apollo, the Sacred Way, a vast amphitheatre, and a stadium.

Delphi lies 180 km (112 miles) from Athens and is served by regular, three hour bus journey from terminal B at Liossion 260 in Athens.

Telephone: 22650 82313.

Also on the Peloponnese, Mykínes (Mycenae) dates back to 1500 BC and the Bronze Age. Although research suggests it was probably not the home of Agamemnon, as some claimed, the site is undeniably impressive and remains one of the most popular in Greece. Highlights include the Lion Gate, the Royal Cemetery and the Treasury of Atreus. Mycenae, A UNESCO World Heritage site, lies 145 km (90 miles) southwest of Athens, and can be reached on the Náfplio bus from terminal A, Kifissou 100.

Telephone: 27510 76585.
Temple of Poseidon

Built in 444BC, the white marble Temple of Poseidon stands on the tip of Cape Sounion, overlooking the Aegean Sea, and is a spectacular sight, particularly when there is a good sunset. The coastal road from Athens offers a dramatic route to the ruins - by car or bus. From the city centre, the regular local bus departs from Mavromateon, in front of Pedion Areos park (Viktoria metro station).

Telephone: 22920 39363.