With advance planning, we were able to see Athens in a day on our own from the cruise ship.
One of the stops on our cruise was in Athens, Greece. After exploring our options through the various trip reports, we developed our itinerary of trains and metro stops and decided to visit the Acropolis first. Our itinerary consists of walking for about 30 minutes to the Metro train, then we transferred to another Metro train and walk to the Acropolis. The Acropolis is Athens main attraction. It gets very crowded with long ticket lines and lots of tour groups. It makes getting around the attractions difficult. But with being one of the first in line for tickets at the Acropolis you can avoid some of the crowds. With that we decided that we needed to get up early and be off the boat as soon as possible. We left the boat at 6:30 a.m. We were one of the first groups off the ship and headed to the metro to get to the Acropolis by 8:00 a.m. which is when it opens. We started with a walk to the metro station. We did not pass many people out this early in the morning, but we did not feel unsafe walking by ourselves. It was about a 30 minute walk to the train station. This is the part of the view you will encounter on the walk to the train station from the ship.
We arrive at the station before 7:00am. This is the view of the front of the train station at ΣΤ.ΠΕΙΡΑΙΑ metro station (M1 Green LINE). This is located at Piraeus. You can navigate this website for the metro stops and times here.
When we arrived at the station, we purchases an all-day pass for 4 Euros per person but could have used the single 1.20 Euro ticket, as we ended up walking everywhere in Athens. The all-day pass gives you the flexibility to go all over Athens using the metro. Below is a picture of the ticket machine used to purchase our tickets. As always, be sure to validate your ticket before boarding the train or locate the ticket validate machine on the train once on board.
We caught the 7:00am train at ΣΤ.ΠΕΙΡΑΙΑ metro station (M1 GREEN LINE). This is located at Piraeus. The picture below was taken at at ΣΤ.ΠΕΙΡΑΙΑ metro station showing the train that we boarded. The station was well kept and not too complicated. From this station the M1 GREEN LINE trains is your only option.
From the at ΣΤ.ΠΕΙΡΑΙΑ metro station (M1 GREEN LINE) at Piraeus, you transfer off at ΣΤ.ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑΣ. Greece metro station to the M2 RED LINE. You proceed to take the M2 RED LINE to the ΣΤ.ΑΚΡΟΠΟΛΗ station stop. From here you walk north for about a half a block and turn left on “Dionysiou Areopagiton” street. Click here to see the last metro stop and final walk to the Acropolis. If you are not familiar with Google Street View check out my post here. It took about 30 minutes on the metro to get to the Acropolis (ΣΤ.ΑΚΡΟΠΟΛΗ station stop). From there it’s a scenic walk to the ticket office.
As you walk you will see the Acropolis on your right hand side up on the hill. In fact you will be able to view the Acropolis from many areas around Athens since it is the highest point within the city.
The ticket office does not open until 8:00 a.m. We had to wait about 15 minutes but they opened promptly at 8:00am. We were one of the first in line and was glad we arrived early as the line was long by 8 a.m. and it was getting hot already. After we purchased the multi pass ticket (12 Euros each), we made our way to the entrance. The people from the tour buses were just gathering in groups, but we were able to get ahead of them. Yeah 😆
Odeon of Herodes Theatre
It’s worth getting here early to avoid the crowds and getting some good shots of the Acropolis without a horde of people in your pictures.
The Temple of Athena Nike
The view of the city of Athens.
By the time we left it was getting crowded from the tours. We were able to stay ahead of the packs all day.
After leaving the Acropolis, we walked to the Temple of Zeus; as part of our multi pass ticket.
I stopped off at a street vendor and purchased a hat (6 Euros), as it was really getting hot. I was glad we were carrying bottled water, we drank a lot that day. We continued walking to the Plaka area where there are plenty of shops and cafes. You can see the Acropolis up on the hill in the background.
During our walking around we found the Central Market. I found it very interesting as we do not have markets like this where I live.
Across the street from the market we found a great place for lunch. We both had gyros, which were delicious, beer and wine. The red pitcher held my wine. It was nice just to sit and rest as we had been doing a lot of walking. This gave J a chance to map out the rest of our day to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
We were exhausted from all the walking and decided to head back to the metro to go back to the ship. Since we were close to the green line (Monastiraki Station) it was a straight shot back with no transfers. It felt good to sit for 30 minutes. Walking back to the ship the streets were a lot busier than they were when we arrived in the morning.
Finally back to the entrance to the port. There were plenty of taxis waiting if you did not want to walk.
If you don’t mind walking, taking the Metro and exploring on your own, you will find places the cruise ship tours would never take you to see for significantly less money.
Do you DIY from the cruise ship or take the cruise tours?