Couch to Acropolis: Pre-Book The Top Things to Do in Athens Before You Fly
Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about walking up the Acropolis of Athens to see the Parthenon? How about a street food tour ending in the evening at one of the best rooftop bars in Athens? Or, maybe you’d prefer jumping-the-queues to visit the most famous and popular museum in Athens: the Acropolis Museum?
Well, why not make these daydreams a reality before boarding the plane by booking them in advance? It’s what I do, and I will also show how I save around 50% on a combination ticket.
I’ll even take you beyond the iconic cityscapes to the mesmerising realm of Meteora with its astonishing Monasteries. The best part? I’m going to show you how you can secure all these incredible experiences from the comfort of your living room. Dive into my guide, and let’s get your Athenian adventure booked and ready to roll before your cases are packed.
Pre-Book The Top Things to Do in Athens
1. Acropolis and 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket
Why I Like This Ticket
I don’t often spill my travel secrets, but when I do, it’s worth noting. So, whenever I’m planning my regular trips to Athens, there’s a non-negotiable item I always take – the Acropolis and 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket. It’s a tongue-twister but also a game-changer.
You see, apart from letting me dive deep into the top things to do in Athens, it allows me to see the top things to do in Athens while saving a cheeky 50%. That’s right – the penny-pinching Brit inside me jumps for joy every time. Plus, you get to choose the order you see them, and nothing quite matches the thrill of breezing past a snaking queue, giving a little wink to those still in the ticket-buying trenches.
All the Details
Time’s a-ticking when you’re in Athens, and with so much to see, you’d wish you had Hermione’s Time-Turner. But guess what? This ticket is the next best thing. It’s like you’ve got a magical cloak that makes all barriers disappear. Offering access to several of Athens’ must-visit archaeological sites, it’s the golden key to a realm where legends come alive.
So, how many top things to do in Athens do you get to see with this ticket? Okay, here we go. First, there’s the Acropolis of Athens and everything on Acropolis Hill, including the Theatre of Dionysus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athens Nike. Second, there’s the Ancient Agora of Athens, including the Temple of Hephaestus, and the museum at the Stoa of Attalos.
Third, the Roman Agora, including the famous Gate of Athena Archegetis. Fourth, the spectacular Temple of Olympian Zeus. Sixth, how about visiting the Lyceum of Aristotle. Seventh, take a solemn stroll through the Keramikos Ancient Cemetery, a silent witness to Athens’ illustrious past. Finally, visit Hadrian’s Library, including the famous Tower of the Winds.
Let’s look at what you get in more detail. Straightaway, you find yourself at the majestic Parthenon perched on Acropolis Hill – a UNESCO World Heritage site. With 2,500 years under its belt, the stories it could tell would leave you spellbound. There’s the melodramatic flair of the Theatre of Dionysus, the star-studded charm of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the architectural elegance of the Erechtheion, and the serenely poised Temple of Athena Nike. Quite the star-studded lineup.
But hold on, there’s more. You’ll stumble upon the Ancient Agora of Athens as you navigate the pathways. Nestled on the north-western flanks of the Acropolis, this place once buzzed as the city’s artistic, spiritual, and commercial heart. The Temple of Hephaestus stands tall, and the Stoa of Attalos invites with its old-world allure.
Venture just a tad north, and you’re at the Roman Agora’s doorstep. Remember, this was the very nerve centre of public life back in the day. Dive deeper, and you’ll discover the iconic Hadrian’s Library and the grandiose Temple of Olympian Zeus. Ready for a mood shift? The Keramikos Ancient Cemetery awaits, echoing stories of love, life, and legends, with the Eridanos River whispering tales of yore.
And then there’s Aristotle’s School. Just picture this: intellectual giants of the ancient world, perhaps discussing the merits of democracy or the latest in sandal fashion. A bit like a coffee shop debate, but with more toga.
Of course, as you pace yourself through these wonders, remember that while Rome might not have been built in a day, neither was Athens. So, why rush? Immerse, indulge and invest in a good pair of walking shoes. This ticket is your passport to it all: no queues at the ticket kiosks, no fuss, just pure Athenian magic. As you roam these sites with a self-guided audio tour, you’re not just a tourist but a time-travelling adventurer soaking in millennia of culture. Buckle up and enjoy the journey.
2. Acropolis, Parthenon & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour
Why I Like This Ticket
Would you like the option to side-step those pesky ticket queue kiosks and catapult directly into ancient Greek history? With the Acropolis, Parthenon & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour Ticket, you’ve nabbed yourself a front-row seat to history’s most enthralling drama. While others are twiddling their thumbs waiting in line, you’ll be marvelling at the grandeur of ancient temples and soaking in tales from aeons ago.
Every corner of this ticket’s journey is brought vividly to life, not just by the ancient stones and artefacts but by expert licensed tour guides passionate about sharing ancient Greece’s myths, tales, and facts. And if you thought museums were just dusty old places where artefacts go to retire, the Acropolis Museum is about to shake up that notion.
All the Details
So, what do you get to see with this ticket? Okay, here we go. First, you get a guided tour of the Acropolis of Athens and everything on Acropolis Hill, including the Theatre of Dionysus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athens Nike. If that wasn’t enough for you, it’s off to the world-famous Acropolis Museum. So, let’s begin, shall we?
Delve deep into the annals of time with an engaging tour of the Acropolis of Athens, led by a connoisseur of history – a licensed tour guide. Your guide won’t just show you stones and statues but will weave a tapestry of tales and legends, ensuring the UNESCO World Heritage site unravels its mysteries right before your eyes.
Your time warp doesn’t end there. It smoothly transitions into the Acropolis Museum, a beacon of history that sits comfortably amongst the world’s elite museums. The natural light that cascades within illuminates the original masterpieces from the Acropolis temples, almost as if Apollo, the Sun God, decided to shed his light personally on them. As you tread softly on glass floors, ancient excavations murmur stories from the depths below.
Up on Acropolis Hill, historical wonders beckon. The Dionysus Theatre, the birthplace of dramatic arts, whispers of ancient performances. The resplendent Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Sanctuary of Asclepius, the healing deity, paint vivid pictures of yesteryears. And as you ascend to the pinnacle, the Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheion Temple, and the majestic Parthenon stand as enduring symbols of democracy and Western civilisation. These structures don’t just represent bricks and stones; they embody the zenith of Athens during the Golden Age of Pericles.
Back in the Acropolis Museum, begin on the ground floor, a treasure trove of artefacts that give a sneak peek into Athenian daily life. From wedding bells to childhood toys and ancient healthcare to divine rituals, it’s a riveting journey into the mundane and the mystical. Ascend to the first floor, and the enigmatic statues of the 6th century nearly come alive, whispering tales from when they adorned the Acropolis. Be prepared for a moment of awe as the Caryatids and mammoth fragments of the Acropolis entrance dominate your view.
Your climax awaits on the final floor. With the Acropolis in the backdrop, you’ll stand face to face with the Parthenon frieze, a piece de resistance in artistic magnificence. It’s here, with the blend of artistry and history, that you’ll realise just how special this guided tour truly is. Enjoy every moment, history buff.
3. Athens by Night: Sightseeing and Spirits
Why I Like This Ticket
You know how some cities just glow after sundown? Athens is one of them. With the Athens by Night: Sightseeing and Spirits Guided Tour, I found myself embracing the vibrant nightlife in Athens like a true local. Forget those conventional city tours; this one gives you a taste of Athenian nightlife at its finest. Starting at the famed Monastiraki Square, the real magic happens after dusk.
Moving on, who’d have imagined sipping a refreshing Greek wine, gazing at the shimmering Acropolis of Athens from a handpicked rooftop bar? It’s not just a drink; it’s an experience. Honestly, this tour is one of the top things to do if you want to see Athens in a light (or rather, lights) most tourists miss out on.
All the Details
Let the Athenian evening embrace you. Your rendezvous is at Monastiraki Square, outside the iconic Ieros Naos Pantanassis church. The journey starts with a picturesque rooftop offering a panoramic view of the Acropolis. Picture this: You’re savouring a rich Greek wine, complemented with a sumptuous cheese and charcuterie board, all while the Acropolis and the Parthenon stands majestically under a canopy of twinkling stars. It’s nothing short of magical.
As the evening deepens, we whisk you away to a cosmopolitan bar in the heart of Athens. Here, brace yourself for some of the most delectable signature cocktails that capture the essence of Athens. It’s where the city’s pulse truly beats.
What sets this tour apart? The guides. They’re not just guides; they’re Athenians passionate about sharing the city’s nocturnal secrets. So, are you ready to unravel the enchanting Athenian nights?
4. Street Food Tasting Tour
Why I Like This Ticket
Street food? In Athens? Let me be honest: while there are many guided tours in Athens, not all get your taste buds dancing like Zorba the Greek. This ticket did just that. Imagine sinking your teeth into a warm Spanakopita, fresh out of the oven, making you question all past food choices. And then there’s the iconic souvlaki. Paired with a local beer?
But the adventure didn’t stop there. Each step through Athens’ bustling shopping district felt like I was on the ultimate Greek food treasure hunt, discovering everything from boat-shaped pizzas to mouth-watering loukoumades. And as I ambled through Psyrri, the vibes got better with its eclectic mix of street art and quirky stores.
Finishing off with local desserts that had me floating on a sugary cloud, it became clear. When it comes to top things to do in Athens, the Street Food Tasting Tour is definitely high up on the list.
All the Details
Your food journey starts at a quintessential pie shop, where you get to experience the magic of a freshly baked Spanakopita. It’s cheesy, flaky perfection that sets the mood just right. Next up: the Greek street food legend – souvlaki! And trust me, paired with a chilled local beer, it’s a match made in gastronomic heaven.
Fancy a twist on pizza? Athens’ shopping district hides a gem serving up boat-shaped Greek pizzas that’ll hum you in delight. And for those with a sweet tooth, brace yourself for loukoumades from a legendary pastry shop, dripping in golden honey and dusted with cinnamon.
The vibrant district of Psyrri awaits you next. It’s more than just food; it’s about feeling the artistic heart of Athens beat in its every nook and cranny. Vintage shops, cafes, and even an age-old bakery that’s the breadbasket of Athens, churning out warm sesame rings you see all around the city.
Wrap up your tour with local desserts that taste like sweet Athenian dreams. Think golden syrup, aromatic spices, and ice cream that tastes like…well, you’ll just have to find out.
5. Meteora Monasteries Train Tour and Hidden Caves
Why I Like This Ticket
Honestly, how often do you get to see monasteries perched atop towering cliffs and hidden caves that whisper tales of solitude? The Meteora Monasteries Train Tour and Hidden Caves Ticket offered me just that and much more. From the comfy train journey from Athens to Kalabaka, which felt like I was gliding through a storybook filled with Greece’s picturesque landscapes, to the panoramic views of Meteora that left me, metaphorically speaking, floating on air.
Eight monasteries to lay your eyes upon, and getting to set foot inside three? It’s almost like a buffet of awe-inspiring sights. Throw in the hidden hermit caves of Badovas, and it’s an absolute treat for any history or nature enthusiast. If someone asked me about the top things to do starting from Athens, this guided tour to Meteora’s Monasteries with a sprinkle of hidden caves is high up on my list.
All the Details
Hop aboard a scenic train ride from Athens’ Larissis train station, Track 8, at the crisp time of 8:28 a.m. As the Attica landscape blurs past, you’ll find yourself arriving in Kalabaka, the gateway to Meteora, by 12:49 p.m.
Once in Kalabaka, there’s a pit stop in Kastraki village for some lunch and a spot of relaxation (on your tab, though). And then? The real magic begins. Your expert local guide will be your storyteller as you navigate Meteora in a swanky VIP minibus. Gaze at those jaw-dropping cliffs and monasteries that seem to defy gravity, and let the tales of history and devotion wash over you. The mysterious hermit caves of Badovas beckon next, echoing stories of bygone eras.
Your tour, which spans a generous four hours, covers all 6 active monasteries, two hidden ones, the hermit caves, and so much more. Every nook and cranny has a story, and trust your English-speaking guide to spill all the beans.
The day wraps up with a return train at 17:35 p.m., returning you to Athens by 9:57 p.m. And if you fancy a tad more luxury, there’s a first-class seat with your name on it. For those who prefer private tours, options are available in multiple languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Romanian.
Ouzo's on Me: Wrapping Up the Athenian Adventure
Well, there you have it. From the history-soaked steps of the Acropolis to the hidden corners of Meteora’s caves and even to the bustling street on the streets of Athens, this adventure is shaping up to be as legendary as Hercules himself.
Remember, there’s something magical about exploring a city like Athens with a plan. It’s like turning up to a buffet and knowing exactly which dish to dive into first (and, honestly, it’s usually the one with the most feta). So, by pre-booking these top things to do in Athens, you’re not just saving time, you’re crafting your own epic tale in the city of myths.
So, next time someone asks you about your upcoming trip to Athens, confidently tell them you’ve got everything sorted. And who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire someone else to turn their daydreams into reality.
As the Greeks say, Καλό ταξίδι! (That’s “Safe travels!” for those of us still brushing up on our Greek.) See you at the rooftop bar — first round of ouzos on me.