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About Athens

The Acropolis - 'High City' - will always be the top attraction from Athens cruise port Piraeus.

With its 2,500-year-old Parthenon, temple to Poseidon and Athena, Odeon of Herodes Atticus and Theatre of Dionysus, it quite literally stands out as an oasis of calm in the frenetic Greek capital.

As part of the major revamp the city had for the 2004 Olympics, 400 modern buildings were cleared from the ancient meeting place next to the Acropolis, the Agora, which was then restored and linked by walkways to the Acropolis, Hadrians Arch, the Academy of Plato and the Monastery of Daphne.

Other nearby ancient sites include the Roman Tower of the Winds and the Hill of the Muses where Socrates is said to have drunk hemlock. Below the Acropolis is the fun place to shop or barter, eat moussaka or Greek salad, drink wine or ouzo and, of course, to people-watch: the 3,000-year-old Plaka.


Shore excursions in Athens

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Traditional Evening Experience

Activity mediumMeal included

Duration: 4½ hours

Go Greek and enjoy a smashing evening, fill up with good food, wine and of course traditional Zorba the Greek dancing.

Embark on a scenic drive to the neighbourhood of Plaka, and admire the evening views of the city.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by the owner and enjoy traditional Greek 'meze' or appetizers and the obligatory ouzo. For evening dinner, feast on cheese pie, dolmades, Greek salad and moussaka, all washed down with a glass of wine. Entertainment will be provided by a local troupe, who will perform a number of traditional dances. If the mood takes you, you might like join in and maybe you’ll even get to smash a plate or two!

To round off your evening, on the return drive, a brief photo stop will be made at the Acropolis. Capture one of the most iconic sights in the world illuminated in all her glory.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time by coach to the venue is approximately 30 minutes each way. The dress code is smart casual. The venue is not exclusive to P&O Cruises.

A Traditional Evening Experience

Acropolis, Museum and Plaka

Activity highRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 7 hours

Experience the best this ancient city has to offer, including the Acropolis, National Museum and the Plaka.

Dominating the Athenian landscape, the Acropolis is unsurpassed in its beauty, architectural splendour and historic importance. Your guided tour of the Acropolis begins with a walk up to the upper city entrance through the Propylea.

After exploring the ancient ruins, admire the priceless relics that have been excavated and are now displayed in the Acropolis Museum. Opened in 2009, the museum charters the stunning history of the Acropolis. Highlights include the awesome original Caryatids, as well as the remaining pediments from the Parthenon Temple with copies of the missing parts. The museum also offers stunning views of the Acropolis of Athens.

Arriving at the Plaka, sample some Greek treats as you are served some traditional snacks, ‘mezedes’, accompanied by a glass of local wine, followed by some free time to explore the Plaka at your leisure.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. The maximum group size will be no more than 25 passengers per guide. The visit to the Acropolis involves climbing approximately 80 steep, marble steps and walking along uneven pathways; comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended. The Plaka will be explored on foot. There is approximately 3 hours of walking on this tour. Please be aware that photography and video cameras are not permitted in the Acropolis Museum. The museum is highly popular and works by appointment only for groups. Some delays may be faced in order to enter the museum. For security reasons all passengers will go through x-ray machines and belongings will be scanned, on arrival. The museum is closed on Mondays.

The Acropolis - Crown Jewel of Athens

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4 hours

Dominating the Athenian landscape, the Acropolis is unsurpassed in its beauty, architectural splendour and historic importance.

An informative, narrated drive will take you from Piraeus to Athens, past a wealth of important sites, including Temple of Olympian Zeus, Constitution Square, and Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, Presidential Palace, and the University Library.

Walk up to the entrance of the Acropolis, through the Propylea, which extends 150 feet across the western front of the Acropolis. Adjoining the entrance is the Temple of Athena Nike or Wingless Victory. Beyond the Propylea, on the highest part of the hill, is the Acropolis' crowning glory, the Parthenon. Built between 447 and 432 BC, it was dedicated to the Virgin Athena, the patron goddess of the city. To the north of the Parthenon is the Erechtheion, a temple honouring Athena and Poseidon, God of the sea. The Porch of the Caryatids, with sculptures of lovely maidens, is one of the Acropolis' most graceful structures.

There will be a short time for souvenir shopping in the area close to the Acropolis.

Stop to admire the Old Olympic Stadium (traffic permitting), built for the first modern Olympic games. This stadium was also used for the Marathon finish during the 2004 games.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Please be advised that passengers aged 17 years and under are entitled to free entrance to the Acropolis. Parents and/or guardians should, therefore, book any 13 – 17 year olds in their party as a child ticket. All passengers between 3 and 17 years of age MUST carry their passport on the above tours in order to gain entrance to the Acropolis. Note that all minors (those under 18) must be accompanied by an adult on shore excursions.

Please be advised that some of the walking at the Acropolis is very slippery and flat comfortable shoes are recommended. Headsets will be used for the visit to the Acropolis, which involves climbing approximately 80 steep steps and walking along uneven pathways – comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended. The Acropolis is currently undergoing extensive restoration and parts are covered in scaffolding.

Ancient Corinth and Canal Transit

Activity mediumMeal includedShopping

Duration: 8½ hours

Don’t miss this opportunity to take a boat ride along the amazing Corinth Canal and visit Ancient Corinth with its 6th century temples.

In the days of St Paul, Ancient Corinth possessed a forum larger than Rome, with temples, theatres, baths, shops and basilicas. See the remains of the beautifully-paved Lechaion Road and 6th century BC Doric Temple of Apollo. A visit will be made to the Museum, which houses some of the finds from the site.

The Corinth Canal never fails to impress. 4 miles long, 75 feet wide and 26 feet deep, it represents a great feat of engineering. An unforgettable sight, the Canal separates the narrow causeway joining the Peloponesse to the mainland.

The highlight will be the Canal transit. Boarding a boat, you’ll travel serenely through the Canal, with the walls rising sheer on either side. Depending on Canal traffic, the trip through the Canal may be made twice, and if that is the case you will return to the original starting point. There may be a short wait whilst queuing to enter the Canal.

A buffet lunch including wine and coffee is included. There will be a short time available for shopping in the area outside the site of the Ancient Corinth.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. The site of Corinth has uneven pathways and some steps to be negotiated. Comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended. Please note that due to the restrictions of the transit, lunch may not be served until mid-afternoon. We recommend you have a hearty breakfast. The drive to Corinth will be by motorway and takes approximately 1¼ hours each way. Flash photos are not permitted in the Corinth Museum.

Athens Panorama

Activity lowRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 3½ hours

A tour for those passengers unable to negotiate the climb and stairs to the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

Just behind Hadrian’s Arch lie the remains of the largest Temple of Antiquity, the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Dedicated to the king and father of the gods, Zeus, it took a mammoth 700 years to complete.

From the viewpoint, gaze at the Acropolis with amazing sights of the Propylea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon and the Erechtheion. The Sacred Way was lined with statues; the Parthenon was decorated with 92 sculptured metopes, 55 statues and a frieze 523 feet long. In the distance rises Mount Parnes, the highest mountain in Attica, and Mount Pentelikon, where Pentelic marble is quarried. Between the mountains spreads the Mesogheia Valley where grapes for retsina-resinated wine are harvested. Your Athens city drive will cover the main points of interest, both ancient and modern, including Hadrian's Arch, Statue of Lord Byron, Temple of Olympian Zeus and Constitution Square, to name a few.

During your tour, refreshments will be served at a leading venue, and there will be a short opportunity for souvenir shopping nearby the Acropolis.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. You are advised that the Acropolis will only be viewed from a distance. To enjoy this excursion to the full a little walking is required, with a few stairs. The Acropolis is undergoing extensive restoration and parts are covered in scaffolding.


A selection of cruises to Athens

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