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  • Writer's pictureMui R

Discovering the Hidden Gems of Athens, Greece

The port of Athens, Greece, also known as the Port of Piraeus, is a popular cruise destination for travelers exploring the Mediterranean. Here is a guide to help you plan your visit:

  1. Arrival and Departure: Most cruise ships dock at one of the three main piers of the Port of Piraeus: Cruise Terminal A, Cruise Terminal B, or Cruise Terminal C. From the port, you can take a taxi or public transportation to Athens, which is approximately 10 kilometers away.

  2. Must-See Sights: Athens is a city steeped in history and culture, and there are many must-see sights for visitors. The most famous attraction is the Acropolis, which is home to the Parthenon and other ancient ruins. Other popular sights include the Ancient Agora, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Plaka neighborhood.

  3. Tours and Excursions: There are many tours and excursions available for visitors to Athens, including guided tours of the Acropolis and other historical sites, food and wine tours, and day trips to nearby islands such as Hydra and Aegina. Most cruise lines offer their own shore excursions, but you can also book tours through independent operators like Viator or Project Expeditions especially if you plan to stay before or after the cruise ends.

  4. Shopping and Dining: Athens has a vibrant shopping and dining scene, with many restaurants, cafes, and shops in the city center. The Plaka neighborhood is a popular area for shopping and dining, with narrow streets filled with souvenir shops and restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine.

  5. Transportation: Athens has a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a metro system. Taxis are also readily available but be sure to negotiate the fare before getting in the car. It's important to note that traffic in Athens can be congested, so allow plenty of time for travel.

  6. Currency: The currency in Greece is the Euro, and many businesses accept credit cards. It's a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases and tipping.

  7. Language: The official language of Greece is Greek, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

  8. Safety: Athens is generally a safe city, but be aware of pickpocketing and other petty crime in tourist areas. It's also important to note that some areas of Athens, particularly around Omonia Square, may be considered less safe at night.

  9. Climate: Athens has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer tourists.

  10. Customs: Greece has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting churches and religious sites, and avoid taking photographs where it is not allowed. Tipping is also customary in Greece, with 10% being a typical amount.

Smaller Greek Island to Explore

Exploring the Cyclades Islands on a cruise is a fantastic way to experience the beauty and culture of Greece. With a little planning and research, you can make the most of your cruise and create memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Kefalonia - The largest of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia is famous for its exotic beaches and seaside villages. Due its large size, the island is able to maintain its laidback and quiet feel even in high season.

  • Delos- According to Greek mythology, Apollo was born on this small rocky island in the Cyclades archipelago. The entire island of Delos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds a number of archaeological wonders dating back centuries.

  • Koufonisia - Set in between Naxos and Amorgos, Koufonisia is a small group of two islets separated by a wide strait. The relaxed island is known for its sheltered golden sand beaches and small natural pools of turquoise water.

  • Hydra - Step back in time in Hydra, a blissful motor-free island in the Saronic Gulf. The closest island to Athens is known for its bohemian spirit and lively port filled with charming restaurants, shops, and more. Everyone from Leonard Cohen to Sophia Loren has been drawn to the island.

  • Andros - The second-largest of the Cyclades, Andros is a nature lover’s dream for its rugged mountains, lush valleys, and waterfalls surrounded by wildflowers. The main town of Hora has a long seafaring tradition and is packed with neoclassical mansions.

  • Symi - Colorful homes sit atop one another in the port of Symi, making it one of the most beautiful sights in all of Greece. The island in the Dodecanese was settled by the Italians almost a century ago, giving it a distinctly different feel from other Greek islands.

  • Skopelos - For many visitors, Skopelos epitomizes a typical Greek island – untouched villages, great food, quiet beaches, and green mountain ranges. The island has more than a dozen monasteries scattered around, making it a popular destination for spiritual seekers. Milos - A volcanic island in the Cyclades, Milos is famous for its unspoiled coastline and unique moonlike white volcanic rocks. Spend hours lounging on Lefkada beach as you look towards the impossibly blue Aegean Sea.

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