Wonders of Athens Tour: Parthenon, Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon
The mystery and intrigue of Athens will immerse you in millennia of history and heritage during your 11-day custom-tailored Greece tour. You will explore grand temples with specialized guides, relax on the shores of the exclusive Athenian Riviera, and delight in the luxuries of marvelous coastal resorts. Your Athenian escape will offer you a new and exciting perspective in and around Athens, from unique neighborhoods to memorable coastal sunsets.
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- Visit the classic ruins of the Acropolis from which the city of Athens is based
- Indulge in the sensational architecture of the Parthenon
- Stand along the serene shores of Cape Sounion with a visit to the grand Temple of Poseidon
- Stroll along a quintessential Cyclades neighborhood along the foothill of the Acropolis
- Experience Athens like a local and blend into the classics of the metropolis
- (Extension) Indulge along the soft shores and five-star luxuries of the Athenian Riviera
Escape to the grandeur of Athens on the 7 to 10-day journey through the ancient and modern history of the Cradle of Western Civilization. The city and its surroundings linger in the hearts and minds of the world as a Golden Age of human philosophy, where the pillars of temples represent the pillars of modern day thought. Revel in an Athenian getaway, where the past comes to life, turquoise beaches glisten beneath the sunlight, and even Poseidon welcomes you with open arms.
Arrive in Athens and ready yourself for the majesty of the city that often goes overlooked. Stroll along the Plaka, one of the oldest continuously used streets in Athens and Europe, where the gentle light of the Acropolis glitters in the afternoon sky. Your tour through modern and early Athens takes you through the variety of history, from the Palace of Otto I to literal layers of the ancient city on display within the metro station at Syntagma Square, from the foyer of the new Acropolis Museum to along the coveted steps of the Parthenon. Walk along the city center and the brilliance of history is inescapable.
Your holiday in Athens continues at your leisure with each day bringing a new site to see, experience, and delight in. Discover the greatness of the neighborhoods of Anfiotika and Psiri, one encompassing the splendid architecture of the islands, the other bringing the modern art of food and culture to the heart of the city. Visit the wonderful Temple of Poseidon, set against the backdrop of the sea along the shores of Cape Sounion. With so much beauty to behold you won’t want the escape to end. Extend your time in Athens with three nights along the Athenian Riviera, reveling in the five-star Luxury Beach Resort of Astir Palace, spreading out beneath the sun on the soft shores of the bay.
Most Greece vacations start off in Athens, so set off for your great escape to the city that inspired the future. It is easy to get caught up in the image of marble pillars and pristine temples. The thoughts of the Golden Age of Athens drift through your dreams as you soar over the Atlantic on your way to Greece. Tidbits of philosophy swirl around you with the concrete knowledge that soon you will be standing atop Acropolis Hill, steps from the famous Parthenon, miles from home, and ready for the exceptional holiday.
You almost shout gleefully as you are welcomed to Athens Airport. A private representative will meet you and take you past the rolling hills that surround the city, where lush branches of olive trees reach into the morning sun; past the marble studded mountains that continue to be quarried, where finally you arrive in Athens’s vibrant center. Words of famous philosophers were once spoken on the steps of the Agra and continue to inspire people today. The columns of the Parthenon rise above the modern city as a connection to Athens’s and Greece’s golden past, when knowledge and truth were held in high regard. Stroll along the Plaka, one of Athens’s oldest streets. Antique mansions stretch along the cobblestones. The energetic pulse of history reaches trough the buildings, continuously inhabited for thousands of years. The city comes alive along the streets, filled with locals and visitors, the creamy aroma of olive oil, and the awareness that you have arrived.
The morning sun brings a pink hue to the marbled stones of the city, reaching over the 19th century neighborhoods of the east to the harbor district of Piraeus in the west. You’re introduced to the rich scent of Greek coffee, where the dark roast meets the sweetness of sugar. Today you will be swept into what remains of the past on a guided tour of Athens, visiting the sites that reach back into Athens and Greece’s history. Roam the streets, from ancient to modern, where Syntagma Square is adorned by the palace of King Otto I. The Parliament now sits in its place. Soldiers stand on guard, every hour changing posts in choreographed steps, saluting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier whose image decorates the marbled wall behind them.
At the foothill of the Acropolis sits the new Acropolis Museum where much of the famed history that once stood within the open air of the city is now housed and protected. In the foyer its as if you have stepped into a classicist’s dream, surrounded by marble statues, each detail perfected, from the shape of a bust’s lips to the curls of hair on a statue’s head. You could stare at each piece trying to memorize the artistry that went into these historic sculptures. On the third floor the floor-to-ceiling windows offer a panorama of the Acropolis, framing the soon-to-be-visited majesty on high.
Ascend onto the Acropolis, the marble steps shining in the sunlight. The smooth surface that you walk on is a taste of the opulence to come. Stand in front of the Propylaea, the entranceway to the plateau. The columns stand tall and bulbous, adding to the immensity of its original size. Make your way through the gate and arrive onto the citadel. The Parthenon, one of the most famous temples in history, stands to your right. Each column is a testament, not only to history, but also to the ingenuity of art and architecture. The metopes are decorated with sculptures of their own, some depicting the final battle between the Olympians and the Giants, others connoting the invasion of the Amazons. You can see part of the modern spiral of Athens wrapping around the Acropolis, from the seaside to the foothills, where once the entire city could be viewed from the hilltop.
Today will be explored and experienced at your pace, on your time, however you wish it to be spent. On the northern slopes of Acropolis Hill rising above the entrance of the old agora is the neighborhood of Anfiotika. Enjoy a visit to the Cyclades without ever leaving Athens. The famed whitewashed walls and blue borders of the buildings give you the sense that you have arrived within a tiny town in Mykonos or Santorini. The narrow streets climb the foothills where bougainvillea tumbles down the walls and the steps. Originally constructed by islanders brought to Athens to help build King Otto I’s palace in the 19th century, the neighborhood is now snuggled into the hilltops above a vibrant old bazaar.
Beneath the quiet pathways of Anfiotika is the open stretch of the ancient agora, the old marketplace and civic center of Athens. You can almost hear the crowds of people that used to browse the pottery and sandals, wines and fruits. The remaining pillars once held an opulent roof that covered the entire walkway of the marketplace. People talked politics and business, current events and the nature of the universe. Stand within the now open embrace of the agora, the breeze brushing against your cheeks; you can hear the soft proselytizing of Socrates hovering over the magnificent beginnings of western civilization.
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Get to know Athens in as much detail as you wish, venturing through new neighborhoods, each street as diverse and eclectic as entire cities. The neighborhood of Psiri is decorated with endless quaint streets and charming cafes. The candied perfume of honey rises from the local bakeries which specialize in traditional Grecian goods such as baklava, while also branching into the more decadent cakes of international popularity. Ouzeries, dedicated to the herbaceous spirit of ouso, the clear liquid filled with strong anise flavors, are bursting with Athenians young and old. Join the crowds at Illiospro and feel the rhythm of the city set within the café, overflowing with people talking, drinking, and eating, unafraid to indulge in the beatitudes of life. For the secrets of the neighborhood, every now and again you can follow the sumptuous cologne of freshly grilled seafood, finding yourself on a tiny street where two or three tables are set, like at Oinopoleio, with one chef grilling the local flavors of squid or octopus and inviting you to spend a minute basking in the true Athenian lifestyle.
There is always more to see and do in and around Athens, today is no exception, giving you the opportunity to witness some of the best the city with the freedom of time on your side. Visit the Central Market to see how the locals shop, eat, and barter, where the fresh seafood is on display for everyone, the local grains are demarcated and ready to be sold by the kilo, and the effervescence of ripe produce glitters beneath the lights. The invigorating life of the market brings with it the energy of Athens and an understanding that perhaps shopping is an art form that hasn’t changed much over the millennia.
The remainder of the day can be spent at the southern tip of Attica along the rising hills of Cape Sounion. Step away from the bustle of the city into the open serenity of the coastline. The water reflects the orange light of the sun, lapping at the shores below. For the moment you can set the Athenian crowd aside and bask in the serene, sharp edifice of the coastline. The Temple of Poseidon stands along the edges of the hill, watching over the vast expanse of sea, where the god of the water’s presence can still be felt. The columns rise in uniform, wrapped around the marble base on the edges of the cliff. Although the statue of Poseidon is in the archeological museum in Athens, his prowess looms large over the precipice. The enormity of the temple fills anyone with awe, looking out to sea, where the Greeks would watch for the return of loved ones, from war, from fishing, or from a journey abroad.
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Today you will make your way from the delightful city of Athens to the airport. Your time in the capital of Greece brought you to the ancient wonders of a decadent past, filled with gilded legends and philosophical arguments that people have recited throughout time. You satisfied your tastes for the modern city, exploring the depths of the contemporary neighborhoods that are thriving with local pageantry. Your flight departs for home, you soar past the Acropolis, away from the temple of Poseidon, and onward to home.
Sometimes the hardest part about a holiday is admitting it has ended. You don’t have to. Extend your Grecian getaway and be picked up from your hotel and taken to the exceptional shores of the Athenian Riviera at Vouliagmeni. Your three-night stay will have you situated in the five-star comfort of the Luxury Beach Resort of Astir Palace.
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Luxuriate along the pristine waters of the Aegean without ever having to hop on a boat. On the shores of Vouliagméni bay is the incredible Luxury Beach Resort of Astir Palace, adjacent to the wading quaint boats of the marina and a stretch of private beaches. From the harbor you can watch the waves rush against the islands, almost taking you inside the splendor of a painting. The water is a delicate turquoise; the sand is smooth like powder. The resort is brimming with mouth-watering restaurants. It’s as if you’ve been taken to a different world, stolen from the depths of the cosmopolitan city and settled into the sands of elite beaches.
You can venture away from the beaches for the day if you prefer, and hike to the sapphire waters of Vouliagméni Lake. A limestone cave is positioned near the lake and is filled with warm spring wells. The rich mineral water has a silky feel on your skin and is pleasant to the touch. Locals hike with their dogs, enjoy the view over the surrounding sea beneath the shade of the limestone hills, and relax under the sun. From city-side to seaside, lakeside and back again, your time in and around Athens will eventually call you home, but Athens will always be there for you when you want return.
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