The last leg of our trip was Greece. Croatia and Greece were on the top of our travel list and so we were so excited we were able to do both on our extended vacation. On Tuesday August 20 we flew from Dubrovnik to Athens. During our visit we stayed at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. By the time we landed and got to our hotel on Tuesday it was late. So, we had our hotel make dinner reservations at the King George Hotel (the sister hotel next door), on the terrace of Tudor Hall overlooking the Acropolis. An unexpected bonus during our time in Athens was we got to spend time with Jeremy’s sister. Jeremy’s sister recently moved to London for graduate school. Since she hadn’t started school yet, she was able to come to Athens to hang out with us for a few days.
Wednesday August 21
On Wednesday we booked the Athens City Tour, Acropolis & Acropolis Museum Tour. The tour came highly recommended from a friend of mine who had gone to Greece a year earlier. Our tour guide was an archeology PHD student, so he was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about his tour. In the morning we met at the Syntagma metro station for a brief look at the ancient artifacts displayed at the metro’s museum. Then, we saw the Greek Parliament, the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, and the Changing of the Guards. After, we walked through the National Gardens, Zappeion Hall, the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch.
Next, we headed to the Acropolis on the pedestrian walkway called Dionysiou Areopagitou. After entering the Acropolis, we visited the Dionysus Sanctuary and the Dionysus Theater. Then, we entered the slope leading to the Acropolis monuments and saw the historic monuments including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, the Nike Temple, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Ancient Agora, the National Observatory of Athens and the city’s scenic hills: Filoppapos, Mars, and Pnyx.
After the first part of our Athens city walking tour ended, we had a short break and then were able to skip the line and visit the Acropolis Museum. The Acropolis Museum is a must see if you go to Athens. The museum is new, and was designed by renowned Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi and notable Greek architect Michalis Photiadis. The Acropolis Museum has a great selection of ancient Greek artifacts and excavations are visible under glass floors and walkways. The museum also has panoramic views of the Acropolis and the city of Athens.
Thursday August 22
On Thursday we had our hotel arrange tickets for the hop on and off bus tour. Even though these bus tours seem touristy, they are an affordable and efficient option to see various parts of the city. During the tour we stopped at a few other museums, gardens, and parts of Athens we otherwise wouldn’t have gone to. After spending the day walking around and exploring we were exhausted and ended up just ordering room service in the hotel.
Friday August 23
If we had another full day in Athens, we would have done a day trip to Delphi. However, we had an 8:30am flight on Friday so headed to the airport early. Then, we spent the last 2 weeks of our trip in Mykonos and Santorini, which I’ll recap next!