Athens is a true pleasure to explore, yet with so much to do, I always end postponing some things. The Athens One Day Tour can show you all those places and some more…
Athens One Day Tour
Even if I have been to Athens a few times already, it is always pleasant to explore the city in each visit, there is always so much to do, that a few things are always left for the next time. This time, we decided a one day tour would show us all those places. It was finally one of those times.
Two are the things I always regret postponing, therefore I thought that having almost a week to spend in Athens I had no excuse. I was finally going to visit the Acropolis Museum (with a licensed guide). Later that day we visited the imposing Temple of Poseidon.
A Look Around Town
We trusted our day to Key Tours, which we had already chosen in the past for the convenience of their schedules as well as for the creative proposals (check their award-winning Train Tour to Meteora!).
The Athens One Day Tour combines the city’s best-known landmarks: The Panathenaic Stadium but also the Academy, the University of Athens and the Library as well (three neoclassical buildings, true gems of the metropolitan landscape).
The tour also features a visit to the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum and an afternoon in Cape Sounion.
Considering that we had spent the previous evening going about the hottest sports of the Athenian nightlife, the convenience of a bus picking us up in front of our hotel was of no minor importance. From the comfort of our seats, we were able to admire the city life just as it was awakening.
This is a place I can see over and over and always find something new to it, despite its centuries of age. In fact, I have already talked about its wonders not so long ago. But for my kids, it was their first time, and excitement was in the air; they were ecstatic as they were finally going to see a place they have read and talked about for so long!
Ascending the slopes till we reached the Propylaea and observing the immensity of Athens from above filled them with enthusiasm.
Once on top of the Ancient World our guide explained everything about the ancient world and then and granted some time free to explore as much as we wanted to.
The Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum is not only one of the best museums in Greece but also all over the world. It has been built taking several architectural concepts into account, something that makes the visit much more didactic and enjoyable. It is possible to read about the project in detail here.
Everything is cared for to the detail. One of my favorites parts was the exhibition on the first floor. Here, hundreds of Kores (κόρες), mysterious female statues, are displayed with detailed explanations about the way they originally looked, how colors were obtained and applied, and more. Unfortunately, you can’t take photos in this zone of the museum.
The area dedicated to the original Caryatids (the ones on the Acropolis are reproductions) is impressive, it leaves you in total awe. Besides, a video on the wall continually shows how the original monuments were restored using a laser to give them back their original splendor and beauty.
The last floor is about the Parthenon. A masterpiece that reflects the original measures of the temple, which you can continually see through the glass panel walls around the museum.
The kids enjoyed the visit a great deal; however, the best part for them came at the end, with the full reproduction of the Acropolis made of Legos. It was so fun to listen to them talk about what they had learned that morning! It made me (once again) happy to prove that not only schools can teach. Also travel does… and a lot.
Lunch and Cape Sounion
Our full day tour also included a lunch break in a traditional little place a few steps from the museum. We sat and rested for a while enjoying a taste of local dishes. A menu with good options also for vegetarian, something not always that common.
Finished our break, our bus took us to complete the rest of the program. We left Athens, passed the Piraeus and continued our way along the Athenian Riviera. A pleasant ride that rewarded us with the stunning ruins of the temple of Poseidon, on the edge of the high promontory.
The Temple of Poseidon
The myth tells that here Aegeus, a legendary king of Athens, jumped off the cliff to found his death. As our guide (and my son… several times) explained, Aegeus used to look every day from the promontory waiting for the return of Theseus from Crete, where Theseus had sailed to kill the Minotaur. This monster, son of King Minos, was confined in a labyrinth, and even if Theseus had defeated the beast, he never hoisted white sails for the return, as he had agreed he would do in case of victory. When Aegeus saw that the ship had black sails, thinking his son dead, he threw himself from Cape Sounion, giving the name to the sea.
Modern ingredients enhance the mysterious veil that the legend grants on the place. For instance different visits the temple received in a more recent past. The name of the famous poet Lord Byron, carved on a remaining column. Byron celebrated his love for Greece in several works. Even when there is no factual evidence of Byron’s visit to the temple, he did mention Cape Sounion in his poem Isles of Greece.
They say sunsets at Sounion are heavenly beautiful. Yet, it was a cloudy afternoon. It did not matter at all, the atmosphere surrounding the place remains and can be felt… sunny or not.
The whole day finished at about seven pm when we were back in Athens. There we decided to get off the bus to pay the last visit to Syntagma Square. Just as the sun was coming back again, aiming its last beams to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Key Tour kindly offered us the Athens one day tour; still, all opinions remain authentic and unbiased.