Athens was made for strolling, as you'll find out in this itinerary. The neighborhoods of Monastiraki, Syntagma, Plaka, and Makrygianni hide petite pedestrian streets and neoclassical homes overflowing with floral balconies. You'll see street art with an artist, be schooled by a chef, and take a sunset visit to the Temple of Poseidon. Step back into history with day trips to Delphi and Mycenae before departing.

Highlights

  • Appreciate the timeless magnificence of the Parthenon in modern Athens
  • Learn to cook Greek cuisine from the experts with a view of the Acropolis
  • Visit the Temple of Poseidon as the sun sets over the Saronic Gulf
  • Explore the archaeological marvels of Delphi and Mycenae, famed in Homer's Iliad
  • Spend half a day in Nafplio, a seaside town said to be founded by Poseidon's son

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens Athens
Day 2 Ancient & Modern Athens Tour Athens
Day 3 Athenian Cooking Class Athens
Day 4 Athens Street Art Tour Athens
Day 5 Visit Cape Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon Athens
Day 6 Day Trip to Delphi Athens
Day 7 Day Trip to Mycenae and Nafplio Athens
Day 8 Depart Athens  

Detailed overview

Day 1: Arrive in Athens

Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis
Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis

Welcome to Greece! You'll begin your trip in Athens, home to both the iconic Acropolis and so much more. The mythology of this spectacular city precedes it, with towering temples to Classical deities and the ruins of ancient marketplaces rubbing shoulders with lively nightlife, crowded flea markets, and contemporary cuisine. Make the most of your time in the city at some of these spots:

  • Check out the views of the can't-miss Parthenon. (Pro tip: The Parthenon is the temple, the Acropolis is the hill.) This temple to Athena has enchanted visitors since its construction was completed in 438 BC. It's probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of ancient Greece and is visible from many of the city's high points.
  • Stop at the sprawling National Museum for a crash course in ancient iconography. Be sure to seek out the room housing the Antikythera mechanism, essentially an ancient astronomical computer.
  • Visit a smaller archaeological site at the Tower of the Winds, then stroll down neighboring pedestrian Aiolou Street to stop at shops and cafes. 
  • Find your perfect souvenir or sun hat in the busy stalls of the Monastiraki flea market. 

Spend your evening exploring the up-and-coming Pangrati neighborhood or amid the nightlife and mezze of the Psyrri district.

Day 2: Ancient & Modern Athens Tour

See every facet of the city
See every facet of the city

Span the centuries of the city on today's guided tour. Over the course of about seven hours, you'll cover thousands of years, starting with a review of the Acropolis and Agora, where you'll learn the history, philosophy, and politics of ancient Athens. 

Jump forward to the present, where Athenian art, style, and cuisine are being reborn amid their traditional influences. You'll see the colorful flea markets of Monastiraki, along with the street art, design, and vintage clothing stores of Psyrri. 

Get a taste of those traditional influences as you venture into the Varvakios Market, the largest and most popular fish, meat, and vegetable market in the city, and explore the city's main spice street. You'll sample olive oils, honey, cheeses from around the country, cured meats, olives, and more. End in the Plaka district, one of Athens' oldest neighborhoods, where souvenir shops balance with local life. You'll cap off the experience with lunch in a traditional taverna at the foot of the Acropolis.

If you haven't had your fill of adventuring during the afternoon, spend your evening in the Koukaki neighborhood. This area's off-the-beaten-path wine bars will introduce you to a wide selection of Greek wines amid friendly crowds.

Day 3: Athenian Cooking Class

Olives are always a favorite
Olives are always a favorite

After sampling so much food around the city, it's time to learn how to do it yourself. You'll visit a contemporary multi-use space home to four shops in one—a coffee house, pie shop, creamery, and kitchenette—and the perfect setting for your lesson. Discover local products from around Greece and experiment with traditional recipes to create your own twist on the classics. And, of course, sample all of it.  Savor the fruits of your labor while taking in views of the Acropolis and surrounding Plaka neighborhood. 

Digest with a stroll to the Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square. Linger until the changing of the guard to catch their highly choreographed routine, complete with tsarouchia pom-pom shoes and the obligatory deadpan expressions.

Day 4: Athens Street Art Tour

Some of what you may see
Some of what you may see

Athens has Classical art around every corner, but the city isn't stuck in the past. Street artists have been calling the city home for years, with both established players and new talent popping up all the time. Your insider artist guide will take you through neighborhoods that support and showcase this art form, showing you both the art itself and how it relates to local issues.

Continue your wandering into the afternoon to pick up some souvenirs for yourself or anyone stuck at home. Grecian sandals and jewelry are especially popular, as is the frequently spotted evil eye motif.

Day 5: Visit Cape Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon

Quite the dramatic setting for the temple!
Quite the dramatic setting for the temple!

Take a leisurely morning with breakfast and the opportunity to explore the city on your own time, revisiting any favorite shops or undiscovered archaeological sites.

In the afternoon, you'll head down to the Athenian Riviera, full of both history and stunning island views. Your adventure will take you along the coast to visit the Temple of Poseidon, providing you with historical background on the way. The views overlook the Saronic Gulf, with one of the best sunset views Greece has to offer. Sip a complimentary beverage and take in the sunset while you listen to music and immortalize the moment with a Polaroid-style photo.

You'll be transferred back to your lodging in the evening just in time for a late (Greek-style) dinner. Or, if you're not ready to call it a night, you can request a drop-off at some of the most popular beach bars to dance until the sun comes up.

Day 6: Day Trip to Delphi

The Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi
The Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi

Today, you'll seek out the oracle during a day trip to the ruins of Delphi, once home to priestesses of Apollo who Ancient Greeks believed could predict the future. Take a guided tour through this sprawling archaeological site, with stops such as the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo, and expansive theater.

Explore the ruins or venture up an ancient footpath once used by worshippers of the god Pan, who started from the temples of Delphi and proceeded to Corycean Grotto for their religious rites, surrounded by the valley of olive trees and views of the Corinthian Gulf and peaks of the Peloponnese on your way. 

Don't skip the neighboring museum, which contains masterpieces such as the Bronze Charioteer and the image of the famous athlete Aghias.

Day 7: Day Trip to Mycenae and Nafplio

The Lion Gate
The Lion Gate

Start the day early with a full day trip back to a true classic. You may recognize Mycenae from its role in Homer's Iliad: It was home to the famous Helen, whose Mycenean husband King Agamemnon led his people to war when she left him for Paris of Troy. See its Cyclopean walls, whose construction method is still a mystery. They got their name due in part to the belief that only the mythical Cyclops would have been strong enough to lift their boulders.

You'll pass through the Lion Gate to enter the ruins of the city, wandering past the tombs of Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra and the Treasury of Atreus.

You'll go on to Nafplio, one of the prettiest seaport towns in the Peloponnese peninsula and once believed to have been founded by the son of Poseidon. The town was the first capital of the new Greek state after the war of independence in the 1800s. Take a stroll through the old town, where you'll pass statues honoring significant figures from Nafplio's history, Ottoman fountains, and Venetian architecture along the winding streets, topped off by the Bourtzi Castle in the middle of the harbor. Don't miss the climb up 1,000 steps to see the view from the Palamidi Castle.

Day 8: Depart Athens

Wave to the city
Wave to the city

Time to say farewell to Greece. Enjoy your final Athenian breakfast before your transfer to the airport.

Map

Map of Authentic Athens & Historical Greece - 8 Days
Map of Authentic Athens & Historical Greece - 8 Days