Pre-buying your tours of Athens, Greece can save you big money by avoiding the fluctuating Euro exchange rates. Here's a selection of tours worth taking. I've provided an on-line affiliate booking link for each, but similar tours are available in Greece through many travel agencies, hotels, and tour operators. Don't miss these additional trips: More Trips from Athens.
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Morning Tour of Athens, Greece
Taking a tour at the beginning of your stay in Athens helps orient you to the capital city of Greece. This one gets you to and from many of the major sights easily in a short amount of time; some you may want to revisit on your own later in your stay.
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Half Day Tour to Cape Sounion
Cape Sounion is a dramatic location at any time of day, but most of the afternoon tours schedule it so you'll be there for the amazing sunset. Beneath you the Aegean Sea stretches out, glimmering in the sun; beside you stand the stately ruins of the Temple of Poseidon. It's easy to understand why the ancient Greeks built a temple to the god of the sea here.
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Athens Sightseeing by Night and Dinner Show
Cliché phobic? Independent traveler rather than a tourist? Then this one isn't for you. You get to see the lights of Athens, look at the picturesque harbors, and then go into the Plaka area of Athens for a pre-canned dinner and show. Yet it's mindless fun, less trouble for a tired tourist than finding a unique place on your own, and nearly an essential experience for a first-time visitor to Greece.
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3-Day Tour to Meteora and Delphi
Organized trips to Meteora make great sense - it's a long drive into the mountains that most casual travelers won't undertake on their own. This one includes a stop at Delphi as well.Continue to 5 of 17 below.
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Full Day Tour to Delphi
Personally, I think a visit to Delphi is as essential as a visit to Athens. This beautiful, historic, and inspiring town on the slopes of Mount Parnassus is a great experience. Have extra time? You can turn it into an overnight trip and, with an early call, you can explore the site without the crowds early the next morning.
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Overnight Tour to DelphiThis is the version I recommend if you have time. Delphi is lovely and you won't regret spending a night there. Delphi is high on the list for a return visit by repeat travelers to Greece, and it is lovely almost any season of the year.
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Half Day Tour to Ancient CorinthFrankly, I could give up the actual "Corinth Canal" portion of this tour. But the ruins of ancient Corinth are very evocative, both as an ancient Greek site and also as a site important to early Christianity; the "Bema" or meeting area where Paul preached can still be visited.
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Walking Photographic Tour of Athens - Hills and Demes of AthensThis is a fun way to "do" Athens while enjoying some instruction in photography and capturing some memorable images. Participants should be able to comfortably walk while carrying their camera equipment uphill and through the narrow and sometimes steep or steppy lanes of Athens. But if you're just really looking for a walking tour, this is a pricy way to do it, best for more serious photographers.Continue to 9 of 17 below.
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Wine Tasting and Tour of Ancient CorinthI was excited to see this tour appear, because combining wine tasting and visits to ancient ruins seems just so appropriate to me and there haven't been that many options in Greece. You won't be tasting the wine at Corinth itself, but nearby at a lovely winery.
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4-Day Trip to the Greek Island of RhodesExplore the island of the sun, sacred to Helios since ancient times. This four-day trip includes your flight from Athens and a half-day escorted tour, but much of the time is yours to do with as you wish.
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Day Cruise from Athens to Hydra, Poros, and AeginaJust have to get out of Athens, but you don't have much time? I recommend this 11-hour day cruise - it lets you visit three great Greek islands in a single day. Yes, it's just a taste, but if all you have time for is appetizers, you'll still appreciate - and remember - your quick nibble at these Greek islands. All of these are gems. Though it's a busy day, the boat ride between the islands lets you recover from previous sightseeing and be raring to go once you dock.
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2-Day Trip from Athens to Santorini
Love Athens but want to experience a Greek island during your stay? This quick trip to and from Santorini may be just the ticket. It can combine easily with your stay in Athens. Remember, most Athens hotels will happily keep your big luggage for you for a few days while you run off to the islands.Continue to 13 of 17 below.
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Four-Day Tour of Greece - Meteora, Olympia, Delphi, Epidaurus, Corinth Canal
Want to get out of Athens in a big way? This four-day(3-night) tour of classical Greece also includes the Byzantine monasteries of Meteora, in addition to Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Corinth, and Delphi.
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5-Day Trip to Northern Greece, with Delphi
This is an easy way to visit the often-neglected area of Northern Greece, round-trip from Athens. While Delphi is not exactly "northern", it's a nice addition to the tour.
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Private Walking Tour with Natrional Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is really a must-see in Athens - yet it seems to be dropping off of organized tour offerings in the past few years, leaving travelers to scramble to add it to their own free days in Athens. This tour combines access to the Museum with a personally-guided tour on foot through Athens.
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Athens Greece is a marvelous city, a world capital - and a confusing labyrinth for the unwary. And if you choose a safe hop-on hop-off bus tour or another guided coach option, it's still possible to "do" Athens without ever really meeting an actual Greek or exchanging more than a few words with one over a shop counter or hotel reception desk.
Get the "Local Dope" - or Dopios
A new service called "Dopios" - meaning "local" in Greek - is trying to bridge that gap by creating a directory of local Athenians and others who live in Greece who are willing to guide tourists around to their personal favorites in Athens and beyond. They charge a fee for the excursions, usually 25-60 Euro for several hours of transportation and guidance. Some of them will even cook you dinner at their home, introduce you to their circle of friends, and show you around the neighborhoods of Athens.
The system is set up almost like a dating service. Individual "dopios"... put together a profile of themselves, noting various characteristics, and list a few potential excursions.
About the Dopios Guides
Each dopios fills out basic information about themselves, including how long they have lived in Greece - while most are Greek, some are expatriates- , their interests, where they have personally travelled, their languages, education, profession, and the hours and days of their usual availability. A brief personal statement includes other information, and there is at least one photo of your potential local guide. They also list "categories" such as Arts Lover, Museum Geek, and the enigmatic-sounding Trip Master.
Dopios also gives each guide a rating based on how recently they were active on the site, how quickly they have responded to inquiries in the past, and their average response time (but before judging on this one, please remember that Greece may be many hours ahead or behind your own time zone. Like beachside webcams, they may not be operating 24 hours a day.)
While the locals may go with you to the monuments, remember that at archaeological sites, they are forbidden to give historical and archaeological information - that's the legal province of the official guides. While they might whisper a few things in your ear along the way, if you want a full, detailed guide experience, you'll want to join a tour or hire a certified guide.
Safety and Security
One warning - while some Dopios profiles show that some of the individuals are "identity verified", others list as their bona fides just the fact that they have a Facebook profile - in other words, almost no verification at all. If you have video Skype, Dopios suggests that you may want to contact them that way beforehand, just so you know that the person you're talking to is actually the person pictured.
Dopios does provide a Safety Page, but it is obvious that they are primarily relying on the good will of people using their system to provide identity verifications - something which could be worked around. The "In-person" interviews which earn a guide an Identity Verified checkmark are not all conducted directly by Dopios, but by people looking for guides who then verify them. For an experience like meeting at the Acropolis for an hour or two, it might not matter, but for something like a night of nightclub crawling which some guides offer or going to a private home for dinner, it could be a much more serious concern.
At present, Dopios is planning additional websites for London, Istanbul, and San Francisco.
Plan Your Own Trip to Greece
Find and Compare Flights To and Around Greece: Athens and Other Greece Flights - The Greek airport code for Athens International Airport is ATH.
Find and Compare prices on: Hotels in Greece and the Greek Islands
Book your Own Day Trips Around Athens
Book your Own Short Trips Around Greece and the Greek Islands
Book your Own Trips to Santorini and Day Trips on Santorini
Book Your Own: Sightseeing Trips on Crete