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Celebrity Cruise Destinations: Athens

Last Updated

August 2, 2023

Discover Athens and its rich history when you visit its port, Piraeus. As the capital of Greece, Athens boasts a vibrant atmosphere with ancient ruins that light up at night. Many travelers from all over the world come to experience this city's art, architecture, philosophy, and theatre while on a cruise from Athens. The world-famous departure port Piraeus welcomes Mediterranean cruises and offers visitors a chance to shop, stroll, and indulge in traditional Greek food.

Discover Athens and its rich history when you visit its port, Piraeus. As the capital of Greece, Athens boasts a vibrant atmosphere with ancient ruins that light up at night. Many travelers from all over the world come to experience this city's art, architecture, philosophy, and theatre while on a cruise from Athens. The world-famous departure port Piraeus welcomes Mediterranean cruises and offers visitors a chance to shop, stroll, and indulge in traditional Greek food.


Make the most of your Greek island cruise starting from Athens and visit the must-see sites, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, a hike up Mount Lycabettus, or a tour of museums filled with treasures from the 5th century BC. The ruins of Athens tell stories of humanity's past, demonstrating how the city has played a pivotal role in civilizations worldwide. Although Athens is steeped in history, it remains the heart of modern Greece.

Exploring the Culture and History of the Athens Cruise Port

If you're looking for a destination that offers both a rich history and modern amenities, Athens (Piraeus) should be at the top of your list. The city has a rich culture and history that dates back thousands of years, offering visitors a glimpse into its past while also providing plenty of modern conveniences.


Athens is known as the birthplace of democracy, and its cultural significance cannot be overstated. The city has weathered countless invasions, occupations, and periods of change, yet it remains one of the most important cultural centers in the world. Visitors can explore the city's rich history through a variety of tours or visit its many museums.


The Acropolis is perhaps Athens' most popular and well-known attraction. This ancient citadel was constructed during the 6th century BCE, and it quickly became a symbol of the city. Over the years, the Acropolis has been home to a number of important buildings and sculptures, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaia.


But Athens has much more to offer beyond just the Acropolis. During the Roman and Hellenistic periods, the city became a hub of commerce and trade. Emperor Hadrian was particularly fond of Athens, and he built Hadrian's Library on the north side of the Acropolis in 132 AD. Despite the decline of the Roman Empire, Athens remained an important center of culture and education.


In the 19th century, Athens served as the capital of the Kingdom of Greece. The city has weathered countless invasions, occupations, and periods of change, yet it remains one of the most important cultural centers in the world. Visitors can explore the city's rich history through a variety of tours or visit its many museums.


If you're heading to Athens on a cruise, you'll likely depart from the port of Piraeus. This bustling port is one of the most serviced in the world and features three large cruise terminals. All terminals offer air conditioning, free WiFi, and restrooms for passengers.


While at the port, visitors can easily walk to the city center to shop or grab a bite to eat. Alternatively, taxis are available from every terminal gate, providing a 20-30 minute ride to Athens. Visitors can also take a subway train from Piraeus to Athens, providing a convenient and affordable transportation option.


In conclusion, Athens (Piraeus) is a destination that offers both rich history and modern conveniences. Its importance in world history cannot be overstated, and visitors have a variety of options to explore the city's past. Make sure to add Athens (Piraeus) to your travel plans to experience this cultural hub for yourself!

The Best Sights and Attractions to Experience on Cruises to Athens: Overview

Athens is a city steeped in history and culture, and no visit is complete without exploring some of its iconic sights and attractions. Whether you're taking a cruise around the Greek islands or staying in the city itself, there's plenty to see and do.


The Acropolis and the Parthenon


A trip to Athens wouldn't be complete without visiting the Acropolis, an ancient citadel that rises 490 feet above the Plaka District. You'll navigate narrow, paved streets, surrounded by olive trees and charming shops, to reach this famous symbol of Athens. Once there, you'll be awed by the Parthenon, an instantly recognizable temple with Doric columns that have withstood the test of time, war, and invasion.


Plaka District


Surrounding the Acropolis is the Plaka district, a charming stretch of narrow streets filled with restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars. Once a prime area for nightlife, the district has become a quieter, more commercialized neighborhood, perfect for tourists seeking shopping and leisure.


Olympic Stadium


As the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Athens has a deep connection to one of the world's biggest celebrations of peace and culture. The city's Panathenaic Stadium, a 45,000-seat outdoor stadium, is instantly recognizable and centrally located. If you're lucky, you might be able to catch an event during your visit.


Acropolis Museum


To learn more about Greek art, culture, and philosophy, head to the Acropolis Museum. This comprehensive catalog of history dating back to the 5th century BC includes artifacts from the Bronze, Roman, and Byzantine ages. Designed by a Greek-American duo, the museum is one of Athens' youngest and most popular attractions.


Mount Lycabettus


To get a bird's-eye view of Athens, head to the city's highest point—Mount Lycabettus. The ascent begins with a cable car ride and a climb up around 100 steps. Once at the top, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city, including the port of Piraeus and its many docked ships.


In conclusion, Athens offers an excellent blend of history, culture, and adventure, and exploring these iconic sights and attractions will make for an unforgettable experience.

The Top-Rated Activities You Can't Miss in Athens

Athens has been a cultural mecca for centuries, inviting visitors with its rich history, archaeological sites, and stunning landscapes. If you're seeking the best activities in Athens, look no further, as we have compiled a list of must-dos for your itinerary.


Hike the Acropolis


The Acropolis, crowned by the iconic Parthenon, is one of the most famous attractions in Athens. Hiking up to the top is undoubtedly worth it, as the panoramic view of the ancient ruins is breathtaking. The climb might be challenging, but once you make it to the top, treat yourself to some delicious Greek sweets in the Plaka District.


Go Museum Hopping


Athens boasts some of the best museums in the world. With a bounty of Greek artifacts, each museum paints a unique narrative of the country's cultural history. From the National Archaeological Museum featuring antiquity's greatest artifacts to the Numismatic Museum of Athens, exhibiting the largest collection of modern ancient coins, museum hopping is the perfect plan for cultural enthusiasts.


Run the Famous Olympic Stadium


Sports fans will want to visit the Olympic Stadium, named after the 1896 Olympic marathon gold medalist Spyros Louis. The stadium, opened in 1982, is an iconic excursion that celebrates its legacy. Running a lap around the stadium is a thrilling opportunity to experience the energy of the Olympics.


Walk Along the National Garden


The National Garden, located conveniently near the Olympic Stadium, is a large public park that showcases Greece's natural beauty. The garden, with its native and exotic plants and 7,000 trees, is an escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Strolling along the park trails is a relaxing way to explore Athens's natural environment.


See as Many Historic Ruins as You Possibly Can


Finally, historic ruins are everywhere in Athens. Every structure, from the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus to the Temple of Hephaestus, has its style and historical significance. It is an excellent opportunity to see thousands of years of civilization first-hand to immerse yourself in the city's rich history.


In conclusion, Athens offers tourists the opportunity to explore an array of adventurous activities that are both culturally rich and rewarding. Whether hiking to the top of the iconic Acropolis, museum hopping, strolling along the National Garden, running the Olympic Stadium, or exploring historic ruins, Athens promises to deliver an experience of a lifetime.

Top Dining Locations Near the Athens Cruise Port

If you're cruising the Aegean Sea and docking at the Athens Cruise Port, then you're in for a culinary treat. Athens is known for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine, and here are some dining locations you cannot miss:


Varoulko - Piraeus


Address: Akti Koumoundourou 52, Mikrolimano, Piraeus


Michelin-rated Varoulko is a seafood lover's paradise. The menu features a wonderful variety of fresh seafood dishes, expertly cooked to perfection. Don't miss out on their delicious white fish served with zucchini cream and horseradish, cuttlefish risotto, or leek soup.


Strofi - Athens


Address: Rovertou Galli 25, 11742 Athens, Greece


Nothing beats dining in Athens while overlooking the Acropolis. Step into Strofi, a restaurant that has been serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine since 1957. The menu boasts traditional dishes with a modern touch, such as lamb stuffed with cheese wrapped in vine leaves or grilled octopus with olive oil and oregano. Dine in their outdoor area, with breathtaking views of the Acropolis in the distance.


Orizontes - Athens


Address: Lycabettus Hill, Athens, Greece


Sitting atop Mount Lycabettus is Orizontes, offering stunning panoramic views of Athens. Come for the homemade bread, an extensive wine list, and classically Mediterranean lamb and fish dishes. You won't find such an incredible view anywhere else.


Mama Psomi - Athens


Address: 42-44 Zacharitsa St, Koukaki


For a more casual dining experience, head over to Mama Psomi. This family-owned bakery has been serving Athens since 1996. The bakery boasts a selection of sweet and savory pies, bulgur wheat bread, and walnut bread.


Athens has endless dining options, but these locations are sure to satisfy your cravings while docked at the port.

A Guide to Transportation in Athens

When visiting Athens, it's essential to have a reliable transport system to navigate through the city. Athens offers different modes of transportation to cater to your travel requirements, from public transport to taxis. Here's a guide to transportation in Athens.


Public Transport


Athens has an extensive public transportation network consisting of buses, trolleys, and the subway. The subway station is located north of the Piraeus port gate, providing access to the Green, Red, and Blue subway lines, depending on your destination. The subway fare is affordable, ranging from €1 for a one-hour trip to €3 for a day pass.


Using the public transport system in Athens is a stress-free way to travel through the city, as it's well developed, and you can easily purchase tickets at any ticket booth or vending machine. However, during peak hours, public transportation can get crowded, so plan accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.




Taxis are an alternative to public transport, convenient for those who prefer privacy and flexibility in their travel arrangements. Taxis are available at every cruise terminal gate and all over the city center. Most taxis are metered, and the fare varies depending on the distance and time of the day.


You can typically find a taxi close to hotels or tourist spots like historical sites. Although most taxis don't accept credit cards, be sure to carry extra euros with you to cover your fare, as it's the preferred payment method.




Athens offers a reliable and comprehensive transportation system for tourists and locals alike. Whether you choose to use public transport or taxis, it's crucial to plan your travel arrangements ahead, taking into account factors like time of the day, traffic, and your destination. With the above guidelines in mind, moving around Athens will be seamless and stress-free.

Local Currency and Tipping

If you're planning a trip to Athens, Greece, it's important to know about the local currency and tipping customs to ensure that you have a smooth and respectful experience. While the Euro is the main currency used in the country, there are some unique nuances to how it is handled, particularly when it comes to using cash.


Many smaller shops and businesses in Athens do not accept credit cards, so it's always a good idea to ask before attempting to pay with one. This is especially true in more traditional, family-owned businesses. Be prepared to carry and use cash during your travels.


When it comes to tipping, there are some specific customs to keep in mind. Tipping taxi drivers isn't a common practice in Athens, but rounding up to the nearest Euro is a polite gesture, especially if you received exceptional service from your driver.


When dining out, many restaurants will include a service charge as part of the bill, but if there isn't one, leaving a 10% tip is customary. Restaurants in tourist-heavy areas are more likely to include a service charge, but it's always worth checking the bill to make sure.


Finally, if you're taking a guided tour while in Athens, it's always a good idea to tip your tour guide. A polite range is between €5-€10 per person, depending on the length of the tour and the guide's level of expertise. Expressing gratitude for a job well done is always appreciated and can go a long way in supporting local tourism.


Overall, understanding how to navigate the local currency and tipping customs is an important part of being a respectful and responsible traveler in Athens. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest while showing appreciation for the hard-working locals who make it all possible.

Ready to Cruise to Athens?

Want the next steps on how to plan your celebrity cruise to Greece? It's simple, become a LuxRally Travel client. We charge zero service and membership fees and can guarantee the lowest rates, and often can throw in special perks like extra onboard credit. Beyond monetary value, your travel agent will ensure your trips goes smoothly. From planning spa appointments, dinner reservations, and setting up excursions to booking flights and taking care of hotels pre/post cruise, your dedicated travel agent will conveniently make your life easier. 

For the most opulent Greek Cruise Experience, ask your travel agent about Celebrity Cruise's The Retreat.

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