ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Take a relaxing stroll by the waterside
Piraeus became the main port of Athens during the fifth century and still thrives as a well-used hub for tourism and industry. As well as hosting incoming visitors, it serves as a gateway for beach lovers heading to sun-kissed islands, such as nearby Aegina. Away from its two large harbours, the smaller Zea Marina makes for a pleasant wander as you stroll along the waterfront admiring local boats and luxury yachts. Visit the archaeological museum of Piraeus to learn about its history, or marvel at its churches, including the fresco-adorned Saint Nicholas church.
2. Visit the nearby capital
The Greek capital of Athens is approximately seven miles away from Piraeus. Known to have been inhabited for several thousands of years, Athens is considered to be the cradle of Western civilisation and boasts an array of artefacts from its Mycenaean, Roman and Ottoman occupation. Classical monuments, incredible works of art and iconic landmarks are abundant as you explore its ancient heart.
3. Be awed by the Acropolis
The Acropolis of Athens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and will undoubtedly be on many a must-see list. Follow the marble path to reach the ancient citadel atop this rocky-edged, flat-topped mountain. Among the architectural gems you’ll see the Theatre of Dionysus, the elegant caryatids of Erechtheion and the columned Parthenon, a temple once dedicated to the goddess Athena that dates back to 447BC. In the areas surrounding the Acropolis, the remains of the once-bustling Agora, the beautiful Temple of Hephaestus and Odeon of Herodes Atticus pepper the landscape.
4. Tick off the historic highlights of the region
Take some time to walk around the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, accessible from central Athens. Head to the new Acropolis Museum to marvel at local historic artefacts in a contemporary setting, or come face to face with statues of notable Greek characters, such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates, at the National Archeological Museum. If you have time to escape the city, head further afield to walk the narrow streets of old Corinth or to admire Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus.
5. Soak up the abundant sun and culture of modern Athens
Much of the modern city was refreshed for the 2004 Olympic Games and now has a reputation as a cosmopolitan metropolis, with plenty of shopping and mouth-watering eateries to offer a true taste of Greece. Explore the historic Plaka district, visit the vibrant market district of Monastiraki or simply relax in central Syntagma Square.