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3 days in Athens too much?

Fremont, California
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3 days in Athens too much?

Hi fellow travelers!

My GF and I are headed to Greece in early Sept and we were originally planning to stay in Athens from Sat to Tuesday morning where we will catch a ferry to head to Santorini. A couple of our friends have indicated that 3 days are way too much to spend in Athens. I was wondering if that really is the case? Would a one day side trip to Olympia be worth it from Athens? I would definitely appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks!

David

31. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

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Rock Springs...
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32. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Three days as 'way too much time'?...I mean I can't imagine spending less than three days in any city that large with that much history.

If 3 days was 'way too much', for them, what do they suggest...8 hours?

London, United...
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33. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Well.... 8 hours is enough for the Acropolis and Plaka, which is what many people think makes Athens...

Vancouver, Canada
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34. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

We just came back from our trip to Greece (Athens and Santorini), and I am now really surprised about some recommendations of seeing Athens in less than 3 days ... This was our first trip to Greece and we spent 5 days in Athens, including 3 day trips around Athens (Mycenae-Epidaurus, Corinth, Cape Sounion), and we just went to the main places during our stay. Also included a 2 day trip to Delphi-Meteora, which was great. There was not enough time to see all the museums, we just picked the National Archeological and the New Acropolis museum, of course visited the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian library, Temple of Zeus, Plaka, Monastiraki, Anafiotika, what can I say? everything was great! and very interesting. The comments about dirty and graffiti ... perhaps because I have read so much about that, it was not that bad, mainly around Amonia area, and I am sure those of us that live in big cities have some of those ares in our cities ... and we just stayed away from those and visited the nice parts, plenty in Athens. For sure we'll have to go back and see more and go to other islands. Santorini was amazingly beautiful, and I am glad we flew in, no time to waste in ferry, and to get to the airport from Athens ... no problem at all, the metro system connecting to the line that goes to the airport was perfect, very easy. And the Greeks were very helpful every time we got lost, even those that did not speak much English, they really tried hard to explain (as always and in every country, you find those 'off' people or those that have a bad day .... but you find those also went you step out of your front door at home, that is just human nature ... no need to blame the Greeks for that ....)

Thanks to all of you that give suggestions in TA, I think this site is great, and I am planning to keep contributing with my honest opinion in my futures trip, because I will keep traveling .... and reading this site before I do that :-)

England
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35. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Hi everybody - I'm a little confused. I understand that most beautiful places (including Athens, no doubt) deserve as many days as possible to get to know and enjoy - but, are you saying that with only 2 nights, it's a waste of time staying in Athens? If you only have a limited time and want to see a variety of places, then you have to make choices and prioritise. We are coming to Greece next June and are only spending 2 nights in Athens (at the end of our trip). We're not huge city fans, but are staying near the Acropolis so that we can at least see that, the New Acropolis Museum and the Plaka area. We would be happy with that, even if we are missing out on huge chunks of the city. We will be flying to Athens, driving down to Nafplion for 2 nights (to see Epidaurus, Mycenae) and then flying to Crete for 6 nights, before taking a ferry to Santorini for 2 nights and flying back to Athens for our last 2 nights. I thought our trip would be 'well rounded' - now I'm not so sure!

London, United...
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36. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Moo-bear, it depends on whether you want to see Athens or just look at a few of the famous ancient ruins. 2 days isn't enough to see even a fraction of what Athens has to offer, but plenty for the Acropolis and central touristy area. If you're satisfied with this, then why not?

A lot of us enjoy Athens as a destination in its own right, rather than just as the place where the Acropolis is. Any city the size of Athens will require more than a couple of days to even scratch the surface, but if you want to do a whirlwind tour of Greece, then you can only spend so much time in each place you visit.

I wouldn't say 2 days isn't worth it - but such a short visit leaves you with two options: take it easy and only see a minute part of the city, or try to fit in as much as you can and possibly exhaust yourself in the process.

England
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37. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Thank you, Tinsey - I feel better now! I realise, from reading your messages, that you love the city, but, to be honest, we're happier touring around the countryside - so taking it easy and only seeing a minute part of the city will be fine for us. We can always return if we really like it!

London, United...
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38. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Exactly - it's totally down to personal choice. Knowing what you like and what you might enjoy, and going for it. You won't have enough time to see all of Crete either in just 6 days, but you're still going ahead with your plan, so why worry about your two days in Athens? Personally I'm all for whirlwind tours - last year I went to Cornwall for a day - everyone thought I was mad, but it worked quite well. I like returning to the same place again and again, so I don't care if I miss most of the sights first time round, as I know I'll catch up on my second or third trip. But if you're one of these people who likes to see as much as possible of a place and never return to it, then you need at least 4/5 full days to say you have got a good feel for what Athens is about.

Anyway, I digress. Bottom line is, the confusion starts when people who've seen the Acropolis from a cruise ship advise others that one, or two, or three days are too many. If you like cities, Athens is an absolute delight, and certainly deserves as much time as you can give it. If you don't like cities, two days is probably enough, especially when you consider how much lovely countryside there is out there.

Just one word of caution though. After 10 fairly hectic days, chances are that by the time you hit Athens (possibly in the middle of a heatwave etc.) you'll be quite tired and need to take things easy. So you won't pack in as much as you think you'll be able to. Nothing wrong with that, it's best to enjoy what you can than persevere and get more and more exhausted. But it's always nice (if you can) to allow longer at the final destination of your itinerary, so you can take breathers - or spend the first day chilling out by the pool/on the beach without feeling guilty about all the sightseeing you're not doing ;-)

Rock Springs...
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39. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

If you're flying into Athens, which I assume many people do, you'd want to spend at least a night or two. To say "two days is enough" is one thing, to say three days is 'way too much' just seems silly.

Sterling Heights...
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40. Re: 3 days in Athens too much?

Don of Sterling Heights, USA,

Which day trip from Athens would be better: Delphi or Olympia?