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Tour was billed as 3.5 hours but after 2 hours was left on our own. Drove to Olympic stadium for one stop then drove around in a defined small area and sites pointed out. Final stop was Acropolis where an entrance ticket was provided. Tour guide was nice and informative, coach comfortable but you can do this all on your own by walking around the area.
The tour guide was informative and enthusiastic. It is a good thing we chose the morning tour as the Acropolis got to be so crowded when we were leaving. The only drawback was that I wished we could see some sights on foot vs. driving by and we spent quite a bit of time in traffic but thats to be expected.
1) The tour bus didn’t pick us up at our hotel as promised (our conceirge got us a rush taxi). 2) We stood around as a group for a long time and then sat on the bus for another long period of time before the tour starred. 3). it was a large group at the Acropolis with hundreds of other tourists and groups and we could not hear the tour guide. No headsets- just our guide trying to talk above the din of other groups. 4) The tour was advertised as 3.5 hour half day tour. However, after the long delays, the actual length of the tour was closer to 2.5 hours. 5) the tour guide was knowledgeable, but gave a general description and then a 45 minute “you’re on your own to explore”. In summaRyan, this was not what I thought we were paying for.
The tour is really convenient if you are spending a short time in Athens. It started around 9 am, and ended about 1:30 pm. We went to the Panathenaic Stadium which sadly was closed because they were holding a concert at night. So wasted opportunity. Afterwards the coach takes you around Syntagma square, the national library, etc. Our guide was a hoot, making us laugh all the time. Greeks speak perfect English, compared to other countries I've been to and they are friendly and eager to help. At times, we were impatient because our guide made us take so much stops to tell us about history but now I understand why. The climb to the Acropolis yes, you have to climb it was near noon and the sun was scorching hot. Once up there, there is not much to see except ruins, and the wonderful views of Athens from all sides. That was exceptional. The highlight of the tour was the Acropolis Museum!! Best museum I've ever been to, and all the relics and crafts rescued from the Acropolis explosion are in exhibit there. It is very well worth the visit. Note that the tour includes the Acropolis entrance fee USD 25. If you choose the visit to the museum the price goes up 15.
Important: This tour is organized by CHATOURS and commences and ends at Hotel Amalia. If they give you a pickup point mine was Hotel Arethousa they will fetch you in a different bus and then make you switch at Amalia. If you are staying at the Hilton or Intercontinental they will take you there, but if you are staying in central Athens I was in Plaka they will not drop you off there. From Hotel Amalia you need to find your own way back to your hotel. I miscommunicated with them. My guide told me that at the Hilton, some staff would be there to take me back to Plaka but there was nobody there, I didn't stay at Amalia and went to the Hilton. I had to hire a Beat cab. If I had known, I could have stayed at the Museum they give you the option which was a lot closer to my hotel. So make sure you arrange your transportation back when taking this tour. If not--taxis are cheap and the metro is reliable and easy to use.
I was happy to have taken this tour because it takes you to the highlights you need to see and by 2 pm I was already free for lunch and to do some errands. BTW if you take the full day tour with the sunset at Poseidon's Temple in Cape Sounion, note that you will take this same tour, and at 130 pm you will be dropped at Amalia to take another coach that will leave around 3 pm, meaning lunch is on your own.
Overall, this tour was not worth the time or the money. My group got picked up at 7:45 in the morning and after picking up others, we all sat on a bus for an hour in the parking area of another hotel. By the time we started the tour it was 9 am and the tour was set to end at 12:30. In the next few hours we drove around Athens stopping for 10 to 30 minutes at a few of the major stops. However, our tour guide did not have the Whisper headsets, so unless you were right next to her, you couldn't hear anything. Then, we tried to take an entire tour bus full of people and walk through the other groups of people to the top of the Acropolis. We were granted about 15 minutes to walk around the top before having to leave. The only positive I can think of is that by purchasing the ticket, we avoided the Metro strike and moved about the city freely on an air-conditioned coach. We were also able to skip the ticket line at the Acropolis. If you are able to read a Metro map and don't mind waiting in a line, do a little research on the Olympic Stadium, changing of the guard, and the Acropolis and save yourself some money. Not worth it.
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