disability cruising, Handicap, Traveling with disabilities

Disabled Cruisers Guide to Athens, Greece

Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Athens is the capital of Greece. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

Athens is a city of neighborhoods more or less centered around the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

Athens is one of the oldest and most famous cities in the world. Many interesting tourist attractions can be found in Athens. Athens is considered to be the historical capital of Europe with its long and fascinating history topped with its rich and significant culture. Over the years, Athens has been conquered by different nations, each one of these erected unique and splendid monuments. Some of these monument still stands today and has become a part of Athens’ historical landmarks.

Check out the Acropolis, Agora Market, the National Archaeological Museum and Ermou Street, full of Greek and European shops.

Another part of Athens is Plaka, with its winding and narrow streets which are lined with houses and shops that date back to the 5th century BC.

In Kolonaki, there is the Byzantine and Christian Museum, the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art.

Lykavetos offers the finest panoramic views in Athens including the surrounding mountains and the islands of Salamis and Aegina. You can walk the path to the summit from the top of Loukianou or take the funicular from the top of Ploutarhou.

Other places to visit include Corinth (55 miles from Athens), Sounion (45 miles from Athens), which is home to Temple of Poseidon and Hydra, a picturesque island accessible via hydrofoil.

Astir Beach is about 40 minutes from Athens.

The disabled cruiser visiting Athens will encounter Ancient ruins that present challenges for wheelchair users but several of the Athens attractions have been made wheelchair accessible. Athens provides world-class attractions for tourists to visit including the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora. Unfortunately for disabled tourists, these buildings were not designed for wheelchairs and have deteriorated over the centuries. 

Fortunately for disabled tourists, the Greeks have done a good job of making these attractions as accessible as possible, and all can be visited by travelers with disabilities. At the numerous museums, Athens disabled access is generally quite good although steep ramps and small elevators do exist.

Standard group walking tours can be done by wheelchair users, on these tours you will encounter some uneven ground at the Temple of Olympain Zeus and some cobblestones on the south side of the Acropolis. Wheelchair users and other disabled tour participants will have to separate from the group and use the elevator to get to the top of the Acropolis. Disabled tourists may prefer hiring a private guide for a Athens disabled accessible tour moving at a slower pace.

Getting around Athens in a wheelchair can be challenging because of numerous areas with cobblestones or hills. Additionally, many parts of Athens have broken concrete on curbs and in the sidewalk ramps at street intersections. The tourist attractions in Athens are somewhat spread out, and disabled tourists may want to take taxis between locations. This is particularly true when visiting the National Archaeological Museum located on the north side of the city. On a positive note, disabled tourists will find that the metro system is perhaps the most accessible in all of Europe, with nearly all stations having elevators down to the platforms.

Where You’re Docked

With a full day in port, Piraeus disabled cruise passengers will be able to see many of Athens’ top attractions: the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Acropolis Museum, the Plaka neighborhood, and the National Archaeological Museum. Private transportation and a tour guide is necessary to make the most of your shore excursion in Athens.

Disabled cruise passengers who arrive in the wheelchair accessible Piraeus cruise port have multiple options to travel into Athens.

Some disabled and elderly visitors will be able to take public transportation into the city, while electric wheelchair users and other people who can not step onto a bus need to book private accessible Athens transportation. While the bus to reach the cruise terminal has a wheelchair ramp, the bus from the cruise terminal to the train station does not have a ramp.

Cruise ships dock in the Port of Piraeus, which is in the center of town. There are many shops and taverns around the harbor area and the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus is located nearby.

Athens itself can be accessed via taxi to the station, then taking the Metro. Buses are also available at the port.

Disability Cruising-Athens-port
Port of Piraeus

Good to Know

Steep sales tax can tack on 25 percent to the cost of your purchases. The value-added tax is called FPA in Greece. 

Getting Around

When you disembark your cruise ship, you will be met by a port shuttle to bring you to the cruise terminal. The shuttles are equipped with a wheelchair ramp. Your cruise ship will use one of the many Piraeus docks. You won’t know which dock, and the route could be as long as 1.4 km

After getting off the shuttle bus, you will enter the cruise terminal where you need to show your cruise card . You declare any goods that you are bringing into the country,  then you will exit the Cruise Terminal. Tour guides for private accessible Athens cruise excursions will meet you here.

To travel from Piraeus to Athens, unfortunately, there is no step-free accessible transportation option. After you exit the cruise terminal, stay on sidewalk to the left. Four door taxis available at the cruise terminal (none with wheelchair ramps) which may be enticing, but there are multiple reasons to book private transportation. 

After leaving the accessible Piraeus Cruise Terminal exit, you will pass through a parking gate, and outside the gate one block ahead on your right is the location of the ΤΕΛΩΝΕΙΟ bus stop. You need to cross the street to get to the public bus stop. The total distance from the Cruise Terminal Exit to the bus stop is 1/4 mile. Most buses do not have a wheelchair ramp.

If you are using the Metro station, the accessible entrance with a ramp is located on the left. Unfortunately, the ramp doesn’t lead into the ticket office. You’ll need to send someone down the 6 steps to purchase the ticket. The interior of the station is wheelchair friendly. The Metro Line Number 1 takes you into Central Athens. The best station to get off is the Monastiraki Station which is near the Ancient Agora. There is a very small gap (less than 3 inches) between the platform and the train. Wheelchair users should not have any problem with it. Athens Metro stations have no barriers for wheelchairs. When you get off the train, look for a wheelchair sign pointing to the elevator. The elevator will take you up to the ticket level where you will take a different elevator to the surface.

Currency 

The euro is the currency in Greece.

Disability Cruising-Athens-citymarket
Athens City Market

Shopping

Designer olive oil, locally made organic honey and Ouzo, the licorice-flavored liquor are all popular buys.

Mezés is a collective name for a variety of small dishes, typically served with wines or ouzo.

Other dishes include souvlaki, moussaka, seafood such as octopus, squid, red snapper, or lobster and baklava (syrup cake).

Like most great cities, Athens features a wide range of downtown restaurants suited to a variety of tastes and budgets, although you can always find Greek favorites and seafood.

The lively Plaka district, though a bit touristy, is home to charming eateries, included the highly recommended Fisherman’s Taverna. A favorite with locals as well as visitors, this restaurant apparently counts Brigitte Bardot among its many fans and offers a fine taste of old-style Greek hospitality, a cozy open fire and alfresco dining in a pretty courtyard. It serves fish dishes alongside Greek classics.

Points of Interest

  • The Acropolis – Acropolis is the most popular ancient place of Athens since 5th century BC when it was built. The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization. Disabled access at the Acropolis is provided by a wheelchair stair climber lift and an elevator. The ground on top of the Acropolis is very uneven but there are very few steps once you get up there. The Parthenon temple on top of the Acropolis is one of the most recognized buildings in the world. A trip to the top of the Acropolis is certainly a memorable one because the view is magnificent. If you are in a wheelchair or have another disability, you should take a taxi up to the entrance of the Acropolis. This will get you past the 250 m long hill with very rough cobblestones on it. The taxi can drop you off at the green gate. If you get out here you will still have to go 250 m on a paved path that primarily is flat but has some portions have a slight incline to reach the elevator. You may be able to convince the security guard to let you get dropped off at the elevator. Once you get to the elevator, you will have to take a wheelchair stair climber before actually reaching the elevator. Once you get on top of the Acropolis, you will find uneven ground that will be difficult to navigate in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, the Acropolis is wheelchair accessible overall.
  • Benaki Museum – A remarkable museum of the arts and culture of Greece from the Neolithic Age to the early 20th century. Its exhibits focuses on the overview of of the history of Greek art and crafts from the prehistoric times to the modern age. Wheelchair access at the Benaki Museum of Greek History and Culture is possible via an accessible entrance at the rear of the building. To reach it, you will need to go down the alley on the left hand side of the building. Once inside you can take an elevator to the exhibition levels. All areas of the museum are step-free except for a few exhibition rooms on the café level that have steps leading to them. The café also has a few steps leading to it.
  • National Archaeological Museum of Athens – National Archaeological Museum of Athens is one of the best museums in the world. Has a collection of the the most complete ancient Greek heritage. Collection of statues and sculptures truly amazing, all the figures of myth and gods and goddesses various versions can be seen there, as well as the heroes of Greece. Nearly all of the Athens National Archaeological Museum has good handicapped access. There is wheelchair accessible ramp on the north side of the building on Herakleios Emperor Road. This will bring you into the 1st (main) floor. There is a nearby elevator down to the handicapped accessible restroom an the café. There is step-free access throughout the museum.
  • The Ancient Agora – Ancient Agora is located not far from the Acropolis and within walking distance. The location of administrative center of ancient Athens. The site of the Ancient Agora in a very green space and a very beautiful view of the Acropolis. You will see the Temple of Hephaestus, the best preserved ancient Greek temple. Ancient Agora wheelchair access is possible via the north entrance on Adrianou street. There is flat access at the entrance followed by a 15 m long ramp going down into the Agora. The ancient street known as the Panathenaic Way is at the bottom of the ramp and is covered by firm gravel. Wheelchair access to the museum is provided by a ramp. There is a wheelchair accessible restroom at the museum. Throughout the Ancient Agora you will find many remains of columns and statues to view. There is some uneven terrain throughout the Ancient Agora but a wheelchair user can still access about 30% of it. Because there are few obstructions you will actually be able to view about 70% of it.
  • Syntagma Square – Syntagma Square is one of the most important places in the entire Greece and it appeals greatly to all sorts of tourists. It is a square located right at the center of Athens and just in front of the Greek Parliament house. It has great political and cultural significance as many of the most important events are held at the square. Here, the changing of the guard is a top notch attraction. Many fascinating statues, sculptures and fountain make it a perfect spot for tourist to enjoy a little peaceful time. It is one of the most intriguing tourist attractions in Athens.

  • Plaka – Plaka attracts all the visitors of Athens with its neoclassical mansions and houses with roofs from red tiles, its small winding roads with their steps, balconies with bougainvilleas, geraniums and jasmines. Plaka is called many times in the Greek literature as the neighborhood of the Gods.

Athens (Piraeus) Accessible Excursions

Disabled access at Athens tourist attractions varies depending on the location. At the most popular attraction in town, disabled access to the Athens Acropolis is via an elevator on the north side of the hill. Disabled tourists should get there by having a taxi drive them up the hill and drop them off a the green gate. The nearby New Acropolis Museum is fully wheelchair accessible and located just south of the Acropolis. The Ancient Agora is another excellent tourist attraction and contains far more historical artifacts than the Acropolis. You can access it by going down a hill at its north entrance. The Temple of Olympian Zeus is located on the opposite side of the Acropolis and has wheelchair ramps to get from the entrance to the columns. On the north side of town, a side entrance at the National Archaeological Museum provides a step-free entrance.

Highlights of Athens Accessible Cruise Excursion

This 8 hour accessible driving tour works well as either an accessible Athens cruise excursion from Piraeus or as a tour starting at your accessible Athens hotel. An air-conditioned, wheelchair accessible van will transport you quickly and comfortably between the tourist sights. You’ll visit all the world-class highlights of Athens in a single day: the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus, the National Archaeological Museum, Syntagma Square, the Acropolis museum, the Plaka neighborhood, and more. You can set your own itinerary or follow the recommended itinerary that visits all the most popular sights in Athens. 

Many visitors to Athens make a stop at the Acropolis Museum but completely miss the world-class National Archaeological Museum located north of the other tourist sights. Other excellent sites that shouldn’t be missed such as the Panathenaic Stadium, the Greek Parliament on Syntagma Square, etc…) are located a little further away from the Acropolis and easy to reach with the wheelchair accessible van.

The Highlights of Athens Accessible Cruise Excursion is the most accessible tour that is provided for the disabled cruiser. It uses a wheelchair accessible van and wheelchair accessible tour routes. The routes can be adjusted to meet the individual accessibility needs of the disabled visitor. Additionally, the tour guide can push a manual wheelchair user if necessary.

If you are arriving at the Piraeus cruise dock, you will take the wheelchair accessible Piraeus port shuttle to the cruise terminal. Your tour guide will meet you at the cruise terminal exit. A van with a wheelchair lift will transport you into the city. The tour will follow a wheelchair accessible route by using curb cuts to avoid curbs and steps, and includes wheelchair ramps and an elevators to get between the floors. The Plaka neighborhood located just to the north of the Acropolis has some accessibility challenges including cobblestones. The Highlights of Athens Accessible Cruise Excursion uses the most accessible routes to visit the neighborhood.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to use the special lift at the Acropolis, and to receive discounted entrance tickets at the Acropolis, the Greek government requires that you bring your valid disabled ID/papers. Additionally, you must also bring your mobility equipment (wheelchair, rollator, walker etc) to prove that you are in need of using the special elevator.

Half Day Athens Accessible Driving Tour

This 5 hour Athens accessible cruise excursion has some of the least amount of walking of all accessible tours in Athens. You’ll have opportunities for great photo opportunities of the various ruins in Athens and you’ll visit several of the top attractions in Athens.

Transportation is provided by a van with a wheelchair lift into the city. If you need help pushing a wheelchair, an assistant can be hired for 10 euro per hour. If you are arriving at the Piraeus cruise dock, you will take the wheelchair accessible Piraeus port shuttle to the cruise terminal. Your tour guide will meet you at the cruise terminal exit. The tour will follow a wheelchair accessible route by using curb cuts to avoid curbs and steps, and includes wheelchair ramps and an elevators to get between the floors.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to use the special lift at the Acropolis, and to receive discounted entrance tickets at the Acropolis, the Greek government requires that you bring your valid disabled ID/papers. Additionally, you must also bring your mobility equipment (wheelchair, rollator, walker etc) to prove that you are in need of using the special elevator.

Athens Accessible Shore Excursion to Temple of Poseidon

If you’re looking for an easy, scenic shore excursion from Piraeus cruise port, this 4-hour wheelchair accessible tour is for you. This Athens shore excursion drives along the scenic Aegean coast to the Temple of Poseidon ruins located on the southernmost tip of the Attica Peninsula. 

The Athens Accessible Shore Excursion to Temple of Poseidon uses a van with a wheelchair lift to travel the 69 km each way along the scenic coast. When you arrive at the Cape of Sounion, you’ll be at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula which is also home to the legendary spot where Aegeus, King of Athens, leapt to his death giving his name to the Aegean Sea.

The original temple here was destroyed by the Persian King Xerxes’ invasion of Greece. On the Athens Accessible Shore Excursion to Temple of Poseidon you will see the remains of the current temple built around 440 BC. It occupies an incredible viewpoint over the Aegean Sea making for a great photo opportunity.

If you are arriving at the Piraeus cruise dock, you will take the wheelchair accessible Piraeus port shuttle to the cruise terminal. Your tour guide will meet you at the cruise terminal exit. The Athens Accessible Shore Excursion to Temple of Poseidon uses a van with a wheelchair lift to comfortably transport you to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. The tour includes driving along a scenic highway on the Greek coast towards Cape Sounion. The area approaching the Temple of Poseidon has some terrain that can present difficulties to disabled visitors. Your driver will bring you within 150 meters and can provide assistance to wheelchair users. The tour includes some uneven terrain near the Temple of Poseidon.

Accessible Athens Acropolis Private Guided Tour

This 5-hour accessible walking tour of Athens is led by a professionally-licensed tour guide, who has extensive experience touring this historic site with disabled and elderly visitors. Note, if you need help to push manual wheelchair an assistant can be booked at an additional cost. This wonderful wheelchair friendly Athens tour visits all of the main attractions on top of and surrounding the Acropolis.

Your tour starts in Syntagma Square with a visit to some of the ruins excavated during the building of the Syntagma metro station. You’ll see the Changing of the Guards at the House of Greek Parliament and then use a wheelchair accessible sidewalk to visit the National Gardens.

The impressive Temple of Zeus provides a great photo opportunity with the Acropolis in the background. It’s also MUCH less crowded than the Acropolis, and you can imagine the buildings that were in this location thousands of years ago.

Your accessible Athens private guided tour uses the wheelchair accessible entrance to The Acropolis Museum which houses many of the artifacts recovered from the Acropolis. Great views of the Acropolis can be found on the top floor!Several attractions below the Acropolis will be viewed on this tour including the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, the Propylaia gateway, and the Agrippa Monument.

The Accessible Athens Acropolis Private Guided Tour includes advanced notification so that disabled visitors can use the wheelchair accessible elevator to avoid the long flight of stairs up to the Acropolis. On top of the Acropolis, your tour guide can assist disabled visitors over the slightly uneven terrain to view the Parthenon, the Erechthion Temple, and the Nike Temple. The spectacular views of the city below will conclude your memorable day in Athens.

The Accessible Athens Acropolis Private Guided Tour uses a step-free route. You will however encounter some cobblestones and hills. There are 4 miles of walking on uneven terrain. We advise only wheelchair users, mobility scooters or electric wheelchairs take this tour. It is not advised for those using canes or walkers.

Your tour route will avoid accessibility obstacles like the sidewalk stairs.  Where possible, it will also use smooth routes and avoid cobblestones. The tour will follow a wheelchair accessible route by using curb cuts to avoid curbs and steps, and includes wheelchair ramps and an elevators to get between the floors.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to use the special lift at the Acropolis, and to receive discounted entrance tickets at the Acropolis, the Greek government requires that you bring your valid disabled ID/papers. Additionally, you must also bring your mobility equipment (wheelchair, rollator, walker etc) to prove that you are in need of using the special elevator.

For Athens Accessible Excursions please click here.

Disability-Cruising.com

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