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The best way to get quickly acquainted with Athens is to opt for a ride on the "Athens Sightseeing Public Bus Line," or Bus 400, which stops at all the city's main sights. Those buses run every 30 minutes, from 7:30 am to 9 pm and tickets cost EUR 5. The full tour takes 90 minutes, but you can hop on and off as you please. Bus 400 stops are marked by bright-blue waist-high pillars set on the city streets. Other sightseeing bus options include multihour guided tours, most of which visit the Acropolis and National Archaeological Museum, plus other sites and lunch in a Plaka taverna.
Let's not forget the fun "Athens by Night" bus tours. Morning tours begin around 8:45. Reserve through most hotels or travel agencies (many of which are clustered around Filellinon and Nikis streets off Syntagma Square). These excursion tours run daily, year-round, and cost around EUR 50. Book at least a day in advance and ask if you'll be picked up at your hotel or if you have to meet the bus.
Two top tour bus companies are:
CHAT Tours (9 Xenofontos St., Syntagma, Athens. 210/322-2886 or 210/322-3137. www.chatours.gr.)
Key Tours (4 Kallirois, Athens, 11743. 210/923-3166. www.keytours.gr.)
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