The account of Paul’s travels in Acts does not say that he took a boat to Athens but it does say that from Berea he went down to the coast. Traveling by water would have been much faster than walking and in this case even safer because they would have been able to sail along the coastline and never adventure into open water. There is a good chance that Paul and Luke came ashore at the old port of Athens, Phaliron, which would have been about three miles from the Athens Acropolis.
Athens has been continuously inhabited for at least 5,000 years. More than 3,000 years ago, the Mycenaeans controlled the area and built a major fortress on the Acropolis. The Mycenaean empire fell around 1200 BC and Athens declined for a while. Around 900 BC Athens had again become an important center for trade and shipping. Sometime around the end of the 8th century the various small towns clustered around the Acropolis united with a common parliament and a fire-keeper (ruler or king).
During the 7th and 6th centuries BC the monarchy of Athens became an aristocracy and then a tyranny. In 508 BC Cleisthenes founded democracy as a political system in Athens. But the 5th century was marred by war. Athens was sacked twice in less than a year by the Persians. After the Persian War Athens flourished. Under the leadership of Pericles, and others, this was Athens’ golden age (477–431 BC). Then the Peloponnesian War: two city-states that had joined together to defeat the Persians now fought for control of most of modern Greece; Athens and Sparta. Athens surrendered in 404 BC. Philip II conquered Athens in 338 BC and then the Romans occupied Athens in 146 BC. The Athens that Paul entered was past its prime but still impressive.
Are you past your prime? (Don’t forget you have an eternity to live with Jesus.)