"Acropolis" means "high city" in Greek and when talking about the Acropolis of Athens, reference is made to the most important archaeological site in Greece. The Acropolis has a lot to see and discover, so I tell you how to visit it:
Discover Athens and the Acropolis and the Museum with an expert
This is the perfect option if you want to be guided by a local expert with whom you will tour the city, the Acropolis and the Museum, discovering its history, context and best kept secrets.
Athens is full of history, art and a lot of symbolism. Strolling through its streets, sitting on its terraces and enjoying its gastronomy is a luxury that you will enjoy during your trip. But walking around its corners with an expert guide who will explain everything you see and make sure you don't miss the essentials is practically mandatory.
With this guided tour, a local guide will take you to the most interesting points of the city and explain everything you need to know. Along the way, you will visit, among others, the monumental Panathenaic Stadium, where the first Olympic Games of modern times were held, and the main squares of the city.
Upon arrival at the Acropolis, whose entrance ticket is included, you will skip the ticket office lines and go directly to the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena and its many other historical wonders. Finally, you will also take a short guided tour of the highlights of the Acropolis Museum, which today houses some of the most important jewels of Ancient Greece.
Why I like this option: this is the most complete option to tour the city and the Acropolis with a local guide who will make sure you enjoy this experience to the fullest.
Recommended if... you want to take advantage of your stay in Athens to get to know its historical and architectural wonders with an expert.
The best of Athens and the Acropolis, by bus
If you don't have much time in the city or don't want to give up a guided tour without spending too much, you will go around the city on a panoramic guided bus tour and reach the Acropolis to walk around it together with an expert guide
A cheaper and shorter version of the previous tour is this one: in about three and a half hours you will take a panoramic bus tour that will take you to see the main sights of the city. You will make a brief stop at the Panathenaic Stadium and then head to the Acropolis so you can marvel at its history and majesty.
The entrance to the Acropolis is also included and guarantees you to skip the queues at the ticket office. Once inside, you will take a guided tour to see the main temples and monuments. Get your camera ready because you will enjoy this visit, which is a pleasure for the senses.
Why I like this option: this tour allows you to enjoy a guided tour of the Acropolis and the highlights of the city at a more affordable price.
Recommended if... you don't want to spend a lot of money on your guided tour of the city and the Acropolis of Athens.
Tour the Acropolis of Athens at your own pace, at the best price
Perfect if you want to discover the Acropolis at your own pace, without having to join any organized group and spending as little as possible. Plus, with this ticket you will skip the entrance queues
Visiting the Acropolis on your own may be the best way to escape the rush and enjoy the views of the monuments, but I'm not going to fool you: at some point you will need some context about what you are seeing. With the information provided by a guide the visit is much more enjoyable, but you can also document on your own and do the visit at your own pace.
In the latter case, you can also buy online your tickets to visit the Acropolis of Athens without queues and in fact it is the most advisable to avoid waiting and get tired before starting the tour. Reserve about 3 hours for this visit and wear comfortable shoes. You will always find people visiting the Acropolis, but, logically, in high season (summer) and on holidays the number will be even higher so try to go early in the morning.
Once you make your online reservation you will receive your ticket in your email; you will only have to present it on the day of your visit without waiting in line and access directly.
Why I like this option: visiting the Acropolis of Athens can take two hours or a whole morning, depending on how deep you go and how many buildings you want to see. With this ticket you will have maximum flexibility.
Recommended if... you want to discover the Acropolis at your own pace and without spending too much budget.
How to get to the Acropolis
The Acropolis of Athens can be seen from almost any point in the center of the city. What you have to know is that it has two gates of access. The west entrance is the main one and is located next to the columns of the Propylaea and the southeast entrance is near the metro stop Akropoli and near the Theatre of Dionysus. I recommend the southeast gate which is usually less crowded.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot and if you go in summer remember to protect yourself from the sun. You can take as many pictures as you want, but do not forget to enjoy the monuments and, if it is the case, the explanations of your guide.
The Acropolis of Athens is open every day from 8 am to 8 pm, although in winter the opening hours may change and the closing time may be earlier. The best time to visit is at 8 am, before most organized groups arrive, although the sunset from there is very worthwhile. The last access is always between half an hour and an hour before closing time.
How to get discounted tickets
Seniors over 65 years old, children under 5 years old and students from the European Union under 25 years old free admission to the Acropolis upon presentation of their ID. The latter also get a 50% discount on the combined ticket that includes visits to other important sites in the city.
Where to eat near the Acropolis
In the Acropolis you will not find restaurants, but you will find water vending machines and some food stalls. For lunch you can go to any nearby place, always taking into account the prices. If you can, ask your guide for recommendations.
What to see in the Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens is crowned by the famous Doric-style Parthenon (probably the most photographed building in the whole country) which is a symbol of the classical architecture of Ancient Greece. However, before climbing up to it, you will see many other temples and buildings worth stopping at. The most important ones are:
- Propileos: the main building through which one enters the Acropolis. It was built in 437 BC and its name means "vestibule".
- Ionic temple erected in a place of the Acropolis that was considered sacred, since it is said that it is where the Goddess Athena made the first olive tree grow. Pay special attention to its caryatids; women who hold the temple as columns.
- Temple of Athena Nike: a small Ionic temple dedicated to the Goddess built to commemorate the victory of Greece over Persia in 420 BC.
- Monument of Agrippa: an eight-meter monument near the Beulé Gate commemorating the work of the important Roman general and politician.
- From the south entrance, you will also have unbeatable views of places such as the Theater of Dionysus, although it is not possible to visit it.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The Acropolis is illuminated at dusk; you can't miss the view, as it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city center.
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On some occasion you may have heard that visiting the Acropolis is the only thing worth seeing in Athens. Although it is the most important thing in the city and sometimes its importance can overshadow that of the rest of the monuments, I assure you that it is not the only thing.
The city of Athens has many points of interest and, to complete your visit, I suggest you explore them through a walking tour of the city center. With an expert guide you will get to know not only the monuments of Athens, but also its history and the way of life of its inhabitants. You can read more about it in this article on Athens Tours.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to visit the Acropolis?
Minimum time needed is about 1 hour 40 minutes, but a complete visit will take close to 4 hours, if you visit the Acropolis and the archeological museum.
What can I do at the Acropolis?
Eat authentic food like a local in any of the tavernas scattered around the area on your way up, witness a spectacular sunset, and visit its many temples and theatres including the Parthenon and the Athenea Nike temple, and explore the archeological museum.
What should I know before visiting the Acropolis?
The Acropolis is open until 18:00 in the summer season and only until 17:00 in the winter season. Accesibility can be a problem if elevators are not working and visiting it involves a good amount of walking. Also, the Herodeon, a greek theatre located inside the Acropolis, hosts events and performances during the summer, so make sure to check the event schedule if you want to catch a show.