The Acropolis of Athens sits atop a craggy hill, preserving what’s left of the 2500-year-old city dedicated to Athena, the Greek Goddess of War. The ancient ruins fill you with the nostalgia of the movies, books, and history classes about early Greece. The highlight is the famous Parthenon temple, whose tall distinctive columns have left a mark on modern architecture. Find out everything you need to know about the Acropolis of Athens before you plan a time-traveling trip to the archaic Greek city.
Know Before You Go
Best time to visit - early mornings or late evenings
Suggested duration - 4 to 6 Hours
Dating back to - 5th century BC
Starting Acropolis Tickets price - €12
Closest subway station - Acropolis
The Acropolis is open daily from 8 am to sunset.
Temple of Athena Nike
Old Temple of Athena
Athens 105 58, Greece
Why Should You Visit The Acropolis Of Athens?
The world owes much to the ancient Greeks for their headway in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Acropolis was then the centre of such excellence during the 5th century BC.
Rising 490 ft above Athens lie the ruins of the citadel of Acropolis. The site spreads over 7.3 acres and dates back to the Middle Neolithic era (10,000 BCE). Several monumental spaces such as the Parthenon, Old Temple of Athena, Erechtheum, Temple of Athena Nike, Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus, and others can be found in the ruins. A visit to the Acropolis will transport you to a time and epoch when Greece led the world in all disciplines and Doric temples were abundant.
Acropolis History - A Quick Peek Into Ancient Greece
Acropolis loosely translates to the ‘highest point’ in Greek, hinting that the Acropolis was then the highest point of Athens. The site can be dated back to Mycenaean megaron, the birth of architectural design consisting of an open porch and a large hall with a central throne. In the 5th century BC, Pericles, the General of Athens, contributed to the genesis of the Acropolis’ important monuments that have survived centuries of loot and attacks.
The restoration project of the 2,460 years old Acropolis began in hope of reversing the erosion, pollution, and destruction caused by military actions. This was possible with the help of titanium dowels and reassembled original material. Today, a total of 2,675 tons of architectural segments have been restored.
Speaking of the cultural impact of the Acropolis in the present world, the famous Great Panathenaea festival that was held once every four years by ancient Athenians is still being followed today in the mask of the Olympic Games.
Acropolis vs Parthenon
Answering the popular question of Acropolis vs Parthenon, it is important to understand they are not contradictory. Parthenon is a temple located in the citadel of Acropolis. All the monuments in Acropolis were built to rejoice in the Hellenic victory over the Persian invaders. So, if you are visiting Acropolis, you will get to see the Parthenon, too. There’s no need to choose one over the other!
The Magnificent Architecture of the Acropolis of Athens
The Archaic era (8th-5th century BC) gave a gateway to the architecture of Acropolis. Everywhere you look, you’ll be in awe of the style and perfection the early Greeks manifested. Peisistratos, the son of Hippocrates, built the entry gate of Acropolis, which later became the nine-gated Cyclopean wall, the Enneapylon. The temple of Athena Polias was built between 570 and 550 BC made of Doric limestones. The Theatre of Dionysos remains one of the oldest in the world, being built in 6 BC. All the structures use Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian architecture styles which later has been adopted as the base by western architects. This bestows that the ancient architects of Greece did not just view them as structures and temples but as art and sculptures.
You can identify which of the buildings are newer or older by just looking at their colour; the newer structures have a reddish tint while the old ones look more yellow.
What You Cannot Miss At The Acropolis Af Athens
Out of the 21 archaeological sites, here are some of the noteworthy ones you should spend more time exploring and appreciating on your tour of the Acropolis.
Parthenon is the first structure that comes to mind when you hear the word Athens. It is the iconic temple dedicated to the Goddess of war, Athena, and considered the zenith of the Doric style of architecture. Completed in 438 BC, it is one of the oldest standing temples on earth. It is also the most important standing structure of classical architecture in Greece. It consists of 46 outer gigantic columns and 19 inner smaller columns.
Propylaea is the gateway to the Acropolis, which was left unfinished in the 5th century BC. The structure was constructed from white Pentelic marble, grey limestone and structural iron, although the iron is said to have weakened the building. Restoration of it began in early 1984 and was only completed in 2009. This feat was considered so historic that the project was awarded the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2013.
The Old Temple of Athena is probably the oldest remains onsite. It was built during 525–500 BC but was later partially destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. One of the two pediments of the temple beautifully portrays Gigantomachy, the battle between Gods and Giants. The temple also houses a statue of the Goddess Athena herself, fighting the giants.
The temple of Athena and Nike, the goddess of victory was built in the year 420 BC. It is the earliest fully Ionic Temple in Acropolis. The only downside is that the temple is often closed to visitors since restoration work is still underway. But if you are lucky to see it open make sure to take a peek at the famous frieze of Nike adjusting her sandal.
Located in the northern part of the Acropolis of Athens, the Erechtheum is a shrine thought to have been built by Mnesikles from 421 to 406 BC. You can draw parallels between it and the Parthenon since both were built by Phidias. The Porch of the Maidens to the north of the temple is a must-see, where six draped female figures under the guise of columns hold the roof of the temple.
Acropolis Museum Athens
If you want to see the most precious pieces of the Acropolis, you have to head to the Acropolis Museum. It is a state-of-art museum, amidst an ancient site that houses the famous ruins. The museum spreads over 14000 square meters of floor space and is home to 4,250 pieces of art from Acropolis.
Some of the most interesting pieces are the sculptures of Kiritos Boy, The Calf bearer, the Statuette of Athena Promachos, Loutrophros, the headless bodies of Kekrops and Pandrosos, and the magnificent head of Alexander The Great.
Acropolis Museum tickets need to be bought separately since they are not included in your tickets for Acropolis. However, you can purchase combo tours of the museum and Acropolis hills to get the best of both worlds at the minimum price.
Where To Buy Acropolis Tickets?
Every year around 3 million visitors step into the sacred ruins of Athens. This makes it hard to get tickets at the counter. However, if you want to try your luck, you can head to the ticket office and purchase the tickets.
Buy Them Online
The best option is to get your timed Acropolis tickets online since you need not worry about being denied entry. You also have the option of choosing Acropolis tickets with a mobile audio guide, if you want to explore the site solo. Booking them online also gives you the perks of discounts and cashback, saving you time & money.
Acropolis of Athens tour
Nothing can beat an Acropolis guided tour. You’ll be escorted by a local knowledgeable guide who knows the site, its history and architecture inside out. You can choose between a small guided tour or a combo guided tour. Either way, a guided tour is the best way to explore the Acropolis.
Acropolis Of Athens Facts
- Out of the many Greek cities such as Argos, Thebes, Corinth, and others, the Acropolis of Athens is the most famous. However, if you intend to spend more time in Greece, do check out at least 2 more of these ancient Greek cities.
- The purpose of the Acropolis was to defend the Mycenaeans. The military defence set atop of the highest hills of the state was a strategic forethought.
- Although almost all the structures are comprised of marbles, they were quarried from Mount Pentelicus, which was located 10 miles north of the location.
- Tower of the Winds, an octagonal marble structure at the base of the Acropolis, is the world’s oldest weather station.
- The site is known for resisting the Fascists in 1941 when Greece was under German occupation.
- The legend of Athena’s tree and Poseidon’s water is said to have taken place in Erechtheion. Hence, the temples for Athena and Poseidon are located in this sacred site.
- There are multiple cave sanctuaries in the hills of Acropolis dedicated to Zeus, Apollo, Pan, Aphrodite, and Eros.
Visiting Acropolis Athens
By Bus: The closest bus stop is Akropolē, which is only 250 meters from the ticket office.
By Metro: The nearest subway station is Acropolis and is only 800 meters from the ticket office.
By Car: Take the road to Ροβέρτου Γκάλλι 5 and drive straight onto Rovertou Galli 39 road. Turn right to enter Dionysiou Areopagitou road. The ticket office is at the end of the road.
Athens Acropolis Opening Hours
The Acropolis is open daily from 8 am to sunset. The closing hours change from the summer to winter seasons.
1 Nov - 31 Mar: 8 AM - 5 PM
1 Apr - 31 Oct: 8 AM - 7 PM
Acropolis of Athens Map
The map shows the following remains in this specific order.
- Old Temple of Athena
- Statue of Athena Promachos
- Temple of Athena Nike
- Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia or Brauroneion
- Altar of Athena
- Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus
- Sanctuary of Pandion
- Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- Stoa of Eumenes
- Sanctuary of Asclepius or Asclepieion
- Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus
- Odeon of Pericles
- Temenos of Dionysus Eleuthereus
Best time to visit Acropolis of Athens
If you prefer a smaller crowd, plan your visit during the early opening hours or a couple of hours before closing. The best time of the year to visit the Acropolis is from March and May and from September to November. Athens experiences spring and fall during these months. The weather is perfect for a stroll around the city without burning your skin. Another takeaway from visiting during these months is that the city is not swamped with tourists and accommodations are budget-friendly.
Hotels Near The Acropolis Of Athen
One day cannot cover the best things to do in Athens. You would easily need a couple of days to explore lap of Greek antiquity. Hence, we have made a list of the top places to stay over in Athens, so you have one less thing to research about.
Coco-Mat Athens is a splendid stay - both modern and chic at once. It is at the heart of Athens and close to many attractions, including the Acropolis. The rooms are elegantly furnished with all the amenities one could imagine, and providing the best quality mattresses.
If you want to dine or relax in the pool with a view of the Acropolis as a backdrop, Herodion Hotel is the place for you. It is a first-class hotel offering sweeping views of Athens. The most amusing part of the hotel is that its entrance resembles a mini-museum with exquisite sculptures.
Located just opposite the magnificent Temple of Olympian Zeus, The Athens Gate Hotel is a splendid pick. It is also conveniently located only 400 meters from the Acropolis. It is a world-class hotel with all modern amenities and hospitable service.
Divani Palace is a 5-star hotel located at the foothills of the Acropolis. It is super close to Plaka, the new archaeological museum and the Herodian theatre. The rooms are sophisticated yet classic with views of the Acropolis from all sides.
Restaurants Near The Acropolis Of Athens
Get a bite of the local delicacy or feast on a three-course meal at these top favourite restaurants.
When in Rome, do as Romans do: try the pizza at Antico Forno Roscioli. Located in close proximity to Vatican City, Antico Forno Roscioli is also famous for its baked products.
Distance from Acropolis: 650 meters
Anafiotika Cafe is a cute rooftop cafe that is hidden in the cosy streets of Athens. They serve the local lip-smacking delicacies that will make you drool. The service is quick and the waiters are super friendly, too.
Must eat: Fried squids, fresh lemonade, cold beer.
Distance from Acropolis: 3.6 km
Yiasemi is a cafe that appears to be hidden in a garden. They serve Mediterranean, Greek, and finger food with great music. You can also find vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu.
Must eat: raki, Greek salad with feta, meatballs with stuffed potatoes
Distance from Acropolis: 3.6 km
Klepsidra Cafe is a great place to chill with very picturesque buildings all around the cafe. They serve generous servings of food, so if you are in a mood to fill your stomach and have a great time, it’s the place to go. Must eat: chicken plate & Greek salad
Distance from Acropolis: 3.8 km
Insider tips for your Acropolis Athens visit
- There are two entrances through which you can enter the site. Beside the parking lot, is the main entrance which is accustomed to long waiting lines that take at least an hour in the summer. The other entrance is at the ticket office in the southeast, which is less crowded and easy to access. Read our insightful guide about Acropolis entrances before your trip to make the best of your time.
- If you are looking to score the cheapest tickets, visit during winter (December to March) to get 50% off on tickets as well as enjoy affordable accommodations.
- Acropolis allows free entry to visitors on:
The last weekend of September
The first Sunday of the month from November through March
- Be mindful of what you wear to the Acropolis as the site is considered sacred. Also match your outfit with a pair of comfortable shoes, shades and a hat since the sun is out and bright year-round.
- The Acropolis recently introduced its wheel-chair friendly elevators. Note that the entire site is also wheelchair accessible.
- Refrain from touching or standing on Acropolis stones and marbles. It is a punishable offence.
- Wearing a strong SPF is highly recommended to avoid being burned by the Athenian sun.
Where is the Acropolis of Athens located?
Acropolis is located on the rocky hilltop of Athens in Greece.
How old is the Acropolis of Athens?
The Acropolis of Athens is over 2,460 years old.
What was the Acropolis of Athens used for?
It initially functioned as a fortress and military base. Later in the 5th century BC, it also became a religious centre.
Why is the Acropolis of Athens important?
Acropolis is a universal symbol of the classical spirit and civilization coupled with architectural genius.
What is the Acropolis of Athens famous for?
Acropolis is famous for its Greek Antiquity, architectural marvel and artistic expertise of the ancient era.
When was the acropolis of Athens built?
It was built in the 5th century BC.
Are the Acropolis and the Parthenon the same thing?
Parthenon is a temple located in the citadel of Acropolis.
Is there an entrance fee to the Acropolis?
Yes, you need to purchase Acropolis tickets to enter.
Who destroyed the Acropolis, Athens?
In the year 480 BC, the Persians had destroyed most of the Acropolis.
What is the current state of the Acropolis?
It has been an archaeological site since 1833 and a UNESCO World Heritage Centre which is open to visitors.
Is the Acropolis in the Centre of Athens?
Yes, the Acropolis is located in the centre-south of Athens.
Can you see the Acropolis for free?
Acropolis allows free entry to visitors on 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, The last weekend of September, 28 October, and the first Sunday of the month from November through March.
Is Acropolis free for students?
Students from EU countries can enter for free while students of non-EU countries can access discounted tickets.
What is the best time to visit Acropolis?
If you prefer a smaller crowd, plan your visit during the early opening hours or a couple of hours before closing.
How long should you spend at the Acropolis?
You will easily need 4-6 hours to tour all the spaces of Acropolis along with the museum.
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