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Visiting The Acropolis in Athens

No trip to Athens is complete without ascending the Acropolis. Standing out in the city center both visually and architecturally, the Acropolis is perhaps the most vivid reminder of the heritage and culture which make Greece so special. The Acropolis hill was built on by the ancient Greeks and became a central part of life in the ancient Greek world. In this article, we explore the main attractions to visit at the Acropolis hill, and some of our recommendations for organizing your visit.

Sights to Visit at the Acropolis

Most visitors associate the Acropolis with the Parthenon, but there is in reality a lot more to see at the Acropolis.

 

The Parthenon

The centerpiece of the Acropolis and one of the most visited sights in the world, the Parthenon is a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. Its original form was built in 480 BCE, but was destroyed when the Persians attacked. The most recent form – the classical Parthenon we know, was built in 440 BCE to be the focus of the Acropolis complex. Its foundations are made of limestone and the columns are made from Pentelic marble. The architects were Iktinos and Kallikrates, and the main function of the temple was to shelter the statue of Athena, which was made out of gold and ivory. The Parthenon attracted a total of three million visitors in 2022 alone.

Parthenon

The Theatre of Dionysus

This amphitheater is well-preserved and has stone seats in the front row with the names of the nobles who reserved them etched into each place. In ancient Greece, theaters were always dedicated to Dionysus, who is associated with wine and having a good time.

Theater of Dionysus

The Odeon of Heroden Atticus

As you go up the path to the top of the Acropolis, you will find the Odeon of Heroden Atticus. This theater was built in 160 AD by a wealthy Athenian and holds 5000 seats. It is used for music, opera, and concerts during Athens festivals that go throughout the summer. Even if you don’t have a chance to visit the Acropolis, it is possible to view the stone arch of the Odeon from a distance near the ticket office. 

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Temple of Athena Nike

As you walk up the Acropolis Hill and get close to the Propylaea gateway, you will find the small temple of Athena Nike. The Greek goddess Athena was known as the namesake of the city of Athens and according to myth she planted an olive tree on the top of the Acropolis to mark it. This olive tree is still standing on the Acropolis Hill. You are not able to get up close to the Temple of Athena, but it is a marvel to gaze at from the steps below. The temple has been renovated and the original frieze is on display nearby at the Acropolis Museum. 

Temple of Athena

The Erechtheion and Caryatids

Once you have viewed the Parthenon, the Erechtheion is the other main monument of the Acropolis, found on the northern side of the complex. The temple is known for its Caryatids, a row of pillars depicting women wearing tunics. These Caryatids support the roof. Again, these are copies, and the originals are found in the Acropolis Museum. 

Erechtheion and Caryatids

Tips for Your Visit to the Acropolis

What is the Best Acropolis Entrance?

There are two visitor entrances to the Acropolis – one on Rovertou Galli and one on Dionysiou Aeropagitou. The Ronertou Galli entrance is the main one and is used by tour groups. To avoid these crowds, go to the southeast entrance instead, from the direction of the Acropolis Museum. The climb to the top is still about the same length as the other side, but the lines are shorter. 

 

When is the Acropolis Free of Charge?

It is free or charge on a few days every year. These days will be more crowded, but if you are traveling on a budget, it’s a good option. 

  • 6 March
  • 18 April
  • 18 May
  • The last weekend of September
  • 28 October
  • The first Sunday of the month from November through March

When is the Best Time to Visit the Acropolis?

In general, it’s best to go as early as possible. When tourists are in town from April to October, it can get very busy during the day. It’s best to arrive about 30 minutes before opening time. Make sure to leave about two hours for your visit. Seeing every feature of the Acropolis takes time, and it is worth it not to rush through your visit. 

Temple of Athena

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