The Acropolis of Athens is one of the oldest, and one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. You cannot visit Athens, the capital of Greece, without paying a visit to the ancient monument. The citadel, or the high city dedicated to Athena, contains the remains of several ancient monuments; the most popular one is the Parthenon, which you’ve probably seen on many postcards.
Visiting the Acropolis is something everybody should do in his life, because it is a part of our legacy. Unfortunately, when I visited it, the monument was in renovation, and I’ve heard from my Greek friends it is like this for years, and it will still be. However, don’t let the workers and the scaffoldings influence your visit, because the place has its own magic, and you need to discover it.
Plan your visit
If you are in Greece during the summer, you must plan your visit to the Acropolis of Athens carefully. Keep in mind that the city gets extremely hot during the summer, and you must visit it either in the morning, either late in the evening. Make sure you take some bottles of water with you, and extremely comfortable shoes, because you have to climb the hill for at least half an hour.
The archaeological sit opens at 8 in the morning, and closes at 17.00, but the last admission is at 16.30. The ticket price is 12 Euro, but if you are a student or a senior, you will pay only 6 Euros. The good news is that in this ticket is included also the admission to the Archaeological Museum of the Acropolis, where you can admire all the statues that were found on the site.
When people talk about the Acropolis of Athens, they actually refer to the Parthenon. Well, the Parthenon is only one part of the entire citadel. It is the temple dedicated to goddess Athena, who was the patron of Athens. It was built by Pericle, in 447 BC, and it survived centuries of wars. The Parthenon is one of the world’s greatest ancient monuments, and even if now is under restoration, you will be impressed beauty and architecture.
Another important part of the Acropolis of Athens is the Erechteion, another temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. Also known as Erechtheum, it is the most sacred area on the Acropolis, being the real religious temple of the citadel. The four Caryatids you can admire here are actually copies, but you can see the original in the Acropolis Museum.
What is a citadel without a theater? Just below the amazing Acropolis of Athens you can admire the famous Theater of Herod Atticus, which was built in 161 AD by the Romans. It is still in used today, for concerts and other live performances, so if you have the opportunity, do not miss a show here! Further on the alley you will notice the Theater of Dionysious, which was the first theater built in stone.
The Rock of Areopagos
Below the Acropolis of Athens, but on the other side, you will find the rock of Areopagos, or the “Blow Hill”. Maybe you don’t find it interesting, but it gives you great views over the Agora and the Plaka. It is also a famous place to watch the sunset, and get the best photos of the Acropolis or of the city during the night. Pay attention because its stairs are quite slippery.
Well, if the old monuments won’t impress you – which is kind of impossible, the views from the Acropolis of Athens over the city are simply stunning. It is the best place if you want to admire the city from the top, because this hill is right in the center of the Greek capital. The big mountain you see on the left of the Parthenon is called Lycabettos, and it is in the Kolonaki neighborhood. If you have time, you can take the funicular and visit it as well, because it has a great open-air theatre, a restaurant, and it is perfect for panoramas.
The Acropolis Museum
When you finish with the Acropolis Hill, I recommend you to visit the museum. You will find it very easy, right at the main exit of the monument. The museum was opened in 2009, and inside of it you can admire more than 4.000 objects found inside the Acropolis. It has a special section dedicated to the Parthenon, another one for the Erechteion, and many other exhibits including the rest of the statues and objects found in the citadel.
If you want to enjoy the Acropolis of Athens and the museum as well, I recommend you to spend an entire day here: start with the Acropolis, have a break for lunch, visit the museum, and end the day admiring the sunset! Now you deserve a traditional Greek dinner for climbing up the hill!