I traveled to Athens and Kefalonia on a work trip. On my way to Kefalonia, I had one night and a morning in Athens. On my way back from Kefalonia I stayed in Athens for a few days. With lots of work lunches and dinners, plus meetings in between I made a point of visiting the Acropolis even though I knew I’d have to skip some of the tourist destinations given that Athens has so many. Lots of my ex-coworkers skipped visiting the Acropolis which I found strange, like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. I highly recommend visiting the Acropolis which is the key site in Athens.
How do you get to the Acropolis
Getting to the Acropolis
You can quickly get to the Acropolis from anywhere in Athens by using public transportation. There are train, bus, and metro lines driving to the Acropolis of Athens. I used a Uber since it was only € 3 roughly R50 at the time to get there and my stipend covered the cost.
Bus lines driving to the Acropolis
035, 106, 550, A2, B2
Trains driving to the Acropolis
Metro lines driving to the Acropolis
M1, M2, M3
I woke up early and had breakfast at the hotel before going to the Acropolis. I got there a few minutes after 8am just after opening time. There was one person in line before me at the ticket office. I paid €20 for my ticket and didn’t purchase a combined ticket. I was asked if I was younger than 25 and could’ve possibly entered for free if I said yes but my company provided me with a stipend and that meant that I was not really paying for my ticket myself. But anyways my point is if you are under 25 you can enter for free if you are a European citizen. I’m still shocked that the man at the ticket office thought I was under 25 and a European citizen. Kind of funny since I’m over 30 and South African.
Opening and closing times
Athens Acropolis is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM, with the last entry being at 7:30 PM in the summer months (April to October). In winter (November to March), it is open from 8 AM to 5 PM, with the last entry at 4:30 PM.
The Southeast entrance is better
The Southeast border on the side of the Acropolis which is closer to where the Acropolis Museum is located has a shorter line. I didn’t know this and so I used the main entrance where the tour buses park and tons of tourists lineup to buy tickets. But, because I arrived so early it didn’t matter. However, if you plan on visiting during peak season which is usually between June and September use the Southeast entrance to the Acropolis.
Buy tickets beforehand
I didn’t do this but it depends on you. I have a friend who always books everything she can before the time. She likes to pre-plan and control as much as she can about her travels. I do pre-plan but not every single detail. So I didn’t spend the extra few euros on a pre-booked ticket. If you only want to see the Acropolis the ticket is €20 between April and October. If you buy the prebooked multi-pass ticket you can also skip the ticket line. If you want a physical ticket you’ll need to exchange your voucher at a local travel agent’s office nearby before entering the Acropolis. I can’t even remember where I put my physical ticket. If you’d prefer a digital ticket rather you can buy that in advance as well, and just show up at the gates.
“To visit the Acropolis you will have to purchase a ticket. Choose between a combo ticket, skip-the-line entry, or a guided tour. While you can purchase your tickets on-site, if you don’t wish to waste your time standing in long queues, it is best to purchase your tickets online” Source: https://www.acropolis-tickets.com/visit-acropolis-opening-hours-location-entrance/
Wear the proper clothes
Going early during the summer is good because it allows you to beat the full force of the sun. It gets extremely hot in Athens during summertime and there is no real shade at the top of the Acropolis or even along the way. Get there before the sun starts baking. Water and lots of sunscreen are important. There is a water fountain but only one, it gets busy and it is on top of the trail.
Wear good, comfortable shoes with a strong grip. I wore hiking takkies/sneakers. You could wear grippy sandals but you might bump into a stone by accident. Wear closed shoes with a strong grip. I saw a lot of people struggling with flip-flop sandals. And I saw a broken one along the trail. Don’t wear these. The trail up is rough and on top the stones are very slippery and smooth. It’s easy to slip if you are wearing the incorrect shoes. And don’t wear high heels you will regret it.
In winter it can get cold, rainy, and windy. The site is more slippery because of the rain. Wear a warm jacket and good closed shoes. I suggest a NorthFace-type jacket and waterproof hiking shoes. Walking around with wet shoes can swell up your shoes I learned this the hard way when visiting Paris.
How long does the hike up to the Acropolis take
It’s a short hike10 minutes to get up to the Acropolis and stopping along the way will make it longer. But it is a very easy hike. I’m not fit when I hiked up and it was easy.
Head Straight to the Top, Then Work Your Way Back down
The Parthenon and other buildings on top of the hill get the most attention. There are other things to see along your walk up. Now I have read that walking up immediately and then seeing everything along the way afterward is the best strategy, especially during the peak summer season. This will allow you to avoid the massive crowds who will all head over to the Parthenon so head over to the Parthenon first.
Then when the crowds get there head out and look at the smaller ruins and buildings. Don’t forget to go to the back wall to see the gorgeous view of the city below. Then go looks at the northern and southern slopes.
Full disclosure I didn’t do this. I took photos of everything along the way. Headed to the Parthenon and all the other sites. And on my way down the crowds began to enter and it started getting full. I got lucky and if I had skipped the things along the way it would’ve been a nightmare trying to see them afterward because there were so many people walking up as I was leaving.
Here’s a map of the Acropolis
This is from Google Maps and it is easy to access if you click on the view larger map button it will take you to the live map.
Is it accessible to wheelchair users?
An elevator that lets people in wheelchairs skip the ten-minute climb is available. There are also wheelchair-friendly paths around the summit. It’s available only for people with reduced mobility or a parent looking after two or more children by themselves. A free shuttle from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street is available for those using the elevator: call +30 210 3214172 or +30 210 9238470 for the latest information.
Free entry days
Free entry days at the Acropolis will help you save on cash if you are on a tight travel budget. But because the entry is free these are also the days when the Acropolis is very full and busy.
Entrance is free to all visitors on the following days:
6 March (Memory of Melina Mercouri)
18 April (International Monument Day)
18 May (International Museum Day)
The last weekend of September (European Days of Cultural Heritage)
Every first Sunday of the month, from November 1st to March 31st annually
Who can enter the Acropolis for free
- All children under 5 years of age (with current identification to prove age)
- Young European citizens under 25 years of age (with valid identification to prove age and nationality)
- Students from Higher Educational Institutions and Tour Guide Training Institutions, from EU countries, with valid student identification cards or International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
- Tour Guides with professional licenses from the Hellenic Ministry of Development
- Teachers or parents accompanying children on primary & secondary education school visits
- Persons with disabilities (67% or over) and one escort, upon presentation of the certification of disability
- Archaeologists, with a valid license
- Journalists presenting their valid work permits.
When is the Acropolis closed?
Check beforehand if the Acropolis is open and especially if you are planning on visiting on a public holiday.
- 1 January
- 25 March
- 1 May
- Easter Sunday
- 25 December
- 26 December
Visiting the Acropolis in Winter
If you visit during the winter season you will get a 50 percent discount on your ticket. This only applies to your individual ticket not to your combo pass ticket.
Don’t forget to see the back section
The view of the city below is really pretty and worth seeing. So go to the back to see it. Take a few photos and enjoy this section of the Acropolis.
Visit the Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum used to be housed onsite, at the top of the hill of the Acropolis site. It was moved back in 2009 to a brand-new building nearby Dionysiou Areopagitou. It’s very close to the side entrance of the Acropolis so if you do enter that way you won’t miss it.
Entry to the Acropolis Museum costs €10 in summer. The museum is not covered by the Athens multi-site ticket. The lines were short when I arrived with my ex-colleagues. Again only one other person was in line in front of us. You don’t really need to buy skip-the-line tickets but if you are there at the height of summer spend the extra money to skip it.
Advance Acropolis and museum combo tickets are available, and let you skip the line in both places, as well as the National Archeological Museum. If you’re planning to visit the Acropolis and/or Archeological museums and intend to pre-purchase a ticket for the Acropolis anyway, you may as well get one that covers the lot. I didn’t purchase this because I didn’t have a lot of time to explore I only had one day off in Athens so it wouldn’t have made sense.
That’s my guide to the Acropolis if you have any tips or information to add please let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading.
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