Acropolis is definitely the top attraction of Athens and it will be a real shame if you are in Athens and you don’t visit it, as apart from its cultural and archaeological significance the whole area is the most beautiful in , which in my opinion is an ugly city that has basically been dominated by the architectural monstrosities of the ’60s and ’70s. Athens Acropolis tickets are very easy to book and there are many options for you, so keep reading as I am explaining everything in this post with a ton of pictures to help you out.
I highly recommend you use this entrance to enter the Acropolis with your pre-booked skip-the-line ticket because it’s always less busy. This is the entrance just outside of the Acropolis Metro Station called South Slope Entrance.
BEST SKIP-THE-LINE ACROPOLIS TICKET: Acropolis & 6 Archaeological Sites Combo Ticket
If you have a printed ticket with a barcode (or a pdf on your phone) you can basically skip the lines and go through those gates where you can scan the barcode and enter Acropolis site
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Acropolis Tickets Prices: Single Use (20€) – for just one visit of the Acropolis only, Combined (20€) – for 6 Archaeological Sites
Free Admission to Acropolis: only for children and young people from EU countries up to the age of 25 years old and children up to 5 years old from any other country (you have to show passports for evidence)
50% Reduced Admission (10€): children and young people from non-EU countries from 6 to 25 years old, Senior Citizens over 65 years old from EU countries
Alternative Acropolis Ticket Online: which is slightly more expensive, but you get an extra audio tour guide on your phone, which can be very helpful to understand what you are seeing (I highly recommend you get a professional tour guide or at least the audio guide) Acropolis Skip The Line Ticket with Audio Tour,
How long does it take to visit Acropolis: you need at least to see the whole archaeological site if you are quick and there are no delays at the entrance 2 hours
Opening Hours: 08:00-20:00 (though last entrance is at 19:30!)
Best Time to go to Acropolis: as early as possible to avoid the summer heat and the big crowds or late in the afternoon (after 17:00); in June, July, August and September, temperatures may go up to 40 degrees Celsius during the day, and there are not that many shaded areas on Acropolis, to be honest…
How to Get to Acropolis: Athens Metro is the best option as there is literally a station outside of the Acropolis South Slope Entrance
Best Thing to bring with you on your visit to Acropolis: a bottle of water! Consumption of any food is strictly prohibited and you will get in trouble if you don’t follow that rule as there are hundreds of security guards all over the place
THE ACTUAL ACROPOLIS TICKETS
Once you book your ticket from the
you will receive a pdf file through your email that looks like this: Official Website of the Greek Ministry of Culture
This is the official pdf of the
Acropolis Ticket that you will get through email from the ; once at the entrance you can scan the barcode on your phone (you don’t have to print it out) and you will have basically skipped the lines of people waiting to book a ticket at the entrance. Please note that this is the combo ticket for 6 archaeological sites as you can see and it is more expensive (30 euros) than the Single-Use ticket (20 euros) official website
THE SOUTH SLOPE ENTRANCE
This is the south slope entrance stairs and the first thing you will see as you walk the main pedestrian street call Dionysiou Areopageitou (the cobblestones street just opposite the Acropolis Museum).
As you follow the path you will definitely see people queueing and entering the South Slope site, so it is very difficult to miss it
There are automatic turnstiles that allow you to enter along with a few security guards that may check your bags. If you have a ticket with a barcode you just go through these turnstiles and scan it. If everything is fine then the doors will open. The staff are very helpful and they speak English.
As I mentioned above, this is the best way to book your Acropolis ticket through the official website:
There are toilets (for disabled people as well) in the site and you are not allowed to eat while you are in Acropolis.
As you enter, you will find helpful signs in both Greek and English to help you understand what you are actually seeing.
After you enter, you will see the path that you have to hike to go up the hill of the Acropolis. It is not hard, you don’t need to be super fit to do it and it’s not rough at all. You need proper shoes though so do not attempt to wear flip-flops.
There is a vending machine selling only bottles of water on your left-hand side as you enter from the turnstiles but I wouldn’t bet my house to be in working order when you visit, so you should better be prepared and have your own water bottles with you. You will need it, trust me.
After you enter, you will see small groups of people gathered around a person. These are the organized guided tours and it is in my opinion the best way to visit the Acropolis as you will actually learn the most from a licensed tour guide who might also be an archaeologist.
This is one of the best guided tours of the Acropolis.
This is the Acropolis South Slope Entrance as you see it from the main path going up the hill. The views already start looking stunning…
GOING UP TO THE ACROPOLIS HILL
Many people are wondering if going up the Acropolis is tough hiking or if you actually need to be super fit to do it. My view is that it is a very easy and walkable path that even seniors and kids do it. You don’t need to be very fit to do it and it won’t tire you at all. Yes, there are some steps here and there and (obviously) some very smooth uphill paths, but it’s nothing to worry about. After all, you can do it at your own pace, stop whenever you want, drink water at frequent intervals and enjoy one of the most important monuments of the western civilization.
There is a dedicated path that you have to follow in order to reach the top of the Acropolis rock and the Parthenon temple. The great thing is that you will see many wonderful monuments as you go up and you will find yourself stopping literally every few meters to read the signs and enjoy something new.
The path itself is paved with gravel at this point. You will see many groups of guided tours but if you are in one of those groups your guide will stop many times to explain to you what is around you.
Some sections of the path are paved with very smooth concrete so there is nothing to worry about
The inclination at this point is very smooth and you can obviously walk at your own pace.
One of the first things you will see coming up from the South Slope Entrance of the Acropolis is the Theater of Dionysus which was built in the 4th and 5th century BC
Dionysus Theater had a capacity of 25000 people at its peak in the 4th century BC.
You are not able to enter the Dionysus theater itself but you can only take a look from the outside as it is cordoned off with no access.
The theatre itself has been neglected for thousands of years and was only restored to its current state in the 19th century.
There is a lot to see as you go up towards the North Slope and the Acropolis itself.
The “Bronze Foundries” was an industrial area underneath the Acropolis where excavations from 1877 to 2006 have revealed a total of four pits cut into the soft rock (limestone) of the Acropolis.
There are 4 main pits where bronze statues and artefacts where manufactured. Some believe that the famous Athena Statue that was inside the Parthenon temple itself was also cast here in these pits.
Do not be surprised if you see lots of stray cats in the wider area. They are happy to be there, they are being taken care of by the staff of the Acropolis and no, they are not considered antiquities and can be touched 🐈🐈🐈.
This is the statue of Menandros a famous greek tragedy writer and poet just on the north side of the Dionysus Theatre. It was quite common to celebrate famous playwriters with statues around the theatre.
A visit to the Acropolis is not only about ancient ruins but also about the beautiful greek nature which is at its best in spring (March, April and May).
There are ruins everywhere around you as you go up the hill. this is a beautifully carved Corinthian order (type) of Greek column. It probably doesn’t mean anything to us today because we see it in thousands of buildings everywhere in the world, but this is the original one (OG)!
Another beautiful and significant ruin you will see as you go uphill is the Sanctuary of Asklepios who was the god of medicine. This was basically a healing centre founded in 420-419 BC with a small room called “abaton” that patients used to spend the night in, believing that Asklepios would visit them and heal them overnight.
If you know how to read greek then you would probably be able to read those letters 🙂
The tunnel of Eumenes is another ruin that you will see on your right hand as you go up from the south slope. This is a newer building (built between 197-156BC) and it was basically a decorative building that was gifted to the city of Athens by the king of Pergamon Eumenes II.
Birds obviously didn’t like the sign about the Stoa of Eumenes…
The gravel is very light and pretty fine so you don’t have to worry about hiking. Obviously, you need to wear proper comfortable walking shoes, so no heels and no flip flops.
There are many caves on the rock of the Acropolis but they are not accessible to the public. ancient greeks used them for religious ceremonies and they were also later used by Athens robber gangs in the 19th century for protection and coverage
As you go up you will see plenty of olive trees and beautiful scenery; in my view this is undoubtedly one of the greenest spots in Athens but you shouldn’t treat it as a park where you can have a pic-nic, as this is still an archaeological site that you have to treat with respect.
Further up, you will see a spot where people are taking pictures of the impressive Odeon of Herodes Atticus that has been restored in the 20th century and is now used for shows and concerts mainly in the summer (
if you want to watch something). check the official Athens Epidaurus Festival Programme
The Herodion (as the theatre is called today) was fully restored in 1950; it used to have a 3-storey stone wall at the front and a wooden roof made of Lebanon cedar.
There are a few step on that point that you have to go through after admiring the stunning Herodus Atticus but there is always a handrail to help you out.
Further up, a paved uphill path with incredible views will lead you to the entrance of the Acropolis itself.
There are a few steps at that point but nothing dramatic.
UP ON THE ACROPOLIS
After all the relatively easy hiking which shouldn’t take you more than 30 mins with all the stopping and reading, you will be greeted by the glorious entrance of the Acropolis hill which is called “Propylaia”. This is the only entrance to the main rock itself and where most of the people will be sitting for pictures, selfies and tour guides will be stopping to explain everything around. This area tends to be quite crowded and it’s usually flooded with people stopping to admire the impressive entrance.
This is “Propylaia” (Acropolis Main Entrance as it was in the past) in all its glory; this spot is usually crowded with lots of people taking pictures of the monument and the stunning views of Athens but the truth is that the views from the top of the hill further up are far better, so you should better move on and don’t stay there on these stairs because chances are you wil be blocking the queues.
The steps at Propylaia entrance are very steep and you have to be careful while staying there because it’s usually very crowded.
Propylaia means “Gates” in Greek and it is a complex of several buildings including small temples and a display for paintings that was built between 437-432 BC and actually remained unfinished
The views from Propylaia as you turn back are stunning. The first thing you will see is basically the great Areopagus rock where Apostle Paul gave his famous speech to the Athenians in 49 AD
There is a wooden deck that you basically go through while at the Propylaia; this deck is also usually crowded unfortunately and you should move quickly as to not block this only exit of the Acropolis
This is the wooden deck at the Propylaia gates, which is also equipped with a handrail.
Parthenon in all of its glory after you exit the Propylaia Gates. It’s not uncommon to hear lots of “wow’s” around you while entering the actual rock itself. You have now made it to the Acropolis rock and there is, even more, to see and admire while you are there.
Parthenon is obviously the most impressive building of the Acropolis and it was basically the largest temple of its time; this was a temple of the goddess Athena and its decorative sculptures are considered a symbol of our modern western civilization and the epitome of Greek Art.
The extensive restoration programme on the Parthenon Temple has been going on for decades as it is an extremely slow and detailed process
The new marbles that have been placed on the columns can easily be identified but they are not intrusive nor they are altering the monument itself
The surface up on the hill is rocky and you can actually rest whenever you want (consumption of food is not allowed though) but there are dedicated smooth paths that you can follow if you are not feeling comfortable with the rocks
As the time of the day passes, you will see more and more people around. This is a picture taken in April around 10am in the morning…
This is a very important rule that you have to follow everywhere you are on the Acropolis. All the marbles have already suffered a lot through the centuries and are already suffering a lot from acid rain in Athens, so you should keep that in mind.
You will find informative signs about the restoration phases everywhere around the monuments.
The details, everywhere you look are stunning
In case you don’t know it, ancient greek marbles where reinforced with melted steel and titanium through these T gaps, in order to stabilize the structure itself. You will see lots of those holes around while on the Acropolis
This is how those T shaped dowels used to work to connect the marbles
The north side of the Acropolis does not have any scuffoldings as the restoration has been completed the last years.
You will see lots of groups of people that belong in a guided tour. This is, in my opinion, the best way to see the Acropolis and learn the most out of it.
This is a highly recommended guided tour that can be booked online.
There are thousands of marbles scattered all over the site.
If you stay on the dedicated concrete path, you don’t have to worry about the rocks.
There is also a small balcony with a big greek flag. This is a historic place of great significance as something extraordinary happened there in WWII.
It’s a pity the sign under the greek flag is not translated into English because it describes the story of the most impressive resistance against the Nazi occupation of WWII. One night in May 1941 and only 6 weeks after the Nazi flag was raised up on the Acropolis,
, climbed up the Acropolis and took down the Nazi flag in an event that inspired the whole world and has always been one of the most impressive acts of resistance against the Nazi Germany. Surprisingly they both died only a few years ago. Manolis Glezos and Lakis Santas
Erechtheion is another monument that you will see once up on the Acropolis hill. these are 6 beautiful ladies called Karyatides.
The statues of Karyatides that are on the Acropolis are copies; the original statues are in the Acropolis Museum (makes sense) and in the British Museum (doesn’t make sense).
Surprisingly, there is a water fountain in workable condition up on the hill that you can use but I wouldn’t bet my house on it to be working when you visit so you should better have your own bottle of water (especially in the summer April-October).
Restoration works are on going, so you need to be careful not to obstruct anything.
The Acropolis Restoration office is full of scientists, engineers and workers working every day to restore this magnificent monument
The Acropolis Restoration programme has already been going on for decades
The Acropolis Restoration office has a full display of all the restoration works that happened since the 19th century; yes, there have been lots of restoration programmes the last 200 years and not all of them have been beneficial to the monument
Some of the oldest restoration teams have even built a small train to move around the massive pieces of marble and you can still see these rails on the ground
There are waste bins all over the place so please use them and make sure you don’t litter the monument.
The views from the Acropolis are the best in Athens as you can pretty much see the whole city; this is the Lycabbettus Hill
You can even see the famous neighbourhood called “Anafiotika” in Plaka, which was built by people coming from the Greek island Anafi and its architecture will remind you of a greek island
There are some areas on top of the Acropolis that are rocky and rough but you should be ok as long as you stay on the dedicated path.
This is the back side of the Erechteion with its impressive marble walls and columns. This section is called Pandrosion where the ancient and holly olive tree of the goddess Athena was planted. There is still an olive tree (but it’s not that old obviously).
The 360 views are stunning from every side. This is the
which sits literally outside of the Acropolis Metro Station. Acropolis Museum
Exiting the Acropolis hill is as easy as it sounds because there is only one way down which is a different route than the one going up
The exit is through the “Propylaia” gate entrance and it has some steps but there is nothing rough or difficult to go through
The entrance you have to go through as you exit is small but you won’t miss it
The exit path is very well paved and very smooth
To exit, you will have to go through some turnstiles again but you don’t have to scan your ticket.
The exit turnstiles that will lead you to the open area where the other ticket office is with some very long queues; I do not recommend spending there any minute and I highly suggest you
well in advance. book your tickets to the Acropolis online
HOW TO GET TO THE ACROPOLIS
I will get this very straight to you: the best way to get to Acropolis is by taking the Athens Metro and getting off at the Acropolis Station which is literally 50 meters away from the Acropolis South Slopes Entrance and very close to the Acropolis Museum Entrance. Obviously, if you stay very close to the Acropolis itself then the best way might actually be to walk but I do not recommend walking too much under the scorching heat of the Athens summer. See below all the tickets options for Athens Metro.
The Acropolis Metro Station is literally a few meters away from both the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis South Slopes Entrance and
. it’s here on Google Maps
This is the Metro Exit at Acropolis Station that you have to follow in order to get to the Acropolis South Slopes and Acropolis Museum; Unfortunately there is no proper sign…
Once you are out of the Acropolis Station from the Exit that I mentioned before you will see some signs to the Acropolis Museum BUT not to the Acropolis South Slopes Entrance
The Athens Metro is very clean and modern with very wide platforms. Trains run every 5-10 mins. depending on the time of the day
Acropolis Metro Station is one of the most unique ones of the whole subway network
There are seats everywhere and at any time you will be able to sit
(a famous greek actress and politician with lots of campaigns for Acropolis) is “present” at the Acropolis metro station Melina Mercouri
The whole Acropolis station is decorated with marble copies of the actual Parthenon Temple; this is unique to this station and you won’t see it elsewhere across the Athens Metro
There are electronic signs announcing the next train everywhere on the station
While exiting the station make sure you follow these signs that show you where the up (or down) escalators are.
The Acropolis station itself is a mini museum with some very interesting exhibits that were found during the excavation of the metro in the 90’s (Athens Metro opened its doors in 2000)
This is not the Acropolis museum but…the subway station at Acropolis!
You can definitely spend some time there to see what these artifacts are and there are a lot of signs explaining the findings and where do they actually come from.
In my opinion, this is the single most impressive picture of the Acropolis tube station, showing thousands of ancient Greek ceramic pots that flooded one of the tunnels while excavating the Acropolis metro back in the 90’s when the workers hit an ancient well that was used to dump useless everyday objects; hundreds of things such as clay pots, fragments of sculptures, amphorae and others were collected by the Greek Archaeological Agencies and transferred to safe places and museums.
There is a lift to the platform level in every Athens Metro station and Acropolis station is not an exception
The exit and entry to the Athens Metro is through turnstiles where you have to scan your ticket (see below)
This is how you scan your Athens Metro Ticket: you just touch it to the right spot and the glass door will open to go through
This is the Athens Metro ticket; it is just a small piece of paper that you touch on the sensors of the turnstiles (see above)
This is not the ticket of the Athens and it is just a ticket receipt that is basically useless. You get this if you pay by a credit card (or debit card) – Visa and Mastercard are accepted
These are the ticket machines in the Athens Metro (they are in every station); the grey ones are the old ones and chances are they won’t be working, so you should always use the white ones that are also accepting credit cards Visa and Mastercard
This is the white ticket machine of the Athens Metro or subway. You get the option of many languages to operate it.
You have to select where you are going or what routes you want your ticket to include; if you are not going to the Athens Airport then you should select “Athens Area” which covers any destination in Athens and the port of Piraeus (but not the Airport)
You have to select what type of ticket you actually want; in my experience, the “5 Days” ticket is the most cost-effective overall if you are only staying up to 5 days in Athens as it gives you unlimited trips not only to the Athens Metro but any other means such as the Tram, the Bus or the Trolleys (yellow buses).
This is the price of the 24 hours ticket as of April 2023 (4.10 euros)
This is the price of the 5 Days ticket as of April 2023 (8.20 euros); for me, this is the best option but it does not cover the Airport Transfers.
This is the price of the 5 Trips ticket as of April 2023 (5.70 euros)
This is the price of the 2 Trips ticket as of April 2023 (2.30 euros)
This is the price of the 90 minutes ticket as of April 2023 (1.20 euros) which gives you unlimited trips for 90 mins
This is the price of the 10+1 Trips ticket as of April 2023 (12.0 euros)
The trains of the Athens Metro themselves are very comfortable with lots of space and are usually very clean and well maintained; this is how the trains that go to the Athens Airport look like (they have a more white-grey colour in general)
The trains that are pink from the inside do not go to the Athens Aiport but you cannot get them confused as it’s always clear on all signs
There is always an electronic sign in the train showing the next station in both English and Greek.
The trains that go to the Airport, have an Athens Metro Map with flashing lights showing live the station that the train is approaching
The pink trains that do not go to the Aiport have a static map on top of the doors that does not flash