Visiting the Acropolis in Athens: Everything You Need to Know (+Photos)

Perched up on a hill overlooking the Greek capital of Athens, the Acropolis is one landmark on everyone’s bucket list. Often dubbed ‘the High City,’ it’s one of the most famous attractions on the planet, seeing over 3 million visitors per year.

I was lucky enough to visit this fascinating archaeological site a couple of years ago; it’s an experience that I think every avid traveller should have at some stage. Seeing the remains of the ancient Greek civilisation is something that will stay with you forever.

When it comes to going to the Acropolis, you can either do it solo or with a guide. I did it solo and listened to a YouTube video when I reached the top, and I enjoyed it more than most tours I’ve taken in the past because I felt I had plenty of freedom to explore the site at my own pace without being rushed around by a guide.

While visiting the Acropolis is relatively easy compared to some other attractions, there are still some things you need to be aware of so you can plan your trip accordingly.

In this post, we’ll cover:

Getting To The Acropolis

Getting To The Acropolis

Fortunately, the Acropolis is located right in the heart of Athens, so getting there is very easy. Even if you didn’t use a map, you could find it because it’s up so high, towering over the city.

I took the Red Line metro from Syntagma Square to Acropoli, which is the closest stop to the Acropolis. From there, it was a 9-minute walk, so it’s not too far at all. Finding your way to the site itself is very easy; just follow the crowds up the hill, and you’ll be there before you know it.

You can also take a public bus to the Acropolis. The site is served by bus numbers 230, 24, 40, 126, 134, A2, A3, A4, 035, and 57, so there are plenty of options regardless of where you’re based in the city.

Lots of people also walk to the Acropolis from Monastiraki Square, one of the city’s most popular areas, which you’ll find yourself in a lot during your time in Athens. The walk from there is only 13 minutes, but let me warn you, it’s all uphill and can be quite strenuous, especially during summertime. So bring along plenty of sunscreen and water if you plan on opting for this option.

The Walk Up To The Acropolis

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

No mode of transport will take you directly to the Acropolis, so regardless of which option you go for, you’ll have to do some walking. It’s not all doom and gloom; the stroll has a couple of exciting things to see along the way, including some archaeological remains with informative messages beside them telling you what they are.

Another thing to look out for is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a huge amphitheatre that dates back to AD 161. Still, to this day, it can hold up to 5000 people, and every year in the summer, there are various events like concerts and exhibits held there by the Athens & Epidaurus Festival. When you continue heading towards the Acropolis, you’ll eventually reach a point where you end up at a vantage point behind the amphitheatre, and the views are phenomenal, so keep an eye out.

To see the attractions I’ve mentioned, you need to walk up the southwest slope of the Acropolis, which is near Parc Roberto Galli. Fewer people tend to walk this way, so you might get lucky and even have the place to yourself.

Buying Your Tickets For The Acropolis

Buying Your Tickets

Before you gain access to the Acropolis, you’ll have to purchase your tickets. Now, you can either do this in advance or on the day of your arrival. Buying your tickets in advance guarantees your spot, which is great if you’re visiting during the summer when it tends to get really busy.

If you decide you want to purchase your tickets when you get there, that’s perfectly fine, but you’ll have to run the risk of not getting them at all or having to wait for ages. Bear in mind the only chance of this happening is in the summer since it doesn’t get that busy at other times of the year.

Purchasing your tickets beforehand can easily be done on the Acropolis’s website. You’ll be given a couple of options with add-ons, like if you want to add an audio guide for your time at the site and/or add access to the Acropolis Museum afterwards.

I got my tickets on the day I went to the Acropolis and had no issue getting them at all other than having to line up for ten minutes. This was in August, so it was pretty busy. Since I’m an EU citizen and was under 25 at the time of visiting, I actually got my tickets for free, which was great.

Be sure to check out if you’re eligible for free entry because there are a couple of groups that can obtain it, but you’ll have to get your tickets in person; they don’t offer it online.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is undoubtedly the highlight of the Acropolis for many. It’s one of the first things you’ll see after you walk up the steps from the ticket desk. It would be an understatement to say I was mesmerised by it; seeing the intricate designs and how well it has been preserved had me in awe.

Beware that you’re only allowed to get to a certain distance near the Pantheon, as there’s a fence blocking full access, but it’s still very close. Don’t even try to hop over the fence, or you’ll find yourself in a lot of trouble. There are security guards everywhere, and they’re watching everyone like hawks. One person I saw standing up on the wall near the Pantheon was immediately approached by one of the security and given a warning, so be on your best behaviour.

You’ll be shocked how big it is in person; photos don’t do it any sort of justice. Even when it’s busy, getting a nice picture without someone getting in the way is still relatively easy because of its sheer size.

The Views From The Top Of The Hill

The Views From The Top

My favourite part of the Acropolis was the views you get from the top of the hill; they’re unlike anywhere else on the planet. Seeing Athens from above really shows how big the city actually is. On a clear day, you can even see the ocean in the distance.

There are plenty of great viewpoints around the archaeological site. Most people congregate around the one at the Greek flag, which is beautiful, but it gets so crowded sometimes and can be hard to enjoy. That’s why visiting in the evening is better because fewer people are there, so you won’t have to worry about it.

The one I loved the most was beside the Temple Of Athena Nike. There weren’t too many people around, which made it easy to find a spot to kick back and relax while soaking up the views. This is the best place to catch some vistas of the Saronic Gulf, as it’s looking out directly at it. Just be careful when you’re walking out around that area, and avoid stepping out to an area that you shouldn’t in case you fall because it’s a huge drop.

Watching The Sunset From Areopagus Hill

Watching The Sunset

If you’ve chosen to visit the Acropolis in the evening, you need to go watch the sunset at Areopagus Hill. This is a rocky hill on the northwest side of the Acropolis and has some incredible views of the city and the Pantheon. It’s quite big, so you can walk a good bit out of the main area and even escape some of the crowds if you want to.

It’s such a wholesome experience being there to watch the sun go down. So many people are sitting, waiting patiently, and chatting to each other; often, someone is playing music from a speaker, and the beers are flowing. When I was there, everyone started cheering as the sun slowly began to drop behind the sea.

I’ll warn you that while the climb up to the Areopagus Hill is super easy, there are some rocks that you have to grab onto. There have been plenty of situations where people have fallen and hurt themselves on the way up, so take your time and watch what you’re doing.

Before it gets dark, start making your way back because the way back to the city can be a nightmare to navigate without any light.

Walking Back To Athens

Walking Back To Athens

Most people tend to walk back from the Acropolis to Athens because it’s easier than returning to most bus stops or Acropoli Metro Station. I found the walk back to be really nice; I was surrounded by lush greenery and cute little houses. Plus, I could still catch a glimpse of Athens from above whilst I was walking down the hill. It ended in the gorgeous Plaka district, which was a huge bonus.

I’d recommend you spend some time exploring Plaka if you have time; it’s so charming, from the coloured buildings to adorable cafes on every corner.

If you’d like to follow this route, you can follow the road left after you come back down from Areopagus Hill. Just keep walking straight until you come to a set of steps on the left-hand side at the end of the road, and they’ll lead you into Plaka.

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