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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Your In-depth Guide To The Acropolis

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Chloe M.

Last updated : May 29, 20248 min read

Travel Tips

Ancient Greece, famed for being the epicenter of democracy and civilization, is home to some of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. You’ve read about them in Homer’s works and seen them in Disney’s Hercules, but seeing everything face to face is an experience on a whole other level. 

 

The smartest course of action to make your way through the city and its sites is by booking a private tour with a local guide. With an expert escorting you on your Grecian voyage, you are positive to fully enjoy your holiday. Before entering into the classical city that is Athens, it is advantageous to know more about the most prominent scenes in the area. This is why we’ve done the groundwork and created an in-depth guide to the one and only Acropolis. 

 

History 

 

This hilltop sanctuary has survived countless bombardments and natural disasters in its time; an impressive feat considering its construction way back in the 5th century BC. Throughout its history, the Acropolis served as a citadel, a gateway to the gods, and a residence of kings, among other purposes. Linguistically, the ancient citadel’s name stems from the Greek words akron meaning “highest point” and polis meaning “city”. It is hypothesized that this ancient city was used by the ancient Mycenaeans as their central base, with their rulers building houses towards the top of the Acropolis. 

 

As the years passed, more and more buildings were commissioned, mostly for venerating Athena, the goddess of wisdom, warfare, and workmanship. Among these would be the Bluebeard Temple, made of limestone and showcasing a sculpture of a man-serpent with three, you guessed it, blue beards. Another iconic structure known as the Parthenon was also constructed to house the sculpture of the goddess. Today, the Parthenon still stands as a prime specimen of the Doric-style temples fashionable long ago. 

 

As the Mycenaean Civilization declined, other empires conquered and claimed Athens as their own, one such being Darius I of the Persian Empire. Mercifully, Athens’ culture and history was preserved thanks to the renowned Greek authors such as Homer and Hesiod. In the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, the Athenians took back their land, although this was followed by various other attempts at invasion. Eventually, the great statesman Pericles was able to restore the city, sparing no expense in the renovation of the Parthenon. 

 

The city continued to be sacked and conquered by Christians, Ottomans, and Turks until the 1830s, when renovation was finally pursued and a halt to invasions was secured. Today, we can see the Acropolis with its beautiful ruins and four structures still standing as symbols of freedom and resilience, the same principles celebrated by the Athenians of old. 

 

Must-see attractions

Propylaia: The Monumental Gateway to the Acropolis

The Propylaia is the natural entrance to the hilltop citadel, designed by architect Mnesikles about the same time the Parthenon was being constructed, only to be halted by the commencement of the Peloponnesian War. As you ascend the inclined ramp, you will instantly feel enveloped by the colossal columns surrounding the gateway, a proper grand entrance for the Acropolis. 

Parthenon: A Doric and Ionic Masterpiece

Dedicated to the veneration of the goddess Athena, the Parthenon is one of the four remaining structures intact in the ancient citadel. This structure is one of the first edifices you will see as you enter the Propylaia. Rivaling its amazing architecture are the various sculptures decorating the colonnades and metopes. This marble marvel still impresses in its dotage as it did in its prime. If you’re interested to learn more about Greek civilization, take a look at our guided tours to learn more about the beautiful history of the Acropolis and Athens. 

Odeon of Herodes Atticus: Athen’s Magisterial Stage

The tales of old have described the open-air theaters of Greece as places of unity, culture, and amusement. That is exactly what the Odeon of Herodus Atticus was built for: musical performances and public events. Known as Herodeon to the Athenians, this three-story Roman theater held about 5,000 people at a time, only to be continuously annexed and ravaged by different empires. In the 1950s, the theater was restored, allowing visitors of modern times to have the honor of enjoying a concert or opera in the same halls as the ancient elites. 

Temple of Athena Nike: The Small and Mighty Sanctuary

To the right of the Propylaia, your eyes will fall on the Temple of Athena Nike, a 23-foot tall (7m), 18 foot wide (5.6m) temple supported by eight ionic colonnades. On the precipice of the hill, the temple’s three sides are interrupted by a steep bastion, now equipped with a guard rail for protection. Although smaller than many other temples in the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike is an Ionic interlude to the Doric qualities of the Propylaia and other sites. 

 

If you want to see more of the famous attractions around Athens, you can check out what our experts have to say for some amazing activities and professional insights. 

 

Important information

 

Depending on the time of year, ticket prices to the Acropolis may vary. A standard ticket can go from €20 in the peak season and down to €10 in the winter. Either way, it is better to reserve your tickets in advance from any listed site to avoid the lines. 

 

Some of the monuments and buildings may have special tickets for entrance access. There are also early access tickets and multi-site tickets available. In order to work out what fits your itinerary best, you may want to speak with our local tour guides, as they would know the prime times for visiting, and the least crowded and most accessible entrances (there is more than one!). 

When 

For summer, from April to October, the Acropolis is open from 8am to 8pm every day (except for public holidays). The hours are shorter during winter, with the historical attraction opening at 8:30am and closing at 5pm. 

How to get there

You can use the buses traveling along Routes A2, A3, A4, 24, 40, 126, and 134, but the most convenient way would probably be by metro. This is because Acropoli Station is a mere few steps away from the attraction. If you plan to go by car, there are both free and paid parking lots by the base of the hill. Try to get there early, as these may fill up quickly. 

Tips

Summer is actually the busiest season for Athens, and so visiting during the off season from November to March might give you more intimate and exclusive access to the ruins. When planning your visit, it’s best to trek your way to the very top first, and then explore the hilltop city from there. This way, you are going against the flow of the incoming tsunami of tourists. Lastly, if you plan to take a look at the Acropolis Museum, know that your tickets may not offer admission to the museum, and you may have to buy them separately. 

Conclusion

With centuries of history having been made in the Acropolis, you are sure to rejoice in the glory of Grecian architecture, history, and more. There is so much to learn as you walk through and immerse yourself in these ancient ruins.

 

This is why we recommend you visit this soaring citadel with a professional guide who can tell you more about the city’s rich history and advise you throughout your trip, making everything stress-free and all the more fun. Have an unforgettable trip with GoWithGuide as you wander through the very same land on which former kings and soldiers sauntered.

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