Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis Hill (or “Sacred Rock”) is the most important site in Greece’s Capital, Athens and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Acropolis to experience Greek history, mythology and culture while enjoying the best views in town.
Getting to the Acropolis
Getting to the Acropolis is very easy and pleasant mainly because you can use one of the large avenues which border the south and the west of the archeological site which have been turned into pedestrian streets with restaurant and cafes.
The easiest way to go to the Acropolis is to follow Dioysiou Aeropagitou, the large pedestrian street, until you get to the marble steps that lead up the hill.
The Archeological Site
Once at the entrance, or the Propylaea, to your left you can see the Pinacotheca and a Hellenistic pedestal and to your right the small temple of the Athena of Victory. The temple stands on a platform and overlooks the islands of the Saronic Golf. The temple used to house the statue of Athena but in 1686 the Turks dismantled the temple to use the platform for a large canon.
The Parthenon and the other main buildings were built by Prickles in the fifth century BC to celebrate the political and cultural achievements of Athens. The Parthenon or Temple of Athena Parthenos stands at the center of the site.
The Erecthion is located in the most sacred site of the Acropolis. On this site, Poseidon and Athena had a content to determine who would be the Patron of the city. Poseidon made a spring burst from a rock while Athena grew an olive tree from the ground. She was declared the Patron of the city, while Poseidon was given a small village in Syros. The building is now rebuilt as four of the original Caryatids were placed in the Acropolis museum.
Below the Acropolis there is the theatre of Herod Atticus. South of the platform you can also find the remains of an ancient outdoor theatre called the Theatre of Dionysus. Also below the main site you can find the rock of Areopagos.
On a clear day, if you are looking from the Propylaea towards Pireaus, you can see the ships outside the port, as well as the islands and the mountains of the Peloponessos.
Right from the top of the hill, at the flag, the view of Athens is magic. You can see the Plaka beneath the hill, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Olympic Stadium, the First Cemetery, the National Gardens and the Zappion building. On a clear day you can see as far as Kifissia.
The rock of Areopagos is the best place to enjoy the sunset in Athens or watch the lights of the city.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Acropolis Hill is in late winter or early spring. Even in December, January or February, the site is surprisingly green. During the summer, go early or late in the day.
The Acropolis is opened daily from 8 AM to 6:30 PM. The hours may change according to the season however. You are not allowed to bring backpacks or hand bags into the Acropolis. The entrance fee is about 12 Euros but allows you to visit other sites in the area as well and is valid for four days.
During winter (November 1 to March 31), admittance to the sites is free every Sunday.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hostels and budget hotels near the Acropolis to choose from. It depends mostly on your budget and the facilities you need.
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Photo credits: Cristina Puscas (Whygo Greece)