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The Acropolis

  • Athens, Central Greece, Greece

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 16 March, 2024

You can’t visit Athens without visiting the Acropolis. It is the city’s iconic citadel and world-famous landmark that won’t fail to amaze even the most jaded traveller.  

‘Acropolis’ translates broadly from the Greek words ‘highest point’ or ‘extremity’. The site contains half-a-dozen buildings, mostly built from 500 BC to 450 BC on the orders of the powerful statesman Pericles, during the so-called ‘Golden age of Athens’. Pericles wanted to beautify, glorify and protect the city. 

The Pathenon 

A marble jigsaw made of 70,000 pieces, this 2,500-year-old temple dating back to 438 BC was dedicated to the goddess Athena. It dazzles with perfect symmetry and awe-inspires with its ancient grandeur, even when it’s crawling with tourists. It’s the most important surviving building of Classical Greece and a symbol of the nation. 

The Erechtheion 

On the north side of the complex, this Temple of was also dedicated to the goddess Athena, and was built to house the statue of Athena Polias. More famously today, it’s home to the ‘Porch of the Maidens’, featuring six sculpted female figures. 

While you’re there 

Just below the Acropolis complex on the eastern side, the Theatre of Dionysus is an ancient amphitheater also built in the 6th century BC. With a capacity of 17,000, it was the largest theatre in Athens and operated continuously for 1,000 years, until it was abandoned. 

On the southwest slope of the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus dates back to 161 AD – thus it was added later than the original Acropolis. It was built by wealthy Roman citizen Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife. Today is it used to host performances, notably during the Athens Festival.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Odeon of Herod Atticus

  • Athens, Central Greece, Greece

The empty Odeon of Herodes Atticus Roman theatre on the Acropolis

Experience

This Roman-era Odeon was built by a wealthy private citizen Herod Atticus in memory of his wife in 161 AD and originally served as an indoor venue for 5,000 people. It was restored in the 1950s and is used for music and theatre performances throughout the summer.

Adult price 17

Good for age: 13+

Theatre of Dionysus

  • Athens, Central Greece, Greece

The Theatre of Dionysus visible from above

Experience

Just below the Acropolis complex, an ancient amphitheatre was the largest theatre in Athens with a capacity of 17,000. First built in the 6th century BC, it operated continuously for 1,000 years, until it was abandoned.

Adult price 10

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price from: £9
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The main entrance and ticket booth are situated above the junction of pedestrianised Dionysiou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou streets, a fairly stiff climb up the pine-clad foothills of the Acropolis.  

You can also access the Acropolis on foot via Plaka.  

To appreciate the temple’s extraordinary construction and colourful history, hire a guide to take you around – signage is minimal and the stories of these buildings are fascinating. Either way, allow around three hours to take it all in. There are local guides around the entrance, or book on an organised tour. 

To complete the experience, stop by the Acropolis Museum before or after (at the bottom of the hill, exit near the Theatre of Dionysus); this has the statues and artifacts from inside the Acropolis Buildings, plus explanations and short films.  

It’s a good idea to take a bottle of water, especially during the summer. Eating is not allowed on the site. 

When to do it

The site is open all year-round, seven days a week. Athens and the Acropolis are at their loveliest (sunny without being sweltering) in spring and autumn – if you can avoid the heat of July and August.  

Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the midday heat. The Acropolis is glorious at dusk, but the site closes early in the afternoon from October to April. The whole site is exposed to the elements, so avoid rainy and very windy days. 

Who to go with: organised tours

17

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Acropolis and Parthenon Guided Walking Tour

  • Athens

Acropolis and Parthenon Guided Walking Tour

Viator

This walking tour offers you the opportunity to explore the Acropolis Monuments with a licensed tour guide. Whether you arrive in Athens in the afternoon or morning and you want to visit the Acropolis when the weather is more cooler, and the crowds are starting to wane, this tour is for you. This unique and leisurely tour takes you to the glorious Parthenon, and you will get to enjoy the landmark monuments of the Greek capital in a new light.

Price €32

Min age 1

Rating 4.72 / 5 [1116 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Acropolis monuments & Parthenon Walking Tour with Optional Acropolis Museum

  • Athens

Acropolis monuments & Parthenon Walking Tour with Optional Acropolis Museum

Viator

Behold the beginnings of Western civilization with an experienced licensed tour guide on a 4-hour walking tour of this UNESCO Heritage site. Remarkable history unfolds as you stroll by the Parthenon and other monuments of the Acropolis; visit the New Acropolis Museum to gawk at ancient statues. Walk over the glass floor of the state-of-the-art Museum and watch under the remains of Ancient Athens. Head up with your tour guide to the glass Parthenon room and finish the tour with the superb and classic perfect collection while admiring the views of the Acropolis. This is a skip-the-line tour. We will make sure you will not have to wait in long lines. The walking tour is made with an experienced licensed tour guide. The meeting point is in our offices by the Acropolis (60 meters walk from Acropolis metro station). We provide free WiFi at the meeting point, WC, and an air-conditioned waiting lounge. You can also safely leave your luggage or bags and pick them up after the tour.

Price €35

Min age 0

Rating 4.88 / 5 [939 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Acropolis of Athens and Acropolis Museum Tour

  • Athens

Acropolis of Athens and Acropolis Museum Tour

Viator

Delve into the fascinating world of Ancient Greece on a 3-hour walking tour of the Acropolis of Athens and the New Acropolis Museum. With an expert guide, discover the UNESCO-listed archaeological site and visit world-famous monuments including the Parthenon, Propylaea gateway and the Temple of Athena Nike. Absorb jaw-dropping views of Athens from the acropolis’ summit, and learn about the evocative ruins. Then, enjoy a guided tour of the New Acropolis Museum, where glass floors reveal excavation sites. Entrance fees not included. please be aware that even with our skip-the-ticket-line service, there might be some waiting time required for security checks. This is because visitor numbers can fluctuate unpredictably at the sites throughout the day. The typical waiting time falls within 0 to 10 or 30 minutes, though on rare occasions, it might be longer. 

Price €56

Min age 0

Rating 4.66 / 5 [794 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Athens All Included: Acropolis and Museum In a Cultural Guided Walking Tour

  • Athens

Athens All Included: Acropolis and Museum In a Cultural Guided Walking Tour

Viator

Join a small group to enjoy a detailed walking tour of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Priority tickets to the Acropolis and the Museum are included to help you get in faster! Walk with your guide through Greek architecture, mythology, and history as they stroll between sites in and around the Acropolis rock.  Complete your visit to the Acropolis, and then head to the Acropolis Museum to enjoy its impressive array of artifacts and its stunning architecture. See the excavations as you walk on the Museum's unique layout.   Enjoy learning about treasures from ancient Greek civilization with a professional local guide.

Price €89

Min age 0

Rating 4.70 / 5 [792 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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The Acropolis, Athens Walking City Tour and Acropolis Museum

  • Athens

The Acropolis, Athens Walking City Tour and Acropolis Museum

Viator

The Ideal Combination Tour! See the city center including two top sights in just a few hours. At the Acropolis of Athens, you’ll explore the Parthenon which is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Then, you’ll dive deeper into its worldly significance at the Acropolis Museum where marble masterpieces tell a story on their own.  Please be aware that even with our skip-the-ticket-line service, there might be some waiting time required for security checks. This is because visitor numbers can fluctuate unpredictably at the sites throughout the day. The typical waiting time falls within 0 to 10 or 30 minutes, though on rare occasions, it might be longer. 

Price €67

Min age 0

Rating 4.77 / 5 [394 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Athens

  • Central Greece, Greece

Athens parthenon lit up at night

Destination guide

Antiquities galore, contemporary culture, scintillating nightlife and fantastic food: there’s something for everyone in Greece’s cosmopolitan capital that’s continuously reinventing itself.

Round-ups

3

Round-ups that include this experience

100 World’s greatest historic buildings

Inspiration

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