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Acropolis

An ancient citadel high above the city, this group of stunning ruins are among the most important cultural icons of Western civilisation.

TravelCurious Tip

If you’re in Athens on the first Sunday of the month from November to March, admission is free.

The Acropolis is the gleaming centrepiece of any visit to Athens. Sitting high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the entire city, it was once the most important citadel of the mighty Greek empire, and remains one of the most important historical sites anywhere in the world. Although the word literally translates as “highest point”, and there are many other acropoleis scattered throughout Greece, the historical and cultural significance of the buildings on summit of Athens is so enormous that it is generally referred to simply as “the Acropolis”.


An Ancient Megaron

It is speculated that the Acropolis may have been inhabited as far back as the 6th millennium BC, and certainly it is known that the Mycenaeans built an enormous palace called a megaron here over 3000 years ago. Very little survives of this, however, and most of the buildings on the summit today were the result of the spectacular vision of the Athenian Pericles.


The Light of the Western World

During the Golden Age of Athens, when the city-state had defeated Persia, established democracy and now stood as the leading intellectual light of the Western world, Pericles commissioned an exceptional group of master craftsman and artists to produce a citadel like none that had ever existed before. And so were built the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the Temple of Athena Nike, extraordinary feats of engineering carved by hand from the finest marble and encrusted with innumerable precious stones. Whether you are wandering among these ancient monoliths or simply admiring from afar the golden hue they reflect at sunset, the Acropolis is an Athenian experience not to be missed.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
Parthenon
Crowning the Acropolis hill, the sublime marble columns of the Parthenon form the most recognisable monument in Athens.
Erechtheion
This temple across from the Parthenon is famous for its Caryatids, the six larger-than-life female columns which support its roof.
Propylaea
This stunning monumental gateway leads onto the plateau of the Acropolis.
Temple of Athena Nike
Next to the Propylaea lies the Acropolis' earliest Ionic temple, built for the goddess of victory and restored after its destruction in 1686.
Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus
On the East of the Erechtheion around 500 BC, the Athenians built the open-air sanctuary of Zeus Polieus, the city protector.
Pandroseion temple
Temple dedicated to Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Cecrops I, the first king of Attica.

Related Tours

The Greek Essentials - Full Day Highlights of Athens
If you only have a short amount of time in Athens and want to see as much as possible in one day, then this highlight tour is the one for you. On your all-inclusive, private full-day tour of Athens you will:

  • Enjoy personalised attention from your licensed guide on this private tour. 
  • Start the tour with ease and skip the line tickets to the Acropolis. 
  • Admire the Parthenon’s remarkable design, learn about the uses of Acropolis Hill over the centuries, and cross through Acropolis propylaea gate, as the ancients would have done in procession centuries ago.
  • Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Greece's most iconic archaeological site, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Walk through the charming Plaka district, with its famed white staircases, cafes and terraces and see the Lysicrates Monument. 
  • Admire the Tower of the Winds and Roman Agora and marvel at Hadrian's Library.
  • Skip the line into the Greek Agora to explore Ancient Greece's economic and political centre.
  • Admire the Temple of Hephaestus, known to be the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, and is even older than the Parthenon. 
  • See the Stoa of Attalos, the beautifully reconstructed Ancient Greek Portico, once an ancient shopping mall.
  • Enjoy free time for lunch (not included in price) at a place recommended by your guide, which will be off the main tourist drag. 
  • Skip the line and tour the air-conditioned New Acropolis Museum during the heat of the day!
  • See the Parthenon Marbles up close on the Museum's top floor, as you admire breathtaking views over the monument itself.
  • End the tour at the famed Olympic Stadium (Panathenaic Stadium), the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble and home to the first modern games in 1896. 
  • This tour includes the "combo ticket" that will give you skip the line access to the Roman Agora, Kerameikos site & Museum, Lykeion Gymnasium, Hadrian's Library and the Temple of Olympian Zeus during in the 4 days following your tour. 

With your expert guide, you will discover the city’s most important cultural sites, including the colossal remains of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis, a UNESCO world heritage site. On the plateau of the Acropolis, you will find the awe-inspiring heights of the Parthenon pillars, gaze on the beautiful female forms of the Caryatid columns, discover some of the earliest theatres known to man and enjoy panoramic views over the city. Y

our guide will explain the central role these monuments, and more, played in classical society and immerse you in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. You will also wander through the Agora, the heart of classical Athens. Once a bustling marketplace, in these now peaceful ruins you’ll walk in Socrates’ footsteps amongst classic temples and Byzantine churches, learning how Athens became the birthplace of democracy.

On your way to lunch at a place recommended by your local guide, explore bustling Plaka, the oldest district in the city. Sometimes called “the neighbourhood of the gods”, Plaka is known for its winding alleyways and scenic shopping. 

After finishing lunch, escape the heat of the day with a visit to the spectacular (and air-conditioned) New Acropolis Museum. Here you will learn firsthand the artistic wonders that once adorned the monuments of the Acropolis. Finally, you will also visit the stunningly marbled Panathenaic Stadium. Constructed for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, this immense structure is a strong reminder of the continuing legacy of ancient Athens in the modern day. 
Private Half Day Walking Tour: Acropolis, Parthenon and New Acropolis Museum
Uncover the secrets, traditions, and myths of Ancient Greece with a private guide, as you explore the best of its famous ruins. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the Acropolis, with tickets included in the tour price. 
  • See the Acropolis and Parthenon without the crowds, if you opt for the earliest tour start time.
  • Have  a comprehensive tour of Greece's most iconic archeological site, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the the Theatre of Dionysos, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Learn about all the ways Acropolis Hill has been used over the centuries.
  • See firsthand the famed Erechtheion temple – the most complex building on the Acropolis.
  • Admire views over Modern Athens and the Ancient Greek Agora.
  • Walk through the Acropolis propylaea gate as the ancients would have done in procession centuries ago.
  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the New Acropolis Museum, famed for its architectural design, exhibition experience and incredible collection 
  • See the Parthenon Marbles up close on the Museum's top floor, as you admire breathtaking views over the monument itself. 
  • End the tour in the Museum where you can enjoy a break in on cafe terrace and continue exploring at your own pace. 

Step into the city’s most important cultural sites, which are a UNESCO world heritage site. On the plateau of the Acropolis you’ll find the awe-inspiring heights of the Parthenon pillars, gaze on the beautiful female forms of the Caryatid columns, discover on some of the earliest theatres known to man and enjoy panoramic views over the city. Your guide will explain the central role these monuments, and more, played in classical society, and immerse you in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece.

Your tour will also take you in the spectacular New Acropolis Museum, with skip-the-line entrance. Here you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with the artistic wonders that once adorned the monuments of the Acropolis.  When your tour ends, you can stay in the museum to explore at your own leisure. 
Private Athens tour: Parthenon and Acropolis Spotlight
Start your day before the crowds, and enjoy an immersive, fully guided two hour tour of the Acropolis and Parthenon. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the Acropolis, with tickets included in the tour price. 
  • See the Acropolis and Parthenon without the crowds, if you opt for the earlier tour start time.
  • Have a comprehensive tour of Greece's most iconic archeological site, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Learn about all the ways Acropolis Hill has been used over the centuries.
  • Admire views over Modern Athens and the Ancient Greek Agora.
  • Walk through the Acropolis propylaea gate as the ancients would have done in procession centuries ago.
  • End your privately guided tour in the Acropolis, where you can continue to explore the site at your own pace. 

Step into the city’s most important cultural sites, which are a UNESCO world heritage site. On the plateau of the Acropolis you’ll find the awe-inspiring heights of the Parthenon pillars, gaze on the beautiful female forms of the Cartyid columns, discover on some of the earliest theatres known to man and enjoy panoramic views over the city. 
Your guide will explain the central role these monuments, and more, played in classical society, and immerse you in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. Your tour ends in the acropolis, where you can continue to explore the historical site at your own leisure. 
Private Half Day Walking Tour: Acropolis, Plaka and Ancient Greek Agora
Your half day guided tour of Athens is the best way to check everything off your to-do list, while enjoying the undivided attention of a private guide, who will be sure to tailor the experience for your interests. On your private half day tour of Ancient Athens, you will:

  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the Acropolis, with tickets included in the tour price. 
  • See the Acropolis and Parthenon without the crowds, if you opt for the earliest tour start time.
  • Have a comprehensive Private tour of Greece's most iconic archeological site, including the Parthenon and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Learn about all the ways Acropolis Hill has been used over the centuries.
  • See firsthand the famed Erechtheion temple – the most complex building on the Acropolis.
  • Walk through the charming Plaka district, with its white staircases, cafe's and terraces and see the Lysicrates Monument
  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance into the Greek Agora to explore Ancient Greece's economic and political centre.
  • Admire the Temple of Hephaestus, known to be the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, and is even older than the Parthenon.
  • Finish your tour in the Greek Agora, where you will be free to continue exploring at your own pace. 
  • Your tour includes the "combination ticket", which will give you skip-the-line access to the Roman Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Library, Archeological site and Museum of Kerameikos, Lykeion Gymnasium during in the 4 days following your tour. 

On your private half day tour, you will start by exploring the three temples form the Acropolis complex, the Parthenon, the Erechtheum and the temple dedicated to Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). Today the Acropolis (meaning “hill city'') is Athens’ crowning glory: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most important cultural monuments as the celebrated birthplace of democracy. Incredible human endeavour built The Acropolis 2,500 years ago as thousands of tons of marble, quarried at Mount Pentelicus 10 miles northeast of the city, were lugged up steep steps to the Attica plateau by vast legions of manual labour. Hand hewn using mallets, foundations were built using great blocks of limestone dating back to the Late Cretaceous period. 

Next, wander through the city’s historic centre, Plaka, where your guide will give you recommendations for finding the best real local fare and artisanal shops for you to return to during your trip. After exploring Plaka, you will visit the Greek Agora, where you can see the Temple of Hephaestus, believed to be the best-preserve ancient Greek temple in the world –older even than the Parthenon. Your tour will end in the agora, where you can continue to explore at your own leisure. 

The Acropolis of Athens Live Virtual Tour
Discover the ancient archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens on a live virtual tour from the birthplace of democracy and philosophy, and the home of Plato, Sophocles and Thucydides.

You will virtually walk uphill on the Acropolis Sacred Rock and stop above the Herodion, a roman age amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD which has amazing acoustics and it's one of the most celebrated theatres in Greece. 

The next stop will be in front of the Propylaia (the Monumental Gateway) to admire the impressive 2500 years old Doric columns. 

Looking towards the left side you will find the Temple of Athena Nike, a shrine dedicated to Victorious Athena. Athena and Nike were both worshipped there. 

Across the Acropolis, you will see:
  • the Hill of Pnyx, the place where the citizen's popular assembly met to vote when the first democracy was established; 
  • the Hill of the Nymphs with the National Observatory on its top; 
  • the Hill of Ares (Hill of Mars) where Apostle Paul preached Christianity many centuries later,
  • the Agora of Athens, the market, and the heart of democracy and philosophy as Socrates and Plato taught their ideas.
Walking through the Monumental Gateway you will discover the Erechteion, famous for its Caryatids porch with the 6 lady statues, and after looking at the elegant sculptures you will find the sacred olive tree of Goddess Athena. This tree was a gift to the people of Athens, and you will hear the story behind its appearance.

Your final stop will be the Parthenon, the symbol of democratic Athens, and although all the lines of the temple appear to be straight, the structure is in fact curved.  Join this virtual tour and your tour guide will tell you why!


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