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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.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Built on the Acropolis' southwest slope in memory of the beloved wife of magnate Atticus, this 2nd century theatre is still used today as a venue for live performances.
Anafiotika
Populated with small, cubic houses in Cycladic style, this beautiful tiny neighbourhood is part of the historical Plaka area.

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 private full day tour, you will: 

  • Discover Athen's cultural sites, including the remains of the Temple of Zeus and the iconic Acropolis
  • Learn about myths and legends of Ancient Greece 
  • Wander through the New Acropolis Museum, discovering the beautiful art and architecture 
  • Walk along the Agora, the heart of classical Athens, and learn about the origins of democracy 
  • Enjoy a classical Greek lunch, at a place recommended by your guide (price not included in tour)
  • Explore the oldest district in the city, Plaka 
  • Immerse yourself in local life at the Monastiraki flea market
  • Visit the marbled Panathenaic Stadium, constructed for the first modern Olympic Games 
Classical Ruins

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 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.

Archaeological Wonders

After wandering the Parthenon you will visit in the spectacular New Acropolis Museum. Here you will learn firsthand the artistic wonders that once adorned the monuments of the Acropolis. 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.

Thriving Capital 

Following a lunch of local cuisine, you will 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. Immerse yourself in local life at the Monastiraki flea market, before venturing to the grand Syntagma square, home to the Greek Parliament. Watch the presidential guards, in their famous skirted costumes, and be led by your guide through the natural beauty of the National Gardens. 

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 continual legacy of ancient Athens in the modern day. 
Private Ancient Athens in Half a Day
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. On your private half day tour of Ancient Athens, you will: 

  • Enjoy a private, immersive cultural experience that brings archaeology to life.
  • Understand the human endeavour required to complete the The Acropolis 2,500 years ago.
  • Be intellectually stimulated - your tour is full of fascinating narrative.
  • Climb up to the Acropolis complex to marvel at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Wander through the Acropolis Museum, discovering the beautiful art and architecture. 
  • Discover Athen's theatrical sites, including the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
  • At the Agora, gain insight into the celebrated birthplace of democracy.

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.

On this fascinating Private Tour of the Acropolis,  learn the sophisticated construction methods to build the citadel in the 5th century BCE. Study the most complete surviving ancient Greek monumental complex - having weathered earthquakes and battles with Amazons, Persians, Crusaders and Stormtroopers  - and explore the many reasons why the Acropolis induces involuntary gasps of breath from the millions who arrive in Athens to admire it. Beautiful and colossal in scale, this mesmerizing hill-top spectacle is the most-photographed landmark in Greece. On your private, guided  Acropolis tour, consider the importance of the structure as a universal symbol of the classical spirit and civilization. You will also discover some of the earliest theatres known to man at the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, as you climb the steep slope to marvel at the splendour of the Acropolis and enjoy truly striking panoramic views over Athens.
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