Propylaea

This stunning monumental gateway leads onto the plateau of the Acropolis.

TravelCurious Tip

Take a moment to notice the deliberate alignment of the Propylaea with the Parthenon – possibly the first ever instance of two separate buildings being complementarily designed.

When the spectacular buildings that crown the Acropolis were originally built, it was decided that the rocky outcroup needed a gateway that would do justice to the splendour inside. And while the years have rather taken their toll on the finish of the Propylaea, the sheer immensity of it as you mount the plateau is truly awe-inspiring.


Athens’ Golden Era

Like all the other buildings on the Acropolis today, the Propylaea was built during the Golden Age of Athens, when the city was the cultural and intellectual centre of the Western world. The great Athenian statesman Pericles embarked upon an ambitious building project which would make his city the envy of all who laid eyes upon it. He charged the great architect Mnesicles with designing and building the gateway to his new citadel.


Pillars of Respect

Visiting the Propylaea today, you will first climb a broad staircase cut directly into the rock. This leads up to the dramatic entrance hall, whose portico is supported by three enormous columns on each side of you. Moving further inside, careful observers may notice a change in style – while the first columns you encounter on the outside are Doric, those which support the internal structure of the gateway are Ionic in style. It is thought that this was a diplomatic decision made during the politically thorny Peloponnesian War. Mainland Greeks tended to prefer the Doric style, while “Eastern” Greeks from the islands and the coast of modern Turkey favoured Ionic columns. In order to show respect to both groups, Pericles commanded that the gateway be designed in this intriguing blend of styles.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
Acropolis
An ancient citadel high above the city, this group of stunning ruins are among the most important cultural icons of Western civilisation.
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.
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.
Areopagus Hill
Also known as the Rock of Ares, this outcrop is famed as the location of Paul's sermon to the Athenians.
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.

Related Tours

The Greek Essentials: Private Full-Day Tour of Athens Highlights

If you only have a short amount of time in Athens and want to see as much as possible in one day, this full-day private tour is the perfect option for you! You will visit the Greek Essentials, including Parthenon, Acropolis hill, New Acropolis Museum, the Plaka neighbourhood, the Ancient Greek Agora & the Olympic Stadium.

On your all-inclusive, private full-day tour of Athens you will:

  • 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;
  • Explore Ancient Greece's economic and political centre at the Greek Agora;
  • 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;
  • See the Parthenon Marbles up close in the New Acropolis Museum 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.


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.

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. 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.


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. 
The Acropolis of Athens & New Acropolis Museum: Private Tour

Immerse yourself in the Acropolis of Athens, a UNESCO world heritage site and the city's most important cultural site on this private half-day walking tour. 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 some of the earliest theatres known to man and enjoy panoramic views over the city.

On your private walking tour, you will:

  • Climb to the summit of the Acropolis and learn why it was a symbol of democracy, freedom and Greek culture;
  • Learn about all the ways Acropolis Hill has been used over the centuries;
  • Walk through the Acropolis propylaea gate, the grand entrance to the Parthenon built around the natural entrance to the plateau of the Acropolis;
  • Admire the Parthenon, one of the most famous buildings of ancient Greece and was constructed in the fifth century BC;
  • Have a comprehensive tour of Greece's most iconic archaeological site, including the Odeon of Herodes; Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysos, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C
  • See firsthand the famed Erechtheion temple, the most complex building on the Acropolis;
  • Admire views over the Modern Athens skyline and the Ancient Greek Agora, an open space for public gatherings;
  • Enjoy a guided tour in the New Acropolis Museum, famed for its architectural design, exhibition experience and incredible collection which houses exceptional artifacts from this historic site;
  • See the Parthenon Marbles up close on the Museum's top floor, as you admire breathtaking views over the monument;
  • End the tour in the Museum to continue exploring at your own pace. 


Come explore the Acropolis of Athens, the ancient Greek citadel that dominates the skyline of Athens.

Built on a rocky outcrop above the city, it contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.

This private tour offers you access to one of the most important historical sites in Europe with a private tour guide, where you will visit all major monuments and learn about their rich history where democracy was born.

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 to the spectacular New Acropolis Museum where 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. 

The Acropolis of Athens & Parthenon: Private 2-hour Walking Tour

Experience the magic and mystery of the Acropolis and Parthenon of Athens, the stunning hilltop citadel of Ancient Greece on this 2-hour private walking tour. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the plateau of the Acropolis, and admire the spectacular Parthenon temple. Learn all about the Ancient Greek civilization of the 5th Century BC as you explore the many buildings, theatres, and temples that makeup one of the most famous, fascinating, and enduring wonders of the world. 

 

On your private 2-hour tour, you will:

  • Learn about the Acropolis of Athens, a vast complex of magnificent ancient temples, theatres, and civic buildings from the height of Ancient Greek civilization in the 5th Century BCE;  
  • Walk through the famous Propylaea gate, the monumental grand ceremonial entrance with its vast doric columns; 
  • Learn about the Golden Age of Greece and the cultural significance of the Acropolis, as you walk through the majestic ruins of this ancient civilization with its iconic classical architecture
  • Walk through the serene Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus and the remains of the Temple of Rome & Augustus;
  • Gaze up at and explore the magnificent Parthenon, the resplendent marble temple dedicated to the goddess Athena situated atop the Acropolis; 
  • Discover other major monuments of the Acropolis including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed; 
  • See firsthand the famed Erechtheion temple, the most complex building on the Acropolis; 
  • Admire the truly breathtaking panoramic views from high up on the Acropolis, overlooking modern Athens and the Ancient Greek Agora – an open space for communal gatherings; 
  • End your privately guided tour in the Acropolis, where you can continue to explore the site at your own leisure. 


Discover the majestic ruins of the Acropolis and Parthenon of Athens on a fascinating two-hour private tour through this ancient citadel, the birthplace of European civilization and democracy!

The word Acropolis literally means “highest point of a city”. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Acropolis is perched up on a craggy hill, its buildings occupy a flat plateau about 156 metres high, with stunning views overlooking the modern city of Athens.

 

On your private tour, your expert guide will transport you back to the golden age of Greek civilization, as you wander through the magnificent monuments of this ancient citadel. You'll learn all about daily life in Ancient Athens, a city dedicated to and named for the goddess Athena. Daughter of Zeus she was the powerful goddess of war and wisdom. You'll see her image and symbolism everywhere!  


Waking among the ruins of this ancient civilization, you'll learn of a world of gods and goddesses, myths and legends of heroes like Odysseus; a culture of poets and politicians, dramatists, mathematicians, and philosophers, whose names and works have echoed down through the ages as the ‘School of Athens’; names such as Homer, Plato, Pythagoras, Ovid, Aeschylus, Euripedes and Sophocles – to name but a few! 

 

On your private tour, you will see some of the oldest theatres in the world – and take your seats as spectators would have done over 2500 years ago. You will see astonishing feats of classical engineering, learn about the classical styles of Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and more… and of course, have time to marvel at the Parthenon.

The most famous temple on the Acropolis was built in the 5th century BC and remains famous for its jaw-dropping optical illusions and its architectural magnificence, including the beautiful and imposing female forms of the Caryatids holding up the monument.

Your guide will take you to the best viewing points on the Acropolis for the panoramic vistas over the Athenian basin, and finally leave you to enjoy exploring this evocative citadel at your own leisure. 

The Acropolis, Plaka & Ancient Greek Agora: Private Walking Tour

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 to your interests.

On your private half-day tour of Ancient Athens, you will:

  • See the Acropolis and Parthenon with tickets included in the tour price;
  • Have a comprehensive Private tour of Greece's most iconic archaeological 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;
  • Walkthrough the charming Plaka district, with its white staircases, cafe and terraces and see the Lysicrates Monument;
  • Enjoy entrance tickets 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.


On your private half-day tour, you will start by exploring the three temples from 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-preserved 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.

Your tour includes the "combo ticket", which will give you access to the Roman Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Library, Archeological site and Museum of Kerameikos, Lykeion Gymnasium during the 4 days following your tour.
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