It was his first time in Greece and a visit to the Acropolis of Athens was simply de rigueur. We were only staying in the city for a couple of days but this was on the top of our to-do list.
Despite being Greek (or maybe because of it) I hadn’t visited since… I suppose elementary school. The notion of experiencing the historic site from an adult perspective -moreover a touristic one – was intriguing in many ways.
The Acropolis is one of the most famous monuments in the world and certainly one of the most astonishing ones. This is not a history lesson though – you can find out all about it by googling. I will only concentrate on the experience of visiting, share the photos & give a couple of tips on how to make it a smooth one.
To gain access to the famous site, we had to wait an excruciating 45 minutes under the scorching Greek sun. Taking things for granted as usual, I hadn’t budgeted for this; it only resulted in me having to do a quick run around to get water and a hat for him, who was about to faint after the first 10′. Thankfully both were in abundance at the nearby shops.
Upon arriving at the ticket box, and aptly parting with a 20€ a head (other ticket options include 30€ for an all-inclusive visit to related monuments around Athens and 10€ if you are a minor or a senior) we got access to the sacred land. The climb to the top is quite steep (trainers or, at the very least, flat shoes are a MUST) – an interesting one though, with plenty points to stop and marvel at; the general aura is imposing.
Being Athens-born, I have a certain involvement with the place, a connection that is more hard-wired than intentional. I know the history behind the marbles, what they represented initially, across the centuries and what they represent today, still standing, a glorious detail of the contemporary Athenian landscape. I decided to distance myself from all this though.
Inspired by my companion, I opted to approach it as the average tourist would – one who is not in any way personally involved with the Acropolis. Even in that scenario you quickly get sucked in by the aura of the place and once you arrive at the top you cannot help feeling awed by the monumental architecture, the views and the overall vibe. We were both duly humbled, took tons of photos and felt culturally superior and smug at the end of the visit.
VISITING THE ACROPOLIS – HOW TO
Weirdly, the Acropolis doesn’t have an official website. You can click here to find out details about visiting (as well as basic background info).
If you don’t want to try your luck at the queue you can buy tickets online from private operators. For an extra fee you can also book a guided tour. Since I haven’t done this I don’t want to recommend a specific provider but googling “acropolis tickets online” is sure to present you with choices.
Easiest way to approach the monument is by the Athens Metro. You get off at the Acropolis station and it is only a few meters walk. Click here for a full list of ways to access the sacred rock.
- Bring a bottle of water
- Women, don’t wear high heels (or platforms for that matter)
- But wear a hat
- Bring a CHARGED phone / camera – you’ ll regret it if you don’t
- And money/credit cards – ancient culture has its price
Once you are done with the main site, you can visit the astounding Acropolis Museum, located a sort walk away from the ancient site. We actually skipped that because of limited time (in combination with massive cues) but it is definitely worth the effort. Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to conclude the visit with a walk around the picturesque Plaka neighborhood, buy a couple of souvenirs (there are cute shops all over with all kinds of offerings) and sample the local cuisine. Plaka is flooded with taverns, restaurants and cafes of satisfactory+ standard.
If you find yourself in Athens, do not omit to pay a visit to this unique site. It will be something to write home about.
Not to mention it is a ‘selfie’ paradise & 100% instagramable.
Photos: ©Alexandra Kollaros, ©WC Pletz