A visit to Athens wouldn’t be complete if you were to miss out the iconic Acropolis. Every year, thousands of tourists travel to see its fascinating monuments like the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Theatre of Dionysus. This historical site has also provided historians with an endless amount of insight into the lives of the ancient Greeks.
Below are some dos and don’ts to take on board before you choose to visit this archaeological icon.
Do Wear Comfortable Shoes
The Acropolis, situated 490 feet up on a rocky outcrop, is only a short trek away from the nearby city, but you’ll be going up a slight incline, so wearing comfortable shoes is a must. They’ll let you get up and down pleasantly and allow you able to walk around the without pesky blisters ruining your day.
On the way, you walk up wide avenues in the south and west of the site. These walkways have been turned into giant pedestrianised streets to allow large amounts of tourists to reach the top easily. If you’re walking from the neighbourhoods of Plaka or Monastiraki, you’ll notice the roads are car-less, so you can enjoy a peaceful walk up and down.
Don’t Go In The Middle Of The Day
Many people choose to travel to Athens during the spring and summer to have warm weather throughout their trip. However, when hiking up to the Acropolis in the heat, you may regret your choice. We recommend visiting in the autumn months or early spring when the general temperature is cooler.
Another reason to avoid going up in the middle of the day is because the majority of tourists will do the same. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, visit before or after midday, regardless of the time of year, to avoid large crowds. Come in the late afternoon to get a magnificent view of the sunset in the background of your photos.
Do Take A Guided Tour
To get the most out of your day, we recommend getting a guide to explain the site’s rich heritage and maybe share some fun facts you didn’t know already. During a guided tour, you’ll be taken around all of the popular monuments, including the Parthenon – the main focal point of the site – and Erechtheion, the religious temple.
Many of the artefacts here, excluding the Propylaea, don’t have any signs or plaques to tell you their history, so having a guide will mean you learn as you go along. The Acropolis Museum just below the rock will tell you everything you need to know, but you may prefer to learn the history of each ruin whilst admiring it.
Don’t Try To See Everything
You may not be unaware that the Acropolis is spread out over 7 acres and is home to many monuments, statues, museums and columns. Although you may hope to see all of it, it’s unrealistic to say that you’ll see everything on a single day trip. We recommend noting down the top five buildings you want to see before visiting. This helps to avoid disappointment if you only get the chance to see what’s on the list.
If you’re only able to see a few sights during your short trip, we recommend looking at the Temple of Athena Nike, a white marble structure that sits in the centre of the complex; Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a giant Roman theatre made out of stone; and Propylaea, a gateway that showcases the epitome of Ancient Greek architecture.
Do Take In The Views
One of the main things people forget to do is look at the panoramic views of Athens. Understandably, you’re on an ancient Greek site and will want to see its various landmarks, but remember it’s located in the centre of the city, allowing you to see for miles. After you’ve seen and taken photos of each of the attractions, turn around and look out to the city.
To the right of the exit of the Acropolis, you’ll see Areopagus Hill. Although it has no ruins or temples, it has a rich history and makes for beautiful photographs. In the southwest is Philopappos Hill, a green area that’s home to a statue dedicated to Philopappus, a previous prince.