The crowning glory of Athens is one of the surviving masterpieces of Greece’s Golden Age.
The Acropolis dominates the modern skyline of Athens, reminding visitors of the city’s ancient past at every turn. Its architectural masterpieces date from the 5th century BC, crowned by the elegant columns of the Temple of Athena Nike and the world-famous Parthenon.
No visit to Athens is complete without climbing to the top of the “sacred rock”, especially since the opening in 2009 of the new Acropolis Museum, which has brought a new focus to the site. The award-winning museum houses around 4,000 priceless artefacts found on its slopes and dating from the Bronze Age to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The building itself straddles an important archaeological site, which can be viewed through transparent floor-to-ceiling windows.
The climb to the top of the Acropolis is fairly steep and sensible shoes are recommended, as well as sun protection and a bottle of water. However the view from the summit is well worth the effort. Absorb the atmosphere of an ancient civilisation as you wander among the soaring columns of its sacred temples and theatres and admire the statues of gods and goddesses, kings and mythical beasts.
The original entrance, the Propylaea, was closely guarded to prevent unwelcome visitors from gaining access to the inner sanctuary, and the monumental proportions of this ancient gateway are still daunting even today. From here you are free to explore at will, but be sure to leave time for the most important buildings – the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon, which have been the focus of an ambitious restoration project using the latest technology and employing original techniques and materials to reverse the effects of time and poorly executed past restorations.
Refreshments are available on site, or bring your own and enjoy the views from one of the park benches surrounding the main site. The admission fee covers all the buildings and guided tours are available for an extra charge. Avoid the crowds and the hottest part of the day by arriving early.