Visiting the Acropolis: Acropolis Entrance Fees, Hours, Best Tickets +Tours

Visiting the Acropolis: Acropolis Entrance Fees, Hours, Best Tickets +Tours

Visiting the Acropolis and its highlights such as the remains of the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion, and the Odeon of Herodotus Atticus is a must for any Greek itinerary.

However, there are a few things to consider including changes made by the Greek government in 2023. This guide includes everything you need to know, from Acropolis entry fees to hours and what to expect. Check out the 3 tickets and 3 tours that are each booked hundreds of times each day to have the least crowded and fun visit to these incredible ancient monuments.

Visiting the Acropolis: Highlights

The word “Acropolis” means “highest point” and this once mighty citadel looks down and across a bustling city of 665,000 Athenians.

For anyone with even a passing interest in Greece or history or democracy, the historical site of the Acropolis is iconic.

Visiting the Acropolis, the most important archaeological site in Greece has been a dream of travelers for centuries, and many famous writers have been inspired by this incredible open-air museum.

It’s hard to imagine almost anywhere else where you can see, in one day, this amount of history, myth, and legend.

From the epic duel between Poseidon and Athena to King Aegeus, who is believed to have flung himself off the Acropolis thinking the Minotaur had eaten his son, get ready for a mythological extravaganza!

If you’d like to see the Acropolis without a guide, here’s a comprehensive self-guided walking tour of the Acropolis.

What you need to know before you visit – Changes from 2023

The Acropolis is Athens’ most famous and popular attraction, and it sees millions of visitors every year – so things are pretty well run.

However, to make the most of your visit to the Acropolis, a little bit of pre-planning goes a long way!

  • In 2023 the Greek government began shutting the Acropolis from midday until after 5 pm because of the prolonged heatwave conditions in Athens.
  • To minimize the number of people in distress from queueing during heatwaves, the government has now capped the number of visitors to the Acropolis at 20,000 visitors per day.
  • It’s more important than ever to pre-book a ticket and be at the Acropolis when it opens if you are going to visit the Acropolis in June, July, or August.
  • However, the Greek government has also introduced ticket timings and is threatening to close the Acropolis to ‘regular’ ticket holders before 9 pm and after 5 pm to accommodate small private tours that will cost several thousand Euros. This is still under consideration.
  • Even if you’re there first thing, however, there will be school and coach tours there for the opening, but at least you’ll beat the worst of the heat.
The mighty Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece
The mighty Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece

How to get Acropolis Tickets

The easiest way to get Acropolis tickets is to buy them online. This will save you a lot of time and hassle in getting your ticket.

While you can usually buy them at the entrance, the lineup is usually huge – sometimes several hours in summer! So it’s much better to buy them online in advance.

(The exception is arriving in winter and there’s a ticket machine on the south-side entrance near the Theater of Dionysus).

It is possible to buy the tickets directly from the official Electronic Ticket System website which was launched in mid-2018 but they seem to be booked out by tour companies all the time.

It’s just a lot simpler to buy your ticket online through a service like Get Your Guide.

🏛️ The best instant online ticket that you can download directly to your phone (no printing or having to exchange the electronic ticket for a paper one at a site removed from the Acropolis) is here.

🏛️ The best Acropolis and Acropolis Museum online ticket combination is here. All of these entrance tickets come with an audio guide.

And the best online ticket, if you’d like to visit up to 7 ancient sites in Athens, is the Acropolis Combo Pass (more about it below).

View from the summit of the Acropolis over Athens, Greece

The main reason for choosing a Get Your Guide ticket is that you can change the date (or even cancel) your ticket if your plans change.

On the other hand, tickets bought through the Ministry of Culture and Sports are non-refundable.

Another reason is that the Acropolis admission-only ticket is the best in the class “skip-the-line tickets.” The Acropolis in Athens can get extremely busy, and you don’t want to waste good exploring time lining up!

It does cost an additional €5, but I think this is well worth it – especially in the busy peak times.

I also recommend Get Your Guide instead of some other well-known online skip-the-line companies because with these companies you almost always have to exchange your online ticket for a physical one at a kiosk several hundred meters down a steep hill from the attraction. I MUCH prefer to simply have my Acropolis Admission ticket emailed to me and then show this on my phone as I enter the Acropolis.

A final reason to choose Get Your Guide rather than other skip-the-line Acropolis vendors is that I have had these companies refuse to refund tickets when they state that the Acropolis is open, but when I have turned up, it’s closed.

For the best Acropolis guided tours (and for those that include the Acropolis Museum as an option), see the Best Acropolis Tours section below.

Photo of the Proplylaia- the great entrance portico- when first arriving to visit the Acropolis of Athens, greece
Proplylaia: the great entrance portico

Acropolis Entrance Fees

The Acropolis ticket price changes depending on the time of year that you are visiting. From 1 April to 31 October (high season), an adult ticket to the Acropolis is €20.

Between 1 November and 31 March (low season), all adults are entitled to the reduced price of €10.

Other visitors may be entitled to a 50% price reduction on tickets. This includes EU citizens over 65 years old and tertiary students from non-EU countries.

You’ll need a valid ID to get discounted entry to the Acropolis.

Some visitors are entitled to free entry to the Acropolis. This includes all children under the age of 18 and students of EU universities, with a valid ID or passport. You can find the full list here.

Caryatids on the “Porch of the Maidens” at the Erectheion, Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Free Admission days for visiting the Acropolis

There are several days per year when it is free for everyone to visit the Acropolis. It can be terribly crowded on these days, however, that’s a big discount! The free days for the Acropolis are:

  • 6 March
  • 18 April
  • 18 May
  • Last weekend of September
  • 28 October
  • Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st

You do not need to book a ticket in advance on the free days – just queue at the ticket line at the main entrance to the site (as early as you can, to avoid waiting a couple of hours in a long queue.)

View of the Parthenon with scaffolding across the front columns and pediment at the Acropolis of Athens, Greece
View of the Parthenon when visiting the Acropolis

The Acropolis Combo Pass

If you are planning to visit several of Athens’s blockbuster archaeological sites, this combination ticket is fantastic value, gives you entry to up to seven sites, and saves so much hassle!

In addition to visiting the Acropolis, you can choose to visit the Acropolis Hill, Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Roman Agora, Kerameikos, The National Archaeological Museum, and Aristotle’s School on this ticket.

There is no guide and you use the “skip the line” queue at each archaeological site. The Acropolis Combo Pass includes three digital audio tours to download to your phone as well as three offline interactive maps.

Photo taken looking down the stage or floor of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on the slope of the Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Odeon of Herodes Atticus on the slope of the Acropolis

So when is the Acropolis open?

Acropolis Hours

The site is open nearly every day of the year, with only a couple of annual closures. The Acropolis and Parthenon opening hours do vary a little depending on the season. The usual Acropolis open hours are:

  • November 1 to March 31: 8 am to 5 pm
  • April 1 to October 31: 8 am to 7 pm

Note that the last entry to the Acropolis is half an hour before closing time.

Parthenon roof detail when visiting the Acropolis
Parthenon roof detail when visiting the Acropolis

There are six days a year when the Acropolis closes, so make sure you don’t plan your visit on one of the following days:

  • New Year’s Day (Jan 1)
  • March 25
  • May 1
  • Easter Sunday (see Note below)
  • Christmas Day (Dec 25)
  • Boxing Day (Dec 26)

Note: Easter in Greece IS NOT the same date as Easter in other countries. Check the date for Easter Sunday in Greece – I have been caught out by this!

The day of your Acropolis visit

Once you’ve bought your ticket and planned your trip to Athens, it’s time to visit the Acropolis! Here’s what to expect on the day, as well as some helpful hints.

What to bring and wear for your Acropolis visit

You’ll want to spend a few hours exploring the archaeological remains atop and around the Acropolis, so you want to make sure you’re comfortable. Here are a few musts for what to bring and wear while visiting the Acropolis:

Photo of Temple of Athena Nike taken from the Propylaea when visiting the Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Temple of Athena Nike
  • A camera. The Parthenon is difficult to photograph without a wide-angle lens. Many of the best shots of the Acropolis include the surrounding vistas of Athens itself. Again, these shots are better with a wide-angle lens.
  • Passport/ID card if you intend to get the reduced entry (even if you have already bought your ticket online).
  • Sturdy shoes, as some of the ground is quite uneven, there are flights of rough-hewn steps and you don’t want to fall. This is especially so in the magnificent Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
  • The Acropolis is a hill and there are a few steep sections walking up from the various Metro stations.
  • Sunscreen, especially during the warmer months. Even if it doesn’t seem particularly hot or sunny, you can still get very burnt out in the sun for a few hours.
  • A water bottle, as all that exploring is sure to see you work up a thirst! There are water fountains at the Acropolis, so you can fill it back up again for free.

    NOTE: Pick-pockets and bag snatchers abound in the streets below the Acropolis. Wear your bag on the front of your body and keep your hand on it until you have entered the Acropolis.

The best season and time to visit the Acropolis

Like many of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Acropolis is prone to large crowds and over-tourism in the peak season (June to August) and even shutdowns mandated during the middle of the day in heatwave conditions.

To avoid the huge crowds, it’s highly advisable to visit the Acropolis as early as you can.

Acropolis and its monuments seen from the Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece
Acropolis and its monuments are seen from the Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece

If you arrive around 15 minutes before opening time (i.e. about 7:45 am), then you will stand the best chance of enjoying a peaceful time at the Acropolis.

Trust me, no sleep is worth missing the chance to experience the Acropolis at its calmest and most beautiful!

If you aren’t able to visit the Acropolis early in the morning, then crowds do start to die down again around 2 p.m. So, you could visit in the late afternoon instead.

I have visited just before closing time. Depending on the time of year, you can lose the light quickly. Great for atmosphere, lousy for photography!

In general, the peak time to avoid is between around 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. when the crowds are at their largest. Off-peak, don’t go just before closing time as there is not enough light.

How to get to the Acropolis

Many Athens hotels and guesthouses are within walking distance of the Acropolis – it’s hard to miss it hovering above the city! Staying in one of the Athens hotels with views of the Acropolis makes evening drinks a spectacular activity!

However, if you are a bit further away, your best bet is to get the metro to the Acropolis.

Arch of Hadrian and the Acropolis seen from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece
Arch of Hadrian and the Acropolis seen from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece

As befits an ancient citadel, the Acropolis has its own metro stop, Acropoli, which is very handy for the Acropolis entrance.

However, both Thissio and Monastiraki are also close to the entrance, so there are a few options.

Even a quick return trip from the airport is possible as the metro is at the airport and takes 40-50 minutes to get to the Acropolis.

The Blue Line (Line No. 3) is a direct line from the airport to Syntagma Square and Monastiraki, both of which are only a short walk to the Acropolis.

You will need to factor in at least 30 minutes on either side to get to the Acropolis from the Metro station and into the Acropolis with a skip-the-line ticket.

The Erectheion, showing the Caryatids and the Olive tree of Athena, Acropolis of Athens, Greece
The Erectheion, showing the Caryatids and the Olive tree of Athena, Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Thankfully the airport is modern and well organized and the Metro station is extremely close by and well signposted.

If you have a long transit through Athens – for example, of 5 hours or more, I can’t think of a better use of your time than visiting one of the most recognizable ancient sites in the world!

Since April 2023, it has also been possible to again use the UBER app in Athens.

Caryatids when visiting the Acropolis Museum

The 3 Acropolis Guided Tours

1. Acropolis and Parthenon Guided Walking Tour

Propylaea, Acropolis of Athens
Image caption.

The most popular guided walking tour of the Acropolis is the Acropolis and Parthenon Guided Walking Tour.

Great tour for first time at the Acropolis! Our guide Selena was phenomenal. She was knowledgeable, made the tour very engaging, and she was funny as well. It was overall such a fun experience! I would do another tour with her any day. The tour was well paced, with plenty of time for photos, and free time at the end. Highly recommend! The company was also very understanding of me being a bit late for my original time slot. They just immediately added me to the next tour time, no problem! Everyone I spoke to was incredibly nice. I had a very good experience.

Emily, United States

It’s a 2-hour tour and you can choose English, French or German and morning or afternoon.

As you can see from the review above, it’s a well-paced tour that gives you time to rest, take photos, and free time at the end.

It’s also well-organized and the communication for guests gets high marks from customers.

Book It!

2. Acropolis, Parthenon & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour

Image caption.

If you are very short on time, and can’t spend two days seeing the Acropolis on Day 1 and the Acropolis Museum on Day 2, this Acropolis, Parthenon & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour is perfect.

Our guide Simon was the star of the show (tour) – interactive, funny, and most importantly approachable. We have tons of insights, knowledge-sharing, and detailed explanations of the finer points regarding both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Simply put, one of the best guided tours we had the fortune of taking part in.

Dattatreya, India

It’s a 4-hour tour conducted in English, Make sure you select the ‘skip the line’ option for both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Entry is through a separate Acropolis entrance.

Book It!

3. Athens: Acropolis and Mythology Highlights Small Group Tour

Alternative Athens Mythology Tour
Image caption.

I know and love this tour creator, Denae, and Helen, the owner of Alternative Athens. In fact, you can listen to a podcast episode where I interview Denae about the mythology of the Acropolis here!

Denae is a qualified storyteller and Greek guide and she and all the guides here are just such high-quality. As you can see, I can’t vouch for this Acropolis Mythology tour and the team at Alternative Athens highly enough!

The experience of visiting the Acropolis of Athens with storyteller Kimon is simply captivating. His way of telling the mythological stories that surround this iconic place brings each stone and column to life. Kimon masters the art of blending history and legend, transporting visitors to a time when the gods ruled the city. His passion for the subject is contagious and makes the visit to the Acropolis even more memorable. Recommended to all lovers of Greek history and mythology!

Renaud, Greece

It’s a 4-hour tour beginning at the Arch of Hadrian, going to the Acropolis, then ending at the Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora of Athens, so you get to see some of the ancient sites in Athens including the Acropolis.

Book It!

Frequently asked questions about visiting the Parthenon and Acropolis

Still, have some questions about your visit to the Acropolis in Greece? Here are the most common queries answered.

How long do you need at the Acropolis?

How long you should spend at the Acropolis depends on your personal preference.

A lightning-quick visit to the Acropolis takes in the region of an hour and a half, while many other visitors prefer to stay for three or four hours.

History enthusiasts may even like to stay a bit longer!
Overall, I recommend keeping at least an entire morning or afternoon free for your visit. Then you won’t feel rushed and can take it at your own pace.

What are the most important things to see?

The first thing you will see at the Acropolis is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This impressive Roman theater was built in 161 AD. The steps can be slippery after rain.

The Beulé Gate lies between the Odeon and the main entrance to the site, the Propylaea. As you climb the steps, look to your right and you will see the small Temple of Athena Nike.

Once through the massive Propylaea, you will see the Erechtheion to your left on the northern side of the Acropolis, and the unmistakable Parthenon to your right.

At the Erechtheion you will find the Caryatids, on the “porch of the Maidens.” These six draped figures are the supporting columns of the roof.

The Erechtheion is dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. You will find here the
Olive Tree which ancient Greek mythology tells us sprang up after the goddess Athena defeated Poseidon.

Originally the Erechtheion held a wooden effigy of Athena Polias. The battle between the two is marked on the Erechtheion.

The hole in the roof of the Temple is where Poseidon’s great trident flew threw the earth and the “scratches” on the floor of the Temple were made by his Trident hitting the ground.

On the side of the Erechtheion furthest from the Propylaea, you will see a saltwater well caused by Poseidon’s trident.
If you love history and the mythology of ancient Greece, make sure you see the Erechtheion as well as the Parthenon!

On the southern slope of the Acropolis (or Sacred Rock), you will find the sixth-century BCE Theatre of Dionysis, part of the Sanctuary of the cult of Dionysus.

Can you climb the Acropolis?

The Acropolis is located on a hill, so to see it, you will be doing some climbing! It takes about twenty minutes to climb up the stairs from either side.

It’s relatively easy, however, you might want to take a few breaks along the way. For those with mobility considerations, there is an elevator.

Once you are at the Acropolis, actually touching or stepping on the ruins is off-limits! You’ll attract the ire of the guards very quickly if you try, so keep a respectful distance.

Should you visit the Acropolis Museum before or after visiting the Acropolis?

Most people who visit the Acropolis also like to visit the Acropolis Museum to learn more about the history of the site.

This leads to the question of whether you should visit the Acropolis, or the Acropolis Museum, first.

Opinions differ on this question. If you visit the Museum first, you may have a better context when you visit the Acropolis.

On the other hand, the Museum can be more exciting after you’ve seen the real thing!

One consideration is timing. Generally, the Museum is quieter than the Acropolis itself, so if you only have one day, I recommend visiting the Acropolis first so you can beat the crowds.

I find it easier to imagine the objects in their original places once I have seen the place from where they were removed.

Plan your visit and check out the Acropolis Museum hours here.

Should you take an Acropolis-guided tour?

Neither the online ticket nor the skip-the-line ticket includes a guide.

You can, however, download an audio guide (Rick Steves’ guide is free and very well-regarded) to add some extra context to your Acropolis visit).

Another option is to take a guided tour, either privately or as part of a group. If you love history, then this can add a huge amount to your visit.

Otherwise what you see are a bunch of disjointed, empty, and partially destroyed buildings (they’re amazing in their own right and just to see them is spectacular) but…

but to actually have a clue about why they’re there and their relationship with each other – that’s what you get on a tour of an ancient site.

You’ll have the chance to ask questions and hear insider stories – plus, it entitles you to skip the line entry!

🧳Ministry of Culture and Sports Acropolis Visitor Information: