Historic Athens – tips & comments
How historic is this bloody city? My God. Every street corner has some magnificent artefact with a compelling story behind it. Even the airport has its own museum on site; a result of the archaeological finds from when it was being built.
Hats off to the authorities for working so hard to preserve and celebrate so much of the country’s history. At a time when throw-away fashion is not only the norm but is getting replicated in architecture and technology, it really is inspiring to see so much effort go into putting history at the forefront of everyone’s psyche. Even the Metro displays artefacts from centuries passed.
The Acropolis is a rocky hill in the centre of the city. On its (flat) peak, stands the remains of three temples that overlook Athens: the Parthenon, the Erechtheum & the temple of Athena Nike. Having taken fifty years to be built, the structures have remained for two and a half thousand years. Simply incredible.
The grounds employ (or volunteer) very impatient & quite aggressive locals to force guests off the site using whistles and bad manners – from half an hour before closing time. Closing time is advertised as being 8pm on many travel sites but is actually 7pm – so prepare to get whipped from 6.30pm (just as the sun is setting!) I found $300 on the floor and instinctively handed it in to these guys (who were suddenly very nice to me.) They were ridiculously rude to everyone else though – so I’d plan to leave prior to 6.30 if you’re a sensitive type / don’t want the ambiance crushing.
If you want to pay for entry into the best historic attractions in Athens then be sure to buy the Multi-Ticket Pass.
As of October 2018, the Acropolis entry fee is 20 Euro. That said, passes are available for 30 Euro which give access to the other following sites too:
- The Ancient Agora* (the commercial assembly / gathering place for ancient Athens)
- Hadrian’s Library (created by Roman Emperor, Hadrian, in 32AD)
- Aristotle’s School (Lykeion) – my least favourite / least interesting place
- The Roman Agora (ancient meeting place still not fully excavated; aged two millennia)
- Olympieion – the ‘largest temple of the ancient world’ built for Greek God, Zeus.
- Kerameikos (ancient cemetery in the potter’s quarter of Athens; inside & outside the city walls.
*Note, if you head to the Ancient Agora site, allow time for Stoa of Attalos too – an ancient walkway comprising a roof, a second level and dozens of marble/limestone pillars spanning the sides. The building has been restored to an immaculate and accurate level by American & Greek architects in the 50’s. Both floors accommodate historic artefacts, which can take several hours to truly appreciate – if, like me, you want to try and look at everything.
The saver pass can be bought from the above sites and is valid for 4x days. (It only allows entry into each zone once – so be sure to time your Acropolis and Ancient Agora visits well)