The Athenian Acropolis is the ancient "high city" of Athens, a prominent plateaued rock perched high above the modern city with commanding views and an amazing array of ancient architecture, mostly from the Classical period of Ancient Greece, the most famous of which is the Parthenon. A visit to Athens is not complete without visiting the Acropolis - hundreds of tourists each day accordingly make the pilgrimage.
The Acropolis of Athens is open daily. Summer opening times: 8AM-7PM, Winter opening times: 8AM - sunset. Telephone: +30 210 3214172.
General admission is €12 but excellent concessions are available, as is free access to many categories of individuals (especially under-18s and European university students - check the official web site . There are also a limited number of free days for the public listed each year (again, check the website).
The Acropolis is accessed from either Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, or through the Plaka district (Theorias Street leads to the entrance), or, finally, from Petralona, ascending Apostolou Pavlou Street.
The main archaeological site is surrounded by a large public area, a plethora of trees with beautiful stone-paved paths (designed by the great Greek architect Pikionis). A canteen with a wide range of food and drink is reached before you get to the ticket kiosk - but beware: refreshments are available only at exorbitant prices. You will definitely need a bottle of water with you in the hot summer, so either bring it with you or buy it from the kiosk on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, just outside the entrance. There are water fountains within the site, but the water isn't always cold. Guides can nearly always be found offering to show you around - at a price - at the point where tickets are checked. An alternative will be a printed version of this article (info not yet added), or ask for the free leaflet published by the Archaeological Resources Fund (includes a ground plan of the site and valuable information on the various monuments).
Following European regulations, disabled access to the Acropolis can be gained by means of special paths and a purpose-built lift on the north face of the hill. Apparently this is only for the use of those in wheelchairs.
The Parthenon— The largest temple on the Acropolis, originally dedicated to the goddess of the city, Athena, later converted to a church and then a mosque. Built between 447 and 438 BCE at the height of the Classical period. Original home to what some refer to as the "Elgin Marbles", now in London's British Museum.
The Temple of Athena Nike— First temple on the Acropolis to be built in the Ionic style, and one of the few exemplars of an amphiprostyle temple in all of Greece: what made it truly unique was the unit by which it was planned, which turns out to be the Egyptian foot of 300 mm.
The Erectheion— Dedicated to the worship of the two principal gods of Attica, Athena and Poseidon-Erechtheus.
The Propylea— The ancient monumental gateway to the Acropolis.
New Acropolis Museum, designed by Swiss star architect Bernard Tschumi at a site south of the Acropolis, was originally supposed to open in time for the 2004 Olympics, but its opening was repeatedly delayed, and is now said to be scheduled for September 2008.
For students of the European Union, entrance is free.
Athens Backpackers, 12 Makri Street - Makryanni, Athens, ☎ +30 210 32 25 891. Standard backpacking hostel offering clean and comfortable beds, 24 hr receptions access, and discounted wi fi access. Great spot to meet other travellers.
Acropolis View Hotel Athens, Webster street 10, Athens, ☎ +30 210 32 25 891. Attention to detail is catered for in this hotel, with most rooms having a fresh lick of paint on them every year. Rooms are also equipped with central heating and A/C, private baths and mini fridges and some units have balconies. Price from 88 euro for a single room in high season.