Part 2: Athens & The Acropolis
On day 1 in Athens, we got up early and headed straight to the Acropolis as it’s such an iconic World Heritage site and a real must-see on the bucket list.
Visible from most of the city, the Acropolis is the most important ancient site in the Western world. It would have been the city where the Ancient Athenians lived, bordered by a wall at the base of the hill. It is, of course, home to the Parthenon, an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess of the city, Athena. Before this trip I had no idea the Parthenon and the Acropolis were two different things, nor did I realise there were other temples as part of the site as well.
Amongst other ancient greek temples and sites within the Acropolis is the Erechtheion (don’t ask me how to pronounce this!). This was a particular favourite for me as the female statues on the Porch of the Caryatids (“Porch of the Maidens”) are all different – whether that be in their poses, their hair or their clothing. This signified that women were well respected and thought of highly.
Also on the site is the Temple of Athena Nike which was built in 420BC, in greek ‘Nike’ means ‘Victory’.
Heading out early to beat the sun is highly recommended. Athens is obviously very hot, and we visited in July so the midday sun was quite a lot for us Brits! We set off on our walk to the Acropolis gates around 9am and we were heading down from the top around midday – just enough time to have a good look around. Even at 9am, there were plenty of tour groups already there and the area was getting busy.
The website advertised tickets for 12€ per person entry has now gone up to 20€ – probably due to high season. Also the combined tickets I read a great deal about before the trip (Acropolis and the Ancient Agora and Roman Agora etc) is now 30€ but the Athens city pass is probably more cost effective for the same amount.
Head to the ticket office with the grey roof, don’t queue at the more obvious gateway as that is for ticket holders only but isn’t very clear.
Be warned: there is only 1 small refreshments hut on the site. Just 1! Ridiculous, I know. It only sells very overpriced drinks like fresh orange juice and slushies but interestingly no still water! You must take at least one bottle of water up with you, you will need it and you will also need a hat.
It is also quite windy up there so I would recommend shorts over a dress! And it was sandy and dusty so leave the fancy footwear behind. Something sensible is a much better idea as the ground is rocky and uneven everywhere.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus
I also really fell in love with Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which was built in 161AD. From the top there are amazing views over the city.
I have to say I was completely blown away by the experience of the Acropolis and I took hundreds of photos it was just so incredible to look at. In some ways I just can’t quite get my head around the fact that these temples were built so long ago and are so impressive!
Have you been to the Acropolis or always dreamt of going? Leave me a comment and tell me!
Coming up next: The Acropolis Museum