There is no doubt that if you are spending some time in Athens you will be climbing the slopes of the Acropolis. This is of course perfectly accompanied with a visit to the Acropolis Museum. Here you can take a step back in time and learn about the extensive history of this ancient stronghold. Below you will find our detailed guide to visiting the Acropolis Museum, including everything you need to know about its recent digitalisation.
The Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum has attracted millions of visitors since its opening in June 2009. With over 3,000 artefacts found from the ancient remains of the Acropolis and its surroundings, there are no surprises why this museum is on so many peoples bucket lists. While it is one of the many important museums in Athens, it is certainly a favourite.
The museum has won awards for both its architecture and conservation. Held up by hundreds of concrete columns, the modern architecture mirrors that of ancient times. Floor to ceiling windows let the saturation of natural light bathe the statues in a golden, creamy glow.
These large windows also mean you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the Acropolis and the entire south side of the Parthenon. The building works in perfect harmony with its ancient neighbour and offers a modern haven for some of the most precious artefacts in Greece.
A Short History
Originally the first Acropolis Museum was opened in 1876 and resided atop the Acropolis, but because it was so small it was eventually deemed inadequate. So, in the 1960s the government agreed it would invest in a new museum. This was also motivated by the prospect of having the remaining Parthenon marbles (commonly referred to as the Elgin marbles), which resided in the British Museum, returned to Greece. The British Museum had long argued that the marbles could not be returned because Greece had nowhere to put them.
So, motivated by a homecoming the old museum was closed in 2007 and the new Acropolis Museum was opened just 2 years later with a grand square footage of 25,000 metres! Sadly the marbles were not returned, instead the ‘Parthenon Gallery’ contains a mixture of the original and replicas.
A Quick Tour
The ground floor is the ‘Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis’, which display the numerous remains that were found on its slopes, from statues to everyday objects.
The second floor is the ‘Archaic Gallery’ which contains the sculptures that once decorated the temples.
The best is certainly left for last as on the top floor of the museum lies the ‘Parthenon Gallery’. Here, what remains of the frieze (a sculptured border that wraps around the Parthenon above it’s columns) and pediments are mapped out in the exact dimensions of the temple. This means that as are you wander you can start to piece together exactly what the Parthenon would have looked like in ancient times.
Visiting The Acropolis Museum
How to get there
The Acropolis Museum is located on 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, you can find directions here.
Like most museums in Greece, the opening hours vary depending on the time of year.
Summer Season (1 April – 31 October)
Monday: 8 am – 4 pm, Tuesday – Sunday: 8 am – 8 pm, Friday: 8 am – 10 pm
Winter Season (1 November – 31 March)
Monday: Thursday 9am – 5pm, Friday: 9am – 10pm, Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 8pm
General admission tickets cost €10 in the summer season and €5 in the winter season. You can purchase tickets online here.
While 2020 resulted in changes to the entire travel sector, the Acropolis Museum endeavoured to evolve in an entirely new direction and became the first museum in Greece to go completely digital. On the new Acropolis Museum website, you can enjoy a leisurely virtual exploration and learn about almost every artefact inside its walls. From the Erechtheion Caryatids and Parthenon pediment to the statues of ancient Greek philosophers, there is enough to keep you occupied for days! So, if you can’t start your Greek holiday just yet, there is solace in knowing you are only a few clicks away.
The Acropolis Museum Kids
Not only does the Acropolis Museum have an extensive array of resources for history lovers it also has a separate website for your little ones. If you have children that are interested in travelling virtually then make sure they have a look at the kid’s version, The Acropolis Museum Kids. The website makes learning fun and accessible through games, a gallery of pictures and videos and even ready-made activities like colouring-in and ancient cooking lessons!