Everyone visiting Athens wants to climb the Acropolis. That amazing citadel at the heart of the Greek capital with the remains of spectacular temples, the most well known of which is the Parthenon. Tickets can be booked in advance, online as a single entry or a combination ticket that includes other archaeological sites in Athens. Skip-the-line tickets and a variety of guided walking tours are also available. This article explores all the options; from the Greek government’s official website to the various tour providers.
This article has been edited to reflect the significant changes in pricing structures introduced in November 2019 by the Greek Ministry of Culture. Last updated on 24 January 2020
Price of Tickets for the Acropolis Only
From 1 April to 31 October, a standard ticket costs €20.
From 1 November to 31 March, a standard ticket costs €10.
Certain groups of people qualify for free entry, year round. These include, children under 25 from EU countries and children under 5 from all other countries. For a full list, see the section below title ‘Who Qualifies for Free/Reduced Entry?’ In all cases, passports will be required to prove age and country of origin.
Certain groups of people qualify for 50% reduction during the summer, from 1 April to 31 October. There is a section below that has a full list. These include children between the ages of 6 and 25 who are not from the EU and people over 65 from the EU and European Economic Area.
Entry to the Acropolis gives you access to the ancient citadel (and so includes the Parthenon and the Erechtheion among other monuments at the top), as well as the North and South slopes (from where you can look into the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and explore the Theatre of Dionysus – amongst other features).
Multi-site or Combination Ticket
If you are also going to be visiting some of the other main archaeology sites in Athens, then I recommend getting yourself a Combined or Special Package Ticket. This is an ‘official’ ticket – in that it is produced and sold by the Greek Ministry of Culture, the body that manages these sites. For this reason the ticket is only available for purchase at the entrance to each of the participating sites, or on the Ministry of Culture and Sports website (link below).
Having a multisite/Combo ticket online ONLY enables you to skip the queue at the Ticket Office, not the queues at the two entrances to the Acropolis.
The cost of the combination ticket is €30 per person,
all year round, there is no winter discount
If you buy the combo ticket at the Acropolis, this is what you get (ticket is pictured to the right of the photograph). The other sites then stamp the back of the ticket – as you are only allowed in each of the participating sites (listed at the bottom of the ticket and on this page) once over 5 consecutive days. If you buy your ticket at one of the other sites, you still get the old ticket, a central image with stubs that are removed at each site you visit.
For €30 ticket-holders get one entry to the Acropolis (which includes the Parthenon and the Erechtheion) with its North and South Slopes (Oden of Herodes Atticus and Theatre of Dionysus), as well as some of the other main archaeological sites in Athens (Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Archaeological Site of Lykeion, Kerameikos and the Olympieion; see full details below). There are museums in the Ancient Agora and the Kerameikos cemetery, and these are included in the entrance ticket for these sites. The pass is valid for five days
Is the Combination/Special Ticket Package Always worth it?
The answer to this question depends, as it does will all combination tickets/passes and bundles, on how many sites you want to visit. The Combo Ticket includes SEVEN sites, and is valid for five days. And with this particular ticket package, there is a significant difference between summer and winter prices.
To pay the standard entry to each site included on the Combo Ticket individually would cost €64 during the summer months (1 April to 31 October). So, for example, visiting the Acropolis (€20) and the Ancient Agora (€10) would cover the cost of the Combo Ticket. As would visiting the Acropolis and any two of the other seven sites included in the scheme.
If you are eligible for a 50% reduction in summer (see the list below below), this only entitles you to a reduction when purchasing a ticket for a single entry at each site. You can not buy the Combo Ticket at a 50% reduction. Paying the reduced entry for each site would cost you €32. So you would only save money with the Combo Ticket (€30) if you visited each of the seven sites (€32).
In the winter months (1 November to 31 March) everyone pays the reduced rate (50% of the standard cost) at each of the seven sites, unless you are entitled to free entry (see the list below). There is no further 50% reduction on the reduced fee for those people who are eligible for the 50% discount during summer. There is no reduction during winter on the price of the Combo Ticket. So the total cost for entry to each of the seven sites during winter is €32 (unless you qualify for free entry). That is only €2 more than the cost of the Combo Ticket. If you only intend to visit three or four sites during a visit in winter, the Special Ticket Package is not worth it. If you visit all but the Archaeological Site of Lykeion, you will break even. If you skip, for example, the Roman Agora you will have paid €2 more than you would have done paying for each site separately.
The special Combo Ticket does NOT include the Acropolis Museum, or any other museum in Athens. Entry fees to these museums are not expensive. For an additional €2, buy a ticket for the Acropolis Museum and the Archaeological Excavation from Get YourGuide >>
If you only want to visit both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum (and not the other sites), there is an option to skip-the-line at both attractions and explore both in your own time: Acropolis and Museum >>
Another popular option for the Acropolis Museum is a Skip-the-Line Ticket for the Acropolis Museum with Audio-Guide >>
Who Qualifies for Free/Reduced Entry?
Certain groups of people are qualify for free entry throughout the year. If this applies to you, ensure you have all the necessary documents that prove you are eligible.
During the summer period (1 April to 31 October) certain groups of people can get a 50% reduction on the entry fee for archaeological sites. The reduction only applies in the summer, during the winter the entry fees are reduced for everyone. The reduction does not apply to the Combo Ticket. Again, be sure to have valid documents and ID to demonstrate you are eligible for such a discount.
Reduced Entry – 50% in summer
► Anyone aged between 6 and 25 from non-EU countries
► Seniors citizens 65 years and older from Greece and EU Member States and the European Economic Union
► Teachers on visits from primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions
► Parents accompanying visits for primary schools from within the EU and EEA
► Anyone under 25 years of age from the EU, or under 5 years of age from the rest of the world
► People over 25 years of age enrolled in secondary education in the EU and EEA
► Teachers from within the EU on educational visits for primary, secondary or tertiary education
► Unemployed Greek citizens, or people claiming Social Solidarity Income
► Greek families with three or more children
► Single parent families
► People with disabilities, and their escorts of 80% degree of disability
► Members of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece, as well as equivalent bodies of other EU countries
► Tourist guides
► Holders of an ICOM-ICOMOS membership card
► Members of Associations of Friends of Greek Museums and Archaeological Sites
► Official guests of the Greek State
► Greek citizens doing military service
► Greek citizens who are Olympic medal holders
Consult the original list from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport >>
If you are booking online (a step-by-step account is given below) and are eligible for a reduced or free ticket, make this choice while booking your ticket. A voucher will be sent via e-mail. Take this voucher to the ticket office of the site you are visiting, and with proof of eligibility you will be given your ticket. You will be able to join a fast-track line at the ticket office.
Free Entry for All
During designated Open Days all visitors have free access to all archaeological sites, monuments and museums in Greece. These days are: 6 March (Melina Mercouri Remembrance Day), 18 April (International Monuments Day), 18 May (International Museums Day), the last weekend of September (European Heritage Days), 28 October (Oxi Day), the first Sunday of each month from November 1st to March 31st.
There is no way to book online – you just show up along with many, many other hopefuls.
Archaeology Travel Tip:
Having read reports and seen photographs of the Acropolis on ‘Free Entry for all’ days, I would not waste my time. Or go very early or late. There are always a lot of people taking advantage of the free entry.
Can I Buy a ticket for the Acropolis online, in advance?
Yes, as of 2018 it is possible to buy tickets online for the Acropolis, both single entry tickets and combination tickets. But be advised, buying a single entry or combination ticket online only enables you to avoid having to queue for tickets at the ticket office. You do not get to skip-the-line to enter the Acropolis. To avoid that queue, you have to purchase a skip-the-line ticket or take a guided tour.
Buying your tickets online does not give you any special privileges – you join the queue along with everyone else to enter the site.
To get your tickets online ticket, visit the official e-ticketing service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.
This is the official website of the Greek government, Archaeology Travel is not associated with them in any way.
For those who like to plan well in advance, it is not possible to buy tickets online for entry in the next season. For example, in January it is not possible to buy tickets online via the official website for June. You have to wait until 1 April for this. This is because of the difference in price for winter and summer tickets. Similarly, in say September, it is only possible to buy tickets through to the end of October. For ticket purchases for your trip in winter (1 November 2019 to 31 March 2020), you will have to try again from 1 November when the ticket pricing changes. This is another reason why we recommend buying tickets via our GetYourGuide partners – you can reserve your tickets in advance.
BEFORE PURCHASING PLEASE NOTE
We frequently get emails from from our readers saying they made an error in buying their tickets (entered the wrong dates), or that they wish to change the dates because their travel plans have changed. They wrote to the department selling the tickets. And the response was an emphatic – ‘tough luck, read the Terms & Conditions’. The official providers will not refund tickets bought in error, or make any refunds at all. So that means if your plans change, you can not change your tickets either. So 1) be careful entering the dates/number of tickets you want, and 2) be sure you have the final date.
Also, the readers mentioned above were lucky to get a reply. The inbox frequently fills up and so new emails are rejected. These are not scare tactics. Data protection and privacy prevents me showing actual screencaps of these emails I receive. It is a sad truth, buying from the official website is not reliable.
For these reasons, I strongly recommend buying a ticket from our recognised partners on the GetYourGuide website (see the ‘Skip-the-line’ section below). You *can* cancel your purchase up to 24 hours in advance, and get a full refund. How can these vendors get a refund and you can’t? Quite simply, they are taking your reservation, they are buying in bulk and they buy as required on the day. In my opinion, based on the substantial feedback I get from readers, a few Euros extra is worth it.
If you are sure of your dates, however, and you are careful – the following is a step-by-step guide to assist you through the process, taking you from the Greek language landing page to the final page in the process.
Step One: click on the EN to change the website to English.
Step Three: click on the white arrow in the location box, and then click on ATTICA.
Step Five: a SELECT THE DATE box will appear bottom left, click the box to open the calendar. Choose your date.
Step Seven: this is where you choose the type of ticket you want, and how many. Take note of the restrictions below the box.
Step Two: Click on the Visitors banner.
Step Four: a box to the right will open that allows you to choose the site you want to visit. Click ACROPOLIS AND SLOPES.
Step Six: the option to choose a time will appear below the calendar. You need to choose the correct date, but not the correct time. Then click continue.
Are There Long Queues at the Acropolis?
At some of the smaller sites that are included in the Combination Ticket the queues are no where near as long as at the Acropolis. At the Acropolis, however, the queues at both entrances can be long – and not only during the summer months.Buying a Combination Ticket online does not let you skip-the-line for entry to the Acropolis, you only get to avoid the queue for tickets at the ticket office.
You can avoid the queues at the two entrances to the Acropolis by either taking a guided tour or buying a skip-the-line ticket. These are available, quite legitimately, via third party service providers. We recommend using the GetYourGuide platform, as all providers are rigorously checked, they have a 24/7 customer service team, and most importantly you can cancel your tickets up to 24 hours in advance. We recommend specific tickets in the next section.
Queue at the Acropolis ticket office, around 9.35 am on 27 April 2018.
Queue at the main entrance to the Acropolis, around 9.30 am on 27 April 2018.
Avoid the Queues with a Guided Tour
For €45 you can buy a ticket for a Guided Tour of the Acropolis online at the GetYourGuide website. This ticket includes entry to the Acropolis, allows you to skip any queues, and a one and a half hour tour with a local guide.
GetYourGuide has a number of different walking tours to choose from. These vary in length, and what sites are included on the tour. Taking these does allow you to skip the lines, but entry fees are not always included. The reason being some people might already have a multi-site pass, or be eligible for discounts.
A popular option, suited to those who want a guide of some kind but not a guided tour with a person, is the skip-the-line ticket with audio tour. For a small additional cost you can buy a skip-the-line ticket that comes with an audio tour of the Acropolis. All you need is your own smartphone, with headphones. You get to avoid any queues, and an audio tour of the Acropolis with supporting information and an interactive map that you can access without requiring an internet connection. This is available for both Android and iOS devices, but only available in English, French and Spanish. Click here for More Information & Further Details >>
By far one of the most popular tickets, and I think the best value and so the tour I recommend for throughout the year is the five hour tour of Athens, the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum. For only €68 you get a guided tour (available in English and Spanish) with an actual person not an audio-guide, of Athens (visiting the Panathinaikos Stadium, the Royal gardens and the former Royal Palace), the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Entries to both the Acropolis and the museum are included in the price of the tour (€68)! And, this certified walking tour can be booked online at GetYourGuide.
Avoid the Queues with Skip-the-Line Tickets
Buying genuine Skip-the-Line Tickets for the Acropolis is possible, and can be done quite easily and safely online. For reliability and security, we recommend our Partners via GetYourGuide, for the reasons stated above.
New for 2020 from KeyTours: for an additional cost of €3 you can buy a skip-the-line ticket (so €13 as opposed to €10 during winter). This is only available for a single entry ticket to the Acropolis and its North and South Slopes.
Once purchased, the ticket is emailed to you and can be downloaded to your mobile device. You then go to the entrance of the Acropolis, following the fast track lines. There is no need to pick up your ticket.
Besides being able to avoid standing in a queue, you can also cancel this booking up to 24 hours in advance and get a full refund. So, if you find you have made a mistake with your dates (this happens – I get emails about it) or your plans change, you can get a full refund as long as you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. There is *no* refund for such errors or changes of plans if you buy your tickets on the official website. You need to decide whether the time saved and peace of mind is worth €5 – only you can make that decision.
There is no guided tour included. No audio tour. Nothing. Just a straight-forward, regular priced, skip-the-line ticket.
If you do not have a mobile device, you can purchase the same ticket suggested above but with the option of picking it up in person before going to the Acropolis. Once you purchase your ticket on the GetYourGuide website, a voucher will be emailed to you. Take this voucher to Key Tours, the local supplier – located at 26 Athanasiou Diakou street next to the Royal Olympic Hotel – about three minutes walk from the Acropolis Metro Station. Here you will be given your ticket – you will not be required to pay any further booking fee. Then head to the South Entrance of the Acropolis (Dionysus Theatre) – not even 400 metres away – and bypass the queues.
The link also includes the supplier’s opening hours. More Details and to Book Your Ticket Online >>
Are Athens City Passes Worth it?
There are a couple of city passes available. Full disclosure: I have not tried and tested any of these. But just doing the maths, none of them add up for me. First, most attractions are already quite cheap. Second, and more importantly, you would be hard pushed to do everything, or enough, in the time allotted before you start making a savings. Because of the 50% reduction in ticket prices during winter, I would not even consider these passes from 1 November to 31 March.
There is the Athens Museum Unlimited Pass, which gives you three days access to 15 different museums and galleries, including the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum. Others include the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Museum of Islamic Art. For only €55- I think that is a bargain! Follow this link for More Details and to Book Online.
Where are the ticket Offices for the Acropolis?
If you have not purchased a ticket in advance, online and you are happy to take your chances, you will need to buy a ticket at the site ticket kiosks.
The main ticket office for the Acropolis is below the main entrance to the Acropolis itself. During winter months queues at the Acropolis are not big, you will probably wait at most 20 to 30 minutes at busier times and on the weekends. During summer, it is another story – so follow these tips if you want to avoid the 2-hour plus queues.
This is also where you can purchase the special package ticket. But bear in mind that the special ticket is also on sale at the entrances to each of the participating archaeology sites. So in summer, if you want to avoid the queues at the Acropolis ticket office, go to one of the other sites listed below (there are never long queues at these sites). Buy the special ticket there, you will pay the same price, ie. €30. You will then be able to enter that site and visit the Acropolis when it suits you, without having to wait in any queues. Once purchased, the multi-site ticket is valid for five days.
There is also a ticket kiosk at the entrance near the Theatre of Dionysus. The queues here tend not to be as long as those at the main entrance.
Opening Hours for the Acropolis and other Archaeological Sites
During summer months (starting 1 April) the archaeological sites are open daily from 8:00 am until 19:00 pm. During the winter months between 8:00 am and 17:00 pm.
The Greek capital has so much more to offer visitors than spectacular ancient ruins. As a start, there are over 70 museums and art galleries, catering to all ages and interests. But, besides ancient history and culture, Athens has a lot to offer visitors who know what they are looking for.
What Sites Are Included in the Special Package Ticket?
The sacred rock in the city of modern day Athens is one of the most well known archaeological sites in the World, and the most visited attraction in Athens. For ancient Athenians, it was the most important religious centre. Although occupied since the Neolithic, it was not until the 11th century BC that the Acropolis became the home of the cult of Athena. The monuments we visit today are much more recent, dating to the 5th century when Athens was at the height of its power. There are a number of religious buildings on top of the Acropolis, the most iconic of which is the Parthenon. The other well known structure is the Erechtheion.
Single Entry: €20 (reduced €10)
North & South Slope of the Acropolis
While most visitors to the Acropolis head straight for the top, there is much to see on the Northern and Southern Slopes of the Acropolis. The buildings on the slopes of the Acropolis reflect the religious and cultural importance this area had in Athens during the Archaic and Classical periods. Besides the relatively well preserved Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, both slopes have a number of sanctuaries, churches and sacred caves. There are two separate entrances, the two slopes are joined by the Ancient Peripatos Street, so both the north and south slope count as a single site.
Entry to the North and South Slopes is included with entry to the Acropolis, ie €20 (reduced €10)
For Athenians, the Agora was not just a market place where they came daily to buy food and goods, it was also the political and judicial centre of the city. There are remains of many ancient temples, but it is the exceptionally well-preserved Temple of Hephaistos that catches everyone's eye. The reason it is has survived so well is because it became a church in the 7th century AD. There are great views over the Agora to the Acropolis from the temple. The Entry to the Agora includes entry to the Museum of the Ancient Agora - housed in the restored Stoa of Attalos, which has a vast and impressive collection of artefacts.
Single Entry: €10 (reduced €5)
Built in 132 Ad, Hadrian's Library was a gift from the Roman Emperor Hadrian, hence its name, to the people of Athens. Hadrian was an ardent cultural Hellenophile, and he did much to leave his mark here. Today we enter the site from the west at the imposing Pentelic marble façade, with its monumental Corinthian propylon, or gateway. The library was a rectangular peristyle structure with an interior courtyard, 122 by 82 metres. The 'library' where the papyrus books were stored is on the eastern side. A small onsite exhibition room houses a colossal statue of Nike and some other artefacts recovered.
Single Entry: €6 (reduced €3)
Not far from the Ancient Agora is the 1st century BC Roman Agora. An inscription on site lists Augustus and Julius Caesar as donors for its construction, don't miss this on your way in. The agora was a large courtyard surrounded by stoas, shops and other commercial buildings. Just beyond the agora, but within the boundary of the site as it is today are the remains of the public toilets and the octagonal Tower of the Winds, built for astronomical purposes housing a hydraulic clock. The tower has some exquisite carvings that depict the 'eight winds'.
Single Entry: 8€ (reduced €4)
On the northwestern fringes of the ancient city of Athens is Kerameikos. As the name suggests this was an area that was once inhabited by potters. But it is also the site of the oldest and largest Attic cemetery. Walls surround an enormous archaeological site that has a wide range of ancient funerary monuments and structures, from a tumulus mound to family tombs and individual columns. On site, and included in the entry fee is the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos. The museum houses the artefacts recovered from archaeological excavations, and are displayed to show the changing funerary practices in ancient Athens.
Single Entry: €8 (reduced €4)
The main attraction of the Olympieon is the colossal Temple of Olympian Zeus - one of the largest temples in the ancient world. Despite its size, you can not gaze at this monument through the fence, you have to stand at the foot of these massive columns (16 of the 104 are still standing) to appreciate just how big they are. Beyond the area of the enormous temple are the the remains of other urban structures, including a Roman bath house, various residences, a 5th century basilica, and remnants of the city's fortification wall. Just outside the site, next to one of the busiest streets in Athens is Hadrian's Arch.
Single Entry: €8 (reduced €4)
The Archaeological Site of Lykeion
During recent rescue excavations the remains of an ancient palaestra were discovered. This was the legendary Gymnasium of Lykeion (Lyceum). Historical sources suggest this area was an idyllic grove, it is best known to us as the location of Aristotle's school of philosophy. The name comes from the sanctuary of Apollo Lykeios, which was built sometime before the gymnasium. But sadly this temple was not found during the archaeological investigation of this site. For visitors today a surface area of 0.25 hectares (50 x 48 m.) has been exposed, revealing part of the palaestra where athletes trained in wrestling and boxing.
Single Entry: €4 (reduced €2)
Unless you have mobility issues, if you are relatively fit, all of the sites are within walking distance of each other. The Olympieon is the only site on the south side of the Acropolis away from the Acropolis. But, it is not that far from the Acropolis Museum - which is just opposite the entrance to the South Slopes of the Acropolis and the Theatre of Dionysios. All the other sites are to the north of the Acropolis. And all but the cemetery site of Kerameikos are close to each other. Kerameikos is not that far to walk from the Thesseio Metro Station.
Being in the centre of Athens, there are many restaurants and cafés, as well as street vendors selling refreshments, close to the sites - and not all seem to be taking advantage of tourists.
Pressed for time? If you are relatively fit I suppose you could visit all sites in one day, but it would be a long day and a bit of a rush. But it would be a great day!
Activities, Guided Tours & Other Things to Do in Athens
While getting yourself to all of the above archaeological sites is easy and straightforward, sometimes, just sometimes a guided tour is a great idea. And of course there is so much more to see and do in Athens than this list of amazing sites. There is the obvious option of a half-day sightseeing tour of the highlights of Athens, morning or afternoon - you choose. For something really different see the Acropolis of Athens by Segway on a 2-hour tour, led by a local guide! Or experience the beauty of Athens by night with sightseeing and food. Escape the city for a peaceful break and a luxury, day cruise with lunch. If gastronomy is your thing, treat yourself to a Greek Food and Wine Tasting, or go one step further with a Greek Cooking Class in an Athens Taverna. These are just a few of the many activities available to visitors, just have a look at this more complete list of things to do in Athens, which includes some great ideas for day-trips out of the city.
Archaeology Travel Tip - Accommodation in Athens
During my stay in Athens, I was a guest of the 4* Herodion Hotel. The view on to the Acropolis from the roof top terrace (on which meals are served) and bedrooms on the northern side of the hotel is any archaeology traveller's dream! After a day walking the streets of this ancient city, getting into bed and dozing off with a light up Parthenon in sight is quite magical. The hotel is literally a stone's throw from the Acropolis Museum, so take advantage of the late night openings. The Herodion is also ideally situated for easy, walking access to all the best sites and museums in central Athens, and the metro for those that are further away. Their in-house map of the city centre is one of the best I saw.