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The Acropolis Museum in Athens: How to Visit One of the Best Museums in the World

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The Acropolis Museum is without any doubt one of the best modern museums in the world. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis Hill and the Parthenon, it stands imposingly over the famous pedestrian street called Dionysiou Aeropagitou and the neighborhood of Koukaki.

We won’t tell you that a visit to one of the best museums in Athens is almost mandatory for any visitor of the city – you already know that. Instead, we’ll provide an extensive guide with all the highlights of the museum, information on the opening hours and tickets, insider tips, and everything you need to make your visit as smooth as possible.

Your ultimate guide on how to visit the Acropolis Museum starts here.

A First Glance at the Acropolis Museum

Surrounded by olive trees and perched on concrete columns that support the magnificent glass panes of the upper floors, the building that houses the Acropolis Museum has become an attraction in its own right.

It was designed by New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with local Greek architect Michael Photiadis and opened its doors in 2009, instantly becoming one of the most popular attractions of the city.

Acropolis Museum is a must-visit in Athens

The Acropolis Museum is mainly devoted to exhibiting artifacts that were found in or around Acropolis Hill and the Parthenon, yet its collection also includes historical objects from other sites in Attica like the Temple of Artemis.

The impressive museum occupies an area of 14.000 square meters and boasts a vast collection of more than 4.000 exhibits spread over four different levels.

Below we’ll go over the highlights of each level separately.

Tip: Before your visit to the Acropolis Museum download the map of the museum for free here.

What to See: Highlights of the Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is housed in a 4-floor building with exhibits that are arranged in chronological order in a way that moving up the floors feels like a journey through time, narrating stories from thousands of years ago.

The Acropolis Museum as seen from the Parthenon. The top floor is rotated above the lower floors, so its glass walls are parallel to the Parthenon.

Before starting your own journey through the museum, visit the foyer and check out the miniature replicas of the Acropolis that represent different moments in time.

That will certainly help you put everything you are going to see in a timeframe.

Tip: If for whatever reason you don’t have time to go through all the floors, start your tour from the top floor of the museum so that you don’t skip the museum’s absolute highlight – the majestic views of the Parthenon and the ruins of Acropolis Hill.

Book your skip the line ticket to the Acropolis Museum now with free cancelation from here

Basement Level: Archaeological Excavation

The basement level of the museum is actually a real excavation site that uncovered an entire ancient Athenian neighborhood that is as large as the building itself.

The remains can be seen through glass panes on the upper floors as well, but visiting the site up close is a whole different experience.

The remains of an ancient city at the entrance of the Acropolis Museum

The ancient settlement features visible villas, bathhouses, workshops, tombs, mosaics, and even a drainage system.

You won’t find a more insightful way to perceive what life in ancient Athens looked like from the Classical era to the Byzantine period.

Keep in mind that the opening hours of the excavation site are slightly different than those of the rest of the museum. You can find all opening hours at the end of the guide.

Don’t miss: The circular tower hall in Building E

Ground floor: Slopes of the Acropolis

The next floor is no less spectacular. The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis is housed in an angled rectangular hall that symbolizes the ascent to the Sacred Hill of the Acropolis.

The first exhibition space, on the Museum’s ground floor, contains finds from the Acropolis slopes.
Courtesy: Heracles Kritikos / shutterstock.com

Here you’ll get the chance to marvel at ancient ruins, artwork depicting scenes of everyday life in ancient Athens as well as artifacts such as jewelry, vases, and bottles dating back to the Neolithic period.

Don’t miss: The sculpture of Papposilenos and the pillar with the dedication to Asklepios

First floor: Archaic Acropolis

The first thing you’ll see in the Archaic Acropolis Gallery is impressive sculptures and marble statues of the Archaic Period (7th – 5th century BC) many of which were gifts to the patron goddess of the city, Athena.

Moving on, you’ll find even more spectacular exhibits like the remains of the Hekatompedon, the temple that stood on Acropolis Hill before the Parthenon.

The original Caryatids in the Acropolis Museum were taken from the Erechtheion temple.
Courtesy: saiko3p / shutterstock.com

Next up, the famous female-figure statues called Caryatids (notice the purposefully vacant spot – the sixth Caryatid currently belongs to the British Museum) that used to hold the Erechtheion.

Finally, make sure to spend some time enjoying the votives and statues found around the Acropolis that depict famous men, Gods, and heroes from later periods.

The naturally-lighted Archaic gallery presents a wide range of statues and other exhibits found in the Acropolis.
Courtesy: faungg’s photos / flickr.com

Don’t miss: the Pediment of the Hekatompedon, the Caryatids, the sculpture of the winged goddess Nike, the portrait of Alexander the Great

Top floor: The Parthenon Gallery

The top floor of the museum is undoubtedly its most spectacular feature. The whole floor is dedicated to the city’s crown jewel: the Parthenon.

The glass walls enclosing the Parthenon Gallery provide natural lighting and allow a direct line of sight between the sculptures and the monument from which they come. Courtesy: Heracles Kritikos / shutterstock.com

Here, you can see three of the most fundamental architectural components of the ancient temple: the metopes, the pediments, and the frieze, while having a magnificent view of the Parthenon itself right in front of you.

The museum displays the metopes as they appeared on the Parthenon.
Courtesy: Heracles Kritikos / shutterstock.com

The structures are complete with masterfully crafted replicas of the missing parts that will give you a new perspective on what the Parthenon actually looked like in ancient times.

Metopes of the Parthenon. Courtesy: piet theisohn / flickr.com

The Parthenon Gallery, at the top level of the Acropolis Museum, is more than awesome. Try to spend most of your visiting time there. You’ll be amazed.

Don’t miss: Anything!

The Cafe and Restaurant of the Acropolis Museum

The museum’s cafe is located on the ground floor, featuring a spectacular terrace that overlooks the archaeological excavation site below.

It serves breakfast, hot and cold beverages as well as traditional Greek hot dishes, refreshing beverages, and delicious desserts.

The cafe follows the opening hours of the museum, with the last orders accepted 30 minutes prior to the museum’s closing time.

The cafe at the Acropolis Museum. Courtesy: marcobrivio.photo / shutterstock.com

The museum’s restaurant occupies most of the second floor with a magnificent dining area that offers unobstructed views of the Acropolis.

It serves traditional Greek dishes and eclectic wine. Contrary to the cafe, the restaurant remains open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to offer a special menu with dishes based on seasonal local products.

Activities and Events at the Acropolis Museum

Apart from all the magnificent exhibits, the Acropolis Museum is known for hosting a wide array of exciting activities, events, presentations, archaeological walks, and gallery talks in both Greek and English.

As a visitor, you are allowed to attend such an event, without any extra cost, simply by paying the normal admission fee to the museum.

Keep in mind, however, that there is a limit of 20-30 visitors per activity.

In order to join, you’ll have to register at the front desk.

The average duration for any activity organized by the museum is one hour.

You can find out what activities you can join during your visit here and here.

Visiting the Acropolis Museum With Kids

You might think that visiting a museum with kids could be a bad idea since younger visitors tend to get bored a bit more easily, but in this case, you would be wrong.

The Acropolis Museum offers all kinds of programs, festivities, and events specially designed for children. You can find them all here.

Also, to make your visit even easier, you can ask for a family audioguide, a “family backpack” filled with toys, maps, educational puzzles, and other goodies, or even print out your own “family trail”, an exploration booklet that will guide and help children appreciate the exhibits.

All of these are free of charge.

Finally, make sure to pay a visit to the LEGO model of the Acropolis – a miniature built with 120.000 bricks.

The Acropolis Museum offers a lot of programs to make easier your visit with your kids.
Courtesy: Marco Verch | ccnull.de | CC-BY 2.0

Book your skip the line ticket to the Acropolis Museum now with free cancelation from here

Shops in the Acropolis Museum

The museum has two shops: a gift shop and a bookstore. The former is located on the ground floor while the latter is found on the second floor.

Make sure to pay each a short visit to discover a wide variety of books, interesting gifts, and memorabilia to take back home.

You’ll also find exact cast replicas of some exhibits that are crafted in the museum’s conservation lab that will make for awesome souvenirs. Both shops close 15 minutes prior to the museum’s closing time.

Visiting the Acropolis Museum with a Guided Tour

The Acropolis Museum is one of the most visited attractions of the city.

Naturally, there are countless tours that list it in their itinerary. And one of the most frequent questions we receive very often here at Athens By Locals is this:

“Is it worth it to visit the Acropolis Museum with a guide?”

The answer is always a resounding yes.

The best way to visit the Acropolis Museum is with a guided tour

This way, not only you’ll be able to skip the lines and not waste your time waiting in queues but you’ll also get the chance to get a better understanding of the museum’s exhibits and learn about the city’s history. As for the best guided tour out there, don’t fret.

We have already screened all the tours and we’ve got a few excellent recommendations. Just click the links below check their reviews and book your tour on Get Your Guide.

Combine a visit to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum

How to Get To the Acropolis Museum

Due to its central location, getting to the Acropolis Museum from any place downtown is going to be a breeze. You have plenty of options:

  • On foot: You can easily walk to the museum from most central neighborhoods of Athens like Syntagma, Monastiraki, Thisseion, and Koukaki.
  • By metro Just get off at Acropolis station (red line). The entrance of the museum is only a couple of minutes away.
  • By bus: The stop closest to the museum is called Makrigianni. To get there you can get numerous bus lines (24, 40, 57, 103, 106, 108, 111, 126, 134, 135, 136, 137, 155, 206, 208, 227, 230, 237, 790, 856, Α2, Α3, Α4, Β2, Β3, Β4, Ε2, Ε22)
It is very easy to get to the Acropolis Museum from any place downtown.
Courtesy: Marco Verch | ccnull.de | CC-BY 2.0

Accessibility

The Acropolis museum is accessible to wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments. There are wheelchair ramps at every entrance as well as elevators and accessible WCs on every floor. In addition, wheelchairs can be borrowed at the front desk, and guide dogs are allowed in the museum.

Opening Hours and Tickets

Winter season (1 November – 31 March)

  • Monday to Thursday: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Friday: 09:00 – 22:00
  • Saturday & Sunday: 09:00 – 20:00

Archaeological excavation site:

  • Monday to Sunday: 09:00 – 17:00
  • General admission: 5 euros
  • Reduced admission: 3 euros

Book your skip the line ticket to the Acropolis Museum now with free cancelation from here

Summer season (1 April – 31 October)

  • Monday: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Tuesday to Sunday: 08:00 – 20:00
  • Friday: 08:00 – 22:00

Archaeological excavation site:

  • Monday: 08:00 – 16:00
  • Tuesday to Sunday: 08:00 – 20:00
  • General admission: 10 euros
  • Reduced admission: 5 euros

Closed:

1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December, 26 December

Limited hours:

Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve 09:00 – 15:00, Orthodox Good Friday 12:00 – 18:00, Orthodox Holy Saturday 08:00 – 15:00

Extended closing time until midnight:

The evening of August full moon, European Night of Museums

Free admission days:

6 March, 25 March, 18 May, 28 October

Frequently Asked Questions About the Acropolis Museum

Is the Acropolis Museum worth it?

Definitely yes. The Acropolis Museum is one of the most intriguing attractions in Athens and one of the most important museums in Europe.

Why is the Acropolis museum famous?

Apart from the astonishing architecture of its building, the Acropolis Museum is famous for holding some of the most important surviving artifacts from ancient Greece.

Is the Acropolis museum the same as the Acropolis?

No. This is a common mistake among international travelers. Acropolis is the name of the hill on which the Parthenon stands. The Acropolis Museum is located a few minutes away from the Hill.

Does the Acropolis ticket include an entrance to the museum?

No. There is no ticket to the Acropolis Hill that will also grant you access to the Acropolis Museum.

Can you use a credit card to buy a ticket?

Yes, you can either pay for admission in cash or with any credit card.

Should I buy Acropolis tickets in advance?

Yes. We strongly recommend that you book your tickets in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak season (May-September) to avoid having to wait long queues.

How long does it take to visit the Acropolis museum?

On average, visitors spend around 1,5 hours in the museum. We recommend that you have at least 2 hours to spend in the museum to go over the exhibits at a leisurely pace.

Does the Acropolis Museum have a cloakroom?

Yes, the Museum has two different cloakrooms, both on the ground floor.

Are photos allowed in the Acropolis Museum?

Photography and filming are allowed in all areas except the Archaic Acropolis Gallery on the first floor. The use of flash, however, is strictly prohibited.

To sum it all up, the Acropolis Museum is an attraction you cannot afford to miss on your visit to Athens.

Apart from a magnificent spot to enjoy the view of the Partenon from a vantage point, the marvelous exhibits and the astonishing excavation site below will give you a perspective of ancient Athens like no other spot in the city.

A Quick Reminder:

Remember that Athens By Locals is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.

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