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Athens Ancient Agora

How much time is recommended to tour the Ancient Agora? Your firsthand experiences and advice will be very helpful. Our main interest is to see the historic sites but sadly our time in Athens will be brief. Normally in Rick Steves' guidebooks such recommendations are listed but not so for the Agora in his Greece guide, so your guidance will be appreciated.

Thank you,
Keith and Victoria

Posted by
10531 posts

When we did it, we were in no hurry, so took 3-4 hours.
Also it was July and well into the 90s so a fast pace was inadvisable.

Posted by
1078 posts

We took about the same amount of time last June experiencing the same 90's temperatures.

Posted by
3260 posts

It very much depends upon YOU, and what prep you do beforehand. Agree on what you want to see & how much time ... the Agora Museum (in the beautiful reconstructed Stoa of Attalos) can be traversed swiftly, but do not miss the thrill of seeing the actual "oistrakh votes" -- this is from the annual process where citizens voted on which people to Exile for a spell (for evildoing or just for controversy) they scratched the names on pottery shards (Oistratkh, thus "ostracize") ... u can see shards with scratchings of "Socrates" and "Aristophanes". The RS "step by step" instrux in guidebook, or the FREE audio downloads will help.

Posted by
1114 posts

So much depends on what you are interested in . . . how much you go to Greece for archeological/historic sites. The Agora is just below the Acropolis and was the main gathering place for ancient Greeks, business, government, shopping, chariot racing, debating, and so much more.

I have been to the Agora several times and still go back. It's quite an experience to wander around the ground that Socrates, Aristotle, Pericles and so many ancient Greeks walked. While there is not a whole lot left to see other than foundations, walls, and a few columns here or there the Temple to Hephaestus is in even better condtion than the Parthenon on the Acropolis. It's just a very lovely area, quiet, peaceful and you can almost forget you are in a city of millions.

You can spend an hour, two hours, or many hours just wandering around. Don't overlook the re-created Stoa that will give you an idea of what it was like 2,500 years ago. Very cool and relaxing to step inside out of the hot sun. Nice museum and a good place to hang out, catch your breath and then move on.

A once-in-a-lifetime place to spend time and a good way to learn about Ancient Greece!

Posted by
1274 posts

Just a slightly different thought process. I assume that you will want to do the Acropolis on your visit. We arrive just before opening and get our tickets. Or you can use that time to visit Mars hill or even better Philoppas hill where you can look down on the acropolis. When it opens we generally have about an hour to an hour and a half with few crowds around. Its a quiet time and you can see it at your leisure. When the crowds arrive leave and go down to the Ancient Agora. The crowds will be at the Acropolis and the Agora will be relatively uncrowded for the three or so hours you will need for the visit.
Images of Athens

Posted by
1114 posts

I will add that if you want to experience the Acropolis in a peaceful, tranquil and less over-the-top touristy/tourist group atmosphere get there when it opens at 8 a.m. or very late in the afternoon after the tour groups and tourists have left.

I would recommend early morning which is very nice. I even got to see the Greek Army raising the Greek flag and singing the Greek National Anthem then marching off.

It's an all together different atmosphere and you won't have to deal with pushy, shoving and elbowing tourists getting in your way for photo ops or just sight seeing!

Posted by
4378 posts

My suggestion is to spend as much time as you have available for it. One hour, two hours, or ?? Just wander around and be in awe of the history. Regardless of how little the time is available, you really have to go. In my opinion it is not to be missed.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks to everyone for your replies, suggestions and information.

Please allow me to explain further why I posted my question. For planning purposes (so we can squeeze in as much as possible during the time we have in Athens) I was hoping people would share their experience time-wise at the Agora. How much time was spent and perhaps if it was felt that the time spent was sufficient. Yes, everyone is different, but my hope was—if several people shared the time they allotted I could make a guess as to how much time I should plan for. (And I am one who believes when it comes to travel you cannot plan enough or collect too much information prior to your trip.)

We are traveling to Greece to see the country’s ancient treasures. I am fortunate to be able to finally visit the historic sites I have read about my entire life.

Your help and insight is much appreciated.