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Schedule & Plan for Ancient Athens Day

Hello, there: We are traveling to Athens in mid-March this year and would love some tips on how to plan our one "ancient Athens" day. Day one of Athens trip is Rick's City walk and the National Archeological Museum. No questions about that.

Day two - where I need your help - will be Mars Hill, Acropolis, Acropolis Museum and the Agora. Could you tell us what order to see things, what time to start, what gate to go to, all the insider tips to make the day as crowd-free and efficient as possible. We are 49 and 50, fit (marathoners), and are not scared of getting up early.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by
2519 posts

Just check the RS guide .... step by step guidance to Acropolis & Parthenon AND the Ancient Agora -- plus if you have a smartphone or I-pod/ mp3player, you can download from this website his FREE audio guides to same ... of course, ifyou've done any reading at all on line or in any guide book at all, you'll know to be at Acropolis at opening time.... then u have about 90 minutes at least before group tours begin to crowd the Rock (maybe not as many, in March) ... I believe he also now has a step by step DIY for Acrop Museum.

In order, You should do Parthenon then Mars Hill (BTW that is roman name, greeks call it Aeropagus), Then you have a choice -- see this map to understand (click to enlarge, move w. side-guides). Which way you'll go depends on whether your hotel is NORTH of Acropois or SOUTH.
• IF HOTEL is NORTH - Go out via the ancient theatres and go to Acropolis Museum ... you can have early lunch in their great glass enclosed cafe looking up at the ROck. -- 1st 2 floors are about the early pre-parthenon artifacts .... read up, or ask some of the "Docents" who may be standing around w. badges, to help. TOP floor has VERY useful & fascinating 20+ minute video, live action & animation, re history of Parthenon, very illuminating. Prior study enhances appreciation. THEN go back to the entrance to Acropolis area, and go thru AGORA. exit far side by Stoa of Attalos, near the roman Agora... you'll want to stop for a drink around that time, over there... And you'll wend from there to hotel
• IF HOTEL Is SOUTH - you'll reverse the order after Parthenon -- go straight from Aeropagus thru Agora, and then at its exit, stop for lunch at one of the Cafes, along the border there. Relax, get 2nd wind, then wind your way around the Acropolis on ERMOU (shopping street see map) thru plaka, til you come to promenade south of Acropolis area, and go to New Acropolis Museum. Stop in cafe for beverage and pick-me-up then tour museum and wander back to hotel.

Posted by
4573 posts

Janet as usual has it all figured out. Go up the Acropolis first before it gets too crowded, then the other sights in whatever order works for you geographically. The Acropolis Museum is not to be missed -- very well organized and labeled, the video on the top floor is excellent, also the small (too small) replicas of the original pediments showing what they looked like before time, the Venetians, the Turks, Lord Elgin, and pollution had their way with them. And of course the original sculptures, and good copies of those elsewhere.

The Agora is an interesting walk and the Temple of Poseidon well worth visiting. The Agora Museum need not detain you long. Mars Hill is OK for the view and if you're especially interested in St. Paul. But watch your step going up and down.

Posted by
2258 posts

The beautiful temple in the Agora is the Temple of Hephaestus, probably the most intact Ancient Greek temple in Athens. I saw this from a distance as I climbed the entry hill of the Acropolis in the morning, then ended up there late in the afternoon, and it was beautiful in that late day light. I saw something moving in the path when I was there, and realized it was a large turtle, or maybe land tortoise, about a foot long or so. After snapping my photo, I asked the guard about it. He said there were many, many of them around, and they had been there for hundreds of years. There was a green grassy field right near the temple, I looked carefully and could see glimpses of many of the turtles in the green. An unexpected treat. Maybe someone on the forum knows more of this story.

Posted by
186 posts

Acropolis first, then the Acropolis Museum. The others you can fit in as your walks and meals suit you in the afternoon.

Posted by
14241 posts

I was following the RS guide in late April last year, according to which one could enter at the main entrance of the Agora and then exit at the "back" entrance, close to the Acropolis. However, that back entrance/exit was closed and chained, so the only option was the longish walk back to the main (and only) entrance/exit.