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8 hours layover in Athens - "how to" for visiting the Acropolis Museum?

Early next May, on a Friday, I will have a long layover in Athens and want to travel solo straight into the city just to visit the new Acropolis Museum. I will want to keep this escapade relatively low-cost, so I'll be relying on public transportation.

I have a domestic flight from Heraklion landing at 7:30am, so getting out the airport door should be quick. I then catch the next Aegean flight at 3:30pm, bound for Budapest - so I'd like to get back to the airport a couple of hours before then.

All told, I'm looking at a "safe" window of approx. 5 hours: travel time into Athens plus visit to the new Acropolis Museum. The Museum will be already open by the time I get there and I'll probably just grab a bite in the museum itself before I head back to the airport.

My last time in Athens was decades ago, so my frame of reference is irrelevant now... and I would appreciate your advice as to how best to do this. I assume that taking the metro would be the best option?

Also, I will have my carry-on daypack with me, will I have to check it in at the Museum? If so, where would be the safest place for it: the airport left-luggage or the museum? Do either of these involve a locker that you lock yourself or must you hand the bag over to an attendant?


Posted by
1246 posts


Your best bet is to take the blue metro line (Line 3) to Syntagma and then the red line (Line 2) one stop to Acropoli. The airport to Syntagma takes around 35 minutes and Syntagma to Acropoli only a couple. Trains on the first leg are every 30 minutes and much more frequent on the second.

There is certainly a left luggage with attendant at the airport and my memory is that there is also one at the museum, but perhaps someone else can confirm?

Eating in the museum is probably a good call. The balcony is a very nice place to sit - right under the Acropolis itself - and the restaurant there has been getting good write ups. We've only stopped for coffee and were surprised at the reasonable prices.

One word of caution. There can be very long queues at the museum and you may want to have a plan B, for example visiting the Theatre of Dionysus directly opposite, if you get there and find most of your precious time is going to be spent in a queue.

A couple of years ago they opened up the north face of the Acropolis and this can be accessed from the Theatre entrance. If you've not been to Athens for a while this area will be new to you and is a good second choice.


Posted by
254 posts

You will need to check any backpacks at the museum. Last time I was there I had to check my RS Civita bag.
I would also suggest being at the front door of the museum when it opens.

Posted by
1437 posts

Thank you for the very helpful replies! I'm glad to see that the transportation option is straightforward, Alan.

The doors open at 8am, so I won't make it that quickly. John, when you checked your bag in at the museum, I assume that it was with an attendant? Would you have trusted leaving a notebook or iPod in your bag?

Posted by
4522 posts

The museum café is very nice, I recall it had pretty good food and an even better view.

Just put a luggage lock on your day bag.

Have you previously been to the Acropolis? If not, you may still have time after the museum to walk around the perimeter and to the area on the west side near the entry where you can get a great view of the Agora and up to the Acropolis.

It's an excellent museum, enjoy!

Posted by
254 posts

I don't think there will be a problem with lines at the museum. Although I have only been there in April (twice), there was never a line to get in. And I agree, put a RS lock on your bag.