I'm a photographer so I'm interested capturing the Acropolis in the early light (hopefully) with minimal people around. Has anyone been there at 8:00 right when it opens? Ideally I'm trying to beat the cruise ship crowds there and hopefully at the Ancient Agoura afterwards. I'd love to hear from someone with direct experience. Also, we'll be coming from Piraeus and either taking a taxi or taking the Metro. Is commute traffic inbound into Athens horrible at about 7:00/7:30 in the morning? In other words would taking a cab save us some time?
I think your concerns about the morning traffic into Athens is well-founded. Taking the Metro would be a much faster and easier way to get there. The tradeoff is that a taxi can take you right to the entrance to the Parthenon. If you take the Metro you'll have to walk up the Acropolis from the Monastiraki Metro Station which will eat up some time, probably at least 30 minutes. The good news is that the Metro starts running early so you can get there by the time they open for the day.
Marcus, there should be a taxi stand near the metro stop in Athens.
We were there right when it opened about 10 years ago... I recall that we got there about 30 minutes ahead of opening time, and there was a very small line. We were perhaps the 3rd people up there, but within about 20 minutes, it was getting pretty crowded.
My first visit to the Acropolis was at 8:30 am when it opened. I was there in April and it was one of the few sites that got crowded quickly in the morning. Within 45 minutes of arriving, the top of the hill was packed. You might try mid-afternoon. Different light but fewer people. Personally, I'd recommend staying at a hotel in Athens, I like the Attalos, a short walk from the Acropolis.
Marcus... I was there a few years ago and stayed at Attalos. As I am a photographer also we arrived before it opened... short walk up...but it was summer so by that time it was already full sunlight and within a few minutes there were tons of tourists everywhere. So, the dream of having it to myself in good light was soon shattered as I realized there would be lots of time on photoshop cloning out the people. Don 't know how late it is open, but maybe try for sunset or hope for an overcast day. I was there in July.
My favorite pictures were taken from the rooftop restaurants at sunset. The Acroplis glows. We are staying at THE ATTLOS. Will be in Santorini for the full moon. My other place for favorite pictures is Lauternbrunen, Switzerland. Also at sunset and full or almost full moon
Metro is easy and station is at base of acropolis plateau. Be aware there is alot of scaffolding on the site. I was there last week and found photo ops limited becuz of scaffolding. yes it is still wonderful and worth the trek.
We were there by 9 am and there were crowds by that time. The walk was easier than we expected. Our hotel rooftop had a nice view of the Acropolis and there were people up there around/past sunset. What we encountered at other ancient sites were early closings-like 3 pm-due to the economy - not enough money to pay people to stay in the parks. This was in late May 2012. Be careful of pickpocketers on the Metro-we had a close call on that.
We went in April 2010. Getting there just before it opened, there were perhaps a dozen people ahead of us. By walking briskly to what I'll call the "front" of the Parthenon (which is at the other end from the entrance), it was possible to get a couple of pictures with nobody in them. If you keep walking forward onto the "rocky bit", you can get more without people intruding too much. About 30 to 50 minutes after opening, the place was getting very busy - with large bunched-up crowds of people clearly on tours, following guides. From the Acropolis you get a good view of the Agora. At the Ancient Agora, it was much less busy even mid-morning. And we found very few people climbed up to the Temple of Hephaestus and so we had it almost to ourselves. Also, there is a fairly gentle walk up Filopappou (sp?) Hill, from where you can get a good photo looking straight across to the Acropolis. We went at sunset, as the flood-lighting of the Parthenon came on (no idea if they can still afford to do that given their economic woes).