Take a journey through time and discover the glory of ancient Athens when the city reached its peak. Transcend the time walking by extraordinary artifacts, carefully placed under the natural lighting that only an architectural masterpiece can offer: welcome to the Acropolis Museum!
Situated just 280 meters away from the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone that steps foot in Athens. Making its grand opening to the public on the 20th of June 2009, visitors experienced for the first time 14,000 square meters of Acropolis History with almost 4,000 exhibits masterfully composing the permanent exhibition.
The Acropolis Museum - credits: Yakov Oskanov/Shutterstock.com
Ranked 11th in TripAdvisor’s 25 best museums in the world and awarded many times for its architecture and interior natural lighting, Acropolis museum was designed by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiadis. Built with simple lines in a non-classical architectural manner, the museum portrays the architectural and mathematical concepts of the classical era in Athens, hugging all its artifacts and exhibits without stealing the light from their magnificence. The museum consists of four levels: the ground, first and the third floor accommodates the permanent and temporary exhibitions, while the second floor is equipped by a restaurant, shop, the multimedia center and open spaces where you can relax and enjoy the view of the sacred rock. The visitors follow a circular track during their tour in the museum, entering a historical journey of the Acropolis from the first dwelling of the sacred hill to the 5th century AD. Findings from the slopes of the Acropolis hill, the Parthenon, the Erectheion and the Temple of Athena Nike, along with votive offerings to Gods, worship objects and everyday art, all passing through your eyes.
The ground floor
Visitors at the ground floor of the Acropolis Museum in Athens-credits: Paopano/Shutterstock.com
The museum is built artfully upon the archaeological excavation that brought to light an ancient Athenian settlement. The visitors have the chance to take a glimpse of those remnants through the glass floor, before their entrance to the main museum exhibition and during their tour. On the ground floor, you come across the first exhibition of the Acropolis Museum that includes artifacts from the slopes of Acropolis; from everyday objects like cookery pots and symposium vessels to votive offerings used to worship gods, the exhibition provides quite an insight to the ancient Athenian way of life.
The second floor
The sculptures of Karyatides, taken from the Erechtheion temple - credits: saiko3p/Shutterstock.com
Reaching the first floor, you break the time limits and travel back to the Archaic period; this is the time when city-states were formed and the early roots of democracy were put down. The naturally-lighted Archaic gallery presents a wide range of statues and other exhibits found in the Acropolis from the 7th century BC up to the Persian wars (480/79 BC). The exhibits are ordered and demonstrated in such a way that the visitor can get a three-dimensional view of them and observe every subtle line that shapes each one of them.
The third floor
Exhibits at the third floor of the Acropolis Museum - credits: serkan senturk/Shutterstock.com
Continue your tour and escalate up to the third floor, where the Acropolis Museum hits its peak with the Parthenon Gallery. Built between 448 and 438 BC, Parthenon is the emblematic symbol of the ancient Greek spirit reflecting the concepts of mathematics, architecture, beauty, and harmony on its very columns. The Parthenon Gallery demonstrates the artifacts found inside the shrine, the metopes and pediment of the sanctuary within an evocative and naturally lighted environment that aims to give the visitors the feeling of walking inside the Temple of Athena Parthenon. Among the artifacts, the 160-meter decorated frieze with depictions of Panathinaea – the great festival that honored goddess Athena – awaits for the original 80-meter frieze piece demonstrated in the British Museum to return to its rightful place.
Making your way back to the first floor, you can watch exhibits from other Acropolis buildings. Walk by the unique-designed coffered ceiling of the Propylaea and admire sculptures from Athena Nike Temple. Meet the original Caryatids, the elegantly draped clothing maidens that support the south porch of Erechtheion. Finishing your Acropolis Museum rumbling, end up at the north side of the first floor; here you have the chance to watch exhibits found in the Acropolis Hill from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD. Statues, decrees of the Public Assembly of Athens, remnants from the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia, votive objects dating back to the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times, and many more artifacts are demonstrated in the last Gallery of the museum, closing your Acropolis Museum journey with nothing but awe.
Tip! Start your tour in Acropolis and Acropolis museum with a Greek homemade breakfast for a boost of energy and explosion of your taste buds under the shade of the Acropolis Hill. Come with us for a Greek Breakfast Experience with Acropolis and Acropolis Museum!
Acropolis Museum facilities
Acropolis museum New modern building cafe - credits: Maria Chavdarova Mavrona/Shutterstock.com
Acropolis Museum complies with the prescriptions of a 21st-century international museum and provides the visitors with a range of facilities where they can relax, have a nice bite to eat and take a dip in the mysteries of Acropolis. The museum offers audio-visual stimuli all the way through the exhibitions and accommodates a reading lounge and a lab, where you can deepen your knowledge of the Acropolis. On the ground and second floor, you can find a café and a restaurant where among other things you can enjoy jazz sounds after dinner every Friday with an astonishing night view of the Acropolis.
Things to consider when visiting the Acropolis Museum
• Location and entrance
You will find the Acropolis Museum on the southeast of the Acropolis Hill in the historically famous area of Makriyianni. It is about a 15-minute walk from Monastiraki Square or Syntagma Square and a minute away from the Acropolis metro station. Enter the museum through the main access point at Dionysiou Areopagitou Street.
• Tickets and opening times
You can buy your ticket for the Acropolis Museum either at the Museum’s Ticket Desk or through its e-ticketing service. The ticket normally costs 5€, but you can check if you are eligible for reduced admission to the Acropolis Museum's official website.
During the summer season, the museum is open from 8.00 am until 8.00 pm, apart from Monday that operates from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm and Friday from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm. During the winter season, the opening hours are a bit different; the museum opens at 9.00 am every day and closes at 5.00 pm, except for Friday that closes at 10.00 pm and the weekend at 8.00 pm. The last admission in the museum is half an hour before it closes.
Make sure that you visit the official site of the Acropolis Museum to follow any updates on opening times and admission fees.
Keep in mind that you can access the shops, restaurant, and café in the museum for free.
Remember that there is a baggage control system that you are required to go through before you enter the main area of the museum and a cloakroom that you must deposit any backpacks and packages you carry. So it would be best practice to pack lightly when you visit the museum.
You should also know that pets are not permitted in the museum (apart from guide and assistance dogs) and mobile phones are only to be used in the lobby, café, and restaurant of the museum. When it comes to photos, you are free to take pictures of all the exhibitions of the museum, apart from the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis and the Archaic Gallery. Also, bear in mind that flash and photography portable equipment is not allowed.
When visiting Athens, Acropolis Museum is the ultimate must-visit destination and it should always be combined with a walk through the sacred rock of Acropolis. If time management is not your friend and running around hastily doing sightseeing sounds like a nightmare, walk with us for the Best of Athens in one day and experience the highlights of the city, including the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, in only 7 hours!