The Best Time to See the Parthenon?

Jan 11th, 2006, 01:55 PM
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The Best Time to See the Parthenon?

Greetings to all Fodorians! We are planning an Easter trip to Greece and are already salivating about seeing the Parthenon for the first time. But what is the best time (hour, month, season) to see this ageless wonder? And the best approach? I've heard you can visit a special adjacent hill that gives you a great view, then walk to the site itself---true? Is the site open 24/7? Is it best to see it at dawn? At sunset? At---gasp, pause, emphasis---full moon? In your opinion, what was the most amazing time to see this amazing place? And do you have any special memories of your own trip there?
Cheyne is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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In the morning before it gets too hot is the best time. You can't gain entry at night when it's dark.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 02:42 PM
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The site is gated and you need a ticket. I don't know the hours but I imagine you can find out. I agree that the cooler the better. There is a pretty good view from many spots in Athens.
Nikki is online now  
Jan 11th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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The hours are May to Oct Mon to Fri 8:30 am to 7 pm, Sat and Sun 8:30 to 3. You can purchase a book of tickets that allow you to visit 6 or 7 ancient sites including the Acropolis. It is cheaper than paying for individual entry.

I suspect the hill you are referring to is Areopagos Hill. As I recall if you go to the Acropolis main gate, turn around 180 degrees and walk forward veering to the right you will find the hill. Do not follow the path that parallels the edge of the acropolis and you will find it. Maybe a hundred or two hundred meters away. This hill is where in 51 AD Paul preached to the Athenians. Beware there have been millions of people on this little hill and the marble has been polished until it is like ice. It is very slippery.

I agree with the other posters. Get there at opening before the crowds and when it is cool.
The acropolis looms over the Plaka area and there are literly hundreds of wonderful views.
There are numerous tavernas with views of the acropolis all lit up at night. There is something very special about it. Every evening before bed we would go to the rooftop bar at Attalos Hotel and have a nightcap and just drink in the view of the acropolis.
stanbr is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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My thought is to get there about 11:00. It will be hotter, but the crowds will actually be lighter. We got there at 9:00 am, and had to deal with the hoards of tours. By 10:30-ish, the crowds were very much diminished.

At night, the view from Areopagos Hill is indeed stunning. Bring a tripod for your camera and give it a second or two exposure. Also, if you have a small flashlight, bring it. Most of the pathway is unlit and the steps, in addition to being slippery are uneven
joearena99 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 07:38 PM
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We also arrived about 11:00 AM when we were in Athens this past June. We planned to go earlier but were still getting over the long trip. The crowds were not bad and there was a great breeze. May have just been lucky
but the weather and time of day couldn't have been better. (It was early June).
AKNIC is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 09:56 PM
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Hi, Cheyne!

I agree with stanbr: The marble hill of the Acropolis has been worn smooth as glass by millions of visitors. When we visited in '04, I got overeager when we glimpsed the Parthenon. I rushed ahead and had a nasty fall. So, no kidding, it pays to be careful.

Hope your Easter trip is wonderful!

smalti is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 10:09 PM
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I doubt it will be all that hot in April any time during the day - wasn't in May. So I wouldn't worry about that unless you're from Seattle or someplace that doesn't get over 75 degrees and you'll pass out if it's 77.

All the guide books say "get there early before the crowds and the tour buses." The guide books say that about nearly everything. Everybody reads those same guide books.

We're not early risers, so most of the time we'd rather brave the crowds, but on those occasions when we have gone early, we haven't noticed it was all that much better - and often worse - than LATE. We ambled through the Plaka and up the hill, pausing to admire views of the Ancient Agora, etc., and got to the Acropolis about noon. Plenty of tour groups and people but not awful. We spent quite a bit of time up there and it was about 2:45 before we were ready to leave. At which time we noticed that there were fewer people by half or more. So I'd recommend about 3PM unless it's a day they close early or April hours are shorter than Stanbr listed for May-Oct. Then you can wander down the hill admiring the views and, especially if you're staying someplace without an Acropolis view, have a leisurely dinner at a taverna in the Plaka with a view as the sun sets and the lights come on. Sat on the roof at the Attalos for sunset till it got pretty dark and thought that was more impressive than just seeing it at night.

A word of warning about hours. Last May about all the museums closed at 2 or 3PM including the Nat'l Arch. Museum and the Arch. Mus. in Iraklion. So you could do the museum in the morning and the Parthenon and some of the other things on the combined ticket in the afternoon. (Some of those closed early, too. Keramikos, which you might not be interested in anyway, for one. Info said that the Roman Forum closed at 2 or 3 but it was open till 5.)

Don't put complete faith in guide books or museum or gov't websites. A lot of the info we had from some of those sources was wrong, including the Nat'l Arch. Mus. hrs. And some of the web sites hadn't been updated for a year or more. Check with your hotel or tourist info when you arrive.
polly229 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2006, 03:58 AM
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Note that Greek Easter is different from the 'western' Easter, and is on Apr 23rd this year. That probably won't make any difference to your plans, but some places may be closed on the 24th, Easter Monday.

Go to the Parthenon first, and your ticket will entitle you to visit many of the other sites at no addtional charge.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 12th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Regarding doing the Parthenon first and getting the combined ticket, does anybody know if you can get the combined ticket at any of the other sites like the Ancient Agora or Roman Forum? When I said to do the agora first and the Parthenon later in the afternoon, I assumed you could get the combined ticket at any of the places on it, which is the case most places with that kind of ticket. Does anyone know the answer to this? (Was considering doing that myself, maybe returning to the Parthenon and visiting some of the included sites we missed last year.) However, the combined ticket doesn't all have to be used in one day, so even if you have to get it at the Parthenon, you could go there in the afternoon and visit some of the other things in the next day or two.
polly229 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Probably better to say Roman Agora rather than Roman Forum.
DejaVu is offline  
Jan 12th, 2006, 04:30 PM
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I believe you can purchase the full book of tickets at the Roman Agora and the Ancient Agora as well.
stanbr is offline  
Jan 13th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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It seems logical that you would be able to buy a book of tickets at sites other than the Acropolis. That's where I bought mine, and I was following what is written in the 'Greek Island Hopping 2005', which states: "Tickets to the Acropolis (€12) now include 48-hour free entry to five other nearby sites which would otherwise cost an additional €14 if you bought entry tickets to each separately. It therefore pays to visit the Acropolis first in order to buy the multi-entry park ticket."

Guidebooks start to become outdated even before they are published, so perhaps stanbr is correct that they can now be purchased at other sites.
Heimdall is offline  
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