A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

guide-to-exploring-ancient-ruins-in-athens-greece

Exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece is on many travel bucket lists and rightly so! The amount of history and architectural beauty in Athens should put this city on everyone’s radar. After discovering the history behind Greece’s capital and spending three days visiting archaeological sites, I have put this guide together to explain all you need to know about exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece.

Read more: My travel bucket list – Top 20

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

Where to go:

Acropolis

Of course, first on this list HAS to be the Acropolis. As the number one attraction to visit in the city and a UNESCO world heritage site, you simply cannot go to Athens without exploring the Acropolis to admire one of the worlds most impressive and symbolic collection of ancient ruins.

Tips:

  • Take a trip to the Acropolis museum before heading up the slopes to give yourself a great insight into what you are admiring.
  • Climb the hills to the Acropolis early the next day to beat the crowds. Arrive just before opening time and take full advantage of the peace before the masses of tourists arrive.
  • Ensure you bring enough water to keep hydrated. Up on the hill, it can get incredibly hot in the height of summer. 
  • Wear non-slippy and comfortable shoes.

Entry price: €20, €10, free

Opening hours: Open daily from 08.00am – 20.00pm

Address: Athens 105 58, Greece

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

Ancient Agora

My second favourite site after the Acropolis, the ancient Agora is a surprisingly large complex with the temple of Hephaestus towering over the rest of the ruins. The Ancient Agora was considered the heart of the city, used by the people of Athens for social, religious and political gatherings in addition to being a marketplace. Although quite large, much of the Ancient Agora is still in ruins.

Entry price: €8, €4, free

Opening hours: Open daily from 08.00am – 15.00pm

Address: Adrianou, Athina 105 55, Greece

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

Hadrians Library

Located close to Monastiraki square, Hadrians library was perhaps one of the most impressive buildings built by Hadrian the emperor. However, much of it was destroyed by the Herulian invasion in 267 A.D and still remains in ruins.

Entry price: €4, €2, free

Opening hours: Open daily from 08.00am – 15.00pm

Address: Areos 3, Athina 105 55, Greece

Roman Agora

Upon entering the Roman Agora, you will be greeted by the well-preserved Gate of Athena Archegetis. However, the most famous building of the Agora is the Tower of the Winds. A beautiful marble clocktower that was once used to measure time and for weather forecasting. This tower is known as one of the must-see attractions in Athens and must not be missed.

Entry price: €6, €3, free

Opening hours: Open Monday to Friday from 08.00am – 15.00pm. Open Saturday/ Sunday from 08.00am – 17.00pm

Address: Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece

Kerameikos

Located about a 15-minute walk from central Athens, Kerameikos was once a community popular with vase painters and potters. After repeatedly suffering from damages due to an overflowing nearby river, Kerameikos was turned into a cemetery which later evolved into the most significant cemetery in the ancient city of Athens.

Today, you can explore the ruins and check out the museum that is located within the grounds which showcases findings from the sites such as memorials which once adorned the graveyard, jewellery and vases.

Entry price: €8, €4, free

Opening hours: Open daily from 08.00am – 15.00pm

Address: Ermou 148, Athina 105 53, Greece

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

The archaeological site of Lykeion

The archaeological site of Lykeion has been named as one of the most significant sites in the history of the human spirit. Back in 335 BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle founded his own philosophical school and taught there for approximately twelve years.

These days, compared to the rest of the ancient ruins in Athens, there isn’t a lot to see. However, if you are in the area and have purchased the combined ticket, it is worth a quick trip to discover the interesting history behind the site.

Tip: If you are short on time, I would recommend skipping this site as there is much more to see elsewhere.

Entry price: €4, €2, free

Opening times: Open Monday – Friday 08.00am – 15.00pm

Address: Rigillis Street, Athens

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

Visible from the Acropolis and right in the centre of Athens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is an interesting site to explore. Work began on the temple in the 6th century BC, but was not completed until 700 years later when Hadrian the Emperor took over in AD 131. Upon completion of the temple, there were 104 columns, but these days only 15 remain.

Entry price: €6, €3, free

Opening times: Open daily 08.00am – 18.00pm

Address: Athens 105 57, Greece

Arch of Hadrian

Located next to the Olympieion and the Temple of Zeus, the Arch of Hadrian is worth a flying visit. Built as part of a wall by Hadrian the Roman emperor in 131 AD, the arch was built to represent a separation between the old and the new cities of Athens. The arch is perfect for budget travellers hoping to admire some ancient ruins free of charge.

Entry price: Free

Opening times: Always open

Address: Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias, Athina 105 57, Greece

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

How long do you need?

We spent 3 days in Athens and I feel this was definitely enough time to explore the cities many ancient ruins. However, if you are planning to take a more relaxed approach to your trip, I would recommend staying an extra day or two to explore the ruins at a more leisurely pace.

The cost of exploring ancient ruins in Athens

For 30 EUR, you can purchase a combined ticket which will grant you entry into all of the sites listed above. This combined ticket is the perfect option for anybody that plans on visiting all or most of the ancient ruins in Athens. Certain individuals can purchase this ticket at a reduced rate of 15 EUR while others, including EU students with a valid student card, can take advantage of a completely free ticket. To see a complete list of who is entitled to reduced or free entry, check out this website.

A guide to exploring ancient ruins in Athens, Greece

Even if you are unable to take advantage of discounted prices, 30 EUR is a complete bargain for the amount of history and amazing sites you will get to explore. If you plan on visiting all of these ancient ruins in Athens, you will save approximately 28 EUR by purchasing the combined ticket as opposed to paying for each attraction separately. That’s almost a 50% saving!

Read more: Checking in: Luxury at Wyndham Grand, Athens

Have you got any other tips to share about exploring the ancient ruins in Athens? Leave them in the comments below!

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