Athens: Visit the new Acropolis Museum for €1

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The Nike Athena Temple at the Acropolis. Photo by Audrey Sykes.
The Nike Athena Temple at the Acropolis. Photo by Audrey Sykes.

The new Acropolis Museum is 2009’s addition to Athens’ already impressive archeological area of the Acropolis. The new, sleek, and grandiose building holds over 4,000 artifacts from surrounding excavations. The museum is not only impressive to the eye, but its one-euro entrance fee is also impressive to the wallet.

Here’s a run down of what the upgrade brings:

New and improved

A mere 400-meter shift from its previous spot at the top of Acropolis, the new museum sits at the start of the hill’s slope atop ancient ruins of the Byzantines. To compensate for sitting directly on artifacts, the entrance’s glass floors allow visitors to view excavations directly under their feet.

The museum itself is dazzlingly modern and almost 14 times larger than the old museum (closed in 2007). A budget of about €130 million was invested in the four-level structure, providing chic displays, light-senitive glass walls, and illuminated open floors. The café level on the third floor provides a gorgeous view of Athens, and the terrace is an ideal escape from the bustle and hustle of the touristy Plaka district.

What to see

The layout of new Acropolis Museum follow’s a timeline that’s captivating and easy to follow. Small placards in English run throughout the levels, offering short and simple explanations for displays, time periods, and cultural formations.

The ground floor slopes upwards as vases, tools, toys and jewelry from the Neolithic period (around 3000B.C.) line the walls. Dozens of sculptures (from 600B.C. to 79B.C.) that were once votives to the Greek gods make up the second floor display. The layout lets visitors inspect pieces from all sides, from the stunning four Caryatids to other impressive models of Greek gods and heroes.

Photo courtesy of http://www.newacropolismuseum.gr.

Photo courtesy of http://www.newacropolismuseum.gr.

Perhaps the museum’s most magnificent display is the Parthenon exhibit on the top floor. A short informative video explains the Parthenon’s exhibit, history, and architecture in a simple and captivating way.

Both first timers and history buffs will ooh and ahh at the former Parthenon adornments of the metopes, frieze, and giant pediments. It’s a refreshing overview that’s fun and engaging for all visitors.

The best way to tackle the Acropolis

The Acropolis is as magnificent in size as it is in historical depth, and most of what is left in good condition remains indoors for protection. A good tip is to visit the new Acropolis Museum before trekking towards the Parthenon, ancient theaters and agoras; it does wonders to help visualize the past.

As a bonus the archeologists responsible for digging up the thousands of artifacts actually hang around inside the museum, waiting to give visitors a brief lesson about any questions that might arise.

The new Acropolis Museum is an excellent opportunity for visitors to wrap their heads around Greek history in a beautiful setting. It’s quite possibly the best bang for your euro on a Greek vacation.

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 8 AM to 8 PM. Closed Mondays.
Admission: €1
See www.theacropolismuseum.gr for more details.

About the author

About the author: Audrey Sykes hopped across the pond from the US eight years ago for a Masters degree in global journalism. Since then, she’s lived all over Europe, reporting and editing for music sites, snowboard mags, and travel media. She’s also the Amsterdam author for Party Earth, a guide to nightlife across Europe.

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2 thoughts on “Athens: Visit the new Acropolis Museum for €1”

  1. On my recent trip to Greece in the month of August, I was fortunate enough to stay a few days in Athens before returning home to Canada. Needless to say, I grabbed my brother and made it over to see the much heralded new museum.
    Out trip started in Egaleo where we boarded the metro and headed towards Plaka in order to arrive at the museum. On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that stopping off at various stations along way will get you prepared for what you’ll be seeing at the museum. The metro system itself is a miniature museum and worth exploring for those who have more free time.

    Upon arriving at the museum, you cannot help but to be impressed by the exterior of the structure and the way it blends in with the ancient Acropolis. I rather enjoyed the merging of the new world (museum) and old world (Parthenon) structures even though the debate still rages on as to whether the museum structure itself is too modern for the surroundings.

    Upon entering the museum, you feel a sense of awe and inspiration. Nothing you’ve seen in books or online about Ancient Greece can really prepare you for what your eyes will encounter and absorb. In a word “breathtaking”. You are immediately transported into the past and feel as if you’ve become an Ancient Greek and I couldn’t help feeling that just around any corner I was going to bump into Plato or Socrates. It took us a couple of hours to complete the tour because quite simply you need all that time to completely immerse yourself into the splendor and magnificence of this structure.

    I must admit. it was the most interesting and fulfilling part of my trip to Greece, and keep in mind I visited the islands before going to Athens. Little side note, all women who are interested in visiting the museum, I suggest you wear pants or shorts because the levels are divided by glass and if you’re wearing a skirt located on the 3rd floor you will be providing a “free show” to the other tourists below.

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  2. Pingback: €1 new Acropolis museum entry fee: Athens, Greece

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