The Parthenon

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou & Apostolou Pavlou, Athens, 10558, Greece
Telephone: +30 210 321 4172-3

- Mid-range


Landmark of a nation and timeless symbol of classical civilisation.

Goats roamed the Parthenon, the temple that tops the Acropolis of Athens, when Flaubert visited in 1850. When my parents first visited in the 1960s, you could have a picnic inside the temple itself. These days, the site is cordoned off to protect it from the hordes of tourists. Go very early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds (and the heat in summer). The Parthenon was originally so gaudy that, according to Plutarch, locals protested: “We are gilding and adorning our city like a wanton woman.” Bleached by time, it now looks positively Spartan compared to the neon-bright metropolis clamouring at its feet. Startlingly symmetrical, you’ve got to experience it up close to get the full impact. This feat of engineering is looking sharper than ever, now that the painstaking restoration that began in 1983 is almost complete.


Value for money

Price advice

Admission €12, concessions €6. Be sure to ask for a combined ticket that also allows free entry to several other archaeological sites in Athens (the ancient Agora, Keramikos, the Roman Agora, the Olympeion, and the sites on the North and South slopes of the Acropolis).

Expert tips

It’s open (and free) on the August full moon. Mind-blowing.

Time your visit to watch the sunset, if possible.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • First-time travellers
  • History
  • Design and architecture