Have a minimum of time to spend in Athens and want to get to the point? Here’s how:
The Athens International Airport has two terminals, A and B. If you are arriving from a Schengen country you’ll be coming out of terminal B. Flights from all other countries let out at Terminal A. As soon as you exit, look up and follow the signs leading you to the “trains.” The exit I used was from Terminal A at the extreme left end past the baggage courier- which is a good place to drop any unwanted weight before your speedy excursion. Go through the glass doors and you see an escalator just beyond the passenger drop-off area.
Validate one ticket in one of the yellow boxes. Go down the stairs to the platform.
I started timing my trip from the time stamped on my ticket: 13:23
Make sure yours is the right train! You want the one marked with the “M” for Metro.
The Airport is 33km from the city center so the trip will take roughly forty minutes. Get off at the Syntagma Station and change to Line 2 (the red line) Follow the signs suspended from the ceiling to place you toward Aghios Dimitrios (south.) Travel one stop to the Acropolis station.
Take in the Archaeological treasures displayed underground and then make your ascent toward Makriyianni/ Dionysiou Areopagitou.
Stepped out of the train and looked at the clock of the Acropolis Metro Station: 14:22
Turn left and left again on Areopagitou to get to the entrance of the Acropolis whether at the Theater of Dionysos or directly under the Propylea (further down past the Herodus Atticus, then up the steps.) Both are on the right side of the road. The entrance to the New Acropolis Museum is just past the Theater of Dionysos but on the left side.
You need one hour to visit the Acropolis without being rushed for time. Likewise for the New Acropolis Museum, though with its unarguably pleasant cafe and two gift shops, an hour and a half might be more generous. Walking the pedestrian streets of Areopagitou and Makriyianni to get between the two places offers ample opportunities for souvenir shopping and tasting local treats, should you be peckish. My recommendation is a spinach pie at Makriyianni 3.
Don’t forget to leave yourself an hour for the trip back.
How much this will run you:
€12 for the Metro tickets
€12 for Acropolis admission
€5 for Museum admission
€1.50 for the spinach pie
Four and a half to Five hours.
Important! Factors that might change your trip:
- In the evening and on weekends (especially Sundays) and holidays (there are many in Greece) expect to wait longer for trains. The usual five minutes can go up to twelve.
- Be certain there are no strikes scheduled. Metro strikes might not be going on at 8am but be planned between 11am and 4pm.
- The Acropolis closes earlier during off-season. Arrive before 2pm to get in your visit before closing time.
- The Museum is closed on Mondays and on some large holidays.
To be doubly sure about any of this, check at the Breathtaking Athens information counter or one of the travel agencies on the Departure level and ask them. Use the x95 Airport Express bus or a taxi as backup. If you’ve got some cash to spend, think about arranging a private car with driver via the travel counter for about €35 an hour.
Lastly, if you’re wheelchair bound, all of these things are equipped with elevators, even the Acropolis. Do allow yourself a little more time to be able to navigate your way toward them.