Ah, the Acropolis! The ancient citadel that has stood the test of time, looming high above Athens and tempting tourists from around the world. But let’s be real: as a kid, the mere thought of visiting a ‘historical landmark’ probably made you want to hide under your bed. And as a parent, the thought of dragging your little ones through endless ruins might make you want to join them. But with a bit of humor, some strategic planning, and a whole lot of snacks, we’re here to show you how to conquer the Acropolis with kids in tow. And quick pack some more snacks…always more!
We are fortunate enough to have a Greek mythology loving kid, mainly inspired by Nat Geo’s podcast Greeking Out but we still had to navigate the crowds, the heat and essentially, a big pile of rocks!
Getting There: Navigating Athens with Kids
Getting to the Acropolis can be a bit of an adventure, especially if you’re navigating Athens with kids in tow. It’s like herding stray cats! But don’t let this put you off. Stray cats can be herded, most likely with snacks, but still…anything is possible. Our first piece of advice? Embrace the chaos. Between the bustling streets, honking horns, and the distracting stray animals, Athens can feel like a bit of a madhouse. But that’s all part of the fun! If you are travelling with super little legs, you might want to take the elevator – you’ll save your energy for exploring the ruins and you’ll be able to take in some pretty epic views without breaking a sweat. However, as part of our intense fitness regime (ha!) walking is our primary source of exercise. The trick is to take it slow. We had a guide with us who knew all the quiet shady spots to sit us down and tell us the stories.
The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Acropolis with Children
Start Early: The Acropolis can get pretty crowded, especially during peak season. To avoid the crowds and the heat, start your day as early as possible. You’ll have more time to explore and you’ll avoid the midday sun.
Bring Snacks and Water: It’s important to stay hydrated and fueled up when you’re exploring the Acropolis. Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks for your kids. And if you forget, (which you shouldn’t have done, t was the first thing I said!) don’t worry – there are vendors selling water and snacks at the entrance to the site.
Make it a Game: Let’s face it, history can be a bit dry for kids. But with a little imagination, you can make exploring the Acropolis fun and engaging. Turn it into a scavenger hunt or play a game of “I Spy” to keep your kids entertained and curious. Having a guide brought this to life for us and the kids, relating what we were seeing to the Gods and myths that we had heard about.
Take Breaks: The Acropolis is a lot of walking and climbing, so it’s important to take breaks when you need to. Find a shady spot to sit and rest, or head to the nearby museum to cool off and learn more about the history of the site.
Bring Sunscreen and Hats: The sun can be brutal in Athens, especially during the summer months. Make sure to pack sunscreen and hats to protect you and your kids from the sun’s rays.
Be Respectful: The Acropolis is a historical and cultural treasure, so it’s important to be respectful when you’re exploring the site. Make sure your kids understand the importance of being mindful of their surroundings and not touching or damaging any of the ruins.
Hire a kid friendly guide: Our guide was great with the kids, retelling Greek myths, using playmobil figures an answering all of our weird and wonderful questions.
Avoid the Free days:
6 March (Memory of Melina Mercouri)
18 April (International Monument Day)
18 May (International Museum Day)
The last weekend of September (European Days of Cultural Heritage)
Every first Sunday of the month, from November 1st to March 31st annually.
As wonderful as this incentive is, the Acropolis is packed on these dates!
Picture Perfect: Capturing the Best Family Photos at the Acropolis
Ah, the Acropolis – a true gem of ancient Greece and the perfect spot for capturing those picture-perfect family photos. But let’s be real – trying to get everyone to smile and look at the camera while navigating the crowds and the heat can be a bit of a challenge. With a little bit of planning and a healthy dose of patience, you’ll be able to capture some truly epic family photos that will make your Instagram followers green with envy. (Looking for more tips on how to take great pictures, download our free smartphone photography cheat sheet). So grab your hats and sunscreen, and get ready to strike a pose among the ruins of one of the most iconic landmarks in the world
- Timing is Key: The best time to take photos at the Acropolis is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light is soft and golden. Midday sun can create harsh shadows and make it difficult to get good shots.
- Explore Different Angles: While the Parthenon is undoubtedly the most famous landmark at the Acropolis, there are plenty of other interesting angles and details to capture. Try getting close-up shots of the columns, or take a wide-angle shot of the entire site from one of the lookout points.
- Incorporate People: While the ruins are the star of the show, don’t forget to incorporate your family into your photos. Candid shots of your kids exploring the site can make for some memorable and its much easier than asking them to pose for the 16th time.
- Experiment with Lighting: Play with natural lighting to create interesting and dramatic effects in your photos. For example, shooting against the light can create a dramatic silhouette.
- Take Advantage of Golden Hour: The hour leading up to sunset can create a magical and ethereal quality to your photos, as the warm light bathes the site in a golden glow. Make sure to plan ahead and time your visit accordingly.
Snack Attack: Where to Find Kid-Friendly Food Near the Acropolis
Let’s be real, exploring the Acropolis with kids can work up quite an appetite and Europe isn’t particularly well known for be gentle on your budget but Athens has a few treats up its sleeves. There are plenty of budget-friendly options for kid-friendly food near the site.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy snack, head to one of the many street vendors selling gyros and souvlaki. These delicious wraps are filled with tender meat, fresh veggies, and creamy tzatziki sauce, and are the perfect handheld snack for exploring the site.
If you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal, check out one of the local tavernas or cafes. These eateries offer a variety of Greek dishes at reasonable prices, and are usually happy to accommodate kids. Some popular options include moussaka (a layered eggplant and beef casserole), spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), and saganaki (fried cheese). The further you move from the tourist attractions the cheaper and probably better the food will be.
For those on a tight budget, there are also plenty of small shops, grocers and supermarkets near the Acropolis that offer pre-made sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Pick up some fresh fruit, yogurt, or cheese, and enjoy a picnic lunch with a view of the ancient ruins.
Beyond the Acropolis: A new angle on the most famous site in Athens
Alright, here comes the sneaky bit of insider information. The Acropolis is pretty cool and all, but have you checked out Filopappos Hill? It’s like the Acropolis’s less famous but equally stunning neighbor. And the best part? It’s usually less crowded than the main attraction (less being in the important word here!).
First off, the views from Filopappos Hill are absolutely breathtaking. From the top, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the Acropolis, the city below, and even the sea in the distance. Plus, there are plenty of spots to take epic family photos – just watch out for the occasional selfie stick-wielding tourist.
But the real fun starts when you start exploring the hill of the muses. You’ll find all sorts of cool ruins and ancient artifacts tucked away among the trees and rocks, and there’s even a monument to the famous Greek orator Demosthenes. And if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll love the chance to run around and burn off some energy after all that sightseeing at the Acropolis.
Just be warned – Filopappos Hill can be a bit steep in places, so make sure everyone wears comfy shoes and brings plenty of water. But trust us, the views and the history are totally worth it. So next time you’re in Athens, make sure to add Filopappos Hill to your family’s must-visit list!
Memories to Last a Lifetime: Our Family’s Acropolis Adventure
We loved Athens, feel free to read our post Athens in 48 Hours: A Family-Friendly Itinerary for Exploring the Ancient City for some evidence why. It is an amazing city with many highlights. The Acropolis was amazing and it was timed perfectly with our kids fascination with Greeky mythlogy. These are the opportunities which worldschooling bring, and you can learn more about that here. Hiring a guide helped to bring our visit to the Acropolis alive, drop us a message if you would like more details about him.
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