Where to Find the Best Views of the Acropolis of Athens
Athens’ crowning glory, this hilltop citadel is a vision in gleaming marble, a goosebump-inducing reminder of the achievements of ancient Greece. Though the image of the Acropolis is recognizable even to those who have never stepped foot in Athens, nothing quite compares to the experience of seeing these honey-hued ruins in real life. From rooftop bars to secret neighborhood lookouts, here’s where you can find the best vistas.
1. Mt. Lycabettus
A hilltop perspective without the climb.
At over 900 feet (277 meters), Mt. Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens, and pretty much the only place in the city where you can look down on the Acropolis. With a funicular departing from the intersection of Aristippou and Ploutarchou streets, you can get to the summit without a workout. At the top, there’s a café where you can sip a drink and linger over the views of the millennia-old shrines and temples.
2. Athens’ rooftop establishments
Sunset drinks with the Acropolis as your backdrop.
For a front-row perspective of the ancient monument, it’s hard to beat Athens’ rooftop bars and restaurants. Prices at these elevated venues are rarely low, but you can keep costs down by opting for drinks or casual bites. Hidden away in the Monastiraki area, the 3-floor Couleur Locale draws a local crowd with its reasonably priced drinks and dishes, while bar-cum-cultural venue Bios in Keramikos offers similarly impressive views. The rooftop bar at the Athens Gate Hotel at the foot of the Acropolis is another good choice for a tipple and sweeping vistas.
3. Strefi Hill
A crowd-free neighborhood lookout.
Located in Athens’ alternative-leaning and graffiti-strewn Exarchia neighborhood, this tree-clad hill—a designated municipal park—doesn’t get the same kind of attention as the larger and more central Mt. Lycabettus. You’ll encounter fewer travelers at the summit, where the views of the Acropolis, though distant, are stunning. To get there, ride the metro to Omonia or Victoria stations. Strefi Hill is about a 20-minute walk from either stop.
4. The Acropolis Museum
Floor-to-ceiling close-ups in air-conditioned comfort.
The Acropolis Museum enjoys a privileged setting at the foot of the Acropolis and offers a welcome climate-controlled escape from the blistering summer heat. The views are most spectacular from its top-floor Parthenon Gallery, which is set at the exact same angle as the Parthenon—its wraparound windows afford head-on views. During the peak summer season, it’s best to visit late in the day to avoid the crowds.
5. The National Observatory of Athens
Nighttime vistas of the floodlit ruins.
On its elevated perch atop the Hill of the Nymphs in Athens’ Thissio neighborhood, the National Observatory of Athens welcomes the public for after-dark astronomy sessions. The stargazing and planet-spotting opportunities are plentiful—thanks to the aid of its Doridis telescope—though the views it affords of the magnificent Parthenon bathed in golden light are the real showstopper.
6. Philopappos Hill
Be warned: it’s an uphill slog to the summit of the Acropolis’ southern neighbor, though its proximity to the ancient citadel ensures superior panoramas. Strenuous as it is, the walk is still a pleasant one, with several worthwhile diversions along the way. Look for the Philopappos Monument, an ancient mausoleum; the Church of Agios Demetrios Loumbardiaris, a Byzantine-era chapel tucked away on the lower slopes; and Socrates’ Prison, the rock-carved construction where the great philosopher is said to have been incarcerated. To get here, ride the metro to Acropoli station and start the ascent from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street.
Top-rated Acropolis of Athens tours
Dive deeper with a guided tour of the Acropolis.