Visit the Acropolis early in the morning
Although most people are not early birds, one of the best times to visit the Acropolis is early in the morning. You should start your tour at either 8 am or 8.30 am. The reason is that after 9 am the travelers from the cruises arrive by the thousands! The entrance of the site becomes overcrowded. Even if you have pre-purchased skip-the-line tickets, you can still wait up to an hour (or sometimes even more) in line to enter. There is a different line for the ticket office and a different one for entering the site. It is strongly recommended to buy your tickets in advance to skip the line at the ticket office which moves slowly. However, even with a ticket, if you arrive at the wrong time, you may lose a lot of time in the other line. For most months, 8.30 am is a good time to enter the Acropolis and start your guided tour. For July and August, 8 am is even better. You will still find the big crowds at some point of your tour but chances are this will be during your descent and it will not affect your experience that much.
Hint: Careful where you pre-purchase your Acropolis ticket from. The official price is 20 EUR during peak season and 10 EUR during low season. Some websites sell this ticket much higher, to make a profit. It is better to let your local tour operator buy the tickets for you at the official price.
The other reason to visit the Acropolis at 8 am or 8.30 am is because during the summer months (September included), the Greek sun is really hot! The Acropolis is a hill that does not offer many shadow spots and you will be competing for those few spots with thousands more visitors. The earlier you start climbing up the hill the better.
Tip: Always wear a hat and sunscreen, and carry your bottle of cold water with you.
Visit the Acropolis late in the evening
If you have the option to visit the Acropolis later in the day, you should definitely grab the chance! One of the best times to visit the Acropolis Hill is the last 2 hours before the closing of the site. This way, you will enjoy the sunset from the Hill, admiring the panoramic view of Athens and the sweet light of the sun caressing the white marbles of the monuments. During peak season, the Acropolis site is closed at 8 pm. So the recommended starting time for your tour is 6 pm. There are no crowds during this time which makes it much more enjoyable. There is also no heat. On top of that, it is much easier to find availability for a guided tour with an excellent local expert during this time.
All in all, the best time to visit the Acropolis during peak season is either early in the morning (8 am or 8.30 am) or late in the evening (6 pm).
Note: The above recommendations apply for the peak season in Athens (May-October). For the rest of the year, there are no big crowds or heat, so you can plan your visit without any such restrictions.
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