Perched above Athens, the ancient Acropolis is perhaps one of the world’s most incredible attractions. Once a thriving citadel, the Greek site attracts more than 17,000 visitors per day.
While it’s unsurprising that so many tourists want to visit, the crowds can make the experience less than enjoyable. Several visitors have headed to Tripadvisor to complain.
‘Bob D’ wrote: “A most underwhelming experience. Crowds, crowds, crowds. Horrible tourist infrastructure and not very safe for us older folks. The best part of this visit was leaving it.”
‘Fredp’ claimed: “Vastly overcrowded. Went as part of an organised tour and the significant overcrowding really spoilt it. The museum and the site were so crowded that we just shuffled around.
“The entrance to the Acropolis itself bordered on dangerous. Once on the top, there’s a little more room to wander around but still very crowded.”
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This year, the Acropolis introduced crowd control policies for the first time in an attempt to cope with overcrowding. Tourists now have to enter at a specified time slot.
While a huge range of tourists visit the ancient site, cruise passengers have been blamed for some of the worst overcrowding. Thousands of tourists are disembarked at Piraeus port and make their way to the Acropolis.
Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies, said: “The vessels are so big you’ve got the size of a small state onboard and at least 30 percent of all of those passengers will have pre-purchased tickets to visit the Acropolis.”
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‘CJ’ wrote on Tripadvisor: “It was so busy and hot when we visited. I would say try to visit when there’s no cruise ships in.”
Despite the crowds, many tourists still recommend visiting the Acropolis. ‘Liz M’ wrote: “Unmissable. Real wow moments seeing this. Definitely one of the wonders of the world.”
So when’s best to visit the Acropolis? Responsible Travel states: “The best time to visit Athens is in the spring, when there are fewer tourists and a scattering of wildflowers, or autumn, when the crowds and sweltering heat have subsided.
“If you do visit in high season, bear in mind that the Acropolis is the country’s most popular attraction, so you should either visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to escape the massive queues and sweltering heat.”
Cruise ship passengers tend to arrive from 9am and that’s when the site is busiest. Passengers have to be back on the ship by the evening so it’s also a good idea to visit in the late afternoon.
Looking for something quieter? Check out the beach resort known as Europe’s Maldives which even has Roman ruins.
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