The Acropolis in Athens has limited visitor numbers due to overcrowding

To protect the historic landmark, hourly caps on visitor numbers are being trialled

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Athenian Acropolis
Photograph: Shutterstock

The Acropolis in Athens is one of the world’s most popular landmarks, and the most visited archaeological site in Greece. It’s not hard to see why – originally constructed in the fifth century BC, it’s perhaps the ultimate icon of ancient European history. Its popularity, however, is becoming a problem.

Up to 23,000 people have crammed into the site on some days thiis year – that's 70 percent more than in 2022 – and there have been growing concerns that overcrowding is causing damage to the ancient landmark. Plus, it’s just not enjoyable to visit the architectural complex with the current visitor numbers, which often leads to queues and bottlenecks.

As of Monday September 11, a new ‘visitor-zone’ time slot will be introduced, as will the electronic scanning of tickets, to speed up entry for visitors who booked in advance online. There will be separate entry point for large tourist groups. The daily cap on visitors will be 20,000 people.

At the Acropolis, more than 50 percent of footfall arrives by noon, often in the form of large groups dropped off by cruise ships. Under the new plans, the number of people allowed in at certain times will vary throughout the day, with no more than 3,000 people able to enter between 8am and 9am, and no more than 2,000 in the hour after that.

Lina Mendoni, Greece’s Culture Minister, explained that while tourism is welcomed, the Acropolis – which is a Unesco World Heritage Site – needs to be protected.

This comes after the site was closed for several days in July due to concerns about the heat, and staff who had been told they needed to work in the conditions went on strike.

The site is open from 8am until 8pm every day. There are currently no plans to change opening hours, nor are there plans to set a time limit for visitors. So, once you’re inside, make the most of marvelling at the splendour of this wondrous site. Just remember to book your slot in advance. 

Did you see Greece is offering a free holiday to tourists who fled due to wildfires?

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