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We came to Greece because our 10-year-old daughter had become obsessed with Greek mythology through reading the Percy Jackson series of books. If your kids haven’t read this series, go out and get them now! These books completely capture kids’ interest and passion. Leading up to the trip, I was impressed with Ella’s immense knowledge of the Greek Gods and their stories. Although we were all excited for our visit to Athens, it was Ella that was the most passionate.
The main sight that brings most people to Athens is the Acropolis and we knew we wanted our visit to be a special one. While we normally do DIY tours with guidebooks, relying on the information boards at sites, we wanted a more enriching experience for our visit to the Acropolis. Having a guide allowed us a much greater understanding of what we were seeing as we learned more about the history of Athens and the mythology behind it.
Our Mythology Tour of the Acropolis and Ancient Agora with Greeking.Me was an engaging 4-hour history lesson. The kids enjoyed hearing the stories about the Gods and I was super impressed with their ability to answer our guide’s questions. Instead of simply seeing ruins, the guide brought the Acropolis to life and we were able to see it as it once was.
The Acropolis with Kids
We were visiting in August, a month notorious for large crowds and one of the best things we did was have our Greeking.me guide purchase our Acropolis tickets in advance since the queues were very long. Tickets cost 20 euros/adult, kids are free for the Acropolis, or you can buy a combination ticket to all the ancient sights for 30 euros/adult.
We met our guide, Aris, at the Acropolis metro station and headed towards the Acropolis. Greeking.me uses highly skilled archaeologist and licensed tour guides, and we were immediately impressed with Aris’s knowledge and passionate for history and mythology. He won the kids over immediately by handing out little Playmobile Greek God figurines for the kids to hang onto for the tour.
We started our tour at the Theatre of Dionysus, the world’s first theatre, where comedies and tragedies were presented. Aris explained that this was the birth of democracy, which led to a good discussion with the kids about what democracy means.
We climbed higher to Asclephion, a place where people sought cures for their maladies. In the Percy Jackson books the Greek God, Aslepius is mentioned many times. Gavin wasn’t feeling too well on the day of our tour, so Aris joked that he was praying to Asclephius for his cure.
Next we saw one of the most impressive buildings of its time, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This theatre was built in 160 AD, but has continued to be a venue for leading musical performances.
Our kids are certainly familiar with the sports brand Nike, but it was interesting to learn about the Temple of Nike. It is a small temple sitting at the front of the Acropolis with an interesting story behind it. When Theseus defeated the Minotaur on Crete, he was supposed to return with white sails symbolizing his victory. For some reason he returned with black sails, to which his father, Aegeus, threw himself off the cliffs of the Acropolis in despair. It is for this reason that the sea around Greece is apparently called the “Aegean sea”.
We then ascended through the Propylaia, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis. While there were lots of people, we were really excited to get to the top of the Acropolis. One of the themes we continually discussed on our Greeking.me tour was that the Acropolis represents history laid on history. While it was built by the ancient Greeks, taken over by the Romans, converted to a church when Christianity swept through the region, and later to a mosque when Islam became popular.
The Parthenon is the crown jewel of the Acropolis and Aris, our guide, showed us drawings of what it would have looked like in its time. What was most interesting to us was that the buildings of the Acropolis were not white and gray but were brightly coloured. It was also interested to hear how some of the most important artifacts were taken by Lord Elgin and Britain continues to ignore campaigns for their return.
While the Parthenon is the most impressive monument, our Percy Jackson fan was really interested in Erechtheion and seeing the spot where Poseidon’s trident struck the ground, making a salt spring. Hearing these mythological stories really accentuated the sights that we were seeing and brought the Acropolis to life.
The second part of our tour took us through the Ancient Agora, the centre of commercial and political activity. Tickets for the Ancient Agora cost 8 euros/adult, free for children or you can purchase the combined Acropolis/Agora ticket for 30 euros.
The Temple of Hephaistos is one of the best preserved sites in Athens. It is incredible that much of it is still standing and has withstood earthquakes, wars and other natural disasters. The museum of the Ancient Agora is housed in the renovated Stoa of Attalos and gave an excellent idea of what the Agora might have looked like at its prime.
Our Greeking.Me guided tour of the Acropolis and Ancient Agora was the perfect way to visit this magnificent area. We got so much more out of the experience as Aris wove the Greek mythology stories into the sites we were seeing in front of us. While this tour is perfect for every one, Percy Jackson fans will really enjoy the mythology connections between the books and places that you visit.
Greeking.me offers a number of tours in Athens and throughout Greece. While they offer kid-focused tours like their Percy Jackson tours and family tours, they also offer a wide variety of tours of the major sites and food and culture tours. They also organize multi-day packages for Percy Jackson fans or those looking to explore Athens and its surroundings.
You might also like reading about our Athens Food Tour.
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Disclaimer: We were hosted on our Mythology Tour by Greeking.me but as always all opinions are our own.