Syntagma (Constitution) Square is the center of the city of Athens. It is the oldest and socially most important square of modern Athens, at the epicenter of commercial and political activity. Actually, this is where distances to the other Greek cities are measured from. The Square is named after the Constitution that King Othon conceded to grant, after a popular and military uprising on September 3, 1843.
The square is defined by Vassileos Georgiou A' Street, Othonos Street, Filellinon Street and Amalias Avenue. The eastern side of the square is at a higher level than the western, and is dominated by a set of marble steps leading to Amalias Avenue; beneath these lies the Syntagma Metro station. The stairs emerge below between a pair of outdoor cafes, and are a popular city-center gathering place. Syntagma also includes two green areas to the north and south, planted with shade trees, while in the center of the square a large water fountain traditionally hosts the frequently sighted Syntagma pigeons, along with heat-tormented visitors during the summer.
The Greek Parliament is immediately across Amalias Avenue to the east, and surrounded by the extensive National Gardens, which are open to the public; the Parliament itself is not. Every hour, the changing of the guard ceremony, performed by the Presidential Guard (the Evzones) in their formal traditional uniform in kilts, takes place in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument that pays tribute to those fallen in defense of the homeland, on the area between the square and Parliament building. On Sundays and official holidays, the ceremonial changing of the guard occurs with an army band and the majority of the 120 Evzones present at 11 am.
Locals and tourists alike gather to witness the change of the guard ceremony at Syntagma Square, in front of the Parliament.
On Syntagma Square, and only if your budget is generous, we suggest one of two exceptional hotels:
Grande Bretagne,a Luxury Collection Hotel, boasts luxurious rooms and stunning city views from its magnificent rooftop terrace. The lavish rooms are appointed with the finest furnishings. The marble bathrooms feature a vanity counter, separate bathtub, and shower. Some rooms have balconies facing the Acropolis, others the daily changing of the guard at the parliament building. WiFi is offered throughout. From the Roof Garden Restaurant you can see the original Olympic Stadium as you dive into the pool; the Parthenon atop the Acropolis as you sample the finest Mediterranean cuisine. The hotel Spa offers a thermal suite, complete with herbal bath, grotto, ice fountain, couples retreat and indoor pool.
King George,also a Luxury Collection Hotel, featuring a neoclassical facade, also boasts a prime location on Syntagma Square. Luxuriously decorated with hand-picked items and chandeliers, all rooms open to a balcony or window facing the Acropolis or the tranquil inner courtyard. Bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries stock the bathroom. A signature restaurant, fitness center and meeting facilities are included. Enjoying panoramic views of the Athens City from the seventh floor, Tudor Hall Restaurant serves gourmet and Greek dishes. Guests can relax with a drink or cocktail from the on-site bar.
"The Royal Palace of Athens", 1841, by August Ferdinand Stademann.
Syntagma Square is a hub for several different means of public transportation in Athens; Metro lines 2 and 3 of the Athens Metro have a stop at the Syntagma station which is under the square, the Athens Tram stops here, and buses or trolley-buses are available to many places in the city. Travel between Syntagma Square and the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport is available via both special airport bus and metro lines. Free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet is available here by the Municipality of Athens. The Square is located near many of Athens' oldest and most interesting neighborhoods and tourist attractions.
On the crossroad of Apollonos and Voulis Street at Syntagma and on the way to historic Placa, the visitor will encounter Sokolata, a civil and warm corner store featuring the fine French Valhrona chocolate brand in a great number of blends and 19 varieties, as well as fine teas and home-quality desserts. Stop by, and treat yourself in a fine cup, even now when seated service is not allowed. Even for a brief while, you'll forget your worries and anxieties and feel the comfort of a fine chocolate drink. SOKOLATA - 35 Voulis 35 & 7 Apollonos Streets., sokolata-athens.gr
On the south side of Syntagma Square, Ermou Street is probably the busiest single commercial street of Athens, and indeed Greece. In addition, the area of Kolonaki nearby is a thriving upscale commercial area with a wide selection of shops on every single area of fashion.
On Syntagma Square, and on the corner of the ground floor of the emblematic Hotel Grande Bretagne, the visitor will discover The Grande Bretagne Store. Alternatively, you may visit their website and journey through an opulent variety of exceptional products: - Homemade Marmalade, using fine indigenous ingredients, elegantly packaged. Lemon, Bergamot, Plum & Pomegranate, Mandarin. - Indigenous Greek Honey from Fir Tree, Orange Blossom or varieties of Forest Trees. - Greek Teas with varieties such as Mediterranean (Marjoram & Mountain Tea), Tear of Chios (Green Tea, Chios Mastic, Lemon, Almond, Pistachio) or Herbs of Olympus (Fennel, Thyme, Sage, Camomile, Greek Mountain Tea, Linden) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Kalamata Aged Balsamic Vinegar, to satisfy the highest expectations of the most discerning taste buds. -Traditional Greek Coffee etc., etc.
The Asian Food Quarter
The first Asian food restaurant to open on Apollonos Street, almost on the crossroads with Nikis Street, in Syntagma, was so successful that through the last couple of decades a whole city quarter with Asian food restaurants has made it the place to go, if you crave this cuisine. Among them, we will mention: