Day Tour

Classical to Modern, Athens Architecture (3 Hours)

Context Travel

Athens, Greece

Valid for Travel Now Through: 20 Mar 2019

Classical to Modern, Athens Architecture (3 Hours )

Athens, Greece

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing



Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level



Starting from Syntagma Square, otherwise known as Parliament Square, we will look at the eclectic collection of buildings in the immediate vicinity that signal the emergence of Athens as the capital of Greece. This is a wide-view walk that looks broadly at the built environment from ancient Greek architecture to contemporary buildings.

Syntagma Square is where the Greek parliament meets in one of the city's most important neoclassical buildings, a building that has become a focal point of post-independence Athenian architecture. Here we'll begin our narrative by looking at the heady period of the 19th century when Greek expatriates and their foreign backers in Germany, France, and Britain imported an idealized vision of classicism into the city as a way of forging a new Greek identity. From here we'll set off into the atmospheric neighborhood of Plaka with the Acropolis overhead, to look at some historic precedents for the modern city—including, of course, the ancient structures atop the rock.

Our course this will take us up towards Omonia Square where we will begin to see some very important structures from the late 19th and early 20th century juxtaposed against later buildings, including the National Bank designed by Mario Botha.

From here, depending on time, we'll turn our attention to Kolonaki and the great mansions along Vasilissis Sofia Street, including the Hilton Museum and, if possible, the U.S. Embassy designed by Walter Gropius. Throughout we'll concern ourselves with this question of Greek identity and architecture, and how the past has been appropriated and re-envisioned through the first 200 years of Greek independence.

We will then make our way back to Plaka, which is the only area that offers a picture of the emergence of Athens as a city in the centuries before the formation of the modern Greek State. From Plaka we will proceed to the University, the Academy - both 19th century creations- and onwards to the Kolonaki district, where the different architectural types of 20th-century Athens can best be appreciated side by side. The tour will end at the iconic Hilton hotel, a 20th-century modernist showpiece that stirred up controversy at the time of its creation.

About Us

The Context vision is to create an atmosphere—a context, if you will—for curious travelers to engage with local experts; to give them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight to the casual visitor; to invite them off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and heritage that make these cultural capitals amazing. With no more than six people, you'll participate in an intimate, hands-on, conversational experience. No Tour Guides - Our docents are first and foremost scholars or specialists, with MAs, Ph.D.s, or other terminal degrees in their fields of study.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our docent, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the docent. No shows are treated as last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within three business days need to be made by phone to the emergency number provided in your confirmation email. Cancellations within three business days made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored. Other terms and conditions may apply.

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Italy trip

By: Joe C

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2018

Without question they did a superb job.
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"The Great European Tour"

By: MJ

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018

The trip was our first experience with Context and it was amazing!
Travel Advisor:  Donna Peacock
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By: Shari

Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2018

The 6 person maximum of Context tours really made for an intimate learning experience. The docents they get to lead the groups were top notch!
Travel Advisor:  Kelly Millington