Day Tour

Classical to Modern, Athens Architecture (3 Hours)

Context Travel

Athens, Greece

Valid for Travel Now Through: 01 Feb 2021

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

Context Travel offers cultural and historical tours and activities led by deep subject-matter experts in over 50 cities around the world. With coverage of lesser known locales as well as main city sites, our experts take clients through in-depth, thematic topics to help them get to know a city more deeply. The tours are designed to be the ideal environment for learning – they are conversation-driven private experiences that are structured, but never scripted.

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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Reviews and Recommendations for Context Travel


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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

Context Travel: One very good tour, one medium good tour

By: Rob

Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2019

We had two tours, one entitled "Intro to HK: Colony to Financial Powerhouse" and the other "Kowloon Street Food Tour". The first had an architectural as well as historical framework, which was worthwhile, and our guide was very earnest and enthusiastic. We liked her very much. Our second tour, ostensibly a "Kowloon Street Food" got a little off track onto some political topics (reference is made in the description to discussing "local issues") but we made clear to our guide that we much preferred to spend our limited time checking out the street food and markets, and leaving politics and history aside. (Every guide prior to this had given us a similar capsule history of HK.) In fairness to our review of the guide, my wife and I were extremely tired by the time of our evening tour, and had to conclude the tour early, and we do not fault our guide in any way for our "running out of steam". Our guide was nice, though he made a couple of comments that might have been better left unsaid.
Travel Advisor:  Rachel Dicker

Context Tours

By: DHunt

Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2019

We were highly impressed with context tours. Each guide was very knowledgeable and the private group setting allowed us to really spend time and enjoy each site without feeling like we were part of a herd. Further, the guide is interactive, not just dictating into a radio with information.
Travel Advisor:  Nathan Cripps