This ancient square is the beating heart of modern-day Athens as well as the city’s main transport hub.
Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) is one of the busiest locations in Athens, not least because it is the hub of the public transport system. Buses, trolley buses, trams and the metro disgorge passengers night and day into the city centre, from where it’s a short walk to the Acropolis and all the most popular tourist attractions as well as the entertainment and shopping districts.
Syntagma may not be Athens’ prettiest square but it’s certainly one of its most iconic. Images of the bulky Parliament Building that dominates one side are beamed around the world’s news stations whenever a story about Greece makes the headlines. Visitors flock here to see the changing of the guard, which happens on the hour every day in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For the full ceremony on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. and on official holidays the guards sport traditional costumes of tunics and kilts similar to those worn during the Minoan era, teamed with white tights and eye-catching pom-pom slippers. With music provided by an army band, this is always a popular event so make sure you get in place early for the best view of the action, and don’t forget your camera.
Locals use Syntagma as a place to meet friends or take a break from work or shopping. In the hot summer months the water fountain in the centre provides cooling refreshment, and the tree-lined lawns at either end of the square offer shade from the sun’s beating rays. It’s a perfect place to people-watch from one of the many cafés that border the square, as well as a popular spot to feed the famous pigeons.
Syntagma Square is bordered by Vassileos Georgiou A’ Street to the north and Othonos Street to the south. Marble steps on the east side house the metro station below, conveniently served by lines 2 and 3.