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Syntagma Square in Athens: The Central Meeting Point of the City

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Syntagma Square in Athens is the main social and political hub of Athens, a place where history and modernity clash under the imposing shadow of the parliament building. It’s one of the most popular places in Athens due to its vivid nightlife, robust gastronomy scene, proximity to the most famous historical sites, and trendiest neighborhoods.

A walk around Syntagma Square is a must for those visiting the city for the first time and a safe bet for those returning.

In this guide, you’ll find all about the history of Syntagma Square, the best things to see and do in the area, the most famous nearby hotels, and our local tips on where to go next.

Constitution Square: The History of Syntagma Square in Athens

Even though it does not become immediately apparent when walking among Syntagma’s five-star hotels and hip cocktail bars, it has a long and turbulent history.

Its construction resulted from King Otto’s decision to repudiate Nafplio and designate Athens as the new capital of Greece in the mid-19th century. At the time there were only two main squares in the relatively small city – both famous today as Omonoia and Syntagma. Shortly after, the latter was chosen to serve as the grounds for the King’s and Queen’s abode.

Constitution Square in Athens
Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) is located at the center of Athens city. ©Athens by Locals

When the royal residence was finally built a few years later, the premises around the modern urban icon were appropriately named the “Palace Square.” Queen Amalia was more than eager to take charge of beautifying the spaces surrounding the palace and her endeavors quickly bore fruit.

Soon enough, the square was adorned with a novel fountain and the area beside the palatial residence became what is known today as the National Garden.

Yet the square’s newly found name and identity were not destined to be long-lived. In 1843, a massive uprising backed by the citizens and the country’s military officials forced King Otto to authorize a constitution for the young state that had only recently regained its independence.

Syntagma Square the most famous in Athens
Syntagma Square is the most famous square in Athens. ©Athens by Locals

Thus, the square was marked by this historical event and took the name “Constitution Square” or Syntagma Square in Greek. For decades to follow, Syntagma was the backdrop against which major political and historical events came to life, a place that inspired change and animated hope, a symbol of shifting paradigms.

In the early 20th century, the erstwhile royal residence became home to the new Parliament, and later on, its square became the spatial symbol of the downfall of the military junta.

The Greek Parliament
The Hellenic Parliament, also known as the Greek Parliament, is located in the Old Royal Palace, overlooking Syntagma Square. ©Athens by Locals

Today, Constitution Square remains on the same path of a long tradition of political demonstrations, but at the same time, it has transformed into a prized meeting point for locals and travelers who gather here to embark on pub crawls, shopping sprees, and culinary explorations in downtown Athens.

Things to See and Do in Syntagma Square

Most travelers only spend a few minutes at Syntagma Square before exploring all the famous streets of the Syntagma neighborhood. However, apart from being a historical attraction in its own right, Syntagma Square offers a few exciting things to see and do that are most certainly worth your attention.

Evzones and the Changing of the Guard

Right in front of the parliament building, you’ll find the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded by the acclaimed “Evzones.”

Like the British Queen’s Guards, the Evzones are officers of the presidential guard, bearing firearms and wearing the traditional uniforms that have been internationally popularized and widely celebrated in Greek culture.

changing of the guards athens greece
The Evzones is a special unit of the Hellenic Army, also known as Tsoliades, who guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament. ©Athens by Locals

At precisely fifteen minutes of standing absolutely still, the guards swap places by meticulously executing an impressive choreography, while every hour, you can witness the procession of the changing of the guard.

Read more about the story of the Evzones and find out when the official changing of the guard ceremony takes place here.

Syntagma Metro Station Archaeological Collection

Before you exit the metro Syntagma, make sure to spend a few minutes admiring the historical artifacts scattered in the station.

Syntagma Metro Station Archaeological Collection
An exhibition space of around 500 square meters has been created in the first basement of the Syntagma Station.
©Athens by Locals

This small exhibition, known as the Syntagma metro station archaeological collection, includes ancient relics that were unearthed during the excavations.

Syntagma metro station archaeological collection. ©Athens by Locals

This will be a great introduction to a full day of sightseeing at the ancient attractions throughout the city.

By the way, if you’re wondering what the best way to visit the top archaeological sites of Athens is, we’ve got the answer here.

Enjoy the views from the GB Roof Garden

Occupying the 8th floor of the opulent Hotel Grande Bretagne, the GB Roof Garden offers unparalleled views over Lycabettus Hill and the Parthenon while serving impeccable contemporary Mediterranean haute cuisine that makes it stand out as one of the best rooftop restaurants in Athens.

Local tip: If you want to enjoy rooftop views at Syntagma Square without having to pay 5-star hotel rates, you’ll be happy to know that Public (the electronics/bookstore on Karagiorgi Servias 1, at the corner of Syntagma Square) also has a charming cafe on the 5th floor with a small balcony overlooking the square.

Step inside the Hellenic Parliament

The Greek Parliament is housed in the former Royal Palace, one of Athens’s most beautiful neoclassical buildings, featuring graceful elements of typical Doric architecture. This is not commonly known, but you can actually enter the Hellenic Parliament on a guided tour in English for free. All you need to do is register as a visitor by sending an email. You’ll find more information here.

Relax in a Secret Garden at “Il Giardino Segreto”

Hidden among olive and cypress trees, fragrant laurel plants, and colorful flowers, Il Giardino Segreto is a secluded spot that you would never expect to find on Syntagma Square.

Located at the atrium of Alexander’s Cigar Lounge on the first floor of Hotel Grande Bretagne, the secret garden overflows with the smell of pizza, pies, and focaccia baked in a traditional wood oven. Add an extensive wine list, a few signature cocktails, and a wide range of premium cold cuts to the mix, and you get one of the most unique aperitivo experiences in Athens.

ATRIUM of Alexander's Lounge
A secret oasis right in the heart of Athens. Courtesy:

Hotels in Syntagma Square

As the city’s central point, Syntagma Square boasts some of the most luxurious hotels in Athens. Lined along Vasileos Georgiou Street, the hotels of Syntagma Square have become iconic landmarks of the city, ideal for those who want to splurge on a palatial suite or a ritzy room for their stay in Athens.

Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens

Founded in 1874, Hotel Grande Bretagne is one of Athens’s oldest and most historic hotels. Apart from sublime views over Syntagma Square, the Parthenon, Lycabettus Hill, and the Panathenaic Stadium, Hotel Grande Bretagne features a brilliant rooftop restaurant, a spa with a steam room, a fitness studio, a cigar lounge, and the wonderful secret garden Il Giardino Segreto to guarantee a profoundly luxurious stay.

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Address: 1 Vasileos Georgiou A, Syntagma Square Str, Athina 105 64

NJV Athens Plaza

One of the most popular choices for business travelers visiting Athens, NJV Plaza offers 162 spacious rooms and 18 classy suites, stylishly decorated and equipped with state-of-the-art amenities. The hotel’s high-class restaurant called “The Parliament” and the fascinating “Explorer’s Bar Bistro” will guarantee a unique gastronomic experience just a few steps away from your hotel room door.

Read reviews and see photos on

Address: 2, Leoforos, Vasileos Georgiou A, Athina 105 64

King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens

King George Hotel is the epitome of discreet luxury, offering 102 rooms and suites (one of them being the trademark Penthouse Suite that features an outdoor swimming pool with views of the Acropolis) and flawless concierge services. On the 7th floor, you’ll find the award-winning Tudor Hall, one of Athens’s most exclusive rooftop restaurants.

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Address: 3 Vasileos Georgiou A, Syntagma Square Str, Athina 105 64

All of the above are exceptional choices if you want a legitimately extravagant stay in Athens. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable stay, you can find hotels with an Acropolis view for every budget right below.

The Location of Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square in Athens is a true nerve center for the Greek capital city. It is located just in the middle of Athens’ most important attractions, iconic monuments, museums, and popular spots.

It’s right next to the majestic Temple of Olympian Zeus, the National Garden, and the Panathenaic Stadium, and just a breath away from the scenic Koukaki, the traditional neighborhood of Plaka, and the magnificent Acropolis Hill.

The square is located very close to many important places in central Athens. ©Athens by Locals

Syntagma Square is also the starting point of Ermou, one of Athens’ most lively shopping streets, which will take you on a ride all the way down to the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos, passing through Monastiraki and Thission.

How to Get to Syntagma Square

Ideally situated in the heart of the city, Syntagma is a major transportation hub with one of the largest metro stations in Athens. The metro station’s exit is right on the square, and you can take both the red and blue metro lines to get there.

The entrance of the Syntagma metro station
Syntagma Metro Sation. ©Athens by Locals

You can also reach Syntagma Square via the tram that connects Athens downtown to the southern suburbs and goes all the way down to the seafront. You can find out more about how to get around Athens here.

Moreover, if you are uncertain about how to get from Athens airport to the city center of Athens, check out this step-by-step guide.

Where to Go After Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square is undeniably one of the most fascinating places to visit in Athens. Its location makes it perfect for a resting spot between sightseeing the city’s numerous sites.

First, explore the urban oasis comprising the National Garden, the zoo, and the botanical gardens adjacent to the Parliament and next to the neoclassical Zappeion Hall.

Then, head over to the start of the always-busy Ermou Street for a dive into the multicultural aura of Athens. The narrow alleys that branch out at every length of the main pedestrian street, like Nikis Street or Voulis Street, are filled with quaint cafes, cozy bars, street food stalls, high-end restaurants, and all kinds of shops.

Ermou Street in Athens. ©Athens by Locals

Alternatively, head south to reach Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus next to the famous neighborhood of Plaka or walk north to explore the chic streets of Kolonaki neighborhood where you can climb up Lycabettus Hill or discover the picturesque Dexameni Square and the lesser-known Hadrian’s Reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions about Syntagma Square

Below, you’ll find the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding Syntagma Square, its name, location, and history.

What does Syntagma Square mean?

Syntagma Square means “constitution square” in Greek.

Why is Syntagma Square famous?

Syntagma Square is famous as the historical place where the uprising against King Otto of Greece occurred in 1843, resulting in the first constitution of the modern Greek state. Syntagma Square is also home to the Hellenic Parliament building (the former Royal Palace) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

What is a fun fact about Syntagma Square?

In the old days, before the 1830s, Syntagma Square looked like a wide-open field in downtown Athens, without all the tall buildings surrounding it today. Back then, the Parthenon and the Acropolis Hill were visible from every square point.

What is the most famous square in Athens?

The most famous square in Athens is undoubtedly Syntagma Square, the city center’s most central point.

How often do the guards change at Syntagma Square?

The changing of the guards at Syntagma Square takes place every hour around the clock, every day of the week.

In conclusion, Syntagma Square is the most famous square of Athens and a place of great historical significance that you will most certainly visit on your trip to Athens. When you get there, follow our suggestions to ensure you get the most out of your visit and a full experience of the most central point in Athens.

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