What a difference a decade makes. The arrival of the landmark Acropolis Museum and the pedestrian walkway linking the city’s ancient monuments has seen this historic neighbourhood emerge as one of Athens’ most fashionable postcodes.

Myths and Monuments

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Dionysiou Areopagitou Promenade

Areopagus Hill

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Philopappou Hill

Philopappou, or the Hill of the Muses, is one of three forested peaks facing the Acropolis that each played an important role in ancient Athens. The Athenian Assembly met on the Pnyx, while the third was known for a sanctuary dedicated to the Nymphs. These wooded hills cover a total area of some 180 acres. Some of the most delightful scenery is along a stone-laid path winding through the shallow canyon between these hills. Excavations here have uncovered the Koile Road, the primary route for transporting merchandise between Athens and the harbour of Piraeus in antiquity. Look closely and you’ll see the tracks left by carts on the rock surface—a wonderful contrast with the arty street furnishings and ingeniously-designed pathways designed by Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis in the 1950s.

Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum

The perfect museum for those who prefer their history lessons to sparkle. In a handsome building that once served as the workshop of Ilias Lalaounis, Greek jeweller to the stars, this museum tells the story of adornment through the ages. The glittering collections are based on motifs and artefacts from the Stone Age, the Minoan civilization and Byzantium, all the way to the 20th century. The most eye-catching items are the massive gold pieces, almost like armour, displayed on life-sized mannequins: huge circular plates dripping with gold discs, and a thick serpent twined from neck to breast. But it’s in the foyer that you’ll find this museum’s rarest showing: a fully functioning artists’ studio, where resident gold and silversmiths follow traditional techniques, including Lalaounis’ trademark practices of hand-hammering, hand-weaving, filigree ‘embroidery’ and granulation.

“The perfect museum for those who prefer their history lessons to sparkle.”

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Pedestrian Drakou Street