Strolling Around the Neoclassical Zappeion Hall 

One of Athens’ most striking buildings is the neoclassical Zappeion Hall, the first building in the world constructed in honour of the modern Olympic Games.

Insights Greece - Strolling Around the Neoclassical Zappeion Hall 
Zappeion Hall

Designed by Danish architect Theophil Hansen and completed in 1888, its construction was funded by the national benefactor, Evangelos Zappas. Since its opening, Zappeion has been linked with numerous significant moments in Greece’s history. In the past few years, some of the country’s most significant events have taken place here- including European summits, political conferences, as well as art exhibitions, fashion shows and other artistic and musical performances. 

Located in the centre of Athens, the Zappeion Hall is surrounded by the Greek Parliament building and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Right next to it is the National Gardens and, opposite, on the side of the Ardittos Hill, the Panathenaic Stadium; Hadrian’s Arch and the ancient Temple of the Olympian Zeus.

The surrounding area of Zappeion is adorned with a multitude of statues, reflecting upon Greece’s modern history and at the main entrance are the statues of the two Zappas cousins, who funded the construction of the building; as well as a charming park, where locals go for a walk. Across Zappeion Hall there is Aigli, a nice café serving homemade pizza and club sandwiches as well as Aperol Spritz, salads and wines. Right next door is an open-air movie theatre of the same name, which is also loved by Athenians – especially during summer.  

Insights Greece - Strolling Around the Neoclassical Zappeion Hall 
Built in 1888 to honour the Modern Olympic Games

When visiting also make sure to check out the archaeological site of the Roman Baths built at the end of the 3rd century AD- they are located within the Zappeion grounds on Vassilissis Amalias Avenue. The site was discovered during excavations for the construction of the Athens Metro and has been made accessible to the public since 2004.

Zappeion’s gardens are surrounded by the streets Irodou Attikou, Vasileos Konstantinou, Vasilissis Olgas, and Vasilissis Amalias and the National Gardens feature charming lawns, atriums, patios, flower beds and charming orange trees that are also lovely to see. 

A: Vasilissis Olgas Ave, Athens 

Best of Athens with Kids: Enjoying the National Gardens & Zappeio  

Playgrounds, trampolines and a huge variety of plants, flowers, trees and animals make this a wonderful area to take your children to.

Throughout the year, but especially during the hot summer months, Athens’ National Gardens are a wonderful leafy getaway. Kids can feed the ducks, watch swans, peackocks, parrots, goats and turtles in action, play at the large playground and play among a unique variety of plant, tree and flower species. They can explore the grounds and enjoy a picnic on the grass, playing in a gazebo, looking at ancient ruins and mosaics, crossing bridges over ponds, throwing twigs into running streams and admiring the sundial at the park’s entrance.

The National Gardens were created in 1880 as a commission by Queen Amalia of Greece, and has an impressive array of plants from all over the world. Located between Kolonaki and Pangrati, behind the former Royal Palace (now the House of Parliament), it’s a great place to visit in between stops to other child-friendly areas. There is also a café here if you’d like to stop for a refreshment.

Next to the Gardens is the Zappeion Megaro, the first building to be built in honour of the modern Athens Summer Olympic Games of 1896, where kids can enjoy scootering, running and playing in the large green grounds. Between the Zappeion and the National Gardens is Fokianos Sports Park, a fun and relaxing stopover for children as it has a seated outdoor café area as well as several features to keep children active: a climbing wall, basketball courts and trampolines. There is also a nice café serving child-friendly meals like homemade pizza and club sandwiches as well as adulty-friendly offerings like Aperol Spritz, salads and wines.

While in the area cross over Vas. Konstantinos Ave to see the Panathenaic marble stadium, originally constructed as a racetrack in 330 BC, rebuilt in marble by Emperor Herodes Atticus in 144 BC and renovated fully in 1896 to host the Olympic Games. Once here, visit the museum where all the Olympic torches from past games are housed.