Woman in wheelchair - Origins of Modern Athens
Woman in wheelchair - Origins of Modern Athens

Origins of Modern Athens

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Origins of Modern Athens


Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Table of Contents

National Archaeological Museum

Itinerary Overview

The historic centre of Athens isn’t just about ruins. It also contains the beating heart of modern Greece – and this itinerary traces its most central artery, Panepistimiou Street. On Panepistimiou, we’ll find the grand ambitions of Athens’ “modern” urban planners captured in three fine monuments known as the Neoclassical Trilogy. Starting out from the “Panepistimio” metro station, we will admire the most imposing of the trio, the central building of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, then turn our attention to the Academia and old National Library. We’ll continue along the street towards eclectic Omonia to encounter the emblematic Rex Theatre, which hosts brilliant works by our National Theatre. Close to this area, we will pass the highly symbolic “Polytechnio” (National Technical University of Athens) to visit the Archaeological Museum which houses the ancient history of Greece.

Our journey ends at the urban landmark of Omonia Square and its cooling fountain. Here, we begin to travel back to an older Athens. This nostalgic square is a locus of the most important streets of the capital. Our last stop is the “Omonia” metro station. 

General Accessibility

  • The itinerary is mostly flat with a total distance of 2,1 km.
  • It traverses one of the biggest highways in Athens, constructed with wide pavements.
  • There are no steps in the itinerary, only ramps.
  • The area of the route is very well illuminated.
  • At each point of interest, the accessibility is indicated according to the information available on each corresponding website.
  • Most of the shops/cafeterias/bars etc. that we meet along the way are not designed in accordance with the accessibility standards and do not provide wheelchair adapted toilets.
  • The itinerary starts from the “Panepistimio” metro station (line 2 – red, “Anthoupoli – Elliniko”) and ends up to the “Omonia” metro station, which also belongs to line 1 (green, “Piraeus – Kifissia”).
  • All of the above stations provide adapted WCs, elevators and full access for a wheelchair. In line 2, the wheelchair boarding is from the first and the last car of the train, since there is no gap. In line 1, you can board from the first door of the first car. As the gap in this line is quite big, you can ask for a ramp and assistance.
  • You can begin the itinerary from “Omonia” station and complete it in reverse order.


Athens Academy
Omonoia Square

Route Description

pre loader
Step 1

Our itinerary begins with the “Panepistimio” metro station of the red line 2 “Anthoupoli – Elliniko”.



Point of Interest: “Panepistimio” metro station – Line 2


View on Map
Step 2

From the Korai exit and the elevator, we cross the Korai Square upwards and we reach Panepistimiou Street. We will cross it via the pedestrian light controlled crossing (aka pelican crossing) to reach the opposite pavement.



This is where the “Great Athens Walk” begins, a pilot project to give residents and visitors much more space to walk, run, roam and cycle through the capital’s historic streets, by reclaiming public space and reducing traffic. One of the lanes has been demarcated with plants and is now only used by pedestrians (green signal) and bikes (yellow signal). Even though Panepistimiou Street features ramps on all of its pavements, it is safer to use the Great Walk.

Across the street we will find, from right to left, the Academy of Athens, the original building of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (aka University of Athens) and the former building of the National Library of Greece. These edifices are, for the most part, closed to the public, but they loom large as cultural landmarks, due to their impressive neoclassical architecture and significance as proud symbols of a newly independent Greece.



Point of Interest: Academy of Athens


View on Map
Step 3

Continuing at 100 meters we will find the National and Kapodistrian University



Point of Interest: National Kapodistrian University of Athens (Central building)


View on Map
Step 4

We continue on the Great Walk towards Omonia, just as the cars go, crossing via the pelican crossing on Riga Fereou Street. On our right, we will find the National Library.




Point of Interest: National Library



View on Map
Step 5

We continue our stroll from the pelican crossing on the Great Walk, as we cross Ippokratous Street vertically. When we arrive at Charilaou Trikoupi Street, we will carefully get onto the pavement via the ramp, if we want to visit the next point of interest (the National Theatre). Otherwise, we will remain on the Great Walk.




Point of Interest: National Theatre (Rex)


View on Map
Step 6

We continue our itinerary from the Great Walk until the next perpendicular street, Emmanouil Benaki Street. This is where we will use the ramp to get onto the pavement, since the Great Walk follows different specifications from now on, and it is possible that we might be bothered by illegally parked cars and the lack of ramp at its end.

We continue our stroll on the right pavement of Panepistimiou Street and we cross the Themistokleous pedestrian street. At the next junction with 28 Oktovriou Street, we will turn right heading towards the Archaeological Museum.

At this point we encounter Omonia Square and the metro station in front of us, which we can use to depart if we do not wish to proceed with the itinerary. Additionally, we can begin from this point if our only goal is to visit the Archaeological Museum and/or the National Technical University of Athens.

At the junction of Panepistimiou Street and 28 Oktovriou Street we turn right. There is no Great Walk anymore, so we move onto the pavement which features a ramp at every crossroad.

The ramps are relatively well constructed for independent use.



After quite some metres, we will meet Stournari Street with its marble inscription. On our right, the famous neighbourhood of Exarchia now begins.





Point of Interest: Exarchia


View on Map
Step 7

Back on our itinerary, on the junction of Stournari Street and 28 Oktovriou Street, we will arrive at the historical building of the National Technical University of Athens (“Polytechnio”).



Point of Interest: National Technical University of Athens (“Polytechnio”)


View on Map
Step 8

Continuing our way along 28 Oktovriou, on the same pavement, we will come to the National Archaeological Museum. There is a ramp on the pavement which leads us to the forecourt of the Museum.




Point of Interest: National Archaeological Museum


View on Map
Step 9

To conclude the itinerary, we will return to the junction of 28 Oktovriou Street and Panepistimiou Street via the same route, at the end point of the Great Walk.

At this corner we will cross 28 Oktovriou Street from the pedestrian crossing. A few metres later, we will find the pelican crossing to turn left and cross Panepistimiou Street, to reach the heart of Omonia Square.

The ramps at these pelican crossings are fordable.




Point of Interest: Omonia Square


View on Map
Step 10

To leave the square, we once again cross via the pelican crossing of Panepistimiou. On our left we have the elevator of the “Omonia” metro station, which belongs to the lines red (line 2 “Anthoupoli – Elliniko”) and green (line 1 “Pireas – Kifisia”). This specific station has more than one elevator.



Point of Interest: “Omonia” metro station – Line 1&2


View on Map


Historic Heart to Urban Soul of Athens