About this Tour
Travel through history and leagues in the company of royalty as you explore the stately heritage of modern Greece. Discover the secrets of royal downtown Athens and savour a fresh look at the most classical of cities and its palaces.
This is a self-guided mobile tour provided by our tour-guide app. The tour is based on an award-winning storytelling concept and the fascinating narratives prepared by handpicked destination experts. Enjoy this multilingual tour by using your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet at your own pace, even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step by step to explore all the points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of signature stories, allowing you to tailor this experience to your personal interests and schedule.
Blueblood Athens reveals a secret hiding in plain sight. Scattered among the modern office buildings and the endless apartment blocks lie the royal residences and palaces erected to project the power and the glory of the Greek royal families. Explore the royal past of Athens and discover the untold stories of the men and women who introduced a hint of royal glamour in the birthplace of democracy.
The tour begins in the oldest and least pretentious royal residence, home to King Otto and Queen Amalia who moved in as newlyweds while waiting for the completion of the main palace. The government leased two newly-built houses on the outskirts of Athens for the use of the royal couple. Only half of the complex remains and houses the Museum of the City of Athens. Amalia found the place small and plain, so she anxiously awaited for the building of the new palace in Syntagma Square. This was the largest neoclassical building in Athens and despite many critical comments and opinions for its spartan and austere look, it served as the palace for many decades. Today it houses the Greek Parliament.
Right next to the palace is the National Garden. Initially designed as the private royal garden, it is the brainchild of Queen Amalia who was determined to transform the arid landscape of Athens. She was passionate about palm trees and wanted the palace garden to acquire a touch of "The East." She hoped that future generations would remember her as "the queen of the palm trees." To the east of the garden there was a fenced area used for a zoo but in 1868 the new king of Greece, George I, decided that the small zoological collection was no longer required and ordered its removal. The space was subsequently used for the needs of the Royal Guard with the building of army barracks. Today it houses the men of the National Guard who participate in the colourful and memorable changing of the guards before the Parliament building each hour, dressed in the traditional fustanella. And of course no tour of royal Athens would be complete without a visit to the “Crown Prince’s Palace,” a gift by the people of Greece to Constantine, the heir to the throne, on the occasion of his birth in 1868.
To take this self-guided tour you will need the app on your iOS or Android device.
- Visit the residence of the first king of Greece (Otto). Today it houses the Museum of the City of Athens.
- Memorialize your visit to Athens in the shade of the majestic palm trees in the National Garden, planted by Amalia in December 1847.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the changing of the guard before the Greek Parliament, the former palace.