National Glyptotheque of Athens - credits: Wikipedia
National Glyptotheque of Athens - credits: Wikipedia

Temporarily situated outside of the city centre (due to the renovation and expansion work done to the permanent building) and somewhat tricky to locate, the National Glyptotheque and a selection of the National Gallery's masterpieces lie hidden for the curious and persistent to discover. In fact, few Athenians know that, albeit limited, the Glyptotheque selection boasts works done by Rodin, Magritte, Calatrava and our very own talented but tormented by psychological illness, Yannoulis Chalepas. Art lovers can immerse themselves in a time travel through Greek sculpture from the early 19th century up to today's postmodernism movement while viewing pieces of neoclassical work and those forms related to realism and abstract art.

Directly facing the National Glyptotheque building, the visitor can explore, with the same ticket, the temporary National Gallery of Athens. The masterpieces of Greek painting exhibited here, ranging from the early years of Greek Independence to the 1950's will surely impress as well as inform the visitor as to how Greek artists incorporated, interpreted and formed the major movements of their times. The parallels drawn with works of their international contemporaries are many, and the influence can often be quite apparent. On the other hand, masters who have formed their own unique style and are now considered iconic in Greece, are exhibited here for some to discover, others to study and for all to visit as one would an old friend. In a room presenting only 120 paintings, one can expect to come across names such as Theotokopoulos (El Greco), Lytras, Gyzis, Tsarouchis, Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas and Moralis to mention just a few.

All in all, a visit to the two galleries makes for an interesting, original and off-the-beaten-trackafternoon (estimated time, 1 hour). Just take the metro blue line from Monastiraki square to Katechaki stop (direction doukissis plakentias/airport) and then walk for 15 minutes along Katechaki avenue in the direction of 'Alsos stratou'. On your way back, you can get off at Panormou stop, and discover this vibrant and popular area, famous for its cafes and bars. Once there, be sure to ask the waiter whether they serve rakomelo, a strong, transparent, distilled spirit from the island of Crete, mixed with honey.


Rakomelo - credits: http://kostastelife.com/

Undoubtedly the combination of alcohol, honey and art will make for an amazing conclusion to yet another beautiful day spent in the Greek capital.