Situated in the historic centre of Athens, the Museum is surrounded by numerous sights of interest, most of which are within walking distance.
The Acropolis, arguably the most famous of Greek sights, is no more than a 15-minute-walk to the west of the Museum, through the picturesque Plaka district. However, the visitor is advised to see the Acropolis early in the morning and then walk downhill to the museum, rather than the other way round. Especially during the summer months, the Museum may well seem as an air-conditioned haven after a long sight-seeing tour.
Between the Acropolis and the museum, lie other sights of interest, such as the two ancient theatres Herodion and the Theatre of Dionysus on the Southern Slope of the Acropolis, the Lysicrates Monument, and the 10th – century Church of St. Catherine.
If one takes the longer, northern route, one should not miss the Agora, commercial and political hub of Ancient Athens with the Thission, the best-preserved Greek temple to date. In the Agora, inscribed within the building of the Metroon, the architectural remains of a Synagogue may be viewed. On the same route, lie the Ancient Library, the Roman Market with the Tower of the Winds at its one end, and of course, the winding alleys of the old city, worth visiting for its own sake.
Two disused mosques, one now a Museum of Folk Art, a Museum of Folk Music, several small churches and countless souvenir shops will also claim your attention on the way.
A ten-minute walk to the south of the museum will bring you to the Temple of Zeus. Its few surviving columns stand in striking contrast against the usually clear blue sky, while another, fallen like a giant struck by lightning, dwarfs those who dare stand next to it. The graceful arch of Emperor Hadrian’s Gate tries to interpose itself between this serene tableau and one of the busiest streets of Athens.
Two blocks away to the east, lies the National Garden, a small park perfect for a gentle stroll and a rest, before one goes on to watch the Changing of the Guard in front of the Parliament. From there, the escalator will take you down into the Syntagma Metro Station to an exhibition of the archaeological finds brought to light during the building of the station; among them a striking display of all the strata uncovered during the excavation.
Other places of interest, such as the Archaeological or the Byzantine Museum, the ancient borough and Cemetery of Kerameikos, the National Gallery and many more, are a few subway stops from Syntagma Square.
Finally, the busiest shopping street of Athens lies on the other side of Syntagma Square, complete with expensive shops, street artists and interesting alleys worth exploring.