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An archaeological site inside a metro station in Athens

For a unique but mesmerising experience step away from the drone, artificial lighting and rush of crowds in a metro station onto a glass bridge just seconds from the tracks where you can be still and immerse yourself in a tranquil ancient environment.

In a 300 m2 expanse of archaeological excavations you will find and hear the Eridanos river, flowing since the Mycenean Period. Natural light fills the area, the birds flutter to rest on ruins. One's imagination travel backs to a time when Athens was covered in lush greenery, with rivers and streams, well laid-out buildings and shops.

A great variety of impressive artefacts, all presented in photographs and text at the site, were also unearthed here, along with the remains of residential buildings (dating from the 8th BC century to the 19th century). Unveiled to the public in 2008, this still unacknowledged section was the most impressive discovery made when building the underground system, although magnificent archaeological finds can also be admired at Acropolis, Syndagma and Kerameikos metro stations.

Flowing from the springs beneath Lycabettus Hill, north of the Acropolis and through the Agora of Athens, the Eridanos reached Kerameikos cemetery (a tiny stream remains there today). The Ilissos, the major river of ancient Athens (which flowed from Mount Hemettos) joined the Eridanos river west of the Acropolis, pouring into the Kifissos river.

Both Eridanos and Illisos rivers, honoured by sculptures of the river gods and water nymphs at the sites of the western pediment of the Parthenon, served as resources for many areas of Athenian life.

The Eridanos provided fresh water for drinking, religious ceremonies and utilitarian functions, to being the refreshing backdrop for exercise and relaxing social gatherings, just as it continues to offer a magical moment of calm today.

Address: Monastiraki Metro Station, Monastiraki Square, Athens 10563

Getting there: Any blue line metro or the HSAP Green Line

Hours : Daily from 6:30am to 11:30pm

Tip: Head to Aghia Eirini Square five minutes away for the Loukoumades store and tuck into Greece's answer to doughnuts, served with honey or hot chocolate sauce.

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