Moni Dafniou

Around Athens

Lovers of mosaics will be dazzled by the glittering gold scenes in the 11th-century main church here, a listed Unesco site. The work was likely done by craftspeople from Constantinople, showing the fluidity of styles between here and the Islamic Empire. In the apse are portions of geometric decoration of the kind popular in Islamic buildings further east – just as, say, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus features Byzantine-style gold-backed mosaic scenes. Pay attention to the opening hours.

Restoration work is nearly complete. When the Ministry of Culture takes control of the finished project (at an unknown future date), the site is expected to be open six days a week, with an admission fee. Confirm details with the tourism office before you leave Athens.

It's possible to combine a visit to the monastery with one to Elefsina, as they are on the same A16 bus line (departs from Agia Marina metro stop); you can also take the 866 or 811 from Koumoundourou. On the access road to the monastery are a decent cafe and a free, shady botanical garden.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Around Athens attractions

1. Electric Railways Museum

4.47 MILES

Tucked inside the Piraeus station, this museum is a trove of old switches, nifty models and cool machinery, including a gleaming old wooden train car. It…

2. Hellenic Cosmos

4.58 MILES

To get a sense of how ancient ruins once looked, take a virtual-reality trip at this multimedia centre. The Tholos virtual-reality theatre takes you on an…

3. Benaki Museum at 138 Pireos St

4.77 MILES

While the main Benaki Museum of Greek Culture displays the classical and traditional, this annexe focuses on modern and inventive. Apart from a few…

4. Industrial Gas Museum

4.89 MILES

It's fascinating to follow the walking route that runs through the old gasworks in Gazi, in operation from 1862 until 1984. The preserved complex of…

5. Old OSY Depot

4.97 MILES

This former tram depot is used for various events throughout the year including the Athens Street Food Festival. Its exterior is also the canvas for some…

6. Melina Merkouri Cultural Centre

4.99 MILES

For anyone who loves the Greek tradition of karagiozi (shadow puppets), this free museum is a treat, packed with the creations of master puppeteer…

7. Municipal Gallery of Athens

5.01 MILES

This city-run gallery has temporary exhibits, sometimes featuring Greek artists but not always. It's definitely worth a peek as it's set in a grand…

8. Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos

5.04 MILES

Visit the small museum at Kerameikos to see the originals of some pieces that are shown in replica around the historical site: delicate grave stelae …