Plaka, the Acropolis, Thissio and Monastiraki are the four parts of a single walk on a pedestrian walkway.
If you wish to do the whole walk (plus the extra visits suggested) you will spend a whole day. In case it is too hard for you, put aside Plaka for an extra visit.
Plaka is the oldest district in Athens, built at the foothill of the Acropolis, with picturesque neoclassical houses and mainly pedestrian streets. Walking uphill through the Anafiotika area, you can enjoy a wonderful view, and many cafes offer a pleasant occasion to rest and cool off. Local food at the many tavernas (Kafeneio or PLatanos), in cool gardens or courtyards, shopping for artifacts and souvenirs, visiting the archeological sites like the Tower of Winds or the Lysikrates Monument, make a stroll through this historical neighborhood an interesting and attractive experience. Distances are short, so one morning or afternoon gives you enough time to see almost everything.
See & Do
Main attractions in Plaka are the museums and the archeological sites. The Museum of Greek Folk Art housed in four separate annexes, the less known Athens University Museum on Tholou street, with collections of manuscripts and old photos, the Museum of Musical Instruments on Diogenous street and the recently renovated Museum of Folk Art and Tradition Aggeliki Chatzimichali. Kids will appreciate the Museum of Greek Childrens Art, with works of art by children on Kodrou street and the Hellenic Childrens Museum on Kydathineon, with creative and educational games.
The Acropolis Museum , is an absolute must see. Inside the modern exterior visitors can discover the ancient aesthetic wisdom of the Acropolis and feel the atmosphere of ancient Athens. The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, the Archaic Gallery and the Parthenon Gallery display sculptures, inscriptions, finds from sanctuaries, as well as objects used in everyday life. Visitors can also watch conservators working, speak to an archeologist host and acquire small souvenirs from the museum shop. The restaurant on the second floor offers a breath taking view of the Acropolis.
See & Do
Attractions abound in this neighborhood with the Acropolis itself in the first place. The Acropolis Museum is a must see when visiting Athens and visitors are always pleasantly surprised and awed by the beauty and harmony of the exhibits. Walking on the main pedestrian street, Dionysiou Areopagitou, the ancient theatre of Dionysus is on your right and further on the Herodus Atticus theatre, where every summer concerts are held.
If you walk up Dionissiou Areopagitou with the Acropolis on your right, the neighborhood of Thission is on your left beyond the cafes with their view of the Acropolis that tourists have now discovered to be a sort of less congested lower Adrianou Street. Apostolou Pavlou, which is the big main road that connects with Dionissiou Areopagitou are both pedestrian walkways, which means you can walk all the way around the Acropolis without having to deal with automobile traffic.
Thission is a neighborhood with interesting contrasts: a wide pedestrian street, Apostolou Pavlou, leading from Acropolis to the metro station, flanked by the temple of Hephaestus on one hand and a series of cafes on the other. This pedestrian area also features an impromptu open air market, selling balloons, incense sticks and handmade trinkets, with performances by itinerant musicians . The open air cinema Cine Thission has been ranked by CNN amongst the top of the world’s best movie theatres and the Herakleidon Museum is a major attraction in this neighborhood. Herakleidon street and Akamantos are full of lively cafes and bars and the Athens Observatory above the imposing church of Agia Marina crowns the whole area. As soon as you leave these busy streets, the atmosphere changes to a quiet, residential area, with many renovated neoclassical houses and arty shops.
See & Do
The temple of Hephaestus, built just before the 5th century B.C. in Doric style, dedicated to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy and Athena Ergani, goddess of handicrafts is the main attraction in the district. A visit to the Museum of the Ancient Agora provides interesting insight to life in ancient Greece, with exhibits of inscriptions, coins and other objects of archeological interest. The Herakleidon Museum, in a 19th century building, focuses on contemporary art with permanent collections and exhibitions and organizes guided tours and educational programs. Melina Merkouri Cultural Centre on Herakleidon 66 features two interesting permanent exhibitions: one about the city of Athens at the end of the 19th century.
Monastiraki is a very old neighborhood in Athens and is well known for the flea market, spreading over side streets and sidewalks. A visit to the Monastiraki flea market in Athens is a must. Situated over a large area from Monastiraki square and metro station down to the end of Ermou street, the flea market is open every day, but on Sundays it is even more interesting to visit, as even more objects are on sale, especially on busy Avissinias square. The flea market actually consists of shops which are open every day and on Sundays there is the extra bonus of open air improvised stalls. Things to buy range from clothes to old books, stamps, coins, furniture, bric a brac, postcards, memorabilia, decorative objects and more. The prices vary and can be bargained.
See & Do
The Museum of Islamic Art, part of the Benaki Museum, includes examples of all its local variations from as far as India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Spain and is definitely worth visiting. Very close by is the Pottery Museum which hosts an interesting pottery collection from many countries, works by famous Greek artists and fascinating insight into this most ancient of crafts.
Hammam Baths, situated in the neighborhood of Thission, close to the famous Bath House of the Winds in Plaka, is the authentic hammam in Athens. This simple, contemporary space, is designed like the traditional oriental steam baths. The impressive dome, the round marble bench in the center and the individual basins around, create the atmosphere of an authentic hammam. Here you can relax and let the curative qualities of the steam release all tension in your body. You can enjoy a rejuvenating bath, a deep peeling with the traditional toweling and a wonderfully soothing massage, followed by a cup of warm tea. The space accommodates six persons, and has a separate space with two marble couches for peeling, massage and washing. Tuesdays are reserved only for ladies. Fresh juices and traditional Greek tastes can be served on order. Hammam Baths are open Monday to Friday 12.30-22.00 and on weekends 10.00-22.00 and it is necessary to book an appointment.
Greek Cuisine and places to eat
Many places – nice view and food:
Kuzina 210 3240133 (Monastiraki area)
Attikos 210 9215256 (Akropolis area)
Greek food and souvlaki:
Thanassis – famous authentic greek souvlaki and kebap (Monastiraki area)
Bairaktaris Taverna – greek food as well souvlaki (Monastiraki area)
(Acropolis) Nightlife is centered on busy pedestrian Makrygianni street, with cafes and bars rubbing shoulders. The tendency is all day locales which operate as bars in the evenings. Regal and Elaia are two of the most popular in this category. For something different try Winepoint on parallel Porinou street with a surprising selection of local wines and Duende on Tziraion street with its eclectic old fashioned atmosphere.
(Monastiraki) Nightlife in Monastiraki is casual and arty. Six dogs club is the place to enjoy tecno underground music, and Agias Irinis square offers a wide choice of day and night venues: Rooster with fantastic desserts, Throubi and Tailor Made with their bohemian crowd. On Eolou street Magaze and Mama Roux are the top spots, frequented by city lovers, with urban style and cool taste.
Bars and Cafeterias with a view in Athens
A for Athens, Miaouli 2-4, Monastiraki, tel. 2103244244 (bar award)
Couleur Locale, Normanou 3, Monastiraki
360 Cocktail Bar, Ifestou 2, Monastiraki
Belleville Concept Cafē-Bar, Aghissilaou 88, Metaxourgio