Athens neighborhood guide: what to see from Plaka to Monastiraki
One says Athens and immediately one thinks ofAcropolisto the archaeological Museumto the others museums to its treasures. But Athensjust go up a little and look around to realize it, it’s one big city, with very different neighborhoods and areas. And which absolutely deserve to be discovered and visited before or after the homage to Parthenon or the beauties around the city. So here’s a guide to Athens neighborhoods with things to know. And the little secrets to feel Athenian at least for a while
The guide of Athens neighborhoods: Plaka
Plaka it is probably the most famous and frequented by tourists. And it is not strange that this is the case. To reach Plaka area one can follow ErmouAthens’ most important commercial street, head south and eventually you will come to the base of the neighborhood which climbs up towards theAcropolis. To understand which area we are talking about, let’s say that it is located between Syntagma And Monastiraki and is within easy walking distance of the heart of Athens.
Plaka is one of oldest neighborhoods of Athens and widens right under the Acropolis hill. It is definitely beautiful and picturesque and retains much of the original urban structure that most of the Plaka is made up of neoclassical houses of the 19th century. However, the most beautiful part of Plaka is definitely the settlement of Anafiotika: the name derives from the fact that it was built by workers from the island of Anafi and in fact has the classic style of Cyclades. The neighborhood deserves to be seen because it is full of pretty buildings and is very much alive with the enfilade of bars and taverns. Even if they are often local a bit too touristy to be original. In any case it is an area to see as it hosts many sites such as theancient agora and the Tower of the Winds.
Walking among the crowds: Monastiraki
Our Athens neighborhood guide now takes us to Monastirakithe bustling neighborhood west of Syntagma square. To arrive from the center you don’t need to walk too much and in any case it is easily reachable also by underground which has a stop here. Monastiraki is one of the most picturesque districts of Athens but even here tourism has changed its appearance and not just a little: the narrow streets and alleys are now mainly occupied by souvenir shops and taverns with multilingual menu even if there are also simple places not to be missed, where to stop for a souvlaki to be savored while watching the crowd go by.
In the area is also held on Sundays a flea market where junk is found for enthusiasts of the genre but quite a few have recently sprung up here rooms on the terraces of the palaces. They are trendy venues, with higher-than-average prices and menus that hint at a vague style Mediterranean fusion but which also offer good music and splendid views over the city.
Syntagma, the heart of the city
We now come to the heart of the city of Athens: Syntagma square (that is to say Constitution Square) located in the center of modern Athens. Here is the headquarters Greek Parliament occupying the imposing palace which was the residence of King Otto. Right in front of this building are guards Evzones, the famous soldiers with the curious uniform who preside over the institution building. They wear the fustanellaa bizarre skirt and the slippers with upturned toes and the changing of the guard always draws crowds of onlookers.
Today, in Syntagma squarethere is the homonymous subway stop and this is one of largest squares in the Greece. There are around luxury hotelvarious shops, fast food with a shabby air and a few boutiques as well as a continuous flow of people who go back and forth until late at night. The presence of many stops of the bus and the parking of the Taxi it makes the atmosphere even more deafening but just take via Ermou, which starts right here, to find a little more tranquillity. At a short distance there are other famous neighborhoods of Athens such as Plaka, Monastiraki, Thissio and Psiri.
Among the districts of Athens: here is Psiri
We mentioned it earlier: Psiri it is an old neighborhood placed in northwest of Monastiraki. The area is marked by the presence of many old houses which for the most part have been abandoned and have fallen into disrepair. Over the years, however, the face of the area has changed quite a bit and many of the neoclassical buildings they were restored as they opened trendy bars and shops. Today it attracts many young Athenians who like to rediscover the traditional character in the narrow streets where many still meet cozy taverns and with dishes done as they should. The weekend then the music booms everywhere and the tables eat late: in reality Psiri is not so popular with tourists but it is a good choice for those who want to immerse themselves in the daily life of the people here.
Our walk through the neighborhoods of Athens must necessarily lead us to the Gazi areawhat for many is now the most vlively and cool in the city. It was formerly an industrial area and takes its name from a gasometer which was in this district a starting in 1864. Then after decades the factory closed and the neighborhood went into decline but since 1999 when it was founded here Technopolisthe most important cultural center of Athenseverything changed.
Now they are found here more than 20 theaters and dozens of restaurants and bars which attract a refined audience and a large one gay clientele which meets among the restored neoclassical houses. Obviously the most fashionable addresses are constantly changing. Here too there are many rooms overlooking the terraces and on the roofs of the houses which are always full in the summer. To get here, get off at the station Keramiko Metro. From there a renovated square opens up which acts as a gateway to the neighborhood.
The most famous squares
After Syntagma square the second square of Athens is Omonia square which was once famous for its charm (it is no coincidence that the name means concord) which today is definitely lost because of the degradationtraffic and heavy crisis which hit the city of Greece. Here they cross six roads always busy and the result is certainly not reassuring. Around then there are cheap bars, street vendors, layabouts and an atmosphere reminiscent of theLevantine soul of the city and in the evening it is not such a quiet place.
A few blocks away is then the Central market housed in a building with a metal structure that dates back to the 19th century. People come here to buy food and it is always very crowded and there are many small places around where the locals stay late eating And drinking ouzo.
University and library
Between Omonia square And Syntagma square is found Panepistimiou, one of the main streets in the center of Athens. Many of the most important buildings in the city have their headquarters here, including banks, public offices, some boutiques and university buildings as well as the Palazzo della National Library. Parallel runs Akadimias that reaches up to the square Kannigosin the district of Exarchia. After the Second World War, this street was christened as Roosevelt Streetin honor of the president of the United States, but this name was never accepted by the inhabitants and therefore soon returned to the original name.
Important addresses can also be found along this road: in addition to the rear entrance of the National Library and ofUniversity of Athensand, here you meet the Lyric Theater and the Cultural Center of Athenswith the poet’s statue outside Kostis Palamas. To get to this street, the nearest metro stop is that of Papepistimiou while a short distance from the entrance to the National Library are the canopies of many gods bus that connect the different areas of Athens. However, there are also many elegant restaurants and good quality shops because this is an area loved by the Athenian upper middle class.
The neighborhoods of Athens: the Hilton and the ancient stadium
Continuing our tour among the neighborhoods of Athens we go towards a very central area, just a kilometer from Syntagma square, but which everyone knows as Hilton area. The name obviously comes from that of the hotel which is located in the center of the neighborhood and can be reached from the metro stop Evangelismos. This part of the city deserves to be discovered because there are many ancient sites of great importance here such as lo Panathenaic stadiumthe temple of Zeusit Zappio hey National Gardens. At the crossroads opposite the hotel is the Dromeasor the Statue of the Runner, a twelve-metre-high glass work by the artist Costas Varotsos.
Finally we end our journey between the districts of Athens arriving at Exarchiaone of the historically liveliest areas of the Greek capital, located between Omonia And Panepistimiou. For a long time it was considered a difficult area permeated by one alternative and anarchic spirit. Also because it hosts a large student population given its proximity to the Polytechnic. Here you walk between graffiti and murals but there are also many small restaurants and simple cafés where live music is often played. This is the positive aspect: the less pleasant one is that in the days of strikes and street demonstrations this is often the area where the greatest problems occur but it still remains a slice of the city that is young and loved by young people. Proof that Athens is not alone Olympus gods And Parthenon. But quivering life and a desire for modernity