Exploring Athens City Centre by foot

Kolonaki

Athens is the capital of the Modern Greek state since 1834. The city has a long, long history and it is considered to be the birthplace of democracy.

A walk around Athens can be really interesting and fascinating. You will get to explore beautiful pedestrian roads, see important monuments and museums of historical importance and also, enjoy food, coffee or drinks in nice places. In other news, Athens city centre has it all.

The Greek capital was built around Acropolis, the most visited monument of the city built at the height of the Athenian hegemony. Walk through Dionisiou Aeropagitou street, visit the amazing Acropolis Museum, where impressive artefacts are preserved. Afterwards, it’s worth seeing the Odeon of Herodus Atticus, which hosts major musical and theatrical performances and it is one of the most significant theatres of Greece.

Coming down from Acropolis, you will arrive at Philopapou Hill and later on, you will see Ancient Agora, the place that used to be the political and commercial centre of Athens.

Plaka

Acropolis and Plaka

On the Acropolis’ northern slopes, lies one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of Athens, Plaka district. I am sure that the wandering there, will take you to a romantic and old era! It’s the best preserved from the 18th hundreds residential square and you will get amazed by the picturesque details and corners. Stroll around the alleys and make sure not to miss:

  1. Yasemi: The cutest café ever in Anafiotica! Little tables on the steps in a colourful landscape.
  2. Vrettos bar: A traditional café-bar in Kydathineon street, counts 107 years of existence.
  3. Cine Paris: A pretty rooftop cinema, ideal by the summertime.

If you are an art lover, you will love the museums of Folk Art and Frysira Gallery.

Monastiraki

Monastiraki square at the foot of the Acropolis

Monastiraki square is one of the most central meeting points of the town. It’s also a paradise of leather market (Greek handmade sandals and bags) and of Greek traditional things! Walk from Adrianou street to Thissio and you will come across Hadrian’s Library. Then, you will find the Roman Agora, or Forum and the Stoa of Attalos. Around there, it’s worth making a stop to ‘Couleur Locale’ café. Moreover, near the train station, there is ‘360 bar’ and ‘A for Athens’, popular for the amazing view they offer. Athens city exposed!

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Psirri district

This is one of the most hip districts of Athens, where you can find unexpectedly the cutest places! This happened to me, when I visited the area again after a few months and I came across this fairytale little place, named ‘Little Kook’. Besides the fantastic atmosphere, you can taste fantastic desserts. Moreover, Psirri is known for its nightlife, which can be described as alternative, with various choices.

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Ermou street

The most commercial street of Athens, stretches from Syntagma Square to Gazi district. It hosts many stores and hides a numerous little ‘treasures’ in its alleys. ‘Fouar’ café (Mitropoleos and Christopoulou street) is one of them. Heading down Ermou towards Monastiraki area, you will come across Kapnikarea church. Later on, you will find yourself in Agia Irini square and around there you will find Kalamiotou street, where you can have a drink in one of the most ‘theatrical’ places in the city, ‘Faust’! ‘Faust’ also has a theatrical scene, where a number of theatrical performances or musical events take place. One more cute place which makes worth tasting cocktails is ‘Baba au Rum’ in Klitiou street. For the best brunch, visit ‘Mama Roux’ (Aiolou 48), but make sure you get reservations on Sundays.

Syntagma is the centre of Athens, its heart! The Greek Parliament is situated there and in front of it lays the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to the fallen soldiers at war. The Tomb is guarded by the Evzones, which is the Greek honorary guard. Since you are there, it’s worth visiting the National Garden, Zappeion Megaron and the Kallimarmaro (Panathenaic Stadium).

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Kolonaki

Kolonaki is one of the most elegant and wealthy districts of Athens, known for its fashionable, expensive and alternative stores. Voukourestiou street can be described as the ‘heart’ of the neighbourhood, whilst in general, there are numerous café and restaurants, that reflect the glory of the old Athens, namely presenting, Zonar’s, City Bistro and Malconi’s wine bar. Furthermore, Kolonaki presents a plethora of theatres and important museums that you must visit, namely presenting Benaki Museum, Museum of Cycladic square, Byzantine Museum and the National Gallery. Lastly, from Lykavittos Hill you will enjoy an amazing view of the city!

One of the leading and most inspiring art museums worldwide is the National Archaeological Museum in Patission street. In close distance there is the district of Exarcheia. I would describe it as a really lively and artistic area, with many choices of entertainment and dining.

Athens. The capital of Greece, which remains lively all through the year! If you have a few more days in your disposal, it would be a very nice idea to visit the suburbs or maybe go for a daily excursion in the Argosaronicos islands.

Enjoy Athens city!

Maria Petropoulou

Contributor

Maria Petropoulou is a Greek journalist currently working in a leading Greek news site. She loves culture, travelling and writing and she has combined all these in order to create her own key to happiness. She was born in Athens, studied there and continued with a Master’s degree in UK. London. She also owns the travel blog My Landing Runway, where you can find all her travel stories and wanderings. Now she begins her trip with GCT as our European cultural correspondent; she would like to welcome you all on board.

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