When in Athens there is one thing you HAVE to do. Even if you only do this, you’ll capture a glimpse of what Athens really is. It’s the walk both tourist and locals love. It’s a big walk, but it’s really worth every step.
Take the tube or the tram and start from Syntagma. There you’ll find the Greek Parliament, the iconic hotel Grande Bretagne and Syntagma Square. Go down Ermou Street, a pedestrian street generally full of shoppers, as it’s the main shopping destination of the Athenians. At the end of the street, and on your left, you’ll reach Monastiraki Square, and its so-called “Flea Market”. Small stores that you can find…well anything you can think of, from touristy stuff, to vintage things, to furniture and clothes. On your right there is the area of Psirri. A district adored by students and the working class people. Low-priced little taverns with traditional delicacies, live music, cheap wine and “rakomelo”, cafés & bars synthesize the uniqueness of this area.
Next stop, Thiseio. Thiseio is overcrowded during the summer due to its amazing views to the Acropolis and the plethora of cafés and bars located at its wide pedestrian streets. It is surrounded by many neoclassical buildings, a must-see when in Athens!
I left my favourite for the end. That would be Plaka, which is unarguably the most beautiful neighbourhood of Athens and its majestic island-like Anafiotika. The so-called “neighbourhood of the Gods” is located right under the Acropolis and is full of archaeological sites. It is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists yearly and regularly by locals. At the highest part of Plaka, there is the tiny, scenic, 19th century little neighbourhood called Anafiotika. An oasis of tranquillity that makes the intensity of Athens seems miles away. Walk its narrow streets where bougainvilleas splash whitewashed walls and cats wander around its picturesque paths, and you’ll get the feeling that you are on a Greek Island. From there, follow the signs that lead you to the most important landmark of Athens, the Acropolis. I’d suggest finishing your walk by paying a visit to the state-of-the-art Acropolis Museum before heading up to the Parthenon.
Tiring as it might sound, you won’t regret it. It’s the best walk you could take and the only walk you really need when in the city of my heart, Athens. Put your sneakers on, take your camera, and go for it! (Thank me later!)
Drink or eat in one of the following places:
- Froots Juice Bar
- A for Athens
- AthenStyle The Rooftop Bar&Restaurant
- Mama ROUX
- Kafti Patata
- Bubble Tale
Photos by Aggelos Karagiannis.