Of course, those sites are what make Athens unique and should not be bypassed. However, Athens has much more to offer than just the same, usual touring opportunities. Therefore, taking a walk in the 10 most picturesque neighborhoods and quarters of Athens is the ideal way to get to know the city!
From the junction of Dionysiou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou streets, a path starts to the hills of Filopappos and Pnika. Along the way, we meet the post-Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios of Loubardiaris, as well as traces of the ancient wall of Athens. At the top of the hill is the burial monument of Julius Antiochus Philopappos. Next to the hill of Philopappos or otherwise the hill of the Muses, the hill of Pnyx with the stage where some of the most important politicians of ancient Athens spoke, as here was the gathering of the Church of the Municipality.
Where is it? Just below the Acropolis, near Plaka, which is quite reminiscent of a village - that's why you do not need to walk so much if you avoid walking - and next to the hill Filopappou. Koukaki may not be as picturesque and glamorous as other Athenian neighborhoods. It promises, however, to dazzle you with its alternative atmosphere, right in the middle of the cityscape with its ever-changing daily routine.
Here you will find a quiet place, a refuge from the intense daily rhythms of the city. Walking on the sidewalks of the area, you can explore unique shops, traditional and modern cafes, bars, and museums that you should visit. The first is the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which exhibits a collection that is constantly enriched by works by Greek and foreign artists. Second is the Elias Lalaouni Jewelry Museum with a permanent collection of jewelry and miniature sculptures, constituting an incomparable representation of jewelry art in Greece.
For lovers of architecture, Koukaki is the neighborhood that maintains the neoclassical style of the old buildings, the remnants of a bygone era of incomparable beauty. For those of you who think walking is the best way to get to know a place, then take a walk around the neighborhood.
The oldest district of today's Athens, with its neoclassical houses and narrow cobbled streets, is one of the most touristic, due to its proximity to the Acropolis. The main street of Adrianou and the surrounding pedestrian streets are full of shops with tourist items, cafes, traditional taverns, and restaurants. The area also has many old churches, some of which are Byzantine, such as the Transfiguration of the Savior dating from the 11th century. Its narrow streets house several museums, such as the Children's Museum, the Kanellopoulos Museum, and the Museum of Greek Folk Instruments, while the visitor will also see monuments such as that of Lysikrates, also known as "Diogenes' Lantern", the mosque, but also archeological places such as Hadrian's Library, the Roman Agora, and the hammam, the "Bath of the Winds".
One of the most picturesque districts of Plaka, at the northeastern foot of the Acropolis. It was named by the migrant builders from Anafi Island, who defied the 1841 ban on building in the Archaeological Zone of the Acropolis and built the first houses there. Thus, the architectural style is Cycladic and reminiscent of an island, with white whitewashed houses in the narrow streets.
Another tourist area of Athens is located near Plaka and the Acropolis. Monastiraki Square, right in front of the electric station, is the starting point for "Yusurum", the large bazaar on Hephaestus Street, which was formerly known for its second-hand shops, but today also has shops with modern streetwear. Next to the square is the Tzistaraki mosque, which now houses a collection of pottery, and the church of Panagia Pantanassa, also known as the "church of the Great Monastery", from which the square took its name.
Leaving Abyssinia Square and crossing Ermou Street, you reach your next destination, the wonderful area of Psyrri. The area is known by both locals and tourists for its café-bars and taverns, which offer live music, and all kinds of food shops. If you visit Athens, you cannot miss this area and admire its history and picturesqueness, recalling an Athens of the past with modern features scattered everywhere. Wander the alleys and streets, either walking or riding a handmade wooden bike, and surrender to the history that the area of Psyrri has to offer.
After the completion of the pedestrian area, the area has been restored and in the square of Thiseio, even more, cafes have opened with a view not only to the Acropolis but also to the Stoa of Attalos that emerges from the Ancient Agora. The area around the train station of the same name is suitable for leisurely walks and to check out the counters of small sellers, eat some chestnuts and watch street performers. The temple that dominates the top of the low hill of the Ancient Agora, the best-preserved ancient temple in Greece, is also known as the temple of Hephaestus.
Syntagma Square is the center of the political life of the capital. It is surrounded by luxury hotels, while nearby is the monument of the Unknown Soldier and the building of the Greek Parliament. From here begins the shopping center, with the most central axis Ermou Street, which ends at the cemetery of Kerameikos. Most of it is pedestrianized and, in addition to shops, gathers several street vendors and artists.
Our next destination, returning to Syntagma Square and the National Garden, where children can be transformed into heroes of the myths of Aesop, is Exarchia. They are located between Kolonaki and Alexandras Avenue, better known as the student area of Athens. The area has a lot to offer and combines the old, the alternative, and the modern, all in a bohemian environment. Exarchia has nothing to envy compared to other neighborhoods of Athens. They are famous for their bars, friendly cafes and quiet cafes, and many publishing houses and bookstores, most of which sell used books and offer products at great prices. The locals, however, will present you with a darker picture of the area: the turbulent, revolutionary, and dangerous days of marches that you might have to avoid.
There are some things worth visiting when you are in Exarchia. One of the main attractions of the neighborhood is the National Archaeological Museum, the largest museum in Greece. Counting more than 11,000 exhibits, it allows you to explore the evolution of Greek culture from prehistory to recent antiquity. Another interesting attraction is the Epigraphic Museum, the largest of its kind with stone inscriptions, which offer a better understanding of ancient Greek history.
Nevertheless, although it does not have much to offer in terms of archaeological significance, Exarchia also has its history. The center of the neighborhood is Exarcheion Square, always full of people who either sit on a bench or just pass by. Around the square there are small cafes and fast-food restaurants, offering a wide variety of food and drinks. What you should look for in Exarchia are their countless taverns. Their cooking choices, accompanied by a cool beer or a little wine, are the perfect way to experience Exarchia to the fullest.
Between Ermou, Piraeus, and Asomaton streets, you will find the archeological site of Keramikos. In ancient times, the area was originally a settlement of potters and potters due to the rich deposits of the river Eridanus. However, the sections near the river suffered from the constant overflow of the river. This made the place difficult to work and live in and thus became one of the most important cemeteries of ancient Athens.
Nevertheless, Keramikos today is a huge area of modern Athens, next to Gazi with the old gas factories of Athens, offering many opportunities for fun, entertainment, and, of course, a lively nightlife. Many people, even locals, confuse the two neighborhoods because of the name of the metro station "Keramikos" with its exit in the area of Gazi. In Gazi, you will find many cafe bars, but even more, clubs that offer music options for all tastes. Taverns and restaurants can be found in the strangest locations, from the streets to underground spaces that can only be discovered at the suggestion of a local.
If you are one of those who prefer something away from the intense and exhausting center of Athens, then Kifisia is just for you. The neighborhood is known for its natural beauty and for how well it retains the natural element in modern buildings.
Visit the park of Kifissia, where every year since 1937, usually in April or May, the annual flower exhibition is hosted. Crossing the park, you will soon reach the heart of Kifissia, an area full of people, shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and, honestly, everything you can imagine. You can visit the Goulandris Museum of Natural History, which deals with the study and protection of the natural environment, and the Telecommunications Museum.
Kifissia is the ideal place for families and nature lovers who are looking for something different than usual. The right place to stay during your vacation in Athens.