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The Athenian Neighborhoods You Should Know

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Athens’ city center brims with scenic neighborhoods. Some bear witness to the capital’s glorious past, being now the capital’s most touristic areas while others still preserve their local atmosphere. Put your comfy shoes, discover the city’s hidden corners and get a proper taste of life in the Greek capital. Here are The Athenian neighborhoods you should know!

Plaka neighborhood

Being the most known Athenian district, the Plaka neighborhood occupies the top of “The things to do in Athens” lists luring hordes of tourists all year round so it is the first neighborhood of our list with The Athenian neighborhoods you should know!

Its location on the foot of the Acropolis hill in combination with the neoclassical buildings that adorn its narrow alleys are reasons good enough for the Plaka neighborhood to have gained a worldwide reputation.

Cobblestone streets, traditional souvenir shops, local taverns, and cozy cafés add their personal touch to the already captivating scenery.

Kydathineon and Adrianou are the area’s main streets but if you don’t get lost in the smaller passages you’ll lose part of the magic.

Don’t miss out on taking a stroll at Anafiotika the so-called Island Village in the heart of the city center.

With car-free alleys and small houses with cozy backyards, this area’s surroundings resemble the Cycladic islands.

plaka
Plaka neighborhood in Athens. Image from: Wikimedia Commons

Monastiraki neighborhood

Attached to Plaka you’ll find Monastiraki neighborhood, the second neighborhood of our list with The Athenian neighborhoods you should know!

Monastiraki neighborhood is an iconic and historic area that nowadays combines the old with the traditional.

Start your exploration from Monastiraki square where you’ll see the ruins of the historic Library of Hadrian, the ancient Church of Pantanassa and the mosque of Tzistarakis Aga; three monuments that showcase the history of Athens city throughout the centuries.

On Ifestou street which spans from the mosaic-covered square, you’ll find from clothing, jewelry, and shoes to vinyl stores and second-hand bookshops.

Ifaistou is the area’s most widely-known alley and therefore is usually jam-packed with locals and tourists.

Numerous rooftop bars are situated around Monastiraki square offering a great view of the city. 

Monastiraki square
Monastiraki square in Athens. Image from: Wikimedia Commons

Psiri neighborhood

Psiri neighborhood has been an integral part of Athens’ nightlife for a while now and even though a few years ago it lost some of its glory, it is now once again reviving.

The streets are lined up with second-hand clothing shops, artisans’ stores, local bakeries as well as traditional taverns and takeaway restaurants.

When the night falls, the Psiri neighborhood this iconic Athenian neighborhood takes on a new life as the area’s stylish bars and concert venues get packed with an enthusiastic crowd.

Psiri neighborhood in Athens
Discover the street market in Psiri neighborhood. Image courtesy by rey perezoso from flickr.com

Gazi neighborhood

Next to our list with The Athenian neighborhoods you should know is another hip but less tourist district of Athens, the Gazi neighborhood!

Brimming with restaurants, cocktail bars, and LGTBQ friendly nightclubs, the trendy Gazi neighborhood is one of the most popular districts for a night out. 

Especially during the summer months, when Technopolis, an old gas-factory which nowadays has been transformed into a cultural center, opens its doors to hosting concerts and music festivals, the Gazi neighborhood is bustling with life.

Getting to the Gazi neighborhood is very easy, as the Kerameikos metro station is situated on the district’s main square.

the best athens nightlife

Metaxourgio neighborhood

Scrolling down to our list with The Athenian neighborhoods you should know, you will find the Metaxourgio neighborhood!

Over the last decade, the Metaxourgio neighborhood in Athens city has seen a transformation with more and more bars and restaurants popping up all over the area.

However, it still preserves its local atmosphere and it rarely feels packed.

Here you’ll find plenty of traditional taverns and local pubs serving the traditional drink raki as well as trendy cocktails bars and restaurants.

This area attracts a mixed crowd of millennials and locals in their late 30s and 40s.

Metaxourgio neighborhood is also home to The Municipal Gallery of Athens, which houses artworks from almost all the Greek artists who shaped the history of Greek art and contributed to its development in the 20th century.

Municipal Gallery of Athens
The Municipal Gallery of Athens is housed in a neoclassical building, on Koumoundourou Square, built on the plans of the architect Panagis Kalkos in 1874. Image from: Wikimedia Commons

Exarchia neighborhood

With its graffiti-painted walls, the vintage clothing stores and second-hand bookshops nestled in the area’s streets, the Exarchia neighborhood has become known as Athens’ underground area.

Already since the 70s, Exarchia neighborhood was a hangout for students, artists, musicians and writers and some of them are now the neighborhood’s inhabitants.

Live concert venues, local bars, and cafés are scattered around the neighborhood attracting the city’s alternative crowd.

When you visit the Exarchia neighborhood and the weather is good, you will find an area in which people sit outside the colorful buildings sipping ouzo and eating meze dishes. 

See when is the best time to visit the capital of Greece!

exarchia in athens

Petralona neighborhood

Petralona neighborhood is one of the locals’ favorite neighborhoods because even though it is situated in the Athens city center it feels like a suburb.

Whether you decide to take the train and get off at Petralona station, walk from Kerameikos station in Gazi or go on foot all the way from Thiseio, Petralona neighborhood is within easy reach.

The area is divided into Upper and Lower Petralona (Ano and Kato Petralona).

While both parts of the area are worth to be explored, if you have to choose one then you should head directly to the upper side.

Nestled in the shadow of the historic Filopappou Hill, Ano Petralona’s peaceful surroundings will captivate you with their beauty.

As you take a stroll around the area you’ll get a taste of a local Athenian neighborhood but you’ll also find plenty of places for a traditional meal or a relaxed drink.

Check our article about the Top 10 Attractions to visit in Athens city!

Explore Petralona neighborhood in Athens
Explore Petralona neighborhood in Athens

Koukaki neighborhood

Over the past few years, Koukaki neighborhood has grown in popularity and is now one of the must-visit places in Athens.

Its location, on the foot of Filopappou Hill and close to the Acropolis, makes it the perfect area for a pitstop after a day of sightseeing.

Nowadays, you’ll find an abundance of stylish cafés, vegan-friendly restaurants, and high-end bars.

Even though Koukaki has become Athens’ most touristic neighborhood, if you leave the district’s main streets behind for a while and dive into the smaller alleys you can still see parts of Athens city that will take you to a journey back in the 60s.

 

koukaki area in athens
Discover the amazing Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

Each neighborhood around Athens’ city center has its own unique atmosphere attracting people of different styles and ages.

Whether you want to experience the Athenian nightlife or just delve into the authentic side of the city, these are the Athenian neighborhoods you should know.

 

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  • Get there by: Metro & Bus
  • What to See: The Most Scenic Neighborgoods in Athens City
  • What to Do: Discover the city's Hidden Corners.
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