Many travelers to Athens will attest that one of the most vibrant and surprising areas in the city is the Plaka neighborhood. At the foot of the Acropolis, it is also one of the most central districts, too. Discover the streets lined with funky cafes, traditional restaurants, beautiful boutiques, and so much more. See why travelers rave about the Plaka neighborhood and then get ready to pack your bags!
A bit about Plaka
Plaka is in the heart of Athens, as it is the city’s oldest district. This historical neighborhood is at the bottom of the Acropolis slope, so it is a must either on your way up or down. Many of the locals refer to Plaka as the “neighborhood of the gods” since it is at the foot of the Acropolis and contains many archaeological ruins. The neighborhood grew around the ancient ruins of the Agora of Athens, and has been inhabited since these times. Also of note is the neoclassical architecture that can be found throughout the neighborhood, from homes to shops to restaurants. Plaka is a favorite among tourists not only for its history and architecture, but because of its warm and cozy atmosphere.
Check out the museums
The Plaka neighborhood hosts many different museums like the Hellenic Children’s Museum, the Museum of Greek Folk Art, and the Jewish Museum of Greece, to name a few. Since this neighborhood is so rich in history, it’s not surprising that there are so many places where you can go to soak up the culture and learn about it. There truly is a museum for everyone, from history buffs to art lovers to small children. You can learn about the local culture and history in any of of Plaka’s fascinating museums.
Shop, shop, shop
The majority of Plaka’s streets are pedestrian-only, so you don’t have to worry about traffic as you ramble through the small alleyways and sidewalks. This makes for a great area to window shop and market hop at a leisurely pace. Start at the Monastiraki market and make your way to Plaka, enjoying the jumble of things that you’ll find at the various stalls. Kiosks sell a variety of things like touristy knick-knacks, handmade arts and crafts, vintage clothing, and local Greek products. In Plaka you’ll also find many one-of-a-kind boutiques with chic clothing, unique gifts, and beautiful artwork.
Eat like a Greek
There is no shortage of cafes and restaurants in the Plaka neighborhood, so you can eat to your heart’s content! While international cuisine is becoming more trendy all across Europe, you’ll have no problem picking out a great spot to try some traditional Greek food. Gyros are a must and a readily available in many restaurants and kiosks for cheap. Try some local favorites like stuffed tomatoes or grape leaves, Greek salad, or saganaki to get a real taste of Athens.
Nestled within Plaka is the even smaller neighborhood of Anafiotika. You’ll find it walking up or down the northeast side of the Acropolis hill. The first inhabitants of this neighborhood were from the Cycladic islands, and built their homes to mimic their birthplace. Presently, there are less than 50 houses left, but it is like having a taste of the Greek islands on the mainland. This peaceful part of the Plaka neighborhood brings tranquility and a bit of paradise to Athens. Stroll the tiny streets to see beautiful views from the Acropolis hill as you relish the amazing architecture.
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