1a. & 1b. WALKING PATH:PLAKA TO MONASTIRAKI
Next to the urban metropolis and just under the sacred Rock of Acropolis lies the closest to an old town that Athens has to offer.
Since the Olympic Games in 2004 Plaka district has been rejuvenated and it' s now one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of Athens with countless of touristic shops in Vironos, Adrianou, Pandrossou & Hephaistou Streets, within walking distance from the new Acropolis Museum, the Areopagitou pedestrian zone and the Ancient Agora. Not to mention that numerous of quaint souvenir, jewelry gold & silverware, folk art, handicraft gifts and many other shops, coexist with a plethora of coffee shops and traditional tavernas.
Tip#1: Anafiotika in Plaka is like a beautiful island within the heart of Athens. It was constructed in the middle of the 19th century, when builders from the Aegean island of Anafi came to Athens. They were considered to be the best in their art and came to Athens to construct the Palace of the first King of Greece, Otto. Knowing that they would have to spend few years away they decided to reconstruct in Plaka their village with the same architectural style as the ones in their village.
All the way down from Plaka is Mitropoleos Square, where Athens Cathedral dominates. It is ideal for relaxing in its coffee houses. On the scenic Dimopratiriou Square you can also find many tavernas with traditional Greek food. Mitropoleos Street leads to the bustling and quaint Monastiraki. It is a square representative of the Ottoman and Byzantine influence on the city which also introduces visitors into a shopping area full of surprises. It is the home to the city's best-known flea market.
Literally a maze of narrow pedestrian allies lined with shops that sell urban street wear, souvenirs, and colorful beads to military memorabilia. It is a paradise for vintage aficionados. You can find collectible vinyl, books and magazines. Shopping or just walking around Monastiraki is an amazing experience you do not want to miss. Visitors are amazed by the quality and quantity of products and are tempted to buy something. BUT when the sun sets, Psirri (just off Monastiraki) awakes with countless bars, restaurants, tavernas with live Greek music and cafes that cater for mixed crowds of every walk of life.
Tip#2: The art of bargaining in Avissinias Square. It is Monastiraki's central square. You can find literally everything there: rare antique furniture or antique models as well as every kind of second hand items. You can also find old closets, bookshelves, frames, mirrors, tables, gramophone records and music instruments. Shopping here can perfectly be accompanied with a glass of Greek wine or ouzo and mezes (Greek tapas).
1c.WALKING PATH: PSIRRI
1d.WALKING PATH: THISSIO TO TECHNOPOLIS-GKAZI
Thissio and Gkazi lie to the west of Athens city center. Since 2000 they have become the most interesting and upcoming areas of Athens. Thissio is one of the oldest districts of the capital. The Acropolis is towering above and the neoclassical buildings are preserving an aura of an ancient era. Its spaciousness has inspired the local imagination and thus it is known as the Athens paralia (beach). The whole Thissio area is to Athens what La Rambla is to Barcelona. Every weekend dozens of street vendors and street artists gather under and around the rock of Acropolis. After a long and arduous walk around the Ancient Agora and Philopappou Hill, Thissio is the best place for street shopping and mingling with the city-dwellers. Not to mention that its pedestrian street leads all the way to the Acropolis Museum. Nightlife and restaurants are its distinctive attractions next to museums and galleries. The pedestrian part of Ermou leads to Gkazi area that is also called the Soho of Athens. A former industrial area has turned into a cultural center called Technopolis that has helped turn the whole area into an area of hip bars and restaurants. It is a place that comes alive every Friday night and over the weekend.
Tip #3: Kerameikos: an upcoming area next to Gkazi. Like most European capitals Athens is rediscovering its neglected and forshaken neighborhoods. Kerameikos is gradually transforming to a night-time hotspot with plenty of restaurant and bar choices next to galleries and alternative theater scenes.