Shopping & Dining in Athens
The Acropolis tops the list, along with the nearby Acropolis Museum; the ancient Agora, just below the Acropolis; Plaka and Monastiraki, tourist shopping areas also just below the Acropolis; and the National Archaeological Museum. And of course, the changing of the guard at the Parliament!
- An informative video by Rick Steves on Athens and side trips: https://www.ricksteves.com
- “Matt Barrett’s athensguide.com”. See his “Top 10 Things to Do in Athens”
- TripAdvisor: About Athens | Things to Do | Restaurants
Athens has wonderful handicrafts, shoes and jewelry, plus inexpensive ancient motif souvenirs. There are many shops near downtown (Syntagma Square area) on Ermou, Mitropoleos and Aiolou Streets. High-end shops are in Kolonaki (‘little hill’, area next to Syntagma) at Voukourestiou St, Solonos and Acadimias Streets as well.
The tourist areas of Plaka and Monastiraki (which used to be a real ‘flea market’), at the foot of the Acropolis, are a delightful maze of pedestrianized lanes with cafes, restaurants and shops selling jewelry, antiques and old books (There’s a metro stop at Monastiraki, Line 1 – blue line). Prices are generally fixed, although it never hurts to ask for a ‘better price’! After shopping, enjoy a refreshment at one of the cafes or restaurants on Adrianou St while enjoying an amazing view of the Acropolis, the ancient Agora with the Stoa of Attalos and the Temple of Hephaistus (also known as “Thisseio”).
- “Attica” shopping center is near Syntagma Square, with its main entrance on Panepistimiou St. (also known as Eleftheriou Venizelou St) Similar to a department store, it has a variety of quality boutiques, with clothing, shoes, accessories and cosmetics.
- “The Mall”: On Kifissias Avenue in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi. Also has restaurants and movie theaters. Modelled on the traditional North American “mall”.
- Notos Galleries: On the corner of Aeolou and Stadiou Sts., one block from Omonia Square. (“Omonia” metro stop, Line 2 – red line)
Shop Hours: Some large stores are open 10:00am – 9:00pm, and in Monastiraki & Plaka, 9:00-7:00pm, otherwise:
Mon & Wed: 9:00am – 3:00pm
Tue, Thurs, Fri: 9:00am – 2:30pm & 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Sat: 9:00am – 3:00pm
Sunday: Most shops are closed, although many in Plaka and Monastiraki will be open.
Syntagma, Plaka and Monastiraki boast mainly Greek restaurants (simple eateries are known as “tavernas” as opposed to more formal restaurants.
- Zampano, in the heart of the Psirri theater district - a charming Greek bistro and wine bar. The name is inspired by the main character of Federico Fellini’s “La Strada”. Delicious, modern take on traditional Greek food. 18 Sarri St, Psirri, Tel: 213-023-3244
- Tzitzikas kai Mermigas (“The Grasshopper and the Ant”), only three blocks from the Parliament in Syntagma Square. 12-14 Mitropoleos St, 210-324-7607
- Seychelles Restaurant: Tasty, reasonably-priced Greek food served in a historical building. Located in Kerameikos near the Metaxourgeio Metro station. Kerameikou 49, Athens. Tel: 210-1183-4789
- Rakor, stylish yet affordable, wonderful Greek food, with vegan-vegetarian options, in the ‘Keramekos’ area, adjacent to Monastiraki. Plataion 10 & Granikou Sts, Kerameikos, Tel: 211-710-8877.
- Avocado: Casual, vegetarian-vegan cafe a couple blocks from Syntagma Square. 30 Nikis St, Tel 210-323-7878
- Pizzeria dei Fratelli – wonderful family-run pizzeria/Italian restaurant in the Nea Smyrni neighborhood, not far from the InterContinental. Kratitos 10 & Spathari Sts., Nea Smyrni. 210-935-5220.
- Café Avissinia, in the heart of the Monastiraki Flea Market (In warm weather, get a table on the roof for an amazing view of the Acropolis at night). 7 Kynetou & Hadrianou Sts., in Avissinias Square. Tel: 210-321-7047.
- Thanassis, a famous kebab place. 69 Mitropoleos St., right off of Monastiraki Square. Very popular with tourists and locals alike.
- Pasaji, sophisticated, slightly upscale restaurant serving ‘modern’ Greek food. In the Stoa Spiromiliou (a covered arcade) off of Voukourestiou St and Stadiou Sts. Tel: 210-322-0714.
Lykavittos Hill (aka, “Lykabettus”) in Kolonaki has a café (and restaurant) with great views of the city. At the top is St. George’s church. Also on the mount is the Lykavittos Amphitheater, which hosts summer concerts. Accessible via the “teleferik” (cable car), which starts in Kolonaki on Aristippou St and actually goes through the mountain.
Psyrri: Popular and fun, a ‘night on the town’ should include Psyrri (or Gazi, see below). Psyrri’s charming pedestrianways are full of cafes, ouzeries, restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters and galleries, just north of Monastiraki Square (end of Mitropoleos St). Many ouzeries and restaurants feature live music – it’s fun just to wander around, along with the after-theater or weekend crowds.
Gazi: Centered around Athens’ old gas works, it has been transformed into a chic haven of modern art galleries and museums, stylish cafes, clubs and restaurants. Located to the west of the Acropolis-Monastiraki-Plaka areas, and just northwest of Piraios St (also known as Tsaldari Panagei St), in a neighborhood also known as “Rouf”.
Other Restaurants: A few years ago, the New York Times recommended the following restaurants in its article, “Choice Tables: How to Eat Well in Athens”:
- Margaro 126 Chatzikyriakou St., Piraeus; (30-210) 451-4226, 428-6031.
- Karavitis, 35 Arktinou & Pausaniou Sts, Athens; (30-210) 721-5155.
- 1920 Vassilenas, 72 Aitolikou & Violion Sts., Piraeus (30-210) 461-2457.
- Vlassis, 15 Maiandrou, Athens, near ‘Megaron Musikis’ metro station; (30-210) 646-3060, (210) 725-6335. (pricier)