Monastiraki and Plaka text written in pink over an image with a street of taverns, in Monastiraki

Places to visit in Athens: Monastiraki and Plaka

After our visit to the famous Acropolis, the third day in the Greek Capital was for exploring even more outdoor places to visit in Athens by foot.

We ate some bougatsa for breakfast near our apartment, then went to the subway. We got out at Monastiraki Square, a very lively and crowded area in the city of Athens. Therefore it took a bit of time to get our bearings and get on our way. You can see here how confused we looked that morning:

Animated image of us in Monastiraki Square, Athens

Church of St. Mary Pantanassa, in Monastiraki Square

The church which is in the background of the image above is Church of St. Mary Pantanassa. Believe it or not, it was once known as the Great Monastery. Over time, probably with the construction of greater religious establishments, it started being called the Little Monastery. Or Monastiraki, in Greek. So this small church is actually the source of the name of the entire area.



Places to visit in Athens left by the Romans

Monastiraki Square is the best place to start your walk if you wish to visit the remains of the buildings left by the Romans. You simply walk from the square in the direction of the Museum of Ceramics. Right next to it you will encounter the first Roman vestiges.


Places to visit in Athens: Hadrians's Library, as seen from Areos Street

Hadrian’s Library

Situated in the northern side of the Roman Forum, Hadrian’s Library in the city of Athens was named after the Roman Emperor who founded it. The Library was quite luxurious in its time, having not only an interior courtyard and a garden, but also a swimming pool.

Today you can enter the archaeological complex to check out the ruins of Hadrian’s Library. The best kept part is in the Western side, where you’ll also find the entrance. Here, you can admire the beautiful Corinthian columns, made out of Poros stone and marble.

The tickets are inexpensive, so you could check out Hadrian’s Library up close. You can also just take a stroll on Areos Street to admire the ruins from behind a fence.


The Roman Agora or Roman Forum, one of the Roman places to visit in Athens

Roman Agora

After the area surrounding Hadrian’s Library, you reach another fenced location with ruins: the Roman Agora. It’s actually a Roman Forum, smaller and less well-preserved than that the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy. But you’ll notice some resemblance.

In the first century BC, Athens was part of the Roman Empire. And Emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus funded the building of this Forum in the heart of Greece. After the Romans, though, the Venetians and the Ottomans raised their own buildings in the area of the Roman Agora, destroying most of it.


The Tower of the Winds or The Horologion of Andronikos of Kirrhos, with the Acropolis in the background.

The Horologion of Andronikos of Kirrhos

Also known as The Tower of the Winds, the building is thought to be the first meteorological station in history. Besides various sundials and a wind vane, the Horologion of Andronikos of Kirrhos also houses a water clock. It’s an interesting visit, especially for engineers like Mathieu.



Mathieu in Anafiotika, one of the places in Athens perfect for those in love with the Greek islands

Places to visit in Athens for those who love the Islands

Having seen everything my dad planned for the day, we found ourselves with nothing to do before lunchtime. And though we had already been to Anafiotika the day before, we thought it was a good occasion to go back and explore it some more.

As I said before, Anafiotika is like an island in the middle of the Greek capital. It’s one of my favorite places to visit in Athens!


Arch in vegetation on a street in Anafiotika, in the city of Athens

Wandering through the maze of Anafiotika

While my parents mostly stayed on the main streets, visiting nice little Orthodox Churches, we chose a different path. (Might also be because Mathieu kept asking me why the Orthodox Christians feel the need to make their churches so crammed.)

The two of us took a left or a right on all the stairs we found. Some of them took us to wonderful narrow streets between houses. Others, however, turned out to be dead ends leading to somebody’s doorstep.

Anafiotika is a true maze of streets that are worth getting lost on. At one point, we entered an are covered in graffiti, and some can be seen in the collage below:

Collage with photos of street art from the streets of Anafiotika

At another point, we ended up climbing and climbing, until finally reaching the highest streets of the neighborhood. After some nice glimpses of the city over the rooftops in Anafiotika, we tried to find my parents to continue together our family trip to Athens.



Street with Taverns, in Plaka, one of the most pitoresque places to visit in Athens

Beer O’clock at The Old Tavern of Psaras

Once we found them, we all looked for a place to have a drink, as it was Beer O’Clock. Well, that’s the name my mom gave to the break we had around noon, to have a refreshing drink in the shade, before lunch.

It wasn’t always beer, though. This time, only Mathieu and my dad went for beers. I chose a lemonade and my mom took a fancy frappé.

The setting was really nice. The street is actually a terraced stairway, with taverns and cafés on the steps and on the streets leading to the stairs. The Old Tavern of Psaras, where we had our drinks, also offers a nice view of Athens.



Best Buddies Bell to spread friendship and inclusion in Athens

Friendship and inclusion in Athens

After our drinks we wandered a bit in the rest of Plaka. And, at one point, Mathieu pointed out to me that we were in an area where all the bushes had bells in them. We went to check them out and saw the following message attached:

Congratulations! You’ve just found out “Best Buddies Bell” & it’s yours!
Help us spread friendship and inclusion for all. Post a picture of the bell to social media with the hashtags #LetsBeFriends #BestBuddiesBells #Filarakia.

I really liked the campaign of Best Buddies Greece, and finding the bell made me smile. (The bell is currently happily handing on my balcony now.)



Church Agia Aikaterini and its garden , in Plaka, Athens

Church Agia Ekaterini

Also in Plaka, you’ll find the Church of Agia Ekaterini or the Church of St. Chatherine. The religious building replaced an old Greek temple dedicated to the mother goddess Artemis.

Although the gates to the Church were locked, it’s still lovely to admire the construction and the garden surrounding it from a distance.



Coffee an cold water at Soureti Cafe in Victoria Square, Athens

Afternoon coffee close to the apartment

Well, after all those places to visit in Athens, we felt tired and we went to take a nap at the apartment. Mathieu and I were the first to wake up, so we went to the nearby Victoria Square to have a coffee.

After some looking around, we chose the one terrace without any football screens: Soureti Café. The service was really good and my coffee was nicely flavored. We waited there for my parents to wake up and leave together to have dinner.



Adrianou street, in Monastiraki, one of the most animated places to visit in Athens

Dinner in Monastiraki

In Monastiraki, there is Adrianou Street, which has lots of taverns one next to the other. If you’re lucky, you can even find a table with a view of the Ancient Agora.

TWe chose to eat at Attalos Restaurant. I believe the proximity to the Ancient Agora is also what lead them to take this name. The Ancient Agora Museum is housed by the Stoa of Attalos.

The food here was delicious and the service was amazing. Besides English, the owner also spoke a bit of Romanian, and he was very friendly. For the remaining days in Athens, my dad would prefer taking the subway for a few stations just to eat here!


Go on a tour to the best places to visit in Athens

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Places to visit in Ahtnes: Monastiraki and Plaka
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Places to visit in Ahtnes: Monastiraki and Plaka
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Monastiraki and Plaka are among the most animated places to visit in Athens. Discover the Ancient Agora and the Roman Forum of Athens, taverns & street art!
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The Travel Bunny
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24 thoughts on “Places to visit in Athens: Monastiraki and Plaka

  1. Despite Pain says:

    Looks like such a beautiful place to visit. Filled with history, isn’t it? I loved the idea of the best Buddies Bell. What a lovely idea and memento for you to keep.

  2. Beth says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Athens, and this post just fed my wanderlust! I especially love the “Best Buddies Bell” – what a cool experience!

    • Mirela (The Travel Bunny) says:

      I hope you get to see all the wonderful places to visit in Athens soon, Beth! And yes, the Best Buddies Bell was a great idea, not just as a memento, but to raise awareness. I hope they’re still doing this kind of campaigns. I’m actually thinking of doing something similar, in Bucharest 🙂

    • Mirela (The Travel Bunny) says:

      I’m glad you do, Jolie! There’s another week on articles about Athens just around the corner. And then, I’m taking you on other travels in Greece! It’s the country I’ve visited most often, so it only makes sense to write a lot about it 🙂

  3. Ali says:

    Monastiraki and Plaka seem to be great places to visit in Athens! You article made me consider traveling there. Thanks!

  4. Sanjota says:

    I have read about Athens in many novels & blog posts. Looks like a must-visit place. Your pictures are amazing! Good to see that you had a great time. 🙂

    • Mirela (The Travel Bunny) says:

      Thank you, Sanjota! The setting helps a lot when it comes to taking good photos 😉 I hope you visit Athens soon, you’re going to love seeing first hand all those places to visit in Athens about which you’ve only read so far!

  5. Neil Alvin Nicerio says:

    .Athens has always been in my bucket list. This article just added why I should visit the place. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Elizabeth O says:

    This place looks stunning in the above pictures. Thanks for sharing your experience and now I will sure plan to visit there.

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