Top Things to Do in Monastiraki, Athens
Going on vacation has never been easier and finding the best flights out there isn’t a never-ending challenge for the travel enthusiast, as it once used to be. With this in your mind and a few clicks here and there, you have purchased your tickets to Athens, booked a nice hotel or hostel within the Monastiraki area—the place where a close friend of yours spent his holidays a few years ago and, once back, couldn’t stop talking about it over and over again, making you say “I have to see what Monastiraki is all about!”—, and now you’re searching for the things to do once there.
Well, we’ve all, more or less, been in this situation before, but your search ends here, because we’ve done it for you. Here are our Top things to do in Monastiraki, Athens.
1. It’s all about the location
Monastiraki can easily be named the second most central area of Athens (after Syntagma Square, of course), third if we count Acropolis as well. As such, you will see many people come and go by the second, day and night, non-stop, commuting, going to work, hanging out on the square with friends, meeting friends for a morning, noon, afternoon, or even evening coffee, looking for a place to have breakfast/lunch/dinner, or doing some shopping at the local flea market. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ll definitely find it here!
2. What to see in Monastiraki
Your options here are endless and, depending on the time you spend on that camera of yours trying to take the best picture, you might need more than a day’s time to see only some of them. Full of museums and historic sites, Monastiraki brings you closer to history while experiencing what modern civilization has to offer.
You should visit the Ancient Agora, the center of the administrative, commercial, political and social activity of ancient Athenians’ everyday life, and the Roman Agora, the Roman market area with its entrance gate (propylaeum), the Gate of Athena Archegetis, and the magnificent Tower of Winds, which is located on the eastern part inside the Roman Agora. If, however, you want to witness an actual, more contemporary market, then all you have to do is pay a visit to the Varvakios Agora, where you can find all kinds of meats and fish, whilst at some point you encounter some vendors selling spices and herbs, because you should roast or grill your meat and fish with the necessary spices, in order to have a nice-tasting, mouth-watering result on your plate.
Some not-to-be-missed places are also Hadrian’s Library, the Temple of Hephaestus, the Agora Museum, the Museum of Greek Folk Art, the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments, and the churches that can be spotted all over, with their unparalleled architectural elements and beauty, such as the Church of Kapnikarea, the Church of Agios Eleftherios and the Athens Cathedral.
3. Where to sip some good coffee
Waking up in the morning won’t be always smelling like coffee, but it’s up to you to get out of the bed and head to those nice coffee shops scattered around the area of Monastiraki. Like all over Athens (well, in fact, all over Greece), Monastiraki brims with little or big coffee shops, others being cozy and home-like and others more modern and alternative for those looking a different place to enjoy that morning cup of coffee. The options are endless.
If you’re looking for something fancy, one could say elegant, modern, and more mainstream, which reminds you of a place coming right out of the pages of a NY magazine, then you should definitely give 360 Degrees (2, Ifaistou street) or Couleur Locale (3, Normanou street) a try. Here you can order your morning coffee accompanied by the magnificent and breathtaking view of the Acropolis facing the area.
Nevertheless, if this is not your style and you’d prefer a smaller and quieter place, then you don’t have to look any farther. A few good options for you looking to experience the more tranquil side of the area are six d.o.g.s (6-8, Avramiotou street) TAF (5, Normanou street), Loukoumi Bar (3, Avissinias Square) or Café Avissinia (7, Kynetou street), both located on Avissinias Square, where you can also find several antique shops and browse some of the best souvenirs hidden on their shelves.
Interested in trying something new?
4. Where to eat in Monastiraki
There’s not much to say here, because, when it comes to food, words don’t really matter. It is all about the tastes and descriptions cannot be enough. If you’re looking for a nice place that serves a modernized version of the Greek traditional cuisine, you should try Kuzina (9, Adrianou street) and its alternative dishes brought on its tables from all over Greece. Still looking for something traditional with a rather creative twist? Then, head to Melilotos (19, Kalamiotou street)! There you will find a variety of different dishes, from homemade pitas to all kinds of meat, fish and vegetarian options prepared with best-quality products. A must-visit is, however, To Paradosiako (59, Kolokotroni street), especially for those of you who would like to delve into the real meaning of Greek souvlaki and barbecued meat (looking for the best street food in Athens? Look no further. We give you the answer here!)
Read also: 3 Days In Athens – The Must-See Guide
5. Monastiraki by night
Oh, if you love Monastiraki by day, imagine what will happen to you when you see it by night: prepare to be blown away! Considered the night-out hot spot by all ages, it has many places where you can have fun and mingle with the locals during your stay there. From tavernas with live music to bars and clubs, Monastiraki has everything for every taste and mood.
As already said, your options here are endless: Boiler (9, Vlachava street), the industrial stage with dark wave/experimental music and much booze, Ciel (2, Mnisikleous street and Mitropoleos), the all-day bar with some exquisite signature cocktails, and Baba Au Rum (6, Klitiou street), the ultimate cocktail bar with an intimidating menu of special cocktails prepared and mixed together by its expert bartenders. On Agia Eirini’s Square, near the Monastiraki metro station, you can also find some big names of the area’s nightlife: Barrus and Throubi are your go-to places for a night-out in Athens, where you will feel the vibe of the city circling you and slowly taking you in. However, what you’ll choose is entirely up to you, depending on what you’re in for and what your preferred type of night entertainment actually is.
Well, my part ends here. I can only hope that after reading these lines you’ll be heading to booking that trip to Athens and planning your stay in Monastiraki, for now you are many steps closer to calling yourself a true locallectual (at least Monastiraki-wise)!
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What is your favorite thing to do in Monastiraki area? Let us know in the comments section below!
Text: Spyros Balesias