Athens / Greece

Plaka Map of Top Things to Do

Acropolis at Sunset. Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Acropolis at Sunset

I’ve always struggled with blog postings like “Athens in a Day” and “Three Days in Florence.”  What that person wants to do in a day in Athens is almost never completely what I would choose to do.  Our priorities are all different as travelers, and if we spend our time trying to travel just like that super-cool blogger over there, we really can’t be surprised when we come away from a city thinking “Eh, Rome’s not for me.”  Well of course it wasn’t for you, you tried to be in Rome, literally, just like someone who’s not you!

So, instead of “Athens In a Day” or “Athens In Three Days,”  I just give you my Plaka Map of Things to Do.   (See the end of the post for a moveable, zoomable, google map with these places marked.)

I DO NOT advise you to cram this all in one day, and if you are one who travels like that, I can’t travel with you.  Period.  I mean, if you only have one day before, say, heading out to the islands… I get it.  I give you my permission to cram as much in as you can.  But, I’m just saying, it’s better if you take your time and use this to plan a few days, at least.

Think of this more as a list of options, with a handy-dandy map of Plaka, so you can group things together and see the sights you want to see, at a pace that works for you.  Most things listed here have links to more thorough write-ups, including more pictures, so do follow those links if something piques your interest.

.

Acropolis

Caryatids at the Acropolis.  Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Caryatids at the Acropolis

I you are only going to see one big site on our map of plaka in Athens, of course, this is it.  If you come to Athens and don’t see the Acropolis, everyone is going to look at you like you just grew a third eye in the middle of your forehead.  Now, for you rebels out there, you can get around this – because you can technically see the Acropolis from all over Athens.  So if you just can’t possibly do what everyone else is doing, you can always say, “Why of course I saw the Acropolis…” because you did, almost any time you looked up in that direction.  And you can go on and do other things.

The Ancient ruins of the Acropolis are actually made up of a number of structures including Odean Herodes Atticus, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Parthenon, and others.  The view of Athens is pretty incredible, too, so, to me, this will always be a must-see.

For a more detailed look at the Acropolis, including important tips on time to visit and what to take with you, see The Acropolis with PK Travel.

.

Athens Agora

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens Agora.  Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens Agora, in Plaka, Athens

The Agora of Athens is an ancient Greek Agora, or at least the ruins of one.  While there are ruins throughout the space, the two primary structures are the Stoa of Attalos and the Temple of Hephaestus.  The Stoa of Attalos was rebuilt in the 20th century and now contains a small gift ship, an assortment of busts and other artifacts.  The Temple of Hephaestus is in impressive condition given its age, and well worth venturing over and around it.

For a better look at what the Athens Agora has to offer, check out our Ancient Athens Agora post.

.

Melissinos Poet Sandal Maker

Lamp inside Melissinos, the Poet Sandal Maker's, shop.  Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Lamp inside Melissinos, the Poet Sandal Maker’s, shop.

Melissinos Sandal shop gave me my favorite souvenir from Athens – a pair of comfy sandals to wear the rest of the trip, and that I’m still wearing at home.  This shop, located right off the Ermou, a main shopping street, and the Melissions family have been practicing the traditional sandal-making technique here since 1920, and have shod the likes of Jackie Onassis, Sophia Loren, Barbara Streisand, the Queen of Spain, and many more.

The family is also made up of playwrights and published poets, and the interior of the shop is plastered with memorabilia from all of their different accomplishments.  It’s just a funky, fun place to stop in general.

For a more in depth look at the shop and history, see our post about Melissinos Shop.

.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown.  Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown in Athens

If you follow Ermou Street (mentioned below in Shopping section) to the East, past Melissinos shop, browsing Emou until it changes to a pedestrian street, and continue following East, you will wind up in Syntagma Square.  Across the street from Syntagma is the Greek Parliament building, which is where the changing of the guard is held.  When you cross the street from Syntagma to the Parliament building, you are right in front of where all the action happens.

The official weekly change is at 11am on a Sunday, and includes the wearing of the official version of the Evzones uniform and accompaniment by a military band.  However, there is a changing every hour, on the hour, throughout the week, that is still very worth seeing.  Keep your eye on the time as you are browsing Ermou, and be sure to be there at the top of the hour.

The meaning and details of the uniforms, as well as more information about the soldiers chosen for this honor are discussed in my post on the Changing of the Guard..

.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens

Entrance to Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Entrance to Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

This cathedral is the church of the Archbishopric of Athens, and all of Greece.  The cathedral is (as of this writing) under construction, but you are still able to step inside and take a look.  Be sure to look up as the ceiling outside the front door is worth a few moments of study, and the interior is beautifully decorated also.

Next to the Metropolitan Cathedral is the Mikri Mitropoli, or little cathedral.  This is much smaller, only measuring 25 feet by 40 feet.  While the construction of the Mikri Mitropoli dates to somewhere between the 12th and 15th centuries, parts that were used to build it date to the 4th century BC.

For more information and photography of these churches, please see our post on the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens and Mikri Mitropoli.

.

Roman Agora

Roman Agora in Plaka, Athens.  Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Roman Agora in Plaka, Athens.

The Roman Agora is not as impressive as the Athens agora (above) but is small enough that a quick visit will show you Gate of Athena Archegetis, near the entrance,  and the Temple of the Four Winds, which is worth a stop.  If you are a photographer, we also found this to be much quieter, granting you easier access to the interesting architectural details to include in your shots.

For more in depth look at the Roman Agora, check out our posting on see Athen’s Roman Agora.

.

Anafiotika

Anafiotika plaka athens greece acropolis greek flag.

The top of Anafiotika, with the Acropolis in the background, and the flag of Greece waving.

One of the most charming areas of Plaka is Anafiotika.  Wind your way up the slope from Priantiou and Stratonos streets, you will be winding through Anafiotika.  The streets are unnamed and seem more like pathways carved between the houses.  Around every turn is another picturesque scene.  It doesn’t take long to wind your way through, but I returned twice in the days we were in Plaka, because my camera and I loved it so much.

See our post Anafiotika in Photos to get more information on, and a look at, this beautiful corner of Plaka.

.

Shopping in Plaka

Ermou Street

Melissinos shop is just off Ermou, so if you are looking for more shopping, you can do these two together.  To the West, near Melissinos shop, this is a regular main road with shops on it and lots of traffic.  But as you cross Aiolou heading east, Ermou becomes a pedestrian street with people strolling, munching a snack from one of the vendors, and visiting the shops.  There are a number of big chain stores here now, but there are still some interesting independent shops, too.  This is where I went when I realized I forgot my hairbrush, and picked one up the first morning.  🙂

Pandrossou Street

Pandrossou shopping street in Plaka, Athens.  Map of Plaka Athens Things to Do

Pandrossou shopping street in Plaka Athens.

Branching off from the southern edge of Monastiraki Square heading east toward the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, and two streets south of Ermou, is Pandrossou street.  I’m actually not sure if this is strictly pedestrian or not, but I never saw a vehicle on it, and people walked right down the middle, milling between the shops.  These shops have jewelry, clothing, art, and every possible souvenir you might want to take home.

Adrianou Street

Athens Plaka Shopping Street.jpgAdrianou Street is much like Pandroussou, in that shops line both sides of the street, and offer a wide variety of shopping options.  Again, there are clothing, jewelry, and souvenir shops, though I also found more sandal shops here to browse.

.

Eating Options

While there are many options in Plaka for meals, these are our top three stops.  Check out our 5 Great Places to Eat in Athens for a more in-depth discussion of eating options, including individual maps and links to specific restaurants.

Restaurant Row on Adrianou

Tafta InteriorOutside of Athens Agora, across from the Stoa is a row of restaurants lining Adrianou. All have sidewalk seating as well as inside, and offer plenty of people watching opportunities.  Menus are available to peruse before you choose for most of them.  This is an especially good choice if you will not walk another step until someone gives you food for flippin sake!  I understand Hanrgy.  No apologies necessary.  😊  (If you’ve been paying attention, yes, this is the same street I note above for shopping.  However, the shopping area is a bit of a walk away.)

Plaka Steps

Plaka Steps Restaurants

Plaka Steps Restaurants

Nestled into the neighborhood climbing the slopes of the Acropolis (very near Anafiotika), Mnisikleous street turns to a pedestrian stretch, and then the “road” itself becomes wide steps up the hillside. Restaurants line each side of the street, taking advantage and setting up seating on the steps. The step seating is creative and can get crowded, but it is an experience in itself to rest here and watch the activity during your meal.

Athens Gate Hotel

Acropolis Sunset 1

View of Acropolis Athens Gate

Athens Gate is the hotel we stayed in while we were in Athens.  It is located right on the edge of Plaka (on map it is bottom right, purple icon), and has a roof top restaurant with 360 degree views.  We were able to dine at night with a view of the Acropolis on one side, and the Temple of Olympus Zeus on the other.  Beyond the views, the food was amazing. It is not a budget restaurant, but if you are up for a splurge, it is a great place to do so.

More about the Athens Gate, and a link to their hotel is in our post on The Athens Gate Hotel.

 

.*** Pinnable Image Below! ***

Click on Map to expand, and to use for navigation:

Notice the markers are color-coded:  Blue = Sight, Purple = Food, Green = Shopping.

 

Oh! Oh! Pin me! Pin me!

Athens Top Sights- Descriptive listing of top sights in Plaka, Athens, Greece. Expandable Google Map with sights marked, included.

 

63 thoughts on “Plaka Map of Top Things to Do

  1. Pingback: Ancient Athens Agora, Plaka, Athens | wandertoes

  2. Pingback: Metropolitan Cathedral & Mikri Mitropoli in Athens, Greece | wandertoes

  3. Pingback: 5 Great Places to Eat in Plaka | wandertoes

  4. Pingback: Anafiotika in Photos | wandertoes

  5. Pingback: Athen’s Roman Agora | wandertoes

  6. Pingback: Wandering Plaka | wandertoes

  7. Pingback: New Acropolis Museum | wandertoes

  8. Pingback: Hadrian, Zeus, and Food! | wandertoes

  9. Pingback: Cats of Athens | wandertoes

  10. Pingback: Melissinos, The Poet Sandal-Maker | wandertoes

  11. Pingback: Changing of the Guard, Athens | wandertoes

  12. Pingback: Diogenes Lunch in Plaka, Athens | wandertoes

  13. Pingback: The Tale of a Terrace and a Pod | wandertoes

  14. Pingback: Review of Athens Gate Hotel | wandertoes

  15. Pingback: The Acropolis w/ PK Travel | wandertoes

  16. I wish I had come across this article earlier. I went around quite a bit looking for the Plaka steps but couldn’t find them 😦 Not a lot of people were of much help either. Nice read though, I did manage to do most of the things listed above 🙂

    • I wish I had gotten it done earlier, for you! The first time I found Plaka Steps, I was actually with a one-on-one photo tour I had arranged. I was so glad, because I had read about the place, but it really is confusing to get around sometimes! Glad you got to do most of what we listed, either way. <3 Happy Travels!

    • Glad to share it with you! Athens is one of those ‘must do’ places as far as I’m concerned. So many iconic places, and surprising interest and beauty. I’m so glad we got to go!

  17. I’ve never been to Athens but l’d love to go. The Acropolis would be on top of my list, otherwise I enjoy wandering around cities and Anafiotika looks great for that. What time of the year would you recommend to visit Athens?

  18. I completely agree with what you said about those “Athens in a day” and “7 things you must do” kinda posts – everyone’s travelling experiences are different, and I think it’s nicer to tell the stories of what you’ve learnt and where you’ve been on your travels. This map is a super helpful way to do that 😊 X

  19. So much history and culture, such a beautiful destination. Great post and your pictures are making me want to pack and go!

  20. This is so useful. I have no sense of direction so it’s so handy to see where everything is in a map. Athens is somewhere I really want to go. The history there is like no where else!

    • The history in Athens is amazing. Being from the United States, we are just not quite used to being surrounded by that! The streets in plaka especially are pretty winding and confusing, so several times I wished I had my phone telling me where to be. Hopefully this will help others!

  21. Glad that you enjoyed Athens! Anafiotika is one of the best areas in Athens indeed! Especially at night is really a charm!! Greetings from Athens! 🙂

  22. This is great! I’m going to Greece in September and I have a few days in Athens so this is a perfect to do list for me. Thanks for sharing!
    Leah

    • I’m so glad it will be useful for you! We really enjoyed Athens, the history, the ruins, even learning more about the current political climate. Very worth it to get into some discussions with locals. I hope you have a great time!

  23. Great post, thanks for this detailed guide to Athens! Anafiotika looks so charming! I’ve never been but Greece is definitely on my bucket list. Going to keep in mind for the future! 🙂

  24. I was in Athens a few weeks ago and had a great time. I saw most of the ruins, the acropolis, both agoras. I also saw the changing of the guard outside the presidential palace which was great to see. Such a beautiful city and I would love to see more places a bit more out of the city too 🙂

    • I agree, Athens is a great city. I would have loved to have seen more things out of the heart of the city also, but we are always fighting to allocate our time well! This trip, the husband was pretty exhausted, so we took it easy and skipped any sites that required further travel. Such is life, it just means I have to go back!

  25. Great detailed post. We sometimes have problems with trying to cram too much during a trip so with your advice we will take our time when we visit Athens. It reminds me of Rome, so much to see in such a big city that it does indeed need at least two days. Thanks for sharing those food options. i would love to dine on those patio steps – so unique!

  26. Oh, I’m definitely bookmarking! I’ll be back in Athens in May, and i will need some restaurant and shopping recommendations for sure!

    • I’m envious! I would love to go back to Athens soon. Even with all we did, there are a couple things we scratched from our list – in favor of the thoroughly enjoyable ‘lay around on the terrace with a glass of wine and enjoy the view’ – and I’d still like to get back to do them. Actually, since we didn’t make it to any islands, I’m thinking we could do an Athens stopover on our way out there!

    • I really enjoyed the food a lot! The freshness, and slightly different spicing was a great change of pace. I bought some spice mixes and brought them home to expand our kitchen a bit. 😀

  27. I didn’t see the changing of the guards, but I saw a parade with the guards (wearing their traditional skirts) and it was quite funny to see them marching with the big pom poms on thieir shoes.

  28. These are very useful tips. You’re actually right, sometimes people tend to follow what others before them have done and when it didn’t turn out how they want it to be they would say that it isn’t for them. We should just use it as a guide; we always have the option to do whatever we want the way we want it.

    • Exactly! Sometimes we just have to admit to ourselves that we, honestly, just aren’t that in to *insert personally unappealing activity here* and stop doing those things. No matter how high they rank on TripAdvisor, or how many bloggers say it’s awesome. Assert your independence!

    • Thank you! I actually did this post thinking about what would have helped me when I was planning. Long term goal is to do the same for the other cities we’ve been in recently, and as we continue traveling. Glad you like it!

  29. You took me back to Plaka with this detailed map of yours. I believe we missed the Melissions sandal-making shop. I would have loved to get a pair of handmade sandals made from the place where Jackie Onassis, Sophia Loren, Barbara Streisand and Queen of Spain got their shoes made once.

  30. You have listed done many interesting things to do in this post. I haven’t been Athens but it os my dream to visit this historic city some day. I like spots like the Placa steps, it is a perfect spot for people watching and also relishing on yummy food.

  31. That is quite a comprehensive guide to Athens. With so much to see, experience and eat, I wonder if one could really cover all of it in one day, I mean even if one day would mean 24 hrs. For me, it would definitely take a couple of days to explore Athens at leisure.

  32. I really hope to do Athens end of this year. Fingers crossed. I’m there for the history so not going into the Acropolis would be crazy fro me. And thanks for the tips on the Plaka steps and Melission sandal shop! Will add them in to my itinerary.

  33. Super guide you made here with a very helpful map! I think I would enjoy Plaka Steps and people watching as I have a meal there! Glad that you found some comfy sandals on your trip. I do love when I get something good and useful on my travels!

Leave a Reply