Athens effortlessly combines centuries of history within a bustling modern city. While large parts of the city are filled with apartment buildings and offices, you can still see the old Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman influences in Monastiraki. This neighborhood in the historic heart of Athens gets its name from the monastery that stood here until the 19th century.
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- Monastiraki Square Directions
- Monastiraki Shops and Attractions
- Monastiraki Restaurants
- Monastiraki Hotels
It has been a commercial center for centuries, originally as a grain market. Since 1910 it has been the host of the famous Sunday flea market and more recently an abundance of souvenir shops. The square has been renovated, but the narrow little streets still breathe that authentic Greek atmosphere.
Monastiraki Square Directions
Monastiraki is adjacent to the Plaka district, right below the Acropolis, in the center of Athens. The main street of Monastiraki is called Andrianos, which runs the length of the neighborhood, with a network of little side streets spreading out on each side. The road is lined with shops and café’s and ends in the heart of Monastiraki: Avissinia square. The easiest way to get to Monastiraki is to take the metro straight to the reconstructed neoclassical Monastiraki station, which will land you directly at Avissinia square. This main square is beautifully paved with mosaic tiles and lined with impressive historical buildings.
Monastiraki Shops and Attractions
Here you will find the famous Sunday Monastiraki Flea Market, where vendors sell everything you can imagine. The Flea Market draws hordes of tourists as well as locals looking for a great deal on antiques or souvenirs.
It is worth strolling around the Flea Market as well as the numerous shops in Monastiraki as there are true gems and quality craft work hidden between the tacky souvenirs. The flea market isn’t the only source of antiquities in Monastiraki.
Around the main square, you can see several landmarks, such as the ruins of the Roman Library of Hadrian and the Roman Agora. The Hadrian Library dates back to 132 AD and has been destroyed and restored several times over the centuries.
A little further down the road from the library lies the Roman Agora, however, the best views are to be had from Polygnotou street. The Roman Agora became the administrative and commercial center of Athens in 267 AD, instead of the original Ancient Agora. The Ancient Agora and the Stoa of Attalus Museum lie a bit further up the hill towards the Acropolis and house a wealth of ancient Greek artifacts and millennia worth of archaeological finds.
Monastiraki square is also home to Monastiraki church, the only remaining part of the old monastery, and the Tzistaraki Mosque. This beautiful mosque was built during the Ottoman occupation of Athens in the 18th century and now serves as a ceramics museum. The old church is also worth a visit to see the painted vault and richly decorated Orthodox Greek interior.
If you wish to see more religious architecture, you should also take a look at the much newer Agios Phillipos church. It stands opposite the entrance to the Ancient Agora and is believed to house relics of Saint Paul.
Monastiraki is not just a great place to shop; it is also a good place to eat. The little streets are filled with café’s and restaurants. Avoiding the overpriced tourist traps can seem like a daunting task among so many choices, but luckily there are plenty of good places left to eat in Monastiraki.
- Your best bet is to steer clear of the main square and instead walk towards the Agora where you can find two excellent restaurants: Efcharis and Maiandros. Both serve authentic Greek food at a reasonable price. Efcharis is known for its excellent service, and Maiandros offers live music to accompany your dining.
- Another excellent option for dinner is Kallipateira, just off Ermou street, with a quieter but not less inviting ambiance.
- Budget travelers can go around the corner from Kallipateira to All that Jatz, which has an affordable lunch and dinner menu.
- For the best souvlaki in Monastiraki, according to the experts, head over to O Kostas for some of that authentic and delicious Greek fast food.
- If you are craving something light and healthy, Happy Blender serves delicious fresh smoothie bowl and vegan snacks.
- And if you’ve had your fill of Greek cuisine, James Joyce Pub will happily provide you with a wide range of English beers and good pub food.
So, now you know what to do and where to eat in Monastiraki but where to stay? As one of the top tourist areas in Athens, Monastiraki has no shortage of accommodation. From luxury boutique hotels to small family business, there is something for every budget in this neighborhood.
- At the lower end of the budget, a room at Hotel Cecil comes with complimentary breakfast and a rooftop terrace starting at €48 a night.
- Athens Center Square hotel offers the same with also a restaurant and café on site for €57 a night.
- Rooms at the three-star Adrian Hotel start at €78 a night at a prime location in the middle of Monastiraki.
- Fans of boutique hotels will appreciate the hip interior and modern amenities at the 360 Degree Pop Art Hotel that offers rates starting €100 a night.
- A for Athens Hotel is a three and a half star hotel just steps away from Hadrian Library. Room prices here also start at €100 per night.