Psiri sits underneath the Acropolis and along with its neighbors Plaka and Monastiraki, is one of the buzziest districts in Athens. It’s not so long ago that it was a down-at-heel artisan area best known for its abandoned buildings and leather shops, but Psiri is undergoing a facelift and is currently one of the hottest addresses in the city. Yes, its narrow, meandering streets are still covered with graffiti and there are local grocery shops unchanged for decades but today Psiri is a magnet to locals and – increasingly – visitors alike. For starters, it’s slowly becoming home to small independent boutiques selling organic soaps, unusual handmade jewelry, old posters and glittering icons; and often market stalls selling homemade produce line the streets. And by night Psiri undergoes a radical transformation as cool cafés, bars, restaurants and local ouzeries open on to the alleyways and the laidback crowds come strolling in.
Herodes Atticus was an aristocratic and wealthy Greek who funded several great building projects in ancient Athens, including the Odeum (also Odeon or Herodeion), which he commissioned in 161 BC in memory of his wife. Found at the bottom of the southern slopes of the Acropolis, it was a concert hall with 32 rows of seating around a semi-circular, tiled stage and covered with a wooden ceiling to aid acoustics. Able to accommodate an audience of 5,000, the Odeum’s three-story exterior was adorned with four vast arches and decorated with statues of the muses.
Destroyed in 267 AD by Germanic invaders, the Odeum was neglected until the 1950s, when refurbishment saw the seating and stage restored. It is today a popular open-air venue thanks to its spectacular setting underneath the Acropolis and the venue for many magical summertime open-air concerts and staging of classical plays as well as the Athens & Epidarus Festival from June through August.
Sprawling up the northern slopes of the Acropolis and peeking above the rooftops of Plaka, Anafiotika is a tiny enclave of steep, cobbled alleyways lined with squat, whitewashed stone houses reminiscent of villages in the Greek Islands. The area was developed by skilled craftsmen from the Cycladean island of Anafi, who arrived in Athens in 1843 to work in the building boom that followed independence from the Hellenic Republic. Taking advantage of an ancient decree that allowed people to keep their property if they could build it between sunset and sunrise, the islanders worked on grand neo-classical palaces by day and their own cramped quarters by night. Part of Anafiotika was torn down in the 1950s and now only around 50 of the artisan dwellings remain, tucked between the miniscule churches of Agios Georgios tou Vrachou and Agios Simeon, both also the work of the Anafi islanders. Their descendants still live in their mini-homes, amid splashes of color from scented gardens.
Kotzia Square is located in central Athens, Greece and is lined with neo-classical buildings from the 19th century. One of the buildings here is the City Hall of Athens, which is decorated with busts of famous Athenians such as Pericles and Solon. Another impressive building on the square is the National Bank of Greece. The square was built in 1874 and was originally called Loudovikou Square. The current name is for a former Athens mayor, Konstantinos Kotzias. This square was the starting and finishing point of the men's and women's road race events during the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Adrianou Street is one of the main roads in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens, Greece. It is the oldest commercial street in Athens still in continuous use and with the same layout, direction and use since antiquity. It runs from Thesseion in the Monastiraki flea market towards Hadrian's Arch in the Roman Agora, and it is the largest street in Plaka. The street is located below the Acropolis and is lined with restaurants and cafes.
There are also lots of shops along this road where you can find factory-made items as well as handcrafted pieces sold in shops owned by the artists. It's a popular place to shop for jewelry, postcards, crafts, antiques, and more. Since it is a pedestrian street, it is a good place for a leisurely stroll while exploring the neighborhood. It's also a great place to have dinner with a view of the Acropolis and soak up the atmosphere of ancient Athens.
The Monument of Lysicrates is the best preserved choragic monument in Athens, Greece. In ancient times, statues like this one were built as a base for placing trophies. Theater competitions were organized each year, and the sponsor of the winning performance won a trophy. This particular one was built by Lysicrates, a wealthy citizen of Athens, in the 4th century BC. It stands over 30 feet high and is crowned with a capital in the shape of acanthus leaves. The bronze trophy would have been placed on top of this capital.
On top of the pedestal, you can see a tholos, which is a circular structure with Corinthian columns and covered with a marble roof. Beneath the roof you can see a frieze that shows scenes from the winning play along with Dionysus, the patron god of the stage. The monument was integrated into a Capuchin monastery that was built in the same location in the mid 1600s, which is part of the reason it has survived.
Delphi is the second-most important archeological site in Greece (after the Acropolis in Athens). In ancient times Delphi was considered the place where heaven and earth met so the gods were close-by. Established around the 7th century BC, Delphi was a sanctuary to the god Apollo. It was here that the Oracle of Delphi was situated, the most trusted oracle in the ancient world from which the spirit of Apollo gave advice on everything from domestic matters to wars.
Delphi had a theatre and temples as well as the oracle, and has a well preserved stadium which once held chariot races. These were excavated from the mid-1800s and today the ruins stand impressively in their mountain landscape. Many believe the place to have a special magic and report being moved spiritually when visiting Delphi. Ancient engravings on the stone such as 'Know Thyself' and 'Nothing in Excess' could be from today's self-help movement.
Dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the natural sciences and Greece’s unique habitats and wildlife, Goulandris Natural History Museum has a number of interactive, educational exhibits on display. The family-friendly museum was started by married couple and philanthropists Angelos Goulandris and Niki Goulandris in 1965. Greece’s geology, biodiversity, and ancient history make it a particularly interesting place to study. With large displays of fossils, shells, rocks and minerals — as well as insect, mammal, bird, and reptile species — there is an emphasis on endangered species, environmental issues, and ongoing scientific research.
Museum laboratories are conducting valuable research on local ecology, zoology, and botany, including the discovery of more than 150 new plants while in operation. The museum’s botanic collection has more than 200,000 species documented. Life-size replicas of many animals (even dinosaurs!) help to give a sense of scale.
Mikrolimano is the harbor area in Piraeus, a short distance away from Athens, Greece. The harbor has plenty of fishing boats and a yacht marina with luxury yachts and smaller pleasure boats, and the area is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. The atmosphere feels a bit like being on one of the islands while still being just a few minutes outside of Athens. Many Greek films have used Mikrolimano due to its beauty and atmosphere.
Some people come for the charming harbor itself, but most people come to splurge on a nice seafood dinner or lunch at one of the high end restaurants. The seafood here is not cheap, and it is usually sold by the kilogram, so keep in mind that 1 kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds. If fish isn't your thing, you can still come here for the views and the experience and order steak, grilled meat, or a number of other local dishes.