Athens: Places to Explore

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Plaka and Anafiotika

Fanning north from the slopes of the Acropolis, picturesque Plaka is the last corner of 19th-century Athens. Set with Byzantine accents provided by churches, the Old Town district extends north to Ermou Street and eastward to the Leofóros Amalias. During the 1950s and ’60s, the area became garish with neon as nightclubs moved in and residents moved out, but locals, architects, and academicians joined forces in the early 1980s to transform a decaying neighborhood. Noisy discos and tacky pensions were closed, streets were changed into pedestrian zones, and old buildings were well restored. At night merrymakers crowd the old tavernas, which feature traditional music and dancing; many have rooftops facing the Acropolis. If you keep off the main tourist shopping streets of Kidathineon and Adrianou, you will be amazed at how peaceful the area can be, even in summer, especially in beautiful Anafiotika. Set above Plaka and built on winding lanes that climb up the slopes of the Acropolis, its upper reaches resemble a tranquil village that seems airlifted in from an Aegean island.

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