Plaka (map), lying just beneath the Acropolis, is famous for its plentiful neoclassical architecture, making up one of the most scenic districts of the city. It remains a prime tourist destination with tavernas, live performances and street salesmen.
Monastiraki (map), for its part, is known for its string of small shops and markets, as well as its crowded flea market and tavernas specialising in souvlaki. Another district known for its student-crammed, stylish cafés is Thiseio or Thission (map) is home to the ancient Temple of Hephaestus (map), standing atop a small hill. This area also has a picturesque 11th-century Byzantine church, as well as a 15th-century Ottoman mosque.
Omonoia Square (map) is the oldest square in Athens. It is surrounded by hotels and fast food outlets, and contains a metro station, named Omonia station. [Athenians hold negative perceptions for the areas around Omonoia Square and locals advise you to avoid these areas late at night. Omonia is notorious for pickpockets and prostitutes, so keep an eye on your belongings.]
Metaxourgeio (map). The neighborhood is located north of the historical centre of Athens. After a long period of abandonment in the late 20th century, the area is acquiring a reputation as an artistic and fashionable neighborhood following the opening of art galleries, museums, restaurants and cafés.
Psiri (map) neighbourhood – also known as Athens’s “meat packing district” – is dotted with renovated former mansions, artists’ spaces, and small gallery areas. A number of its renovated buildings also host fashionable bars, making it a hotspot for the city in the last decade, while live music restaurants known as “rebetadika”.
The Gazi (map) area, one of the latest in full redevelopment, is located around a historic gas factory, now converted into the Technopolis (map) cultural multiplex, and also includes artists’ areas, small clubs, bars and restaurants, as well as Athens’s “Gay village”.
Syntagma Square (map), is the capital’s central and largest square, lying adjacent to the Greek Parliament and the city’s most notable hotels. Ermou Street, an approximately one-kilometre-long (5⁄8-mile) pedestrian road, is a consumer paradise for both Athenians and tourists. Complete with fashion shops and shopping centres promoting most international brands.
Kolonaki (map) is the area at the base of Lycabettus hill, full of boutiques catering to well-heeled customers by day, and bars and more fashionable restaurants by night, with galleries and museums. This is often regarded as one of the more prestigious areas of the capital.