COME SEE Plaka District, Athens. Greece.
Plaka District: THE GUIDE
ACCESSIBILITY: By taxi or private vehicle. Most lanes are pedestrian access only.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Its generally quieter in the morning
LOCATION: 7min walk from Syntagma Square | Open in Google Maps
WALKING DISTANCE: Up to you
TIME REQUIRED: Allow 3+ hours if dining
TOURIST RATING: Very popular neighbourhood
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Plaka District: THE EXPERIENCE
As told by Jackie Te-Aroha
Plaka is the stuff gram goals are made of. It’s a sensory feast that will have you feeling like your on a European movie set. And if you stop in at one of the many cafes and tavernas it will only add to the experience.
Plaka is a picturesque neighbourhood on the slopes just below the city of air, The Acropolis (see our Acropolis experience guide here). It’s narrow streets were once known for its nightclub scene but these days is mainly visited for its culinary and shopping experiences.
We were first introduced to the area on a walking tour by Eureka Athens. It was early evening and the streets were buzzing with tourists from around the world who had come to gaze and graze. We knew instantly that we would have to return earlier in the day to really appreciate its beauty.
The following day on our planned visit of the Acropolis we decided to walk via Plaka. The further in we got the more we were enticed to stay. Then before we knew it, an hour had flown by on a walk that should have taken no longer than 10 minutes; which was fine, except we knew the crowds were building up top and we’re all aware of how fond Zade and I are about crowded tourist destinations!
So we stopped taking photos and continued climbing the staircases until we reached the base perimeter of the ancient city. We were greeted by the acoustics of two local musicians which was like the glaze to our baklava on our second, short, but oh so sweet visit to Plaka.
We followed the half marble half concrete pathway toward the entrance and were pissed off at how long the line was. After staring blankly at it we mutually agreed that we had missed the prime visiting window and would try again the following day. So back to Plaka we went, this time to eat
Yiasemi, which is Greek for That’s it was the destination and we were super keen after hearing nothing but raving reviews. Plus it’s located half way along the famous ‘stairs of Plaka’ so the location couldn’t be anymore perfect. We made our way up to the rooftop terrace and sat down to enjoy the ambiance beneath the vines.
We ordered the mushroom tart, a slice of spanakopita (spinach and cheese pastry; Zades fav), a fresh squeezed OJ and a Freddo cappuccino – the Athenian refreshment of choice. I won’t say too much more about the food here because Zade is writing a little Athens Eats guide but I will say that we’re planning another visit for dinner because nom nom nom.
Once our taste buds we’re satisfied we then made our way into the heart of Plaka. We found a main square and followed a road in god knows what direction. It was a shopping strip lined with restaurants, bars, boutique clothing stores as well as tourist shops and tourist traps. We browsed for a while holding back urges to buy anything made of linen, leather sandals and small pieces of jewellery, walking away with nothing more than two of the smallest olive oil bottles you’ve ever seen.
If photography is your thing, you’ll enjoy Plaka. If eating is your thing you’ll enjoy Plaka. If shopping is your thing then guess what!? You’ll enjoy Plaka! And if you still don’t catch my groove, let me put it another way… Plaka is like a Beyoncé song, catchy at first, beautiful the second time around and just a straight vibe! So do yourself a favour and add Plaka to your Athenian itinerary even if it is just for the Gram.
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