Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
Cary, North Carolina
September 26, 2007
From journal Greece Is the Word: Part 1 - Athens
los angeles, California
April 14, 2005
Plan to spend at least an hour walking around the narrow cobblestone streets, and have lunch at one of the many tree-shaded tavernas in the central square. Even if you don't like shopping, you'll have a great time strolling and people-watching. It's always crowded, but that's part of the charm.
From journal Weekend in Athens
by Greek Kat
South Bay, California
November 3, 2004
You'll see that the Plaka and Monastiraki are full of leather shops, but Stavros Melissinos’s long-lasting, handmade leather sandals are by far the best. The smiling Mad Professor figure, who began making shoes in 1954, has expanded the original few styles to around 32 classically inspired designs.
If you're not into wearing sandals, stop by just to see Stavros at work.
From journal Summer in Greece 2004
Flat Rock, Michigan
May 6, 2003
This is the bargain hunters paradise. Prepare to bargain with the merchants, if you don't have shame. Not only are there stores of every kind, there are gypsies during the day who sell all kinds of wares -- we bought tablecloths (I wish I had picked up some more).
There are mass-production jewelery stores and a few good jewelery stores -- this is where you will find very good 18K gold work. One such store is the Byzantio Jewelry store. One item you will see most Athenian men carrying are worry beads. I must admit I had never seen these before, but bought plenty of cheap sets to bring home. Another cool item readily available are "evil eyes" -- these ward off the evil spirits and are usually in your pocket or placed in your home. We also brought home many evil eyes. Natural sponges are seen in most stores as well as olive oil soap (a reasonable, ok, cheap souvenir). The kids got temporary henna tattoos for 5 euros each -- the nice thing was we could relax with a cold beverage while the kids were getting tattooed. There are lots of outdoor cafés and a great ouzery (report to come). The roasting of lambs for Greek Easter was a treat to see at just about every restaurant (see photo). The small churches are beautiful with well-done frescoes.
From journal 5 days in Athens with the EU!
August 18, 2002
The Plaka is a tourist area, and like tourist areas anywhere in the world there is more than enough souvenir shops. T-shirts, calendars, postcards and dolls are available at almost every second store. This is Athens though and there are also any number of stores offering cheap reproduction of greek art, statues and pottery. Between the tourist shops though there are a few gems offering more substanbtial fair, including a number of original galleries, shops selling Flokati rugs and craft and antique stores. It is possible to wander and browse at your own pace too, without being accosted by tourist touts.
In the evenings, starting at around 7.00pm, the Plaka starts to come alive as a restaurant area, with the taverna's and cafe's all offering al-fresco dining. There can be few better ways to spend a summer evening than people watching from a table in the plaka. Greek wine is cheap and most of the tavernas offer an extensive and inexpensive array of dishes. You would have to be pretty hungry to not get change from 15 euro per person (including wine). It is similar food wherever you eat though so feel free to choose for location.
Children are adored too, so parents needn't feel self conscious.
From journal Athens- A too Short Break
by Jose Kevo
August 15, 2001
You'll quickly detect changes in architecture, mood, and factions of almost modernism as your wander about the streets. If Athens has a "funky time-warp" neighborhood, this section is definitely it! While not as bizarre as NYC's Greenwich Village, it's definitely full of field hippy, alternative/grunge types likely perceived as bucking the Greek culture system. A large number of stores, cafes, street propoganda certainly reflect a much needed newer, alternative balance to life in Athens.
A "rebellious edge" is nothing new for this part of the city. All northeasterly roads head to Streffi Hill...a park that is quite notorious for protest rallies/demonstrations including in '73 when students were massacred by the Junta. The park is located atop a bare hill that yields limited-range views. I was hoping to catch some Saturday "action", but the place was all but abandoned with pending rains. It was interesting to walk around for a break from the city, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort unless there's Greeks in the park to make people watching enjoyable. And sadly, like seemingly everything else, conditions signaled Streffi Hill too had seen better days.
Find the southeast portion of the park...easily detected by the backside view of Mt. Lykavittos. It's a short distance across, but the walk will seem greater because of the valley that seperates Streffi and here. Descend the steps passing thru some calm residential areas until you begin climbing to the base of Lykavittos. Definitely look around, but unless you plan on a lot of zig-zagging, stick close to "Isavron" as it's the ONLY passage which leads directly from Streffi to Lykavittos.
Once you come to the base of Lykavittos, make a right heading around for quite some distance until coming to the funicular which takes you atop the mountain. (Eyewitness Travel Guide has a good outline for this in the Street Finder maps.)
Atop Athen's highest point, there are two small churches and many cafes to enjoy spectacular views of the city...when the weather's decent of which today wasn't! Heavy drizzle had began falling driven even harder by icy, whipping winds at this higher elevation. Views around the city were hazy at best, but still I felt compelled to stay looking for close to an hour huddled soaking wet in a corner. My greatest disappointment of this trip was time nor weather cooperated for a return visit to fully enjoy this area.
Ride the funicular back down and if you've got any feeling left in your legs, from here it's not that far a downhill walk back to Plateia Syntagmatos thru what was definitely the "highest class" area of new wealth I saw in Athens.
From journal Bittersweet Truthes you won't want to read
Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
November 27, 2000
From journal Athens weekend.
October 24, 2000
There are plenty of eateries in Plaka, but most of the fancy looking ones tend to be awfully expensive and don't really offer that good of the local fare. Little take-out places or little restaurants are the best bet for food there. Their gyros might grease the wrapper, but they taste good and you'll have money left over for those souvenirs.
One thing I found out when buying souvenirs in Plaka, that the price of the item is almost never the price you'll pay if you play your cards right. In some stores, the owners will tell you right away 'Today discount 20 percent' or 'More you buy, bigger discount'. But as a general rule, you should bargain. You're stupid if you don't, because you'll simply overpay for everything. Everyone bargains here, both locals and tourists. And if the store owner is unwilling to make a deal, put down the stuff you're looking at and say you'll look in other stores. They will most likely change their tune and offer you a discount right away!
From journal Athens - could be your best vacation ever!