Small jewellery store in Plaka area. All items are hand made, made from semi precious stones, coral or silver to name but a few materials.
The prices are extremely reasonable with turquoise or coral bracelets retailing from €7 upwards.
Very friendly service with no hard sell.
Adrianou Str 136, Plaka
+30 210 27 75 005
Budget hotel a short stroll from Plaka and Monastiraki metro stop. It's certainly no frills but also clean and friendly. Double rooms start at 57 euros (in season).
29, Eolou Street, Athens
Nearest metro: Monastiraki
The best and cheapest way from Athens airport to Piraeus, where all the ferries go from, is the E96 bus. It departs every 15 minutes from airport arrivals, direct to the ferry quay. €3.50 (The Metro is interesting but you have to change at Monastiraki)
Budget (or indeed any) travellers to Greece should look out for evening 'summer cinemas' where locals sensibly sit outside to watch films, rather than sweat it out inside. They're also great value (although you might want to spray yourself with insect repellent first). The most spectacular has to be the rooftop Cine Paris right in the historic centre of Athens where the action on screen has to compete with the magnificent view of the Parthenon. Wonderful.
Plaka Square, Athens
After hours of searching for affordable accommodation in Athens we found this delight.
Inside it is clean and friendly, has free Wi-Fi and a lovely garden courtyard where they do a good cheap breakfast in the morning and a good cheap beer in the evening.
When you step outside you're right in the heart of the Plaka and surrounded by tavernas and cafes. A five-minute walk along the cobbled streets takes you to the Acropolis, the new museum and Syntagma Square. A four-person room with facilities is €100 per night.
16 Kydathineon, Plaka
Situated at the foot of the famous Acropolis, this stunning new museum dedicated to the findings and artefacts is now open. At an entrance price of only €1 it is a bargain for visitors. As you move to the upper levels, the full glory of the Parthenon and the Acropolis itself are magically manifest.
Spend Sunday mornings in Athens in the slightly seedy area of Plateia Avissynias, as the area comes alive with Athen's notorius Monastiraki Flea Market.
Part treasure-trove, part bizarre bazaar, you'll find trinkets and old junk you never knew you needed, as well as antique shops that are are here all week. Rub shoulders with the locals who get there early to scoop the best buys, and bring your haggling skills.
Cafes and bars bordering the market overspill onto the street at weekends, and add to the festive ambience as you sift through the stalls.
It makes for a colourful, slightly manic morning, and your rummaging may be rewarded with a treasure or two - I came away with some antique pink Turkish bottles, and bags of old ornate jewellery - I managed to resist the ancient gramophone that I was told still works!
Plateia Avissynias & Ermou
These super-stylish self-catering apartments are only five minutes away from the Acropolis, and are spacious enough for families on a budget, groups of friends, or couples who want a bargain alternative to backpacker hostels.
The open-plan studios are styled with funky furniture and modern art on the walls, and fully equipped with a kitchen, free internet, a flatscreen TV, bathrooms, and air conditioning - a welcome respite from the intense summer heat and city smog.
The bedroom and sitting room both have their own balconies, or you can head up to the rooftop bar for a breathtaking view of the Acropolis as the sun sets. The perfect accompaniments are a well-priced cold bottle of beer and Sheesha Pipes in every flavour from Coca-Cola to Vanilla.
There's also a happy hour from 7-8pm every night with half-price cocktails-the Parthenon Passion is a must!
If you want budget accomodation but aren't quite ready to bunk down in a hostel dorm, the Athens Studios allow you to tackle this frenetic city at your own pace.
Avoid the scores of tacky tourist shops that spring up in Plaka during the summer months - your friends and family won't miss the miniature Acropolis keyring or T-Shirts printed with 'It's all Greek to Me' you could have wasted your Euros on.
Instead, there are two brilliant places to pick up local and traditional Greek handicrafts.
Oikotexnia is run by the Institute of Social Protection, so you will be helping to preserve and promote traditional Greek handicrafts as well as scoring some top quality souvenirs. Best buys include knotted carpets, fluffy Flokatis rugs, embroidered cushions and tablecloths.
The Centre of Hellenic Traditions is a haven from Plaka's mass-produced tat and sells Greek art, icons, pottery, wood carvings, embroideries, and prints. Best of all, there's a charming cafe on-site for enjoying a view of the Acropolis
Oikotexnia, Filellinon 14, Plaka
Centre of Hellenic Tradition, Mitropoleos 3 and Pandrossou 36 in the Plaka
Athen's Central Market is packed full of stalls selling mouthwatering Greek food - cheeses, olives and dried fruit, but it is essentially a meat market.
If you really want to eat like the locals, and fancy some cheap and filling fare away from the overpriced restaurants in Plaka, brave the tavernas in the centre, feeding hungry workers and hung-over clubbers with steaming bowls of 'Patsas', tripe soup.
Epeiros and Papandreou are the most authentic, with stoves simmering over with huge pots of chickpeas and all manner of tripe soups, which the cooks swear are cholesterol-free and have medicinal properties.
The science behind that may be sketchy, but a bowl of the soup blasts hangovers away after one too many glasses of ouzo, and the restaurants are incredibly atmopsheric, with tables crammed with loudmouth market workers day and night. I opted for the Mayeritsa which is a tripe soup made with an egg-lemon sauce, and after a few nervous spoonfuls, found myself licking the bowl clean.
If you can't face the tripe, pick from plates piled high with lamb so tender it falls off the bone, roasted potatoes and bottles of delicious red wine.
Between Sofokleous & Evripidou, Athinas 42
Listen to the traditional sounds of the underground music scene in Greece (a strangely likable blend of blues and bouzouki) at this little club away from the tourist crowds of Plaka. Rembetiki Stoa Athanaton is a popular place with a fun crowd just north of the Monastiraki flea market. As with much of Athens, things didn’t start warming up until midnight.
Located in trendy Gazi among lively clubs, Sardelles has fresh Greek seafood at affordable prices. There’s a selection of decent salads and fish dishes, including delicious grilled sardines which are a bit of a specialty and where the restaurant gets its name. Tables on the pavement make it a pleasant al-fresco spot in summer.
Persefonis 15, Gazi
This Athens hostel has a great location just minutes from the Acropolis. Dorm rooms are cheap, airy and modern. It’s a great base for exploring the historic sights of the city on a budget but also for making the most of the lively nightlife. The rooftop bar has amazing views over the famous ruins and cheap drinks. There’s no curfew so stay out as late as you like!
12 Makri Street, Makryanni, Athens
They are called tapas in Spain, meze in Cyprus, and appetizers almost everywhere else. But in Greece, they are Orektika or Mezedas. These are the bite size yummies that are served hot or cold, and are supposed to be your starter but can actually be your entire meal. The appetizers in Greece are very special and can be found nowhere else. If you are on a budget, this is the best food to order, because they are tasty, inexpensive, nutritious and filling.
In Greek Tavernas, Ouzarias, and Mezedopolios. See here for more on Greek food: www.travelswise.com/greekfood.htm
A nice cold beer, a dish of Greek delicacies, the Parthenon above, the Ancient Agora below, crowds strolling by, lazy dogs and cats sleeping under the sun waiting for a treat, maybe a frappe afterwards. Dioscuri, a traditional outdoor café on the street that leads to the Acropolis has them all, and at minimal cost.
Dioscuron 13 Street, Plaka, Athens tel: 210 3219607
Metro: Monastiraki Station
Athenians like to eat out and not just on grand occasions. So if you want to avoid the overpriced tourist traps in the centre then just jump on a bus heading out from the centre then get off twenty minutes or so later and look around you.
Arguably not the best choice amongst hundreds of reasonably priced tavernas, mezedopoleia, souvlakeries and restaurants, but this is why you may (be pleased to) find it hard to spot a McDonalds. Expect to get a much more culturally-sensitive and healthier range of choices than what you would normally expect from a fast food chain.
In nearly every neighbourhood
In pre-classical times (before the 5th-century BC), the Areopagus (or "Hill of Ares") was originally the meeting place of the council of elders of Athens. In this sense, it could almost be considered the exact birthplace of Athenian democracy. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was later the site of classical Athens' homicide court. This latter use probably stems from its purported status as the place at which Ares was tried for the murder of Poseidon's son. It is also a very short walk from the Parthenon.
While standing in the shadow of the Parthenon, literally and figuratively, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is a magnificent structure. It is deceptively large, set as it is in large field adjacent to the ancient Agora (marketplace), but has remained much more intact than its more famous neighbour.
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