Exploring Athens: What to do in Plaka, where Zeus had his ouzo!

Plaka is one of the most beautiful and historical neighborhoods in Athens. It's also where you'll find some of the best restaurants, taverns and cafes! If you're looking to explore plaka athens, then this article will help guide your way. We'll provide a list of plaka favorites as well as share some insider tips that locals use when they visit plaka themselves!

The plaka neighborhood was formed by Ottoman invaders in the 16th century, who built a strong city wall around the Ottoman market. The plaka neighborhood has been historically inhabited by Jews and Greeks, and contains many Orthodox Christian churches from this period. In modern times, plaka has become a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to the Acropolis.

There are many plaka athens favorites. One of the plaka favorite gems is the tavernas, which are the oldest tavernas in Athens. Those places has been used by locals for family celebrations and other important occasions for over 200 years. There is also a plaka favorite dish: mpakaliarakia, which are plump pieces of fresh cod dipped in batter and deep fried to crispy-edged perfection.

Plaka is inhabited since the antiquity by Greeks and Jews, who lived there for centuries in harmony. The plaka neighborhood was formed by the Ottomans invaders at 16th century when they built a strong city wall around their market (the "Plakiotissa"). Plaka has been historically inhabited by Christians and jews, and contains many churches from this period: Saint George church, Saint Menas church, plaka favorite parish of Saint Nicolas and plaka favorite Byzantine chapel "Panagia Gorgoepikoos".

Plaka: a journey through time

Let's begin our journey at Monastiraki Square, where the Church of the Pantanassa and Tzisdarakis Mosque stand watch over a focal meeting spot and melting pot that has long existed.We'll walk up Areos Street, passing the huge columns of Hadrian's Library on our left. Following Acropolis' direction, we'll ascend to the top of Areos Street.

We enter the ancient Gate of Athena Archegetis to the left, which welcomes us to the Roman Agora, where ancient and modern eras coexist.

We'll pass by the Roman columns, go clockwise around the former market complex, and reach the Fethiye Mosque, erected by the Ottomans in the 17th century. Around 50 BC, the ancient Greeks constructed a tower from the same Pentelic marble as did the Parthenon nearby. The octagonal tower is said to be the world's first meteorological station, housing a sundial, water clock, and wind vane.

Throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods, the general region remained at the core of the city.

The Museum of Modern Greek Culture is located on Panos Street, a short walk from the Roman Agora.The "Man and Tools" exhibit in the museum shows agricultural and small-business tools from the previous two centuries.

The top of Panos Street demarcates the northern edge of the Plaka district. We might travel east and discover the lovely hamlet of Anafiotika, which was created by stoneworkers who migrated from the Cycladic island of Anafi.

The tiny hidden tavernas, often with lush greenery overflowing from crumbling buildings, their rustic textures painted with colorful murals, and more often than not, an enticing little taverna lurking close by make meandering through the Plaka such a pleasure. The church of Aghioi Anargyroi (Metochi of the Holy Sepulchre) is a green haven of calm. The church is the first stop for the Holy Flame, which comes from Jerusalem each Easter, and also contains an important reliquary.

The Benizelos Mansion is located to the east. It's the city's oldest residence, having been built in the mid-18th century and now housing a restaurant.Walk east towards the Frissiras Museum. It is housed in a grand neoclassical townhouse. The museum was opened in 2000 by Vlassis Frissiras' family. They hold his vast collection of modern Greek and European paintings.

End your tour in Plaka by visiting Brettos bar.where its glowing bottles will catch your attention.Established by Michail Brettos in 1909, it’s Athens’ oldest distillery, and a specialist in colorful cocktails.Or have some fish and chips at Bakaliarakia tou Amigou, a family-run fish taverna hidden away in the basement beneath Brettos. This cozy little spot has been in operation since 1864.

A perfect option for some souvenirs or gifts is the Forget Me Not that offers great memorabilia from contemporary Greek designers. As well as gifts and stationery, it also stocks books, lighting, home accessories and clothing.