Monastiraki (Monasteràki) is one of the best loved and popular areas of Athens. It is located only 5 minutes away on foot from Syntagma (Syndagma) square, and even less from Plaka.
Alternatively, it is accessible via metro line 3, and the train [Monasteraki station].
It is a small charming area with a very unique character and appearance. It comprises of a peculiar combination of the past and the present, with archaeological sites, a Turkish mosque and a diverse variety of retailer shops and cafes, bars and restaurants. One will surely find what they are looking for here, as Monasteraki caters for all tastes and styles.
History lovers may admire the ruins of Hadrian’s library, the ancient Greek and Roman markets, and the famous Tower of the Winds.
The library is situated near the metro station and was constructed by the emperor Hadrian in the 1st century A.D.
Today, a significant part of this building has been preserved. Near the library, one may find the ruins of the Greek and Roman ancient markets, and easterly, the Tower of the Winds may be found.
This ruin consists of a marble tower built in the 1st century A.D. and houses an ornately designed clock.
Shopping lovers will find themselves in a small paradise. This area is overflowing with small retail shops where one can find almost anything ever imagined. Old furniture, antiques, clothes, second-hand books and records, collector’s items and souvenirs, practical and trivial objects- all may be found in Monasteraki.
It is a bountiful, abundant and endless market. It is constantly replenished and is continually transformed. Prices range on all levels, as does the quality of the items. Beyond the retail shops, this area is also crammed with small open air stalls, where one may encounter all kinds of merchandise. Bargaining is commonly practiced.
Furthermore, Monasteraki is a central meeting point and entertainment area for the youth. A popular gathering spot is the Abyssinia café, at the square bearing its name.
There are however also other similar cafes and establishments nearby, mainly in the neighboring areas of Plaka and Thissio. In addition, there are also restaurants and souvlaki shops, where one can dine or just pick up a quick snack for the road.
For those coming to Athens for the first time, a visit to Monasteraki must unquestionably be included in one’s itinerary. A stroll through this “cult” corner of the capital, either in the morning for shopping, or at night for entertainment, will not leave anyone disappointed.
Goods that may be purchased
- Second-hand books
- Old records and cds
- Souvenirs and unique gifts
- Clothes [conservative or eccentric – or to complete one’s fancy dress costume.]
- Old furniture and antiques.
- Abyssinia Cafe: located at well known Abyssinia square in Monasteraki. It has a unique atmosphere, and on weekends you may encounter live music.
- Inoteca: A small bar on Abyssinia square, with excellent music. Tel 210-3246446
- Envy: A nightclub featuring both Greek and foreign music [No.3 St. Eleousis street]. Drinks cost 10 € on weekdays and 15 € on weekends. Bottles at 120 € [whisky] Tel 210-3317801
- Dioscouri: A traditional coffee shop [No. 39 Adrianou Street] tel 210-3253333
- Brachera: A restaurant located at Abyssinia square. It opens at 20.00h daily, except on Sundays and Mondays when it is open only for lunch. Offering a good cuisine, its prices are a little expensive. Tel 210-3217202
- Mouses: To be found near the metro station [St. Filippou and Adrianou streets], its patrons enjoy Greek music with an Acropolis view. It operates also as a café in the morning. Tel 210-3219332
- Hlida: A café-restaurant [No. 35 Adrianou Street], its prices range from 20-25 € per person. Tel 210-3244184