This is the old part of the city of Athens, with small streets (many of them pedestrian), nice restored (or not) neoclassical mansions, shops, cafes and restaurants, monuments, little alleys and gardens, all nested at the foot of the Acropolis Hill. The Plaka is home to many traditional tavernas and souvenir shops, and all tourists go there at least once during their visit, if not more. You have to wander in the Plaka to get a feel of traditional Athens, and don’t hesitate to get off the packed main streets and get lost in the side alleys. This is how you will truly enjoy this picturesque neighborhood. Also ideal for a stroll after dark. If you don’t mind climbing a bit, don’t miss Anafiotika (during the day).
Things to see in Plaka:
Monument of Lysicrates, a monument built to celebrate the victory of a choir in Ancient Greece by its “sponsor” Mr. Lysicrates. Located at the junctions (square) of Lysicratous St. (which becomes immediately Shelley St. and then Tripodon St.) and Vironas St., close to the Hadrian Arch.
The Tower of the Winds, located at one edge of the Roman Agora (link here), is on the other side of Plaka, close to Monastiraki Square. It used to be a water clock, and its top depicts representations of 8 winds.
Bath-house of the Winds: Nearby on Kallistrou St., you will find the old Turkish Baths. It is the oldest survivng such building from the Ottoman times. Link here.
Hadrian’s Library: Very close to the Roman Agora and the Monastiraki Square. Link here.
Museums of interest in Plaka: Museum of Greek Folk Instruments and music (very near the Tower of the Winds, free entrance), House of Angeliki Hatzimichali (free entrance), Museum of Folk Art (main building very near the Jewish Museum), Frissiras Museum (over 3500 paintings).
How to get there?
There are two main streets in Plaka, Kydathinaon St. and Adrianou St. You can enter Plaka from a few sides: From Syntagma Square, go on Fillelinon street and turn right into the pedestrian Kydathinaion St. Or you can go inside Plaka from the street opposite Hadrian’s Arch (on Amalias st.). If you come from Monastiraki square, go up Areos St (past the wall of Hadrian’s library) and turn left on Adrianou st. which will lead you right into Plaka. Don’t hesitate to wander around and go off the beaten track!