Athens Anafiotika is a gem island-like oasis locality tucked under the Acropolis on top of the Plaka. The Greek flag can be heard snapping in the wind from up on the Acropolis, while in the quiet streets, you can feel alone except for the stranger asking if you can get to the top of the Acropolis from here. You can of course! It’s an opportunity for quiet reflection away from the hustle of the city!
The white-washed island-style little houses are picture-perfect. Getting lost in the twisting narrow streets of Athens Anafiotika is pleasing. It looks like a village lost in time, filled with bougainvillaea, jasmine and other plants.
The History of Athens Anafiotika
The history of this charming neighbourhood of Athens Anafiotika goes back to the mid-1800s. Greece needed workers to transform the new capital. Carpenters and masons from the island of Anafi (and other areas) came and took over this rocky terrain. They took advantage of the Ottoman law that stated a property belonged to you if you could build it between sunset and sunrise.
For archaeological research though, in 1950 the original village was destroyed. Many of these homes are still inhabited. The owners are descendants of the original immigrants from the Greek island of Anafi.
The area offers the perfect vantage point to gaze across the red roof tiles of downtown Athens and out the Lycabettus Mount.
Best time to Visit
Combine your visit to Athens Anafiotika with the exploration of the Plaka which is nearby! Window-shop the stores that line Kydathineon Street, buy your Greek Souvenirs, hit the Bath of the Winds and Plaka’s other historical sites and then climb to the ‘village’ to watch the sunset. The sky illuminates in hues of red and orange, perfect for photo opportunities, so come here a little before sunset. Greek dishes are delicious and very popular. From there, head to one of the Greek traditional taverns and bars that line the steps of Mnisikleous, for a glass of wine or tsipouro to the backing noise of Zorbas dancing and plate smashing. Don’t miss visiting the Acropolis Museum before leaving Athens.
The Kanellopoulou Museum
If you have time, once you are in this area, step into the Kanellopoulou museum, a remarkable neoclassical mansion housing over 6.000 archaeological finds from ancient Greece.
Two Byzantine Churches
On your ascent to Anafiotika, take time to stop at two beautiful Byzantine churches with vibrant frescoed interiors, dating back to the 17th century. On the southeast of Anafiotika, you will come across the church of Ayios Georgios, perched onto the rock. Nearby the pretty memorial garden, dedicated to a Greek guard who died during the Second World War. He leapt from the crumbling walls that surround the Parthenon after wrapping himself in the Greek flag. The second one, the church of Ayios Symeon, is another beautiful little church, built as a replica of a site in Anafi.
The Way Up
To get to Anafiotika follow the signs up the hillside from Dionyssiou Areopagitou Street next to the Theatre of Dionysos. The easiest way is to follow Vyronos Street.
From here, take a left turn onto Thespidos street and walk until you arrive at Stratonos. Go straight until you come to the church of Ayios Georgios Tou Vrachou. Grabbing a guidebook or downloading a walking tour of this area is highly recommended.
Steep Walk Upwards
It is a bit of a steep walk, so make sure you have your most comfortable shoes. However, the well-preserved homes, the Byzantine churches, scenic views, and cutest fat lazy cats all make it well worth the effort!
Athens Anafiotika is a worthy stopping point! The architecture of the small homes makes you think you are on a traditional Greek island, so if you are in Athens for a short stay, this little gem neighbourhood will give you the feeling that you are vacationing on a Greek Island.
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