Photo: Georgios Makkas

Just beyond the stunning promenade ringing the Acropolis, these two neighbourhoods offer an intriguing mix of classical splendour, café culture, and community spirit.

Working Class Roots and Cool New Offshoots

Less touristically inclined than Monastiraki, the Thissio and Petralona districts are where the locals go to people-watch and eat out. On weekends, staking a table at the cafés along Iraklidon Street in Thissio can be a Herculean task—fitting for a street named after the hero’s descendants. But it’s not for a lack of seating: patrons here and on adjacent Akamantos Street like to linger over their drinks and meze as they deconstruct the latest film, book, or political development.

Both modest neighbourhoods with working class roots, Thissio and Petralona gentrified in the early 1990s, attracting students and young professionals with their prime location, elegant townhouses and handsome period apartments. This gradual influx helped preserve the sense of community. Locals socialise at the many neighbourhood tavernas, running the gamut from cheap to post-modern, and cocktail bars offering variously angled views of the Acropolis. Exploring these adjacent neighbourhoods yields delightful rewards: old tram tracks, oddball architectural gems, and the newly-discovered section of an ancient road linking Athens to Piraeus.

A view from outside the Melina Mercouri Cultural Centre.

Photo: Georgios Makkas

Melina Mercouri Cultural Centre

“A summer treat that has become tradition: film screenings in the gorgeous walled garden.”

Association of Hellenic Archaeologists

National Observatory

The National Observatory from afar.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Follow this Promenade from Philopappos Hill to Agion Asomaton Square.

Photo: Georgios Makkas

The Apostolou Pavlou Promenade

Cine Zefyros

Inside Rantevou in Petralona.

Photo: Georgios Makkas