Exploring the historic neighbourhoods of Athens

Exploring the historic neighbourhoods of Athens

We were fortunate to spend a few days in Athens this month, a city we’d been meaning to visit for a while and we weren’t disappointed.

Aside from the big sights (as good as we imagined), we really enjoyed exploring the many different neighbourhoods that make up the city.

There were some really interesting initiatives taking place such as the municipal market in Kypseli which has become the first social enterprise market intended to become a lever for keeping more money locally.

Over in Exarcheia, described as the counterculture neighbourhood they seem to be battling similar challenges to others in balancing the rise of Air BnB and incoming, higher end businesses with their historic grittiness but there were some great shops from record stores to small creative businesses and of course, lots of street art.

The main municipal market was thriving, consisting of a large hall for meat and fish with shops and street-facing traders occupying the outside units and it was good to see very small units offering food with a pasta chef in a tiny space with a handful of tables and chairs.

The most curious area was Psyri which on one side was all mainstream Instagramable bars and restaurants and on the other was a cluster of businesses specialising in selling only one item who had been trading for years. Some made sense like hams, spices and tea but others were more niche with basket-related goods and door handles!

There’s plenty to enjoy in Athens in the traditional sense of being a tourist but look behind the scenes amongst the back streets and in the more residential neighbourhoods and there’s lots to take in from a place perspective too.