Hello traveller! In this article I’m going to tell you about Monastiraki Square, a place in Athens that you’ve probably already heard about… and no wonder!
- Are you planning to visit the Greek capital?
- Do you want to know where to eat well (and cheaply)?
- Do you already know all the places you should visit in this neighbourhood?
Then you are in the right place:
Looking for something specific?
Located at the foot of the Acropolis of Athens, you could say that Monastiraki Square is the nerve centre of Athens. Here you will find a lot of restaurants (I’ll tell you about them later…), cafes with AMAZING views and a UNIQUE atmosphere.
You can easily get there by metro, and from there you can start a walk through (almost) all the most important points of Athens (highly recommended to visit the neighbourhood at night as well).
But what do you have to see in this famous square?
|Everyday at 10:00 AM|
New Athens Free Tour
Experience Athens through history and mythology on our free walking tour. We cover the major classical sights, infusing a touch of modern Greek life. Discover the heart of ancient Athens as you stroll through Plaka, past the Acropolis, and ancient theaters.
|Everyday at 10:00 AM|
Flea market (Monastiraki market)
One of the places that EVERY tourist visits during their stay in Athens, and in fact several times, is the famous Monastiraki market. Also known as the “Flea Market“. Don’t ask me where the name comes from… but I promise it’s a neat place!
Here you’ll find everything from the typical souvenirs like postcards and fridge magnets to more unique items like a Spartan helmet and a tetradrachm (Ancient Greek coin). If you are interested in the history and mythology of this beautiful country, take a free tour with us and we will be happy to explain it all to you 😉
Back to the topic:
You will also find, in a LOT of shops in Monastiraki market, key rings and beer openers with a bit “strange” shape…
- Haha I’m afraid I cannot write it here as Google would penalize us for it, but I assure you that you will understand what I mean as soon as you get to Monastiraki square. –
The Flea Market is so wide that it starts in Monastiraki, but it extends towards the Plaka neighbourhood (occupying it almost completely) and also reaching the area of Thisito (an area frequented for its good restaurants).
Personally I recommend you to “wander around” the market, I mean to walk around the area and get lost in its streets: the further you get away from Monastiraki square, the better things you will find;
I would also like to make one thing clear:
Normally people expect to find something similar to a flea market, but the Flea Market is NOT like that, it is a shopping area (formal establishments). If you are looking for something closer, improvised and composed of street stalls; then I recommend you to take a walk through Thisio, specifically along the street that surrounds the ancient agora (archaeological site that functioned as the market, meeting place and assembly of the Boulé during ancient Athens, I’ll end up doing a mini tour here hehe);
Other places of interest in the neighbourhood
Besides the Flea Market and the square itself, there are other elements in or near Monastiraki that you should also visit:
Plaka is the oldest and most famous neighbourhood in Athens, so much so that you have probably already seen it in photos. The whole area is made up of: either shops that belong to the market we’ve been talking about, or Greek restaurants.
But let me give you a local’s opinion on the matter…
It is true that Plaka is a very nice neighbourhood, well kept and where you can find a unique atmosphere (highly recommended for a night walk); however, it is a neighbourhood 100% focused on tourists.
Personally: I find it an ideal place to take a stroll at night and have a beer on a terrace with a view, but I would NOT sit down to eat (in most cases) if what I want is to try the rich local gastronomy (better quality and lower price).
For this I recommend the Psiri neighbourhood, also located next to Monastiraki, so you can get there by metro getting off at the station in the square. This is a place, full of restaurants and cafes, where we locals DO go to eat. That tells you everything 🙂
Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
In the middle of Monastiraki Square is a beautiful Byzantine church, Panagia Pantanassa, also known as the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Did you know where the term “Monastiraki” comes from?
In Greek we use the ending “-aki” when we want to show closeness, affection or simply when the object we are referring to is small; this is our case. Monastiraki means “small monastery”, and coincidentally there is a small church in the middle of the square that bears that name… is it a coincidence?
Another beauty of Byzantine architecture, and well worth a visit, is the Kapnikarea Church. You will find this orthodox building on “Ermou” street, which connects Monastiraki and Syntagma squares.
This street full of shops (famous brands that abound in every European capital) is the busiest street in Athens, BUT BEWARE! It is also the street with the most pickpockets in Athens.
The interesting thing about the Kapnikarea church is that it was built on top of a pagan temple; that is, the previous building was a place of worship to gods that, today, are part of Greek mythology. We must bear in mind that mythology was their official religion for a LONG time…
Most of these Byzantine churches can be visited (I’m talking about their interior) in the mornings, I couldn’t tell you until what time exactly because it usually varies… So take the opportunity to enter one of them, highly recommended!
|Everyday at 9:30 AM & 4:00 PM|
Ektor Free Historical Walking Tour
Discover the historic gems of Athens and step into a world of legend. Our adventure starts at Lord Byron’s Statue, leading you through the ancient wonders of Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, Monastiraki, and Plaka. Would you like to join a local Athenian guide for an incredible journey back in time?
|Everyday at 9:30 AM & 3:00 PM|
Monastiraki Metro Station
Even Monastiraki metro station itself is another work of art!
True, but I just wanted to point out that in the square you will find a metro station for the green and blue lines; interesting since the first one takes you (or brings you) to the port of Athens, called Piraeus, and the second one takes you (or brings you hehe) from the airport.
Many people ask me if there is a locker service where they can leave their luggage while they go on an excursion near Athens or visit an island.
YES THERE IS
Very close to Monastiraki square you will find this service, you will find it under the name “Athens Lockers”. I leave you a link to Google Maps here:
Thank you very much traveller for reading this far, I sincerely hope I have provided you with valuable content 🙂 If so, let me know –> Please, the comment box is yours, I’d love to read it. Also take the opportunity to ask any question, as I promise to answer it hehe
Did you like this article about Monastiraki Square and surroundings? What do you want me to write about next time?