Every walk in the historic center of Athens is a new experience that makes you love the capital even more. Today I want to introduce you to my short self-guided circular walk around the Acropolis. On this route that looks like an open-air museum you will enjoy beautiful images and admire the historical, cultural, religious and artistic wealth of this area.
The circular walk
You will walk under the shadow of the Sacred Rock in the neighborhoods of Plaka, Makrigiannis and Thissio. This walk passes through fascinating buildings, historical streets, traditional shops, great museums, Byzantine churches and important monuments. You will be filled with melodies and emotions with the music and interpretations of street performers who are the real soul of this journey. You will stroll through lively alleys and meet nostalgic cafés and fine taverns that add aroma and authentic flavor to your walk.
Self-guided walk around the Acropolis
This exciting tour of the center starts from acropolis metro station. You can get there by metro, bus, bike or on foot from other neighboring areas
Exit the station, go uphill to Makrigianni Street, cross Dionysiou Areopagitou Street and enter the neighborhood of Plaka from Vyronos Street. This small road seems to scatter aegean aura with its tourist shops, where you can find countless small treasures. At the end of the road you will find yourself in the most important surviving sponsoring monument of ancient times, the Lysicratous Monument, which was built in 335-334 BC and it remains intact in its place since then.
Continue on Selley Street, which bears the name of the English romantic poet Percy Selley, and passes on the torch to Tripodon Street. This is the oldest street in Athens keeping the same name for 25 centuries. As you proceed, take a look at the last remaining samples of popular Athenian architecture. The building in 32 Tripodon Street was a film set of the popular black-and-white greek film “And the Wife Shall Revere her Husband”. The talented street musicians who have set up their small stage in front of the house are the extra touch required to complete the frame of old folk Athens. These images that pop up unexpectedly in front of you are what make this neighborhood unique!
From Tripodon Street, turn left on Ragkava Street, then right on Prytaneiou Street. Don’t miss the St. Nicholas Ragavas Church, a remarkable Byzantine monument. You can enter the interior of the church and among other things admire the small hanging bell that has a long history. It is the first bell that was placed in a church after the Greek Revolution of ’21 and the first that marked the liberation of Athens from the German troops on October 12, 1944.
As soon as you get out of the temple, go up Prytaniou Street until it meets Erechtheous Street. Turn right and descend the first stairs. On your left there is another remarkable post-Byzantine and religious monument, the Metochi of the Holy Sepulcher or the of Agioi Anargyroi church, a small monastery that belongs to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It is closely related with the night of the Holy Resurrection, since here is the first place that the Holy Light arrives from Jerusalem. Take a look inside it, it’s an amazing spot in Plaka. Descend the picturesque stairs leading through panoramic snapshots and spread out tables on Lysiou Street. You stand just below the most photographed boukambilia of Plaka and outside the historic Melina café. This corner depicts the nostalgic side of Athens. Turn left and walk along Lysiou Street until you reach the stone stairs of Mnisikleous Street. A carefree and vibrant Athen’s spot- the famous steps of Mnisikleous have been a cinematic setting for many films.
Go up the most romantic steps of Athens and make a stop at the charming café Jasmine to get hot wine with spices and continue turning right on Thrasyvoulou Street
Here another scene of Greek cinema awaits you, a mural from the film Laterna, Poverty and Filotimo. This small paved alley, tucked away from the crowds, is illuminated by its two-storey and neoclassical painted in pastel shades. At its junction with Aliberti Street you will see the Church of Panagia Chrysokastriotissa of the 12th century.
Then you will meet Klepsidras Street, with the homonymous café that takes you on a journey to other times. It’s a great place to stop for a snack or a quick meal while gazing at stunning views. Don’t forget to look at the bench with the books in the opposite corner, you might discover something extraordinary! Go down Klepsidras Street and enjoy the explosion of its colors and aromas to its end that meets Lysiou Street.
Here another piece of history awaits you, the Roman Agora funded by Julius Caesar. Turn left onto Lysiou Street and take a few minutes to observe theTower of Winds, considered the oldest meteorological – hourly station in the world, but also the Gate of Athena Archegetis.
When you’re done, continue to Polygnotou Street, where it hosts brilliant neoclassical buildings of the 19th century, among which stands out the prime minister’s residence of Ioannis Kolettis at the end of the road on the left. Enter the dirt road that passes between the Ancient Agora and the hill of the Areopagus and leads in front of the summer cinema Thiseion in Apostolou Pavlou. Turn left and follow the paved pedestrian street in a delightful walk full of relaxed mood and energy.
Raise your head and look at Acropolis that accompanies you overtly, until the end of this journey. When you reach the intersection at the end of Apostolou Pavlou, turn left to the most popular and beautiful pedestrian street of Athens, the pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou. A few meters further on the left follow the signpost that through a paved cobbled path leads you in front of the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus. After admiring this brilliant and majestic monument, go down the marble steps to find yourself again in Dionysiou Areopagitou.
Turn left and continue the pleasant walk where the seasons cohabit with the immortal monuments moving. During your passage, observe the facades of the buildings that depict the architectural urban history of Athens and admire the works of art of amazing artists.
You will pass by the cultural diamond that was last added to Dionysiou Areopagitou and is none other than the Acropolis Museum. If you are in the mood, sit on the stairs to rest before this walk is over. A few meters away you meet again Makrigianni Street and the self-guided circular walk around the Acropolis ends.
Duration of walk: 1,5 – 3:30 hours approximately (depends on the time you will dedicate to monuments and cafés).
For the entrance to churches and monuments, be informed about the opening hours.
I hope you liked this circular walk around the Acropolis and it inspired you to go out there and walk in our beautiful winter Athens!