Monastiraki is always abuzz, as locals and visitors come here to shop, sightsee, dine, and people-watch. Its swarming pedestrian laneways are lined with rows of shops and stalls selling everything from mass-produced souvenirs to handmade carpets and fine jewelry. The area is also home to several notable historic and cultural sights; including the ancient remains of Hadrian’s Library; and the 18th-century Tzistarakis Mosque, which hosts a branch of the Museum of Greek Folk Art.
Many sightseeing tours of Athens combine a visit to Monastiraki with nearby sights such as the Roman Agora and the Ancient Agora of Athens. Food and nightlife tours also make stops in Monastiraki, which contains a high concentration of restaurants, wine bars, and tavernas.
Things to know before you go
- Monastiraki is a must for souvenir hunters.
- Haggling is customary at the market, so put on your best poker face and prepare to negotiate. *Arrive hungry; Monastiraki is one of the best places in the city to sample meze, souvlaki, and local wines.
How to get there
Monastiraki is in central Athens, on the north side of the Acropolis. To get here by public transit, ride the Metro (lines 1 or 3) to Monastiraki station.
When to get there
Try to visit on a Sunday, when the flea market is in full swing. Come before 11am to avoid the crowds and—in summer—to avoid the searing midday sun.
Street Food in Monastiraki
Browsing the wares on offer from Monastiraki’s seemingly endless line-up of vendors is hungry business. Rumbling tummies can be sated at the Central Market (Varvakeios Agora) on Athinas Street, where vendors sell everything from pastourma (cured beef) to halva (sweet treats made from tahini and honey); as well as nuts, spices, fish, raw meat, and vegetables. Restaurants near the market prepare simple plates using market produce.
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- Temple of Hephaestus
- Adrianou Street
- Church of Panagia Kapnikarea
- Agora of Athens
- Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens (Mitropoli)
- Dora Stratou Greek Dances Theater
- National History Museum (Ethnikó Istorikó Mouseío)
- Kotzia Square (Plateia Kotzia)
- Theatre of Dionysus