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Hidden Gems in Athens

Destination(s): Athens

Ten suggestions of "not the usual tourist destination" places to mix in with all of the more usual Athenian experiences. The places on this guide might require a good map or a hired driver. If you're up to the challenge, you'll surely be rewarded. read more about Hidden Gems in Athens

Amorgos

Amorgos

The cavernous shop, Amorgos, is filled with strange and interesting handmade things from the villages and islands of Greece. Most of the inventory has been hand collected by the owners themselves and includes 80-100 year old ceramics and 100-150 year old embroidery. The countless bouquets of shadow puppets and old kerosene lamps suspended from the rafters adds to the mysterious nature of this place that seems more than just a store. It is a time capsule of dying traditions. Prices can vary from the affordable (shadow puppets and carved wooden pipes run 20-30 euros) to precious. High quality embroidery can run into the thousands.

Store hours vary. Best bet is to get there between 10 and 3 on M, W, S, and 10-8 on T, Th (traditional Greek shopping hours.)
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Stoa Orfeos

Stoa Orfeos

  • More Photos * Add to Trip * Block enclosed by Panepistimiou, Stadiou
  • tel:+30 210 322 9104
  • Athens Ece, 105 64

In the easily identifiable Arsakeio building (the one with the silver, cone-shaped hat on Stadiou Street) there is a beautiful, sky lit "stoa" or row of shops that shortcut you all the way through to Panepistimiou Street. Gourmet food, high end jewelry, umbrellas and leather gloves...but right at the center you see an old printing press marking the best feature of all: the Book stoa (Stoa tou Biblio) It was created in 1996 by the Society  of the Friends of Education. Every publishing house in Greece is represented in dozens of bookshops. Rows of chairs provide quiet places to sit and read as well as a Kafeneio (coffee shop.)
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Melilotos

Melilotos

Located inside a small lobby (back and to the left) not far from Syntagma Square, you won't quite understand why a little place like this has been featured in the New York Times. This is not a place you go for atmosphere, though they do offer you a seat at the one table in the midst of the happy, busy buzz of the kitchen if you would like to dine there. It's a place you go for genuine, delicious food prepared with love and extreme attention to quality. The cheeses, olives, oil and bread all come from trusted producers in some of the best agricultural regions of Greece, including Amorgos Island, Kithera and the Macedonia. All of the food is prepared by award winning chef, Konstantinos Siopidis, though you would never know it by the prices. Even the most complicated dishes are not over twelve euros. The pastries and savory pies are made by his mother in law, Irini, who has given demonstrations of her cooking on television shows. 
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Pendeli Mountain

Pendeli Mountain

  • Elefsina
  • tel:+30 6944919189
  • Athens Ece

Want to see a chapel built directly into a cave, once a shrine to Pan? Care to walk on the ancient road used to transport the marble for the Acropolis? You have to journey to Pendeli Mountain.
There are many people living in Athens that have never explored the richness of Pendeli Mountain, also spelled Penteli, one of the three mountains surrounding Athens and not even half an hour from the city center.

This private tour will cover the strange history and unusual places, a great number of legends, stories, and factual accounts that swirl about its marble-covered mountainside. Call George for availability throughout the year.



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Anafiotika

Anafiotika

  • Prytaneiou & Erechtheos
  • (Plaka)
  • tel:+30 210 331 0392 (Tourist information)
  • Athens, 105 58

Weave your way up to this grouping of houses and you may think you're on a Cycladic island when you see the whitewashed homes built in island style architecture. This is the work of migrants from the Cycladic island of Anafi who came to the capital in the 19th century. Now you can wander past their homes where their descendants are still living, cooking, and watching television. Don't be surprised if you see one in the window or gardening on their terrace. They're happy to direct you to the Acropolis, "Acropoli, Up!" but actually there is no access to the Acropolis from Anafiotika. It is a destination in itself.

Nearby is the Kanellopoulos museum and the Museum of the History of the University of Athens. read more about Anafiotika

Elefsis

Elefsis

  • Elefsina
  • tel:+30 210 554 6019
  • Elefsina, 19200
Barbara's Food Company

Barbara's Food Company

  • Benaki 63-65 & Metaxa St
  • tel: (+30) 210 3805004
  • Athens Ece

Barbara is a saucy American serving up healthy, modern Greek food to the Bohemian neighborhood of of Exarchia. It is excellent service self-service, and to understand that you just have to go for yourself. The atmosphere as well as the prices fit to the area, overrun with students, artists, and revolutionaries.

Nearest Metro Station: Omonia
Casual Attire read more about Barbara's Food Company

Vorres Museum

Vorres Museum

  • 1 Parodos Diadochou Konstantinou
  • tel:+30 210 664 2520 / +30 210 664 4771
  • Visit website
  • Peania, 19002

This museum is exceptional. It's divided into two parts: one dedicated to displaying Greek art from the second half of the twentieth century, the other divided amongst four restored village homes and a 19th century stable that preserve the feel of traditional Greece with folk art and antiquities that span 2000 years of Greek history. All of the complex is surrounded by gardens featuring 800 varieties of trees as well as flora and fauna native to Greece.
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To Koutouki

To Koutouki

  • Lakiou 9 Ano Petralona
  • tel:+30 210 3453655
  • Athens Ece

Passing through the backroads of Philopappou, skirting the bluecollar neighborhood of Ana Petralona, you will pass a candy-colored taverna that looks like it's been made out of decoupage and leftover housing materials. To Koutouki has the most offbeat "roof garden" in Athens, home style food like deep fried zucchini, tzatziki and boiled greens with lemon and olive oil, and a staff that may be limited in their English but makes up for it in enthusiasm.

To find it, start from the Dora Stratou Theater parking lot and walk up the road, across the bridge. You'll see it then.
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Irida

Irida

  • Ippokratous 15, Exarcheia
  • tel:+302103688275
  • Visit website
  • Athens Ece

In artsy Exarcheia, cinematography students group inside of this worn-around-the-edges old movie theater and watch cult classics and obscure films for free. The website is entirely in Greek but does list a weekly program. Email ahead of time if you want to be clear.

Screenings are usually once per day sometime in between 17:00 and 21:00.



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