Petralona is one of the most aesthetically pleasing and hip neighborhoods of Athens, located north of Taurus and Kallithea districts and extending from Piraeus Street to Philopappou Hill and from Hammos Street to Poulopoulos bridge. With its apparent urban vibe, it has arguably been established as a local’s favorite, either for drinking, eating or leisure wandering.
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The district took its name in the olden days from the fields (alonia) filled with stones (petres) that were created when the rough terrain was normalized. The pieces of stone were thrown and thus stone alloys were created, which give their name to the area. Before the name ‘Petralona’ it was called "The Katsikidika" ( The Goats’ Place) because shepherds wandered around the area with their goats, selling their milk. Since 1920 this has been banned for -obvious- public health reasons.
But enough with the history lesson, let’s talk about the real reason why you clicked on this post: is Petralona worth the hype? And if so what is it that it makes it differ from every other neighborhood of Athens?
To start off, we should focus on the practical aspect of accommodation. For those dedicated devotees of Airbnb, Petralona is an excellent choice for a number of reasons. It has all the pros of a central area without having any of the cons. In the middle of Athens, the rest of the city, such as Syntagma square, is easily accessible without the overcrowding that you may feel in the historic center. Additionally, many of the apartments available for rent in Petralona are of a very high standard, combining the urban reality with tradition. Last but not least, you can find some fantastic places to eat and/or drink, safe in the knowledge that should you have a glass of wine or two you will be within walking distance from your place!
If you are looking for recommendations on where to eat, look no further! Petralona is home to unique places that offer a combination of excellent food and an inviting atmosphere. First off, there is our personal favorite: Chryssa-Chryssa. Somewhere between a restaurant and a tavern, Chryssa- Chryssa has a casual style, offering delicious Greek homemade food and a variety of desserts, with very friendly service and unbeatable prices.
Don't lose the chance to try some typical Greek dishes at Chrysa's restaurant - credits: www.andro.gr
Second on the list, comes the Ugly Duckling. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the name; t’s cute and you know it. However, its catchy name is not what makes this place unique. What does, is the tasty food accompanied with live Greek music, specifically rebetika. A picturesque taverna hidden in the narrow streets of the area, it is decorated with items, adverts, and pictures from the ’60s, creating a vintage look that is very easy on the eyes.
Discover the taste of real Athens at the Ugly Duckling - credits: www.aschimopapo.com
Lastly, we cannot omit the Tavern of Diomataris. Hearty and smiling owners, tasty Cretan food made out of fresh ingredients and fabulous Cretan raki and wine, make the perfect recipe for a fun experience. There is also live music, without microphones, so as to keep the atmosphere casual and friendly.
If you are more interested in the nightlife of Petralona you don’t need to fear. Petralona is the ideal place for a relaxed drink. Upupa Epops is a recent addition to this interesting neighborhood and it has already attracted much attention. Upupa Epops is housed in a low 1930s house complex with a beautiful yard reminiscent of the old Athens; it serves sophisticated cocktails at reasonable prices with jazzy background music. What more could you possibly want?
Upupa Epops-Special cocktails in an old but sophisticated house in the center of Athens - credits: Visit Greece
Another great option for drinks is Kyrios Who. A cult classic at this point, Mr. Who is the most well-known bar in Petralona, something which results in it usually being packed with people, which might be considered as a disadvantage, but it is not. On the contrary, the people are what make the bar special, as it gathers a great, vibrant crowd and provides the perfect setting in which to meet new people! Placed in one of the most beautiful old houses of Petralona and decorated in a mildly eccentric way, it is as elegant as it is edgy. There, you can find quality drinks at low prices, served by experienced and willing staff.
Hidden inside an amazing house, Kyrios Who is the ideal place to enjoy your cocktail - credits: Athens Voice
Lastly, To Klouvi is a tiny place in the middle of one of the main streets of the district. If your preferred evening consists of long, leisurely conversations whilst the idea of screaming at the top of your lungs, just in order to be heard, does not appeal to you, then this is your place! It offers a laid-back atmosphere with a wide variety of drinks and cocktails that will intrigue even the most difficult of customers.
Now that we have your survival and entertainment covered, let’s help you find your way around, just because we’re cool like that. As said before, Petralona is in the middle of everywhere, so getting to your desired destination shouldn’t be too hard. Here we can show you the quickest way to get to the key sights that every traveler will likely want to visit.
If you want to go to the Acropolis, as you should, you will need to take the underground from Kato Petralona Station and take the Metro line 1 in the direction of Kifisia. After just two stops, you will arrive at Monastiraki Station from where you will have to walk for around ten minutes and voilà! You’re there! The same route you will need to take if you want to go to Monastiraki Square, minus all the walking, and if your destination is Syntagma Square, in which case you will also have to walk for around ten minutes. Of course, there are other ways to get there, some without walking at all, but they will take double or triple the time and it really isn’t worth it. See it this way: whilst visiting a magnificent country you will also achieve that beach body you’ve always lusted after!
Petralona, a lively center with plenty of tavernas, bars, and cafes has managed to preserve ita traditional, vintage style while also incorporating a contemporary aesthetic. Perhaps not as well frequented by the many visitors who come to Athens each year, Petralona is a neighborhood worthy of your time and exploration.