Petralona is one of the most aesthetically pleasing neighbourhoods of Athens, located north of Taurus and Kallithea 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 favourite, either for drinking, eating or leisurely wandering.
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 and sold 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 probably focus on the practical aspect of accommodation. For those dedicated devotees of AirBnB Petralona is an excellent choice,in our opinion, for a number of reasons. Firstly, 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 (Syntagma square for example) is easily accessible without the overcrowding that you may feel in the historic centre. Secondly, many of the apartments available for rent in Petralona are of a very high standard, combining the urban reality with tradition. Lastly, 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!
Unique houses in Petralona
Image Credit: Konstantinos Hytis
If you are looking for recommendations on where to eat, look no further! Petralona has a host of unique places that offer a combination of excellent food and an inviting atmosphere. First off, there is our personal favourite: Chryssa-Chryssa.Chryssa- Chryssa has a casual style, it’s something between a restaurant and a tavern, offering delicious Greek homemade food and a variety of desserts, with very friendly service and unbeatable value for money.
Don't lose the chance to try some typical greek dishes at Chrysa's restaurant
Image Credit: Andro
Second on the list, comes The Ugly Duckling. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the name. It’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 60’s, creating a vintage look that is very easy on the eyes.
Discover the taste of real Athens at the Ungly Duckling
Image Credit: aschimopapo
Lastly, we cannot omit the Tavern of Diomataris (Dimofontos 80, Petralona). 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.
We tried the delicious dakos salad at Diomataris Tavern and we highly recommend it.
Image Credit: Greeking.me
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 Epopsis the new addition to this interesting neighbourhood, newly opened last year , 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.
Image Credit: 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 looked upon as a disadvantage, but it is not. On the contrary, the people are what make the bar special, as it gathers a rather great 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.
Image Credit: Athens Voice
Lastly, To Klouviis 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.
What about a coffee, a brunch or a cocktail in the cozy and friendly environment of to klouvi cafe-bar?
Image Credit: didee
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 traveller will likely want to visit.
If you want to go to the Acropolis, and 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 Monastirki 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 wanted!
Petralona, a lively centre with plenty of tavernas, bars and cafes has managed to preserve her traditional, vintage style whilst also incorporating a rather more contemporary aesthetic. Perhaps not as well frequented by the many visitors who come to Athens each year, Petralona is a neighbourhood worthy of your time and exploration.